A Different Face of War: Memories of a Medical Service Corps Officer in Vietnam

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University of North Texas Press, Nov 15, 2015 - History - 528 pages
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A Different Face of War is a riveting account of a Medical Service Corps officer’s activities during the early years of the Vietnam War. Assigned as the senior medical advisor to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam in I Corps, an area close to the DMZ, James G. Van Straten traveled extensively and interacted with military officers and non-commissioned officers, peasant-class farmers, Buddhist bonzes, shopkeepers, scribes, physicians, nurses, the mentally ill, and even political operatives. He sent his wife daily letters from July 1966 through June 1967, describing in impressive detail his experiences, and those letters became the primary source for his memoir.  The author describes with great clarity and poignancy the anguish among the survivors when an American cargo plane in bad weather lands short of the Da Nang Air Base runway on Christmas Eve and crashes into a Vietnamese coastal village, killing more than 100 people and destroying their village; the heart-wrenching pleadings of a teenage girl that her shrapnel-ravaged leg not be amputated; and the anger of an American helicopter pilot who made repeated trips into a hot landing zone to evacuate the wounded, only to have the Vietnamese insist that the dead be given a higher priority.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
July 1966
5
August 1966
45
September 1966
83
October 1966
131
November 1966
177
December 1966
215
January 1967
253
April 1967
353
May 1967
395
June 1967
431
Reflections
469
About the Author
477
Endnotes
479
Bibliography
485
Index
489

February 1967
281
March 1967
313

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About the author (2015)

After his thirty-year military career ended in 1986, James G. Van Straten moved into academia. In 1990 he was appointed dean of the School of Allied Health Sciences at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He and his spouse now reside in Windcrest, Texas.

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