Nam Sense was written to give readers a sense of what the average combat GI endured during this turbulent time in our nation’s history. The story also shows why most young men can go to war and return home without being haunted by their experiences for the rest of their lives, and why some cannot.
Nam Sense is the story of my experiences as a combat squad leader in the Vietnam War. I was drafted into the US Army in 1968 and selected to be trained as a Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO). Soldiers who completed this training were often referred to as Instant NCO or Shake n’ Bake Sergeant because of the speed in which rank was made. Many senior NCO’s had difficulty accepting the idea of promoting young recruits when it took them years of training and experience to acquire their rank. The scorn only got worse when I arrived in Vietnam because the Army expected me to drop into the middle of the war and without any experience whatsoever, lead men in combat. I was barely twenty years old.
Upon arrival in the war zone, I had one goal in mind – to survive my tour of duty and go home in one piece. Beginning with my day of arrival to my day of departure a year later, I was drawn into a full range of misadventures where the bizarre was often the norm. Nam Sense readers will not only experience the pandemonium of battle and the poignancy of the human psyche, but also Vietnam humor. A humor usually aimed at or created around ego-driven superiors, amplified as survivor mentality triggers outlandish situations in a war that was anything but humorous. The story also describes how anti-war demonstrations, men landing on the moon and other events back home translate directly to actions by infantrymen and vice-versa.
Nam Sense is not about heroism and glory, mental breakdowns, haunting flashbacks nor wallowing in self-pity. In this story we do not rape, torture or burn villages. We were not strung out on drugs and did not enjoy killing. Although these unfortunate incidents did occur during the war, they were not on the grand scale we have been led to believe. While brutality, violence and offensive activities are the main ingredients of any war; they were not the only ingredients of this war. However, the media’s negative and sensationalized reporting of isolated incidents not only made being a Vietnam Veteran an embarrassment, but stereotyped us as well. This book responds to that unfair stereotyped image by revealing the level of courage, principle, kindness and friendship demonstrated by most GIs. These are the same elements found in other wars Americans have proudly fought in.