Cherries - A Vietnam War Novel

Ever wonder why young soldiers return home "changed" or "different" after their deployment to a war zone? The information found herein may provide an answer. Welcome to my website! Everything here is Vietnam War related, feel free to scroll down and read the many articles, Vietnam War book reviews, Videos, photos, and of course, information related to my two published books. Click below to discover more. Thanks for visiting!!!

Book Reader Comment Page

This page will be dedicated for comments and questions from readers of my book.  Please feel free to leave your opinions, questions or your responses to comments made by others on this page only.  Thanks!  /  John

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66 thoughts on “Book Reader Comment Page

  1. Hey John,
    I just finished reading Cherries. I imagined that your book was coming to life for you as we worked on the cover together. Having read the book, the story has now come to life for me. Now I understand why men that I knew, who also went to Vietnam, didn’t want to talk about it when they came home. The phrase ‘War is hell’ just doesn’t encompass enough, does it?

    I think this book should be required reading in high schools and boot camps. I felt as though I was right there with John Kowalski, sweating in the jungle and learning the ways of war. Thank you for your service.

    Wishing you “beaucoup” sales!
    Donna
    http://www.DigitalDonna.com

    Like

  2. Hi John,
    Donna Casey is my sister and she passed your book along for me to read. Vietnam was my era, I had many friends that fought in Vietnam and we also had cousins that survived that life altering experience.

    Reading your book painted an image in my brain of what faced you all when you hit the ground there. What horrible experiences that our young men go through and how rapidly it makes them grow up. They are sent to fight wars they had no part in creating, yet they suffer the consequences.

    Our Dad fought in WWII and he only told us the funny stories, seldom any of the traumatizing events that shaped him as a man when he returned home. After reading your book I have a little better understanding of why he never wanted to relive those days in the retelling.

    It is easy to understand how such horrible things as occurred in Vietnam continue to haunt those men who left pieces of their hearts and souls there. Thank you for a well told story!

    Good luck with the book..
    Judy

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    1. Thank you Judy for taking the time to read my story. I remember Donna telling me when we were working on the book cover that you could not wait to read the story associated with the cover. Donna has a tremendous talent in developing these book covers – I’m am certain too that it runs in the family. Thanks again! / John

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  3. John,

    I recently completed your book on being a grunt in the Vietnam War, as my father was a radioman in the Big Red 1 in Vietnam your book really meant a lot to me. You see as others have mentioned my father never once talked to me about his experiences. The experience must have had a profound affect on him as he was really shaken when the USS Midway the ship I was serving aboard was order to the Persian Gulf to participate in the 1st Persian Gulf War. I want to finish by giving my thanks to you and all other Vietna

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    1. Michael,

      First of all, I would like to thank you for purchasing my book, it is wonderful that you were able to get a snapshot of what your father may have experienced during his tour in Vietnam – especially as a radio operator. It is unfortunate that he is unable to share his experiences with you, but as you mentioned, many veterans prefer to keep those memories locked away in some dungeon. Even so, they will be there forever and can never be forgotten. Welcome your father home for me and Thank You for your service Micheal.

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  4. Thank you so much for writing about your experiences and for your service. The treatment of Vietnam vets stateside was just a crime. I hope the greater awareness of the soldier’s sacrifice in recent decades helps show the nation’s appreciation for yours as well.

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  5. Hi John:
    Great read. Every word resinated. My AIT was at Polk. I joined the 25th 2/22 in August 1970 and completed my tour with the Americal. Welcome Home!!

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    1. Mark, Thank you very much for leaving a comment on my blog site, it is very much appreciated. Looks like we had a lot in common – especially making it back home. I do appreciate you being able to relate to my story. A couple of my friends from the 25th went to Americal also – not sure where they went exactly, I only know that their firebase was over-run in the central highlands during the summer of 71. Please pass the word about Cherries! Welcome home to you too brother! / John

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  6. Got a Nook Book for Christmas and found /purchased your book in the Barnes and Noble site. Excellent read, especially for individuals who want to know how it really was, for us (11B10-11th LIB) in Viet Nam. VVA, Viet Now, and VFW should all support you in this book and make it available to their membership! Good Luck.

