FROM THE READERS
compelling, moving, riveting, fascinating, raw, poignant, excursion into time, highly recommended' engaging, structured like a screenplay, interesting and engaging read, a unique book, story well told
This is a portrait of a young man so proud to wear the naval uniform, so proud to have served aboard a naval warship with a decorated and distinguished past, and so proud to have served his four-year tour of duty with distinction, receiving three citation letters from the ship's captain for outstanding performance.
Today, however, the Vietnam war is considered the "greatest American disaster of the twentieth century". This Knowledge adversely lingers in my mind decades after my service aboard the aircraft carrier and three deployments to a war zone.
The naval aircraft carrier appearing on the cover is the USS Hancock. She was deployed in July of 1968. In December 1968 an article appeared in the Hancock Signature. Captain Greer wrote that the Hancock was; "plagued with personnel shortages, inadequately trained personnel, lacked critical talent, equipment reliability that had not been assured, a long list of discrepancies, a criminally short time to marry the ship with the air wing, and with knowledge of predicable casualties." His words underpin my books title!
"John Lund's Vietnam 1967-1971: Danger, Affliction, Toil, Heartbreak, and Stolen Years is quite an engaging book. Lund takes us on a journey aboard the aircraft carrier Hancock on all three of his deployments on Yankee station, the Navy's designation for flight operation battle positions in the South China Sea off the coast of North and South Vietnam.
Rich with photographs and some nicely descriptive narrative, this offering-most likely unintentionally-structured like a screenplay. Lund has combed through the correspondence he shared with his bride throughout his time in the Navy and has produced a unique book
After you get in to it, you can almost hear the intonations of Jack Webb or Peter Coyote narrating and reading the letters as the story toggles back and forth between Lund's missives to his wife and his telling of the bulk of his aboard-ship story. At times, the writing is mildly salty, but not distractingly so.
Lund begins with background on himself and his family; focusing on things and people that shaped his approach to his Navy job as a machinist mate in the engine room of the Hancock, a World War II-ear aircraft carrier pressed into service for the Vietnam War. That includes meeting his future wife in high school, one of those fable love-at-first-sight encounters.
The back cover of the book quotes Capt. Greer, the ship's commander, saying that the Hancock was "plagued with personnel shortages, inadequately trained personnel, lacked critical talent, equipment reliability that had not been assured, a long list of discrepancies, a criminally short time to marry the ship with the air wing, and with knowledge of predictable casualties." That statement forms the base for Lund's story and his subtitle, "Danger, Affliction, Toil, Heartbreak and Stolen Years.
Striving to do the best he could during his tour of duty, Lund earned letters of commendation during all three of his deployments, and rose to the post of Top Watch. His description of the engine room conditions (heat, humidity, mechanical failures, and other difficulties) make for an interesting and engaging read, even for someone who never served in the Navy. The book did need a bit more explanation of Navy lingo, though.
Returning from his third deployment, his last voyage Lund mustered out as he left the Hancock without a backward glance. As a civilian, he began experiencing medical and mental challenges that brought him face-to-face with the VA and its bureaucracy. His physical afflictions very likely were caused by frequent exposure (as many other Blue Water Navy sailors were) to Agent Orange, asbestos, and other toxic chemicals.
In the book, Lund comes across not as bitter, but surely disappointed, about it all. This was a nice read-a story well told and an enlistment well fulfilled."
Review by Tom Werzyn - Vietnam Veterans of America
"This Is A Compelling Story"
"Gives A Good Account of Life Aboard A Ship In A War Zone"
"John's Book Kept Me Riveted From The Beginning"
"A Heart Warming Story About The Love For His Wife, His Character And How To Rise Above The Most Difficult Situation And Remain True To Himself "
"Fabulously Written! I can only thank you for sharing your experience so publicly. It has so touched me".
"A Book That Is Raw"
"This is a very accurate account of life aboard war ships serving during the Vietnam War. If you want to know what life aboard a World War II vintage aircraft carrier was like during the Vietnam ear this is a must read. Mr. Lund has done a excellent job describing the daily routine and rigors aboard the USS Hancock (CVA 19) an attack aircraft carrier while on station off the coast of Vietnam. I can attest all of the hardships and emotions describe in great detail in this book and experienced a flood of emotions and flashbacks as I read. I served on the USS Lowe DER 325 in Vietnam waters in 1965 & 1966 also doing three tours as did Mr Lund. Old war ships like the Hancock and the Lowe were barely seaworthly in my opinion plagued with failure requiring constant repairs extreme and often unsafe and dangerous conditions. Add to that the stress, emotions, and fears of a 19 year old newly wed boy going off to war, what a story. This is a book that needs to be read slowly and pondered. Thank you for your service Mr. Lund."
'I don't read much but your book intrigued me and I couldn't put it down. I would say I lived the same life as you, only a different ship(s).
Three deployments to Vietnam. Two deployments aboard the USS Colonial. Commissioned in 1945 and a potential time bomb - 32 ship board fires and sabotaged twice. And one deployment aboard the USS Ranger - lost seven planes and 14 personal. Life was grueling and sweaty but became easier after advancing in rate to a 2nd class petty officer. Also, military separation was heart wrenching. Newly married, My wife and I spent little time together prior to deployment to Vietnam.
