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Whattaya Mean I Can’t Kill ‘Em? Rad Miller Jr. Ballantine Books 1st edition


30th April 2011 History Books 17 Comments

“We will be in enemy territory, we will be alone,
and we will be a long way from help.”

A tour in Vietnam as a Frog–a member of the navy’s Underwater Demolition Team (UDT)–wasn’t challenging enough for Rad Miller. So he spent most of 1968 learning to be a SEAL, completing what is arguably the toughest warrior training in the world. By early 1969, he was back in Vietnam, ready to go deep behind enemy lines with a squad of only seven men.

In his unvarnished and brutally candid account, Miller shares the raw, bloody, and courageous daily life of SEALs in Vietnam. Here are unbelievable moments in six months of missions–without a single SEAL KIA–during which his platoon ran ninety-four ops, killed forty-three of the enemy, and captured thirty-one. Stealing into hostile villages, gathering intelligence, killing or kidnapping VC officials, and surviving a tropical hell of mud, heat, leeches, and constant, life-threatening peril, Miller and his teammates undeniably earned their pay. . . .

Rad Miller Jr. retired from IBM after nearly thirty years.

"We will be in enemy territory, we will be alone,
and we will be a long way from help."

A tour in Vietnam as a Frog–a member of the navy’s Underwater Demolition Team (UDT)–wasn’t challenging enough for Rad Miller. So he spent most of 1968 learning to be a SEAL, completing what is arguably the toughest warrior training in the world. By early 1969, he was back in Vietnam, ready to go deep behind enemy lines with a squad of only seven men.

In his unvarnished and brutally candid account, Miller shares the raw, bloody, and courageous daily life of SEALs in Vietnam. Here are unbelievable moments in six months of missions–without a single SEAL KIA–during which his platoon ran ninety-four ops, killed forty-three of the enemy, and captured thirty-one. Stealing into hostile villages, gathering intelligence, killing or kidnapping VC officials, and surviving a tropical hell of mud, heat, leeches, and constant, life-threatening peril, Miller and his teammates undeniably earned their pay. . . .

Whattaya Mean I Can’t Kill ‘Em?

Master Chief

IT’S HARD TO BE HUMBLE
WHEN YOU’RE SERVING WITH THE VERY BEST
For UDT/SEAL team member Gary R. Smith, just being part of an elite military organization wasn’t enough–he had to be in the thick of the action. Because in bloody, violent Vietnam he learned there’s no stronger bond than the one forged in the gut-wrenching chaos of combat. During ambushes, PRU combat patrols, and extractions from hot LZs, Smith depended on the courage and sacrifice of his fellow SEALs, who time and again placed their own lives on the line so that he might survive.
In MASTER CHIEF, Gary Smith covers his fifth tour in Vietnam and his rise to the highest enlisted rank, master chief petty officer. Characteristically, Smith holds nothing back when describing life during wartime in one of the world’s toughest fighting units.
Based on the author’s own experience, as well as his own and others’ diaries, letters, and documents, and on extensive interviews, MASTER CHIEF is an outstanding memoir of a warrior who answered the call to arms when
his country needed him.

IT’S HARD TO BE HUMBLE
WHEN YOU’RE SERVING WITH THE VERY BEST
For UDT/SEAL team member Gary R. Smith, just being part of an elite military organization wasn’t enough–he had to be in the thick of the action. Because in bloody, violent Vietnam he learned there’s no stronger bond than the one forged in the gut-wrenching chaos of combat. During ambushes, PRU combat patrols, and extractions from hot LZs, Smith depended on the courage and sacrifice of his fellow SEALs, who time and again placed their own lives on the line so that he might survive.
In MASTER CHIEF, Gary Smith covers his fifth tour in Vietnam and his rise to the highest enlisted rank, master chief petty officer. Characteristically, Smith holds nothing back when describing life during wartime in one of the world’s toughest fighting units.
Based on the author’s own experience, as well as his own and others’ diaries, letters, and documents, and on extensive interviews, MASTER CHIEF is an outstanding memoir of a warrior who answered the call to arms when
his country needed him.

Master Chief (Diary of a Navy SEAL)










  • 17 responses to "Whattaya Mean I Can’t Kill ‘Em? Rad Miller Jr. Ballantine Books 1st edition"

  • TrafficWarden
    9:39 on April 30th, 2011
    Reply to comment

    Miller’s re-cap of his life before / during his tour in Vietnam, as a Frog/SEAL is well written, and is very intense reading. His no B.S. approach to the theme that this book carries is incredible. Leave nothing out, and just tell it like it is in plain english, with a few four letter words included.

