Legend – Book Review of a Vietnam Battle written in short story form

The Secret War

Jerry gasps for air as the sound of gunfire send a jolt of lightning into his body, waking him.

He stares up at the ceiling, panting heavy. Looking around the room, he soon realizes where he is, and where he was…Vietnam. He rubs his eyes, then reaches over and turns the bed lamp on. In an instant, the light shines focus on his newly purchased book by Eric Blehm, “Legend”, resting on top of his drawer. He stares at it for a moment. He had only finished reading it yesterday and already the details of the book have taken his dreams to that precise moment in time written in the book.

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Legend,

tells the true story of the events that happened on May 2, 1968 during the Vietnam war. A twelve man special forces group was inserted deep behind enemy lines. Their mission: gather intelligence and visual evidence of a secret base within the Vietnam/Cambodian border working as a supply route for the Viet Cong. Shortly after insertion, the team found themselves surrounded by heavy fire and hundreds of enemy soldiers. The book gives insight into the mission of the recon team, the airmen who tried to extract them, and the green beret who risked everything to save them.

Jerry gets up and walks to the window. He stares up at the stars, his mind still trapped in that hell of a place in Vietnam, May 2nd 1968.

Back in 2004, during his first day of basic training, he read about a man named Roy Benavidez and his heroic actions that saved the lives of eight men. Reading the Medal of Honor citation, Jerry couldn’t believe such a story.

This can’t possibly be true!

Roy Benavidez was wounded thirty-two times by small arms fire, grenade shrapnel, and blade stabbings. Through it all, he continued to lead his men and hold their position until extraction.

Jerry remembers wishing he knew exactly what went on that day. What started it all? What was the mission? Why did it go south? All these years wondering and finally here it was, in plain print, “Legend”. Eric Blehm, an author and journalist, explored and documented the story further than anyone ever had. He pieced together all the details of that day, and gave perspective from every point of view possible.

Jerry thought back to yesterday, after finishing the book, and finding out that there were other men that day who also went into the face of danger alongside Roy.

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Men like Larry Mckibben, the twenty-year old aircraft commander of Greyhound 1 who bravely flew his helicopter straight into enemy fire to extract the men on the ground.

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Or Leroy Wright, the recon team leader who not once buckled under pressure when surrounded by opposing forces and led the fight against an overwhelming number of enemy soldiers.

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And then there was Brian O’Connor, the radioman who was there at the beginning until the very end. Wounded multiple times and fighting death, he continued to fight no matter the odds.

There were other men too. Those of the 240th Assault Helicopter Company, who tried extraction multiple times and was met with heavy enemy fire. The original Special Forces Recon Team of Detachment B-56, who were sent in deep behind enemy lines on a secret mission near the Cambodian/Vietnam border. And the officers of the Studies and Observations Group, monitoring the events over radio and coordinating the rescue missions.

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Jerry couldn’t help but salute their name and memory. These men deserved to have their story told and because of Eric Blehm’s meticulous research and dedication, it was.

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Knowing this brought Jerry a sense of appreciation for journalism. The persistent approach to get the story told accurately is something most wouldn’t have the patience to do. Eric’s research combined with his knack for storytelling produced a page-turner worth reading. Legend is proof of that. Jerry purchased and read it entirely within two days.

Jerry settles back in his bed. He brings the book to his lap and smiles. Then he opens the cover and begins reading again.

Behind the Story

When I entered the Army back in 2004 I was given a pamphlet that went over military customs and courtesies. On the back of that pamphlet were stories of past Medal of Honor recipients. One of them listed was Roy Benavidez. When I read his story, I was in awe. I came across Eric Blehm's book when it first came out. At the time, only the kindle version was available. I didn't care, I borrowed a friend's kindle and purchased it. I had to read it.

This book is an amazing read. It is filled with so much history and written in such great detail that at times I felt as if I was living it.

When I decided to write a review on this book (my first ever), I didn't want to write it in the typical standard form. I felt that it would be too boring for me to write. Instead, I thought I'd try to write it in a short story form. I love writing short stories because I get to be creative in storytelling. Turns out, it was a lot of fun. I included photos from the book. All credit goes to Eric Blehm and the families who allowed release of the photos. The very last photo (hand writing in journal) was taken from unsplash, a royalty free website and the photographer is Alejandro Escamilla.

I highly recommend this book. You'll get insight into one of the most bloodiest battles and learn about the men who fought it.

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Legend
Author: Eric Blehm
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Genre: Biography
Pages: 304
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Amazon

Blurb

The unforgettable account and courageous actions of the U.S. Army’s 240th Assault Helicopter Company and Green Beret staff sergeant Roy Benavidez, who risked everything to rescue a Special Forces team trapped behind enemy lines.