As a young man I once had a job where I and a buddy had to crawl up a hill, quietly as possible, and observe any activity below on a well worn trail. The grass on the hill was high and in order to maintain silence we inched our way up, parting grass in front of us as we neared the point where we could look over the edge and observe if anyone was on the trail and send word back to the boss. If all was clear the boss wanted to position other people so that if we were spotted by someone and they got angry we would have them boxed in. I was almost to the top and in position to take a look when I parted what appeared to be the last of the grass. As I scooted forward I came eyeball to eyeball with a coiled snake. The hair stood up on my head and my impulse was to jump back. I didn't move. Instead I stared into the snakes eyes, almost afraid to blink less he misinterpret my action. I whispered to my buddy out of the side of my mouth, less the snake read my lips, "What kind of snake?" He whispered back, "Pit Viper." For the love of God, what's a pit viper? Poisonous. My right hand was already sliding along the ground toward my waist. Watching the snake's eyes I learned then and there snakes eyes do not blink. My hand found the long knife handle and slowly started moving along the ground upward toward my right shoulder. I couldn't see him but I knew my buddies' eyes was glued on me and the snake, waiting for him to strike. He whispered, "What you going to do?" My right had extended now out from my right shoulder, my weight silently shifted to my left hip and arm. I whispered, I don't know, as I swing the knife as fast and as hard as I could from my prone position. My knife struck the snake's neck about two inches behind the head which went flying, barely missing my buddy, who ducked, a look of fear on his face. My mouth was dry, my hands shook. I holstered the knife. A man crawled up behind us, saying, "What's the holdup, the boss is pissed" "Tell the boss we're almost in position," I whispered. And my buddy handed the soldier the tail of the snake and said, "Give the Lieutenant this. It was the hold-up." In position I was finally breathing normal, my buddy, a Korean national, assigned to me personally to see to his training, leaned over and whispered, "You A number one." I gave him a thumbs up and whispered back, "You, too." It was dark. We stayed in positioned all night, watching a dark trail, on a moonlit night, and leaving at four A.M. and making our way back up the MLR at daybreak, another recon patrol over and all present and accounted for? Time to hit the sack.