Tag: Vietnam War

A Reporter Looks Back: Vietnam Veterans From 1975 Until 2020

War author and correspondent Joseph Galloway (L) and his wife Grace Galloway (R) stand at the Vietnam Memorial wall in in Washington looking at Panel…

A Reporter Looks Back: Vietnam Veterans From 1975 Until 2020

Check out this excellent post over on CherriesWriter – Vietnam War Website!

K9 Veteran’s Day

Remember our four-legged heroes!

Conan, the Belgian Malinois who took part in the Syria raid
that killed ISIS leader Baghdadi.

On Oct. 27, 2019, Conan, a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois military K9, played a key role in the Barisha raid, which resulted in the death of the ISIS leader. Conan is one more dog on a long list of our heroic military working dogs.

World War II

Chips, a WWII hero.

One famous K9 hero from WWII was Chips, a German Shepherd/Alaskan Husky/Collie mix donated by a New York family. Chips is credited with saving the lives of many U.S. soldiers and earned a Purple Heart and Silver Star. He once broke free from his handler and took out a sniper nest in Sicily, capturing four enemy soldiers.

Korean War

Five years after WWII, the Korean War again demonstrated the value of military working dogs. Chiefly deployed on combat night patrols, they were hated by the North Koreans and Chinese because of their ability to ambush snipers, penetrate enemy lines, and sniff out enemy positions. The enemy propaganda teams began using loudspeakers to blast the message, “Yankee, take your dog and go home!”

Vietnam War

Luke, a retired military working dog, sits at the United States War Dogs
Association display at the 2016 Shaw Air Expo and open house,
“Thunder Over the Midlands,” at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.,
May 21, 2016. (U.S. Air Force/Zade Vadnais)

Now, fast forward to Vietnam. This was a totally new environment and job description for these K9 warriors. Their duties became more widespread – scout, sentry, patrol, mine, and booby-trap detection. Like their predecessors in Korea, these four-legged soldiers were so hated by the Viet Cong that they attracted a $20,000 bounty for their capture.

Nemo, a German Shepherd, saved his handler, Robert Throneburg, during an enemy attack on Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Vietnam in 1966.

Surplus Equipment

Thanks to politicians and the media, we exited Vietnam in too much of a hurry, and the military working dogs that served our forces so admirably and saved untold lives were left behind, classified as “surplus military equipment.” Despite the outrage and pleas from many handlers who were prepared to pay for their dog’s flight home, the military command would not permit it. Some dogs were transferred to the South Vietnamese military and police units that were not trained to handle them, and many others were euthanized. It is estimated that of 4,000 that served, about 200 made it back to the U.S.

Fortunately, that should never happen again. Following a huge public outcry led by many angry U.S. military-dog handlers, Congress passed “Robby’s Law” in 2000, allowing for the adoption of these dogs by law-enforcement agencies, former handlers, and others capable of caring for them.

Middle-Eastern War K9s

A military working dog accompanies U.S. Soldiers conducting
an inspection of an Afghan Border Police checkpoint.
(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Shane Hamann/Released)

The hot, dusty desert and rugged mountains of Iraq and Afghanistan serve up new challenges for military K9s trained for explosive and drug detection, sentry, therapy, and other work.

A dogs’ sense of smell is roughly 50 times better than ours, meaning they can sniff out IEDs before they detonate and injure or kill U.S. servicemen. Ground patrols can uncover approximately 50 percent of these deadly devices, but with the help of these K9 warriors, the detection rate increases to about 80 percent.

When you go into your grandmother’s kitchen, you smell the stew. The dog goes into your grandmother’s kitchen, he smells carrots, pepper, tomatoes, and lettuce. I mean he smells all the ingredients.

William Cronin, American K9 for Afghanistan and Mali, West Africa

Military K9s Today

Special Forces K9s

Cairo, a Belgian Malinois, was a member of Seal Team Six that killed Osama bin Laden. He was part of a new breed of elite canine soldier, a Special Forces dog whose training includes such skills as parachuting and fast-roping from helicopters.

According to retired Air Force K9 handler, Louis Robinson, a fully trained bomb detection canine is likely worth over $150,000, and considering the many lives these dogs may save, you could characterize them as priceless.

