Combat Bandsman

Memoir of a Tour in Vietnam with the 9th Infantry Division, 1969


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About the Book

Playing trumpet in the 9th Infantry Division Band should have been a safe assignment but the Viet Cong swarmed throughout the Mekong Delta, and safety was nonexistent. The band’s twofold mission—boosting morale and helping win the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese—required them to leave their Đồng Tâm (a.k.a. Mortar City) base camp and travel through a vast area of rice paddies, dense jungle and numerous villages.
By 1969, home-front support for the war had dwindled and the U.S. Army in Vietnam was on the brink of mutiny. No one wanted to die under the command of career-minded officers in a war lost to misguided politics. This memoir of a conscripted musician in Vietnam provides a personal account of the lunacy surrounding combat support service in the 9th Infantry Division during the months prior to its withdrawal.

About the Author(s)

Researcher and writer Robert F. Fischer divides his time between North Port, Florida, and Craftsbury Common, Vermont.

Bibliographic Details

Robert F. Fischer
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 256
Bibliographic Info: 70 photos, glossary, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6481-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2444-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction: The Orchestration of War, 1945–1969 9
1. Screw Up and You’ll End Up in the Infantry 19
2. Forget Everything You Learned in Basic Training 35
3. Republic of Vietnam, January 1969 58
4. Republic of Vietnam, February 1969 77
5. Republic of Vietnam, March 1969 95
6. Republic of Vietnam, April 1969 121
7. Republic of Vietnam, May 1969 148
8. Republic of Vietnam, June 1969 174
9. Republic of Vietnam, July 1969 198
10. Republic of Vietnam, August 1969 218
11. Back in the USA 225
Glossary 229
Chapter Notes 235
Bibliography 243
Index 245

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Fischer writes like a pro. He deftly weaves together humor, history lessons, insights and his own unusual experience”—VVA Veteran.