Jack “Doc” Manick's excellent memoir, Incoming, is a coming of age story for veterans of allwars and their families. Incoming is at times gripping, funny, sad, and full of the humanity, inhumanity, heroism, fear and pathos of war. As a combat veteran of the Vietnam War myself I lived every moment with Doc Manick and his unit as I read his book and could relate them to my own experiences. This is not a dry history by someone unconnected to the events, Doc Manick lived them.
The heart of Incoming is Jack Manick's time as an Army field combat medic in the Central Highland of Vietnam with the 70th Combat Engineer Battalion and the 131'st Engineer Company. Manick has obviously spent a great deal of thought and time in producing his book, but not so long that his memories of those dramatic days have dimmed. Incoming has the immediacy of today's newspaper headline, written from a 40 year perspective.
Since it is a memoir of Manick's war experience, it's often brutal, profane, and heartrending. But the book is leavened with humor and stories of the absurdities and inspirations of war. Incoming takes us from enlistment by the draft-eligible young Jack Manick; to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; Fort Sam Houston; to Germany, where he received his orders to Vietnam after volunteering for that duty. After training he went on to Cam Ranh Bay, then to the ,boonies. Most of the remainder of the book concerns the life of a combat medic treatments given, patrols and firefights, life and death in a combat zone.
In the book the reader learns why one should never get on the wrong side of your medic; why shooting at rats is so dangerous; why orders are often stupid but must be obeyed; why those who experience combat never come back as the same person who existed before. Read this memoir and you will have one more excellent snapshot of the Vietnam War, which was more than any other a story of individual experiences rather than set piece battles. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by: Weymouth Symmes (2011)
1969 was a momentous year for the world and especially America. It was a year when man first set foot on the moon and in an equally amazing feat, the New York Mets won baseballs coveted World Series.While earth shaking events were happening two hundred thousand miles from home or deep within the confines of Shea Stadium, men of every race, education and age group were fighting and dying 12,000 miles from home in Americas most unpopular war, Vietnam. Today, 40 years later, writer, husband and Veteran Jack Manick reaches into his soul and resurrects the fear, tension, foreboding, laughter and terror that he and his fellow "Band of Brothers" felt as they walked the jungles and forests of the Central Highlands of Vietnam in 1969.While in the "Bush", he carried a pack, a medical aid bag, two knives, three grenades, a rifle, pistol and an unbreakable commitment to save the lives of his fellow soldiers, even at the cost of his own. The story of Jack "Doc" Manick and his fellow soldiers is one of survival...survival in a country laden with malaria, crawling with venomous snakes, scorpions, rats, giant centipedes and tigers and dominated by an enemy determined "Not to lose the War!" The language is as tough as the enemy who fought against him, as unrelenting as the blistering heat of the Dry Season and as depressing as the endless mud and mold of the Monsoon Season. Incoming invites you to lace up your jungle boots and take a walk with Jack through the jungles and the fields of dry grass in the Central Highlands of Vietnam in 1969.