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Description - Golf 2 Tango 4 by Dale H Petersen

In July 1969 a young American GI-barely 21 years old and enticed into the military just a year prior by his dream of flying-finds himself on a plane bound for South Vietnam and the 101st Airborne Division as a CH-47 Chinook helicopter pilot. So begins a year-long journey in a combat zone of the Vietnam War-a journey of fear and exhilaration, pain and joy, sadness and survival. Surprises of both grief and delight pockmark the daily grind and accompanying countdown to the day he can fly back home to the USA (called by soldiers simply "the world") on the wings of a Freedom Bird. But the one-year journey in Vietnam was also the beginning of another journey-a spiritual journey of self-identity-which would take a lifetime to unfold. In his memoir, Dale Petersen uses descriptive prose and excerpts from letters to give the reader an intensely personal view of that life-shaping experience over 37 years ago. Golf 2 Tango 4 takes readers back in time to what it felt like to be 21, homesick and unsure of what lay ahead...but willing to reach down inside for the courage to find out.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780975908273
ISBN-10: 0975908278
Format: Paperback / softback
(216mm x 140mm x 20mm)
Pages: 352
Imprint: Destinee S.A.
Publisher: Destinee S.A.
Publish Date: 1-May-2008
Country of Publication: United States

Book Reviews - Golf 2 Tango 4 by Dale H Petersen

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Book Review: Golf 2 Tango 4 by Dale H Petersen - Reviewed by (11 Jul 2011)

Review Written by Bernie Weisz, Historian, Pembroke Pines, Fl USA contact: BernWei1@aol.com When reflecting on U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, most people hold varied, often clashing views of this intricate subject. Doves against hawks, pro Vietnam verses dissenters, ones that claim they are experts, others that barely remember little more than Walter Cronkite's nightly toll of those both wounded and killed in action figures. Our history books are filled with famous names like Richard Nixon, Ho Chi Minh, William Westmoreland, Jane Fonda and William Calley. There is a plethora of memoirs written about everything from how G.I's came back from the war with shattered bodies and minds. There are others about vets who came back with feelings of mingled pride and betrayal, and there are stories of some that never came home at all. Finally, there are more from CIA agents and media reporters, Hanoi boat people, even cameramen who took famous photo's of the war. "Golf 2 Tango 4" starts out with daily dated entries, the first one being July 27th, 1969. Explaining that at age 21, Petersen had lost interest in college, and with an intense desire to fly, coupled with the Army's new "warrant officer" program (a "WO1" was not required to have a college degree, and the Army used this rank to rush thousands of helicopter pilots through flight school and into "Hueys", "Cobras","Chinooks" above the jungles in S.E. Asia) he anxiously signed up for the war. Petersen vividly describes his 19 hour TWA flight from Travis AFB, in California to Bien Hoa Air Base, in Saigon. Assigned to the 101st Airborne Division (Airmoble), 159th Assault Support Helicopter Battalion, Petersen would fly a Chinook, i.e. a heavy lift, twin-engine, tandem rotor helicopter in "Bravo Company" which was located at Camp Eagle, I Corp., slightly south of Hue. Describing the women he encountered in Vietnam to his wife, he wrote: "Several of them were attractive..until they smiled and showed off their black teeth. In fact, virtually everyone except children had blackened teeth. All the Vietnamese chew betel nut. It makes their teeth black". In describing how the Vietnamese lived, Petersen wrote: "Everything seemed so crowded. poorly constructed shanties were everywhere. Some hovels were nothing more than pallet-size cardboard boxes emblazoned with "Pentax," Panasonic," and "Budweiser" obvious discards from a military post exchange". Petersen explains that although Donna is his wife today, he hadn't known her very long when he went to Vietnam. Not knowing what to make of his relationship, and afraid that in his absence from the States he would get a "dear John" letter, he constantly emphasized how important it was for both himself and his fellow officer's morale to get mail from significant others back home. Another theme throughout the book is time. With expressions like "double digit midgit", "sixty day loss" and "14 days and a wake-up" for his DEROS (Date of Estimated Return from Overseas Service-the day he goes home), Peterson makes it blatantly obvious throughout the book that he couldn't wait to go home and get out of Vietnam. A dozen of Petersen's fellow officers and enlisted men in his company were killed by hostile ground fire, and he took each and every one of their deaths to heart. After 5 pilots and crew members were killed when their Chinook was shot down and there are no survivors, Petersen wrote: "God, please help me. I don't know what I want you do do. I feel like crap, and I'd like it to go away....Are you even there? Maybe not here in Nam. Maybe for some reason he's just washed his hands of this place". After watching the U.S. war strategy of creating fire bases and outposts, then abandoning them, then going in and taking them back again,as well as hearing about the Cambodian incursion and Kent State, 2 weeks before Petersen ended his tour he wrote: "Were we fighting this war effectively? Or were we just getting lots of American and Vietnamese kids kids killed only to have the NVA and VC wait us out and survive, and in that way win? I just didn't know. I wished God would somehow show us clearly what was right and wrong in this. All I really knew was that I wanted to be able to go home, safe and sound." Why did Petersen wait 37 years to write this book? He explains: "Vietnam was truly back there, behind me, more of a thing of remembrances and memories, no longer a present reality. I wanted the memories to fade, I didn't want to think about them anymore." He concludes the book with the following heart warming and patriotic comment: "In recent years I have been able finally to arrive at the conclusion that it was honorable for me to "answer the call of my country" when it came to Vietnam". This is truly an amazing story, a memoir and history lesson that must be read!