Road of 10,000 Pains: The Destruction of the 2nd NVA Division by the U.S. Marines, 1967 by Otto J. Lehrack

Have you wondered what it would be like to be a member of the United States Marine Corps (USMC) during the Vietnam War? Have you thought what it would like to get shot at, see the person blown away right next to you, and experience the fear and adrenaline rush of combat? Retired United States Marine Otto J. Lehrack paints a spellbinding, insightful and sobering picture that answers these questions in this spectacular, must read oral history of the bloodiest campaign in Vietnam.

The story involves the actions of the USMC in the Que Son Valley of Vietnam.  The action and I do mean action, takes place between April and November of 1967. You experience the frustration of the new M-16 jamming.  You are left wondering how many Marines and soldiers died from the jamming and poor performance of that rifle. You marvel at the heroic leadership from the battalion commander all the way down to the FNG who knew enough to get the forward air controller to take out the 82 mm mortar location he identified and sacrifices given by these heroes. Six Medals of Honor were awarded to participants in the campaign.  All but one of the citations had as its last sentence “He gallantly gave his life for his country.”

This is a significant oral history of Vietnam’s bloodiest campaign.  Over a period of seven months you will travel along Route 534 for a series of battles against the 2nd North Vietnamese Army Division.  The author’s storytelling is so riveting you feel like you are there. This book is must reading for any academy cadet or persons in any pre-commissioning program.  I strongly recommend ever junior officer and noncommissioned officer read this book.  It shows how the NCOs assumed leadership as junior officers and senior NCOs became causalities.

The book is an excellent read and would be a valuable addition to any community library. It gives a realistic insight into combat and the USMC. You will be left spell bound by the descriptions of combat and with deep gratitude and admiration for the USMC.

Read and reviewed by Jimmie A. Kepler April 2010.

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