Lead: For 400 years service men and women have fought to carve out and defend freedom and the civilization we know as America. This series on A Moment in Time (is presented by the people of _________ and) is devoted to the memory of those warriors, whose sacrifice gave, in the words of Lincoln at Gettysburg, the last full measure.

Content: Captain Herbert Thornton only recruited volunteers into his elite unit. The bad air, booby traps, and the prospect of a horrible and bizarre death made the challenge of going down into the tunnels of Cu Chi, northwest of Saigon, and Vietnam in general, more than you could require of just anyone. They called themselves “Tunnel Rats” and took as their motto “Non Gratum Anus Rodentum” or in pidgeon latin “not worth a rat’s ass.” Thornton, the chemical officer of the First Infantry Division when it arrived in Vietnam in 1966 and one of the first to lead the group, thought the tunnel rats had a certain élan about them. He called them, “a sort of oddball hero.” “It takes a special kind of being. He’s got to have an inquisitive mind, a lot of guts, and a lot of real moxie into knowing what to touch and what not to touch to stay alive.”

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