An Oral History of the U.S. Navy SEALs in Vietnam
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 A surprisingly dry recounting of Vietnam war stories by a group of former SEALs, the Navy commandos who specialize in clandestine, behind-enemy-lines operations. Editor Fawcett provides transcribed testimony from 14 former SEALs, concentrating on their extensive and rigorous stateside training and their ``ops'' in Vietnam. The Fawcett formula: Each man relates his abbreviated life story, beginning with growing up and joining the Navy, ending with a recounting of his experiences in Vietnam. Along the way we get some interesting stories and anecdotes, but the narrative bogs down under the weight of too much military jargon and too many logistical details. For example: ``I wasn't carried on the official Detachment Bravo rolls in Saigon,'' one ex-SEAL explains. ``Though SpecWar knew where I was, not being on the Bravo list gave me more freedom to operate with my PRU [Provisional Reconnaissance Unit]. Det Bravo was the SEAL detachment in Vietnam that was to supply all of the `official' advisors.'' Fawcett, curator for the SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, Fla., says SEAL stories--mostly involving ambushes, kidnapping, intelligence gathering, sabotage, and long-range reconnaissance patrolling--have been ``largely untold until now.'' In fact, SEAL books have become a subgenre in the Vietnam combat action field. To name only those who appear again in Fawcett's book, Richard Marcinko has written four bestselling SEAL-filled action novels (Rogue Warrior, 1992, etc.), and James D. Watson III is the author of Point Man (1993), a memoir filled with tales of his three action-packed Vietnam SEAL tours. The SEAL Vietnam story has been told before; this collection merely adds new voices to the chorus. For Vietnam combat junkies who don't mind wading through acronym-infested waters to read stories of wartime derring-do.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-688-12664-2
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1995


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