A two-tour Vietnam infantry veteran and a freelance writer join forces to produce this informative personal memoir that also casts light on the war's effect on American infantry tactics. When he went to Vietnam in 1968, Shanahan quickly discovered that company-sized search and destroy operations were clumsy, noisy and ineffective. Volunteering for the Long Range Patrols (or "Lurps"), he received special training and then went out as part of the group's light, six-man teams. Moving quietly, the Lurps could ambush small enemy units and call down heavy weapons (including the battleship New Jersey) on larger ones. Favored tactics were evasion rather than firefighting, so the patrols' casualties were lower, and the Lurps attracted legendary warriors such as five-tour Ranger Patrick Tadina. The Lurps also gave their members a variety of experiences, such as a waterborne surveillance mission that went awry off the coast and an observation mission through VC territory on which an enthusiastic, then terrified, supply sergeant came along as a guest. Shanahan and Brackin maintain a friendly, conversational tone throughout the book, so that this volume gives readers the feeling that they're listening to a loyal, even-tempered veteran recount his experiences over a few beers. This is a useful book about useful soldiers; one that is likely to appeal to serious and casual students of the Vietnam War.
THIS history about the making of a VIETNAM RANGER with photos and other topics.