Like Boy Scouts with Guns

Memoir of a Counterculture Warrior in Vietnam


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About the Book

Facing the possibility of being drafted and sent to Vietnam, Roger Durham secured a deferment when he enrolled in college. Devoting more time to anti-war protests than to studies, he became immersed in the late 1960s counterculture, flunked out and was drafted anyway. Deployed to Vietnam with the U.S. Army’s 18th Engineer Brigade Headquarters, he was assigned to a helicopter base “behind the wire,” far from the action. Or so he thought—the action came to him as the base drew mortar, rocket and sapper attacks. Durham’s clear-eyed memoir relates an often untold experience of the Vietnam War—that of the counterculture soldier whose opposition to war did not end when he was inducted. Adjusting to life in-country, he finds a thriving drug culture and a brotherhood of like-minded warriors, who resist both the enemy and the culture of zealous militarism that prosecutes what they see as an immoral war, against American national interests. Durham undergoes changes in perspective, extending his tour of duty when the thought of going home fills him with anxiety and anticipation.

About the Author(s)

Roger S. Durham has worked for over 35 years as a historian for several state and federal agencies and authored numerous books and magazine articles on military history. He lives in Statesboro, Georgia.

Bibliographic Details

Roger S. Durham

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 302
Bibliographic Info: 64 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8472-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4243-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1. The Lost Boys 7
2. The Tunnel at the End of the Light 15
3. Flirting with Disaster 30
4. Like Boy Scouts with Guns 49
5. The Good, the Bad and the Indifferent 77
6. Dudes, Duty and Diversions: 18th Engineer Brigade 87
7. Heavy Weather 109
8. A Temporary Reality 117
9. Duty Calls 130
10. “Who is this chick? Where the hell am I? What am I doing here?”: R&R #1 143
11. ­Stand-Down, Let Down 167
12. Crusader Switch: 35th Engineer Group 177
13. Like There Was No Tomorrow: R&R #2 186
14. Dudes, Duty and Diversions: 35th Engineer Group 206
15. The Incorrigibles 222
16. Bourke Street Again: R&R #3 236
17. Straight On Till Morning 250
18. Wandering and Wondering 266
19. To the Wicky Wick Woods 279
Roger S. Durham Service History 291
Index 293

Book Reviews & Awards

“An inherently fascinating and informative personal account offering a unique perspective on the Vietnam War…very highly recommended.”—Midwest Book Review