On The Home Front …

It would be a disservice not to mention the working dogs of Law Enforcement, who go to work every day and help keep our streets and neighborhoods safe. The courage and loyalty of these four-legged police officers are amazing and deserving of our respect and gratitude.

And then, last but not least, is the family dog who, without a second’s hesitation, would put themselves between their family and any danger.

To those dedicated, loyal K9 partners who work night and day worldwide, helping the military and law enforcement, who faithfully protect our families and us, we say thank you!

Roy Loveday: Navy SEAL and Karate Sensei

I first met Sensei Roy Loveday in 1983 at Wheeler’s School of Karate in Powell, TN. It was at the same time I first met Sensei Sherman Harrill. I remember Roy being present at a few amazing classes Sensei Harrill taught, and then both were gone. It wasn’t until much later that I learned the backstory to that, but it really doesn’t matter for this post. This post is about Roy Loveday, a former Navy SEAL, a Vietnam veteran, a solid karateka, and a friend.

I got reintroduced to Roy when I started bringing Sensei Sherman Harrill in for seminars in the mid-90s. Sensei asked if he could invite Roy as his guest, and I said, “No problem, Sensei. Please do.” After that first seminar, Sensei and I would often visit Roy whenever he came into Clinton, TN, for future seminars. Sometimes we would train, and sometimes they would reminisce, and I would just listen. Sensei Harrill and Roy Loveday were great friends, and it was fascinating to sit there and listen as they talked back and forth about Isshin-ryu Karate and their shared history. After we finished training at one of these sessions, Sensei surprised both Roy and me with new rank certificates.

Roy Loveday, Sherman Harrill, Darren Gilbert

After Sensei Harrill passed away on November 4, 2002, I started bringing in his senior student, Sensei John Kerker, for seminars. John had inherited Sensei’s dojo in Carson, IA. Although health issues were beginning to make it hard for him to train, Roy Loveday would still come and support us. I remember one comment Roy made to me as he watched me struggle to understand how to to make one of the techniques we were working on flow properly. He came over and stood there for a minute and watched. Then he commented.

“Darren, don’t forget your elbow principles.”
“Elbow principles?” I asked. “What the heck are those?” I hadn’t heard that phrase before.
“When a technique gives you a problem, give it to your elbow to solve,” Roy replied. Then he grinned and walked off.

It turned out that was a great pearl of wisdom, and applying the “Elbow Principle” has help me understand and solve a lot of difficulties in technique since.

Mark Radunz, John Kerker, Darren Gilbert, Mel Sims, and Roy Loveday

Roy passed away on February 11, 2021, at age 76. He was born on October 25, 1944, graduated from Central High School, and enlisted in the US Navy, where he became a SEAL. Roy served in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam during the war. After Vietnam, he retired from the Norfolk Railroad and served as a Free Mason. Sensei Loveday studied and taught Isshin-Ryu Karate for over 40 years and held a 7th Degree Blackbelt.

In addition to Isshin-ryu Karate, Roy also studied Shinto-Ryu and Tai Chi. He wrote and published an Isshin-Ryu training manual. I was honored to help by being in some of the photographs demonstrating weapons techniques with Sensei Harrill. It was a real honor. The dojo patch (shown in the post banner) adopted by Sensei Sherman Harrill and proudly worn by his students was based on Roy’s design. The name would just change depending on the school.

For hobbies, Roy enjoyed rebuilding old ’55 Chevys, and I still remember one old Chevy truck he was in the process of painting on one of my visits over to his house. Roy was a master diver and loved SCUBA diving.

For anyone who knew Roy and would like to pay their respects, the Family will receive friends from 6:00 – 7:00 PM Saturday, February 20, 2021, at Mynatt Funeral Home Halls Chapel, with a service to follow at 7:00 PM. Rev. Mark Large, Rev. Danny Scates, and Daniel Beason will be officiating. Family and friends will meet at 12:15 PM for a 12:30 PM interment on Monday, February 22, 2021, at East Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery on John Sevier Highway. Online condolences may be left by clicking here.

