During the night of 6-7 February 1968, two dozen U.S. Army Green Berets and several hundred indigenous troops held off a numerically superior force of North Vietnamese tanks and infantry in one of the finest, most exciting examples of collective bravery, endurance, and the will to survive any war has produced. Here for the first time is the full account of that violent, deadly stand by Special Forces team A-101 at the tiny compound of Lang Vei. Nineteen Silver Stars, a Distinguished Service Cross, and a Medal of Honor were awarded, yet until now the battle has languished in the war's shadows. Making use of extensive interviews with survivors, recently uncovered oral histories, and official records, author William Phillips presents astounding tales of individual and team courage against overwhelming odds. He vividly recounts the story of eight Green Berets who held out all night against tank, grenade, and flamethrower attacks. He details the embattled camp's controversial and much-delayed relief and extraction--not by the U.S. Marines from Khe Sanh nine miles away but by super-secret MACV-SOG commandos and an air campaign of unprecedented proportions.
Phillips focuses on four Green Berets, including his first cousin, missing in action since the battle, to deliver a poignant, unforgettable portrait of some of America's finest soldiers leading their cherished Bru and Hre montagnard charges in the battle of their lives. A Vietnam combat veteran himself, Phillips weighs and analyzes the conflicting stories of snarled communications, faulty weapons, countermanded orders, and service rivalries to flush out the truth of Lang Vei. His balanced, highly readable account serves as a testament to those special warriors of whom so much was asked during the Vietnam War.
About the Author
William R. Phillips served nine years of active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps, advancing in rank from private to sergeant before being commissioned as a second lieutenant upon graduation from Penn State in June 1963. He served twelve months in combat in Vietnam, from March 1965 to February 1966. Phillips holds a Lifetime Master classification with the National Rifle Association and was a member of numerous prize-winning high-power riffle teams. He is currently treasurer of Bucknell University and secretary of the Investment Committee of the university's Board of Trustees. He lives in rural north-central Pennsylvania with his wife, Peggy. Phillips is the author of six articles on special operations warfare. This is his first book.