The Boys of '67: Charlie Company's War in Vietnam

( 8 )

Overview

In the spring of 1966, while the war in Vietnam was still popular, the U.S. military decided to reactivate the 9th Infantry Division as part of the military buildup. Across the nation, farm boys from the Midwest, surfers from California, city-slickers from Cleveland, and share croppers from the South opened their mail to find greetings from Uncle Sam. The newly-shorn men in their ill-fitting uniforms got off the busses together at Fort Riley, Kansas, to be trained together under the tutelage of officers and ...

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The Boys of '67: Charlie Company's War in Vietnam

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Overview

In the spring of 1966, while the war in Vietnam was still popular, the U.S. military decided to reactivate the 9th Infantry Division as part of the military buildup. Across the nation, farm boys from the Midwest, surfers from California, city-slickers from Cleveland, and share croppers from the South opened their mail to find greetings from Uncle Sam. The newly-shorn men in their ill-fitting uniforms got off the busses together at Fort Riley, Kansas, to be trained together under the tutelage of officers and non-commissioned officers (NCOs) who would lead them into battle in Vietnam. Charlie Company was part of the 9th and was representative of the greater whole. Everyone was there in the newly-raised company - the joker who roller skated into the Company First Sergeant's office wearing a dress, the nerdy guy with two left feet who would rather be off somewhere inventing computers, the gung-ho true believers bent on outshining everyone else, the everyman who just wanted to get through un-noticed, the guys who liked Motown, the guys who liked country music.

Most American soldiers of the Vietnam era trickled into the war zone as individual replacements for men who had become casualties or had rotated home, embarking on a wartime experience unparalleled in its individualism. Charlie Company, though, was different, part of the only division raised, drafted and trained for service in the Vietnam War. During their training, the men of Charlie Company, a unit almost entirely composed of draftees, became a family without ever really knowing it. Its members entered Vietnam as brothers, sometimes squabbling, sometimes joking, sometimes missing their wives and children, but always brothers. Charlie Company was a throwback, part of an old breed. Charlie Company's experience of being drafted, thrown together, and trained for war hearkened back to the very heart of the American military tradition, a tradition that came to an end in Vietnam. A tradition that might never return, leaving Charlie Company historically the last of its kind. This is their story. From draft to the battlefields of South Vietnam, this is the unvarnished truth from the fear of death, the chaos of battle, the horrors of injury told through the recollections of the men themselves.

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  • The Boys of '67
    The Boys of '67  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Wiest (coauthor, Vietnam’s Forgotten Army), who teaches Vietnam War history at the University of Southern Mississippi, concentrates on the human side of the Vietnam War with an in-depth chronicle of a group of men drafted into the army in 1966 and trained together with the 9th Infantry Division, the only division of draftees that was “raised, drafted, and trained for service in the Vietnam War,” Weist notes, and thus developed unusually strong bonds. After training in the States, the men went to Vietnam in January 1967 as a unit on a troop ship. Very few other American fighting units shipped out to Vietnam; the overwhelming majority arrived singly as replacements because of the one-year rotation system. In Vietnam, the men of Charlie Company slogged through the worst the war had to offer. The unit lost half its members to death and injury within two months, and too many of the men suffered anew after returning home, battling posttraumatic stress disorder for decades. Wiest spent three years interviewing 61 officers and men of Charlie Company, 4th Battalion, 47th Infantry. He tells their stories well and empathically, especially those of the dozen or so men whose lives he examines closely before, during, and after their service in the nation’s most controversial overseas war. Illus. (Sept. 18)
Library Journal
Wiest (history, Univ. of Southern Mississippi) tells the story of the 9th Infantry Division's Charlie Company, an all-draftee unit made up of soldiers from all over the country. The members of the unit all entered the service at the same time, trained together, and went to Vietnam together. After a chance encounter with one veteran of Charlie Company, Wiest interviewed more than 60 others, as well as family members of some who did not make it home, to discover not only the story of this unit in the Vietnam War, but to reveal the individuals and families involved. The author supplements these oral histories with archival research, though he does not provide source notes. VERDICT This is a compelling and intimate look at one unit's wartime experience, filled with loss, excitement, humor, and pain that readers of wartime memoirs will especially want to share.—MM
From the Publisher
“Thoughtful and richly detailed, this outstanding account of the early phase of the War in Vietnam takes us into the forbidding Mekong River Delta with the men of Charlie Company, to witness their harrowing firefights and their fleeting victories, to appreciate the singular combat experience haunting their dreams and those of their country.”
—Hugh Ambrose, Author of The Pacific
 
“A powerful account of conflict, Andy Wiest’s The Boys of ’67 provides what is all-too-rare, a ‘face of battle’ account that is at once scholarly and well-written, perceptive and engaging.”
—Jeremy Black, author of War since 1945
 
The Boys of 67 is an exceptionally well researched and well told story of an exceptional US Army infantry company in Vietnam. Andrew Wiest sheds light and understanding on the human and psychological dimension of war and the aftermath of war.  It is a story of courage, comradeship, tribulation, suffering, and perseverance.”
—Brigadier General H. R. McMaster, author of Dereliction of Duty
 
The Boys of'67 follows a single infantry company in a single year of the Vietnam War . It ia a story of men who routinely put their lives into each others' hands. It is a story of fear and heroism; of  waste, confusion, boredom--and their impact on those who return home.  Wiest's empathy and perception make the book as emotionally compelling as it is intellectually  penetrating, impossible to read with a detached mind or dry eyes.”
—Dennis Showalter, author of Hitler’s Panzers
 
