NOT ALL HEROES (HC)
A hard cover book.
Gary Skogen's tour in Vietnam (1971-72) was the best year if his life. Living with fellow CID investigators in an isolated hooch overlooking the South CHina Sea at the U.S. Base at Chu Lai; Skogen enforced military drug laws during his working hours and yet managed to pursue a life of perfect hedonism far from the farm in southwestern North Dakota where he grew up. With unlimited access to cheap beer, a wide variety of compliant Vietnamese women, and a powder blue jeep he had somehow commandeered, Skogen perfected his criminal investigative skills at a time when U.S. troop morale had its nadir.
This unconventional, un-heroic, and unapologetic memoir tells the story of one man's Vietnam War. Together with 80% of the two million men and women who served in Vietnam, Skogen spent his time behind the lines, mostly behind a desk. He did not slog on midnight patrols through Viet Cong tunnels or rice paddies studded with booby traps. He spent his year arresting and investigating the men he calls, "dickheads," who endangered the lives of their fellow soldiers as well as themselves by giving themselves over to unrestrained drug use. Skogen's narrative proves that some whose names are incised in the Vietnam Memorial Wall died in less than heroic circumstances: drug overdoses, alcohol-induced asphyxiation, barroom brawls, some of them racially-motivated, fragging, and suicide. Backed by impeccable research in the criminal files if the National Archives and Records Administration, this unromantic narrative reveals the sordidness of the war in its late phases, and questions the validity of seeing all Vietnam Veterans as "victims."
Originally entitles The Best of Times & Times, Not All Heroes is really two beautifully integrated books under a single cover: an account of the Apocalypse Now endgame of the Vietnam War, and a M*A*S*H-like narrative of Skogen's yearlong tropical vacation in a pleasure ground where sexual favors were too cheap to meter.
You may not much like the author of this book - at least as he portrays himself here - but you will find it hard to put his fascinating revelation down.
Born and raised in Hettinger, North Dakota, Gary E. Skogen. a Vietnam Veteran, is retired from the Los Angles Police Department, Gary did active duty in the U.S. Army from January 1966 to September 1973. He served in Viietnam from February 1971 to January 1972. This is his first book.