Vietnam Memoirs: A Passage to Sorrow is the record of a military chaplain's experiences while sharing the hardships and dangers that made up the daily routine of a combat soldier. Eyewitness accounts are given of search and destroy missions; night ambushes, helicopter assaults, a multi-hour fire fight during the first Tet Offensive. The author is not satisfied with describing events; he attempts to capture the emotions of war; the highs and lows, the anxiety, the loneliness, the monotony, and the camaraderie.
A presence in this book is the climate and the terrain of Vietnam and its effect on mind and body. Here are the heat, and grime, the rains and mud, the dust and the odours of war. Chaplain Falabella served several widely scattered battalions. Reaching the troops in the field was an adventure in itself requiring persistence, stamina, and diplomacy. On occasions, the chaplain reached his men only to discover that it was impossible to hold service; he went then with the men on their mission instead.
Running through Chaplain Falabella's narrative are his observations on the conduct of the war. Often, the combat soldier seemed to be the forgotten man amid the turmoil of the Vietnam era, with the infantryman's superiors, civilian and military, at times being a frustrating hindrance rather than an effective ally.
About the Author
J. Robert Falabella was born in Philadelphia in 1930. After his studies he taught Biology, Latin, Greek and Theology; he volunteered to be a Chaplain and served in Vietnam during the first TET Offensive.