VIETNAM: GROUND ZERO THE VILLE BY ERIC HELM

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tarzan

Copyright 1987.

Captain Jonathan Bromhead is put in charge of a mission to Laos. With two other men a Marine and Air Force sergeant with a specialty in organizing indigenous forces to defend an airfield. They are to go to a village inhabited by Meo tribesmen and arm and train them to interdict the Ho Chi Minh trail. Bromhead has some reservations about the whole mission. It seems poorly planned with vague goals. So the three are dropped off with a bunch of obsolete WWII guns. They find a people that are living in the stone age and one American woman anthropologist who is studying the village. She doesn’t want the Americans there but the Meo people are open to receiving the arms. They had been trained by the French and still remember the training. Well after some victories the village gets attacked by a force of NVA just as support for the mission is pulled.

This book is mainly focused on Bromhead who was Gerber’s executive officer back at the triple nickel. He’s been promoted and gets this boondoggle of a mission. The Meo are shown as little more than naive children with little thought for the future. You have the liberal college student thrown in to play the devil’s advocate. This story like many in the series likes to show off the ineptitude of the armchair officers sitting in air-conditioned offices that are running the war. They casually send off some men then pull the plug for political reasons and its the common soldier that pays the price. I enjoyed the new aspect of the conflict with exploring the covert war in Laos using the indigenous people. It also gives one of the minor characters his own story. Another enjoyable book in the series.

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