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The Element of Surprise: Navy Seals in Vietnam History World 20th Century Darryl Young Ballantine Books


13th October 2012 History Books 34 Comments

It used to be said that the night belonged to Charlie. But that wasn’t true where SEALs patrolled. For six months in 1970, fourteen men in Juliett Platoon of the Navy’s SEAL Team One–incuding the author–carried out over a hundred missions in the Mekong Delta without a single platoon fatality. Their primary mission: kidnap enemy soldiers–alive–for interrogation.

CHAPTER ONE

The Navy C-118 left the runway and circled to the north, then to the west, as we gained altitude leaving Guam behind. We were on the last leg of a four-leg flight from Coronado, California, to Tan Son Nhut Air Force Base, Saigon, Republic of Vietnam. The sun was setting as I looked back out the starboard window, watching the shoreline disappear behind a large, reddish, cumulus cloud. Our plane weaved in and out of the large clouds until we gained enough altitude to level out. I couldnt get my mind off our next stop, Vietnam.

The plane landed at Tan Son Nhut at 0230 hours, 29 June 1970. I was one of fourteen men assigned to SEAL Team One, detachment Golf, Juliett Platoon. Out of the two officers and twelve enlisted men, only five had completed one or more tours of duty in Vietnam. The other nine, including myself, would be in-country for the first time.

Lt J.G. Quincannon, Mr. Q, as we called him, was the officer-in-charge of Juliett Platoon. He had a slight eastern accent; dark, short curly hair; and was about five feet, ten inches tall. He had had a previous tour to Nam with SEAL Team One. He was easygoing, and the men of his platoon looked up to and respected him.

Ensign Walsh was second-in-command of Juliett Platoon. He had graduated with UDT/SEAL Training Class 54 and this would be his first tour to Nam. Mr. Walsh was six feet tall, medium build, dark hair, and even after he had just shaved, his dark beard would be exposed on his face. Mr. Walsh was very easy to get along with, but he was one gung-ho son of a bitch. He was quick-thinking, making wise decisions, and was in control of his men and surroundings at all times. He would never ask his men to do anything he wouldnt do himself.

Signalman First Class Petty Officer LePage, the highest ranking enlisted man in our platoon, probably had more experience with SEAL teams in Vietnam than anyone else in our platoon. He was also the oldest man in our platoon. He had been shot in the ass twice and creased in the head by an AK-47 on a previous tour with SEALs. This was at least his third tour to Nam with SEALs, and maybe he even had another. LePage was five-ten, wore a crew cut, had brown hair, and came from New Orleans. He was fun to be around, on or off duty. He liked his whiskey and beerit didnt matter what kind, he drank them all. His nickname was Leaper, and for a good reason.

Radioman Second Class Petty Officer Bruce was six feet, two inches tall, brown eyes, brown curly hair, and a big mustache that looked like a set of Navy parachute wings. This was Bruces second tour to Nam with SEAL Team One. He was a good SEAL operator and a great asset to our platoon. Bruce was from California, and he wore hippie beadsor war beads, as we called them in Namaround his neck.

Machinist Mate Second Class Petty Officer Sitter was another Seal with Nam experience. At five-ten, he was a stocky man with light-colored hair. Sitter also enjoyed his beer on his free time. Sitter was from Oklahoma.

Engineman Baylett went through UDT/SEAL Training Class 52. This was his first time to Nam. Baylett had light brown hair, a round face, big ears that stuck out, and always had a shit-eating grin on his face. He reminded me of Howdy Doody, except for his Pennsylvania drawl and no freckles. Though six feet tall and stocky, he acted like Howdy. Maybe it was his Pennsylvania background. He was a great morale booster for Juliett Platoon.

Aircraft Ordnance Petty Officer Panella was about five-ten, with curly brown hair. He was from California and owned a gold Corvette. While back in the States the gas pedal was always kept to the floor and he couldnt go through the gears fast enough. Being in Nam for his first time, like the rest of us new guys in SEALs, he was in for a treat.

Seaman Weber graduated in my UDT/SEAL training class, Class 53. Being from Nebraska, he had never seen the ocean before. He was six feet tall, with dark hair, a medium build, and brown eyes. Weber was a very quiet person, and it really took a lot to piss this guy off. This was his first time in Nam also.

