"Morning was always a welcome sight to us. It meant two things. The first was that we were still alive. . . ."
In 1967, death was the constant companion of the Marines of Hotel Company, 2/5, as they patrolled the paddy dikes, mud, and mountains of the Arizona Territory southwest of Da Nang. But John Culbertson and most of the rest of Hotel Company were the same lean, fighting Marines who had survived the carnage of Operation Tuscaloosa. Hotel's grunts walked over the enemy, not around him.
In graphic terms, John Culbertson describes the daily, dangerous life of a soldier fighting in a country where the enemy was frequently indistinguishable from the allies, fought tenaciously, and thought nothing of using civilians as a shield. Though he was one of the top marksmen in 1st Marine Division Sniper School in Da Nang in March 1967--a class of just eighteen, chosen from the division's twenty thousand Marines--Culbertson knew that against the VC and the NVA, good training and experience could carry you just so far. But his company's mission was to find and engage the enemy, whatever the price. This riveting, bloody first-person account offers a stark testimony to the stuff U.S. Marines are made of.
About John Culbertson
John J. Culbertson served with the 2/5, 1st Marine Division, at An Hoa, Republic of Vietnam, from December 1966 to July 1967. Mr. Culbertson served as a Marine Rifleman, MOS 0311, on Operation Tuscaloosa. He completed 1st MarDiv Sniper School in Da Nang, where he earned the secondary MOS 8541. He was wounded in action and earned three Purple Hearts. He also was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, and multiple expert rifleman badge awards. Mr. Culbertson received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1971 at the rank of sergeant.