The Body Burning Detail

Memoir of a Marine Artilleryman in Vietnam

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About the Book

A poignant memoir that recounts the author’s hair-raising—and occasionally hilarious—experiences as a young, not especially gung-ho Marine artilleryman in Vietnam. Gritty and disturbing, Bill Jones’ unvarnished narrative probes the lasting physical and emotional wounds of war and offers a combat veteran’s wry insight into the influence and relevance of America’s long and indecisive misadventure.

About the Author(s)

Bill Jones is a retired Special Agent with the CSX Railroad Police and former newspaper columnist with the Wyoming State Journal. A regular contributor to Range magazine, his poetry and articles have been published in a variety of anthologies, books and periodicals. He lives in Middlesboro, Kentucky.

Bibliographic Details

Bill Jones
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 202
Bibliographic Info: 11 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7517-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3424-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi
Foreword by Vess Quinlan 1
Poem: The Body Burning Detail 3
Preface 5
1. Pack Your Trash 7
2. We Don’t Want Any Candy Asses 9
3. I Can’t Hear You! 13
Poem: Lights Out 19
4. Breathe. Relax. Aim. Sight. Squeeze. 21
5. Fortunate Son 24
6. You Guys Have No Idea 28
7. Shredded Wheat 32
8. A Live Dog … A Dead Lion 39
9. A World of Shit 42
10. Chicken Plates 45
11. Magnificent Bastards 49
12. A Mexican Angel 52
Poem: Fixation 55
13. You Will Probably Get Killed Anyway 57
14. Good Morning, Vietnam! 60
15. I Will Be in the Area All Day 63
16. A Sexist Pig 66
17. Short-Arm Inspection 68
18. A Magic Show 71
19. Ann-Margret’s Panties 74
20. Two-Legged Rats 77
21. Smoking Is Hazardous to Your Health 80
Poem: Chief 83
22. Bob’s Wife 85
23. More Like an Earthworm 88
24. Friendly Fire 92
25. Regrets 96
26. Bad News 99
27. In Country R&R 101
28. LZ Sitting Duck 104
29. Playboy Foldout 107
30. A Gook Killing Machine 109
31. Grand Theft Auto 112
32. Fix Bayonets 115
Poem: Near Laos 119
33. Show Him the Scalp 121
34. Chief 125
35. REMF’s 128
36. Miss Congeniality 131
37. Dogpatch 134
Poem: Heathen Killer 137
38. A Frogman in Miami 139
39. A Lot of Fat Sailors 142
40. Things Are Different Out There 144
41. Search and Avoid 147
42. Go Along to Get Along 151
43. Fire Ants on a Dead Bird 156
44. Full Circle 160
45. Tiger Piss 162
Poem: Five Days Home 167
46. A Little Too Cute 169
47. Blood Money 172
48. Police Only 176
Epilogue 181
Index 185

Book Reviews & Awards

• “The poignant autobiography of Bill Jones that recounts his hair-raising experiences as a young, but not especially gung-ho Marine artilleryman in Vietnam. Gritty and disturbing, his unvarnished narrative probes the lasting physical and emotional wounds of war and offers a combat veteran’s wry insight into the influence and relevance of America’s long and indecisive misadventure. An extraordinary and inherently riveting read from beginning to end…will prove to be an enduring valued contribution to the growing body of Vietnam War literature. Very highly recommended.”—Midwest Book Review

• “[Jones] presents an informative and thought provoking account about war’s effect on his generation”—VVA Veteran

• “Jones presents a memoir of his experiences as a Marine artilleryman in the Vietnam War. He describes Marine recruitment and boot camp, fighting in the war, military operations and procedures, his time on R&R, and his return from Vietnam and life as a civilian. He includes poems he wrote about the war throughout”—ProtoView

• “Bill Jones’ memoir of the Vietnam War, The Body Burning Detail, conveys the naiveté, the fear, the rage, the black humor of a young Marine’s tour of duty in Vietnam. This is a real marine story. No glory, and a healthy dose of guts. One hell of a read.”—Ken Rodgers, USMC, author, filmmaker, and survivor of the Siege of Khe Sanh

• “True to himself—and to all of us who lived through the Vietnam War—Bill Jones balances terror and futility with the keen and introspective eye of a combat Marine. This is no fairy tale—it’s real, honest and profane, as all wars are, an enlightening read for anyone who cares about humanity.”—John Dofflemeyer, Dry Crik Review

• “This book will be embraced and savored. It is one hell of a ride.”—C.J. (Caroline Joy) Hadley, publisher/editor of RANGE magazine

• “Not sure the world is ready for yet one more movie about Vietnam but this book would make an excellent subject. I could not put it down.”—Bill Sniffin, author and publisher, Lander, Wyoming