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This could be the most important book you’ll read this year. It isn’t another war book. It is a book about people, and it contains the personal stories of 100 Vietnam Veterans who served there.
Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, from the late 1950s to 1975 we served from the Delta to the DMZ, and from Thailand to Yankee Station in the South China Sea. Infantry grunts, truck drivers, medics, helicopter pilots, nurses, clerk typists, jet pilots, mechanics, staff officers, repairmen, artillerymen, B-52 bombardiers, MPs, and doctors, we were black, white, and Hispanic, male and female. We were only in our teens and early twenties, but our stories continue to resonate through the years.
January 30 marks the 50th anniversary of the Tet Offensive, the seminal event of a war that dominated my generation and changed lives. Some of the men and women in this book are true war heroes. Most were just trying to survive. If you were there, you understand. If you weren’t, my hope is that through these stories you will.
Breaking down the stereotypes, they tell who we were, the jobs we did, our memories of that time and place and how it changed us, and what we did after we came home.
Over 58,200 of us paid the ultimate price, but the war didn’t end when the last US helicopter lifted off from the roof of the US Embassy in Saigon. It continues to take its ugly toll on many who did come home. Instead of bands and parades, we got PTSD and Agent Orange, diabetes, ischemic heart disease, neuropathy, leukemia, Hodgkin’s Disease, and prostate cancer, and many more. As they say, “Vietnam: the gift that keeps on giving.”