2nd Platoon: Journey of the Pack by Billy W. Smith

Billy W. Smith (in the photo above, donating a copy of his book to the Elba, Alabama, High School library)  served as an infantryman with Alpha Company, 1st of the 27th, the “Wolfhounds” of the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam in 1968-69. His memoir, 2nd Platoon:Journey of the Pack (297 pp., $15, paper) “is about the facts and the experiences of a foot soldier’s life,” he writes. “Try to picture in your mind a group of 20-year-old men in jungle warfare and combat, in a foreign country engaged in battle with a very well seasoned enemy.”

Smith, a life member of Vietnam Veterans of America, notes that there “was no glamour of a Hollywood movie” in the Vietnam War. There were, he says, “plenty of horrors, death, seriously wounded men, burned, disfigured, mentally scarred, total exhaustion, men’s lives changed forever. There were no John Wayne’s, Rambo’s or other super heroes that were bulletproof and could whip an entire unit all by himself.”

The book follows Smith’s tour of duty and is based on the many letters he wrote to his sister Vivian Fuchs and a journal he kept in Vietnam. Smith also offers his thoughts on how Vietnam veterans were treated when we came home and what factors influenced the outcome of the Vietnam War.

This book will appeal to those who are interested in Smith’s wartime activities and those of his fellow Wolfhounds.

To order a copy of the book, contact Smith at 629 Co. Rd. 409, Elba, AL 36323 or email firstwolf48@gmail.com

—Marc Leepson

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