It saddens me, because I just moved back to Knoxville, Tennessee and was looking forward to reconnecting with Roy. He was a good man who served his country and had a lot to share. He will be missed.

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.

Vietnam Nurse: Mending & Remembering

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate had this to say.

Combining narrative and poetry, photos and documents, Lou Eisenbrandt’s Vietnam Nurse tells the compelling story of how a Midwestern woman, born with a little wanderlust and a lot of courage, found herself serving as a nurse in Vietnam during some of the most dangerous and damaging stretches of the war in the late 1960s and early 1970s. During her service, Eisenbrandt encounters life-changing stories, most notably her own, as she writes in one of her poems, that spark “Songs of love and loss, of sweat-drenched nights and blood-smeared days.” Since the war and through her many return journeys to Vietnam, Eisenbrandt shows us her deepening commitment to service, widening search for truth, and enduring creation of a life that matters.

A bit more about the author

Lou grew up in a small Illinois town and decided to join the Army to “see the world.” After graduating as a Registered Nurse in June 1968, she went on to attend basic training, then headed to Ft. Dix New Jersey, her first duty assignment.

Then, in September 1969, Lou received orders to go to Vietnam, arriving there on November 1. During her year at the 91st Evac Hospital, she cared for GIs, South Vietnamese soldiers and civilians, even Viet Cong and NVA soldiers. From malaria and hepatitis to double amputees, massive head traumas, and deadly bullet wounds, Lou Eisenbrandt saw it all.

Since 1970, she had made 4 return trips to Vietnam, the most recent one being in September 2014, when she joined 11 other vets making their first return trip to the country.

She is Chairman Emeritus of the board of Turning Point in Leawood, KS. Her other interests are travel, photography, golf, gardening, and finding a cure for Parkinson’s Disease, which she battles due to exposure to Agent Orange while in Vietnam.

My thoughts …

First, I found the book to be a quick, compelling, and enjoyable read. I liked the author’s style and the way she kept it light and managed to find humor is some pretty tough situations. I smiled and even chuckled at some of the memories she shared and learned some interesting little tidbits. For example, in reading about the Vietnam War over the years, I had never come across the acronym “LRB” before! Picturing the grinning South Vietnamese fishermen in their little round boats being towed like water skiers made me smile.

Several reviewers seemed disappointed and gave this book poor reviews. However, I think they missed the boat. It seemed to me that they wanted bloody, exacting details of assisting in operations on severely wounded GI’s or cowering fearfully in a bunker during a rocket attack. But this book was not about that. They should go back and read the subtitle. This book was about Lou Eisenbrandt and her memories and healing process. And I think she shared that pretty well.

And, so did the Military Writers Society of America, which gave it a Silver Medal Award.

That being said, I do wish the author had included a bit more detail here and there. I would have liked the book to be a little longer; it left me wanting more.

To those willing to look, I think this book presents a clear window into the author’s experiences as a nurse during the Vietnamese conflict. And, sadly, it is a story that is seldom told. This is a good read. I give it 4 out of 5 Stars.

To the combat veteran, nurses like Lou Eisenbrandt will always be seen as angels of mercy. So personally, I wish to say to Lou, thank you for your service.

I Would Really Like Your Help!

Montagnard is coming together!

I just received the official Kindle version cover from my cover design expert, Angie, on Fiverr.com. The paperback and hardcover versions are waiting until I get the final edits back from Beth Werner at Author Connections in about two weeks. I need the actual page count to determine the spine width.

Another component, at least for the paperback and hardcover versions, is the back-cover book description, a 200 to 250-word blurb designed to catch the prospecting reader’s attention and get them to buy your book.

A fiction book’s back cover blurb should:

  • Situation: Briefly describe the circumstances of the story.
  • Problem: Highlight the situation or hitch that makes change inevitable.
  • Hopeful Possibility: Provides the hope of overcoming the crisis, whether a cool character or long-shot possibility that provides the belief that the difficult problem can be overcome.
  • Mood: Sets the emotional state that readers will have from reading your story. For instance, a “dark, dystopian tragedy,” “humorous chick lit,” or “suspenseful, romantic and awash in…magic.”

