BAPTISM BY FIRE
Chris Ronnau volunteered for the Army and was sent to Vietnam in January 1967, armed with an M-14 rifle and American Express traveler’s checks. But the latter soon proved particularly pointless as the private first class found himself in the thick of two pivotal, fiercely fought Big Red One operations, going head-to-head against crack Viet cong and NVA troops in the notorious Iron Triangle and along the treacherous Cambodian border near Tay Ninh.
Patrols, ambushes, plunging down VC tunnels, search and destroy missions–there were many ways to drive the enemy from his own backyard, as Ronnau quickly discovered. Based on the journal Ronnau kept in Vietnam, Blood Trails captures the hellish jungle war in all its stark life-and-death immediacy. This wrenching chronicle is also stirring testimony to the quiet courage of those unsung American heroes, many not yet twenty-one, who had a job to do and did it without complaint–fighting, sacrificing, and dying for their country.
Includes sixteen pages of rare and never-before-seen combat photosFrom the Paperback edition.
For Private First Class Ronnau, Vietnam was 'better than a poke in the face with a sharp stick'. Believing Eisenhower's domino theory, he volunteered for the Army and off to Vietnam he went, armed with an M-14 rifle and American Express travellers cheques. And it only took a matter of a few days from his landing at Saigon to finding himself in a modern day Picket's Charge. 'Every gun out there was on rock and roll. Tracers from both sides flew in all directions. The air around us was supersaturated with burnt gun powder and appeared slightly gray. It was unreal. Each of us was playing Russian roulette and we knew it. The guy to my immediate right let out a groan and fell over after being shot in the belly. A few steps later Sergeant Condor yelped out loud like a swatted puppy as a bullet went in the front of his shirt and out the back. He stumbled forward for a step or two before crashing into the ground on his face. Soon he was back up on his feet again, moving forward and shooting right along with the rest of us. This was absolutely the wildest and most crazy thing that I had ever done in my life.'