  • The Dealer
    16:45 on April 30th, 2011
    Reply to comment

    Looking for Rambo? Want John Wayne? Go elsewhere. Miller tells it like it really was for most combat vets. Months of training and monotony punctuated by moments of sheer panic. The best plans go wrong, the toughest troops get tired, hungry, hurt, and do almost comical things while facing death. Miller has the maturity to admit his human frailities but still manages to show that he was indeed one of the best trained, fiercest fighters in the world. I felt his pain lugging overloaded combat packs, trying to stay awake on all-night ambushes, of almost drowning while crossing rivers and streams, and the morality of staring face to face with an armed enemy and wondering if pulling the trigger is the right thing to do. There’s very little military techno-talk in this book, and it can be understood by anyone who was never a soldier but wants to see what it takes to turn a young high school jock into a warrior.

  • nedendir
    18:11 on April 30th, 2011
    Reply to comment

    One thing can be said about this SEAL is that he sure has a sense of humor.Of course,war isnt pretty.Its sexy.But really,unlike these other books I’ve read,like LRRP’s Ranger,boy ,does that book ramble on and on about technical issues and stuff I’ve never been familiar with.But Rad was able to express himself not in a robot fashion,just brain washed to kill,but the human side of being a commando.It was very exciting and intruiging.I was totally involved in it.I have read some true combat novels that just don’t get to details about what was going on.Some didnt explain how it felt in combat in true real time detail.Rad Miller takes you there.I hope to get his autograph some day.

  • Dagmar Naguin
    4:31 on May 1st, 2011
    Reply to comment

    Knew this man after he retired when I was a child and wanted to read more about his life – my husband really enjoyed it.

  • robotech
    18:10 on May 1st, 2011
    Reply to comment

    This book is about a man named Rad Miller JR it was a good book. It was reccomended to me by my boss. I liked this book cause it said, “the other side of the war.”

  • Ripel
    20:03 on May 1st, 2011
    Reply to comment

    Rad Miller’s book might well have been titled Odyssey of a Warrior for it is an amazing tale. Great book for what it is, pretty much of what might have gone into a diary but written years later. My guess is that he sat down and told the story to his coauthor who transcribed it into this book. Yeah it lacks the intellectual depth of One Bullet Away but covers a lot more combat. For those who love stories from the field this is a winner.

    Rad Miller’s certainly not your typical Seal, he enrolled what was then known as UDT training without knowing how to swim, a fairly radical handicap. However, his instructors must have seen something as they did again in Seal training, the mindset of a warrior, far more difficult to teach than how to swim.

    Miller captures the mindset, the hours of high stress boredom and the fog of small unit warfare. His best writing is the stories of the various missions. There’s no discussion of the strategic issues, just the intimate detail of war, one small battle at a time.

    The primary mission of his unit was to collect intelligence with an occasional ambush or body snatch mission thrown in. There’s a lot of lessons learned from clothing to weapons. All of this mixed with black humor.

    If anything Miller makes himself look like a bumbling warrior who somehow managed too do three tours in Vietnam.

    Highly recommended and the perfect airline companion.

  • jorge robert
    3:06 on May 2nd, 2011
    Reply to comment

    This book was OK. I think though there should have been a glossary or something in the back of the book for all the Vietnamese words he used! I couldn’t keep them straight. As well as he himself kept jumping inbetween calling his commanding officer Mr. name and Dai Uy. It got confusing as to whether he was talking about the same guy. Enjoyed reading about all of the missions!

  • oldschool
    11:19 on May 2nd, 2011
    Reply to comment

    This is a very good book to read for Seal fans because Miller takes u into the minds of seals during their ops in vietnam.

  • nedendir
    12:45 on May 2nd, 2011
    Reply to comment

    Gary Smith tells about his five tours of duty as a Navy Seal in Vietnam through three different books: Death in the Jungle, Death in the Delta and Master Chief. All of these well written books are exceptional in that they not only tell the story of terror filled seconds during battle, but Smith also talks about the sheer boredom and mundane tasked that must be done. His stories about killing VC – VC ants that is, while waiting on ambushes are funny in otherwise near death incounters. Smith is able to talk about the inhumane acts that occur in war just as he is able to talk about the fun times. I was brought to tears while reading about the mother and baby killed during an ambush of a Junk and equally shed tears of laughter when he cooked “Venison” that barked!