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  7. I’ve always been fascinated by the American experience in Vietnam and hold a soft spot in my heart for the young men required to fight there. Your book John, was an excellent read as I felt I was there with “Pollack”. I recall “playing” at army at age eighteen but did not have to experience the things you went through. I often wonder how I would have responded in similar circumstances but thankful for not having to find out. Thank you for sharing your experiences through your story and thanks to your wife and daughter for helping get this book out.

    As a Canadian, I also appreciate your recognition of my countrymen who volunteered for that conflict. It is interesting that it takes an American to provide that acknowledgment and I am sure that the Canadian Veterans appreciate it.

    Again John, thanks for the book.

    rob Bell

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    1. Rob, thank you very much for your kind words and for stopping by to leave a note on my blog. I am glad that you enjoyed my story and didn’t have to endure what we did. However, now you have a pretty good picture of what it was like. Other people have commented on personal email that Cherries should be a “must read” for those teenagers that are considering the military. It’s nothing like the video games!
      God Bless the Canadian Vets – give my best to any that you come in contact with and Welcome them home!

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  8. Thank you John, for sharing your experiences. The book was absolutely riveting.Read it every spare moment had. I am retired Royal Canadian Mounted Police and had a lot of interesting experiences, however nothing close to what you guys experienced in the bush. I take my hat off to you and your buddies.
    Have a cousin who joined US Marines and contributed to War Effort in Vietnam 1969-1970. He safely came back to home to Canada. God Bless you and your family!!

    Highly recommend your book.!!

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    1. Will,

      I do appreciate your kind words about Cherries, and am happy that you enjoyed my story. Mine happened forty years ago, but today’s soldiers could also relate to many of the same experiences. In your case, I want to thank you for your service, it is people like you who keep us safe within this country. I salute you! / John

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  9. I just finished reading your book, it was like I was there thankfully I didnt have to go to vietnam, I was too young.However my older brother was there in 1968. He never really wanted to talk about it, I often wonder if he went thru anything like what you did. I hope not and am sorry you did. Thank you for your service and for a great book.

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    1. Scott,

      Thanks for posting on my blog. I am glad you enjoyed my story. If your brother was in the infantry, there is a good possibility that his story was very similar to mine. Ask some questions about things you’ve read about in Cherries and see if he opens up to you. Good Luck!

      Like

  10. Hi John, Read your book Cherries and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was in Charlie Company, 1/27th Wolfhounds out of Cu Chi. I arrived there in January 67 and was assigned the M-60 as well. I weighed about 140 pounds then, so I guess they figured I needed the extra weight. I carried it for 3 months until wounded, then requested a different position. I got it, walking point which I rotated with another guy in our platoon. It seems like we did the same thing, as after 2 more months I became the Lt’s RTO. I guess I missed the extra weight! I have to say, though, we did not have to carry Rucks. All we carried was regular web gear, with 2 canteens and a lot of ammo and grenades. Everyone had to carry 2 belts of M-60 ammo as well. After 7 months a bunch of us were transferred out on an infusion so everyone didn’t rotate out at the same time. I went to Dau Tieng, which was the 4th Div for awhile, then became the 25th Div again. We were always Wolfhounds though, and the F/Sgt in Dau Tieng finally ordered us to remove our Wolfhound crests from our baseball caps. Anyway, I am going to check out the new edition of Cherries and believe it will be as good as the first. Its great hearing what happened in and to our units after we left. “Welcome Home Brother”. Sincerely Jim Lunn

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    1. Jim, thanks for posting on my blog. It’s always good to hear from a fellow Wolfhound! Another friend of mine published a book about his adventures with A co. 1/27 Wolfhounds in 1969 – his tour bridges ours and his book may fill in some gaps for you. Check out “Vietnam No Regrets” by J. Richard Watkins. Welcome Home brother! / John

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  11. John,
    I just wanted to say thanks for the opportunity to share your experiences in Nam. I was there in ’68 and ‘69. The book tells the story that everyone needs to hear. Great Job!
    Many have never understood why those times affected all of us so greatly both then and now. Reading your book would help them all understand. Your words have brought it all into the proper perspective.
    Welcome home my Brother!

