SitRep Negative: A Year In Vietnam

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In April 1968, we were a country at war with ourselves and increasingly with a small country halfway around the world: Vietnam. I don’t recall ever thinking about Vietnam when I started college in 1963. By 1968, it was all any of us could think about. This memoir was written for my grandchildren, but it will give anyone some sense of what it was like to serve a tour of duty in Vietnam. More

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About G. J. Lau

G. J. Lau was born in a small town near Boston. He was raised on a steady diet of family, politics, and the Red Sox. After graduating from Georgetown University, he spent two years in the Army, including a year in Vietnam in the 1st Infantry Division. He worked in as a radio operator and had the opportunity to serve in many varied locations including a battalion night defensive position, a special forces camp, and an indeterminate piece of real estate populated by scorpions and Montagnards. He then worked for the Federal government in Washington, D.C. until retirement. Since then he has done a stint in retail and now works in elections. He has volunteered as a literacy tutor, a hotline listener and as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children in need of assistance. He currently resides in a small city just far enough from Washington DC to be somewhere else.

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GC Frantz reviewed on on July 3, 2011

Sitrep Negative: A Year in Vietnam
Some of us went. Some, for various reasons, stayed behind. This was a terrifically misunderstood war, both then and now. When friends came home from Vietnam, we knew right away they were different from the men and women we’d known prior to Nam. 58,000 died there, and many more were wounded. Even those who appeared whole seemed… remote. How many times have you read about a “thousand yard stare?” Looking at these guys, you knew exactly what that meant.

GJ Lau’s account tells of the ordinary life of a service man in Nam. To a great extent, it doesn’t deal in great heroic deeds or horrific combat. I think the situations he described were experienced by a great many of the over 2.5 million Americans who served “in country” during the Vietnam era. The anxiety, frustration and fear were daily rations, along with the C and K rations. The understanding that everything was totally crazy was universal. Depend on your closest buds; the others are watching out for themselves.

Those of us who stayed behind learned that vets rarely, if ever spoke about their tour of duty, except with other vets, or not at all. Lau’s candid recounting of his experiences in Nam helped me understand a lot of things about what went on and those who served there.

(reviewed 23 days after purchase)

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