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Diary of an Airborne Ranger: A LRRP's Year in the Combat Zone [NOOK Book]

Overview

Perhaps the most accurate story of LRRPs at war
ever to appear in print!

When Frank Johnson arrived in Vietnam in 1969, he was nineteen, a young soldier untested in combat like thousands of others--but with two important differences: Johnson volunteered for the elite L Company Rangers of the 101st Airborne Division, a long range ...
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Diary of an Airborne Ranger: A LRRP's Year in the Combat Zone

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Overview

Perhaps the most accurate story of LRRPs at war
ever to appear in print!

When Frank Johnson arrived in Vietnam in 1969, he was nineteen, a young soldier untested in combat like thousands of others--but with two important differences: Johnson volunteered for the elite L Company Rangers of the 101st Airborne Division, a long range reconnaissance patrol (LRRP) unit, and he kept a secret diary, a practice forbidden by the military to protect the security of LRRP operations.

Now, more than three decades later, those hastily written pages offer a rare look at the daily operations of one of the most courageous units that waged war in Vietnam. Johnson served in I Corps, in northern Vietnam, where combat was furious and the events he recounts emerge, stark and compelling: walking point in the A Shau Valley, braving enemy fire to rescue a downed comrade, surviving days and nights of relentless tension that suddenly exploded in the blinding fury of an NVA attack.

Undimmed and unmuddied by the passing of years, Johnson's account is unique in the annals of Vietnam literature. Moreover, it is a timeless testimony to the sacrifice and heroism of the LRRPs who dared to risk it all.


From the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307775092
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/24/2010
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 137,555
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Frank Johnson served in Vietnam as a member of L Company (Ranger), 101st Airborne Division. He received numerous combat awards, including the Silver Star and two Bronze Stars. Since leaving active duty he has served with 12th Special Forces Group (Abn.), U.S. Army Reserves; 4th Force Recon, USMC Reserves; 122d Armor Brigade; Nevada National Guard; 19th Special Forces Group (Abn.); and Utah National Guard. Currently he is serving with the Nevada Air Guard.

He and his wife, Kipp, live in Reno. They have a son, Joshua, and a daughter, Jahnee.


From the Paperback edition.
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Read an Excerpt

Introduction

Diary of an Airborne Ranger is indeed a unique literary
work. It is the day-by-day story of a nineteen-year-old
youth's one-year odyssey into manhood. It is unique
because it is not written in the perspective of an aging
veteran recalling his warrior years through memories and
recollections softened and mellowed by the ravages of
time. Frank Johnson's diary is the compelling and
refreshingly honest portrayal of a young man's introduction
to war, with all the fearless bravado, unquestioned
patriotism, intense loyalty, raw courage, and lost innocence
that one can get only from being there. There are
no pretenses here. What you see is exactly what you get.

When Frank Johnson arrived in South Vietnam in the
fall of 1969, the war, for all intents and purposes, had
already peaked. "Vietnamization'' was the new buzz word,
and Richard Nixon was keeping his promise by announcing
troop withdrawals and a reduction in U.S. forces. To
those of us who were there, the first indications of an army
betrayed were just beginning to surface. No longer was
there talk of defeating the enemy and achieving a just and
final victory. Withdrawing with honor and grace became
an acceptable alternative. To those young men just arriving
in-country came the impossible task of covering our "withdrawal.''
They knew that they would never savor the laurels
of total victory. There would be no parades, nor would they
be welcomed home in the end. They knew all of this, yet
they still volunteered to perform this impossible task.

Their actual mission was threefold: 1) to keep the
enemy at bay by continuing to carry out offensive operations;
2) to provide for a smooth and orderly transition of
U.S. weapons and equipment to our allies, along with the
training and support to enable them to deploy it; and 3) to
avoid alarming our allies by having them discover that
they were in all actuality being abandoned.

Under these somewhat stressful conditions, Frank
Johnson and his teammates were ordered to take the war
to the enemy. Unlike their predecessors, the long-range
reconnaissance patrollers whose primary mission was to
gather intelligence, the Rangers were told to go out and
initiate contact with the enemy. The army doctrine behind
this gross misuse of five- to twelve-man reconnaissance
teams was the doctrine of "force multipliers.'' Simply
put, this meant to do more and risk less with smaller
numbers of soldiers. The obvious benefit to our side was
experiencing fewer friendly casualties while still maintaining
an acceptable attrition rate among enemy personnel.
The detriment was solely to the soldiers tasked to
accept the risk. Remember, this was an increasingly
unpopular war back home. Frank Johnson and his fellow
Rangers were just such soldiers.