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    1. Thank you Dwayne! I do appreciate the kind words. Would you be willing to rate Cherries and leave what you wrote below as a review? More people will see the review section on Amazon before reading my blog site…it will help me sell more books and allow to get the word out to everyone. Welcome Home and thank you too for your service. The direct link to Amazon : Cherries at Amazon

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  12. Hello John

    thanks for your amazing story which I really did enjoy reading.
    Impossible for us to imagine what you’ve endured over there but now at least we could have a small glimps of it.
    The wording of the situation and circumstances makes it come alive and anxious.
    Respect is the only thing I can come up with.

    Jo

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  13. John

    I just finished your book you did a great job writing this book. I was with the 2/27 wolfhounds Bravo Co. Dec 21 1967 to Oct 8 1968 my second wound brought me home. I carried the M-60 also from almost day one to the end of my tour. I meant you and your wife at a book signing you had the fall of 2011 at Kokomo In. It took me this long to get to reading it because I had bought 3 books before yours. You tolds the story like it was over there you brought back memories good and bad. I’m one of the lucky one’s I can talk about it and it doesn’t bother me it was what it was we did the best we could. Have you read the book wolfhound Samurai also wrote by a wolfhound??
    Thanks for the good book to read

    Rich

    Like

    1. Thanks for your kind words Rich, it is much appreciated! Can I impose upon you to go to my book on Amazon.com to rate the story and leave a short comment of what you thought about the book? This will help me to sell more books and get the word out to others about a story that should be told. I did not read Wolfhound Samuria yet, but it’s on my list. Just about everyone I came in contact with at Kokomo suggested the book as well. Thanks again Brother and welcome home! / John

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  14. John, Thank you for your service and welcome home. I really enjoyed your book. I was at Phan Rang air base sept 1969 to June 1970 flying close air support in F-100’s. It was always a good feeling to help the Grunts out of a jam. I felt some guilt when I’d finish a mission RTB and be able to have a hot shower and a cold beer while you guys were stuck in the jungle. But at the same time I felt a real kinship and closeness with the guys on the ground, Your book was great for letting me know you better and appreciate you even more for all the hardships and emotional pain that you endured. Thank you and all the guys for your dedication and sacrifice.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words Larry! I am glad you liked my story. / John

      John Podlaski, author

      Cherries – A Vietnam War Novel [image: Facebook Page] [image: WordPress] [image: Amazon] Get a signature like this. CLICK HERE.

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  15. Hey John,
    Glad you made it out in one piece!
    Not all of us back here in the world were calling you guys names.
    I had the same visions you had when you went over. In retrospect
    I’m glad I didn’t have to go! My respect for everyone that served there.

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  16. For all you did for us, the American people, God bless you and all that served in that terrible war. My entire family wishes you and yours all the very best.
    Thanks for a wounderful book, I had a lump in my throat many times while reading Cherries. To young for Korea, to old for Vietnam, I guess I was very lucky.

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  17. John, you did a great job of portraiting the life of a “grunt” in Vietnam. It brought back a lot of memories.

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  18. John ~ What an Outstanding Read! I impulsively made the decision to enlist in the Marines shortly after Tet, 1968. I’m very happy I didn’t ride out the war with a college deferment. March ’69 I joined G 2/9 very close to the DMZ. The gear we were issued was Trash. We actually would steal ‘Doggy Straps’ as we called them, from Army Grunts whenever an opportunity arose. The pack I drew was obviously Korean War reject, and the narrow Straps literally wore a gash in one of my shoulders – pain was excruciating! Less than 90 days in the Bush tore me up. We were in/near some of the same places – familiar names – Camp Carroll, Vandergrift Combat Base, LZ Stud – what memories! ‘Cherries’ honors those who did not have the Good Luck to survive Vietnam. I hold you in the highest regard for what you endured over there. Your book should be required reading for any young person considering an enlistment in the military – Very Well Done! I truly hated to finish it – hope you write a sequel! Wishing you All The Very Best! Semper Fi Soldier! jg

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    1. Thank you for your kind words John. Can I impose upon you to copy/paste or write a different review on Amazon.com…there’s really a lot of people that still haven’t heard about this book. Need to get the word out. All help is appreciated. Welcome home Hero!

