“Captain Doug Chamberlain’s book reaffirms the stark reality, daily agonies and the constant vigilance of commanding a company of Marines and Corpsmen in combat during the height of the Vietnam War in 1968. It is both story and history describing threatening events with split-second decisions changing lives, forever! This book is a compelling read, honest, up-close and personal told by a Company Commander who took his responsibilities seriously! “Skipper” Chamberlain, not only “tells the rest of the story” but “tells the real story” of his time in the field with his Marines and Sailors and of the traumatic, life-changing ordeal of being ordered by higher-ups to bury a U.S. Marine KIA....”
-Grady T. Birdsong, Corporal USMC - 1/27, 2/9 & 3rd MarDiv Communications Company, RVN 1968-1969. Author of To the Sound of the Guns.
“I have known Doug Chamberlain to be a man of constant character and integrity since I first met him as a student athlete at John Brown University in the 1960s. His book recounts his agonized response to a direct order to “bury” the remains of a fallen Marine in Vietnam, followed by a prompt retraction at Doug’s urging and a heroic recovery and return of that body to the family. However, the confusing and critical response from a few officers in the Marine Corp Command set Doug upon a difficult 50-year journey of unanswered questions and great personal stress. His final victorious discovery of the “truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” is a gripping and tough personal narrative that will inspire every reader in difficult circumstances to speak truth, regardless of the consequences.”
-John E. Brown, III Past president of JBU, and former AR State Senator
"Captain Chamberlain’s searing memoir of combat in the southern I Corps zone, during the height of the Vietnam War, not only tells gripping stories of heroism and tragedy... it also unveils, for the first time, the truth of a sorry episode in Marine Corps history that has remained buried for fifty years. Chamberlain’s earnest prose reveals a burdened conscience, but it also demonstrates his unflinching courage in fulfilling his duty as a Marine and a patriot, ultimately proving himself a warrior with his honor intact. I was privileged to help him uncover documentary evidence of the events at the heart of his story, bringing closure after half a century for a company of Marines who were asked to do the unthinkable, and for a family who never understood why they had to bury a loved one—not once, but twice. Bury Him can stand proudly alongside such enduring classics of Marine Corps literature as Robert Leckie’s Helmet for My Pillow and Philip Caputo’s A Rumor of War."
-Paul T. Semones, P.E., Semones Forensic Engineering
A veteran recounts his harrowing experiences as a Marine commander during the Vietnam War.
Debut author Chamberlain was born in 1942, the youngest of five children, and grew up in rural Wyoming and Nebraska. He enjoyed a “storybook” life before the conflict in Vietnam changed him forever. After enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1965 and training in Quantico, Virginia, he was deployed to Da Nang in South Vietnam. A first lieutenant in a class of officers dying at an alarming rate, he soon became the commander of Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines. Given his lack of combat experience when assuming the post, the men under him experienced “obvious concern.” He was also “amazed” at the “poor quality” of the clothing and equipment they were issued, including the M-16 rifles, defects he partly attributed to both incompetent decision-making and the profiteering of the military industrial complex. Chamberlain provides an unflinching account of the “classic” guerrilla warfare he regularly encountered, the grim conditions he suffered along with his men, and the nihilism of the enemy he faced. His recollection of his time in Vietnam culminates in a dispiriting event poignantly conveyed. He recovered the body of a Marine killed in action only to discover a previous mission to do the same had failed. The author claims the operation was deceitfully covered up, an issue he investigated later. In addition, Chamberlain’s feelings of betrayal at the “deplorable” treatment of veterans following the war and the diminishment of his “patriotic fervor” are powerfully and sadly expressed. His memoir, which features uncredited photographs, is as candidly personal as it is historically astute. Besides a captivating account of the war itself, he affectingly shares his struggles with PTSD in the years that followed the conflict and the consolations he found in public service.
A combat veteran’s astute look at the Vietnam War, both captivating and emotionally forthcoming. (photographs)