From their early days in 1965 when the order of the day was to drive the insurgent Viet Cong from the villages around Da Nang to the final, dramatic evacuation of Saigon ten years later, Semper Fi—Vietnam relates the whole gutsy, glorious saga of the Marines in Vietnam in stark, riveting detail.
Acclimating to their strange new surroundings occupied the Marines’ first few weeks in South Vietnam. . . . Throughout the day, peasants dressed in pajama-like clothing and sporting conical hats worked the paddies behind the heaving water buffalo. . . .
If daytime scenes appeared bucolic, the arrival of sunset quickly changed that perception. Gunfire and explosions erupted at dusk. Marines nervously watched bright tracers cut colorful swaths across the night sky. From distant bamboo thickets, mortar shells flew skyward to crash in the paddies. The Marines were learning that the war in South Vietnam was unlike anything for which they’d been trained.