"As each succeeding generation moves farther from the Vietnam War, the nation as a whole forgets the sacrifices of the soldiers who fought in Southeast Asia. Nine young men from small-town America volunteered for the armed forces in 1966. Six died in combat, and the three who survived were haunted for the remainder of their lives. Kyle Longley's griping and tragic account guarantees that readers will always remember The Morenci Marines." -- Irwin Gellman, author of Richard Nixon: The Congress Years
"The Morenci Marines provides a sobering window on the community despair the Vietnam War caused in small towns all over the United States."-- Allan R. Millett, author of Semper Fidelis: The History of the United States Marine Corps
"Kyle Longley has produced something all too rare in the field of military history, not only a work that focuses on the soul of warfare--the reality of young men and their lives in a brutal environment--but also a work that eloquently addresses many of the main historiographical themes of the conflict, from race, to class, to societal motivation."--Andrew Wiest, author of The Boys of 67: Charlie Company's War in Vietnam
"The Vietnam War touched the lives of many working class American communities, but none more than a small town in rural Arizona. Longley tells the gripping story of nine high school graduates, caught up in a wave of patriotic idealism, who became known as the 'Morenci Nine.' The story of those nine Marines, two-thirds of whom died in the flower of youth, is forever woven into the fabric of the close-knit mining town."--Marshall Trimble, author of Roadside History of Arizona
"A powerful, compelling story. Longley's The Morenci Marines
illuminates the devastating impact of war on a small town."--George C. Herring, author of America's Longest War: The United States and Vietnam
From the Inside Flap
In 1966, nine young men left the Arizona desert mining camp of Morenci to serve their country in the far-flung jungles of Vietnam, in danger zones from Hue to Khe Sanh. Ultimately, only three survived. Each battled survivor's guilt, difficult re-entries into civilian life, and the traumas from personally experiencing war--and losing close friends along the way.
Such stories recurred throughout America, but the Morenci Marines stood out. ABC News and Time
magazine recounted their moving tale during the war, and, in 2007, the Arizona Republic
selected the "Morenci Nine" as the most important veterans' story in state history. Returning to the soldiers' root, Kyle Longley's account presents their story as unique by setting and circumstance, yet typical of the sacrifices borne by small towns all across America. His narrative spotlights a generation of young people who joined the military during the tumultuous 1960s and informs a later generation of the hard choices made, many with long-term consequences.
The story of the Morenci Marines also reflects that of their hometown: a company town dominated by the Phelps Dodge Mining Corporation, where the company controlled lives and the labor strife was legendary. The town's patriotic citizens saw Vietnam as a just cause, moving Clive Garcia's mother to say, "He died for this cause of freedom." Yet while their sons fought and sent home their paychecks, Phelps Dodge sought to destroy the union that kept families afloat, pushing the government to end a strike that it said undermined the war effort.
Morenci was also a place where cultures intermingled, and the nine friends included three Mexican Americans and one Native America. Longley reveals how their backgrounds affected their decisions to join and also helped the survivors cope, with Mike Cranford racing his Harley on back roads at high speeds while Joe Sorrelman tried to deal with the demons of the war through Navajo rituals.
Drawing on personal interviews and correspondence that sheds new light on the Morenci Nine, Longley has written a book as much about loss, grief, and guilt as the battlefield. It make compelling reading for anyone who lived in that era--and for anyone still seeing family members go off to fight in controversial wars.