I am always amazed by the courage and ability to do one’s job under the greatest duress without thought for their own lives, be severely wounded and yet still function to protect the lives of fellow warriors. Mr. Hearne’s book presents a vivid description of kids 18, 19, 20 years old doing just that. His descriptions of the ferocious battle against one of the legendary North Vietnamese battalions is real, and even after 50 years removed from the war, touched me very deeply. I had to stop reading many times as it began to bring back my own memories of that horrible war. But, I’m so glad to have read it.
Mr. Hearne’s book is an attempt to honor his fellow warriors, both those who survived and those who did not. I applaud him for his determination in putting together what must have been a personally difficult undertaking to bring back the names, backgrounds, and search for what happened to those who survived after the war. So many of the after-war stories were very familiar, and all one needs to do to see them is sit outside a VA Hospital and chat with those who experienced it.
I sincerely hope Mr. Hearne’s book is read by every member of the families whose brother, husband, or son participated in the Battle to have an appreciation of the courage of such young men who should have been playing baseball or football or going to college, yet found themselves in a furious battle for their lives, doing things just a year before they could never have imagined. Be proud of them, whatever you think about the war aside, these were our best and they proved it on the battlefield. Read the descriptions of the sounds of war, the bullets hitting, rocket propelled grenades blowing up around you, the whistles and screams the enemy utilized to unnerve these kids, and imagine yourself in such a circumstance if you can.
When reading Mr. Hearne’s book, we should also be proud of the leaders of these men, the ones willing to stand with them in the heat of the battle and provide such calm leadership. I believe Mr. Hearne has done an excellent job in honoring those who participated in the Battle of Xom Bo II, including himself. He has truly reached out in the form of a book to carry the message forward for those who cannot, and for that reason, I respect him highly.
I flew 127 combat missions in Vietnam, and was close in over many of these battles, and I could never imagine what the guys on the ground were going through. Now I know. Thank you, Mr. Hearne and God Bless you and those you served with.
Review by Danny Johnson, MWSA Reviewer
The true story of the battle of Xom Bo II that was fought on June 17, 1967. It was a battle that pitted less than five hundred 1st Infantry Division soldiers against 800 to 2000 Viet Cong from the 271st Regiment. The bloody clash took the lives of 39 Americans and seriously wounded 150 more. It is the minute by minute story of what happened that day in the steamy jungle and the story of the men who fought so valiantly to survive the ambush. It is the story of the loved ones left behind and the wounded who struggled to become whole again. It's a story that is the result of talking to many of the survivors of the battle and the wives, brothers, sisters, or friends of those who were there when over 8000 artillery rounds rained down around LZ X-Ray to dislodge the entrenched Viet Cong. June 17, 1967 is a story of war, men, and the loved ones. It is the story of the youth, culture and happenings that made the battle of Xom Bo II such an enigma for the summer of love in 1967.
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle, Audiobook
Genre(s): Nonfiction, History
Review Genre: Nonfiction—History
Number of Pages: 358