Billups’ book is a stunning piece of writing that will likely take its place as one of the best Vietnam memoirs ever written. Here, he draws a comparison between Vietnam war depictions by the media and his on-the-ground experiences.
WILMINGTON, NC, November 12, 2022 /24-7PressRelease/ — A recent article in “Current Affairs” by Nathan J. Robinson draws parallels between the conduct of Russian soldiers in Ukraine and the American soldiers in the American War in Vietnam. Although he agrees with some of what was written, Jack Billups, bestselling author of ‘My Vietnam’, “became annoyed when a 1971 New York Times article was used to prop up Robinson’s similarities.” That 1971 article started in part:
“The men themselves are fed up with the war and the draft, questioning orders, deserting, subverting, smoking marijuana, shooting heroin, stealing from their buddies, hurling racial epithets and rocks at their brothers. Their leaders, trained to handle a different sort of crisis, often seem as bewildered as the rawest recruits, compromising, innovating, ordering strategic retreats from tradition, tossing out the training manual—all with uncharacteristic pliability. The desertion rate soars, so they do away with bed checks and permit psychedelic posters on barracks walls. The troops are bored, so they take them skiing and put beer machines in the day room. The troops refuse to advance, so they talk it over with them and try to find another way.”
Billups had this to say:
In my book, “My VIETNAM – A Gift to My Daughter,” I addressed the subject of a one-sided, skewed, and exaggerated view propagated by the media; and is still perceived as truth to this day. There’s a much different assessment after the facts are presented, the other side of the coin as it were.
Veteran Successes: From U.S. Wings”
Vietnam Veterans represented 9.7% of their generation.
They have a lower unemployment rate than the same non-vet age groups.
Their personal income exceeds that of our non-veteran age group by more than 18 percent.
There is no difference in drug usage between Vietnam Veterans and non-Vietnam Veterans of the same age group (Source: Veterans Administration Study).
Vietnam Veterans are less likely to be in prison – only one-half of one percent of Vietnam Veterans have been jailed for crimes.
85% of Vietnam Veterans made successful transitions to civilian life.
97% of Vietnam Veterans were honorably discharged.
91% of Vietnam Veterans say they are glad they served.
74% say they would serve again, even knowing the outcome.
Then there’s this, from We Are The Mighty:
• The draft didn’t unfairly target the working class or minorities.
The demographics of troops deployed to Vietnam were close to a reflection of the demographics of the U.S. at the time. 88.4% of troops deployed to Vietnam were Caucasian, 10.6% were African-American and 1% were of other races. The 1970 census estimated the African-American population of the U.S. at 11%.
• A majority of the men who fought in Vietnam weren’t drafted.
they volunteered. More than three-quarters of the men who fought in Vietnam volunteered to join the military. Of the roughly 8.7 million troops who served in the military between 1965 and 1973, only 1.8 million were drafted. 2.7 million of those in the military fought in Vietnam at this time. Only 25% of that 2.7 million were drafted and only 30% of the combat deaths in the war were draftees.
• Vietnam Veterans are not mostly crazy, homeless, drug users.
There is no difference in drug usage between Vietnam Veterans and non-Vietnam Veterans of the same age group. 97% of Vietnam vets hold honorable discharges and 85% of Vietnam Veterans made successful transitions to civilian life. The unemployment rate for Vietnam vets was only 4.8% in 1987, compared to the 6.2% rate for the rest of America.
• No American unit ever surrendered in battle during that 10-year war.
This reflects on the character and pride of our soldiers despite the negatives we faced.
“Thus, the cowardice implied in the article is contrived.
“As it’s said, ‘the proof is in the pudding.’ So, the article referenced from the New York Times in 1971 was debunked as Vietnam Veterans lived out their lives. I’m earnest when voicing that journalists, political commentators, and editors must be questioned and scrutinized no different than politicians. Promoting a false narrative is subject to all humans, and we should have learned by now, they, have not been assigned, nor earned the title, ‘Truthteller.”‘
“The comparison between Ukraine and Vietnam has limited truth, however, when it comes to likening the conduct of the Russian soldiers to the American soldiers who fought in Vietnam, this should be tread on lightly, not recklessly.”
