American Brothers United (ABU Press, 583 pp., $20.18, paper; $9.99, Kindle) focuses on a regiment of the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam from July 29, 1965, to August 1966. This story is told by former Staff Sgt. Billy R. Robbins with the help of many of his ABU brothers who contributed chapters and pictures.
Robbins spent thirty years in the Army, retiring as a lieutenant colonel in 1987. The amount of research that went into this thick book is amazing. Robbins tracked down many ABU men who served with him and also makes reference to several books written about the same topic.
American Brothers United also traces the history of the ABU and what has happened to many of the men Robbins served with. It also contains information on reunions, his father, and even Donut Dollies in Vietnam. With such an extensive and ambitious topic, at times I found it difficult to grasp the main points Robbins was making.
This book is not without controversy. Besides documenting the heroic efforts of ABU in Vietnam, the author is very critical of his commanding officer, Maj. David Hackworth. He says that “Hacky” put ABU lives at risk to further his career, calling him “a LIAR- a FRAUD! A MALFUNCTION!”
Robbins also includes a chapter discussing Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, decrying his misbegotten Project 100,000, which drafted men who were, as Robbins puts it, “severely limited—both mentally and medically.”
American Brothers United is a very ambitious effort and a must read for Airborne Brotherhood veterans.
—Mark S. Miller