Seaman Reeves was six feet tall with blond hair and blue eyes. His home town was St. Louis. He had also never seen the ocean until he joined the Navy. Reeves graduated in UDT/SEAL Training Class 53 with Weber and me. The three of us had been training together for a long time, and we knew each other pretty well. We would get to know each other even more as our six-month tour to Nam went on day by day. Reeves was a slim man and seemed to be very independent. He was to be second squads rear security.

Torpedoman Grimes graduated from Class 54. He was six feet tall, with blond curly hair and a thick blond mustache, dark eyes and an intimidating stare. Grimes was from California, and this was his first Vietnam experience. His dad had been a boxer, and he boxed too. Thats where he earned his nickname, The Dude.

Radioman Seaman Shannon was the tallest man in Juliett Platoon, close to six-four with dark hair and brown eyes. This guy always had a smile on his face; a man couldnt ask for a better friend. If Shannon said something, he meant it. Like Mr. Q, Shannon had a slight eastern accent. He came from UDT/SEAL Training Class 54, and grew up in Baltimore.

Ship Fitter Pipe Fireman Strausbaugh was also from Class 54. He was the shortest man in our platoon, but a stocky man. At five-nine, he had light brown hair with a thin blond mustache. He was a quiet guy, but absorbed everything around him. His job was point man for second squad.

Hospital Corpsman First Class Petty Officer Schrier was from Oregon. He was six feet tall, a slim man. He had dark hair with a curl in the front and a trimmed dark mustache. Like LePage, he loved his beer and had plenty of Vietnam experience with SEALs. The medals on his chest proved that. Like most corpsmen in the service, he received the nickname Doc. When Doc spoke, everyone listened. Maybe thats why Doc carried the PRC-77 radio for our platoon. I never could understand why a cowboy would join the Navy. He was always in control of all situations that came up, and was quick-thinking, with sound advice and suggestions, even when he drank too much beer. Everyone in our platoon liked Doc, looked up to him and respected him.

Seaman Young, in Nam for my first time. Nobody made me come here but myself. Blond hair, blue eyes, six feet tall, medium build, thin blond mustache. I was nineteen years old, well-trained, and was ready to do my duties for my country with thirteen of the best men I have ever met in my life. I was to be first squads rear security.

As we disembarked the plane, Lieutenant Boyhan, the SEAL officer in charge of Charlie Platoon, was waiting to meet us. Charlie was the SEAL platoon we were to relieve. Mr. Boyhan informed our officers that five SEALs were killed the day before in a helo crash. A slick had picked up the five men at a place called Sea Float, down on the Ca Mau Peninsula, for a ride to Saigon. Apparently the helo had been shot up on an operation but had not shut down to check out the damage it sustained. So it fell from over a thousand feet into the jungle below. By the time the other SEALs in the platoon geared up and reached the crash site, all the bodies had been stripped of weapons and usable gear. One of the men on the helo was on his way to Saigon to help Mr. Boyhan orient our platoon and welcome us to Vietnam.

What a welcome. I hadnt even seen the enemy and already I was mad. SEAL-team and underwater-demolition team members are close, no matter which team they are from. I was shocked at the bad news, and I wondered if I would make it through my six-month tour.

We rounded up some transportation and loaded our gear for the trip to the Victoria Hotel, downtown Saigon. This hotel was made of concrete, and the walls were old but still had the marks from the wooden forms used when they were poured. The Victoria was one of the SEALs favorite hangouts in Saigon. As we checked in, LePage, our leading (senior) petty officer, suggested we meet on the roof of the hotel after getting settled. Weber, Reeves, and I got a room together on the sixth floor. I was surprised at how cheap it was compared to a hotel in the States, the equivalent of six American dollars. After entering our room, we looked under our pillows and beds for booby traps. After a while we decided to see what was up on the roof. Topside we found a swimming pool along with a bar, food, andof coursebar girls awaited us there. Id have to be pretty drunk to swim in the green, slimy pool, but LePage had arrived first and the partying was well under way.

Although the drug of the day was alcohol, some of the people in my platoon smoked pot. They were always trying to pull me aside to smoke a little with them, but being in a combat zone for my first time, I wanted to stay straight. Besides, I had never tried it.

As the day wore on and our beer consumption increased, we got rowdier. The bar girls sitting opposite us would stick their legs under the table and massage us with their toes. Being a young kid of nineteen, I wasnt used to that sort of thing. They werent the best-looking things I ever saw, but I didnt ask them to stop.

