Fire in the Hole:A Mortarman in Vietnam

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Overview

A brutally candid Vietnam memoir, written with intense poetic description and a delicate sensitivity, which describes the effects of combat on a human soul.

How does a young man coming of age in the 1960s go from seminarian to soldier? What can scare an average kid from Cleveland into killing for his country? The answer: Vietnam—that soul-sucking war that still invades dreams.

After surviving a year of combat and the loss of fellow Marines, ...

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Fire in the Hole: A Mortarman in Vietnam

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Overview

A brutally candid Vietnam memoir, written with intense poetic description and a delicate sensitivity, which describes the effects of combat on a human soul.

How does a young man coming of age in the 1960s go from seminarian to soldier? What can scare an average kid from Cleveland into killing for his country? The answer: Vietnam—that soul-sucking war that still invades dreams.

After surviving a year of combat and the loss of fellow Marines, Orange came home in 1970 to another battlefield—Kent State University, where the Ohio National Guard gunned down his classmates. Reeling and confused, he went from soldier to seaman on a Great Lakes ore carrier. Then he became a hippie who fought against the same war he once supported, the same war that stole his youth and innocence. Orange reflects on his journey of tumult and tears from a vantage point of age and wisdom. This is a survivor's tale, told with honesty and compassion for those who fought on both sides of a conflict that sliced through the lives of so many.

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Editorial Reviews

Bill Day, San
Orange’s unvarnished memoir offers an explanation why, twenty-five years after the fall of Saigon, Vietnam remains burned into the nation’s psyche. It is laid out like a confession, the battlefield strife interwoven with a young man’s struggle to comprehend the incomprehensible.
Fire in the Hole, 12/30/1899
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780595160037
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/29/2001
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 244
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword xiii
Preface xvii
Acknowledgments xix
Mortar Platoon Members in the Book Including Nickname, Rank, and Primary Responsibility While on Patrol xxi
1 Randy: Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota; February 1996 1
2 Toilet Training and Learning to Fly: Parris Island, South Carolina; September 1968 5
3 The Wearin' of the Green on the First Day in Hell: Da Nang Airport; March 1969 19
4 A Study in Change and Motion: Marine Fire Support Base Puller; April 1969 27
5 Fire in the Hole: Fire Support Base Puller; April 1969 36
6 Patrol: Quang Nam Province; May 1969 48
7 The People We Were Sent to Save from Communism: May 1969 57
8 Friendly Fire: Fire Support Base Puller; May 1969 62
9 Dead Reckoning: Operation Pipestone Canyon, Go Noi Island Area; May 1969 69
10 A Terrible Beauty: Operation Durham Peak in the Que Son Mountains; July-August 1969 74
11 The End Justifies the Marines: Dodge City; September 1969 88
12 Internal Wars: Fire Support Base Puller; July 1969 and March 1970 100
13 Paranoia Strikes Deep: Fire Support Base Puller; March 1970 109
14 Cleansing Down to the Soul: Da Nang Airport and Okinawa; March 1970 125
15 Homecoming: Cleveland, Ohio; April 1970 132
16 A Retreat To Sea: The Great Lakes; April 1970 140
17 The War At Home: Kent State University; May 1970 148
18 The Times They Are a Changing: June 1970 160
19 Leo: Cleveland, Ohio; September 1970 164
20 The Wall: Washington, D.C.; April 1971 and January 1991 169
21 Caution in the Waking 173
22 For the Next Generation 178
Chronology of Milestones in the Book (in bold face) and Major World Events (in italics) 191
Glossary 199
Bibliography 211
About the Author 217
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2001

    Staying alive

    J. Michael Orange takes us back in time. It is a trip meticulously detailed, yet filled with raw emotion and wonder. Orange brought me back to Madison, Wisconsin, 1969, my sophomore year in college. I had just gotten notice of my 1A Draft Status. And so for a time I faced what Michael Orange faced. The difference, thanks to the lottery and a high draft number, was that I did not have to choose as Orange did. But this 19-year old kid made a pre-emptive choice by volunteering for the Marines and a stint in the war. It was behavior that ran in the family. We witness the young mortarman's strange mixture of repulsion and exhilaration as he discovers the terrors of war. He is at once detached and trapped in wonder. At times, you feel like a John Malkovich junkie, taken into a mind fighting wars on many fronts at once. War with his girl's parents and with his own. War with his priest and, most of all, war with himself. Joining the Vietnam War at its peak was Orange's greatest battlefield manuever, but he got more than he bargained for. Just staying alive is the real mission and Orange found this stark fact didn't change when he came home. What struck me most was an encounter in a junior high class Michael spoke to 15 years after returning home. What happens in that classroom tells a lasting story of a war those who lived it can never seem to forget. And, thanks to Michael Orange, we all can begin to understand why. J. Michael Orange has made a work of stunning honesty. This book is well worth the read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2001

    A necessary, heartfelt reality check lest we forget....

    A lot continues to be written about the pros and cons of America's most confusing overseas conflict. As Myra McPhearson pointed out in her seminal `Long Time Passing', none of us were untouched. Particularly for those of us who entered our adulthood during those times this is painfully true. Mike Orange's book touched me to the core and helped me peel away another layer of pain from that time. Courage to `tell it like it was' with no varnish, an individual's soul searching viewpoint and the honesty of a personal spitual quest is rare in literature about such experiences. Mike spares no one, especially himself, yet levies no charges. His conclusions are about his own life and as the reader, I'm allowed to bring the insights to my own moral cases. For those of us who are the `aging warriors' from that time, Mike has shared a gift from a soldier's heart. I'm grateful to him for his honesty, his courage and for the insight he lends to patriotism.

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