Vietnam, A Memoir: Mekong Mud Soldier is the third work of a trilogy on one young Army officer's service in the Vietnam War. The first volume, Saigon Cop, covers his year as a Military Police platoon leader in Saigon. In the second volume, Airborne Trooper, he is a semi-trained infantry platoon leader trying to quickly climb a steep learning curve in one of the Vietnam War's legendary units, the 173rd Airborne Brigade. Together, the three books tell a tale of war stripped of glory, high purpose, inspiration, and superficial patriotism. The focus is on five Bs: booze, babes, boredom, bureaucracy, and occasionally battle.
This third volume, Mekong Mud Soldier, begins with bureaucracy: the author's experience as a staff officer, or more irreverently, as a rear echelon flunky. The action heats up after he is sent as an advisor to a Vietnamese unit in the wet Mekong Delta. The advisory business is frustrating and sometimes dangerous. Ideally, it should be limited to volunteers, but in the rush to Vietnamize the war in the late 1960s, many U.S. officers and NCOs unhappily found themselves in duties they were only minimally prepared for.