Here is the most recent version of the back-cover blurb for Montagnard

Navy SEAL, JD Cordell, is ready to retire and take his K9 partner, Ajax, with him. JD has exciting plans for a new life that includes the courageous and beautiful Doctor Ellen Chang he met on a mission in Niger.

But when JD’s father unexpectedly dies of cancer, his grieving mother travels to Vietnam to search for her adopted Montagnard brother whom she hasn’t seen in over thirty years. Mai unwittingly steps into a blood feud between her Montagnard brother and a powerful Vietnamese drug lord, a bitter hatred that began during the Vietnam War.

When his mother disappears into the seedy underbelly of Ho Chi Minh City, JD has no choice but to come out of retirement for one last mission. And Ajax is with him all the way.

Dealing with an explosive situation such as this, even two battle-hardened veterans like JD and Ajax might need a little help from some old friends … and maybe a few new ones.

I would love to read your reaction to it … pro or con. Please take a moment to leave a comment.

Thank you, in advance, for your help with this.


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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 Nurse: Mending & Remembering

This article originally appeared on the FB Group page: Vietnam War – U.S. Military, and posted by Raymond D. Hannan. I found this article on CHERRIESWRITER – VIETNAM WAR WEBSITE and had to share it with my readers.

To the soldier in combat, nurses are truly Angel’s of Mercy.

According to this story, eight nurses gave their lives in Vietnam, taking care of the sick and wounded. They cared for our military personnel as well as those of our enemy.

Lou Eisenbrandt is one of those nurses who came home and shared her story in her book Vietnam Nurse: Mending and Remembering. I am going to have to add her book to my reading list. Click here to see her book on Amazon.com.

Here are a few excerpts from the article. To read the whole article, click on the CHERRIESWRITER – VIETNAM WAR WEBSITE here or the link above.


From her own words during the presentation: “I have Parkinson’s from exposure to Agent Orange, so I’ve instructed my body to remain still. If I do a Michael J. Fox, please forgive me, but I can’t help it. I’m also not using a laser pointer because the laser would be all over the place.”

“I spent nine months at Ft. Dix, which was a good thing. Some nurses were sent straight from nursing school to Vietnam. Ft. Dix was interesting to say the least. They even had a stockade section, and I had to check daily for improvised weapons. One prisoner escaped, but not on my shift. I usually cared for the soldiers with upper respiratory infections, at one point over 300 soldiers. We also had the fatties and skinnies. If too fat, we put them on diets; if too skinny, they got milkshakes. Oddly, they put these guys in the same ward. The skinnies stayed skinny because the fatties drank all the milkshakes. Before the year was out I received a manila envelope; ‘Congratulations, you’re going to Vietnam.’ Not the travel I expected.”

“I loved flying on the choppers since I was an avid photographer. Great region for photos, but I never took photos of casualties. Chopper pilots are, well, different. They loved to party. I spent my first three months in a medical ward treating non-combat related problems, like hepatitis and malaria, even jungle rot. By the way, the Officer’s Club was built on the edge of a cliff. We consumed a ‘slight’ amount of alcohol in there.”

“One time after their village was hit, we had 99 Vietnamese civilians to care for within a 24-hour period. When wounded Vietnamese came in, so did the whole family. We also had Vietnamese nurses. They really helped due to culture differences.”

“We waterskied but with parameters, like never going out after 1 p.m. because that was when sharks arrived. We used a Jeep to pull the boat, but I have no idea where the Jeep and boat and skis came from. There were local fishermen in LRBs, Little Round Boats, who would wave at us until we threw them a tow rope and pulled them along. They loved it.”

“You tried to be detached from the suffering, but I had an attachment to a young lieutenant who came in with his men. His unit took heavy casualties and he wanted to be with them, to see them through their ordeal. Next time it was him, peppered full of shrapnel. We were told he would lose both legs. That’s one of the few times I had to walk out of the emergency room. It rattled me. We saved his legs, but I’ve seen him since returning home. His legs are not of much use; he’s another boy I think about every day.”

I just have a feeling this will be a really great read.

So, I have ordered a copy. I will let you know how it turns out.

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?