“If Trinh allowed himself to think of such things, he would admit that he would gladly trade the rest of his life just to be able to spend one evening together with his father reading from the book of Apollinaire’s poetry that Trinh had burned so many years ago in the mountains near the Chinese border. But, such things are not possible. His father’s body was rotting in some undiscovered pit outside Hanoi where the Japanese had dumped it. His mother had probably died in one of those horrid “comfort houses” where the Japanese forced Vietnamese women to service the sexual needs of their soldiers. The ashes of Apollinaire were scattered across the dark hills that sheltered Vietnam from the Chinese. Such thoughts are dangerous. They would serve only to distract Trinh from his duty, weaken his resolve, confuse him. Sergeant Major Trinh’s only reality is that on this morning, he is on a wooded ridgeline with twenty soldiers of the People’s Army of Viet Nam, a snot-nose Sub-Lieutenant with a party card and a university degree, the enemy near and a mission to accomplish. That was the limit of Sergeant Major Trinh’s allowable reality. ‘Voici que vient l’été la saison violente / Et ma jeunesse est morte ainsi que le printemps‘”(from “A Very Bad Day,” The Violent Season).
The Violent Season is about people, Americans and Vietnamese; men and women; some young, and some old; some innocent and eager, and some jaded and worn out; some in love, some no longer capable of it. All are transformed in the crucible of war.
A Grunt Speaks
A Five Star Book Available Now from Amazon
What was it like to be a nineteen year old US Army infantryman in the highlands of Vietnam in the late ‘sixties? Ray Gleason’s book, A Grunt Speaks: A ‘Devil’s Dictionary of Vietnam Infantry Tales & Terms from Unlimited Publishing LLC, uses the terminology and concepts of the Vietnam-era infantry to explore the infantrymen’s attitudes toward their role in the war, the anti-war movement, their enemies and each other.
From A Grunt Speaks
CONUS. Pronounced CON-us
1. What Robert McNamara did to get us to stay in Nam.
2. An acronym for “Continental United States”; in other words, “home,” “the world.”
Dengue. Pronounced, DENG—ee. A Spanish attempt at the Swahili phrase ki denga pepo, meaning “cramp-like seizures caused by evil spirits and lifers.”
This was the typical condition of a grunt in the field during the rainy season. It was a flu-like condition caused by feeding the non-malaria-bearing mosquitoes with a grunt’s blood. Symptoms of dengue include fever, severe headache, muscle and joint pain, rash, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
My most pronounced symptom, other than a low-grade fever, fatigue and headaches, was the feeling that red hot needles were being stuck into my back—about as kinky as life in grunt-dom got—especially when you realized you can’t scream in the dark!
But, a slight case of dengue would not get a grunt out of the field. Go see Doc, get some aspirin, stop bitchin’ and drive on.”
“Fantastic 5 star Book! Once you pick it up, you wont put it down. This book brings back great memories through all the acronyms and words soldiers lived;(live) by. The definitions and nomenclature articulated in this book supported by interesting personal stores gives the reader a fantastic glimpse into the world of the “grunt”. This is a book both military and non-military personnel will enjoy. Soldiers of today can relate to many words that live on and easily add new ones in the technical world we live in today.”
“As a former Platoon leader with the 9th Inf Div in the Mekong Delta, I think this book captures the esssence of the “field” environment of the infanryman in Vietnam. By defining the Jargon, and blending his explanations with actual soldier experiences, former Sgt (in Vietnam) Gleason allows the reader a greater ability to relate to what it was really like. Don’t miss the rat story at the firebase, it’s a hoot! Another don’t miss is the tutoring lesson on land navigation…it makes maneuvering in unfamiliar terrain much simpler. Heck, I even learned some new terms used by other grunts in Vietnam. Good job, Professor!”
“Our national president…enjoyed the book segments so much that he also went and bought a copy. Great stuff…thanks to Ray Gleason for writing an excellent book,” wrote Christian Nelson, National Editor of Vietnow Magazine (Vietnow.com), in October of 2012.
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