      John Podlaski, author

      Cherries – A Vietnam War Novel [image: Amazon] [image: Facebook Page] [image: WordPress] [image: LinkedIn] [image: pinterest] [image: Twitter] Get a signature like this. CLICK HERE.

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  19. I’m a cheapskate, finding free books on the web for my Kindle readers. Yet I purchased this book due to the reviews on the Amazon site. I spent 29 years in the military, 3 hardship tours from the Vietnam era through ODS. I never fired in anger, and the only incoming I ever experienced were the SCUDS during Desert Storm. I started reading your book at 11:30 last night, finished just now (after napping for 4 hours.) I’ll read it again. It was worth it.

    What I admire most about the book was the lack of dramatization and theatrics. Those whom served in the military can infer the drama for themselves. For a novel, you have captured the essence of what soldiers experience in an exemplory manner. I salute you, SGT, for your service both in the military and as an author. I hope you find it in you to continue the later pursuit.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words Dean – much appreciated! Thank you for your service and protecting my freedom during all those years. Can I convince you to please go on Amazon to leave a rating and short comment…you could even copy/paste from above. Thank again and God Bless!

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  20. Excellent book.
    I was with C/1/3 11 th Americal from 1-12-70 to 12-20-70 as an ARTY RTO for the FO.
    Thanks to your book I now may have some insight as to why a few of the riflemen in the platoons seemed to not be very friendly to us in the CP.
    The book also reinforces the importance of map reading. I was a very highly regarded RTO with the company CO and the ARTY XO.
    One night we set up only a few clicks from the FSB on a road in a grave yard within sight of FSB-411.(all shown on the map)
    A young 1st. Lt. was covering for the Cpt. and gave me our location so I could set up the DT’s.
    Instead of getting off my lazy ass and checking his work I assumed he was correct and the first WP they fired landed the canister in the middle of our perimeter.
    Before that the ARTY XO had me slotted to go work in the FDC when I got out of the bush.
    The XO held me personally responsible, ripped my ass, left me out in the bush for a couple extra months and I ended up driving the garbage truck when I finally got a rear job.
    Your book brought back a lot of memories because of your attention to details.
    It also renewed the pride I have for having served and those who served with us.
    This book will give anyone who reads it a greater understanding and insight.

    Like

    1. Lyle,

      Thank you so much for your comments. Can I impose upon you to go onto Amazon and leave a rating and a few words on my book page. It helps to get the word out. Bless you Brother and Welcome Home!

      Like

  21. Hi John,
    This is the review I wrote in Amazon: This is the best book about Viet Nam I have read to date that may help people to understand why it’s been so hard for us to talk about since we returned except with other Vets.
    I served with the infantry that same year and the book gave me some insights into many things I have often wondered about when I was there and since I got home.
    This is a great book not only for Vets but also for anyone who wants to understand why their father, brother, cousin, spouse or freinds are reluctant to talk about that time and the war.
    The attention to detail from his departure in Oakland to the end of his tour and journey home is excellent.
    I plan on purchasing a copy to give to my son with hopes that after he reads it when he wants to ask a question he will understand the background and why there is often times not a short answer and it’s too difficult to give the answer the question deserves.
    I read a quote that describes my feelings well “Those who do not do battle for their country do not know with what ease they accept their citizenship in America”
    Anyone who reads this book will not only enjoy it but have a better understanding of that time and the people who lived through it.
    If they make a movie of this book (and I hope they do) that they do it justice.
    Maybe then it will be a little easier for us to talk about.
    How do I go about getting an autographed copy of your book?

    Like

    1. Thank you so much Lyle…very much appreciated. As for autograph, you’ve got a couple of choices. If you go to my main page on the blog, look on the right side for autograph. You click on it and it will take you to a website where you sign up for one. When I get the notice and process the request, an electronic version is sent to you via email so you can print. It is 8 1/2 x 11 with a color photo of the book cover…a short message to you with my signature. The other option is to send me your home address via personal email. A personal check for $15 will cover the cost of the book and postage. Let me know. Thanks again for your review!

      Like

  22. John,
    I would much prefer a book.
    Tell me where to send the money and your email address so I can give my home address.
    Thank you.