My Vietnam is, at its core, a love story, combined with a dramatic and searing account of the Vietnam War experience. That experience is shared with a family member, in the most intimate way possible – a return trip to the battlefields of Vietnam.
Billups’ memoir puts the reader into a pair of combat boots, and allows them to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch the Vietnam combat experience in vivid detail. That is but part of the story.
“Hey Dad, please share your Vietnam experiences?” Naomi’s request set into motion a journey, 50 years into the past, as a “grunt” in the steamy jungles of Vietnam. Four months later with his memoir completed, Naomi asked, “Dad, let’s go to Vietnam, just you and me?” Could the ghosts of Vietnam past morph into a father and daughter blessing in the present?
George C. Colclough, Col. Inf (retired) US Army, former president, and CEO of Smith & Wesson, stated in the introduction to the book, “Just another Vietnam War book? Certainly not, Jack takes you down two roads as he embarks on one remarkable journey with his daughter. First, Jack effectively articulates his story in such a way that puts the reader into the boots of a grunt, causing them to feel what he felt, and understand the daunting challenges of those who traveled the Vietnam jungle.
“Secondly, Jack and his daughter continued this remarkable adventure as they traveled back to Vietnam to return to the places where her father had so many vivid experiences. A wonderful story!”
What really sets this bestselling memoir apart is Billups’ writing style. There is no pretense; nothing feels forced or contrived, made up or embellished. Billups presents his real-life characters in such a way as to make the reader feel intimately familiar with each of the members of his very young band of brothers, warts, and all. Billups tells it exactly as it was.
His style holds through the second part of the book, describing his return to Vietnam and the jaw-dropping changes now evident in modern day Vietnam. One of the highlights of the second part of the book is the reunion, bringing those somewhat innocent young men back together many decades later as mature men. Readers will get a vivid look, from many points of view, at how the Vietnam experience changed the lives of those who lived through that experience.
It is also a compelling memoir that reconciles America and Vietnam, then and now, including the culture shock of seeing Vietnam as it exists today. It offers a heartfelt and heartwarming message to the people of both countries, and a greater understanding of what the old song “Ruby” called “that crazy Asian war.”
Readers and reviewers alike have praised ‘My Vietnam: A Gift to My Daughter’. It has been called “A beautiful journey to healing,” and “A thought-provoking and introspective Vietnam memoir”. One reviewer said, “The book was so good, I was sad when I finished it.” Another stated, “Jack’s memory of his time in Vietnam has been beautifully detailed in his book. Not everyone wants to relive such a terrible page in our American history, but Jack was able to do a remarkable job talking about actual events that he lived through and came back home in one piece to give such a wonderful gift he has given to his daughter.”
Another wrote, “The book delivered on my husband’s hopes for a healing response to what our Armed Services faced over there. My husband usually can’t read much Vietnam War material due to PTSD. He read this in just a few days; it was that good. Our thanks to the author for undertaking this topic and telling his story.”
The book will make for an engaging read for veterans, spouses and children of veterans and others who have been impacted in any way by serving in any branch of the military, as the memoir includes the years leading up to, and after his service in Vietnam, including the effects his tour in Vietnam had on his family.
Jack Billups is available for media interviews and can be reached using the information below or by email at [email protected]. ‘My Vietnam: A Gift to My Daughter’ is available at Amazon in Kindle, paperback, and audio formats. More information is available at Billups’ website at https://myvietnambook.com.
About Jack Billups:
As a 19-year-old Army volunteer, Sgt. Jack Billups received the Bronze Star with the V attachment. He was awarded the Air Medal, which went to those who participated in combat aerial missions. Assigned to the 1st Air Calvary infantry as a M60 machine gunner, Jack served in the steamy jungles near the Ho Chi Minh trail along the Cambodian border.
Jack grew up during the 1950s and early 1960s in a peaceful Southern California community populated by many senior citizens and dotted with chicken ranches. He is a dependable and talented “everyman” who makes no claim about his service in Vietnam except for being a patriotic American who did “the right thing” as he saw it. He maintained that attitude throughout his life. Asked to talk about his military experience by his daughter, he began writing it out, and ended up exposing 50-year-old forgotten memories and emotions about the jungle war, concluding with a trip back to Vietnam with his daughter.
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