As you read through the pages of this amazing work you
will find yourself wondering, "Why did they keep going
back out and doing what they did?'' The answer will surprise
you. You see, it was not that same sense of duty and
honor that had brought many of them into the service. It
was not the same patriotism that had inspired their fathers
and grandfathers before them. And it was definitely not
power nor the promise of wealth that sent these young men
into harm's way, day after day, even when they knew the
war was already lost. "Why then,'' you ask? Well, let me tell
you! It was camaraderie, the love that one teammate has for
another. It was their motto, "Rangers don't leave Rangers
behind!'' This was not only their motto, but the guiding
force that dictated their ethics, their courage, and their loyalty
to one another. Can you understand the power of such
feelings . . . the emotion? It is a powerful motivator.

Throughout Frank Johnson's diary, the recurring theme
of camaraderie, brotherly love, and living up to the Ranger
motto is demonstrated. This was a glorious thing that all
warriors experienced to some degree or another during the
Vietnam War, perhaps to a greater extent among the small,
elite special-operations units that so often stood alone.
When you read through each page of this book, forgive the
language and the style--the author was just a kid out of
high school when he penned it. There will be no literary
awards or prizes coming his way. But if you want to under-stand
what heroes are made of, and why so many of our
young men come home with emotional baggage they can
never shed, then read this book from cover to cover. When
you're finished, go back and read it again--more slowly
the second time. All of the emotions, the pain, and
the memories, both good and bad, are right there. We know
where they are. You'll have to find them for yourselves.

Gary A. Linderer
F Company, 58th Infantry (LRP)
L Company, 75th Infantry (Ranger)
101st Airborne Division
RVN 1968-1969

RANGERS LEAD THE WAY!


From the Paperback edition.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 23 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(9)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2001

    Through the eyes of a 19 year old

    It was my privilege to have known Frank Johnson while serving with him in Vietnam. There were many times we set across from each other on our bunks and thanked God we were still alive. Frank indeed was a warrior and a man of great courage but there was also another side that was warm kind and gentle. A man that would take the time to listen to your problems, to help you when you were down and to support you when you needed a friend. This book is an accurate accountant of places and advents that took place as seen through the eyes of Frank Johnson. It is of great pleasure that I recommend you read this book. It is a colossal insight into what it was like for a 19 your old to have been exposed to the horrors of war. Burgess Wetta

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2013

    They mean diary

    It really is a diary. When I started reading it, I thought "Oh, sh**, I wont be able to drag myself through this". But after a few pages, I was hooked.
    Its a great look into the mind and daily life of a LRRP Ranger written as it happened with out the gloss-over typical for books written years after the events.
    Hard to put down for sure.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2011

    snoozer

    redundant,poorly written.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2011

    cool

    read this if you like military

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 31, 2010

    Highly Recommended-Great book!

    To the point!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 15, 2010

    great book

    great book. recomend it to anyone who likes reading about the military.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2008

    A reviewer

    this is a very remarkable book that I found very hard to put down.this young soldier volunteered for the elite airborne rangers and was in some of the toughest combat and on top of that he risked his own life to save a fellow rangers life and on top of everything else he kept a daily diary so everyone else could get the real story. this young patriot for his love of country for his courage and bravery recieved several decorations including the silver star and 2 broonze stars and several other combat awards. this is a great gift for a friend or family member or soldier serving over seas.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2004

    awsome

    This book is truly a treasure, written by a courageous man. I have passed it on to my college aged children, who appreciate the sacrifices as much as I do. Frank you are an american hero!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2004

    Very honest account of day to day life as Recon

    I found the book very hard to put down. As a Marine grunt in Vietnam one thing I knew was I would never volunteer for Recon. It took a special breed of men to do that and Frank Johnson was that special breed.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2001

    Just when you think you've run out of LRRP/Ranger books

    Another author from the famed 101st LRRP/Rangers of Vietnam. There must have been something in the water for the one-o-first to have generated so many great authors and books and Frank Johnson's surely ranks with the best of them. Mr. Johnson's book was a unique insight into the life of a 19-year old in Vietnam. I was there in mind and spirit as the young L Company NCO grew up. I sat ringside and was able to look into his mind and experience the thoughts, fears, and concerns of this young warrior. (Let's don't start comparing him to 19 year olds of his time or today) I'm sure Linderer, Martinez, Walker, Cox, Miller and the others must be proud to see the that the torch they lit was carried so well by Johnson an his teammates. If I have anything critical to say about the book it was that I would have liked to have seen some notes by the author. I wanted more details into what was going on around the events in his diary. What he did before he went overseas? When and why did he get busted (demoted)?. Maybe that will be the contents of his next book (Or maybe Mr. Wetta's?). You will write another, won't you Mr. Johnson?

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    Posted January 9, 2011

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    Posted November 3, 2011

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    Posted February 9, 2011

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    Posted October 15, 2011

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    Posted June 6, 2011

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    Posted October 26, 2011

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    Posted February 20, 2011

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    Posted February 9, 2011

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    Posted December 26, 2010

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