66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2008
I believe this book to be a pretty accurate account of the battle on Dec 6, 1967. I am personally mentioned (PFC Allen Oakes) in chapter 3 along with my assistant gunner Pvt Jose Acevedo and Lt Wayne Morris. I was proud to belong to the 199th LT Infantry Brigade and the actions it took in Vietnam on behalf of all Americans. The book gives a good accounting of the 6 months it covers and I recommend it first for all members of the 199th and for people interested in the Vietnam war or for those who only have an inkling of what war is like. I would like to also say that each person's experience in this war were all different. Some saw hardly any action while others lives were forever changed by wounds, death or PTSD.
Forty years after Vietnam I'm still having surgury to replace a lost nose when I was wounded in the face. At any rate this book is a must read and I thank Mr Tonsetic for giving us a place in history and the research he did to make it as accurate as possible.
Allen R Oakes
56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2007
Days of Valor is a six month snapshot of the Veit Nam War and is part of the bigger picture of the events leading up to the Tet Offensive and the events following Tet. It is a mini history of the 199th Light Infantry Brigade and the men who fought during that time period. This book is an action roller coaster from start to finish. The book highlights the incredible actions, heroism, courage and valor of ordinary grunts and career soldiers of the 199th. It contains a no holds barred description of the chaos and character of the fighting in War Zone III and its major bases and cities during that time.
Robert Tonsetic, the author, describes the combat experience so vividly that one can vicariously experience combat with his soldiers. The ugliness of battle with its smells, sights and sounds is graphically documented. The environment in Viet Nam with its oppressive heat, monsoon rains, humidity and terrain is vividly described. The destructiveness of the Viet Nam War on the soldiers and the country is clearly pointed out. One can vicariously experience the fatigue and sleep deprivation caused by combat and the fighting conditions of this most brutal war.
Tonsetic has written a book that needed to be written about the 199th Light Infantry Brigade and its supporting units. It is a focused study of the combat, valor and heroism of men from PFC to General rank who performed their best during the most decisive American and Vietnamese Army victory of the war - the Tet Offensive. He concentrates on the strategy, command decisions and the execution in the field of officers and ordinary soldiers perfoming their duties. He does not focus on the political backdrop aganinst which these battles were fought. The author is a soldier's soldier. He is the type of leader soldiers wat to lead them into battle. While he was part of this story, he wrote it as if he was an objective observer.
This is not a novel about the Viet Nam War. It is a chronicle and oral history from the author and others who fought there of what the war was like for them and those they fought with during the six months of this history. It is brutally descriptive and real. It is truth about the war.
It is about the men who survived and those that died.
Viet Nam veterans have been maligned by the media and so called elites for decades. Tonsetic shows by his example and in the post war accomplishments of many of the soldiers named in the book that Viet Nam combat veterans accomplish great deeds in war and in civilian life. For those of us who were there, this is a welcome addition to the real history of the Viet Nam War. For those who hold other views of the war there can be no reconciliation.
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2007
The author, then a Captain and commander of a light infantry company, begins this story with a little background. Then the story covers six months beginning in December 1967. This was a quiet time, just before the Lunar New Year, called Tet. The following six months was bloody and decisive.
The six month period in which Cap. Tonsetic led his unit, was a period where the Army won a victory, and lost a war. This is the story of the victory, won by young men no less heroic than their fathers in 'the greatest generation.' To a young man in combat, he hardly knows where he is, he has no idea of the bigger picture. He didn't hear the overly rosey story the senior officers were telling. He just knew that this little piece of ground, this hole in the ground was his and he would do his utmost to hold on to it.
This is a story of how one small unit faired in those six months. Their colors are nor furled, and hopefully they will not be needed again, but if they are....
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2007
Days of Valor is a readable, believable, and just plain interesting book. Since writing "Kill Me If You Can, You SOB", I've read every book about the Vietnam War that I could get my hands on, and I liked this book because it was worldly. No attempt to catch Hollywood's attention. But that might be the reason this book, like mine, is not rushing to the top of the chart. It seems with the entire world writing books now days, a sweeping, crisply written, energetic, true life adventure is not enough. Sorry, but most of us Vietnam veterans were just your run of the mill kind of guys. While we actually did for real a lot of the things that John Wayne did in the movies, our producer and director didn't spend a lot of time on the movie set. They mostly stayed in their offices in Washington, D.C., and for some reason decided the good guys would all get killed, and the fellows in black would win. If a sad ending is not a turnoff, you will enjoy this book.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2008
Robert L. Tonsetic is a wonderful writter. I was a combat infantryman in Vietnam with the 196th LIB 68-69. I have finally got around to open up and read about the war. This book has really made me proud of serving in Vietnam. I am proud along with all our Vietnam Veterans - Our soldiers in that war are to be saluted.