It used to be said that the night belonged to Charlie. But that wasn’t true where SEALs patrolled. For six months in 1970, fourteen men in Juliett Platoon of the Navy’s SEAL Team One–incuding the author–carried out over a hundred missions in the Mekong Delta without a single platoon fatality. Their primary mission: kidnap enemy soldiers–alive–for interrogation.

The Element of Surprise: Navy Seals in Vietnam

Blackjack-34

“Here we go, I said to myself as my system electrified with the familiar rush of adrenaline.”

An elite unit armed to the teeth, the Mobile Guerrilla Force was America’s only real guerrilla force in Vietnam. These men operated for weeks at a time–springing ambushes, destroying base camps, and gathering vital intelligence–in steamy, triple-canopied jungles ruled by the VC and NVA.

On July 18, 1967, Special Forces medic James Donahue and his platoon were on a mission, code-named Blackjack-34, to locate enemy units for the 1st Infantry to destroy. But instead a crack enemy battalion found them.

Now Donahue bears witness to the bloody events of that day and the exceptional grit and determination of his teammates. BLACKJACK-34 is a magnificent tribute to the warriors of Mobile Guerrilla Force–their courage, heroism, and willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice.

"Here we go, I said to myself as my system electrified with the familiar rush of adrenaline."

An elite unit armed to the teeth, the Mobile Guerrilla Force was America’s only real guerrilla force in Vietnam. These men operated for weeks at a time–springing ambushes, destroying base camps, and gathering vital intelligence–in steamy, triple-canopied jungles ruled by the VC and NVA.

On July 18, 1967, Special Forces medic James Donahue and his platoon were on a mission, code-named Blackjack-34, to locate enemy units for the 1st Infantry to destroy. But instead a crack enemy battalion found them.

Now Donahue bears witness to the bloody events of that day and the exceptional grit and determination of his teammates. BLACKJACK-34 is a magnificent tribute to the warriors of Mobile Guerrilla Force–their courage, heroism, and willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Blackjack-34










  • 34 responses to "The Element of Surprise: Navy Seals in Vietnam History World 20th Century Darryl Young Ballantine Books"

  • Stringer
    4:52 on October 13th, 2012
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    A friend referred me to this book who served with the Author in Vietnam. As a former Marine sniper from Nam myself this book is the real deal. The Author gives a little more detail on weapons than I care for but I can overlook that when you read a first person account that takes you there. He gives you the language of the time and his personal feelings in an honest way that most authors dont. If you want a first person account of Navy Seals and the crazy role they play in our wars then this book takes you there and then some. Loved it.

  • Scottie
    6:00 on October 13th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Donahue’s books tell it like it was. Fear, friendships, courage and perseverance, it’s all here. You can smell the place, feel the place and practically taste the place. This is as real as it gets.

  • Homer S
    7:27 on October 13th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    This book tells it all, and it took real testicles to go there. Some items were probably best not to be put into print, but Daryl Young had the guts to spill it all out and let you decide. You’re left wanting more information when you finish. You’re also left with the question: what do men like these do for fun now?

  • Li Mesplay
    8:11 on October 13th, 2012
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    I first read this book when I was a kid in my early 20′s. I lost that copy so I’m buying it again.

    This is a great book. It has everything you could want in a book of this type. The author includes personal details about his experiences and his thoughts and feelings at the time. The descriptions of the people and places let us get immersed in the story. You can practically taste the mud. There is plenty of technical detail for those of us who want to know what daily life was like for these heroes and enough action to keep you reading long past bed time. I’m looking forward to reading it again.

  • TRSBill
    9:37 on October 13th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    This book tells it all, and it took real testicles to go there. Some items were probably best not to be put into print, but Daryl Young had the guts to spill it all out and let you decide. You’re left wanting more information when you finish. You’re also left with the question: what do men like these do for fun now?

  • Cisco Long
    10:43 on October 13th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Too bad Mr. Young retired with less than 4 years experience as a SEAL team operator.The accounts do get repetitive , but I do recommend the book. Other SEAL books such as First Seal by Roy Boehm have a much more historical perspective to it, and may present a better choice for the reader’s money.

