BOOT, A Sorta Novel of Vietnam published, copyright and written by Charles L. Templeton.
Now a Marine Sergeant assigned to the Presidential Helicopter Squadron after completing 150 missions in Vietnam, George Orwell (G. O.) Hill had just completed a flight mission for “one of the many alphabet organizations that crowded Washington, D.C.” He was sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and looking at the Reflective pool while trying to decide “Are you going to look at that damn Wall (Vietnam Memorial) or are you going to di-di (move rapidly) back to Georgetown?” “He squinted into the pool’s reflection. His face was a mask hiding his shadows…. His heart raced and his brain whirred, like a nickelodeon … replaying images from his tour in Vietnam forever camped in his memory. Why would he want to think about that crap anyway? That was then; this is now.” But thoughts came rambling through. His youth and desire to serve as had his father, uncles and grandfathers, his pride reflected in his grandfather’s eyes. But suddenly in the water of the Reflecting pool, he saw the image of a headless North Vietnamese regular. Some creative grunt had pinned a note on his blouse that read, “I just wanted to get ahead in life.” At the time he had lost his lunch. These days he chuckled about the grisly scene.” Such is the reader’s introduction to the ruminations of a man who has lived and experienced the repetitive re-interspersing periods of mind-numbing boredom with those of terror and horrifying activity experienced by any person who ever has participated in combat.
Discussion: Assuming the part of the protagonist, G.O. Hill, the author has examined the highly diversified cultural, religious and racial beliefs existing among the group of Marines involved along with those of the enemy. Additionally, he has injected a perhaps unexpected glimpse of a human tendency that exists even in enemies fighting for survival. His portrayal of characters is most realistically accomplished, the humor included, and the story provides, often unwanted memories for the initiated but is of tremendous educational value for the uninitiated,
5* Educational for the uninitiated; often unwanted recall for participants.