I had no contact with Dwight Birdwell or the 3/4 Cav for 33 years, but the book took me back to Highway 1 last week. Accurate and truthful are the events and people (not the case in too many war memoirs). The photos are real troopers who got bloody. Even the dates were interesting for sorting memories.One of my most vivid memories of the war had been Birdwell on a burning tank firing a .50 caliber machine gun until it glowed in the night, and his silhouette carrying out the badly wounded. That memory is in the book (Chapter 19) and accurate to the number of RPG's fired. The lifers, loafers, heros, and base camp warriors are there also, warts and all. Read Tennyson for the glory of the cavalry, read Birdwell for the real thing.
One Hundred Miles of Bad Road
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 21 years ago
I've been a big fan of Keith William Nolan for quite some time. I read The Battle For Saigon with interest because I was a member of the 377th Security Police Squadron USAF that was given the task of defending Tan Son Nhut Airbase. I took part in the defense of the airbase during Tet 68. I read One Hundred Miles of Bad Road, after reading The Battle For Saigon, and finally realized just what Troop B, 3/4 CAV endured out on Highway One outside the west perimeter. The tenacity of the 25th INF and the leadership Lt. Col. Otis and Captain Virant was instrumental in thwarting the sustained ground attack by seven NVA/VC Regiments. This is an accurate account of the battle in and around Tan Son Nhut Airbase. I highly recommend this book.
Told With Great Courage
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 23 years ago
I am so glad that Mr. Birdwell and Mr. Nolan took the time to write this book. My father was killed in the battle of Hoc Mon that is described in the book. At the time I was 2 years old and never knew my father. My heart goes out to the Mr. Birdwell and all the men who served in the 3/4 horse. This book lets me know some of what my father went through during his time in Vietnam. I consider this book a great treasure.
A tremendous book with two, true stories
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 24 years ago
There are two true stories in the book A Hundred Miles of Bad Road. The first one, being the subject of the book, is obvious and has been well-described in the many reviews of this excellent book. The second story is less obvious, but in my opinion, more important. It is a story of hope, not horror, of character, not carnage, of victory, not Vietnam. Dwight Birdwell was not raised in a "Leave It To Beaver" home or community. He was raised in poverty in a poor Cherokee community with poor school, jobs, and spirit, close to the Arkansas line, in far eastern Oklahoma. It was an environment where an ever-present, hopeless, dark fatalism was, for too many, a self-fulfilling prophecy. Dreams of a better life were for fools or outlaws. It was the "mind-set" of crawdads caught in a bucket; not helping each other to escape, but pulling down those who tried. Jobs were hard, and minimum wage,or less, if they could be found. Many of the adult men were unemployed, or under-employed, and too many were hopeless drunks. Birdwell's own natural father was such a man; a cruel alcoholic who was an embarrassment, of which others, in a misery-loves-company environment, did not hesitate to remind young Birdwell. On top of all of these disadvantages, which many white children also faced,Birdwell also faced racism. Though not a full blood, Birdwell is a Cherokee, and he looks like an Indian. At the time Birdwell was raised, the chic whites had not yet declared that it was "cool" to be an Indian.(Whether the chic whites, many of whom I doubt have ever known an Indian, believe what they say today, or whether it is just "politically correct" lip service, may be questioned, but unquestionable is the fact that red-necks never got "the message"). Birdwell does not dwell on racism in the book. However, one has to wonder, if Birdwell had come from a good, all-white family, would he have been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, instead of the Silver Star (awarded twice)? The second story in the book is a story of hope, dreams, determination, honor and courage.IT IS ALSO A STORY OF BEATING THE ODDS BY MAKING THE ODDS THROUGH HARDWORK BALANCED BY MORALITY. In short, it is the story of a pioneer who succeeded. Like all true pioneers, his destination-found was not a place on the map, but a state of mind, a set of beliefs: a philosophy of honor, character, perseverance, and hard work, all fully embraced, together with a strong faith in God. Contrary to what he had been told as a child would be his fate as an adult, Birdwell did not become a drunk or a welfare case number. After his military service, he went to college and graduated. He then went to law school where he graduated in the top 10% of his class. He married but once, and is still married. He has two children, both of whom are products of the marriage, and no others. He became a well-respected attorney, and, in service to his Cherokee people, the Chief Jus
TOPS THE LIST
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 24 years ago
Having read hundreds of books about Vietnam war combat from the perspective of infantry, Rangers, Special Forces, LRRPs, SEALs, and helicopter gunships, I was pleased to find a rare book dealing with American armor combat. With the help fo veteran Vietnam war book author Keith William Nolan, Dwight Birdwell has produced an action packed, easy to read, page turner on his 16 months in Vietnam with a 25th Division armor unit, protecting the main supply route from Saigon to Tay Ninh near the Cambodian border. Arriving Sept. 1967, pre-Tet Birdwell's service as a M48 Patton tank crewman, began with a well lead unit, high moral, and eager for a fight with the Viet Cong. Tet changed all that when Birdwell's unit was dispatched to Saigon where they ran headlong into an enemy regiment which had broke through the wire at Tan Son Nhut Air Base on January 31, 1968. Birdwell's bravery and initiative under intense enemy RPG and gunfire and panic of some fellow troopers won him a Silver Star and a Purple Heart. The narrative of the searing engagement draws one into the action like you are a witness to the blast of tank cannon and the whine of enemy bullets. Birdwell wins a second Silver Star at An Duc in July, 1968, while describing the steady decline of morale and efficiency as troopers realize Washington had no strategy for winning the war. Despite heavy combat, Birdwell manages to preserve his humanity and a measure of idealism, which motivated him to volunteer for Vietnam service, as a teenager. Upon his return to Oklahoma, Birdwell used his G. I. Bill to get an education and eventually earn a law degree and now practices law in Oklahoma City. Of Cherokee heritage, he served for two years as the Chief Justice of the Cherokee Nation. Birdwell's book provides an excellent map to conveniently track ambush and battle site. Also, there are 16 pages of photographs. His epilogue features a "status report" on many officers and troopers he served with and survived the war, including his squadron commander Glenn K. Otis, who went on to be Commander and Chief, U.S Army Europe. Birdwell's book should be on the must read list of every military officer and NCO who might serve in a ground combat unit or support them.
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