  • Kylie Reed
    13:03 on October 13th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    This book tells the story of July 16, 1967 with the Mobile Guerrilla Force in Vietnam. Donahue is a medic in Special Forces and from that perspective, this book is written. Special Forces medics are as much a part of the team, as is the weapons man when “the feces strikes the rotating air movement device.” Not only does this book sketch the lives saved by the indigenous medics that were trained by Special Forces medics and by himself but the enemy lives that he and others took in combat. There is a compassion for all man, friend and foe.

  • Robert Reno
    14:17 on October 13th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Written by a living legend. James C. Donahue joined the Marine Corps when he was seventeen years old and served with the Corps through the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. After being discharged, he enlisted in the army and volunteered for Special Forces. As a Green Beret, he served with the 6th and 7th Special Forces Groups (Airborne) in Fort Bragg, NC, and with the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) in Vietnam. His many military awards and decorations include the Silver Star, three Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart, two Air Medals, the Combat Medical Badge, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

    The Mobile Guerrilla Force was an elite unit of indigenous troops led by U.S. Army Special Forces “advisors.” The MGF operated in the enemy’s rear for weeks at a time, ambushing Viet Cong and NVA units, destroying base camps, and gathering vital intelligence.

    Blackjack-34 (previously published as No Greater Love) is the story of an operation conducted by the Mobile Guerrilla Force in July 1967 to locate enemy units for the 1st Infantry Division. The Special Forces led Cambodian mercenaries become the prey when a main force VC battalion surrounds them and attempts to destroy them.

    Donahue’s mastery of dialogue makes Blackjack-34 read like a novel, but it’s all real stuff. Check your clothes for powder burns when you’re done reading this one. Winner of the Freedoms Foundation’s George Washington Honor Medal.

    An elite unit armed to the teeth, the Mobile Guerrilla Force was America’s only real guerrilla force in Vietnam. These men operated for weeks at a time–springing ambushes, destroying base camps, and gathering vital intelligence–in steamy, triple-canopied jungles ruled by the VC and NVA.

    On July 18, 1967, Special Forces medic James Donahue and his platoon were on a mission, code-named Blackjack-34, to locate enemy units for the 1st Infantry to destroy. But instead a crack enemy battalion found them.

    Now Donahue bears witness to the bloody events of that day and the exceptional grit and determination of his teammates. BLACKJACK-34 is a magnificent tribute to the warriors of Mobile Guerrilla Force–their courage, heroism, and willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice.

    Rob Krott, author of SAVE THE LAST BULLET FOR YOURSELF: A Soldier of Fortune in the Balkans and Somalia

  • sean p
    17:59 on October 13th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    No Greater Love is a great book, but shows out of print. It’s been re-titled to Blackjack-34 which is in print.

  • Heath Feister
    19:01 on October 13th, 2012
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    great book I own this book and it gives you a good view of the war. I like it because of Darryl youngs expierence in the war. I recommend it !

  • Brian Gabrielle
    19:23 on October 13th, 2012
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    This was a very good read. A personal account of a USN Seal in action in Veitnam. Everything from near death escapes to aldolecent behavour. Gives insight into what it takes to be a Seal and what it takes to stay alive in a battle zone.

  • Bertis
    20:08 on October 13th, 2012
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    If anyone ever wanted to know what it’s like to do battle “up close and personal”, this is the book for them. Darryl Young takes the reader with him. Sitting in silence and waiting for the enemy to drift by silently… then all hell rips loose

  • Jay Stevens
    20:35 on October 13th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    I was a REMF who worked in intel activities at the lowest to the highest levels from January 1966 to August 1970, with my last assignment tasked to SOG. Mostly unofficially, but some officially, I supplied intel to units like Donahue’s. There were a very few other units like his so his was not the “only” real guerrilla force in Vietnam. I eagerly supported these men in anyway I could, to include “midnight requisitioning” things they wanted or needed from Saigon. Donahue writes well and gives the reader a very close up view of the war at the very pointed end of the spear. I could not put the book down until I finished the last page. Master Sergeant, US Army Retired, VN War 66-70 & 71-73.

  • helpcomputer
    0:16 on October 14th, 2012
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    This is by far the best book I have ever read on the Vietnam War. Once the fighting starts it is difficult to put down as you have to know what happens to the team and to the individual players. If any book should be made into a film then it should be this one.