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  23. Hi John.
    I read a lot of Vietnam War books and most sincerely, yours is one of the best. I was particularly interested in your war because so much of it occurred with the Screaming Eagles and the 1/27 Wolfhounds. These were the two outfits I worked with (booked my Filipino bands into) the most. In fact, we slept on army cots in the 1/27 Wolfhounds NCO club most nights, no matter which battalion we performed for at Cu Chi. I was there from April’66 until October’69. Lt. Col. Ernie Condina was battalion commander of the 1st when I was at the 25th Div. and General Williamson was the Division Commander.
    I’m glad to see you’ve had success with your book.
    A great blog too!
    Best wishes, June Collins ( Goodbye Junie Moon)

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  24. John walked into my store one day and autographed a book for me. I usually don’t read war books (I watch movies based on turn events). I have a few friends that served in Vietnam and they have shared their stories and they are all hard stories to listen to but I feel it is very important to hear them so we never forget.
    I started to read John’s book and I could not put it down, it took me 2 1/2 days to read it. John’s story from the beginning to the end of his tour was so inspiring to read.
    Our men & women of the Military are truly amazing people and never really get the THANKS they deserve.
    I finished this book and now my father is reading it who will then give it to my brother-in-law to read. When I receive this book back I will ready it again.
    John’s words in this book are in his own experience of what he and his unit went through.
    Since I have finished this book I asked John to let me sell his book in our store. John just delivered the second batch of books to me.
    I Thank you John for sharing your story with us, I Thank you and all Military personnel for their service to our country.
    Buy this book and pass it along, you won’t regret it.

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  25. First and foremost thank you for your service. I enjoyed your story. I had no idea what it was like over there you really brought it to life for me.

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  26. John,
    Just finished your book and wanted to thank you for sharing your experience and for your service. I did not serve in Vietnam but had an older brother and 2 cousins that did. Thank you for helping me understand what they went through.

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  27. While digging around for more pictures of VN I see this picture staring out of the Computer at me – a face of a guy I had not seen in 44 years! We had gone through Basic together at Knox Mar-Apr 1970. Of course, as soon as I saw his picture, I feared the worst – but not so! Seems John did go to Vietnam as Infantry – and came back in one piece! I stayed at Knox to train Armor for over a year. In that time, he’d gone to VN, made Sgt and returned… The thing I remember best about him in Basic, besides the fact that he was a big guy with a eastern Big City accent, was that one night some morons from a Recycle Company came to our barracks and called us all out for a fight. They probably wanted to get in trouble so as to get kicked clear out of the Army, but we were too naïve to guess that. Anyway, this big guy, Podlaski, from our platoon steps forward and tells them to beat it or we’ll kick their butts! Before he can even get all the words out, one of them swings at him, but not with a fist – a knife – and cuts him bad on the throat!! I had a bunk adapter in my hand, so I bash the guy down, then I see my platoon mate is bleeding, so I get a firstaid packette and nearly choke him to death trying to get the bleeding stopped! Anyway, that was right before graduation, so we soon graduated and parted company. I always wondered if he did okay – needing stitches in that cut and all. Musta done!!

    Anyway, I see he has written a novel about Vietnam called “Cherries”, about the shock treatment of being the new guy in Vietnam. I dang sure planned to get my hands on a copy and see what he wrote!!

    Well, I got the book in the mail a couple of days ago and read it. Turns out to be a very good read – mainly because it comes from a young (19 yearold) kid’s point of view of what it was like to spend a year there with the 25th Wolfhounds, and the 101st Screaming Eagles when the War was winding down, Nixon was calling it quits, and nobody wanted to be “The Last Grunt Killed” in a failing conflict. We all have heard “We won every Battle, but the Politicians wouldn’t let us Win the WAR!!” Well, here is one more gritty Testament to that sad Fact! Made me laugh in places; made the hair on the back of my neck stand up in others. Also made my eyes well up at times in other places, I lost friends to that damned War, too. I’m just glad John made it back!!

    I’d recommend John’s book to anyone. After 44 years, welcome home, ole Pard!

