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Jim ‘Snake-Hunter’ Knight Lunch and Learn Presentation
Former soldier to talk about Vietnam at South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum

Categorized as: All Ages
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COLUMBIA, S.C. – In Vietnam, his radio call sign was “Snake-Hunter.” It wasn’t just a catchy nickname, says Jim Knight.

“I was one of those kids who knew from the age of 6 years old what I wanted to be,” and that was a herpetologist. He had also always assumed that at some point in his life he would be a soldier.

Those two things came together when he served as a squad leader, then platoon sergeant, then platoon leader in B Company, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry, 3rd Brigade, Fourth Infantry Division. He joined the unit at Duc Pho, in the southern end of I Corps, in October 1967.

The young buck sergeant – he had turned 21 on the flight over (“My birthday lasted 15 minutes” on account of the International Dateline) – immediately found that jungle combat afforded him with many opportunities to indulge his passion. Without trying hard, he found 25-30 different snake species.

Whenever someone saw a snake they would call him on the radio. “If I was within a couple of hundred meters, I’d go try to catch it, pinning the head down with the butt of my rifle.” On one of his first patrols, just after his arrival in the field, he found a cobra coiled up under a piece of thatch while looking for Viet Cong tunnels. He tried to catch it, but it got away into a bamboo thicket. When he looked up, the “old timers” were staring at him “like I had four heads. They were obviously thinking ‘We have to follow THIS guy?’”

But Knight did a lot more during his tour besides catching snakes. He has loads of stories to tell, and he’ll be telling some of them at the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum at noon on Friday, Jan. 26. He’s the featured speaker for the museum’s monthly Lunch and Learn series. The public is invited, and admission is free.

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