Forsaken Warriors: The Story of an American Advisor who Fought with the South Vietnamese Rangers and Airborneby Robert L. Tonsetic
The book is a personal memoir of the author’s service as a US Army advisor during the end-stages of America’s involvement in Vietnam. During the period 1970–71, the US was beginning to draw down its
An inside account of the South Vietnamese elites who strove to carry on the war against the Communists during the U.S. Army’s withdrawal . . .
The book is a personal memoir of the author’s service as a US Army advisor during the end-stages of America’s involvement in Vietnam. During the period 1970–71, the US was beginning to draw down its combat forces, and the new watchword was Vietnamization. It was the period when the will of the US to prosecute the war had slipped, and transferring responsibility to the South Vietnamese was the only remaining hope for victory.
The author served as a US Army advisor to South Vietnamese Ranger and Airborne units during this critical period. The units that the author advised spearheaded several campaigns in South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, as the US combat units withdrew. Often outnumbered and outgunned, the elite ranger and airborne units fought Viet Cong and North Vietnamese units in some of the most difficult terrain in Southeast Asia, ranging from the legendary U Minh forest and Mo So mountains in the Mekong Delta, to the rugged hills of southern Laos.
The role of the small US advisory teams is fully explained in the narrative. With little support from higher headquarters, these teams accompanied the Vietnamese units on highly dangerous combat operations over which they had no command or control authority. When US advisors were restricted from accompanying South Vietnamese forces on cross-border operations in Cambodia and especially Laos, the South Vietnamese forces were badly mauled, raising concerns about their readiness and training, and their ability to operate without their US advisors. As a result, a major effort was placed on training these forces while the clock continued to run on the US withdrawal.
Having served with a US infantry battalion during the peak years of the US involvement in Vietnam, Robert Tonseticthe acclaimed author of Days of Valoris able to view the war through two different prisms and offer criticisms and an awareness of why the South Vietnamese armed forces were ultimately defeated.
“…unveils an aspect of the war long overlooked in American accounts.”
“an insider’s account of how South Vietnam’s elite fighting forces struggled to carry on the war against the Communists during the US withdrawal.”
Ranger Register, Winter 2009
"...an exciting account of Robert Tonsetic’s combat tours during the final stages of our long involvement in the Vietnam War. Soldiers and Marines training for advisory duty in Iraq or Afghanistan would do well to read this excellent work."
“…takes an unflinching look at both the adventure and trauma of war while aiming to fill the gaps in the record for Vietnam, documenting the contributions of Americans who risked their lives serving in advisory roles by staying behind to train South Vietnamese soldiers, and even joining them in combat.”
Metro College Magazine, Boston U, 08/2010
“…illuminates a largely ignored chapter of American involvement in Southeast Asia…a highly readable and insightful volume.”
“…not only a first rate “I was there” account of a front line combat officer’s experiences with two of the most elite Vietnamese units, it is a valuable contribution to the little known aspect of the final years of the Vietnam War.
“Of special interest is the way in which he recounts the dynamics of personalities and their effect on the indigenous commanders and units. A must read for any soldiers likely to conduct partnering activities in the future.”
Soldier Magazine, 08/2010
- Casemate Publishers
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)
Meet the Author
Robert Tonsetic was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a BA in English Literature in 1964. Upon graduation, he entered the US Army as an infantry second lieutenant. After completing Special Forces training in 1966, he served a tour in Thailand with the 46th Special Forces Company. He was subsequently assigned to the 199th Light Infantry Brigade in Vietnam, serving as a rifle company commander during the Tet and May Offensives of 1968. In 1970, he returned to Vietnam as a senior advisor to South Vietnamese Ranger and Airborne battalions. His decorations for his wartime service include the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, and the Bronze Star for Valor. He retired from the Army at the rank of Colonel in 1991, after completing a three year assignment as a faculty member at the NATO Defense College in Rome, Italy. Upon his return to the US, Robert earned a Doctorate in Education, and was employed at the University of Central Florida as a staff member and adjunct professor. He currently lives with his wife, Polly, on Maryland's eastern shore.
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