On June 13, 1966, men of the 1st Recon Battalion, 1st Marine Division, were stationed on Hill 488. Before the week was over, they would fight the battle that would make them the most highly decorated small unit in the entire history of the US military, winning a Congressional Medal of Honor, four Navy Crosses, 13 Silver Stars, and 18 Purple Hearts - some of them posthumously.
During the early evening of June 15, a battalion of hardened North Vietnamese regulars and Viet Cong - outnumbering the Americans 25 to one - threw everything they had at the 16 marines and two navy corpsmen for the rest of that terror-filled night. Every man who held the hill was either killed or wounded defending the ground with unbelievable courage and unflagging determination - even as reinforcements were on the way. All they had to do was make it until dawn....
©2003 Ray Hildreth and Charles W. Sasser (P)2015 Tantor
I would put this in the upper third of the audiobooks that I have listened to so far. The story was top notch, with a direct and to the point recounting of a marine who experienced it.
Jimmie E. Howard, amazing leader
I thought the performance lacked the intensity and drama that it should have had. It seemed very passive or laid-back for the material.
Narrator Jonathon Yen does a great job making you feel like it's all happening right around you. The details that the authors provide make this book a little different from some of the other "Nam" books I have read. If you like hot action and triumphant victory then this book is for you. May God bless America and the service men and women who sacrifice themselves to provide our freedom.
I could not put it down. I listen in the car and had to think of places to drive to so I could list en more
I am an avid eclectic reader.
I found this to be an excellent book about the Vietnam War and the story reveals the ethos of the United States Marine Corps. The story provides the minute by minute recounting of the overnight battle on June 15-16, 1966 on Niu Vu Hill (Hill 488) in the Hieg Due Valley.
Sixteen marines and two Navy corpsmen overcame 25 to 1 odds to survive one the most famous battles in Vietnam. When rescued in the morning it was discovered that of the eighteen defenders six were dead, the remainders were gravely wounded. The marines had eight rounds of ammunitions left when rescued. Hill 488 produced the most highly decorated small unit in American history. Platoon Sergeant Jimmie Howard received the Medal of Honor, thirteen others were awarded the Silver Star, four received the Navy Cross and eighteen received the Purple Heart. Lance Corporal Ray Hildreth was awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart.
Hildreth tells his story from a teenager to joining the marines. He tells of his life in the marines leading up to the fateful battle. He provides a detailed account of what happened that night to the members of 1st Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine division. The book was narrated by Jonathan Yen.
The story is well-written and well-acted. It creates vivid scenes in the listener's imagination. There are some places that can be frustrating - places where the author (s) detour into lengthy historical backstories, or long descriptions of scenery. These are intentionally placed at points of high-tension in the narrative to hold the suspense, but seem frustratingly long. I recommend this story.
I have read and listened to about 8 books on the Vietnam War. This ranks with the best of them. It's a must read!
I've read the soft cover book a few times. And I've chosen to buy the recording so I can "listen" for a change to this amazing telling, of an incredible story.
The men who held 488 earned many medals, they almost certainly deserved more.
I'm sure this battle is on the record in the annals of Marine Corps History. But it should
be more widely known. This action should be talked about for generations to come.
This is the most amazing battlefield story I've ever read or been told.
As veteran of this war myself. I've heard a lot of stories. But this is a stirring story of
esprit de corps, valor, and gallantry. And will remain with me for the rest of my life.
I'll never forget this story. I'm sure you won't either.
If you enjoy war stories, you'll enjoy this book. It describes an incredible incident during Vietnam which backs up the gallant reputation of the US Marion Corps.
Although the story itself is worth the read, the writing is not the greatest. If the story weren't true, it would be hard to get through. The telling jumps around roughly between 1st and 3rd person POV, and the development of the characters leaves a lot to be desired. In the end though, it tells it like it was, without apology. That aspect of the narrative was clean.
Good story of a Marine from boot camp through a remarkable survival on Hill 488. You can feel the Marine maturing with life experiences in a troubling time in our history.
He tells it like it was.
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