Tag: Vietnam Veterans

Montagnard: Another Home Run

Montagnard just received another 5-Star review

One thought behind Serpents Underfoot and Montagnard …

Over the past years, it became “fashionable” to bash US service members serving worldwide while making saints out of the other side. Nowhere was this more apparent than during the war in Vietnam, when we had Hanoi Jane posing for pictures with North Vietnamese artillery units and passing a POW’s hopeful message home on to the commander of the Hanoi Hilton prison, a place where so many American servicemen (including John McCain) were imprisoned and tortured. That was a national disgrace!

And it is not always intentional. The Vietnam War film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, in my opinion, tried to give a truthful picture of the Vietnam War. However, we can rarely escape inserting our own views into what we create. While most who viewed this film praised it for its neutrality and fairness, and accurate portrayal of the war, many Vietnam Veterans I have spoken with, are still left with a bad taste in their mouths when watching this film because, at least in their view, it still portrays the American servicemen in a somewhat undeserved negative light.

Yes. Bad things happen in war. We all (well, at least those who bother to learn a little history) remember the My Lai Massacre. Unfortunately, war can bring out the worst in people as well as the best. But I would venture to say that at least 95 percent of American servicemembers serve their county honorably. That fact seems to get lost.

It was my intention, starting with Serpents Underfoot and continued in Montagnard, to write stories that would portray American servicemembers in a positive light because that is what the vast majority of them deserve. Being an old veteran myself, it still upsets me to hear some schmuck bad-mouth the very same people who fought for that schmuck’s right to bad-mouth them. And, far more often than not, the bad-mouthing is undeserved. Anyway, that was my goal. Readers will notice, I included all branches of service in Serpents Underfoot and several of them in Montagnard. There are even references to the British SAS, SBS, and the Israeli Defense Force. These are those who fight to preserve freedom around the globe.

I am happy when readers pick up on this …

And several of them have. There are comments in reviews like …

  • This story gives insight into the bravery of men like these who risk their lives to save others. (Montagnard)
  • You will find an astounding emotional impact as you walk beside men like JD and his K9 partner, Ajax, risking their lives to protect other people. (Montagnard)
  • A good job of describing the real Vietnam war and the inhuman crimes committed, not by US servicemembers but by the Vietcong and North Vietnam army. (Serpents Underfoot)

That is why a review like this one from DeeDee means so much to me!

Great story; very well written. Loved all the characters. This book, like your last one, had me from the beginning. JD is amazing and is an Isshin-ryu expert to boot. This book has it all. It makes you proud to be an American, has believable love stories and great action throughout. Loved it.

DeeDee

Feel free to check out some of my other blog posts by clicking here, and please, check out my books on my Amazon Author’s Page! They do get great reviews!

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Remembering Pearl Harbor

A date which will live in infamy …

Pearl Harbor still serves as a U.S. naval base near Honolulu, Hawaii. On December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was the target of a devastating surprise attack by Japanese naval forces. Just before 8 a.m. on that Sunday morning, hundreds of Japanese aircraft attacked the base, managing to destroy or damage nearly 20 American naval ships, including eight battleships, and over 300 airplanes. More than 2,400 Americans died in the attack. These casualties included civilians. Another 1,000 people were wounded. The day after the assault, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan.

So we remember our heroes, those brave men and women who put their lives on the line to protect what American is and means in this world.

Today we remember, but does that remembrance last?

I see the chaos of this 2020 election unfold around me, and I wonder.

Despite the mass media’s repeated denials, more and more evidence of fraud surfaces. Votes being changed by Dominion algorithms, votes disappearing, and sacks of other votes magically appearing. While they are not widely reported, they are certainly there. But still, the rush to erase voting machine memory, to certify what cannot be verified. Why? If all is on the up and up, why the rush?

American Combat Veterans are now demanding a complete audit of the Georgia vote. These are your heroes, folks. These are the people who fought for you. I think we owe them that. I also think there needs to be a complete audit of the entire election. If Joe Biden truly won the election, an accurate, validated recount will substantiate that fact. If massive fraud did occur as I fear it did, it would be proven, and those guilty would be discovered and dealt with.

But for this American, the 2020 election will never be legitimate … until that investigation and audited recount occurs. This 2020 election is a dark smear on the character of the American people.

Are Americans and American ideals still worth fighting and dying for?