Also, my wife's name is Sandra.'
"John's story of his deployments is a fascinating one. I recommend this book to all veterans and their families, especially those sailors who suffer job-related health issue as a result of their service aboard the older US Navy warships."
"I enjoyed this excursion into time a time period that was before me, allowing me to experience the life of a sailor during the Vietnam war period since the war is not much discussed in history books. It is a very personal tale of what many military personnel go through regularly and then has the added story of a very unique job and harsh surroundings on an aircraft carrier. Highly recommended!"
"My heart has also ached for the Vietnam vet. I have so many thoughts and comments to share regarding this great book. I don't even know were to start. Thank you for writing this book."
"I just finished reading your book and found it very interesting and moving. It made me recall many of the experiences I had aboard ship and in Vietnam during the same time as you. Many of those same emotions came back, even though I served on a much smaller ship, off the same coastal waters. Thank you for publishing this book."
The greatest American disaster of the twentieth century, the Vietnam War. President Johnson and Nixon both lied to the American public to gain political advantage over their opponent to win a presidential race.
As presidents, neither had a winning strategy to end the Vietnam war as American youth were sucked up in a vortex of deceit to serve a war fought with ill-prepared and deteriorating World War Two naval ships. These naval ships were plagued with personnel shortages, inadequate trained personnel, a lack of critical talent, lists of discrepancies and predictable casualties. I was a enlisted sailor who served on an ill-prepared aircraft carrier, forced to endure extreme mental and physical working, living, social conditions that included extended separation from my wife. The toil, affliction, danger and heartbreak lead to four stolen years of my life.
As a youth graduating from high school in nineteen-sixty-seven I had three choices. Wait for a draft notice to arrive in the mail (which was a sure thing), enlist in the military or flea to Canada. Reality, none were good choices.
My story details the life of an eighteen-year-old enlisted sailor whose life changed overnight on the day he reported for duty. The extreme working, living and social conditions aboard a naval ship deployed to a war zone where short of inhuman. The politics surrounding the war created untenable conditions I describe during my service aboard the USS Hancock. There are tens of thousands of Vietnam veterans that could write a story equal to or worse than the story you're about to read.
General H.R. McMaster
Nicknamed - "The Fighting Hananh"
The Mission - Air Strikes Against the Enemy from Yankee Station
Discharged June 2, 1971 - Living and Loving Life!
The year was 1967, and the United States was in a vicious, deadly war against North Vietnam—a war in which political leaders lied to the American people. President Johnson commandeered the American youth, extracting them from their homes and their communities so they could fight a perpetual war he had no strategy or mettle to win.
I was one of those American youth whose life changed overnight. When I joined the US Navy, I was sucked up in the vortex of deceit surrounding this trumped-up war. I served three combat deployments on the USS Hancock (CVA-19) aircraft carrier. It was a time of danger, affliction, toil, and stolen years. It was also a time of heartbreak, as I was painfully separated from Sandra, the love of my life and my future.
✝ By the grace of God, I returned home. But 58,318 of our finest soldiers, airmen, and sailors came back in body bags. And like most of those who returned home, I carry the mental and physical scars that still linger on today.
This is my story.
Rosemount resident John Lund, a Vietnam veteran who grew up in Farmington, has authored a book titled "Vietnam 1967-1971".
Lund enlisted in the Navy prior to graduating from high school and served as machinist mate in the aft-engine-room aboard an aircraft carrier which included three deployments to Vietnam. The old World II aircraft carrier was plagued with personnel shortages, inadequately trained personnel, a lack of critical talent and extreme working conditions, all of which were stated by the ship's captain to Navy leaders. There were predicable casualties.
These conditions added to the misery of Lund's teen life, as he said he was sucked up in a vortex of deceit promulgated by falsehoods and placed in a trumped-up war by politicians - a war now considered "the greatest American disaster of the 20th century".
His story details the daily grind of a sailor serving in the engine and boiler rooms of the carrier deployed off the coast of Vietnam. Sixteen to 20 -hour work days in 120 to 140 degree heat and 30 day line periods launching air strikes against the enemy was the ship's mission throughout an eight-month deployment.
He tells about about letters he'd written his wife and found 50 years later. These letters reopened mental compartment closed when he walked off the gang plank for the last time on June 2, 1971. His memories of heartbreaking separations and loneliness for the love of his life. These years were stolen from a young man and lost forever. Also stolen and lost forever was his health. As he's aged his health declined due to chemicals and materials, such as PCBs and asbestos, used aboard the old WWII ships.
Lund weaves into his story the political events of the 60s and the negative effect these events had on military personnel serving in the Vietnam war, which the United States gave up on and left Saigon to fall to North Vietnam in 1975.
His story aims to help people understand what hundreds of thousands of teenage boys were forced to endure upon graduating from high school.
Lund's book can be purchased after March 1 on Amazon, Kindle or Barns and Noble.
Lund's website is at mmsnipe.com
or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org