Here is a review I wrote on the book “The Battle of An Loc” by James Wilbanks for the Military History Book Club. A must have book for anyone with an interest in Viet-Nam. This is a very good read. The Battle of An Loc was a major battle of the Vietnam War that lasted from April 13 to July 20, 1972. It culminated in a decisive victory for South Vietnam’s Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN). The struggle for An Loc was one of the most important battles of the war. It saw the introduction of conventional warfare and tanks by the North Vietnamese Army (NVA). The ARVN forces halted the NVA advance towards Saigon. It delayed the war’s end by three years.
The author, James Wilbanks, was present and wounded at An Loc. This is not only his account, but gives insights from the North Vietnamese and US Advisor’s after action reports plus other communist documents. The role of the unending US air support, the bravery of the US air crews, and the orchestration by the Forward Air Controllers to the battle’s victory for the ARVN and US Advisor’s is covered in warranted great detail. The inability of the NVA to have armor and infantry work together in more conventional warfare is clearly brought to light and documented. Wilbanks gives insights into Richard Nixon’s Vietnamization’s perceived success by the politicians and its ultimate failures. This is a must have read and must have addition to the library for anyone with interest in the war in Viet-Nam.
Well, the time has come to announce Dan O’Brien’s latest project:Mobsters, Monsters & Nazis: a collaboration between Dan O’Brien and Steve Ferchaud, who illustratedConspirators of the Lost Sock Army and the Loose Change Collection Agency. What I am revealing today is the sketches for some of the interior illustrations (which will be black and white) of the first issue. It will be released as six issues (eBooks) starting on Halloween. It is influenced by film noir, pulp comics, and an abiding love of Lovecraft. It is now available forpre-orderand Dan will be promoting it heavily starting in the month of October. He would love to hear what you think of it so far! Visit him at: http://thedanobrienproject.blogspot.com/ or on Twitter, @AuthorDanOBrien.
#ETCWC Take away #1 – The conference provides you with the kind of classroom session experience you can’t get anywhere else (even if you go back to school). It provides it from an evangelical Christian world-view.
#ETCWC Take away #2 – You get to network with like-minded people and even get one-on-one time with instructors, speakers, agents and other authors.
#ETCWC Take away #3 – People who attend the East Texas Christian Writer’s Conference leave motivated. They are “fired-up” about writing. They are enthusiastic about what they’re doing. They leave with the inspiration and the drive to go home, sit down and write as if it’s the only thing that matters in the world. Going to the #etcwc will help you start, re-start, or finally finish that project you have been imagining of getting into print.
#ETCWC Take away #4 – You meet other writers. You meet people who have signed with agents. You meet people with books in print. You realize they are just like you. You realize you too can do it. You can write a book.
#ETCWC Take away #5 – Networking is undoubtedly the most important aspect of a conference. Take time to meet new people. Remember, to have a friend you must be a friend. “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly …” – Proverbs 18:24a KJV
#ETCWC Take away #6 – It is a great monetary investment in yourself. The conference cost for me including registration, preconference sessions, lodging (I stayed at the Motel 6), meals and gasoline was under $200. That means I only have to save $4.00 a week or 55 cents a day to have the money to attend next year. I can do that I skipping on trip to Starbucks a week! I am worth it.
Photo Source: Photo taken by Daniel Arizpe [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Description English: Cypress Springs H.S. v.s Katy Taylor H.S. The Berry Center hosted the playoff game.
Date: 21 February 2007
There is a movie based on this book. I read the book first and was surprised when I saw the movie. They had left out the second battle. It was a battle that was just as bloody as the first, but without LTC Moore commanding. General Moore and Joseph Galloway have written a fine book. It should be must reading for every military officer and politician. I found this book to be consuming my attention. It was very hard to put down. The narrative of the training, deployment, battle, wives back at Fort Benning, battle, deaths and death notifications by cab drivers, and the stupidity of the leadership that lead to the second battles terrible losses.
We Were Soldiers Once and Young is terrific book! I was in junior high school when the battle of Ia-Drang took place. I remember it vividly. My dad had returned months earlier from his first duty in Viet-Nam. I was living in a military family. I watched soldiers march to and from training daily from my school’s playground. I can still vividly recall the CBS evening news story with Walter Cronkite discussing the impact of all the deaths on Fort Benning and Columbus, Georgia. I wish I had read this before I served as a US Army Infantry platoon leader. Buy it, read it, and keep it in your library.
Born during the Korean War,
Raised in the 1950s and 1960s
Stay at home mom and hard working dad
They gave us a better chance than they ever had.
And were glad they did, but never told them.
Eisenhower was president when we started school,
Boys wore flat-tops, tee-shirts, and Levi’s jeans.
Girls in dresses, saddle oxfords and knee sox,
Kennedy debated Nixon,
And we got a black and white TV.
Mantle and Maris chased Babe Ruth,
In Cuba we faced off the Soviet Missiles,
In Dallas President Kennedy was shot,
It was different before the British invasion,
And then the world started to rock.
Our hair grew longer, our skirts got shorter,
We had loud music our parents couldn’t stand,
We watched Viet-Nam each night over supper,
Hey, hey LBJ how many kids did you kill today?