I once read a plaque that was inscribe with a poem Eleanor Roosevelt carried around in her pocket during World War II. It read …

Dear Lord,
Lest I continue
My complacent way,
Help me to remember that somewhere,
Somehow out there
A man died for me today.
As long as there be war,
I then must
Ask and answer
Am I worth dying for?

I read that plaque many years ago, and it profoundly touched me; heart and soul.

It breaks my heart to say this, but today, if Eleanor Roosevelt asked me that same question, I would have to answer her, sadly – “maybe not.”

Return to the Madness

Return To The Madness: A Vietnam War Novel (Promises To The Fallen Book 2

He returned to Vietnam for one last tour. But the war wasn’t done with him yet…

The year is 1970, and the war in Vietnam rages on. Sergeant Eddie Henderson returned home from his first tour of duty a broken man, haunted by the promises he made to his fallen brothers. Promises he failed to keep…

Now, he’s going back.

Leaving his new wife behind, Eddie returns to the war-torn jungles, where he is handpicked for a special recon-and-rescue squad. Again and again, Eddie and his team pull off the impossible, recovering downed aircraft, stranded pilots, and vital equipment. But the war takes an even darker turn for Eddie when his squad defends a hot landing zone, and he finds himself facing a brutal VC officer named Dang.

This savage killer has massacred hundreds of local villagers as punishment for helping American soldiers. As the conflict rages on, Dang and Eddie develop a personal feud that goes beyond the jungles of Vietnam. A private war that will leave Eddie haunted once more by a broken promise.

For the first time, will Eddie find himself putting vengeance before duty?

My thoughts …

This book is very much an emotional roller-coaster ride. It will take you through the complete spectrum of human emotion, and I am not ashamed to say that there were several points in this book where tears came to my eye.

I enjoyed reading this sequel to Promises to the Fallen very much. The Vietnam War is a fascinating topic for me from several angles. The author’s characters are authentic, and you cannot help but become immersed in their situation, You feel what they feel and become part of their experience.

While a work of fiction, Return to Madness places the reader in the middle of the American soldier’s experience in Vietnam. All of Glyn Haynie’s books give the interested reader a real glimpse of what the War in Vietnam was like for those who served.

I have enjoyed all of this author’s books and have seen his growth as a writer. Return to Madness is Glyn Haynie’s best work so far. I look forward to his next. This book is a definite 5 stars and I highly recommend it.

And if this book is your cup of tea, you might want to also check out Montagnard on Amazon.com.

The Military Mind?

I paid another visit to CHERRIESWRITER – VIETNAM WAR WEBSITE, and came across this gem of a post called, I Jest You Not! I actually remember many of these military sayings. A lot of them are hilarious, and they all get the intended point across. I listed a few of my favorites here. To view the post and the entire list, click here!

Military Wisdom: Sayings and terms to reflect on.

Recoilless rifles – aren’t.

If it’s stupid but it works, it isn’t stupid.

If at first, you don’t succeed, call in an airstrike.

Never forget your weapon was made by the lowest bidder.

The Old Ranger’s Addendum: Or else they’re trying to suck you into a serious ambush!

Tracers work both ways.

The one item you need is always in short supply.

Interchangeable parts aren’t.

Teamwork is essential; it gives the enemy other people to shoot at.

Never draw fire; it irritates everyone around you.

Incoming fire has the right of way.

If the enemy is within range, so are you.

And remember,

The least questioned assumptions are often the most questionable.

Stephen R. Covet

Vietnam Veterans Day

March 29th

I have counted several Vietnam Veterans among my closest friends. Sadly, several are no longer with us. Please remember our Vietnam Veterans today as you go about living your daily lives.

They sent me

and my friends

and my generation

To Vietnam to die

and some of us did.

The rest of us have been dying

in bits and pieces

since the first day they sent us

home.

Unknown

A Special Breed of Man

The Green Berets

As a young boy, one of my favorite John Wayne movies was The Green Berets. FIlmed in 1967 – 68, the movie was loosely based on a 1965 novel by Robin Moore.

The film was released at the height of American involvement in the Vietnam War and the same year of the Tet Offensive. The Green Berets is strongly pro-South Vietnam and anti-communist. John Wayne was deeply concerned by the anti-war sentiment in the United States and wanted to make a film to showcase the pro-military point of view.

The film was hammered by the critics (no surprise, given the sentiment of the times), but was a huge financial success.

