Thirty Days Has September, Second Ten Days

Welcome to “30 Days Has September, The Second 10 Days” by James Strauss.

If you are looking to start at the beginning of this Vietnam war story, head to “30 Days Has September” and catch up. (Warning: once you start reading this account of James’ time in Vietnam as a Marine Lieutenant, you will likely have a hard time stopping!) If you’re coming from the First 10 Days, you can continue reading below.

This is a sampling of the kind of feedback being generated for this riveting Vietnam story:

“It’s difficult to explain what’s in my mind now, but I’ll try… It’s shocking how the brass knew (or must have known) what kind of mess you were ordered into, yet they assigned you the blame anyway. Sad to say, the same thing happens today as well. Thank you for sharing the history with us. My wish is that future generations know if what happens in the event of command failure (you were not that failure of course), and the importance of the higher-ups taking responsibility for their actions. SEMPER FI” -Comment from reader Jim Wohlberg on Day 10

Unlike some of the others when a new chapter appears I don’t drop everything and read it immediately. Your story is so powerful, and it pulls so many memories, and emotions from me. I go to my quiet spot, I do all I can to shut out the outside world and then I slowly wind myself down into the account. All the while it’s like the account hurts me but at the same time I think it helps me heal from my own personal demons. It must be very difficult for you to return to those time/memories/feelings and peel back the protective coatings and lay the wounds of leadership bare. Thanks for sharing. I’m sure it’s helping others understand why we have had the opportunities, the honor, and the blessings of the last 51 years when so many others were denied the chance by the totally insane survival selection process of that time. Comment from reader Bob Stephenson

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THE SIXTEENTH DAY, 30 Days Has September

THE SIXTEENTH DAY, 30 Days Has September

It was full dark by the time the Gunny departed for the old air field with two full platoons and parts of the other two. I’d made a deal with the devil to get back a dead body which went against all logic but for no good reason I could think of made a strange sense to...

THE SIXTEENTH NIGHT, 30 Days Has September

THE SIXTEENTH NIGHT, 30 Days Has September

The night was coming on fast, what with the west wall of the valley rising up only a few yards to our backs. The question was not whether we would make a rapid advance down the valley to attack an expected and hopefully unprotected enemy rear, but how and when we...

THE SEVENTEENTH DAY, 30 Days Has September

THE SEVENTEENTH DAY, 30 Days Has September

The Skyraiders came in again and again, each run spaced ten minutes after the last, according to my Gus Grissom wristwatch. They came in low, right down the river, opening up on whatever they saw there, then pulling up and making their way back around. All of that...

THE SEVENTEENTH NIGHT, 30 Days has September

THE SEVENTEENTH NIGHT, 30 Days has September

There was nothing more to be said to Captain Carter, so I handed the handset back to Fusner. I wondered why we never heard from battalion about anything except occasional and outlandish orders to move somewhere, occupy wherever that was briefly, and then move on. The...

THE EIGHTEENTH DAY, 30 Days Has September

THE EIGHTEENTH DAY, 30 Days Has September

The wait through the rest of the night was wet, dark and conducted mostly under my poncho. It had taken several tries for me to convince the Gunny to get Jurgens' flashlight from him so I’d be able to lay out what we might do to ensure our return across the angry...

THE EIGHTEENTH NIGHT, 30 Days Has September

THE EIGHTEENTH NIGHT, 30 Days Has September

I moved back down the river bank, my mind spinning in contemplation of executing the Gunny’s plan, and feeling a bit sick to my stomach at the idea of it. Zippo and Fusner took their E-Tools and dutifully began to dig holes near where the other radio operators worked,...

THE NINETEENTH DAY, 30 Days Has September

THE NINETEENTH DAY, 30 Days Has September

I tried to relax for a few seconds, so I could get the Heart of Darkness Plan organized in my mind. The night and rain were everything, along with our speed of movement. It had taken me almost three weeks to figure out that the Vietnamese were slow, compared to...

THE NINETEENTH NIGHT, 30 Days Has September

THE NINETEENTH NIGHT, 30 Days Has September

I stood with my right-hand flat, the dirty index finger of that hand slightly glued to my head by a light bond of drying mud. I stared into Clews' eyes, waiting for an answer. Was I going to live, or die with him? Was I going to do something terrible to everyone...

THE TWENTIETH DAY, 30 Days Has September

THE TWENTIETH DAY, 30 Days Has September

I came awake to the creaking rumble of the tracks working unlubricated against one another as they carried the Ontos atop the mud alongside the Bong Song River. I blinked my eyes rapidly and tried to straighten out against the cramping pain of what seemed to be my...