A Marine’s Journey through South Vietnam, 1968-1969
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University of North Texas Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
For the last couple of years, I have been writing a book about the economic determination of human civilizations and how the people in the past have lived and fought their wars. The idea was to reveal how a society’s economy...
One of the reasons I had decided to write this book was because as a society and as a nation, I do not believe that we actually learned anything of significance from our Vietnam experience. Even today, our troops can be found patrolling distant lands...
Chapter One: Journey to Ixtlan
In the latter part of January 1968, I found myself on a bus heading towards the Norton Air Force Base located in California. Earlier that morning at Camp Pendleton, the Marine base situated just north of San Diego, we had been briefed as to what was expected of us once...
Chapter Two: The Hill of Angels
As a sergeant in Quang Tri explained it to me, Con Thien was the northernmost American outpost in South Vietnam. Situated a little over six thousand meters below the Ben Hai River, it overlooked the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and the southern panhandle...
Chapter Three: Yankee Station
As I was standing watch in the ammo bunker one early morning, Washington came down the stairs to relieve me. After a brief exchange of hellos, I handed him the inventory sheet listing every round in the bunker...
Chapter Four: Tet
General William Childs Westmoreland (Westy) had not been ill prepared for the job of Commanding General. Nor was he at all ignorant about the many facets of guerrilla warfare and the politics involved. Smart, brave, and conscientious to a fault...
Chapter Five: On the Road again
On April Fool’s Day, we began to follow the barrages of heavy artillery over a mountain and into the next valley. Since Mac and Chubby were with the four-deuces, they traveled along with the Battalion Headquarters group. At the time...
Chapter Six: Six Flags Over Nothing
Similar to most distant outposts in Vietnam, the combat base at Khe Sanh started out as a Special Forces camp. Situated approximately six miles east of the Laotian border and about twelve miles south of the DMZ, it was initially...
Chapter Seven: Dear John
Due to the fact that I wasn’t feeling very warm and fuzzy about myself, my new platoon lieutenant had called me into his quarters for a rap session. After I sat down on a box of C-rations, he and a gung-ho staff sergeant tried to ease my fears...
Chapter Eight: Gypsy
By the time I had returned from my R&R in Hawaii, the American people were still reeling from the shock over the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. (April 4) and Robert F. Kennedy (June 5). Within two short months...
Chapter Nine: The Wild Bunch
For the next couple of months, I found myself sloshing through the rice paddies, searching villages, and patrolling the surrounding darkness. Being the middle of summer, the work was hot and rugged. Since I was used to climbing up...
Chapter Ten: Walking with the Dead
Once the truck had come to a screeching halt, I reluctantly jumped down onto the hot pavement and ventured into the Marine transit building to get my orders processed. The weather had finally cleared up from the typhoon to where I could...
Chapter Eleven: America’s Finest
One of the truisms that I learned in Vietnam was that a grunt shouldn’t hang around his company’s rear area while he is awaiting orders. The spit-and-polish NCOs would seek him out and put him to work at the first opportunity whether...
Chapter Twelve: Into the Breech
One dismal morning, the helicopters unexpectedly arrived and took us away in a whirlwind of flying dust and lingering fumes. While climbing above the clouds, the air was so cold and crisp that we had to huddle together...
Chapter Thirteen: Around the World in Thirty Days
After taking a couple of boring days to fly across the Pacific Ocean, I finally landed at Love Field in Dallas, Texas. As I unfastened my seat belt, I didn’t have any idea who was going to be there to meet me. Deep down inside...
Chapter Fourteen: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Our new commander was an older colonel named Woodson, who had worked his way up from the ranks. Stoic, distant, and hard as nails, he was a no-nonsense type of officer, but I had no complaints. He was a fair man...
Glossary and Abbreviations