A pleasant surprise

A friend and former colleague stopped by for a short visit the other day and handed me this book. He’d been in Winston-Salem and found it in a used bookstore. He picked it up, thinking I would enjoy it.


A Special Breed of Man

A NOVEL BY ED EDELL

The copy I have is from the second printing in July of 1985 and is signed by the author. It was published by Ranger Associates, Inc. I did a little digging and the book is available on Amazon and through AbeBooks.

I have not read this book yet (I have to finish up Leora’s Letters first, and these days, I don’t have as much time to read as I would like), but A Special Breed of Man does come with some very high powered praise!

Thanks from all the Vietnam Soldiers for A Special Breed of Man … it is a fascinating book , and gets me up-tight for hours after reading certain parts.

William A. (Billy) Connelly, Sargent Major of the Army

… brought back memories of experiences I shared with superb soldiers. It also rekindled the spirit of sacrifice which Americans have tended to forget – or ignore … an excellent piece of work.

E.C. Meyer, General, U.S. Army

… has become a conversation piece … All favorable! I am not surprised at its popularity. Americans are indeed proud of their country and the men who keep it free!

Llyle J. Barker, Major General, U.S. Army, Retired

… resurrects the lessons of those conflagrations and the spirit of heroism that inspired so many to sacrifice so much in the defense of freedom.

Mark W. Clark, General, U.S. Army, Retired

My sincere thanks for all your have done for the Airborne and the Airborne troops. All the way.

James J Lindsay, Lieutenant General, U.S. Army Commander, XVIII Airborne Corps

How’s that for some top-level praise. I will post a book review here just as soon as I get it read. So many great books, so little time.

By the way, Montagnard (the sequel to Serpents Underfoot) is now entering into the Beta reading phase with five Beta readers. Once that process is complete, it will go to the editor for a final edit. I plan to release the book in late summer! Stay tuned!

A Highly Emotional Page-turner!

PROMISES TO THE FALLEN

A Vietnam War Novel by Glyn Haynie

Promises to the Fallen

In the jungles of Vietnam, innocence is the first casualty of war…

Nineteen-year-old Eddie Henderson is a private in the U.S. Army. His parents are deceased, and he has no one in his life except his platoon brothers—Porter, Rocky, and Professor. His fellow soldiers are his family now. But none share a bond as close as he and his best friend, team leader Mitch Drexler.

In the heat and jungles of Vietnam, each man does the best he can to survive. Battles are fought, friends lost, and promises made to the fallen. But when the enemy fatally wounds a platoon brother in a deadly attack, the dying soldier makes Eddie promise to fulfill a final vow… A debt of blood that could change the course of his life forever.

When Eddie and his friends’ tours are over, they return home to a world they barely remember. But Eddie is still trapped in the past. He has no family, no home to go back to. Just a nightmare he lives over and over again. A dark vow he made to a dying friend. And one question, burning in his mind…

Will he keep his promise to his friend? No matter the cost?

My thoughts …

While I served in the U.S. Army several years after the war in Vietnam ended (from 79 to 83), I have always been fascinated by the Vietnam War. I certainly saw enough on the news to be curious about what it must have been like, and this has led me to read a great deal on the subject. Add to this the fact that, later in life, I had a few good friends who were Vietnam veterans, and who would occasionally share snippets of their experiences during the war, which only served to increase my desire to try and understand the background and circumstances.

I have read all four of Glyn Haynie’s books. Each one has been excellent and a real pleasure to read. While the first three were memoirs, Promises to the Fallen was Haynie’s first foray into the world of fiction. It did not disappoint.

This novel is an incredible read! Haynie puts you right in the middle of the Vietnamese jungles, the smells, the mud, the villages, the people, and their rice paddies. It is almost like you are there, and with those young men who find themselves in another world, an insane world full of danger, death, fear, courage, loyalty, and sacrifice. It is also a world of hope and hopelessness, where you can’t tell your enemies from your friends, and you anxiously count the days, hoping you survive until you get to go home.

The author draws on his own experiences in Vietnam and in close infantry combat to make this book one heck of a page-turner. And, for those of us who have served in the U.S. military, whether it was during the Vietnam War, other conflicts, or even during peacetime, Haynie’s narrative will bring to mind memories and experiences of your time in the service of your country.

To those who haven’t served, this novel may help you to understand why those who serve in the military are the way they are … their pride in their service, this country, and its flag. And yes, even its problems and shortcomings.

