A Vietnam War Memoir

The mid-1960s witnesses scores of college men being sworn in as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army. Leo V. Kanawada, Jr., was one of these ROTC graduates.

In 1965, Kanawada journeys to Fort Benning to participate in the Infantry Officers Basic Course. With an emphasis on jungle warfare and small unit and platoon tactics, it is obvious that the war in Vietnam would be his stomping grounds for the next thirteen months. When he receives orders to report to board a plane to Korea, he is taken aback.

For the year of 1966, Kanawada describes his duties and activities as an infantry officer with the Second Infantry Division. From Support Command to Headquarters Company commander to the supervisory officer of the division’s 1,600 Korean Service Corps workers, he becomes acutely aware of Korea’s history, its present hopes and fears, and the defensive role which the United States plays in what he calls America’s Korea Model.

First Lieutenant Kanawada volunteers in late 1966 to serve another year in Vietnam. He is assigned to the 71st Assault Helicopter Company as an administrative officer, occasionally volunteering for numerous military assault missions in the III Corps and southern sector of Vietnam as a door gunner. To see the country, he says, and the war up close.

Later, he submits papers requesting to serve as a platoon leader. He travels up north to I Corps and the 196th Light Infantry Brigade. As a platoon leader and later as a captain in the headquarters operations bunker of the 3/21st Infantry Battalion, he sees the war up close in the central highlands.

With insights from prominent military historians blended together with the author’s recollections and about 300 photos, every reader will receive a memorable portrait of a period of time that played such a crucial role in American foreign policy.

Leo V. Kanawada, Jr.

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