The father/son energy of the co-authors works very well within the pages of this book. Joshua and Wilbur Bowe take the reader on a journey with visual words and muted emotions through a tour of duty during the war in Vietnam in 1966 and 1967. The reader can well picture what had happened there. Shared with a well written narrative, historic background notes, and commentary aided by the addition of old letters sent home from that war. The personal letters add a very human element to the retelling of that life experience. Emotionally well done! The authors hit the target!
As a Vietnam veteran myself during the same time frame of the war, I found the book both credible and historically factual. I enjoyed it. I think there is a more broad appeal beyond just readers of war genre—a good history book told from the point of view of those who were there and well worth having on my book shelf.
Review by Bill McDonald (April 2019)
Sent into the deadly Central Highlands of Vietnam, a true story of my dad and the men he served with. My father is Wilbur E. Bowe. He was living on his family’s farm when he was drafted in 1965 and assigned to Alpha Company, 5th Battalion, 7th Calvary. The 5/7th Cavalry was formed as a brand-new battalion in order to fill out the 1st Air Cavalry Division’s 3rd Brigade. The young men of the battalion were largely drafted together in 1965 as the build-up of regular Army forces in Vietnam had just begun. Together, these impossibly young men would be trained in airmobile infantry tactics and become what were known as “skytroopers”. They would then be sent deep into the Central Highlands of Vietnam, where together they would learn what “search and destroy” meant and face the reality of this new war. The story features many of the letters and photographs my dad sent home from the war zone. His dispatches were sent from some of the most remote valleys and outposts in Vietnam, written under the most austere of conditions, often scribbled in haste before another mission, or by flashlight, under a poncho in the rain. They would travel over 8,000 miles across the ocean, to be placed in a mailbox that stood across from a farmhouse, along a rural county road in Wisconsin. Many former skytroopers of Alpha Company were interviewed for this story, and their personal accounts recall much of the humor and friendship they shared, along with the sadness and tragedy that would accompany a year spent in the jungles of Vietnam. The story also draws upon the 5/7th Cavalry’s daily staff journals and situation reports for every day of the battalion’s first year in Vietnam. This is their story, told in great detail from their time spent training together at Fort Carson – through their historic journey across the ocean aboard the USNS Gaffey, where they would encounter a massive typhoon – through their many battles fought together in Vietnam – and eventually, their final patrol.
ISBN/ASIN: 978-0692141397, 978-1717994370, B07DCJNN8X, B07KFQ5W25
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Soft cover, Kindle, Audiobook
Review Genre: Nonfiction—Memoir/Biography
Number of Pages: 286