Warriors: An Infantrymans Memoir of Vietnam

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Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Warriors by Robert Tonsetic. On the ground, in the air, and behind the lines, grunts made life-and-death decisions every day—and endured the worst stress of their young lives.

He took over a group of grunts demoralized by defeat but determined to get even.

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Through the lege On the ground, in the air, and behind the lines, grunts made life-and-death decisions every day—and endured the worst stress of their young lives. Through the legendary Tet and May Offensives, he led, trained, and risked his life with these brave men, and this is the thrilling, brutal, and honest story of his tour of duty. Tonsetic tells of leading a seriously undermanned ready-reaction force into a fierce, three-day battle with a ruthless enemy battalion; conducting surreal night airmobile assaults and treks through fetid, pitch-black jungles; and relieving combat stress by fishing with hand grenades and taking secret joyrides in Hueys.

Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published February 3rd by Presidio Press first published January 1st More Details Original Title. Other Editions 4.

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Famous American Vietnam Vets - HISTORY

More filters. Sort order. Sep 05, Manuel rated it really liked it. What I liked more about this book, when compared to other Vietnam War autobiographies, is that it gives a good idea of the social aspects and problematics of the conflict. Specially the leadership aspect: being a company commander he deals both with the problem of motivating enlisted man to do the job at hand and with the demands posted onto to him by battalion and brigade command.

Tonsetic also explains his motivations to join the army and how his opinion of the war changed while on the field, d What I liked more about this book, when compared to other Vietnam War autobiographies, is that it gives a good idea of the social aspects and problematics of the conflict. In mid, the legendary Major-General Edward Lansdale - 'legendary' for having thoroughly militarised the Philippine Government in the name of 'counterinsurgency' - was asked to return to Vietnam as special assistant to Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge. After hearing Lansdale talk in Washington, Ellsberg asked to join his team.

He transferred from the Department of Defense to the Department of State at the same civil service grade, and set off for Saigon, still very much with the outlook of a Cold Warrior and a Marine infantry officer. Lansdale assigned him the job of visiting every province of South Vietnam and reporting on the 'pacification' efforts. With Vann at the wheel of a jeep, they drove all over South Vietnam. Vann taught the neophyte Ellsberg many tricks of the trade: always drive fast because that makes it much harder for guerrillas to detonate a mine under your car, and always travel in the morning, after the previous night's mines have been blown but before they have all been replaced.

During these inspection tours, Ellsberg went on patrol with American units and often found himself in combat. Even though he was technically a civilian, he could not go along as a simple observer. He was surprised to discover that, with a little experience, you can usually tell from the sound when a bullet is coming directly at you. From walking around up to his neck in flooded marshes he caught hepatitis. In mid-summer , after he had recovered somewhat, he left Vietnam and returned to Rand.


This tour of duty was very important to Ellsberg's political development. There was no pacification, since our South Vietnamese allies simply had no stomach for fighting their fellow Vietnamese. He discovered that the conflict was not a civil war, as so many academics around the world believed. One side, the South, was entirely equipped and paid for by a foreign power.

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As he writes, 'we were not fighting on the wrong side; we were the wrong side. Back in the US, Ellsberg was particularly incensed by the daily drumbeat of official statements from the President, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State and the high command in Vietnam, all of them insisting that the US was making great 'progress' in winning the hearts and minds of the South Vietnamese people.

Then came the Tet Offensive of 29 January - simultaneous Vietcong attacks in almost every province of South Vietnam as well as in Saigon itself.

The scale of the offensive strongly suggested that American leaders were either incompetent or lying. On 10 March, the New York Times published a leak from inside the Pentagon to the effect that General William Westmoreland, the commanding officer in Vietnam, was asking for , more troops. Neil Sheehan and Hedrick Smith reported this leak, which was accurate and had a devastating effect on Congress and the American people.

It did not come from Ellsberg, but 'as I observed the effect of this leak,' he recalls, 'it was as if clouds had suddenly opened. I realised something crucial: that the President's ability to escalate, his entire strategy throughout the war, had depended on secrecy and lying and thus on his ability to deter unauthorised disclosures - truth-telling - by officials.


