When John Burdick received his orders to ship to Vietnam in 1967, he was certain his life was over. His goal was to return to the United States alive and on his feet no matter what it took. He had been recruited by the military to become an intelligence agent, and for a college graduate student from California, it sounded intriguing. But serving ...
When John Burdick received his orders to ship to Vietnam in 1967, he was certain his life was over. His goal was to return to the United States alive and on his feet no matter what it took. He had been recruited by the military to become an intelligence agent, and for a college graduate student from California, it sounded intriguing. But serving in Vietnam would require all of his skills to stay alive. Dressed as a civilian and with little formal training, Burdick learned quickly and executed missions effectively. He fulfilled several purposes in Vietnam-from infiltrating the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army command infrastructure to searching for American prisoners of war. The war hit hard. The deaths of all the young men haunted him. He could trust no one, including the military establishment who tried to squash each success the intelligence personnel achieved. In A Sphinx, author John Burdick recounts a powerful and emotional narrative following his duty in the Vietnam War in the 1960s. It uncovers behind-the-scenes footage of a military intelligence agent and his quest to help more American soldiers come home alive.
(Full disclosure: I am a cousin of John?s and assisted with the editing of his book.) You can?t make this stuff up! John?s experiences during his year of service as an Army intelligence agent in Vietnam are incredible. With little guidance but plenty of chutzpah, John took on both the Army bureaucracy and the Vietcong. Demonstrating great resourcefulness and imagination, he was able to accomplish more in his one year of duty than most career officers do in a lifetime. Exhibiting amazing bravery, he often went out of his way to court danger when executing important missions. His book is an extraordinary chronicle of some of the incredible (and zany) things that ordinary people (mostly very young men) were forced to do or had to endure during the Vietnam War ? and how that changed them and those close to them, both physically and psychologically. If you can't imagine what it must have been like to be a soldier during the Vietnam War, this book will serve to enlighten you. The content of the book and the stories he tells are an important part of history and should appeal to a diverse audience. I would even imagine that the military of today could benefit from his insights and experiences. His "Pink Elephant" story is a real gem ? with frank advice for anyone having to brief superiors. John has a fluid, uncluttered writing style that is particularly honest and forthright. He can also be quite humorous, possessing as he does a wry and often self-deprecating sense of humor. It's obvious that he spent a considerable amount of time, thought, and anguish to record this remarkable portion of his life for posterity. Thank you, John ? for your book and for your service.
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