William Crisp served as a rifle platoon leader with the 8th Calvary Regiment of the 1st Cavalry Division in Vietnam from August 1966 until August 1967. A graduate of VMI, he went on to earn a a Masters degree from John Hopkins University that would lead him to a job with the U.S. Foreign Service.
Before that, though, Crisp put in a year in II Corps and answered the question that all young men who serve in a war have to answer: Could he be brave enough to do the right thing in battle?
In Air Assault: Sharing Military Experience (Xlibris, 258 pp., $29.99, hardcover; $19.99, paper), his interesting and informative memoir, Crisp does not follow a linear line. Instead, he brings the reader back and forth to the events in his life that led him to some of the life-and-death decisions that he would be forced to make as an air assault “dragoon” in Vietnam.
Crisp has reconsidered some of those decisions many times since making his original choices, but he has learned to look back with a sense of humbled forgiveness at at least of few of them. In his memoir, Crisp’s voice is clear and retrospective. He recognizes that his southern background has had a big impact on his military service and on his world view. And he is unapologetic about that aspect of his life in his memoir.
Crisp, who also has a background also as a novelist, carries the reader through his year in Vietnam in manner that is naturally paced and intimate in its style.