A candid memoir of being sent to Vietnam at age nineteen, witnessing the carnage of Hamburger Hill, and returning to an America in turmoil.
Arthur Wiknik was a teenager from New England when he was drafted into the US Army in 1968, shipping out to Vietnam early the following year. Shortly after his arrival on the far side of the world, he was assigned to Camp Evans near the northern village of Phong Dien, only thirty miles from Laos and North Vietnam. On his first jungle patrol, his squad killed a female Viet Cong who turned out to have been the local prostitute. It was the first dead person he had ever seen.
Wiknik’s account of life and death in Vietnam includes everything from heavy combat to faking insanity to get some R & R. He was the first in his unit to reach the top of Hamburger Hill, and between sporadic episodes of combat he mingled with the locals; tricked unwitting US suppliers into providing his platoon with hard-to-get food; defied a superior and was punished with a dangerous mission; and struggled with himself and his fellow soldiers as the anti-war movement began to affect them.
Written with honesty and sharp wit by a soldier who was featured on a recent History Channel documentary about Vietnam, Nam Sense spares nothing and no one in its attempt to convey what really transpired for the combat soldier during this unpopular war. It is not about glory, mental breakdowns, flashbacks, or self-pity. The GIs Wiknik lived and fought with during his yearlong tour were not drug addicts or war criminals or gung-ho killers. They were there to do their duty as they were trained, support their comrades—and get home alive.
Recipient of an Honorable Mention from the Military Writers Society of America