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Vietnam: My War—Five Decades Later

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Vietnam

My War—Five Decades Later
  • by James Ike Schaap, Ph.D.
  • Merriam Press Vietnam War Series
    • First Edition 2017
    • 99 photos/illustrations/maps
  • Hardcover - TBA
  • eBook Edition - TBA
As you probably know, there are hundreds of books on a variety of topics about the Vietnam War. Many of these manuscripts deal with heroic actions and stories of courage and sacrifice. Professor Schaap’s work does as well.

The majority of the other tomes published about this conflict are presented strictly in a historical perspective.  Some books actually bounce around the course of military events that happened over a ten-year period of time. Besides, many of them—especially the memoirs—talk about the same old stuff—one combat event after another in an impersonal and unemotional way, using one vulgar word after another.

However, Dr. Schaap, an academician for over 38 years, has addressed the Vietnam War quite differently. He has adopted the individual side of this conflict in a more personal way. The author has also included a collection of his dangerous experiences and deadly missions that reflect what young warriors went through during the early phase of the Vietnam War. As such, this book is most touching as well as enlightening to read.

By comparison as well as product differentiation, Vietnam: My War—Five Decades Later is primarily about "educating" the first-time reader to what life was like for a typical combat Marine in Vietnam. Like some of the other books about Vietnam, it does cover key combat operational events. But it really goes well beyond that. Schaap’s work reaches to the more poignant and emotional side of the reader. Further to this point, it shares with the reader, in a true-to-life way, with virtually no vulgarity, what a Marine Corps existence was like for the author for almost two full years, starting off by completing a full beachhead landing in Da Nang, Vietnam, and ending with him as a military policeman in Camp Pendleton, California.

Schaap’s book provides the reader with what he or she needs to know about the Marines and the early part of this conflict. This is accomplished from a "big picture" as well as a "small-picture" standpoint.  It is written in a way that you can easily understand and appreciate.

Contents

Introduction
Chapter 1: Looking Back—Five Decades Ago
Chapter 2: Vietnam: Da Nang
Chapter 3: Vietnam: Reassigned to Another Unit
Chapter 4: Vietnam: Chu Lai
Chapter 5: Vietnam: Batangan Peninsula … and More
Chapter 6: Vietnam: Que Son Valley
Chapter 7: Vietnam: An Trach
Chapter 8: Vietnam: It is Time to Go Home, or is It?
Chapter 9: Camp Pendleton: The Later Days
Chapter 10: Five Decades Later: So, What Does It All Mean?
Chapter 11: Epilogue
Glossary
Appendix 1: Vietnam War Statistics (20 tables)
Appendix 2: Myths and Facts About the Vietnam War
Appendix 3: Facts About the Vietnam War
Appendix 4: Presidential Unit Citation to the Third Marine Division (Reinforced)

Today's U.S. Generals Haven't Learned Much From Past Wars

by James Schaap

Reno-Gazette Journal, June 15, 2017

Just over 50 years ago, I was a frontline combat Marine in the Vietnam War during 1965-1966. I served in two famous infantry battalions. On March 29, 1973, we left Vietnam, unfortunately, in disgrace after ten long years of fighting, incurring more than 58,000 servicemen and women killed in action (KIA).

Fast forward — we have been fighting in Afghanistan for 16 years now — the longest war ever fought by the United States, sustaining over 2,300 service people KIA. Ask yourself, what do we have to show for it?

President Donald Trump faces tough decisions about how to proceed in Afghanistan, where rebuilding projects have repeatedly failed, hindered by bribery and fraud among Afghan nationals and United States contractors. Ironically, military leaders have already begun calling for an increased U.S. troop presence in the country, which could anger Trump’s voting base — people like me. In February of this year, Gen. John W. Nicholson, Jr. (a U.S. Army four-star general who has commanded our forces in Afghanistan and the Resolute Support Mission since March 2016) described the situation as a "stalemate" and issued a warning about heavy casualties among U.S.-trained forces in the country.

I have just published a book, Vietnam: My War – Five Decades Later, about my first-hand warfare experiences during the earliest phase of the Vietnam War. I discuss the lessons and strategies put forth by Sun Tzu in his book The Art of War. Then I ask why haven’t our politicians and senior-level military strategists learned anything from the Vietnam conflict? From my perspective, we have not. We have not because I do not feel that the current political powers, on both sides of the aisle, as well as our current key military leaders have the guts and conviction to fight a war as described by this ancient Chinese general, superior military strategist and great philosopher.

My advice is that today’s U.S. military and political leaders of the Afghan effort should take away a clear understanding of Sun Tzu’s work: “The supreme act of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

Sun Tzu went on to state that you must: “Know your enemy, know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.”

And lastly, Sun Tzu stated: “Once war is declared, he will not waste precious time in waiting for reinforcements, nor will he turn his army back for fresh supplies, but cross the enemy’s frontier without delay.”

Photo of author James Schaap

James I. Schaap is a former Marine Corps Corporal and an 80% service-connected disabled Vietnam Veteran who lives in Reno. Learn more about his new book at www.jamesikeschaap.com.


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