From an early age Henry "Rocky" Colavita dreamed of becoming an Army officer. And a policeman. He eventually did both. His engaging, often funny memoir covers the author's 20 year career in the U.S. Army, including multiple tours in Vietnam, and his subsequent 17 year career in law enforcement. Henry was born in New Jersey, raised in Hawaii for a time and grew up in Virginia where most of his schoolmates were Army brats. But his next door neighbor was a cop. The perfect situation for him to develop an affinity for service, both military and public. Wounded in Vietnam on his first tour, he returned for a second tour, this time as Infantry captain in command. He returned home, age 28, and continued his military career--including a stint at The Pentagon and in Berlin, eventually retiring in 1983 and beginning his second career--in law enforcement.
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About the Author
Henry J. "Rocky" Colavita served multiple tours in Vietnam. His fiirst was as an advisor with the Vietnamese Airborne in '65 & '66, and the second as a company commander with the 1st Cavalry Division in '68 & '69. After 20 years he retired from the Army as a lieutenant colonel and was then hired by the Fairfax County,VA Sheriff's Office where, over the next 17 years, he progressed through every rank from private to Chief Deputy Sheriff. He currently lives in Haymarket, VA.
Read an Excerpt
I know from the many reunions I have attended with former soldiers of Delta Company, 2/8 Cav, that we don’t all agree on the details of the combat experiences we shared. For example, at several of our reunions one of my former troopers continues to ask, “Skipper, remember that gook we threw out of the chopper?” I swear, we never threw anyone out of a chopper. In fact, what I remember about the few prisoners we did take was, as soon as they were secured and no longer a threat to us, my soldiers offered them cigarettes and some of the tastiest items from the C- Ration boxes, like the peaches or pound cake. Prisoners were never in our custody very long since the intelligence types from higher headquarters couldn’t wait to meet them. In that regard, we did put POWs on helicopters in the custody of others and I do not believe for a minute that any of them got thrown out.
Over the years since Vietnam, I have written many letters on behalf of my soldiers to help them get combat awards they should have received but didn’t, mostly with a favorable outcome. Another type of letter I have written for my soldiers is in support of their claims for Veterans Administration (VA) compensation for PTSD. This letter described a gruesome or traumatic incident or event in which the soldier was involved contributing to his PTSD. After one of our reunions I wrote such a letter for one of my soldiers who told me he was still deeply troubled since he found the head of an unfortunate soldier who was blown to bits on LZ Rita one night by a mysterious explosion. One or two reunions later, another soldier asked for such a letter telling me he had been the one who found the dead soldier’s head. The deceased soldier actually left enough body parts on the LZ that I sincerely believe neither one of those soldiers was untruthful and both had found a trauma inducing piece of human anatomy. I wrote a letter for him also.
I am sure after my book is published and I let my guys know about it, many of them will want to get it and bring it with them to a reunion, at which time I’ll be happy to sign their copy. But I am also sure some will write or call me or tell me at that next reunion, “Skipper, that wasn’t the way that incident went down.” Or, “That happened on LZ Carolyn, not Rita,” or, such and such “… happened a week later than you wrote.” However, this is my military memoir and, that being the case, the only recollection that counts here is mine!
I am also sure there will be hurt feelings for some of my combat brothers whom I didn’t mention by name. The fact is, with incoming replacements due to tour completions caused either by normal DEROS or by enemy action, easily two hundred or more soldiers were with me in Delta Company. They will have to be satisfied knowing that they are my brothers and I love them.