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Book details
  • Genre:BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY
  • SubGenre:Military
  • Language:English
  • Pages:357
  • eBook ISBN:9780578129532

Privileges of War

A Good Story of American Service in Vietnam

by Thomas A. Ross

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Overview
Privileges of War is a collection of positive stories about wartime service during one of the most negative and controversial periods in American history. It is a detailed, action-filled account that will give readers a real, often frightening, idea of what it was like to be on the ground, or in the air over the Vietnamese jungle during that conflict. The stories told here are relatively simple and straightforward, they are also powerful, with the potential of changing viewpoints, opinions, and even lives.
Description
Privileges of War is a collection of positive stories about wartime service during one of the most negative and controversial periods in American history. While the stories told here are relatively simple and straightforward, they are also powerful, with the potential of changing viewpoints, opinions, and even lives. Soldiers did not commit the U.S. military to war in Vietnam. However, they did bear the brunt of that commitment on both foreign battlefields and in their own hometowns when they returned. Not only did they fight battles against an enemy who hated them, but upon returning home they often faced countrymen who seemed to hate them as well. Events of September 11th bound our country together, while events surrounding the Vietnam War nearly tore it apart. Few Americans who served in Southeast Asia were pot smoking, cursing, killing machines, as they have too often been portrayed. The great majority of the more than three million men and women who spent time in Vietnam were decent people who either felt they were fulfilling their patriotic duty or simply believed they were serving their country. Most of them were young, either still in or scarcely out of their teens when they were asked to shoulder heavy responsibility and face life-and-death situations, some of them on a daily basis. I know, I was there  I was one of those soldiers. Privileges of War is a firsthand account of the many acts of selfless heroism and courage I witnessed during my tour of duty as a military advisor in Vietnam. Many books currently available about the Vietnam War tell provocative stories with messages that are often dark and brooding. And, while there were without question many repulsive and brutal occurrences in Vietnam, with the atrocities at My Lai being perhaps the most notorious, this book dares to tell a very different story about the war in Vietnam and those who served in it. Privileges of War treats neither the politics of the war nor the conflict itself, but depicts some of those who were there and presents the spirit lifting manner in which they served. It is a detailed, action-filled account that will give readers a real, often frightening, idea of what it was like to be on the ground, or in the air over the Vietnamese jungle during that conflict. PART I of this book documents day-to-day life in Vietnam, which could be both gut wrenching and exhilarating. PART II presents the obscure and relatively unreported story of the “Rescue in the Valley of the Tigers.” The story of the rescue recounts a life saving mission mounted by a small group of daring Americans determined to give the gift of freedom to inhabitants of a mountain village who had been held and used as slaves for more than eight years. It is an American story of resourcefulness, integrity and courage that demonstrates the true nature of those who represented our country on the Vietnam battlefield. While this book shares many bright stories of the dedication and patriotism that the author was privileged to witness in Vietnam, they are not presented as a goody-goody gloss over of ugly occurrences that took place there. They are, however, offered as a vital piece of the American historical puzzle that has been missing. Privileges of War was written to honor those who served. And, especially for the wives, mothers, children, other relatives, and friends  or anyone who knows a Vietnam veteran who would like a different perspective. One needs no military experience to understand and follow the stories in this book. One simply needs an interest.
About the author
Thomas A. (Tom) Ross is a former Major in the U.S. Army Special Forces, an elite unit also known as the “Green Berets.” In 1968, as a young 2nd Lieutenant, Tom was assigned as the Intelligence (S2) and Operations (S3) Officer of Detachment A-502, with the 5th Special Forces Group in South Vietnam. After more that a year of intensive unconventional warfare training, Tom’s arrival in Vietnam coincided with the infamous 1968 Tet Offensive. During his tour of duty as a military advisor he was given the rare and unique opportunity to organize and lead a prisoner rescue mission that liberated 165 mountain villagers. The rescue mission was documented by CBS Television and aired on the morning news, afternoon news, and The Evening News with Walter Cronkite in August of 1968. The mission received additional national and international coverage through other news media, including United Press International, the Reuter’s news agency and Scripps-Howard. When his active military service ended, Tom pursued a career path very different from the one he had just left. As an executive in the luxury goods industry he had many opportunities to meet celebrities and important public figures. Tom has worked on a wide variety of community events and charitable affairs with internationally recognized personalities, such as Audrey Hepburn, for whom he hosted a special “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” event  very different from his wartime assignments. Receiving recognition for his community and humanitarian efforts, Tom was presented with the Georgia Outstanding Citizen award as well as the People of Vision Award. He received professional media training in New York, he has been a platform speaker, has lectured at university level and served on community boards. He has been invited to provide media interviews and has been profiled in various social and business publications. He has appeared on local, national and international radio and television, including CNN, CNBC, NBC, CBS and ABC. Currently, Tom resides in Atlanta, Georgia where he serves as President and CEO of The Ross Jewelry Company.
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