Synopses & Reviews
"No more Vietnams!"
A quarter century after the war in Vietnam, that battle cry brought a flag-waving nation to its feet and ignited the superpatriotism of the Gulf War era. But hard as we tried—with yellow ribbons and "We Support Our Troops" bumper stickers and Norman Schwarzkopf videos and Olympics-style homecoming celebrations—we couldn't seem to erase the disturbing memory of Vietnam.
Perhaps forgetting is not the answer. Perhaps the healing process begins with remembering. Painful, clear-headed remembering.
Even those who remember best, the men who fought in Vietnam, aren't anxious to recall their experiences—or recount them to an academician. But in Otto Lehrack they found a sympathetic audience. Lehrack is both a historian and a member of the Third Battalion, Third Marines. He fought alongside the men whose voices he recorded here. Into their accounts, Lehrack has woven a narrative that explains the events they describe and places them into both a historical and a political context.
It's a grunt's-eye view of the Vietnam War that emerges in No Shining Armor—the war as seen by the PFC's, sergeants, and platoon leaders in the rivers and jungles and trenches. It's the story of teenagers leading squads of men into the jungle on night missions, the story of boredom, confusion, and equipment shortages, of friends suddenly blown away, of disappointing homecomings. It's also the story of young men placed under unbearable strain and asked to do the impossible, who somehow stretched to meet the demands placed upon them, and the story of the friendships they forged in combat—friendships deeper than any these men would be able to form later in civilian life.
"A lucid view of ordinary soldiers in a bewildering and demoralizing war". -- Kirkus Reviews. "Among the best of the oral histories of the war". -- Choice. "Lehrack weaves these gritty tales with articulate force and engaging style". -- Marine Corps Gazette.
Unique and intensely personal. This is an account told by the players at the mud level; honest spontaneous, brutal, poignant. These veterans tell us in their own words, and it defies the imagination.
An oral history of the Third Battalion, Third Marines in Vietnam.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 387-388) and index.
Table of Contents
List of Maps and Illustrations
Prologue: Vietnam Homecoming
Countering the Viet Cong: War against Guerrillas, 1965-1966
1. The Beginning: Camp Pendleton, California
2. To Okinawa
3. Protecting the Airfield: Chu Lai, Republic of Vietnam
4. A Major Operation
5. The First Big One: Operation STARLITE
6. Operation Golden Fleece
7. The First Move North: Danang
10. A Troubled Alliance
11. A Chaplain Goes to War
Fighting the North Vietnamese: War against Professionalis, 1966-1968
12. The Rockpile
13. Winter Action
14. Two New Lieutenants
15. Ripley and His Raiders
16. A Turbulent Easter
17. The First Battle of Khe Sanh
18. Rough Riders on Route Nine
19. Ca Lu
20. Ambush on Route Nine
21. Deja Vu: Ambush on Route Nine, September 1967
22. War along the Barrier
23. Improving the Supply System
24. Christmas as Cam Lo
25. Working with the ARVN
26. Alpha Three
27. Mike Company at Gio Linh
28. Kilo Company Ambush
29. A Sweet Little Ambush
30. Into the DMZ
31. Mike Company Ambush
32. Green Just Like the Rest of Us
34. The Day Martin Luther King, Jr., Was Shot
35. Bloody May
36. Dai Do
38. Beyond Alpha Three
39. Another Marine's Chaplain
40. Unfamiliar Territory
After the Bombing Halt: War with One Hand Tied, 1968-1969
41. The Bombing Halt
42. Operation Taylor Common
43. An Erosion of Discipline
44. School Solution
45. The Beginning of the End: Troop Withdrawals
46. Operation Virginia Ridge
47. The Last Operation
48. Parting Shots
Appendix A. Passing in Review
Appendix B. Medals of Honor
Appendix C. Organization of Marine Infantry Units in Vietnam