We wanted muscle cars and drove old Chevys.
Saturday night with our favorite girl,
Sheiks and Trojans would go with us to the drive-in.
And we’d be in luck each month if nature struck
And if not you said I do – and did
Beatles, Stones, CCR, Johnny Cash, and Glen Campbell
We crossed the Trinity River for a beer,
Boones Farm and Everclear… and Nixon was back
And we buried Everett who was killed in ‘Nam
With dozens from high school somehow surviving the big trip
And we went to the moon.
How the North Won: A Military History of the Civil War by Herman Hattaway and Archer Jones is a scholarly look at the Civil War. Hattaway and Jones have produced a great book on Civil War logistics, planning, and administration. They authors seem to focus more on the logistics and strategy side over the tactical side.
The book was very good, but at times, it was a dry recitation of chronology, dull facts, and statistics. I had to force my way to complete the book, and it took two attempts to get it read. Most copies of the book will collect dust on some university library bookshelf. It is too deep and too dry for most readers. Better to borrow this book from your library than spend your money purchasing the book.
The book is the memoir of one of America’s most controversial military leaders. I found it refreshing to read of his background and upbringing. He briefly covers his days as a cadet at West Point where he graduated in 1936, the horse dawn artillery days, and his role in World War II where he fought with distinction in North Africa and Europe with the Ninth Division. We see his fast rise to a Brigadier General before thirty years of age and later (1952–53) in role in the Korean War. He served as superintendent of West Point (1960–64), attained (1964) the rank of general and commanded (1964–68) U.S. military forces in Vietnam. He then assumed the position of army chief of staff, which he held until his retirement in 1972.
I was saddened as I read Westmoreland’s comments on one of the early killed in action lists that crossed his desk. It included 2LT John J. Pershing III, grandson of World War I supreme commanding general “Blackjack” Pershing. The book looks at the Viet-Nam war from Westmoreland’s point of view. It explains his decision making process. It is more than an after action report. It is worth reading if you are a political or military history junkie. His relationship with Lyndon Johnson and Robert McNamara are not covered in the detail I would have liked. This is the story of a decent man, giving his best to his country in difficult times.
I love rain. Many people hate it. I love it. We are in a bad drought in north Texas. Many of the lakes that provide our water are less than 20% full. This is a good time to reflect on needed rain. As I write this on October 7 it is 101 degrees on my front porch. It is hot and dry. Why should I love rain? It is not easy for people to understand, but I will try to explain.
Rain is a precious gift from God. It falls from the sky. Sometimes it falls in large amounts. Sometimes it comes from the heavens in small amounts. Sometimes it doesn’t visit us for weeks or months at a time. When it does visit, it always brings its friend the clouds. Rain can also bring its noisy colleague thunder and bright pal lightning.
Rain is like a guest in your home. At first, you are glad to see the rain, but if it stays around too long, it can out stay its welcome.
Rain can be refreshing. It gives the air and the countryside a shower. It washes the pollen from the air. It washes the pollen off the cars, sidewalks, and driveways. Rain removes dust from the leaves of the flowers, bushes and trees.
The temperature falls when the rains come. Rain transforms the hot world into a cool, air-conditioned environment in the summer and a chilly one in the winter. It helps you appreciate a warm, dry house. It is a muse for Ray Bradbury as he writes short stories about it in “The Illustrated Man”.
Rain also helps a person forget their troubles. You worry less about how you look. After all, the water from the mud puddle may have splashed on you. You enjoy freedom from irritations. Only those people who truly want to see you will come see you in the rain. Most gripers and complainers stay away when it is wet outside. They wait for a less rainy day.
It is fun walking outside when it rains, especially with an umbrella. Just singing in the rain … you can hold an umbrella in one hand, letting it prop on your shoulder. When the rain falls, the propped up open umbrella keeps you from getting soaking wet. It is fun to take a wet umbrella, hold it at a forty-five degree angle to the ground and spin it around and around making something magical happens. The drops of rain the umbrella has collected go flying off in every direction away from the umbrella holder. You can aim the umbrella where the drops spray someone or you can splatter the drops on the ground as you spin the umbrella ‘round and ‘round.
Even if you don’t own an umbrella you can still have fun in the rain. Shopping malls miraculously have parking spaces available closer to the door when it’s raining. The crowds are noticeably smaller. The joy of the mall increases as you experience less hustle and bustle. At church, better seats are available.
A sad not about rain is it sometimes cancels baseball games. While this is sad, though not to all wives, it does hold the potential of prolonging our great national pastime’s season or giving us the rare treat of the near extinct double-header. Without rain, there would not be real green grass on the baseball fields, rain checks from baseball games, manageable crowds at the mall, or great seats easily available at church. Rain makes the world a nice place.
Without rain, the flowers would not grow. Without rain, there would be no Fillet of Fish at McDonald’s Restaurants. Without rain there would be no people living.
I love rain. Now, I just wish it would rain. Here’s a little mood music by The Temptations. It is their 1960s hit “I Wish It Would Rain”.