Bac Si: A Green Beret Medic's War in Vietnam, Jerry Krizan and Robert Dumont

Bac Si: A Green Beret Medic's War in Vietnam, Jerry Krizan and Robert Dumont

Jerry Krizan served with the American Green Berets during the Vietnam War (after a brief gap in his college education left him vulnerable to conscription), and ended up volunteering for the Special Forces in the belief that the more skills he had, the better his chance of surviving Vietnam. He was training as a combat medic - not a non-combatant doctor, but a front line soldier who was expected to fight, and then use his medical skills to help anyone who was wounded. He ended up serving at the Loc Ninh ‘A-Force’ base, close to the Cambodia border, where he fought alongside a handful of Americans and a large force of Vietnamese troops, including their own special forces.

The book starts with a series of chronological chapter that set the scene - explaining how he ended in the military, chose the Special Forces and ended up where he did in Vietnam. After that most of the chapters are more thematic - looking at types of operations, particular battles, his various medical roles etc. Finally we follow Krizan on his journey home at the end of his year in Vietnam.

Unlike many of his countrymen, Krizan had plenty of contact with the Vietnamese, both military and civilian. When Loc Ninh wasn’t actually under attack, he seems to have been fairly free to visit the local village and mingle with the locals there, and his patrol duties took him into a series of nearby communities of varying political attitudes. However despite these contacts, the Americans never discovered that a major North Vietnamese HQ was only a few miles from their base, demonstrating the limits of their control even in heavily guarded areas!

This is a fascinating account of an unfamiliar part of the Vietnamese War, written in a compelling style.

1 - The Journey to Special Forces
2 - Arrival at Loc Ninh
3 - First Contact
4 - Running Through Rubber
5 - Right There
6 - Chieu Hoi by the KKK
7 - Battle of Loc Ninh
8 - Loc Ninh, September 1968
9 - An Execution
10 - Operations in the Rubber
11 - Adventures at Village 2
12 - Thanksgiving Dinner
13 - Medical Duties in Camp
14 - Medical MEDCAPS
15 - Camp Sanitation
16 - Dry Season/ Typhoid
17 - Claymores, Ambushes and Hand Grenades
18 - Camp Defences and Attacks
19 - New Directions of the War
20 - Helicopter Attack
21 - Chinese Claymores
22 - Ambush at An Loc
23 - Recon
24 - Incoming at An Loc
25 - Team With a Tank
26 - Song Be Officers Club
27 - Celebrities
28 - Three Times
29 - Going Home
Epilogue - After Vietnam
Appendix A - Coda: The Battle of Loc Ninh, April 1972
Appendix B - The Battle of An Loc

Author: Jerry Krizan and Robert Dumont
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 240
Publisher: Casemate
Year: 2014

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