The Tiger Man of Vietnam
In 1963, 28-year-old Australian Captain Barry Petersen was sent to Vietnam as part of the 30-man Australian Training Team, two years before the first official Australian troops arrived. Seconded to the CIA, he was sent to the remote Central Highlands to build an anti-communist guerrilla force among the indigenous Montagnard people. He was sent off with bagloads of cash and a vague instruction to 'get to know the natives'. Petersen took over the running of the paramilitary force that had been started by the local police chief and started to earn the Montagnards respect. He lived drank and ate with the Montagnards, learned their language and respected their skills.
The Vietcong dubbed Petersen's force 'Tiger Men'. When Petersen he heard this, he had special badges made for their berets and supplied tiger print uniforms. The Montagnards loved Petersen and flocked to join his force but the CIA were worried. They thought he was out of control and too close to the Montagnard people...
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