Marble Mountain presents a personal account of a young man's 1966 combat tour as a Marine helicopter pilot. Of the many books I have read about Vietnam, Marble Mountain wins hand down for its raw honesty, youthful naiveté, and pure readability.Through riveting imagery, Bud Willis finally opens a window of understanding for readers of any age to experience the conflicting drama of one of the most challenging periods of American history. Gripping, heart-wrenching, and realistic, Bud's poignant memoir lingers with the reader well beyond the conclusion of the book with a powerful message that is as relevant today as it was 45 years ago. I thank the author and all of the men of VMO-2 for the patriotism, courage, and bravery that they demonstrated for future generations. They truly sparkled as shining examples othe Marine Corps's promise of "a few good men." This book should be required reading for all Americans, and its timing could make it a bestseller.
Dr. Dianne Sawyer
American Literature and English Language Instructor
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Is "Marble Mountain" a humorous book, a memoir, a personal legacy, or a war story regarding the author's plight as a Huey helicopter pilot in the early stages of the Vietnam War? The answer really depends on who is reading it. Regardless of who that is, Bud Willis's book revealed disturbing trends of a war that in 1966 was just warming up to its unavoidable climax. This was the year that Bud Willis arrived in Vietnam, brimming with confidence. And why not? he had everything going for him. He had graduated from Tennessee Tech, U.S.M.C. ROTC, Flight School in Pensacola, Florida and the Marine Corps "Observation Station One (VMO-1) at the New River Air Station in Jacksonville, NC. Only the year before, the Marine Corps were the 1st branch of the military to receive a brand new helicopter that was destined to become the symbol of the Vietnam War. Called by many different names, such as a "helo, chopper, gunship, gunbird, the one moniker that stuck was the "Huey." The man that wrote this book, Bud Willis, decided that if he was sent to South Vietnam, which seemed to be the talk of the day, he would journal his experiences in a daily log for the entire 13 month tour. Events conspired to make this vow a self fulfilling prophesy. Just a decade shy of the 10th anniversary of the French debacle at Dien Bien Phu, the arrest and assassination of Ngô Dình Di?m and his brother Ngô Dình Nhu occurred. He was the former president of S.Vietnam, and his Nov., '63 death marked the culmination of a successful CIA-backed coup d'état led by Gen. Minh in The coup was the culmination of 9 yrs.of autocratic and nepotistic family rule in South Vietnam. Following this, chaos ensued. Hanoi took advantage of the situation and increased its support for the guerrillas. South Vietnam entered a period of extreme political instability, as one military government toppled another in quick succession. Increasingly, each new regime was viewed as a puppet of the Americans. JFK, who was disgusted with ARVN incompetence and instability, just wanted America "out" of S.E. Asia. On Nov. 22, 1963, ex Marine Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK, and LBJ, a strict war hawk... moved in to the White House. The next year guaranteed the fulfillment of Willis's pledge, as the August, 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Incident and Resolution occurred. Willis worked hard at learning how to pilot this new helicopter, and on Feb. 27, 1966 landed in Danang for assignment to the newly established airbase at Monkey Mountain., dubbed VMO2. He had no idea what he was getting into and completely misjudged along with everyone else the degree of ferocity the NVA would be willing to fight and die for a united, Communist ruled nation. Bob Willis chronicles day by day his missions, the troop insertions and extractions he went on, as well as the MedEvac's, SOG Team Black Op Insertions in Laos.There is more heliborne combat assaults, action and gore than the reader is prepared for as nonstop action takes the reader into the Mountains of the DMZ with Willis who with his crew "Razorback Ridge and the Rockpile" are dubbed. Be prepared to sit next to Willis on his Huey flying hi speed desperate missions thru NVA ack ack in the ferocious early days of the Vietnam War. Equally frustrating are the corruption and unreliability of our allies, the ARVN. Very simply put, this is a must read!!!!