Led By Love of Country
The story is about the 3rd Battalion, 12th Infantry, 4th Division serving in the Republic of South Vietnam 1967-1970. The story is derived from operation reports, battle scenes, magazine articles, interviews, and experience incurred in battle conditions. The book describes the events and shows how unselfish and brave the unit responded to overcome enemy advances. It also shows the difficulties of decision-making under fire. The pressures of battle forced quick decisions and movements. Each man earned their grey feather which was a symbol for each being brave in adverse conditions. We all watch each other’s back and ensure that all hostilities are met honorably and with force.
1. “A grey feather is an Indian term. The braves were given colored feathers for every feat accomplished. The grey feather was the first step.”
2. “At times NVA soldiers emerged from bunkers and attacked the platoon perimeter. The fighting was intense in close combat including hand-to-hand combat.”
3. “The Plei Trap Valley involved three operations–infiltration routes were blocked, enemy strongholds demolished, and was successful in minimizing NVA operations in Kontum province.”
A JOURNEY FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT
The Search for Prisoners of War
The book is divided into four sections. The first concerns the firefight where five American Soldiers are stranded in a Landing Zone. No helicopters were planned to return after the pickup helicopter aborted its mission. The men were captured and became prisoners of war. The second is the approval for the rescue mission, the recruiting, and the planning. The third phase is the search to find a Prisoner of War Compound in three countries—Viet Nam, Cambodia, and Laos. Two were found but were empty. The third was discovered in Laos where the prisoners were held. The fourth phase of the book is the journey through Laos and Cambodia on their way to Thailand and safety.
The story begins with a platoon entering a landing zone awaiting transportation back to their base camp. While waiting, the North Vietnamese Army surrounded the LZ, covering it with intense rifle fire, automated weapons, grenades, and mortars. When the first helicopter arrived the NVA focused their fire on the helicopter. The first squad ran to it, jumped on the rails, and embarked successfully. The second helicopter provided covering fire for the first, and then landed to pick up the next squad under heavy fire. All but two members of the squad made it to the “chopper.” The third helicopter placed covering fire for the second helicopter, but its rotor was heavily damaged by the NVA fire causing it to abort its mission. The third squad was left in the landing zone with little ammunition left to fight.
“Grey Feathers” by Daniel M. DeWald
Thought provoking, captivating, and engaging, author Daniel Dewald’s Grey Feathers: Led by Love of Country is a must-read non-fiction book. The chilling accounts and harrowing details the author delved into made this story feel both haunting yet honest, and the way the author was able to capture the dedication and service of the soldiers while also showing the hardships and struggles made for a memorable and worthwhile read.
– Jack Chambers, Pacific Book Review