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Valentine's Day: A Marine Looks Back - 2014

Front Cover, Valentine's Day: A Marine Looks Back - 2014 - ISBN 978-0615983998.

Front Cover, Valentine's Day: A Marine Looks Back - 2014 - ISBN 978-0615983998. GGA Image ID # 1372a5ff9d

This is a true account, at least as true as forty odd years allows me to be. I've struggled long and hard with the dilemma of being true and accurate against the sorrow of those family members who were affected by the loss of loved ones in Vietnam.

From the Publisher

This is an account of my experiences in the Vietnam War starting with my assignment to Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 27th Marine Regiment, in February 1968. My story is not complete, since many memories have faded or been blocked from my mind, nor is it a comparison between my experiences and those of any others who served in Vietnam.

If anything, my experience could be classified as "common." We weren't in the "big battles" that everyone knows about, but we weren't taking it easy either. We participated in some major operations, but mostly we just slugged it out day and night for 13 months - one month more than an Army tour, one extra month for the Corps. Oorah!!!

We did the job we were called to do. All Marines gave that one extra step. Some displayed real heroism beyond the sight of cameras or officers. Some suffered horrible wounds and some died. This was war.

However, this is not just an account of Marines in combat, it's also a look at changes in men affected by war. Those who served in combat in the jungles of Vietnam, regardless of service, experienced much of what is written here; in their own way and in their own time.

We are all Brothers in Arms. In order to write this, f'm relying on my letters home. Official Declassified Marine Corps monthly reports, the memories of others and my own memories.

This is a true account, at least as true as forty odd years allows me to be. I've struggled long and hard with the dilemma of being true and accurate against the sorrow of those family members who were affected by the loss of loved ones in Vietnam.

I have chosen to be real, to be honest, and pray that anyone affected in a negative way by these events will forgive me for my sometimes brutal accounts. Also, by the request of some families, I have omitted the actual names of their loved ones.

It has been said that the men in combat in Vietnam commonly went by nicknames. This was not the case in the units I served with. It was more common to call men by their last name which was the norm throughout the Corps.

The names listed here are accurate. Those who died can be visited on "The Wall" and given the salute they so richly deserve. Vietnam was a real war, not just a movie or television war. Men fought and men died,

God bless their souls. May God grant me the ability to tell it like it was, so that those who read this will know, at least in some small way, the effects of that war in a faraway place called Vietnam. Forgive the foul language, but accuracy requires that I tell it like it was.

I dedicate this to Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God: without whom I would not be alive to tell this tale. To all the members of 2nd Platoon, Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 27lh Marines and 2nd Platoon, Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 5lh Marines who were there with me, I say, "I am proud to have served with you."

To my family who lived with the threat that I might not return alive; to my children who grew up with a mixed-up dad; to my wife Debra for her encouragement and constant support in writing this account; and to all the families who had their young men in harm's way, I say, "Thank you for your care, patience and understanding."

To all who fought in Vietnam, I say, "Thank you for your service in the jungles of Vietnam." This may conjure up unpleasant memories for some or lead to a deeper understanding for others. If so, I hope those memories and realizations are healing. My thanks to Josh Klaaren, my good friend and advisor for his friendship and valuable input.

Lastly, to all who served our country in the Vietnam War and to Marines everywhere, I say, "Semper Fi."

From the Cover

Nobody tells a story like Van Bibber. But this isn’t just any story, it’s the account of his own experience as a young Marine sent to Vietnam in 1968, and it’s starkly honest.

Like “boot camp Marines” plucked from Camp Pendleton hastily loaded onto a C-130 cargo plane, unaware they were destined for Da Nang, readers of this book are in for an adventure whether they’re ready or not!

The M-60 machine gun, operated skillfully, is a force to be reckoned with, yet many gunners are killed within the first minute of a fire fight. The author explains that therefore, the enemy concentrates fire against the machine gun as soon as it opens up. The same tracer rounds that help the gunner adjust his fire also display a clear line for the enemy to return fire.

Despite the odds, Van Bibber completed a full 13-month tour. Though he survived in body, the “bush Marine” that returned to the United States in 1969 was someone else entirely. Lauded for his ability to portray the sights, sounds, and smells from the jungle and rice paddies of Vietnam, the author also shares with us his emotions at the time.

Van Bibber wrote this book in 2013, so the narrative betrays the wisdom and perspective gained in the years since then, yet two unique features assure that this work is free of any revisionism: His family saved the letters he wrote home from Vietnam, and excerpts included here show us the most personal and private thoughts of a Marine in that place and time.

Historic accuracy is further assured by inclusion of the recently declassified Marine Corps reports, containing casualty data and battle details with precise coordinates. Naturally, the subject matter is powerful, and indexing those reports with his own experiences plus those of several fellow Marines allows this story to be told with unprecedented realism.

This book will grant civilians insight towards the experience of combat...both immediate and long-lasting, and it will grant Veterans the hope that not everything lost in War is gone forever.

—Joshua Klaaren, Physician Assistant

 

Back Cover, Valentine's Day: A Marine Looks Back - 2014 - ISBN 978-0615983998.

Back Cover, Valentine's Day: A Marine Looks Back - 2014 - ISBN 978-0615983998. GGA Image ID # 1372b9fe56

Author Inscription, Valentine's Day: A Marine Looks Back - 2014 - ISBN 978-0615983998.

Author Inscription, Valentine's Day: A Marine Looks Back - 2014 - ISBN 978-0615983998. GGA Image ID # 13730ab2f7

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