Bob Johnston


Bob Johnston grew up on a stock farm in Western Pennsylvania. He comes from a family of Scott’s heritage and a strong military background. Along the way he developed a strong interest in reading, photography and writing, along with art.

After joining the U. S. Navy, in 1964, he spent the last three years of his enlistment in Vietnam. In the summer of 1965 he was among the first group of Naval personnel to arrive in the port city of Da Nang, Vietnam. The group became the US Naval Support Facility, Da Nang.

Moving to ‘Lighterage’, medium landing craft, he would, over that time, become one of a select and small group hauling cargo and material or men on all of the rivers in the I-Corps area of Vietnam. These boat crews lived on the rivers where they worked, in many cases living on the boats due to lack of a permanent base in that area.

His original novel ‘The Duck Pond…I’m not a Tourist, I Live Here’, was finished and published in 2004. In early 2016 it was updated and re-published as ‘Blood and Brown Water’. It has been released as a Kindle book with plans to also publish in paperback again.

In 2007, following many changes in his life, he made the decision to return to Vietnam.

It has since become his home.

He now lives, along with his wife Phuong, in the small town of Tuy Hoa, Phu Yen province, on the south central coast. Together they own a café ‘Bob’s Café American’ and a small hostel ‘The Reef at Tuy Hoa’. They still find time to travel the country by motorcycle. ‘Spanky’ continues writing, photography and the love of reading; in 2015 they, along with local television, produced a series of 12 programs featuring simple western cooking for Vietnamese viewers.

His published works include:

‘Heart Of War’ One boat in the Arizona Territory during three months in 1966 at the Liberty Bridge.

‘Old Fools Gold’ A work of fiction set in the past and present day Vietnam.

Presently his works in progress include:

‘The Bamboo Bar…Stories From the Corner Table’ Humorous stories from the early days of the war.

‘House of The Sixth Happiness’ The sequel to ‘Old Fools Gold’

Smashwords Interview

What's the story behind your latest book?
This book - along with 'Heart of War' were written for two reasons. I was told that, writing about the experiences of those three years, would probably ease the ongoing trauma of PTSD I was and had been experiencing. The other reason was/is that the US Navy didn't keep any records of what happened on the 'smaller' boats. Unless someone was wounded or killed there was no record of where we were and, what our lives were like from day to day.

It was - hopefully - preserving those first three years of our boat groups history for future generations.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
It's hard to be recognized [as a first time author] by a publisher of any size. After being lied to and screwed by my original publisher, this seemed like a good option; if the book was to remain in print.
Read more of this interview.


Old Fool's Gold
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 90,070. Language: English. Published: July 28, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
Two old river boat sailors, two old CIA Spooks, a lost daughter, corrupt cops, and a villain from the past, bent on total revenge. Add an old orphanage full of mixed-race abandoned children, a half-ton of twice-stolen gold from the American War in Vietnam, shake well over red hot rice and serve in present day Vietnam; with a garnish of cross-border mayhem as it spills into Laos and back.

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