Santino was a good guy. Italian from Chicago. Did two tours in Vietnam. Volunteered, not drafted. Repeat, volunteered to go.He lived in the apartment in a floor below where my brother Jim lived, in Sherman Oaks, CA. A talented guy, he built my brother a cool desk, so he could work at his scriptwriting.I got the chance to talk to Santino, a tall handsome guy — a guy who looked like he could be a heavy in a movie. Yet, he was the nicest guy you ever met.You would never know, he was a tunnel rat in the Vietnam war. Those poor bastards, who had to go down into the tunnels built by the Viet Cong. In the darkness, risking booby traps and God knows what.He had a small frame, so he was perfect for infiltrating those tunnels. Everybody else was too scared, Santino said.Their motto was the tongue-in-cheek Latin phrase Non Gratum Anus Rodentum ("Not worth a rat's ass").And look, he was no wall-flower. He said they would get drunk beforehand, go see a Chicago Blackhawks hockey game and then get into fights. That was considered a good night’s entertainment.Anyway, Santino said a drill sergeant befriended him during training. Told him how to survive in Vietnam. The latter had become somewhat of a bad show and he wanted Santino to survive it. Thousands of men were dying, keep in mind. So please, understand the mindset of that era.He told Santino, “When you go out to engage the enemy, make sure you engage him.” Santino was like, “What do you mean?” And then, he got it.The drill sergeant then said: “If you don’t engage the enemy, they will send you to where the enemy is.” In other words, folks, when out on patrol at night, fire away, say you engaged the enemy. Whether you did, or not.Well, that only works so much, right?Indeed, did he ever engage the enemy. Said he was constantly promoted, because he kept losing platoon leaders. Every single one of them died. Their names are on the Vietnam Memorial in Arlington Cemetery. I walked right by them, just a couple weeks ago.Israel now faces a similar gargantuan task. As IDF forces attack Gaza, they will face kilometres of Hamas tunnels.What strategy, will they employ?According to a report in the UK’s Daily Mail, it’s called a SPONGE bomb. A new gadget expands and hardens, filling underground passageways. Look, I’m not saying this is a nice thing, but … taking into account what has happened, do they have any other choice?Based around a liquid emulsion, the chemical compound can be dropped into a tunnel before rapidly expanding and hardening, potentially trapping attackers down alleys or securing safe routes for Israeli commandos while searching for hostages, the report said.No more crawling on your hands and knees, afraid of poisonous snake booby traps or spiders, or deadly sharpened punji sticks.Troops are said to have used the handheld devices at the Israeli military's “mini Gaza,” a mock-up of the urban warren where they will soon be expected to fight constructed at the Urban Warfare Training Center in the Negev desert.According to the Telegraph, the bombs feature a metal partition separating the two volatile liquids, which immediately react when they touch.The material is said to be so hazardous that Israeli troops were blinded during practice sessions.Santino was one of the lucky ones. His name is not on the wall in Arlington.He met a great lady and is living somewhere in Oregon. Good guy, I miss him.According to the DoD, a total of 700 soldiers served as Tunnel Rats during the Vietnam War. Of that number, 36 were killed and 200 injured.It’s gonna be ugly folks, God help us all.