MARINES, MEDALS AND VIETNAM
When Bill Myers sent me a 2-inch-thick stack of typed paper, I wondered if it was the rough draft of his new book “Marines, Medals and Vietnam.” I’m delighted that it was indeed the case.
This book may be even more interesting, and certainly more sustaining, than other books of this genre because Myers has selected several specific combat operations in Vietnam and provided a detailed overview of each. Many readers instantly will recognize Operations Starlite, Orange, Dodge City and Buffalo, and certainly Khe Sanh and several other significant battles that were spontaneous and therefore didn’t have official names, but were indeed full-conflict situations.
In every battle covered in the book, the details are so focused with names, ranks and unit designations that a reader will find himself feeling as if he was back in the battle. The Marine ground/air teamwork is addressed in great detail, and our aviation warriors are featured as well as the ground forces.
However, this is not just a book relating the details of each combat mission in a history-book type of overview. This book gets personal! In every battle, Myers includes names and ranks of Marines and corpsmen and includes their individual backgrounds, the nature of the missions and the moment-to-moment events of the Marines’ operational experience.
The reader will find himself wanting to thumb back to an index to examine the details of the mission, the Marine, his unit and the chain of command. Fortunately, the author has anticipated that. Every chapter contains a detailed listing: name, rank, serial number, unit, age and hometown of each warrior named.
In addition to the name listings, there is a “Medals” chapter, which contains the names of each Marine/corpsman who was awarded one of the top three medals—the Medal of Honor, the Navy Cross and the Silver Star. Again, the name, hometown, serial number, unit, date of award, age and hometown of every warrior is cited in the “Award Index.” You will be surprised at how often you refer back to a name, an award or an event or battle.
As some may know, I’ve reviewed many books for the Marine Corps Gazette and Leatherneck magazines and I’ve enjoyed every one of them. This book, though, is different, in a positive way. It’s unique. The thorough research of the intricate details involved in close combat, whether ground or air, captures the reader, regenerating the personal memories of events, people, situations and emotions.
I am convinced that if you are a Vietnam veteran, you will recognize many of those heroes you know or knew, stimulating those memories that are special.
Col Kenneth D. Jordan, USMC (Ret)
Editor’s note: Col Ken Jordan, a combat-decorated and wounded infantry officer, was commissioned in 1961. He commanded a Force Reconnaissance detachment in Vietnam and served in various staff and command positions in a 28-year career. On retirement, he was a director of human resources for a major bank for 10 years and a career transition counselor for six years. He has served on the board of directors of the United States Olympic Committee and on multiple veteran-related boards, including the Marine Corps Association.
MARINES, MEDALS AND VIETNAM
By William L. Myers.
Published by Redoubt Press. 392 pages. Softcover.
$22.50 MCA Members. $25 Regular Price.