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A Sniper in the Arizona: 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines in the Arizona Territory, 1967 Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 1999


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Frequently Bought Together

A Sniper in the Arizona: 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines in the Arizona Territory, 1967 + Dead Center: A Marine Sniper's Two-Year Odyssey in the Vietnam War + 13 Cent Killers: The 5th Marine Snipers in Vietnam
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Presidio Press; 1st edition (March 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804118701
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804118705
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 4.2 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #845,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"Morning was always a welcome sight to us.  It meant two things. The first was that we were still alive. . . ."

In 1967, death was the constant companion of the Marines of Hotel Company, 2/5, as they patrolled the paddy dikes, mud, and mountains of the Arizona Territory southwest of Da Nang. But John Culbertson and most of the rest of Hotel Company were the same lean, fighting Marines who had survived the carnage of Operation Tuscaloosa. Hotel's grunts walked over the enemy, not around him.

In graphic terms, John Culbertson describes the daily, dangerous life of a soldier fighting in a country where the enemy was frequently indistinguishable from the allies, fought tenaciously, and thought nothing of using civilians as a shield. Though he was one of the top marksmen in 1st Marine Division Sniper School in Da Nang in March 1967--a class of just eighteen, chosen from the division's twenty thousand Marines--Culbertson knew that against the VC and the NVA, good training and experience could carry you just so far. But his company's mission was to find and engage the enemy, whatever the price. This riveting, bloody first-person account offers a stark testimony to the stuff U.S. Marines are made of.

About the Author

John J. Culbertson served with the 2/5, 1st Marine Division, at An Hoa, Republic of Vietnam, from December 1966 to July 1967. Mr. Culbertson served as a Marine Rifleman, MOS 0311, on Operation Tuscaloosa. He completed 1st MarDiv Sniper School in Da Nang, where he earned the secondary MOS 8541. He was wounded in action and earned three Purple Hearts. He also was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, and multiple expert rifleman badge awards. Mr. Culbertson received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1971 at the rank of sergeant.

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Customer Reviews

The title of this book is very misleading.
Desmond
As an avid reader of books that are personal true accounts of wartime experiences, I found this book fascinating!
ROBYN KENDALL
If you are interested in war at all, this is a must read!
Jeff

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Moss on February 24, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I don't understand the harsh criticism of this book based on its title. John J. Culbertson attended 1st Marine Division Sniper School in Da Nang, and his secondary MOS reflects that fact. Readers who expect stories about lone gunmen perched in tree hides had better look under fiction for such a book.
"A Sniper in the Arizona" is the companion volume to Culbertson's superb "Operation Tuscaloosa," in which he chronicles the tenacity and heroism of a few good men pinned down on a sandbar by relentless enemy fire. In "A Sniper" the author continues his gritty and spare narrative of Hotel Company as they take on the VC/NVA in hostile villages on a piece of deadly real estate west of Da Nang. I almost feel I've bonded with Culbertson, Lafly, Gedzyk, Burns, et al, and I've gone back to re-read "Operation Tuscaloosa."
This book keeps you reading. You hate to put it down. You can't wait to pick it up again. Gunny Mitchell's sniper course, Sgt. Wadley's wise leadership, Burns' obsession and breakdown, Lt. Pindel's love for his men all combine to offer a vivid picture of Marine Corps culture and esprit d'corps as it existed before Tet of 1968, when the media snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and began its campaign to demoralize the warriors in the field.
There is plenty of suspense and tension here, so I don't know how one of the reviewers reported that he was bored. Check it out: "All we heard was [sic] clicking insects and the cries of monkeys high in the jungled canopy. The NVA soldiers would be coming. Moving like army ants up our mountain, higher and higher, until I would blink and one would be standing over me with his bayonet poised at my throat; a smiling North Vietnamese killer that felt no pain, no mercy, no conscience.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 17, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a very good book about the day to day life of a combat Marine in Vietnam, but there was very little information about sniping. I study Snipers and bought the book thinking thats what it would be about, it was not. The reason I only gave it 4 stars is because of the misleading title. If you want a good read on the daily grind and horror of war this is good book to read. Mr.Culbertson tells his story of getting into the Marines and being trained as a Sniper and that is really all he relates that is Sniper connected. The rest of the book is about running patrols in the Arizona Territory and he does a fantastic job of putting that on paper.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 17, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
John J. Culbertson was a U.S. Marine rifleman in Vietnam in 1967. He served with Company H, 2d Battalion, 5th Marines in the An Hoa Basin. This area about 20 miles southwest of DaNang was called 'The Arizona Territory," hense the title of the book. The narrative begins in the aftermath of Operation Tuscaloosa (which is detailed in Mr. Culbertson's companion volume by that name) and traces his experiences while defending Nong Son Mountain, attending Sniper School, and patrolling the 'bad bush' around An Hoa; he also pays tribute to Capt J.A. Graham who was awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor for Operation Union II. The book is filled with technical detail and tactical tips, including the sorry tale of the introduction of the M16 rifle which is told by a weapons expert whose life was threatened by that ill-fated decision. Unfortunately, the book's tone is like a clinical analysis rather than a compelling read. The major defects, however, were in the area of graphic arts. The lack of a large scale map of the An Hoa Basin is a significant drawback. Had I not served with the 5th Marines at An Hoa, I would have been bewildered trying to keep place names and relative locations straight. The photographs were poorly chosen and often did not relate to the text. Pictures or techinical drawings of the weapons decribed would have helped the lay reader, as would a glossary of terms and abbreviations. I recommend the book to any one interested in Vietnam, anyone who served in that area, those currently in the military, or anyone who is concerned about the current crisis in Kosovo. It is good view of what war is like close up, at the grunt's eye view. [Anyone interested in a large scale map of the An Hoa Basin can contact me via E-mail.]
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ken on February 3, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I attended the same Sniper school as John Culbertson, have read both his books, A Sniper in the Arizona and Operation Tuscaloosa, fought in the same operations during the same time period and found both books to be factually accurate and extremely well written. His no-holds-barred approach to the truth is refreshing and unusual. John doesn't try to glorify the war, nor is he reticent about pointing out the errors that always occur in combat, but so few authors are wont to write about. Young Officers and NCO's should include both of these titles on their required reading list. Mr. Culbertson has unearthed dozens of "lessons learned" for the junior leaders of our military and presented them in an entertaining and truthful setting - The hell of the rice paddies and jungles of Vietnam during the most vicious fighting of the war.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Larry DeClerck on September 9, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I followed John Culbertsons tour of duty in An Hoa and surrounding area by arriving in July of 67, and being assigned to H 2/5. His account although not known first hand by myself was pretty much substantiated by marines we both had known, and by my own tour as an 0311.Reading his account of daily survival,and running patrols,ambushs,LP's,etc,etc rings pretty true, and it brought me back to the frame of mind we all had then. STAYING ALIVE! His descriptions of your senses being razor sharp,and our battle hardened Marines putting up with conditions that most people can't even imagine while fighting in the Arizona territory, Antenna Valley,and various ville's throughout their TAOR are very accurate. If its wanting to know what combat with the Marines in 67 was like then this is your book.Although this may seem strange,but as I was reading it, it seemed like I had taken a time trip to the past.Thanks John for bringing me back to those days when the thrill, and terror of combat were two sides of the same coin.
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