Robert has given the best account on the history of the Tet offensive. This is a must read - Thank you Robert
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
It's a shame men like these were led by the likes of Robert Mc Namara
I was a medic 66-68, and with fighting men like these and many others
we should have won this war.
An easy read.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2009
This is one of the finest books of the Vietnam War. It focuses on a six month window of heavy Infantry combat involving the 199th Light Infantry (Seperate) Brigade. The Tet Offensive was a decisive period of the war. Col. Tonsetic painstakingly weaves personal stories of Infantryman throughout the whole book. His book uses mulitple soldiers, eye witness accounts, of enemy contact. It gives the reader a whole picture of how each event unfolded as seen by mulitple participants. Col. Tonsetic has amassed a verifiable masterpiece of Infantry combat. It's a true story of American soldiers who performed their extreme duties under very difficult circumstances. If you want to read a book about Vietnam that is absent of the political spin about the war, this is the book. It is a must read and valued addition to American military history.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2011
Robert Tonsetic commanded a company of Infantry in the 199th Light Infantry Brigade during the period detailed in "Days of Valor". However, this isn't a personal memoir. It is a very meticulously researched third person view of the actions of that unit during the six months detailed in the book. I found it particularly interesting how he left himself in third person in the book to keep the focus off of his actions. That's difficult to do, but he managed it.
The book covers the period leading up to and including the Tet Offensive. I found the tension leading up to the Offensive palpable. Through many personal interviews and historical research of the official documents, Tonsetic has managed to weave the bigger picture of what the North Vietnamese were putting in place with the smaller picture of the line grunt. He does a wonderful job of conveying the tension everybody could feel and the confusion of the regular lower enlisted man. It's very well done.
His battle scenes are very realistic. Once the Tet Offensive starts, it's almost non-stop fighting. As I said, he did many interviews and enlisted the help of others to show the confusion of battle. Throughout it all, he inserts information gleaned from official records to clear up some of the fog and keep the reader informed of what's going on. The book includes several personal photographs kindly provided by members of the unit and several excellent maps. The narrative is well written. The events might not be easy to stomach, but the narrative is easy to follow. The valor and bravery shown by the fighting men in Vietnam is shown clearly from cover to cover. It is very clear that Tonsetic is proud to have served in Vietnam.
This is a very well written book that I recommend highly to anyone who wants to know more about what was experienced in Vietnam or who likes a well contructed story. It belongs in any bookshelf.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2008
This book is about the many battles fought in Vietnam by the 199th Light Infantry Brigade during a six month period from November 1967 thru May 1968. It is authored by one of the brigades company commanders. The author's riveting accounts of the battles are rendered in great detail and include quotes from many of the officers and men who particiated. I highly recommend it to those interested in the history of this war, especially those, like me, who are veterans of the conflict.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2010
Robert Tonsetic's gripping account of combat in the 199th L.I.B. circa 1967-68, "Days of Valor," was hard to put down. Tonsetic's writing style makes you feel like you are watching the action unfold; having personally traversed some of the same real estate during that time frame helped bring the accounts into even sharper focus. That being said, I wished Tonsetic had included some sketch maps of the various actions to help orient the reader, especially when it comes to the disposition of the units involved, both friendly and enemy. There were also a couple of minor errors that I did pick out, but they are just that, i.e., nit noids. First, the map on page 148, "Saigon Targets of Tet Attacks," has the Newport Bridge in the wrong location; the map shows it connecting Saigon with Highway 1, when in fact the Newport Bridge actually crossed the Saigon River where his map shows "Highway 316;" this road was actually referred to as Highway 1A on US maps at the time. Highway 1A was the main thoroughfare connecting the Newport Docks with the huge Long Binh base, approximately 20 miles north. The other minor point is on page 262 where the author states: "The 199th's colors were furled, cased and placed in storage . . ." While this is an accurate statement, it does not tell the whole story; he should have mentioned that the 199th was later reactivated at Ft. Lewis, Washington in 1991 as the 199th Infantry Brigade (Motorized). As the brigade chief of staff, I had the honor and privilege of wearing the Redcacther patch from December, 1991 until July, 1992 when we were reflagged as the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment (Light). A minor point, but one that helps fill in the picture of this proud unit and the brave soldiers who served in it, and especially to the memories of those who gave all.