This is a unique view of the War in Vietnam. Much has been written about America's war in Vietnam, and an enduring and troubling subtext is the composition of the body of soldiers that made up the U.S. troop deployment: from the initially well-trained and disciplined group of largely elite units that served in the mid-sixties to what has been termed an ""armed mob"" by the end of that decade and into the early 1970s. Drug use, insubordination, racial antagonism that often became violent, theft and black market dealing, and even ""fragging"" (murder of officers and senior noncoms by disgruntled troops) marred the record of the U.S. military presence. Griffis served in the twin roles of legal officer charged at various times with the task of both defending and prosecuting servicemen, while at the same time leading combat patrols in ""search and destroy"" missions against the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese enemy. His account is therefore remarkable in its personal record of experiencing what the military should do best - meet, engage, and defeat the enemy - and what it becomes when esprit de corps, discipline, and a sense of purpose decay.
Don W. Griffis served in Vietnam as a U.S. Marine Corps legal officer and platoon leader in 1968-69, when that conflict was at its height, primarily in the heavily populated coastal Da Nang region. He is now a practicing attorney in San Angelo, Texas.