Killer Kane

A Marine Long-Range Recon Team Leader in Vietnam, 1967–1968


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SKU: 9780786477012 Categories: , Tags: , ,

About the Book

The leader of one of the most successful U. S. Marine long range reconnaissance teams during the Vietnam War, Andrew Finlayson recounts his team’s experiences in the year leading up to the Tet Offensive of 1968. Using primary sources, such as Marine Corps unit histories and his own weekly letters home, he presents a highly personal account of the dangerous missions conducted by this team of young Marines as they searched for North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong units in such dangerous locales as Elephant Valley, the Enchanted Forest, Charlie Ridge, Happy Valley and the Que Son Mountains.
In numerous close contacts with the enemy, the team (code-name Killer Kane) fights for its survival against desperate odds, narrowly escaping death time and again. The book gives vivid descriptions of the life of recon Marines when they are not on patrol, the beauty of the landscape they traverse, and several of the author’s Vietnamese friends. It also explains in detail the preparations for, and the conduct of, a successful long range reconnaissance patrol.

About the Author(s)

Andrew R. Finlayson served for 25 years in the U. S. Marine Corps retiring as a colonel and went on to work in the defense industry in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq and Romania. He is the author of several defense and intelligence related articles and studies. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

Andrew R. Finlayson
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 288
Bibliographic Info: 62 photos, 2 maps, glossary, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7701-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1214-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments  1
1. Preparing for Battle  5
2. Lost Friends and Deep in Enemy-Held Territory  29
3. Killer Kane Goes on the Attack  62
4. More Patrols  77
5. The Summer of Living Dangerously  110
6. The Yellow Brick Road  145
7. Happy Valley  173
8. Swift Scout Makes Its Debut  198
9. Okinawa and Home  224
Glossary  269
Recommended Reading  273
Index  275

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Excellent…deserves our full and undivided attention”—Leatherneck Magazine
  • “Diminishes none of the luster but dispels many of the myths. Finlayson led 34 long-range reconnaissance and surveillance…and ultimately ambush…patrols into some of the most contested areas of the Vietnam War. That the team suffered very few wounded and just one killed…by lightning of all things…is a testament to Finlayson’s leadership, skill, and tenacity…accurately depicts operations…forthright…written in a mood of almost ecstatic disquiet…engaging”—Proceedings
  • “Recommended…well-written…McFarland, has done the serious reader of Marine Corps Officers memoirs a service. This book ranks right up there at the top of the genre’s heap”—The VVA Veteran
  • “A larger work of wisdom and eloquence that generously gives high tribute and deserved honor.”—
  • “This is clearly the best book about Marine long-range recon teams in Vietnam—it is also so well written and detailed that it should be required reading by teams and patrols in Marine and Army reconnaissance units today. It also reads almost like a how-to book in such things as what to take on a reconnaissance patrol and why, things to do and not do, and more. Finlayson doesn’t hesitate to introduce his team and how valuable each was in completing every mission, nor does he refrain from pointing out the errors he made. …A top 5 recommended book on the Vietnam War.”—Modern War Institute
  • “Detailed…integrates the perspective of his younger self, relying on letters he wrote home from the war, with a more mature perspective, drawing on military primary sources…extensive glossary”—Reference & Research Book News