U.S. Elite Forces by Marti Demiquels

U.S. Elite Forces: Uniforms, Equipment & Personal Items, Vietnam, 1965-1975 (Andrea Press/Casemate, 250 pp., $61), is a collection of more than a thousand photos of virtually every uniform, piece of equipment, and weapon used by U.S. Army advisors, LRRPs, Special Forces, and Marine, Navy and Air Force elite units in the Vietnam War.

Author Marti Demiquels somehow managed to gather hundreds of uniforms, military equipment, and weapons and photographed them for the book. He organizes the book into sections on units and uniforms (including head gear and footwear), weapons (broken down into firearms and grenades and ammunition), edged weapons (knives and machetes), and demolition charges. The equipment is presented in categories such as radios, survival (vests, markers, signal kits, compasses), and medical gear.

Demiquels also includes a long section that contains photo spreads of what he calls the “personal memorabilia” of elite unit veterans. The page for former 1st Sgt. Rick Grabianowski, who served with a MACV-SOG recon company in Vietnam in 1970, for example, includes two snapshots of Grabianowski in Vietnam, a photo of a silk flag with the MACV-SOG logo, and a 101st Airborne Division death card.

This coffee-table book is an illustrated paean to American special forces in the Vietnam War—and a useful reference book for anyone interested in looking at the things they carried and wore in the war.

—Marc Leepson