  • VCMoney
    2:06 on October 14th, 2012
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    Being a great fan of military books I was suprised to find out the vivid accounts of Darryl Young, and his accounts of war in Vietnam. I also enjoyed his boot camp stories. Especially the one where they cheated and sat up on the hill and waited for everyone else to arrive. But when they went across the finish line, the course had been changed. So they got in a lot of trouble with their DIs. I enjoyed his writings of the silent waiting. I also enjoyed his writings of his accounts with the VC and NVA. I would reccomend this book to anyone who is interested in the SEALs and their role in the Vietnam war.

  • jail person
    3:20 on October 14th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    this is a very good book. i enjoyed it i thought it was very well writen it kept me entertained the whole time. there are many war memiors that tend to be boring and lose my intrest but this is not one of them. definatly worth the time and money.

  • mugmuffins
    6:52 on October 14th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Darryl Young has brought the true horrors of war and life experiences of the Seal Teams to those of us that were kids growing up during the Viet Nam war. It tells it all and with out the “sugar coating” I usually do not read this type of subject and was given this book by a friend, I was totally blown away at the grit and heroism that these men had. I deffinately will be reading all the rest of Mr. Youngs books and have renewed my respect for all veterans of foreign wars. It’s a required read for my teenagers. A deffinate MUST read for all.

  • Guigui
    7:34 on October 14th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    I have read dozens of non-fiction Vietnam books, trying to gain every perspective. Donohue provides a view somewhat different from many others in that his unit successfully combines US commanders with Cambodian nationals. As other reviewers have related it is the gripping tale of a significant engagement, but with emphasis on the relationships and interactions between men from vastly different cultural backgrounds. I have to admit, in places I questioned whether conversations or details were representative of actual events, or if they were modified as a vehicle to convey patrol SOP (for example) for the benefit of an unenlightened reader. Those impressions were easily overpowered by Donahue’s story of the courage and tenacity of the men in his unit, and their dedication to and affection for each other regardless of nationality. As in so many outfits, individual personalities became critical to the success of the mission as well as the care of the unit’s dead and wounded both during the battle and in the aftermath. It is a tale well told and will remain on my bookshelf.

  • ronpaul
    8:50 on October 14th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    It is informative as to how the seals worked, and the individual account of how his tour went. Not very well constructed. if i had to compare the story contained in the book, i would compare it to Pulp Fiction. the story line is complete, but bounces back to memories at the most random times, then gets back to the story at hand.

  • Lonn Dugan
    9:55 on October 14th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Darryl Young writes this book with a lot of detail. Sometimes books that are heavy in detail tend to bog you down, like the mud in the author’s boots as he trudged along on patrol in Vietnam. However, in this book the detail is such that it makes you feel like you are actually there with him.

    The author’s writing is very readable and moves along at a good pace. He mixes action with tedium, the way it appears to have been as a SEAL in Vietnam.

    The politically correct may have trouble with some of the adjectives used in describing the Vietnamese, but the author stresses in the Author’s Note at the back of the book that that is how they talked back then to help them deal with the danger that they were in.

  • gezegen
    10:25 on October 14th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    This is by far one of the best non-fiction books to come out of the Vietnam conflict. The author takes you right along with the action. No BS or covering the facts or gung ho crap that is in most of the books about the marines. It was most interesting from a medical stand point as you seldom read about this part in any war book. I would say this is a must read for anyone interested in what the early Viet Nam war was like. I am now looking foreward to reading Black Jack 33 and other books by James C. Donahue. Try it, you will like it. I have a collection of app. 300 non-fiction war books and have read around 1500 more over a 55 year span.

  • Willaim Awdry
    11:02 on October 14th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    While this is a great book I wish I knew that it’s former title is No Greater Love. Why? Because I already own that book & could have saved myself [the money].

  • Andytaws
    14:36 on October 14th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    I am just a student in a highschool. I have not ventured out into the military yet. I had previously had no idea what exactly went on in Vietnam. Through this book, I was able to gain a view through a field medic’s day. In that day he lost friends, gained friends, and killed enemies. He showed what it was like to do those and how it felt. Now I know and I am thankful for that view that I never had before. For people who don’t know anything about the Vietnam War, I suggest you read this book.

