A Friendly Scare

The rifle platoon rarely spent time overnight in the jungle. We were primarily a reactionary force and short-range reconnaissance. After one particular day of recon, however, we were not able to be extracted so we set up camp for the night along on an extremely narrow ridge that connected two hills. The trail along this ridge was fairly well worn, indicating likely enemy use. A small squad was positioned at the point of the trail and we carefully set our claymores, checked our ammo, and kept our weapons ready. The night passed slowly. Just before daybreak, I thought I heard some rustling along the path, not far up the trail. All of a sudden, while trying to focus in the dawn light and holding my M-16 at the ready with my back to a tree in a sitting position, something breaks into the clear at full speed about five feet in front of me. Before I can react, a 30 inch lizard of some sort runs right up my leg and chest and over my shoulder and runs right through the middle of our perimeter and out the other side. It scared the crap out of me. It didn’t take long to settle down, realizing it at least appeared “friendly”.