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...
Kugler, with just four other snipers hidden in grass but not behind any cover, report a large (over 100) contingent of very close by NVA quickly setting up two 50-caliber machine guns to annihilate a company of Marines that's out in the open in flat rice paddies.
Kugler is on the radio telling a lieutenant to call for artillery and to radio the Marine company with an order to make a fast retreat. The lieutenant is being oppositional, ordering Kugler to INSTEAD expose his team by having the five of them immediately fire their rifles on the large and heavily-armed NVA force.
It's as good as anything Sean Pratt has done, and that's saying a lot. I think Sean Pratt is one of the very best narrators of nonfiction.
Oh, I could binge on this material like nobody's business.
This book made me finally understand: (1) Why snipers in particular write such good war memoirs; (2) How Marine and Army snipers get alienated from the larger structure; (3) That common sense learned in small teams, if it could ever be effectively tapped into, would be transformative - at any time.
Too many books written in big blue arrows. This was the real experiences of a real enlisted man, no justification. Just the performance of his duty, and the consequences of the decisions made by people not fighting the war on the ground. He gives voice to the thoughts of the fighting man. Not the general, but the sergeant. Ed Kugler became a voice the typically nameless makers of war.
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