  • Alan Mater
    16:11 on October 14th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    This book was great, it told alot about Navy Seals and what they have to do and how they do it. I recamend this book to anyone who likes adventure

  • Raoul Firestone
    17:57 on October 14th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    U.S. special forces experience varied widely in Vietnam. The A Teams, the Greek letter projects, the MIKE Forces, and MAC-V-SOG all fought different fights of a large and very complex war. Within those units, none was more unique than Donohue’s, which morphed from an A Team on a mobile guerrilla mission, into the B-36 Special Task Force, much later into the B-36 MIKE Force. Donohue describes the early days, when the window of opportunity for mobile guerrilla operations against the NVA and VC Main Force regiments was wide open. If you want to know what it was like to be with a small band of American special forces (and one Australian), leading companies of Cambodian nationalist rebels from the Khmer Serai against one half of their ancient enemy, then this is one of two books you must read. This is a war of companies against battalions, out well beyond the range of artillery where American forces were not allowed to go, where junior sergeants functioned as platoon leaders during the heavy fighting, and then quickly morphed into medics and radio operators. Read this, and Donohue’s Blackjack-33, and you’ll have enjoyed some of the finest combat writing to come out of the 5th Special Forces Group.

  • Maria X.
    19:13 on October 14th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    I agree with Roberto. I know the SEALs are tough people but I can’t understand how one of the men can be on R & R and be on a mission at the same time.

  • Lily N
    21:00 on October 14th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    This was my first book that I had ever read that involved Navy SEALs in Vietnam and it hit me like a shock wave. This book is full of action, emotion, and spirit that makes this book reach another level. This book inspired me to read more Navy SEAL books and to join the TEAMs after highschool. HOO YAH!!!

  • pff...
    22:25 on October 14th, 2012
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    Author Darryl Young takes you from day one. His time in Nam is documented and tranformed into a story that is easy to understand and relate to. This book blew me away. Anyone with an interest in Nam would absolutley love it. It is a book I will keep forever!!

  • Prithvi
    2:44 on October 15th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    A fabulous book for anyone looking for firsthand accounts of the great work our fighting men & women did in Vietnam, and an excellent antidote for the overplayed drivel Hollywood & the “mainstream” media try to spoon-feed us.

    The author provides a minimal amount of background info on himself and the Mobile Guerilla Force, and then jumps right into the action. He gets your heart pumping and your senses instantly alerted through first-person writing, and once you start this book it is very difficult to put down. Mr Donahue does not hold back anything from the reader either; he skillfully relates the sights, sounds, smells, and even tastes of combat in Vietnam.

    If you are looking for a well-written first-hand account about the experiences of combat in Vietnam, then I highly recommend this book. If you are a little squeamish, or prefer to research the unit histories and command structures of combat units in Vietnam, well, I STILL recommend this book (and all of Mr Donahue’s books).

  • Hason
    8:55 on October 15th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    It was an interesting book but it concentrated on one battle only, so it became boring. Acording to the highlites page of other books he wrote, it sounds like Blackjack 33 might be more interesting.

  • Lame Article
    9:28 on October 15th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    I liked the language the author used to write his story of being a SEAL in Vietnam. However, I found that he went into detail about the same type of mission over and over again. I understand the fact that many of the missions were similar and maybe even the same, but he could have gone into less detail for the second or third time a similar mission came up in the story. Overall a good story.

  • DESDallasTX
    9:44 on October 15th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    This is about the best book I have read on SEALs in Vietnam. It rings true and does not have a bunch of filler and B.S. This guy and men like him are national treasures. A good solid read and well worth the money. 5 BIG Stars.

  • vic winkler
    10:10 on October 15th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Being on a Navy SEAL and Vietnam kick at the moment, I decided to pick up Darryl Young’s The Element of Surprise. I enjoyed reading this book, but felt that Mr. Young was a little repetitive when it came to the majority of the missions that they were involved in. Don’t get me wrong, some of their missions were captivating and different from the others…but it’s the ones that were similar kind of threw me towards giving this a three star review. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in what the SEALs did in Vietnam under the radar. Some of the events that unfold within Young’s book will drop the jaw of the reader.

  • Scott Daniels
    12:51 on October 15th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    I just got done reading Blackjack-34 and could NEVER put it down! I read it in 3 days! Mr. Donaue really brings the war into your head and doesn’t add all of the REMF bullcrap. Just dirty, bloody, and sweaty soldiers fighting, and dying for our great counrty. He lets you HEAR the bullets crack, the shrieks of friends, the whack of lead hitting flesh and bone. Best book on Vietnam that I have ever read! I can’t wait to be a Special Forces soldier too someday.

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