The Domestic Vietnam by Dick Fox

Dick Fox’s The Domestic Vietnam: America’s War of Confusion (Coach Fox, Inc., 512 pp., $21.95) doesn’t look like a novel or read like one, for that matter. But the author’s note says: “The work presented here is a novelized narrative.”  It is a long book, whatever it is.

Dick Fox was a sergeant in the Marine Corps, serving in Vietnam in 1967-68. The book’s cover photo is labeled, “Quang Tri, Dec 25, 1967.”  It is a photo taken by Fox of his friend Lance Corporal Michael Paul Helton of the 1st Marine Division. The photographer had just turned twenty years old.

“It was taken at the north perimeter of the small MAG-36 helicopter and Marine ground force (grunts) base at Quang Tri, Northern  I Corps, just about a dozen clicks south of the DMZ,” Fox writes. “Con Thien is north about 8 clicks, Khe Sanh west about 22 clicks plus. Hue is south about 8 clicks.”  This is the level of detail Fox presents throughout the book.

Five hundred pages of this density of detail is heavy going, but if it is to your taste, you’ll love it. Fox knows his subject and seemingly has not overlooked the smallest thing about his year in Vietnam.

Fox (above) tends to state opinions as though they are accepted facts. For instance, he says that World War II veterans “openly and candidly and routinely talked” about their war. But that was not the case with the World War II veterans I knew.

He also writes that America “deliberately chooses to not control our borders.”  As a person who has been detained at both the northern border and the southern border, I dispute that. In my experience, America’s border patrol people are zealous.

He goes on to say that the solution to the problem at Guantanamo could be easily solved. How?  “Shoot the bastards!”

He also states that few married men were in Vietnam as “married guys were draft deferred.” But that’s not true. I was married, drafted, and served in Vietnam for over thirteen months. Many of my buddies in Vietnam were also married.

Fox writes that something happened early in the war, in February 1968. That’s not exactly “early.” He also mentions that we have not been told the truth about Benghazi. He also suggests that perhaps Robert S. McNamara “should be on trial for his Agent Orange.” Good idea, but it’s a bit late for that as McNamara is no longer with us.

This massive book contains some excellent Marine Corps combat stories, if you have the energy to winkle them out of the canned histories, rants, and apparent nonsense. You get a lot of book for your money.

The author’s website is www.domesticvietnam.com

—David Willson

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