Sent into the deadly Central Highlands of Vietnam, a true story of my dad and his fellow skytroopers from 1966 to 1967. My father is Wilbur E. Bowe. He was living on his family’s farm when he was drafted in 1965 and assigned to Alpha Company, 5th Battalion, 7th Calvary.
The second edition has recently been published, and is available for Kindle, as well as Full-Color Hardcover and Black & White Paperback on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The Kindle e-book is only available on Amazon and can be read for free on Kindle Unlimited. Produced by narrator, Will Stauff, the audiobook is now available on Audible and iTunes. A collection of audiobook excerpts and photos are posted on my YouTube page. In September of 2018, a wonderful story by Alex Chhith about our project was featured on the front page of the Chaska Herald.
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The 5/7th Cavalry was formed as a brand-new battalion in order to fill out the 1st Air Cavalry Division’s 3rd Brigade. The young men of the battalion were largely drafted together in 1965 as the build-up of regular Army forces in Vietnam had just begun. Together, these impossibly young men would be trained in airmobile infantry tactics and become what were known as “skytroopers”. They would then be sent deep into the Central Highlands of Vietnam, where together they would learn what “search and destroy” meant and face the reality of this new war.
The story features many of the letters and photographs my dad sent home from the war zone. His dispatches were sent from some of the most remote valleys and outposts in Vietnam, written under the most austere of conditions, often scribbled in haste before another mission, or by flashlight, under a poncho in the rain. They would travel over 8,000 miles across the ocean, to be placed in a mailbox that stood across from a farmhouse, along a rural county road in Wisconsin.
Many former skytroopers of Alpha Company were interviewed for this story, and their personal accounts recall much of the humor and friendship they shared, along with the sadness and tragedy that would accompany a year spent in the jungles of Vietnam.
The story also draws upon the 5/7th Cavalry’s daily staff journals and situation reports for every day of the battalion’s first year in Vietnam.
This is their story, told in great detail from their time spent training together at Fort Carson – through their historic journey across the ocean aboard the USNS Gaffey, where they would encounter a massive typhoon – through their many battles fought together in Vietnam – and eventually, their final patrol.
The title was inspired by the words of John H. Secondari in the the 1965 film, The Saga of Western Man:
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If you served in the 5/7th Cav, or know of someone who did, I would much appreciate any information or recollections you would like to contribute. Any memories about those who served in the 5/7th Cav are welcome. You can use the form below, or simply email me at email@example.com.