Non-Fiction

Stealth Patrol

Title: Stealth Patrol
Author: Bill Shanahan, Bill P. Bracken
Genre: Non-fiction, History
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0306813858

From Stealth Patrol:"He spoke in a sort of clipped cadence, his words tumbling out quickly, one on top of the other; and his voice was deep and throaty, the way a bear might sound, if he could talk, after a night of drinking. 'Basically I'm here recruiting guys for the Lurps.... We operate in teams of five, maybe six, members apiece. In the Lurps, every man counts-and that's why we only take the best.'"Just four months after he arrived in Vietnam in 1968, Bill Shanahan joined the LRPs (Long Range Patrol). The mission of the Lurps, as they were called, was dangerous: Five- or six-man teams were dropped into the dense forest behind enemy lines. With quiet stealth, they observed enemy troop movements and staged ambushes that often ended in fierce firefights. When their mission was accomplished, they called for quick helicopter extraction. Back on base, they debriefed and tried to sleep off the adrenaline. Two days later they were back in the brush. The missions changed from week to week, but every day the goal was the same-stay alive.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Shanahan, Bill
Bracken, John P.

Rattler One-Seven

Title: Rattler One-Seven
Author: Chuck Gross
Genre: Non-fiction, History
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1574411780

Rattler One-Seven puts you in the helicopter seat, to see the war in Vietnam through the eyes of an inexperienced pilot as he transforms himself into a seasoned combat veteran.
When Chuck Gross left for Vietnam in 1970, he was a nineteen-year-old army helicopter pilot fresh out of flight school. He spent his entire Vietnam tour with the 71st Assault Helicopter Company flying UH-1 Huey helicopters. Soon after the war he wrote down his adventures, while his memory was still fresh with the events. Rattler One-Seven (his call sign) is written as Gross experienced it, using these notes along with letters written home to accurately preserve the mindset he had while in Vietnam.

During his tour Gross flew Special Operations for the MACV-SOG, inserting secret teams into Laos. He notes that Americans were left behind alive in Laos, when official policy at home stated that U.S. forces were never there. He also participated in Lam Son 719, a misbegotten attempt by the ARVN to assault and cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail with U.S. Army helicopter support. It was the largest airmobile campaign of the war and marked the first time that the helicopter was used in mid-intensity combat, with disastrous results.

Pilots in their early twenties, with young gunners and a Huey full of ARVN soldiers, took on experienced North Vietnamese antiaircraft artillery gunners, with no meaningful intelligence briefings or a rational plan on how to cut the Trail. More than one hundred helicopters were lost and more than four hundred aircraft sustained combat damage. Gross himself was shot down and left in the field during one assault.

Rattler One-Seven will appeal to those interested in the Vietnam War and to all armed forces, especially aviators, who have served for their country.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Gross, Chuck

Cave, The

Title: The Cave
Author: Same McGowen
Genre:
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1403302448

The story of an Air Force enlisted man shot down over Laos during the Vietnam War. A cave explorer and marksman, Samuel Tobin Carter discovers a cave and uses it as sanctuary from which to wage his own personal war.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
McGowen, Sam

Outlaws in Vietnam

Title: Outlaws in Vietnam
Author: David L. Eastman
Genre: Non-fiction, History
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0914339974

Ride a Huey with the Outlaws of the 175th Aviation Company (AML) in the Mekong Delta and experience a first-hand, first Lieutenant's account, of a tour in Vietnam from 1966-1967. Eastman's lively prose reveals an exciting untold story of camaraderie, competence and fellowship. The aviation units were the sole combat element of the U.S. Army that kept their discipline and spirit.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Eastman, David L.

I Served

Title: I Served
Author: Don C. Hall, Annette C. Hall
Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir
Reviewer: Bill McDonald

ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 1552124894

I SERVED was written differently from most other Vietnam memoirs. Instead of being a chronological recitation of my experiences growing up in the orphanage and then going to Vietnam and serving with Co. F, 51st Long Range Patrol (Airborne) Infantry, I made its focus be the characters in the story. That is its greatest strength and what makes it such a good read. Because I focused so closely on character, you really get to care about the person Don Hall because you know what makes him tick, what is important to him, and what drives him. You are also engaged by the other people you meet in the story because they are so clearly drawn. You don't have to be a military buff to enjoy the book.

I SERVED is a factual story backed up by official U.S. Army records. Col. William C. Maus, the man who formed F/51st LRP, told me where to find that documentation. I also have copies of handouts we received when we went to Recondo School. Before he died, he told me how much he enjoyed reading the book. He praised me for having written such a great story about a unit he was proud to have commanded. He was a visionary who knew our unit was the vanguard for future U.S. Army military strategy and tactics. I remember his telling me at the time that F/51st LRP was making history. Being just a naïve 19-year-old staff sergeant, I didn't understand the significance of that statement. I do now.

We hope readers are so intrigued that they will order a copy of I SERVED when its available. The paperback version is a reprint of the original 1994 hardbound edition, with a revised preface and afterword, a new War Stories section (with stories from other men with whom I served), and new photographs.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Hall, Don C.
Hall, Annette R.

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