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Vietnam Vignettes - Tales of an Infantryman by Lee Basnar

Vietnam Vignettes - Tales of an Infantryman

by Lee Basnar

184 pages
An infantry company commander's memoir of two tours in Vietnam.

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About the Book

In vivid prose, Vietnam Vignettes discloses the author's innermost feelings about his experiences as an advisor and an infantry commander in Vietnam in the late sixties and early seventies.

Writing with the clarity of a seasoned journalist and with the insight of a soldier who came up through the ranks, Lee Basnar describes the war's horrific impact on Vietnamese peasants, and details his soldiers' daily struggle to survive. He presents a new perspective on what it meant to be an infantryman in the longest war in our nation's history.

From searching for missing soldiers upon taking command of Charlie Company to leading his troops in a night combat air assault to rescue a beleaguered platoon, the author immerses the reader in each scene. He explains why a top-secret operation in North Vietnam drowned four of his soldiers. He skillfully conveys tension, fear, and courage as his infantrymen engage in a series of firefights across the coastal plain and in the jungled mountains west of Chu Lai.

This collection of tales goes far beyond the mines, booby traps, snipers, and spider holes that his soldiers encountered almost daily. The author decries the unreasonable rules of engagement regarding the use of indirect fire when enemy bullets wounded his warriors in open rice paddies. He voices his thoughts about a staff officer who tragically diverted helicopters to the wrong landing zone - helicopters that transported Charlie Company during one of its many combat air assaults.

He depicts flying with an air force forward air controller on a combat mission. When the pilot dived the OV - 10 Bronco spotter plane and fired a white phosphorous rocket to mark the enemy base camp as a target for an Australian bomber crew, the enemy responded.

While a truck convoy that he commanded delivered artillery pieces to the isolated Tra Bong firebase, Captain Lee Basnar rode above the column in a helicopter. When rocket - propelled grenades slammed into the convoy during the return trip to Chu Lai, the infantry officer and his pilot each earned a Distinguished Flying Cross for evacuating wounded soldiers while under intense enemy fire.

Vietnam Vignettes tells of the war's impact on the children who greeted the infantry company during some of its operations in villages near LZ Stinson. It portrays the beauty and the ugliness of Vietnam, the monsoons, the heat, the endless nights, the rattle of machine guns, the tracers lashing the darkness, the misery and the humor, and the tough life of an infantryman in Charlie Company.

The author's respect and admiration for his soldiers who fought well despite the lack of backing from many citizens at home is evident throughout the book.

Vietnam Vignettes is a tribute to all infantrymen who fought in Vietnam, to those who supported them on the battlefield, and to the Americans who welcomed the warriors home.

 

 

About the Author
Lee Basnar served overseas in Germany, France, and Alaska. He attained the enlisted rank of Sergeant First Class, received a direct commission, and retired as a Major. During his two tours in Vietnam, he was an advisor in MACV Team 22 and commanded Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 52nd Infantry.

 

 

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