Raw, straightforward, and powerful, Ed Kugler's account of his two years as a Marine scout-sniper in Vietnam vividly captures his experiences there - the good, the bad, and the ugly. After enlisting in the Marines at 17, then being wounded in Santo Domingo during the Dominican crisis, Kugler arrived in Vietnam in early 1966. As a new sniper with the 4th Marines, Kugler picked up bush skills while attached to 3d Force Recon Company, and then joined the grunts. To take advantage of that experience, he formed the Rogues, a five-sniper team that hunted in the Co Bi-Than Tan Valley. His descriptions of long, tense waits, sudden deadly action, and countersniper ambushes are fascinating. In Dead Center, Kugler demonstrates the importance to a sniper of patience, marksmanship, bush skills, and guts - while underscoring exactly what a country demands of its youth when it sends them to war.
©1999 Ed Kugler (P)2014 Tantor
Only complaint was the constant reading of time as "oh" instead of "zero". That's it for negative comments.
The epilogue, written in 1999, pushes the button on continued failures to adopt "lessons learned" for the GWOT. This is a must read for anyone who wore the uniform and went into theater. No lessons in American Sniper, but this book is crammed full of them.
Very good...best reader to be found...& not sanitized. ..you won't be disappointed . Early Vietnam told, as it was, by a Marine who told his story well. Thanks for the look back. the cander and plain language.
You did well my man
and now we can hear each other. For some reason the vets of the "War on Terror" have no problem writing memoirs as soon as they come home but (except for Audie Murphy's To Hell and Back) WW II, Korea and Vietnam took longer for the memories to sort themselves out.
I was against the Vietnam war and still believe that if Kennedy hadn't been killed, we would have remained in an adviser role, but I'll never know. Both my husbands found ways to avoid the draft and never served. I don't think any of my close friends were anywhere near being drafted. But time has passed and a lot of sh*t has happened and I was ready to read about the other side of the Vietnam debate. I was not disappointed.
This is a great book and as honest as I hoped for. Thank you Kug for letting me experience what you went through... if only vicariously. Yes, I cried with you and got p*ssed at the a**holes who had never been on patrol and who gave stupid orders. And was sad all over again at the carnage and waste the stupid "domino theory" caused.
I would recommend this book for anyone who lived through the Vietnam era and for anyone who thinks he wants to join up. It might bring the former some peace (and you will laugh a lot in the process) and it will prepare the latter for what lies ahead (even if they don't understand yet).
being retired military I joined after Vietnam and the stupidity that he went through was there for many years after... his closing comments really sum things up.. thank you for your perspective and thank you for serving...
I bought the book because I was expecting to hear about the war from an adult, with adult analysis and understanding, after all, in the beginning he makes the point that he wrote this book as an adult , with an adult viewpoint. I was expecting to hear an adult voice. I was expecting to hear adult analysis, pehaps some thinking on the end of the war, when all these american and vietnamese kids fought for was tossed into the garbage by the American congress who decided to stop funding a fully independent and capable ARVN in 1973. That is not what this book is. The author speaks and thinks as a 19 year old marine, where the vietnamese people are gooks, dinks, slimy monkey bastards, and women are bitches, and the ARVN are incompetent fools, giggling little girls, cowards. He never realizes that the ARVN are nothing but boys pulled out of their villages and thrown into the army with little training, to stay not for a 1 year tour, but rather until victory or death. The war was not the wishes of the Vietnamese people, but more so of US presidents and generals, like Kennedy and General Maxwell Taylor, who wished to make Vietnam an example example of American and Kennedy cold war strength. A demonstration to show that the US could fight an irregular war. Many americans have this Oliver Stone- Hollywood movie version of history in their heads that couldnt be further from the truth. And many young people seem to consider this book and books like it as some kind of serious history book. The US went to Vietnam because of JFK's aggressiveness, and his betrayal and coup/assassination of the only strong leader that South Vietnam ever had. You will not find any analysis or thinking of the causes of the war in this book, other then the musings of a 19 year old. You will not find any empathy whatsoever for the dink monkey gook bastards, nor any retrospective thinking or analysis on the final outcome of the people of South Vietnam-boat people, and the ARVN, the men who our hero considers laughing little girls, many of whom fought to the death, or to near death then committed suicide when the loss to the communists in 1975 became apparent. And the many that survived the war, only to spend the next 10-15 years in communist prison, or rather "re-education" camps. The ARVN didnt get beer parties every night. They had to find their own food and water, often scrounging scraps of rice and paddy water. For most of the war, they were stuck with antiquated weapons. By the end of the war, they were buying their ammunition out of their own pocket money, while their families lived a meek existence with little food to eat. The saddest part of the war, the fact that Nixon's Vietnamization and pacification programs had actually worked, and by the end of 1972, after the massive Christmas bombing of the Hanoi, the North was at the brink of defeat. The North's 1972 offensive ended in massive failure with high casualties. General Creighton Abrams, starting in 1968, had turned the ARVN into a first rate, self sufficient fighting force that utilized all the modern weapons and techniques. He actually worked with, and trained, rather than ignored the ARVN as Westmoreland did. But by 1973, the US government started changing their minds about supporting South Vietnam, and halted all military assistance. The North took 3 years to rebuild, and conquered the south when the ARVN was rationion bullets and artillery shells because the US was not supporting South Vietnam and the communists had the full support of the Soviet Union. One might have wondered how our hero felt about this tossing in the garbage bin of everything young americans and young vietnamese sacraficed their lives to achieve. For all we know, he was oblivious. What this book is about is an accounting of every mission our hero went on, the action of the firefight and the outcome. This book would be of interest to young men/boys, who wish to vicariously live the life of the war hero.
This is a wonderfully performed and written story of our war. Many, many of us left our mundane life and entered a totally foreign world. This is "Kug's"trip to there and back. It captures the best and worst of that ride. Honestly written, and flawlessly performed. This is a great story.
I am a Combat Marine from the Gulf War. my war was much different from yours. We learned from your war and took those lessons into battle with us. I think Outstanding book Marine!!!!!
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