    Smith does an exceptional job interspersing Vietnamese words and phrases in all three books which gives the read a sense that Smith was a professional that took the time to increase his advantage by learning their language. The one criticism I can point out is that he listed too many of the overnight ambushes. It became hard to distinguish one from another after awhile. I also get the feeling that there is much more to tell about his tour with the PRU but that it might bring up too many unpleasant memories.

    Finally, Smith makes a one sentence statement that Captain Gormly was one of the best COs he ever served under which speaks volumes about both warriors. A Very good set of books and I recommend these to anyone interested in getting a birds eye view of war from a Seal’s perspective.

  • Dagmar Naguin
    23:05 on May 2nd, 2011
    Reply to comment

    I wanted to know what it was like to be a SEAL in Vietnam. This book more than explained what it was like. Miller tells his life story from graduating high school to buying a tape-deck that lasted nearly 20 years. He goes through what BUD/S was like, SEAL Training, and getting his fair share of beatings. Oh, by the way, I hate to read, but I didn’t put this book down. I highly recommend it.

  • Markita Heras
    17:39 on May 3rd, 2011
    Reply to comment

    The majority of criticism of this book goes against the accurate statement that Miller really isn’t much of a writer. But what those critics seem to miss is that’s EXACTLY what makes this book so worth reading. Unlike many authors of the same genre, Miller isn’t out to entertain or educate an audience with polished form or textbook writing formulas, instead he simply talks about his experiences in the Vietnam War in a brutally frank, unpolished, straightforward, and often hilarious manner. In the process, Miller takes the reader on a tour of Vietnam in the late 60′s, (actually three tours), giving a fantastic view of what it was like to serve in that confusing war.

    Supplying technical details when necessary, colored with social overviews that give perspective on the era, and tied together with a sense of humor rarely found in war/military books, Miller’s book is a home run that reads as if he’s sitting next to you in the bar, remembering old times. A must-read for anyone interested in the genre.

  • Obladi Oblada
    23:15 on May 3rd, 2011
    Reply to comment

    Rad tells you, in my opinion, what its like to be a man; how to deal with things and not run away from them. I have read Blood on the Risers 3 times both of these books give me the same lesson in strength. These guys are heros in my opinion. True warriors in every sense of the word. It makes me proud to be American.

  • TrafficWarden
    23:39 on May 3rd, 2011
    Reply to comment

    This is a good book with a true outlook on that messed up war

  • German Fafian
    12:19 on May 4th, 2011
    Reply to comment

    Having read my way through a good portion of books on the SEAL mission in Vietnam, I would have to say this one ranks pretty low. The author seems to be unfocused and the story floundering for a bit. Actually, to be honest, i never finished the book, a rare thing for me, but I just couldn’t take it anymore. Don’t worry about this one for your SEAL list.

  • nedendir
    13:46 on May 4th, 2011
    Reply to comment

    The only reason why I read this book is because some one told me my uncle was in it. So I read every page looking for a mention of him. I was pleasantly surprised that the book commented on how misguided the military was. The author was very candid about problems with the Vietnam War. He definitely did not try to glamorize the war nor did he come across as some type of brutual killer which is the impression that the title cover of the book projected.

  • Satish KC
    18:26 on May 4th, 2011
    Reply to comment

    This is an excellent book. What it lacks in writing style it makes up for with brutal honesty and relentless truth-telling.

    Rad Miller’s book is an excellent primary source, and a useful tool for someone who wants to learn the history of the Vietnam conflict. Bearing in mind that this is only one soldier’s perspective, the book perfectly captures the spirit of the late sixties and early seventies, and goes beyond simply describing combat and training, but actually grapples with the issues of the war and chaos that reigned on the homefront. A must-read.

  • PaulTheZombie
    19:35 on May 4th, 2011
    Reply to comment

    I appreciate everything that Rad Miller, Jr. did for his country, but this book is a poor testament to the men of Special Forces in Vietnam. His unedited, unpolished style of writing might appeal to some, but I found Miller’s style to be annoying, self-glorifying and, frankly, probably a little fanciful. Miller tries to convince us that SEALs are the ultimate warriors, yet he details his screw-ups and his colleagues screw-ups. Unprofessional behavior that would normally get you killed fills the book. I don’t know about SEALs in general, but this guy wasn’t a patch on the Green Berets that I know who served in Vietnam. Just goes to prove that the best of the best are the ones that you never hear about or read about.

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