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The Bridge at Dong Ha [With Earbuds] (Playaway Adult Nonfiction) Preloaded Digital Audio Player – 1 Dec 2009
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About the Author
<strong>John Grider Miller </strong>(1935–2009) was a Colonel in the United States Marine Corps, who served as Managing Editor, of U.S. Naval Institute<em> Proceedings</em> and of <em> Naval History</em>. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The bridge at Dong Ha was destroyed by Marine Captain John Ripley in an act of supreme bravery, assisted by another American advisor, Major Jim Smock. During this time, American ground units had all but left Vietnam, but there was still plenty of airpower and naval gunfire support to help deny the North total victory...for the moment.
This is the story of the Vietnamese Marines and a South Vietnamese armor unit that had to hold a river line to prevent the North, now lavishly equipped with the latest Soviet tanks and other equipment, from rolling all the way south to total victory. They had to cross the Cua Viet River and the bridge at Dong Ha was capable of supporting the heavy Soviet tanks. It had to come down and the man on the spot, Capt. Ripley knew it. With the help of Maj. Smock, he was able to emplace explosives and rig the bridge for destruction - all while under fire.
The book is written from the perspective of Ripley and the reader gets the "grunt's eye view" of the battle. The author makes a point of showing that there were South Vietnamese units that were reliable fighters like the Rangers and, in this case, the Vietnamese Marines. The reader will be impressed with Major Le Ba Binh, the Marine commander and his bodyguard, "three finger Jack". There are some very good illustrations at the beginning of each chapter and a map of the area south of the DMZ where the battle was fought.
It's a good account of a small action in a losing war, but one that is a good read. I recommend this book with four stars.
Senior Marine Corps advisor Col. Gerry Turley, and Marine Capt. John Ripley drew a line in the sand on the southern approaches to a heavily reinforced concrete and steel girder bridge across the Cua Viet River at Dong Ha. Over 200 NVA armored vehicles and 30,000+ troops--supported by artillery--were poised to cross the river and sweep South Vietnamese opposition to Quang Tri and beyond.
Capt. Ripley repeatedly carried bags of TNT, grenades, and arming fuse hand-over-hand through the trusses below the bridge decking, while under continuous small arms and tank fire. At the last minute, he succeeded in blowing the bridge, and allowing the concentrated NVA men and vehicles to be decimated by naval and artillery gunfire. The offensive lasted another six months, but never recovered from the losses at the bridge, and the effect of a delayed invasion timetable and loss of logistical support inflicted by Capt. Ripley's selfless and heroic act.
This book is a must read for scholars and historians interested in the "beginning of the end" of the Vietnam debacle. Our politicians made this war virtually unwinnable--but the efforts of a "few good men", such as Turley and Ripley, nearly accomplished the impossible.
One minor comment is that the author should have mentioned the ultimate fate of the Army tank Major. Did he perish from his wounds or survive?
Oliver North in "War Stories" has a segment on the same subject but of course the book provides greater detail.
We were the only Army unit in I Trang doing survey for radar, sound, and flash groups to conduct TAG operations. The Marines told us they knocked out 18 guns in the north across the DMZ after being operational for 1 month.
Great book with detail that will hold interest for any reader that likes suspence.