Vietnam Combat: Firefights and Writing History

Robin Bartlett

A young lieutenant is assigned to lead dangerous search-and-destroy missions in the jungles of I Corps in 1968—the worst year to be a combat infantry platoon leader in Vietnam.
Publication date:
December 2022
Publisher :
Casemate Publishers
Illustration :
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ISBN : 9781636242422

Dimensions : 228 X 152 mm


• The author served in one of the U.S. Army's most audacious divisions, the First Cavalry Division (Airmobile)
• His memoir offers fresh insight to understanding the Vietnam War from the perspective of a small unit leader fighting both Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Regular Army Units
• Articulates the difficulties of being a young officer and combat leader responsible for the lives and welfare of soldiers while conducting airmobile combat assaults and search and destroy missions
• Explores how, more than fifty years later, most Vietnam veterans recall some aspect of the service that dramatically changed their lives on a daily basis

The year 1968 was arguably the most significant year of the Vietnam war. It was the height of the American involvement, and because officer casualties had been so great after the Tet Offensive of May 1968, all prior officer assignments were cancelled.

First Lieutenant Robin Bartlett, originally on orders to the 101st Airborne Division, suddenly found himself at the "repo-depo” in Bien Hoa reassigned to the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). The unit had more helicopter support than any other unit in Vietnam. The soldiers carried lighter packs, more ammo and water because of the availability of rapid helicopter resupply. Immediate support from artillery, helicopter gunships and ARA (aerial rocket artillery) was only minutes away to support a firefight. Wounded troops could be medevacked even in dense jungle using "jungle penetrators.” It also meant that Bartlett's platoon could deploy into hot landing zones at a moment's notice if an enemy force had been spotted. And they did.

It was with extreme anxiety that Bartlett made his way to join his battalion and company—it was the worst of times to be a platoon leader in Vietnam, let alone a grunt serving in a combat unit. Bartlett also had to cope with personal issues of commitment to a war that was rapidly losing support not only back home but among the soldiers he was leading through the jungles of I Corps on "search and destroy" missions. Fifty years later, Bartlett's vivid combat experiences are brought to light in a fast-moving, well-written, first-person narrative expressing the horror, fear, anguish and sometimes illogical humor of that war.