The bond of brotherhood that exists between those who have served together is a real bond that stands the test of time. When you cut through all the hyperbole, it is really about the man (or woman) in the foxhole next to you. While politicians, the media, and Hollywood love to talk about defending our country, baseball, apple pie, etc., it is really about defending your buddy while he or she defends you.

I found Promises to the Fallen extremely difficult to put down. It took me through a broad range of emotional responses as it laid bare the authentic, unadulterated experience of the American soldier in Vietnam; the good, the bad, and even the ugly. I highly recommend this book to all.

Now, on to Leora’s Letters by Joy Neal Kidney, another book I have been anxious to read! What great books have you read this winter?

I Just Added This To My Reading List!

PROMISES TO THE FALLEN

A VIETNAM WAR NOVEL

Glyn Haynie

Cover image of the new novel by Author Glyn Haynie
New Release

I just ordered a signed hardcover copy of Glyn Haynie’s newest release and cannot wait to read it!

Author Glyn Haynie

From the age of 19 until he retired in March of 1989, Glyn Haynie served his country as a member of the United States Army. Starting in 1969, his military career spanned 20 years. Haynie found himself turning 19 while fighting in the jungles of Vietnam with the 23rd Infantry Division. Before retiring, Haynie went on to serve as a drill instructor, a first sergeant, and finally as an instructor for the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy (USASMA).


I have read all three of his earlier books!

When I Turned Nineteen: A Vietnam War Memoir

Glyn Haynie’s first book, When I Turned Nineteen: A Vietnam War Memoir, tells of the author’s experiences as a 19-year-old soldier sent off to fight an unpopular war. In this gripping narrative, Haynie shares his war experience with his readers.

They were just average Americans – sons, fathers, husbands, and brothers. Men who who came together and formed a bond that would endure a lifetime, a bond formed in combat.

Glyn Haynie shares the vivid experiences of his period as a soldier during the War in Vietnam.

Weeks of boredom, minutes of terror. Surviving the humidity, the heat, the monsoons, a raging jungle fire, and struggling to build a firebase on a remote jungle hilltop, all while fighting fear, exhaustion, and facing a fierce and implacable enemy.

Soldiering After The Vietnam War: Changed Soldiers In A Changed Country

This second work, Soldiering After The Vietnam War: Changed Soldiers In A Changed Country, picks up where the first book leaves off and gives the reader a rare glimpse of what it meant to a soldier to return from Vietnam and continue to serve his country despite the lack of respect and appreciation typically afforded soldiers returning home from war.

The vast majority of American service men who served in Vietnam served bravely and honorably. The atrocities so often focused on by the media, and in films and documentaries were actually few and far between. Men like Glyn Haynie would probably never ask, but many in this country owe them an apology … and some long overdue respect and appreciation.

Finding My Platoon Brothers: Vietnam Then and Now

Glyn Haynie carries the names of 13 brothers forever engraved on his heart. They are the names of brothers-in-arms, killed in combat during the War in Vietnam.

The bonds formed in battle are unique and not understood by anyone who has not served in the military.

This third book by Glyn Haynie, Finding My Platoon Brothers, Vietnam Then and Now, describes his efforts to find and reconnect with his brothers of First Platoon. These men, with whom he served during the War in Vietnam, are indeed a real part of his family.


And now, to Glyn Haynie’s newest release, a very intriguing Vietnam War novel.

PROMISES TO THE FALLEN: A Vietnam War Novel

I have not yet read Glyn Haynie’s new novel, Promises to the Fallen: A Vietnam War Novel, but I have just ordered a signed copy! You can order a signed hardcover or paperback copy by clicking here!

While I have not actually met Glyn, I have gotten to know him through collaboration on some projects as well as through social media vehicles such as Twitter, and Instagram where we have shared tips on topics such as marketing books on Twitter or Instagram and using Amazon Ads.

I did read one chapter of his novel while it was in-progress and found it very intriguing. And, I believe that if you’re interested in military history, the Vietnam War era, its soldiers, and its heroes, this will be one novel you will definitely want to add to your reading list. It is now available at Amazon.com in Kindle, paperback and hardcover formats.

Once I have received my copy of the book and read it, I will post a review here on my blog!

