I enjoyed reading “Valor in Vietnam 1963 – 1977: Chronicles of Honor, Courage and Sacrifice” by Allen B. Clark. I can easily recommend the book. In the vast literature on Vietnam that is too often memoirs full of hubris or tomes that bore you with action killing details, Mr. Clarke has given us a wonderful, fresh look at one of the most seminal events in the life of those who experienced the 1960s and 1970s. You experience the Vietnam War from the personal point of view of some of the men and women who were there. You get both a unique boots on the ground and narrative perspective.
I need to give a spoiler warning. I was left wondering if the actions Colonel Clyde R. Russell was the catalyst that started the war. It was interesting to see his son in high school in Saigon in 1964. Later, we learn of his son, Lieutenant Chris Russell – the reluctant warrior as the author called him. We see how his dad got his college student deferment pulled where he had to go in the Army. We see when he is in Vietnam he returns to the halls he walked as a ten grader. The building is now used for a very different purpose.
The book is full of wonderful, well told stories that sequentially take us through the war. The stories of men and women of various branches of service and ranks, both officer and enlisted gives a you were there feel.
I especially enjoyed the combat leadership lessons that were shared as we made our way through the years of the war. I would hope that such venues as the Infantry School, Command and General Staff College, and War College would include this insightful work in their required or recommended reading. I pray these are lessons that will not have to be learned over and over, but can be taught through case studies from this book.
While every chapter was well written and action packed, a couple of chapters especially touched me. They were the chapters on The Real Horrors of War covering Captain Wendy Weller’s tour as a nurse in 1969-1970 and the chapter titled Ranger’s Ranger covering the 1965 – 1970 tours of duty of Staff Sergeant Patrick Tadina. I was amazed at how low the casualty rate was for the units/missions he led and how long he was in Vietnam.
The book’s title caught my attention when it had the date range going to 1977 instead of stopping in 1973 or 1975. Spoiler alert – the last chapter covers 1975 to 1977 and a couple who were left behind when the last Americans fled. It is intriguing.
Congratulations to author Allen B. Clark and Casemate Publishing. You have published a special book. “Valor in Vietnam 1963 – 1977: Chronicles of Honor, Courage and Sacrifice” by Allen B. Clark. The publisher is Casemate Publishing.