“This is a story of men at war in the tradition of A Band of Brothers. It is a remarkable book written by a master storyteller and meticulous historian. I cannot recommend it strongly enough, particularly for fellow Vietnam veterans and their families, military historians, and anyone interested in what American soldiers went through in the Vietnam War.”
—James H. Willbanks, PhD, is a Vietnam veteran and author of Abandoning Vietnam and The Battle of An Loc

"This book is a superb story of a U.S. Army company in combat. As with Marine Lt. Phil Caputo's memoir, A Rumor of War, The Boys of '67 is simply a story about war, the things men do in war and the things war does to them. The saga of the American soldier remains an important story that deserves to be told. Readers are in Wiest's dept for making Charlie Company's story accessible to the American Public."
--COL Cole C. Kingseed, Army Magazine

"...
Wiest concentrates on the human side of the conflict ... [he] spent three years interviewing sixty-one officers and men of Charlie Company, 4th Battalion, 47th Infantry. He tells their stories well and emphatically..."
--Marc Leepson, Vietnam Veterans of America (September/October 2012)

"This is a compelling and intimate look at one unit's wartime experience, filled with loss, excitement, humor, and pain that readers of wartime memoirs will especially want to share."
--Library Journal (October 15, 2012)

"This intimate, hardback book is illustrated with 25 color and 10 black and white illustrations. Its publication coincides with the 45th anniversary of Charlie Company’s tour of duty in Vietnam. The Boys of ’67 delivers the unvarnished truth about the men’s experiences from the chaos of combat to the challenges they have faced reintegrating into society."
--Toy Soldier & Model Figure (January 2013)

"Vietnam has been the subject of countless books: this is one of the best. Exhaustively researched and expertly written, it allows us a glimpse of the intense bonds of comradeship forged by soldiers in the white heat of combat."
--Saul David, BBC History Magazine (January 2013)

"...a powerful Vietnam testimony that's a 'must' for any military collection!"
- James A. Cox, The Midwest Book Review

"Wiest’s use of personal interviews and letters home put a personal touch on the book. I felt a growing sense of attachment to the men of Charlie Company as the book progressed, felt a sense of their heartache when their brothers died, and I sympathized for many of them who struggled with PTSD following the war. Wiest addresses the ugliness and humanity of war, but also the loving bonds that are created between men who experience war together and the indelible marks it leaves on their minds." 
--Abigail Pfeiffer, Armchair General

“In the final analysis, this book is a superb story of a US Army company in combat... The Boys of ‘67 is simply a story about war, the things men do in war and the things war does to them. The saga of the American soldier remains an important story that deserves to be told. Readers are in Wiest’s debt for making Charlie Company’s story accessible to the American public.”
--Col. Cole C. Kingseed, USA Ret.

"...this book is a superb story of a US Army company in combat ... The Boys of '67 is simply a story about war, the things men do in war and the things war does to them. The saga of the American soldier remains an imoprtant story that deserves to be told. Readers are in Wiest's debt for making Charlie Company's story accessible to the American public."
--ARMY Magazine (May 2013)

"I recommend this book to any person who served, or who knows someone that did serve in Viet Nam, or to anyone who wants to know what it is like to be in a combat zone during a firefight in the Viet Nam war. This book is not for the feint of heart, as it contains some rather graphic descriptions of wounds and casualties, and is heart-wrenching in its story that will affect the young and the old."
- Richard Mataka, www.mataka.org (June 2013)

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781780962023
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing, Limited
  • Publication date: 9/18/2012
  • Series: General Military Series
  • Pages: 376
  • Sales rank: 352,150
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 1.34 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrew Wiest is presently a Visiting Professor in the Department of Warfighting Strategy at the United States Air Force Air War College and is Professor of History at the University of Southern Mississippi, where he co-directs the Vietnam Studies Program and the university's Center for the Study of War and Society.  He also has served as a Visiting Senior Lecturer at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.  He is the author of many books including: Haig: The Evolution of a Commander (Potomac, 2005); The Vietnam War, 1956-1975 (Osprey, 2002); War in the Age of Technology (edited with Geoffrey Jensen, NYU Press, 2001); and Passchendaele and the Royal Navy (Greenwood, 1995).

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Table of Contents

Preface: Meeting Charlie 7

Introduction: The Need for Charlie 17

Prelude: Losing the Best we had 24

1 Who was Charlie? 31

2 Training 50

3 To Vietnam and into the Rung Sat 86

4 Into Battle 127

5 The Day Everything Changed 158

6 The Steady Drumbeat of War 208

7 Charlie Transformed, Battlefield Coda, and the Freedom Bird 242

8 Home from War 289

Glossary 341

The Men of Charlie Company 346

Bibliography 359

Acknowledgements 364

Dedication 367

Index 368

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2013

    Larry Lilley is my Uncle

    For the first time in my life I understand you a little more than I thought possible. You would never talk of the war and your part in it, now I see why. Even though I was small when you went, I have vivid memory's of helping Mom get the care package's together for you and Charlie, I have not made another picnicker since then. Can't say that I won't smile or giggle when I think of you and Bug juice. Uncle Larry, Hero looks good on you. Love you Joy

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2013

    great story, makes you proud you're an american

    great story, makes you proud you're an american

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 23, 2012

    FIVE STARS

    Great read! Enjoyed the book since I was in the Nam in 1967 with the USMC.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2012

    Not a fast mover!

    If you enjoy stats, and the minutiae of personal details of each subject herein, this book is for you. It is skillfully written with detail in mind, but is not what you would call a page turner. One expects a perspective to develop regarding the war, but it is slow to emerge. I'd rate it a 7 out of ten.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2014

    Very Informative.

    This book helped me understand what the soldiers had to go through.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2014

    Helps me to understand what my friend went through a year latter

    Helps me to understand what my friend went through a year latter in 68 . A CO 4th sqaud 2nd 47th . Line doggies getting the worst to come home and get it again . Shame on you !

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews

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