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“Here we go, I said to myself as my system electrified with the familiar rush of adrenaline.”
 
On July 18, 1967, Staff Sergeant James Donahue and the men of Special Forces Detachment A-304 were on an operation; code-name Blackjack-34. Their mission: to find and engage an enemy battalion that was thought to be operating in an enemy-controlled area north of Quon Loi, Vietnam.
 
Now Donahue bears witness to the horrific events of that day and the exceptional grit and heroism of his teammates. Blackjack-34 is a magnificent tribute to the warriors of the Mobile Guerrilla Force―their courage and willingness to press on, no matter what the odds.


From the Paperback edition.
Published: Random House Publishing Group an imprint of Random House Publishing Group on
ISBN: 9780307775245
List price: $7.99
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always had a great respect for Special Forces and what they could achieve. In Blackjack - 34, code name for this particular mission, a handful of American SF Soldiers lead a company size force, comprised of Cambodians and Chinese Nung mercenaries, to locate a large enemy unit thought to be operating in the area. The "Bodes" are meticulous and excellent hunters, moving stealthy through the dense jungles without a sound. Some believed they have a special gift, because they can sense when the enemy is near. It is early morning when this group locates the enemy, and the first bullets of their day-long battle ensues. It is soon clear that this group is vastly outnumbered and soon surrounded by enemy soldiers.One of the Americans, James Donahue, is also a medic and finds himself in a dual role during this skirmish. The Special Forces also trained the "Bodes" to be medics, their competencies saved many lives that day. Even while the battle is raging, these young Cambodian soldiers are yelling obscenities and hurling insults at the enemy; taking great joy in this and feeling like they have the upper hand. These Asians despised the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese regular soldiers, and fought ferociously without a sign of fear - even at these odds.Helicopters are not able to land to retrieve the wounded and ammunition had to be dropped from speeding Hueys as they flew overhead. Unfortunately, some crates landed outside of their perimeter and had to be retrieved in order for them to have any chance of survival. I found myself intrigued a few times while reading the story, especially when discussing the "Bodes" and their customs. Seems that each of them carried a small Buddha figurine to protect them. Then later, when it appeared they may be overrun, these you men placed the Buddha figurines in their mouths and continued the fight. This gave them some comfort in knowing that if they died, their "God" would take care of them. There was also a time during the fighting when one of the "Bodes" in his team turned to Donahue and said with a smile, "Don't worry Donahue, if you die, I eat your heart." This also caught the author off guard and when he responded that he didn't want him to do this, the "bode" was hurt and dejected. The Bode explained that it was an honor to have somebody eat your heart - it will help in his travels through the afterlife. James then provided an explanation which seemed to appease and satisfy the youth.Bac Si Donahue is eventually wounded himself, but continues to treat the injured Bodes; sewing one man's face back together after it is ripped apart by shrapnel, and then to stop the bleeding, stuffed gauze into a bullet hole running from the roof of the man's mouth to the top of his head. Accomplishing these feats with a steady hand even after losing much blood himself.The battle continues to wage through the day - leaving scores of enemy soldiers littering the ground outside of the perimeter. The author has well developed characters - readers feel the sadness and loss when some of them are killed.Will the Mike Force arrive in time to save the heroic group of survivors? How many more will die? You'll have to buy the book to find out these answers. At the end, Mr. Donahue also provides an update and current status of many of the characters in this well-written story. This book is about only one day in the war, many of the men continued fighting for years before the war finally ends for them. Recommended read for anyone wanting to know more about the Mibile Guerrilla Forces in Vietnam.John PodlaskiAuthor, Cherries - A Vietnam War Novelmore

Reviews

always had a great respect for Special Forces and what they could achieve. In Blackjack - 34, code name for this particular mission, a handful of American SF Soldiers lead a company size force, comprised of Cambodians and Chinese Nung mercenaries, to locate a large enemy unit thought to be operating in the area. The "Bodes" are meticulous and excellent hunters, moving stealthy through the dense jungles without a sound. Some believed they have a special gift, because they can sense when the enemy is near. It is early morning when this group locates the enemy, and the first bullets of their day-long battle ensues. It is soon clear that this group is vastly outnumbered and soon surrounded by enemy soldiers.One of the Americans, James Donahue, is also a medic and finds himself in a dual role during this skirmish. The Special Forces also trained the "Bodes" to be medics, their competencies saved many lives that day. Even while the battle is raging, these young Cambodian soldiers are yelling obscenities and hurling insults at the enemy; taking great joy in this and feeling like they have the upper hand. These Asians despised the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese regular soldiers, and fought ferociously without a sign of fear - even at these odds.Helicopters are not able to land to retrieve the wounded and ammunition had to be dropped from speeding Hueys as they flew overhead. Unfortunately, some crates landed outside of their perimeter and had to be retrieved in order for them to have any chance of survival. I found myself intrigued a few times while reading the story, especially when discussing the "Bodes" and their customs. Seems that each of them carried a small Buddha figurine to protect them. Then later, when it appeared they may be overrun, these you men placed the Buddha figurines in their mouths and continued the fight. This gave them some comfort in knowing that if they died, their "God" would take care of them. There was also a time during the fighting when one of the "Bodes" in his team turned to Donahue and said with a smile, "Don't worry Donahue, if you die, I eat your heart." This also caught the author off guard and when he responded that he didn't want him to do this, the "bode" was hurt and dejected. The Bode explained that it was an honor to have somebody eat your heart - it will help in his travels through the afterlife. James then provided an explanation which seemed to appease and satisfy the youth.Bac Si Donahue is eventually wounded himself, but continues to treat the injured Bodes; sewing one man's face back together after it is ripped apart by shrapnel, and then to stop the bleeding, stuffed gauze into a bullet hole running from the roof of the man's mouth to the top of his head. Accomplishing these feats with a steady hand even after losing much blood himself.The battle continues to wage through the day - leaving scores of enemy soldiers littering the ground outside of the perimeter. The author has well developed characters - readers feel the sadness and loss when some of them are killed.Will the Mike Force arrive in time to save the heroic group of survivors? How many more will die? You'll have to buy the book to find out these answers. At the end, Mr. Donahue also provides an update and current status of many of the characters in this well-written story. This book is about only one day in the war, many of the men continued fighting for years before the war finally ends for them. Recommended read for anyone wanting to know more about the Mibile Guerrilla Forces in Vietnam.John PodlaskiAuthor, Cherries - A Vietnam War Novelmore
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