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Author Gillam, James T.

Title Life and death in the Central Highlands : an American sergeant in the Vietnam War, 1968-1970 / James T. Gillam
Published Denton, Tex. : University of North Texas Press, [2010]
©2010
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Description 1 online resource (xx, 295 pages, 12 unnumbered pages of plates) : illustrations, maps
Series Number 5 in the North Texas military biography and memoir series
North Texas military biography and memoir series ; no. 5
Contents The Tet Offensive: making space for the draft class of 1968 -- Training the draft class of 1968 -- Joining the Vietnam class of 1969-70 -- Operation Putnam Wildcat: November 1, 1969 to January 18, 1970 -- Operation Putnam Power: January 18 to February 7, 1970 -- Operations Hines and Putnam Paragon: February 16 to May 18, 1970 -- Regional politics, diplomacy, and military preparations for invasion, March 11 to May 18, 1970 -- The Cambodian invasion, May 7 to May 15, 1970 -- Joining the Vietnam veteran's class of 1970 -- Epilogue -- Appendix: Where are they now
Summary In 1968 James T. Gillam was a poorly focused college student at Ohio University who was dismissed and then drafted into the Army. Unlike most African Americans who entered the Army then, he became a Sergeant and an instructor at the Fort McClellan Alabama School of Infantry. In September 1968 he joined the First Battalion, 22nd Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division in Vietnam. Within a month he transformed from an uncertain sergeant-who tried to avoid combat-to an aggressive soldier, killing his first enemy and planning and executing successful ambushes in the jungle. Gillam was a regular point man and occasional tunnel rat who fought below ground, an arena that few people knew about until after the war ended. By January 1970 he had earned a Combat Infantry Badge and been promoted to Staff Sergeant. Then Washington's politics and military strategy took his battalion to the border of Cambodia. Search-and-destroy missions became longer and deadlier. From January to May his unit hunted and killed the enemy in a series of intense firefights, some of them in close combat. In those months Gillam was shot twice and struck by shrapnel twice. He became a savage, strangling a soldier in hand-to-hand combat inside a lightless tunnel. As his mid-summer date to return home approached, Gillam became fiercely determined to come home alive. The ultimate test of that determination came during the Cambodian invasion. On his last night in Cambodia, the enemy got inside the wire of the firebase, and the killing became close range and brutal. Gillam left the Army in June 1970, and within two weeks of his last encounter with death, he was once again a college student and destined to become a university professor. The nightmares and guilt about killing are gone, and so is the callous on his soul. Life and Death in the Central Highlands is a gripping, personal account of one soldier's war in Vietnam
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index
Notes Print version record
Subject Gillam, James T.
United States. Army. Infantry, 22nd. Battalion, 1st -- History.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Personal narratives, American.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Campaigns -- Vietnam -- Central Highlands.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Regimental histories.
Central Highlands (Vietnam) -- History.
Genre/Form Personal narratives.
Form Electronic book
Author Gillam, James T. War in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, 1968-1970
ISBN 1283109034
1574413341 (electronic bk.)
9781283109031
9781574413342 (electronic bk.)