Want an uplifting account of one young Army officer's service in the Vietnam War? Vietnam, A Memoir: Saigon Cop, is not it. The focus of this book and of two later volumes in the series is war stripped of glory, high purpose, inspiration, and easy but false patriotism. Instead, the focus is on five Bs: booze, babes, boredom, bureaucracy, and occasionally battle. Heroes are few. Hyperbole is minimal.
Yet the tale is an unusual one. The author was an ROTC graduate with no long term Army commitment. After serving a year as a Military Police platoon leader in Saigon, a period that is the subject of this first volume, he stayed in Vietnam for another year and a half. His months as an infantry officer are covered in later volumes.
Military Police duty in Saigon in 196667 was a surreal combination of Army nitpicking on a stateside scale, protecting U.S. facilities against Viet Cong terrorism, and policing the large U.S. presence in the city. MPs lived, worked, and occasionally played in the middle of an Oriental metropolis of strange sights, sounds, and smells. Lengthy stretches of tedious, humdrum activity were interrupted by sudden bursts of danger and fear.