Okay Okay, Holy Sh*t Vietnam, by Fred Krebsbach ISBN 9780989671019
Five out of five stars
The major advantage of the publishing of books being opened to all is that the common, yet unique personal stories are being expressed. Once of the most frequent books that I receive review requests for is the memoir of the combat soldier, where much of what they experienced is what they all went through, yet what they did and how they dealt with it remains unique.
As is pointed out in this book, one significant difference between the U. S. soldier in World War II and that of the fighter in Vietnam was the time spent in harm’s way. For the most part in World War II the front lines were well defined, so a unit would be rotated forward for a certain amount of time, then moved back to the rear and safety.
In Vietnam, units were helicoptered into action, fought and then were extracted, only to repeat the process. Furthermore, a battle with local VC could erupt at any time and place. Krebsbach was a member of a unit that was repeatedly injected into combat situations and so, by the end of his tour, he was very close to the last man standing.
People that have read other material written by Vietnam veterans will have experienced almost identical accounts before. Only the names have been changed to reflect the unique perspective. Krebsbach spends some ink describing the difficulties he faced once he returned to civilian life, yet that uses up only about ten pages. He does mention that people, including his father, were afraid of him and that he did receive some kind of counseling help. There is no mention of any serious legal or life trouble.
While it would have made the book much more personal if Krebsbach had been more detailed regarding his transition back to civilian life, it would also have given the reader more insight into the problems of returning soldiers. Given the large numbers of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, this is important.
I teach as an adjunct at a local university and have had many veterans in my classes, recently they have been roughly fifteen percent of the students. Any insight that I could receive regarding their circumstances would be helpful as I deal with them in the classroom.