Ghosts and Shadows

A Marine in Vietnam, 1968–1969


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SKU: 9780786472772 Categories: , Tags: ,

About the Book

The author arrived at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego ill-prepared for the training and abuse that awaited him in boot camp. At the time, he would have done anything to escape; only upon reflection years later did he realize that the self-confidence instilled in him by his drill instructors had probably saved his life in Vietnam. A few months after boot camp, Private Ball was shipped out to Vietnam, joining F Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, near Khe Sanh. As a grunt, in the vernacular of the Corps, Ball, like the other youths of F Company, did a difficult and deadly job in such places as the A Shau Valley, Leatherneck Square, the DMZ and other obscure but critical I Corps locales. His—their—fear of death mingled with homesickness. Little did they realize that the horrors of the Vietnam War—horrors that while in-country they often claimed did not even exist—would haunt them for the rest of their lives.

About the Author(s)

After serving in the Marines, the late Phil Ball worked as a marine mechanic in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Bibliographic Details

Phil Ball
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 224
Bibliographic Info: 8 photos, 6 maps, index
Copyright Date: 2012 [1998]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7277-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2484-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     v
Introduction     1

1. Enlistment     5
2. Welcome to Vietnam     11
3. The Bush     19
4. First LP and Patrol     32
5. Gunny Franks     43
6. Foxtrot Ridge     51
7. It Hits the Fan     61
8. The Battle Continues     83
9. Leatherneck Square     100
10. Hot LZ, Friendly Fire     113
11. Malaria, Cam Lo River Basin     125
12. Mutter’s Ridge     135
13. Mai Loc, Tokyo, Da Nang, Mai Loc     144
14. Ashau Valley, Sleepwalking     174
15. The World (Epilogue)     188

Appendix A: Marine Corps Field Interview on the Events at Foxtrot Ridge     199
Appendix B: Awards, KIA, and Other Statistics of Foxtrot Ridge     207

F 2/3 Roster-May 1968, Foxtrot Ridge     209
Military History of Phil Ball     211
Index     213

Book Reviews & Awards

• “This is a must read book…captivating, evocative…Ball has compiled an outstanding account, detailed and factual, full of the fury of the battle and the feelings of the men…a great tribute to the many brave individual Marines who gave so much…of great significance to those who want to know what it was really like.”—Red Clay (Khe Sanh Veterans, Inc.)

• “Reveals the face of war as viewed by the rifleman on the sharp end…a finely crafted and emotionally charged portrait of combat and the young men caught up in it, this narrative will certainly find an admiring audience…recommended.”—Library Journal

• “Ball takes the reader from his first days as a brand-new recruit in San Diego, through boot camp at Pendleton, to shipping out to Vietnam. Then he covers his tour in-country, and follows that with heartfelt chapter on his return to civilian life. In a conversational style—leavened with some well-remembered (or well-reconstructed) dialogue—he tells his war and post-war stories. The book reads well, with appropriate military and battlefield jargon that doesn’t weigh down the narrative”—The VVA Veteran

• “Ball’s honesty is the key to the general excellence of his story…this is not just another book about Vietnam…heart-wrenching”—Cincinnati Enquirer

• “Highly readable…Ball’s no-nonsense approach, coupled with a clean, fast-paced writing style paints a clear picture of the harrowing year [the author] spent in-country as a private first-class with Fox Company”—Ohioana Quarterly

• “Ball, like the other youths of F Company, did a very difficult and deadly job…fear of death mingled with homesickness…little did they realize that the horrors of the Vietnam war would haunt them the rest of their lives…[an] unforgettable story.”—Midwest Book Review

• “Detailed descriptions of 13 months of bloody Marine combat experiences…millions of readers will understand and many will identify with the author.”—Cellar Arrivals (Cellar Book Shop)

• “Provides a detailed account of what combat was like.”— Reference & Research Book News