    P.S. I’m on my second read – luvin’ it more: Underlining passages, making comments, drawing pictures of AKs, RPGs, PRC-25s, LAWs and everything else in the Margins for my kids or grandkids to discover some day. The book is getting to where it looks like it was in the field for a while itself!! 😀 Thanks, John, for getting a chance to see the trails you trod – –

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  28. Loved the book brought memories of the war. It was my war tv every night watching the Medevac’s. I volunteered in the BronX VA Hospital. The war lasted so long I was a little girl then before it ended i was a career woman and divorced. Yeah I believe the officers were green because one distinguished professor who teaches the history of war great lecturer stand up in the field doubt it. Loved the stand up attitude about in you face “stupid”. My friend suffered severe injuries on Hamburger Hill. Great book straight from the heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Congratulations, Cherries is one of the best Viet Nam novels , a first class narrative of men
    at war. I’m sorry you never managed to find any of your veteran friends. I still keep in
    Touch with an old Army buddy since 1958 we are both eighty now.
    It is strange how men serving their country can form such a strong bond in such a short space of time.
    Admiral Nelson on the eve of the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 addressed his shipmates as”We
    Happy few, we band of brothers”.
    Keep writing and good luck.

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  30. Just finished your book, Cherries. Gut wrenching and riveting in it’s content. Having served in the 11th LIB and later the 101st from 12/67-07/69 your book put me back there for the two days that it took for me to read it. Some parts of me are still there. Good work.

    Like

    1. Thank you Dennis! Can I impose upon you to rate Cherries and leave a sentence or two as a review? I would be extremely grateful! Welcome home brother! On Sep 2, 2015 3:06 PM, “Cherries – A Vietnam War Novel” wrote:

      >

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  31. John, great book written by the guy who was there and very insightful of the Vietnam experienced by the grunts. Very different from the Hollywood movies about Vietnam because it follows the course of events as they happened – deceptively slow and then all hell breaks loose often with no foreboding and no tense background music. Mitchner would have included some fascinating history of South East Asia – the Chinese invasion, the French, etc. and entrancing descriptions of the exotic beauty of the jungles and mountains and beaches and how the whole place seems like a paradise on the surface but is really more like a living organism that is trying to kill you in so many ways. But you tell it from the first hand gritty perspective of a teenager trying desperately to survive and get out alive. Thanks for sharing – perhaps you recall Ken introduced us at Chili’s last July.

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    1. Thanks David!

      Can Impose upon you to leave a rating and a sentence or two on Amazon for Cherries! It helps to sell more books and get the word out there! I’d be most appreciative! On Sep 21, 2015 12:51 PM, “Cherries – A Vietnam War Novel” wrote:

      >

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  32. Good read,having grown up in Northeast Detroit (gratiot and state fair) not only am I familiar with much of what you talk about from growing up but was also in the 82nd abn. from 68-71 the timeframe of the story
    I will be looking for more of your books

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    1. Ed, Thank you for your service and welcome back! Since you lived near Gratiot and State Fair, you’ve had to know about the witches house and the rumbled at Top Hat at 8 mile. I trust you’ve read Cherries already? Can I also impose upon you to leave a rating and review on Amazon – it would be beneficial and I’d be most appreciative. Glad you liked this story. / John

      On Sat, Dec 17, 2016 at 12:08 PM, Cherries – A Vietnam War Novel wrote:

      >

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  33. John haven’t read your books yet, looking forward to it. In meantime, did you know there’s an Android App with Vietnam Radio on Google APPS. I found it on my tablet google apps store and thought of you and your blog. I’ve had FCC Technician license for amateur radio. Am interested in MARS military program connected to homeland security ops.
    Take care, Mario P.

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      1. John, If you and some VET buddies like basketball, check this out! I used to attend American Indian pow wows all the time. I love their culture. Southeast Michigan Indians, Inc. Centerline has activities and things for VETS too! Can I have your direct email address rather than too many social media accounts? Best Regards, Mario

        On May 12, 2017 4:08 PM, “Cherries – A Vietnam War Novel” wrote:

        > pdoggbiker commented: “Thanks Mario! On Fri, May 12, 2017 at 2:12 PM, > Cherries – A Vietn

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  34. Just finished Cherries. Enjoyed it. I was crew chief flying Dustoff 70-71, Hats off to you grunts, I slept inside the wire every night. Even though crew chief and grunt were two different worlds, I shared some of Johns experiences, brought back some memories. thanks

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