DESCRIPTION: Vietnam War Memoir [Ages 13 through Adult]
“I know you’re the great humanitarian, Doc,” said the Lieutenant, “but we can’t stop the war for one little girl!”
South Vietnam, 1966-1967: In the killingest unit (1/9th Cav) of the killingest division (1st Air Cavalry Division) during the deadliest year (1967) of the entire Vietnam War, a scrawny 19-year-old Medic fought his own battle. In a unit where the Medics suffered 94 percent casualties (half of them KIA), he left his M-16 behind to carry extra aid gear. When other Medics carried weapons and even killed prisoners, Doc Smith treated wounded children and villagers—and even cared for captured VC and NVA enemy troops.
At times ridiculed, his actions were instrumental in saving numerous U.S. lives. A wounded 20-year-veteran NVA squad leader, touched by the care he received, repaid it with critical information on massed-troop movements.
This memoir of the Vietnam War uses vivid accounts of combat, tempered by the humor of Army life, and supplemented by 36 actual letters home, to tell the story of one man’s odyssey. The Enemy: “You know, those VC beat us in their pajamas.” LZ Two Bits: “Sleeping in a graveyard every night was nothing when your days were a waking nightmare.” The M-14 rifle: “Old tech, old tool, old school—in essence the M-14 was an M-1 with a bad facelift, a botched job that even in the dim light of a jungle trail showed its age.” This is what war is really like—without the Hollywood hype, government spin, and media bias.
This account also includes reflections 30 years later, when the former Medic returned to Vietnam on assignment in 1995 as a photojournalist with an international relief organization.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
From 1966-67, Brad L. Smith served in South Vietnam as an unarmed Combat Medic with a recon troop of the 1st Air Cav. He was shot through the forearm in an ambush while carrying out a severely wounded sergeant and awarded the Purple Heart, Air Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm, and Combat Medic Badge. He was also reportedly awarded the Bronze Star Medal—though it failed to appear in his official record. His unit was awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation and the Presidential Unit Citation.
During his five months in combat, he made 110 helicopter assaults and engaged in 13 firefights (six times the average of a typical 12-month combat tour). Today, he is classified as a Disabled Veteran.
In one such action, Smith witnessed two U.S. M-48 tanks destroyed by Russian, shoulder-mounted, RPG-7 rockets with the loss of eight soldiers. Another U.S. tank fired its 90mm cannon just feet over his head while he was in a shell hole avoiding a sniper
Author BLSmith has an MA degree with honor in Journalism and 40 years of experience as a professional writer. He has been a journalist/photographer in Sudan, Uganda, Venezuela, Ecuador, Southern Mexico, and Vietnam (1995). He is the playwright of the award-winning, one-man play/film The Man from Aldersgate, which has been performed live 1,500 times in all 50 states and 32 countries. In 1989, it received the Silver Angel Award for Best New Video of the Year.
Check out his Kindle novel, Track of the Panzer, set in World War II and based on the true story of a sixteen-year-old German soldier on the Russian front. And look for Bought and Soldier, the Civil War-leg of Smith’s war trilogy, also available through Amazon.com.