And in the end, he was murdered by his own side, the Montagnard rebels who were equally opposed to the Communists in Hanoi and the generals in Saigon.
A compelling look at a country and a people caught up in a Cold War they couldn't understand, and which in the end destroyed them.
In 1964, Daniel Ford took the publisher's advance for the sale of his first novel, and with it bought a ticket to Saigon. For several months, he hitchhiked around the country with American helicopter crews and joined the government forces -- both Vietnamese and ethnic minorities -- in their quest to find and destroy Communist guerrillas. The most memorable of these warriors was a young man whom the Americans knew as Cowboy, who liked to introduce himself as Philippe Drouin, and who had been born Y Kdruin Mlo in the forbidding Highlands where the lowland Vietnamese were hated and feared. Here Dan returns to that long-ago war and to the story of one of its most fascinating fighters, who in the end became one of its victims.
Covering their war are a handful of foreign reporters, including novelist Daniel Ford. Armed with a camera and a notebook, he wanders the country on foot and by military transport--helicopter, jeep, landing craft, junk, armored personnel carrier, and an Air Force flare ship--from the Mekong Delta to the Central Highlands. Once or twice a week, or whenever he is reunited with his Hermes portable, he types up an account of what he has seen and done. Here is that journal, 50-odd years after it was written. It is a freeze-frame picture of the Vietnam War before it became a quagmire. "How good-hearted we were!" Ford says of himself and the men he met in his travels. "And how badly it all turned out."
Groundbreaking, thrilling and revealing, The Reaper is the astonishing memoir of Special Operations Direct Action Sniper Nicholas Irving, the 3rd Ranger Battalion's deadliest sniper with 33 confirmed kills, though his remarkable career total, including probables, is unknown.
Irving shares the true story of his extraordinary military career, including his deployment to Afghanistan in the summer of 2009, when he set another record, this time for enemy kills on a single deployment. His teammates and chain of command labeled him "The Reaper," and his actions on the battlefield became the stuff of legend, culminating in an extraordinary face-off against an enemy sniper known simply as The Chechnian.
Irving's astonishing first-person account of his development into an expert assassin offers a fascinating and extremely rare view of special operations combat missions through the eyes of a Ranger sniper during the Global War on Terrorism. From the brotherhood and sacrifice of teammates in battle to the cold reality of taking a life to protect another, no other book dives so deep inside the life of an Army sniper on point.