Tunnel Rats in Vietnam were men who went into the many tunnel complexes armed with only a flashlight, a pistol, and a bayonet. They were usually the shortest men in a unit because they could fit down the narrow entrances and passageways they found below. Steve, “Shorty” Menendez was a tunnel rat in Vietnam and this painting is based on the stories he tells in his forthcoming novel, Tunnel Rat.
“Tunnel rat” depicts Shorty, pictured right, looking up a hole through which an enemy soldier just escaped. Shorty made a career as a police officer near Tampa, FL after Vietnam.