James “Willie” Williams: The Most Decorated Enlisted Sailor in Naval History

I discovered this story about James Elliott “Willy” Williams in the Navy Times November 8, 2018 Edition. It was written by Doug Sterner. It is really quite a story and the man is most certainly an American hero! You can read the story here, or click here to read this on the Navy Times website

Willy Williams, the most decorated enlisted sailor in Navy history

By: Doug Sterner   November 8, 2018

In the history of the U.S. Navy only seven men have earned all of the “Big Three” valor awards: Medal of Honor, Navy Cross and Silver Star Medal. Six were World War II officers, including one aviator and four submarine commanders. The seventh was enlisted sailor James Elliott “Willy” Williams in Vietnam.

In 1947, Williams, a 16-year-old from Fort Mill, South Carolina, enlisted in the Navy with a fraudulent birth certificate. His first 19 years in the Navy included service aboard the destroyer USS Douglas H. Fox during the Korean War and tours on a variety of naval vessels from 1953 to 1965.

In May 1966 Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Williams was assigned to River Squadron 5 in South Vietnam to command Patrol Boat, River 105. The approximately 30-foot fiberglass boat usually carried a four-man crew who patrolled inland waterways to prevent the Viet Cong from using them to transport troops and supplies.

On July 1 Williams led a patrol that came under fire from a Viet Cong sampan. His deft maneuvers and accurate fire killed five VC and resulted in capture of the enemy boat, earning Williams a Bronze Star Medal with a “V” for valor. Twenty-two days later the capture of another sampan brought Williams a second Bronze Star for valor. Less than a month later, he received a Silver Star and his first Purple Heart.

On Halloween, Oct. 31, 1966, Williams was commanding a two-boat patrol on the Mekong River when he was fired on by two sampans. He and his crew killed the occupants of one and then went after the other. That pursuit put the Navy boats into a VC staging area containing two junks and eight sampans, supported by machine guns on the river banks. Williams called for helicopter gunship support while holding the enemy at bay. During this movement he discovered an even larger force. Not waiting for the armed helicopters, Williams attacked. Maneuvering through devastating fire from enemy boats and the shore, his two-boat patrol fought a three-hour battle that destroyed or damaged 65 VC boats and eliminated some 1,200 Communist troops. For his actions, Williams was nominated for the Medal of Honor.

On Jan. 9, 1967, the Navy dredge Jamaica Bay was blown up by mines in the Mekong Delta, and PBR-105 arrived to pick up seven of the survivors. Another man was trapped in the rapidly sinking dredge. Williams dove into the water and, with a rope attached to a nearby tug, pulled clear an obstruction, then swam through a hatch to recover the sailor.

Six days later Williams was wounded while leading a three-boat patrol that interdicted a crossing attempt by three VC heavy-weapons companies of 400 fighters. He and his boats accounted for 16 VC killed, 20 wounded and the destruction of nine sampans and junks. Williams was awarded the Navy Cross.

When Williams returned home in spring 1967, he had a list of awards unmatched by any enlisted man in Navy history. He retired after 20 years of service and began a career in the U.S. Marshals Service.

willy williams

On May 14, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson presented Williams with the Medal of Honor. For his lifesaving actions at the sinking Jamaica Bay, he was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, often called “the noncombat medal of honor.”

During his last seven months in the Navy, Williams received every sea-service award for heroism including the Legion of Merit with “V,” two Navy Commendation Medals for valor and three Purple Hearts.

Williams died on Oct. 13, 1999, and in 2003 his widow, Elaine, watched the launching of the Arleigh Burke class destroyer, USS James E. Williams.

Doug Sterner, an Army veteran who served two tours in Vietnam, is curator of the world’s largest database of U.S. military valor awards.

This article originally appeared in the August 2017 issue of Vietnam Magazine, a Military Times sister publication. For more information on Vietnam Magazine and all of the HistoryNet publications, visit historynet.com.

Click here for more interesting blog posts and book reviews.

Be on the watch for my new thriller, Montagnard, coming out this summer, and check out the original JD Cordell military action thriller available on Amazon.com.

Poll: Montagnard Book Cover

First Cover Design for Montagnard

The sequel to Serpents Underfoot

Here is the first attempt at a cover design for Montagnard, the action-packed sequel to Serpents Underfoot. It was created for me by a freelancer on Fiverr.com

I am working very hard to make this second novel a lot better than my first (which from the reviews … wasn’t that bad).

But I did learn a great deal from my first book, and those lessons learned promise to make this second release just that much better.

That should also include the cover! So, please let me know what you think!

montagnard