Waiting: One Wife's Year of the Vietnam War

Waiting: One Wife's Year of the Vietnam War

Waiting: One Wife's Year of the Vietnam War

Waiting: One Wife's Year of the Vietnam War


In April 1969, Linda Moore-Lanning watched her husband, Lt. Michael Lee Lanning, board a Greyhound bus that would take him to a military flight scheduled to deposit him in Vietnam. As he boarded the bus, Lee told her, "It's only for a year." Moore-Lanning struggled to believe her husband's words.

Waiting: One Wife's Year of the Vietnam War is the deeply personal account of Moore-Lanning's year as a waiting wife. The first-ever book from the perspective of a wife on the home front during the Vietnam War, Moore-Lanning's telling is both unflinching in its honesty and universal in its evocation of the price exacted from those who were left behind. During her "waiting year," Moore-Lanning traveled far, in both distance and perspective, from the small West Texas town of Roby where she had grown up and met her husband.

Through her eyes, we experience the agony of waiting for the next letter from Lee; the exhilaration of learning of her pregnancy; the frustration of dealing with friends and family members who didn't understand her struggles; and the solace of companionship with Susan Hargrove, another waiting wife.

Because of her insistence that Lee give her an honest account of his experiences, Moore-Lanning also affords readers a gut-wrenching view of Vietnam as narrated by an infantry commander in the field.

Unfolding with the gripping narrative of a novel, Waiting will captivate general readers, while those interested in military history and home front perspectives--especially from the Vietnam War--will deeply appreciate this impressive addition to the literature.


I was twenty-three years old when my husband went to Vietnam in 1969. At the time, I considered myself a full-fledged adult who knew what she was doing and where she was going. I was, after all, as old as I had ever been and knew as much as I had ever known. of course, anyone who has lived past that age knows exactly how much knowledge I had and what it was worth.

Nevertheless, I was undaunted by my own ignorance and inexperience as I threw myself passionately into life. My personality is such that I do almost nothing in half-measures, so it was not surprising that I approached love, marriage, and the role of a waiting wife in the same way.

When Lee was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army in 1968, we had been married five months. I took my vows quite seriously and applied the “whither thou goest” commitment without reservation. While I did not myself join the Army, I did wholeheartedly become part of the military family, totally relinquishing my standing as a civilian. Thus it was as a “family member” that I had my quarrels with the military, just as a member of any family might find faults and flaws within her clan. in other words, I could criticize the military system, but I would tolerate no outsider doing so. I was as fiercely protective of the Army as I was severely critical of it at times. One of those areas of criticism was over Vietnam—not the political aspects but the personal ones that affected me and mine.

Vietnam was a different kind of war from every perspective—from its stumbling undeclared beginning in the early 1960s to its inglorious helicopter rooftop lift-offs ending in the early 1970s. in previous conflicts this country had fought, American men—drafted from across the country— went to war as part of their military units and stayed for the duration. To Vietnam, the men went as individuals to join units once they arrived . . .

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