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Soldiering On in a Dying War: The True Story of the Firebase Pace Incidents and the Vietnam Drawdown (Modern War Studies) Hardcover – June 15, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"This is more than just another Vietnam War story--it is a case study of the American drawdown. Shkurti has used his own experiences, as well as prodigious research, to explain this little-known but important slice of the war."--Dale Andradé, author of America's Last Vietnam Battle: Halting Hanoi's 1972 Easter Offensive

"Uncompromisingly honest, free of cant, very reflective, and investigating every relevant factor, Shkurti dissects the late-war U.S. army in convincing detail. . . . A spectacular book."--John Prados, author of Vietnam: The History of an Unwinnable War

"Deserves a place on every reading list that deals with that war."--William H. Hammond, author of Reporting Vietnam: Media and Military at War

About the Author

William J. Shkurti is adjunct professor of public policy at the John Glenn Institute of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University.
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Product Details

  • Series: Modern War Studies
  • Hardcover: 356 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas (June 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700617817
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700617814
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #506,852 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bill Shkurti was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. After graduating from Ohio State University in 1968, he enlisted in the Army and completed
Field Artillery Officer Candidate School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He served as an artillery officer in Vietnam with B Battery 2/35th Artillery at Fire Support Base Lanyard on the Cambodian border in 1970-71. He also served with the 3d Infantry Division in Schweinfurt, Germany, and the 6th Armored Cavalry at Fort Meade, Maryland.

After completing his enlistment, Bill returned to Ohio State to earn a Masters Degree in Public Administration. He served as budget director for the State of Ohio from 1985-1987. He then returned to Ohio State to be its chief financial officer. He retired from that position in 2010, but is still involved with the university as an adjunct professor in the John Glenn School of Public Affairs.

Soldierng On in a Dying War is Bill's first Vietnam book. He authored a shorter piece about 1970 incident involving soldiers from the First Cavalry Division on the Cambodian border titled "A Minor Rebellion," which was published in the June 2008 issue of Vietnam magazine.

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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Pace XO on August 1, 2011
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As a participant in the events at Fire Support Base Pace, I had given up on the truth ever coming to light. The politicization of war that was prevalent at the time, none of the media accounts, the subsequent articles, and books published about FSB Pace have been so misleading and inaccurate as to distort the actual events in a way that conformed to their preconceived political views rather than presenting the facts so the reader could draw their own conclusions. As the replacement XO (Executive Officer), I can personally attest to the accuracy of the details of events I was directly involved in and, those that I was not directly involved with correlate to what others had direct knowledge of related to me. It is evident that Mr. Shkurti invested a lot of time and effort to obtain first hand accounts, collaborated those accounts with others that had first hand knowledge, and the source documents that were available. I am grateful to him for the results of his hard work and commitment to recording the truth without a personal or political slant. I hope this book can become the "lessons learned" text I believe he intended it to be so that students of history and future policy makers will not let the sacrifices and valor demonstrated at Pace be in vain. I was proud of the men that I commanded and believe most (not all) of the higher ranking officers acted with integrity. so, for those readers that are looking for well researched truth presented in a very readable and clear way about the details and implications of a pivotal small unit battle in RVN, I believe you will find it difficult to find a better book to read.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By MS on July 26, 2011
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Shkurti provides a well balanced account of a misreported and misunderstood event during the Vietnam War. His research is extensive and his perspective is credible and refreshingly free of politics and finger pointing. It provides the reader with a greater understanding of what soldiers face at the end of a long, drawn out conflict while struggling to maintain their duty to their country and to each other .
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Writing Historian on January 13, 2012
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This book turned out to be a pleasant surprise, with emphasis on "pleasant" and less so on "surprise." I ordered it from Amazon on the strength of the back cover blurbs, two of which were written by personal acquaintances who are Vietnam War scholars. The author's own personal connection to the events he writes about also interested me. The actual incident (there were several in fact) at FB Pace seems to have been blown out of proportion by French news agencies, but - rather surprisingly - not by US media outlets. The book is divided into the following sections: Part One: The Siege (this is where the actual combat operations at FB Pace are discussed), Part Two: The Soldiers (a survey of the US Army in VN during 1971 and not necessarily the soldiers at FB Pace); Part Three: The Press (an objective look at the media which should put to rest the perception that all reporters were out to "get" the US Army)and Part Four: The Bigger Picture (where the author adds additional context by examining our enemies and allies). In short, the author addresses two major topics in this book: the misrepresented incident of "combat refusals" at FB Pace (an account written and championed ever since by one independent journalist) and the post-war stereotyping of the US Army in the latter stages of the American drawdown in Vietnam by academics and Hollywood. Highly recommended to serious students of the Vietnam conflict. William J. Shkurti has taken great care to get this story right and it shows.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gordon Cucullu on September 2, 2012
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Soldiering On is an important work in the often overheated literature emerging from the Vietnam War. As a Special Forces officer on the ground during the period covered - the deadly tail end of an unpopular and largely misunderstood war - it was highly interesting to see the extensive research and documentation done to bust many of the popular often hyperbolic myths about Vietnam and the Soldiers who fought there.

As recounted in a very fast, highly readable style suitable for a civilian audience as well as military readers, the author dismisses the canard that all of us were drug-addled, alcoholic, sociopaths in an undisciplined and ineffective Army.

It was a tough time to be sure, but then no one ever was invited to a war expecting a picnic. As always the American Soldier rose to the challenge.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joyce L. Shelso on February 1, 2013
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This was a gift for my brother, a History major usually Civil war, but also an Army Major, R
OTC instructor, who said he was glad for the book, as he does not know as much about VietNam as the other "historical" wars.
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Mr. Shkurti's book is a jewel and one that I wish more historians would write about. Specifically, the trials and tribulations of those of us who served in Vietnam between 1969 and 1973. Not only was the country singularly disinterested in the dangers that you faced on a minute-to-minute basis, but you were required to do much the same workload with fewer and fewer people to share the work. People don't seem to understand just how draining combat can be (or the imminent threat of combat) on the mind, body and soul. Sometimes you just get so damn tired you can't move and some REMF officer decides that you need to go on some stupid, high-risk mission or patrol that makes no sense whatsoever. Mr. Shkurti has captured the essence of that status and explained how, there were times, when you questioned the need for the stupid, risky patrol. And how the heroic fellow soldiers at FSB Pace were simply questioning the efficacy of a last-minute, ill-conceived patrol or ambush that put YOUR life at risk while the REMF officer trundled off to his nice warm bed to a sound night's sleep. Mr. Shkurti explains that is exactly what was going on at FSB Pace and that some damned reporter with an agenda happened to be there when the decision was questioned.

I did my time up in I Corps, where we might have had the name of what we did changed for political expediency, but it still felt a whole lot like combat. Truly, more and more of the combat duties were passed off to the ARVN. However, someone still had to protect the Air Force installations, the medical installations and the support operations of the Army. That fell to us. You can't protect something without conducting aggressive operations to find out what you are up against.
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