TO HEAR SILENCE
Author: Ronald W. Hoffman
DEPT: WI POST NO.
USMC: Vietnam 1966-1967
The true Vietnam experience supporting the 3rd Battalion, 26th Marines.
To Hear Silence is the history of Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 13th Marines, from the time of its formation at Camp Horno, California, in July 1966 until the original members left Vietnam in early October 1967.
This book is based on a diary kept by the author while in Vietnam, the actual declassified documents kept by the Marine Corps, and the memories of those who lived through it. To Hear Silence starts with a Prologue on the history of Vietnam which leads up to America’s full involvement in the war. Although partly written in narrative format, this book paints an accurate portrayal of the experiences the 3/26 and its main support unit, Charlie Battery 1/13 in 1966 and 1967 through its day to day, and often minute to minute, accounts of the battalion’s time in Vietnam.
When Hoffman first tried to join the Marine Corps out of high school he was rejected because of his poor eye sight. However two years later, after the Gulf of Tonkin incident, he was drafted and passed the eye physical with no problem.
After basic training and field radio operator’s school, Hoffman received a 30 day leave knowing afterward he would report to Camp Pendleton for deployment to Vietnam. With apprehension Hoffman said his goodbyes to family and friends and headed to an unknown future. However, arriving at Camp Pendleton would find himself and other Marines forming and training with the new 3rd Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Division. After which it was on to San Diego to board ships for Vietnam.
Hoffman describes all the experiences both on the way to and in Vietnam as seen through the eyes of the boots on the ground grunt. You will be subjected to all the complexities, heroics, frustrations, and horrors of this gorilla type warfare. He soon learns this war is comprised of a 360 degree battle ground, an elusive enemy that would blend in with the local populace, as well as his natural jungle environment. This environment constantly tested their bodies and will, to the extreme heat, humidity, monsoon rains, mud, diseases, and parasites. These daily obstacles plus the enemy encounters were all a part of a serviceman’s day and night existence in Vietnam.
You will read about the frustrations of implementing combat objectives, while having to follow the political protocols that were mandated by those who were not in harm’s way. Hoffman recounts the brutalities, causalities, and loss of life the Marines around him and as well as the Marines that were close to him. To Hear Silence also describes the bravery, devotion, and camaraderie to one another as being the norm.
Any serviceman that spent time in Vietnam, regardless of what time period, will be able to relate to the experiences that are documented in this book. For anyone that has never served, or served, but never saw combat, you will learn what life was like in a combat zone. You will get a clear day to day chronology of a thirteen month tour of Vietnam. It is truly a book that honors all Marines and all servicemen that fought in Vietnam. It will enlighten those that want to know and feel the experiences of a war through the eyes of an infantryman on the ground. You will feel and become part of that experience.
After thirteen plus months your tour comes to an end, and in the blink of an eye you are taken from the combat field and land back in the States. Your mental comprehension of what you have seen and endured has a hard time relating to the realities of this new environment and what we called a normal life, as we knew it, before we left. This transition will play out differently by every individual.
Francis L. Nemetz (email@example.com)
P/S The book or DVD can be found on Amazon.