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A Rifleman First

By Remy Benoit

It has been my privilege to serve as editor for Sgt. Michael Pectol's forthright account of the life of a soldier serving in the war in Viet Nam.

He takes you there, day by day, through the boredom of war; through the nerve draining, body shattering heat of combat. He takes you there through the constant knowledge that the enemy is there, waiting, planning, to make this your last day, to make your dreams expire in torn flesh and bleeding out bodies.

He brings tears to your eyes with the reality of war; he makes you laugh with the antics of an irascible monkey.

He makes you know that war is insanity, cruelty, and horror.

He opens your eyes to the realities of war.

He opens your eyes to love, to those waiting at home, worried, caring, fearing.

He opens your eyes to the joys of real hot showers, of food that does not come out of a can left over from a previous war; he opens your eyes to the joy of clean sheets and clean bodies; he opens your eyes to the things those at home take for granted while those who serve do without.

Sgt. Mikie's words are caught in the moment by the on site, real time, pictures of Sgt. Christopher Gaynor which he has so graciously shared for your enlightenment. Sgt. Chris is truly one of the bravest men I have the honor of knowing.

Read with your eyes open; read with your heart knowing this is what we send ours to while we go to get that first cup of double mocha latte.

It is my privilege to present to you from Front Porch History Press A Rifleman First.

En Garde

Reader reviews for your perusal:

A personal, close, and in depth look at Vietnam. Written in the first person. Good read with its soul touching accounts of the trials and tribulations of the Vietnam war and the hardships there after returning home.
M.G. Kuehlewind, fellow 2/77FA veteran 1969 - 1970 on A Riflemen First by
Sgt. Mike Pectol.

I should have some time while on my vacation, to finish the book. Which I so far love---Melissa A., Married, Mother, and daughter of story teller.

I spent most of 1967 and part of 1968 living one arm's length from Sgt. Mikie's story. He was one of my troops and stepped into my job when I rotated home at the end of my tour. He was my comrade and my buddy on many combat missions. In 'A Rifleman First' he has written about the real life of a combat artillery battalion in a guts out, fast moving narrative. This is what it feels like to be a combat soldier and a combat veteran. No BS, just the smells, sounds and terrors of war as soldiers experience them. I have been moved and inspired by this important story. 'A Rifleman First' is unique amongst books about the Vietnam War; a great story beautifully told.

Fmr Sgt. Christopher Gaynor
2nd Bn, 77th Field Artillery
Republic of Vietnam '67-'68


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This item is part of historian, author, editor, and educator Remy Benoit's ongoing weblog for Veterans, writers, students, and others who believe in learning from and making history; including thousands of articles and posts and the free writing seminar, Using History for Healing and Writing.

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