TDY: A Novel

TDY: A Novel

by Douglas Valentine


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This novel by Douglas Valentine, author of the nonfiction bestseller The CIA as Organized Crime, is based on a true story, one told to him by a Vietnam veteran and barely, yet grippingly, fictionalized here.

In early 1967, a bored, adventurous photojournalist on an Air Force base in Texas is offered a Temporary Duty (TDY) assignment somewhere overseas. The mission is steeped in secrecy, but Pete is promised a large bonus and hazardous duty pay. So he agrees.

He and a small group of photojournalists, each with a special skill, are isolated on a Special Forces base where they are kept under constant surveillance by a group of highly trained and menacing soldiers.

The small band of twelve men is flown overseas on a transport plane large enough for 120 men. They are never told where they are going, until they arrive. And when they finally reach their destination, the mission that unfolds is terrifying beyond anything Pete ever imagined. The secret would haunt him for the rest of his life.

TDY shows how “black operations” are organized and conducted. Meticulous in detail, and accurate in every aspect of “over the fence” missions deep into enemy territory, it reveals for the uninitiated the skill, determination, and self-sacrifice of American soldiers.

In stark contrast to the honor and commitment of these soldiers, TDY reveals the unimaginable duplicity and corruption of powerful men for whom American soldiers and civilians are pawns in a ruthless game.

Written in sparing prose, TDY is a story of Pete’s journey through the underworld and his awakening to the reality of the Vietnam War and the CIA role in Southeast Asia.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781949762204
Publisher: Clarity Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 02/21/2020
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 240,013
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Douglas Valentine is an American journalist and author of six works of historical nonfiction,The Hotel Tacloban, The Phoenix Program, The Strength of the Wolf (winner of the Choice Academic Library Award), The Strength of the Pack, and The CIA as Organized Crime. His articles have appeared regularly in Counterpunch, ConsortiumNews, and elsewhere. Portions of his research materials are archived at the National Security Archive (both a Vietnam Collection and a separate Drug Enforcement Collection), Texas Tech University’s Vietnam Center, and John Jay College.

Read an Excerpt

My final clearances and TDY orders came two days later on a Friday, not from the Personnel Director, but directly from the hard-charging Security Chief. I got a call at my office saying he wished to speak to me in his office, “ASAP.” And what he had to say was, “You’ve got the assignment if you want it.”

I said I definitely wanted it.

“Then here are your orders,” he said. “Take a good look at them.”

On his desk was a standard TDY form; a single sheet of paper titled Temporary Duty Order—Military. At a glance it looked perfectly legitimate.

The Security Chief had signed his name as the Orders Issuing Official, and the Personnel Director had signed his as the Orders Authenticating Official. The Purpose of TDY was Photo/Reconnaissance, just as I’d been

told. The Itinerary listed a California APO Zip Code as my point of departure, and Clark Air Force Base as my destination. No problem. Approximate Number of Days indicated thirty, and all the biographical data was accurate.

I couldn’t see anything wrong with it. Not that I expected to, or knew what type of irregularities to look for anyway.

“Have you seen your orders?” the Security Chief asked rhetorically.

“Yes, sir,” I replied, showing no concern. But something about his detached manner put my journalistic instincts on alert. So just to be on the safe side, I asked, “Do I get a copy, sir?”

“No you do not,” he snorted. “You’ve seen your orders and that’s enough.” Stiffening slightly and looking at me askance, he said, gratuitously, “You still want the job, don’t you?”

I said I did. Even if I did have my reservations, I wasn’t about to back away from twenty-five hundred dollars because of a single piece of paper.

“Good,” he said, slipping the TDY order form in his top drawer. “Now that we’ve gotten that taken care of, you’ll return to Eglin for your preparation. You’ll be leaving tomorrow. Can you do that?”

I said I could.

The Security Chief was satisfied. “You know what to pack and how to conduct yourself?”

I said I did, and that was that. The next day I was on another hop to Eglin with only the foggiest notion of why. But that’s standard procedure in the military. People come and go and no one asks questions, especially

of superior officers. It’s all part of the motivational indoctrination. When your job is done you go back to doing whatever you did before. You might unwind with someone you were trained with and live with, and trust implicitly. But you never talked to strangers. It was the same unwritten rule

Customer Reviews

TDY 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
TDY Author: Douglas Valentine Authors Choice Press 2000 Here¿s another offering from the author of ¿The Phoenix Program¿ (see SW #) - a book we highly recommend. ¿Based on facts, TDY (Temporary Duty Missions) is an action adventure story told by Pete, a young Air Force photojournalist. In early 1967, Pete is tricked into volunteering for a secret and very dangerous mission into Southeast Asia. ¿Thirty years after the event that changed his life, Pete steps forward to describe the powerful forces that deceived him, and continue to deceive the American public. TDY reveals the harsh reality of the U.S. Governments complicity in international drug trafficking¿ ¿From the back cover. This book is a good, fast read. At 126 pages I read it in a couple of hours. This is the story told to Douglas Valentine by a former member of VVAW who in 1970 was warned by the government to keep him mouth shut about his time in Laos. Not until 30 years later does he tell this story, still feeling threatened by the government but knowing that his family is grown and now is the time to come out of his shell. There is excellent exposure of the co-operation between American CIA and South Vietnam Officials drug smuggling and general exposure of CIA activity during the Nam war. As exposing as the book is, the Epilogue is somewhat of a let down. This is the story of someone who was deceived by the CIA and yet continued to work with them, tour after tour in `Nam. As some point he gets disillusioned but concludes: ¿What we had to do to survive doesn¿t bother me. What bothers me is the knowledge that our leaders conspired with Hanoi, Peking and Moscow not to expand the war. In fact, they collaborated with the enemy and should be shot as traitors, just like the CIA agents who were running drugs in Laos. It was the corporate politicians and generals who lost the war, not the press or the war protestors, and that¿s a hard pill for true believers to swallow.¿ While this may be one persons experience, it strikes us too much as an ¿honor the warrior¿ view that actually opposed the Vietnamese peoples right for liberation. VVAW AI stand is that it was the Vietnamese won the war because of the power of the people. Still a good read!