Through the Valley: Vietnam, 1967-1968

Through the Valley: Vietnam, 1967-1968

Through the Valley: Vietnam, 1967-1968

Through the Valley: Vietnam, 1967-1968

Excerpt

I have written this book to chronicle the seven battles fought by the 196th Light Infantry Brigade during 1967 and 1968 and tell the story of the men who were in them. My two tours of duty with the brigade had made me certain that I could put the events of the period into historical perspective. However, my first trek to the U. S. National Archives in 1992 made it evident how little I did know about the war that I fought, and it portended a long and difficult task ahead. It took me another three trips to the National Archives and the Center for Military History—and countless phone calls, interviews, and letters with former brigade members—and several years before I felt that the story was complete.

A number of people helped me along the way, and I wish to express my appreciation to them all. F. Clifton Berry, Jr., for example, provided me with initial direction and insight of the unit's operations and allowed me the use of memorabilia from his personal collection. Tony May, 196th Locate A Brother, allowed me to use his diary, as well as an assortment of documents not found in the National Archives. Most important, he also put me in contact with members of the brigade, many of whom contributed the recollections, letters, and diaries that make up a significant part of this work. Jim Sorensen, a former Special Forces soldier and Vietnam veteran, had the patience to teach me to make the maps in this book and, through his numerous contacts, obtained a number of documents I refer to in this work. There is also Gil Dorland, an accomplished author and hero of the Thanksgiving Day Battle for Hill 63: Gil gave me the inspiration and encouragement to keep writing. Wes Rumble, a former fighter pilot with the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing, helped me decipher the many acronyms in the air support summaries. At the National Archives it was Rich Boylan who helped me get intelligence records declassified so I could accurately portray the North Vietnamese and Vietcong forces against whom we fought. Robert Wright guided me through the Center for Military History and helped me find the after-combat interviews used in this work, and Les Hines provided me with . . .

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