Dead Center: A Marine Sniper's Two-Year Odyssey in the Vietnam War

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WHEN YOU'RE IN THE DEATH BUSINESS,
EACH DAWN COULD BE YOUR LAST.

Raw, straightforward, and powerful, Ed Kugler's account of his two years as a Marine scout-sniper in Vietnam vividly captures his experiences there--the good, the bad, and the ugly. After enlisting in the Marines at seventeen, then being wounded in Santo Domingo during the Dominican crisis, Kugler arrived in Vietnam in early 1966.

As a new sniper with the 4th Marines, Kugler picked up bush skills while attached to 3d Force Recon Company, and then joined the grunts. To take advantage of that experience, he formed the Rogues, a five-sniper team that hunted in the Co Bi-Than Tan Valley for VC and NVA. His descriptions of long, tense waits, sudden deadly action, and NVA countersniper ambushes are fascinating.

In DEAD CENTER, Kugler demonstrates the importance to a sniper of patience, marksmanship, bush skills, and guts--while underscoring exactly what a country demands of its youth when it sends them to war.
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About the author

A former Marine scout-sniper, Ed Kugler served two tours in Vietnam as a sniper and sergeant with the 4th Marines in I Corps. He is the recipient of two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He is the author of the inspirational self-help booklet A Dozen Things I Learned About Life as a Marine Sniper in Vietnam. Following his four-year hitch in the Marine Corps, Ed distinguished himself in the corporate world. He spent ten years in his family's trucking business before working sixteen years in management with PepsiCo's Frito-Lay and Pepsi-Cola divisions. He was then Vice President, Worldwide Logistics, for Compaq Computer Corporation and vice president of Telxon Corporation. Today Ed is a business and change management consultant. He lives with his wife of thirty years and their family in Spring, Texas.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Ballantine Books
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Published on
Oct 17, 2012
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Pages
384
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ISBN
9780307829917
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / Vietnam War
History / Modern / 20th Century
History / United States / 20th Century
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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While the seventy-seven-day siege of Khe Sanh in early 1968 remains one of the most highly publicized clashes of the Vietnam War, scant attention has been paid to the first battle of Khe Sanh, also known as “the Hill Fights.” Although this harrowing combat in the spring of 1967 provided a grisly preview of the carnage to come at Khe Sanh, few are aware of the significance of the battles, or even their existence. For more than thirty years, virtually the only people who knew about the Hill Fights were the Marines who fought them. Now, for the first time, the full story has been pieced together by acclaimed Vietnam War historian Edward F. Murphy, whose definitive analysis admirably fills this significant gap in Vietnam War literature. Based on first-hand interviews and documentary research, Murphy’s deeply informed narrative history is the only complete account of the battles, their origins, and their aftermath.

The Marines at the isolated Khe Sanh Combat Base were tasked with monitoring the strategically vital Ho Chi Minh trail as it wound through the jungles in nearby Laos. Dominated by high hills on all sides, the combat base had to be screened on foot by the Marine infantrymen while crack, battle-hardened NVA units roamed at will through the high grass and set up elaborate defenses on steep, sun-baked overlooks.

Murphy traces the bitter account of the U.S. Marines at Khe Sanh from the outset in 1966, revealing misguided decisions and strategies from above, and capturing the chain of hill battles in stark detail. But the Marines themselves supply the real grist of the story; it is their recollections that vividly re-create the atmosphere of desperation, bravery, and relentless horror that characterized their combat. Often outnumbered and outgunned by a hidden enemy—and with buddies lying dead or wounded beside them—these brave young Americans fought on.

The story of the Marines at Khe Sanh in early 1967 is a microcosm of the Corps’s entire Vietnam War and goes a long way toward explaining why their casualties in Vietnam exceeded, on a Marine-in-combat basis, even the tremendous losses the Leathernecks sustained during their ferocious Pacific island battles of World War II.

The Hill Fights is a damning indictment of those responsible for the lives of these heroic Marines. Ultimately, the high command failed them, their tactics failed them, and their rifles failed them. Only the Marines themselves did not fail. Under fire, trapped in a hell of sudden death meted out by unseen enemies, they fought impossible odds with awesome courage and uncommon valor.


From the Hardcover edition.
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