Retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Otto J. Lehrack, who served two Vietnam war tours, does a first-rate job in his book, Road of 10,000 Pains: The Destruction of the 2nd NVA Division by the U.S. Marines, 1967 (Zenith, 306 pp., $30), of describing the vicious fighting that went on in the Que Son Valley from April to November 1967 between the 1st Marine Division and the 2nd NVA Division.
The author weaves together the stories of individual Marines and NVA troops (he interviewed 150 of them for the book) with official records and unit histories to tell the story well. He makes a strong case for recognizing the service of the Americans who fought under extremely difficult conditions for months on end in a relatively unknown campaign.
Those men, Lehrack says, “endured as much hardship and horror and fought as valiantly as their forebears did at Belleau Wood, Iwo Jima or the Chosin Reservoir. America owes them a debt that can never be repaid.”
Lehrack (above), who began his 24-year Marine career as an enlisted man, was the CO of India Co., 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines during his first Vietnam tour, and the Operations Officer of the 1st Radio Battalion during his second.