WHAT THE BOOK IS ABOUT AND WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A HERO.
More often than not authors of war novels attempt to portray the action of their characters as blood and guts heroes. The reality of wars is more than this. Yes there is the rending of human flesh and the pseudo heroisms of the characters, but beneath it all, beats the heart of human beings.
Many times the so called heroes of warfare are doing nothing more than trying to protect their own ass. Indeed in many cases the heroes depicted in song and story never survived, yet in their actions managed to save the lives of others. And quite often in the telling of their stories, the authors fail to show the real truth behind their actions.
In “Heroes of Vietnam” the author attempts to portray what actually makes up a hero. It’s not a chest full of medals, nor a citation stating the hero’s courage under fire. Rather, it is how he contributed to the indigenous peoples of the land in which he found himself. “Heroes of Vietnam” attempts to show this through the actions of one company of United States Signalmen. And not only through their actions but in the mark they left on the people they touched.
Our “hero” in this epic, must learn the hard way, what it takes to be a hero. Having
been over looked throughout his military career and never having been
afforded the opportunity for combat, as an infantryman, was forced to
convert to the Signal Corps, just to get into combat. Then, because of his infantry background, was chosen for a special assignment. One that could vault him into the sacred halls reserved only for our nations heroes, or in a body bag on its way to Arlington, unwept, un-honored, and unsung.
Strangely enough, along the way he found a deeper meaning for his life than false hero worship. He found it in the form of a orphaned waif, and the stoic efforts of an American legend, “Doctor Patricia Smith.” He also discovered the real meaning of “Courage Under Fire” in the actions of the men of “C” Company 43rd Signal Battalion, 1st Signal Brigade, as they, though only 70 in number fought off and defeated the devastating attack of Hanoi’s finest, General Giap’s own personal honor guard. Of the more than 2000 men that assaulted their position these 70 Signalmen put by actual body count, one thousand nine hundred and seventy-eight in the ground.
The author takes us through the final episode, the Tet Offensive of 1968, day by day, hour by hour and minute by minute, as seen through the eyes of the men of “C” Company 43rd Signal Battalion, 1st Signal Brigade. The author also gives us a brief glimpse of the enemies’ actions from information acquired by captured enemy documents.