GREY FEATHERS Led By Love of Country 2nd Edition
In GREY FEATHERS: Led By Love of Country (2nd Edition), Vietnam veteran and author Daniel M. DeWald chronicles his experiences as well as those of the men who valiantly serve alongside him in the 3rd Battalion, 12th Infantry, 4th Division during three critical years of the Vietnam War (1967–1970).
Shortly after enlisting in the military, DeWald studies the people, terrain, and language he will soon encounter in the Republic of South Vietnam. After being commissioned as an officer, he provides basic training to the newly enlisted and then travels to Panama to become versed in jungle warfare. Next, he heads to Vietnam, where he leads a platoon of seventeen men whose mission is to seek out and eliminate the enemy, the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and the Viet Cong. The latter are fierce guerrilla fighters known for their savagery. They pillage and threaten villagers and set sophisticated, brutal traps for the enemy.
DeWald outlines an array of challenges they face, ranging from excessive foliage, dense fog, and a rugged landscape to the threat of wild animals, lack of supplies, and inadequate food rations. He delineates hours on the battlefield in the form of battle action reports. Schematic drawings and photographs are included as well. DeWald concludes by describing the journey home after months of aggressive fighting and unforgettable circumstances. He notes that despite the political and societal arguments surrounding their efforts, all return heroes, each earning a grey feather for their immeasurable sacrifices.
DeWald is meticulous in his documentation of battle scenes as they play out, day by day, and sometimes hour by hour. His inclusion of dialogue aids in educating readers about the lingo and acronyms they use to communicate. It also breaks up more monotonous content such as the following: “At 0500 hours March 11 LZ Swinger was again under an NVA weapons attack by 105 Howitzers and 82mm Mortars. The fire was again countered by artillery and airstrikes.” A significant part of the book contains this type of direct reporting, which for some may prove to be dry.
However, DeWald adds affect to his account by elucidating the toll of combat on soldiers and highlighting the humanistic side of their ventures. In one instance, he writes about the supply route disturbances that lead to a period of desperation among them: “Even the bark off the trees was able to be eaten as protein. Some of the food eaten instead of “C” rations were jungle rats, snake, monkey, fruits such as pineapple, and others as well as plants and wild vegetables,” he writes. He recounts the “jungle rot” (gangrene) that plagues a number of them and illuminates the bravery of the fallen. Overall, his work is a valuable contribution to the historical record.
|Author||Daniel M. DeWald|
|Page Count||228 pages|
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