We Had to Get Out of That Place

A Memoir of Redemption and Betrayal in Vietnam


In stock

About the Book

Steven Grzesik’s counter-culture experience in Greenwich Village ended with a bad acid trip followed by a draft notice. The Vietnam War, then at its height, seemed doomed to failure by cynical politicians and a skeptical public, a prediction he weighed against his sense of duty to himself and to his country.

Through a variety of combat duties—with the infantry, the 36th Engineer Battalion, F Co. 75th Rangers and the 174th Assault Helicopter Co.—and several close calls with death, Grzesik’s detailed memoir recounts his two tours in-country, where he hoped merely to survive with a semblance of heroism, yet ultimately redefined himself.

About the Author(s)

Steven Grzesik served two tours of duty in Vietnam. He spent time in the infantry and the engineers on his first tour. On his second tour he volunteered for the original 75th Rangers, going on many long-range reconnaissance patrols. Afterwards, he flew as a door gunner in the largest air assault of the war: Operation Lam Son 719—the invasion of Laos. A writer for major newspapers and military periodicals, he lives in Seminole, Florida.

Bibliographic Details

Steven Grzesik
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 215
Bibliographic Info: 21 photos, glossary, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9051-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4808-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1

 1. Introduction and a Sniper 3

 2. In Country 9

 3. MPs, Rockets and the Firebase 15

 4. Total Darkness and Explosions 22

 5. Mortars and Prisoners 30

 6. War Dog Twice 36

 7. Women and Children 47

 8. Strange Grenades and Tarot Cards 52

 9. Five Crazy Days in Dau Tieng 57

10. ­Boom-boom 67

11. New Guys 70

12. Escape 75

13. Vung Tau to Baria 80

14. Baria to Vinh Long 88

15. Kiss Panama Goodbye 102

16. F Company Rangers 108

17. Lizard 114

18. M79 116

19. SKS Rifle 119

20. Most Embarrassing Moment 121

21. Large, Small Men 123

22. A Beautiful Jungle 127

23. Cambodia 131

24. Marking Round 134

25. Fall from Grace and Ascent I 138

26. Fall from Grace and Ascent II 147

27. “Mayday, Mayday” 158

28. Down Behind the Lines 161

29. Lines in the Sky 166

30. Redemption at Lang Vei 168

31. Fifty Knot Smoke 179

32. Bodies in the Bird 183

33. Shot Up 186

34. Redleg’s Air 192

35. Zero One to Ball Game 195

36. Aftermath 200

Epilogue 205

Glossary 207

Index 209

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Steven Grzesik has pulled back the curtain on service in the Vietnam War. It was a brutal time and Steve honestly offers his experiences as proof of this.”—Major General Bradley Lott, United States Marine Corps (retired)

• “Grzesik’s gripping point of view places you squarely into his gritty, no-punches-pulled, journey of self-discovery. He takes you from the streets of New York City to the battlefields of Vietnam, and in doing so, reveals the insanity of that war, and the humanity of its soldiers.”—David Sheppard, Commander, United States Coast Guard

• “Grzesik captures the horrors of the Vietnam War. He details the fears of a young soldier being dropped into the unknown in Vietnam: a conflict no one could be prepared for. The account of his journey is riveting.”—Kurt Browning, former Florida Secretary of State