Mission of Honor is an amazing memoir that tells a personal story about the author that exposes his flaws, immaturity, relationships, courage, sense of duty, and ultimate redemption. It took me back to the 1960s and 1970s, when our country was fractured by the Vietnam War and, in a concise, economical fashion, it told the history of that time. An underlying theme was that the United States shipped off hundreds of thousands of young people to a war zone with no regard for the changes that would occur in them and no respect for their sacrifices. The author reminds us that these young people returned to a country that more often showed them scorn than honor.
The story takes us on a young man's journey. He goes from being an irresponsible teenager who impregnates two women and does not "do the right thing." He is sent to Vietnam as a helicopter pilot and becomes an American hero. You begin to see him change through that experience, but not enough to gain complete redemption. It isn't until years later that he finds redemption and becomes a man of character.
This had to be an extremely difficult book for Mr. Crigler to write, but the payoff for him in the writing must have been huge. As a reader, I found the book cathartic and renewed my pride in my service in Vietnam.
The only thing that detracted from the reading was the less-than-stellar writing style. It was obvious that the author is not a professional writer. The book had many grammatical errors and poor word choices. But, despite this, I still enjoyed Mission of Honor and highly recommend it.
Review by Joe Badal (March 2018)
Most of us never get to test ourselves in combat. As UH-1 Helicopter pilot flying in the jungle highlands of South Vietnam, Warrant Officer Jim Crigler and the men he flew with were tested daily. Coming of age in the late 1960s and early 1970s was challenging for most young men of that era. Throw in drugs, free love, draft notices, the Vietnam War and a country deeply divided, and you have one of the most important books of this genre. This true story is a raw, bold, introspective autobiography where the author openly wrestles with his personal moral dilemma to find meaning and purpose in his life. He calls it his "Mission of Honor."
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Nonfiction, Memoir, Biography
Review Genre: Nonfiction—Memoir/Biography
Number of Pages: 305