Ellsberg was recalled from Rand to Washington to join a high-level working group evaluating the full range of options on Vietnam for the incoming Secretary of Defense, Clark Clifford. In the capital he learned that McNamara had ordered John McNaughton to organise the writing of an internal historical study of US involvement in Vietnam from to the present based on top secret documents.

McNaughton assigned the project to his deputy, Morton Halperin, who in turn delegated leadership of the work to his deputy, Leslie Gelb. At the time neither Halperin nor Gelb had ever been to Vietnam. They, in turn, hired Ellsberg to write one of the projected 47 volumes, and he chose to work on JFK and the year The Pentagon Papers do not take the story beyond 31 March , the day Lyndon Johnson announced that he would not run for re-election. The entire nation took his decision to mean that, whoever won the election, the new President would end the war through a negotiated withdrawal such as the one that had already been agreed in Laos.

No one imagined that in the years to come the United States would drop enough bombs on Vietnam to equal just under three times World War Two's total tonnage. Ellsberg returned to Rand, but his research on the history of American policy in Vietnam had intrigued him. He therefore arranged to have a complete set of the Pentagon Papers transferred out of channels to his top secret safe at the Rand Corporation in California, where he could continue to study them in detail. The trigger that set in motion the biggest leak of classified documents in American history, a constitutional crisis over the First Amendment's protection of press freedom and Nixon's resignation, was an article by Ted Sell on the front page of the Los Angeles Times of 30 September entitled 'Murder Charges against Green Berets Dropped by Army'.

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From it Ellsberg learned that the Secretary of the Army, Stanley Resor, had ordered the military commander in Vietnam, General Creighton Abrams, to suspend the courts martial of Colonel Robert Rheault, commander of all Special Forces in Vietnam, and five other intelligence officers. They had been charged with killing a Vietnamese who had worked for them for the previous six years and then dropping his body in a weighted bag into the South China Sea.

Their defence was that they thought he was a double agent. Interestingly enough, though this is not mentioned by Ellsberg, the author of the original screenplay of Apocalypse Now, John Milius, has said that the character of Kurtz, the maniacal American officer played by Marlon Brando, was inspired by Rheault. Ellsberg was enraged by all the lies Resor proffered in his defence and by the comments of various Congressmen on how bad it would be for morale should American troops face criminal charges 'just for killing one Vietnamese civilian in cold blood'.

In his diary H. Haldeman, Nixon's chief of staff, confirmed that it had been Nixon and Kissinger who gave the orders to stop the prosecution - which was exactly what Ellsberg had suspected. I decided I would stop concealing that myself. On 1 October , aided by his Rand colleague Anthony Russo and using a primitive Xerox machine in the office of Russo's friend Lynda Sinay, the owner of a small advertising agency, Ellsberg began his monumental task.

Working through the night, he and his friends would copy 47 volumes of the Pentagon Papers, cutting off the top and bottom markings on each page that read Top Secret so that they could later make more copies in commercial copy-shops. But Congressional courage, then as now, was in short supply.

No Senator, not even Fulbright, accepted his offer. Thanks to historian Keith Taylor, students can trace this contested discourse through a set of documents introduced and reproduced in a short appendix to his landmark work, The Birth of Vietnam , reprinted She then fled to the hills where she raised an army of at least a thousand men and women against the Chinese occupiers. This army won more than thirty battles against their Chinese overlords, which enabled her to establish a zone of independent territory for some time.

Warriors: An Infantryman's Memoir of Vietnam

The most famous quotation attributed to her, variously interpreted, runs:. I want to rail against the wind and the tide,. To save the people from slavery,. And I refuse to be enslaved. Kill the sharks in the open sea,. And never bend my back to be the concubine. Like them, her soldiering has been the subject of much revisionist writing at the hands of those historians of early modern Vietnam who had adopted Chinese social norms.

They referred to her alleged virginity not as a function of the poverty of her marriage prospects as an orphaned servant in her brother's house nor even the result of a lack of beauty.