Behind the lines in Vietnam -- 50 years ago

HO CHI MINH, Viet Nam - May 8, 2018 - PRLog -- What could keep a soldier from telling his Vietnam story for nearly 50 years? What secret could stop a compelling tale from being told? Maybe this: he had a fascinatingly good time. He saw nary a firefight or napalm or any of the horrific scenes reported in the media. Overall, he was somehow able to enjoy himself amid the sex, drugs, and racial tensions.

But nearly sixty-thousand Americans died. And their suffering was shared by many thousands more who were physically hurt, maimed or mutilated. Not to mention the tardily diagnosed PTSD that to this day still holds sway over many or the million-plus Vietnamese who lost their lives. So, telling a story counter to that--counter to nearly everything that's been said or written … well, maybe it's just better left a secret. Or maybe it's time the public began to get an idea about the rest of the story. The back story -- of life behind the lines.

Book overview:
Nine out of ten of all US military personnel who served the Vietnam War did not fight. Instead, they served in support of those who did. They were postal workers, military police, guards, office clerks, mechanics, cooks, and drivers. Very few of their stories have ever been told. Van Carter was an Iowa boy who was sent to Vietnam as an infantry lieutenant, but who instead served as one of these rear echelon personnel. He discovered the other side of Vietnam, the side where all these people lived who worked in support of the soldiers in the field. He saw rampant drug use, prostitution and a huge racial divide between black and white American soldiers. He saw the absurdity of poor leadership, bad planning and even worse implementation of America's war effort. He saw how everything and everyone became corrupted in Vietnam. And he, himself, succumbed to this all-pervasive corruption. He smoked dope, visited an authentic opium den, enabled some of the prostitution, openly defied authority, and made new rules he still hopes saved many from life-long addictions to heroin. And he fell in love. These are his recollections.

Book review:
"Van's memoir is more than a commentary on the War, and more than a commentary on race relations, the drug culture of the early seventies, or the contradictions of the law. Van's irony and sarcasm mask a profound capacity for sympathy and understanding of human strengths and frailties. His personality is a mixture of naiveté and sophistication, of idealism and skepticism, of clumsiness and dexterity. All of these traits are revealed in his memoir of Vietnam. This is some powerful stuff." -- Dr. Wilson J. Moses, Ferree Professor Emeritus of American History, Penn State University.

About the author:
Van Carter is a retired Broadcast Journalist who received two national awards: the Distinguished Service Award from the Society of Professional Journalists in 1984 and the Lowell Mellett Citation from Penn State University in 1988, as well as numerous state and local awards. He was the Statehouse reporter in radio at Des Moines, Iowa and a Supervising Producer for television in Los Angeles, California. Born and raised in Iowa, he attended the University of Iowa prior to and following his service in Vietnam as a U. S. Army officer.

Book links:
Sunbury Press Store:


by John VanDevanter Carter
Trade paperback - 6 x 9 x .8
468 Pages
HISTORY / Military / Vietnam War
HISTORY / United States / 20th Century

Nicole Amenheuser
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