Hoping to stay out of Vietnam, David Lyman joined the U.S. Naval Reserve to avoid the draft. By summer 1967 he was with a SeaBee unit on a beach in Chu Lai. A reporter in civilian life, Lyman was assigned to Military Construction Battalion 71 as a photojournalist. He documented the lives of the hard-working and hard-drinking SeaBees as they engineered roads, runways, heliports and base camps for the troops.
The author was shot at, almost blown up by a road mine, and spent nights in a mortar pit as rockets bombarded a nearby Marine runway. He rode on convoys through Viet Cong territory to photograph villages outside “The Wire.” The stories and photographs Lyman published as editor of the battalion’s newspaper, The Transit, form the basis of this memoir.