Force Recon Diary 1969-1970 Author:Bruce H. Norton The USMC recruiter was late to his office on the morning Bruce Norton went to enlist. He joined the Navy instead. But it didn't stop him from going to war with Marines. — Norton became a Navy corpsman and volunteered to serve in Vietnam with the Marine 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company. — Unlike other wars, combat medical personnel in Vietnam pract... more »iced preventive medicine with M16s and .45 Colt pistols. Norton went on to hone his technique with the M60 machine gun. The dental floss in his medical kit proved to be excellent tripwire for perimeter booby traps. His practice followed the 3rd Force Recon from the DMZ to the infamous A Shau Valley.
When they deactivated, he worked on adding to his battlecraft. He went to scuba diving school, then practiced low-level parachute insertions exiting from the
back of a OV-10 Bronco. Then Norton transferred to the 1st
force Recon Company and patrolled the Thuong Duc Corridor
west of Da Nang. Along the way, he became the only corpsman
to act as a recon team leader.
A buildup of NVA activity in the valley was answered
with the establishment of a Marine observation post and a
radio-relay station on the Hill 487. It became a target
the NVA could not resist and the defense of Hill 487-
with mortars, hand grenades and a lethal perimeter of
claymore mine that could be remotely triggered by what was
aptly called a hell box-would provide a fiery and hard fought conclusion to Norton's tour. He was ultimately
decorated with two morphine Syrettes pinned to his collar,
and awarded a medevac ride on a CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter.
Combining his earlier work, Force Recon Diary,1969 and
Force Recon Diary,1970, this exclusive edition for Military
Book Club members chronicles "Doc" Norton's electrifying combat experience throughout two years in the bush. An
uncommonly skilled writer, he evokes his usual role in a most unusual outfit.« less