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!”
“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.
“As a former Platoon leader with the 9th Inf Div in the Mekong Delta, I think this book captures the essence of the “field” environment of the infantryman in Vietnam”
“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 by.”