Dinky Dau: Love, War, and the CorpsbBook cover

From the first day of boot camp until my final day in the Marine Corps a series of unexpected, unusual, and often unexplained events occurred that have followed me for more than thirty years. Many of these quirky stories have been told to family and friends who encouraged me to put them down on paper to show a side of the Vietnam War that hasn’t been seen. Some of the stories are still being written.

Military historians take note: There’ll be no detailed discussion of any great battles here, no lofty argument of strategy and logistics, and no talk about why we should or should not have been there. This is about the warriors, not the war. Students of the war, however, may find it interesting to meet some of the young men who were among the early participants in the Vietnam War. They are different than the ones who followed because they were not drafted; they enlisted.

This is my story. It starts on February 10, 1964, the day after The Beatles made their debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. The world was changing and I found myself not knowing who I was or how I would fit in. Unfortunately, while trying to get some answers, I found myself on the other side of the world in a very un-American country where people were trying to kill my friends and me.


The Vietnamese used to say we Americans were “Dien cai dau,” (crazy) or, as we said it “dinky dau.” As I remember those times more than thirty years ago it seems that something wacky or offbeat happened every day. Here is some of it.