I was honored to be guest speaker.
I was surprised at the large crowd on such an overcast windy morning. It was refreshing to see youth groups participating in the memorial service.
Bagley residents should be proud of the tribute they pay their veterans.
Click on the title and listen to the 11 minute talk.
I am humbled by the comments I received after the ceremony.
Tuesday, April 16, will be a busy day:
At 8:30 AM I will be on “Coyote Country Radio” KKWB 102.5 FM discussing Muddy Jungle Rivers.
At 7:00 PM Fosston Community Library and American Legion have teamed up to host a book reading and discussion. The public is invited.
This past month I visited with two classes at Bemidji State University who used Muddy Jungle Rivers as a text book Spring 2013 semester: Thank you Professor Marsha Driscoll and Professor Tom Murphy. I recently received an inquiry from University of Indiana, South Bend about purchasing Muddy Jungle Rivers for the Autumn 2013 semester for a History class.
This past weekend was very successful at the Bemidji Gun Show. I have booked for two up-coming gun shows in other cities.
We’ve been working on electronic marketing these past few months with great success. This past week we ran a Facebook promotion titled “Remembering Vietnam Forty Years Later.” 12,778 people clicked on it, many following through to purchase the Kindle edition. Others went to my web site for signed copies.
Thank you TJ Design Studio, Bemidji, MN and Hofmann Consulting, Edina, MN, for a job well-done.
Blackduck Community Library and AMVETS have teamed up to host a book reading and discussion by Wendell Affield, author of Muddy Jungle Rivers, a Vietnam War memoir. The event begins at 6:30 PM, March 14, at Blackduck Good Samaritan Senior Living in the “great room.” The public is invited.
Muddy Jungle Rivers is a close-up look at life on a gunboat during 1968, the bloodiest year of the Vietnam War. It is the story of a seven-man crew captained by a volatile pro-war enlisted man, told from a twenty-year-old Cox’n’s point of view. In Muddy Jungle Rivers the reader will glimpse the genesis of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Steve Almond wrote the Foreword.
Affield recently visited classes at Bemidji State University and discussed Muddy Jungle Rivers, writing, memory, and research. He is currently studying Abnormal Psychology at BSU to gain insights into human behavior as he works on his latest writing project. Affield and his wife, Patti, live on a farm west of Bemidji.
Affield will donate a portion of the evening’s book sales to the Blackduck Community Library.
To learn more, go to http://www.krls.org/branches/branch_bl.html
This afternoon I drove up to Red Lake to say good- bye to a friend. Tom Lussier, Vietnam Veteran and crewmember on a PBR (Patrol Boat, River) had died unexpectedly. I met Tom more than twenty years ago. I enjoyed his quiet way and never-ending stories.
Many times, Tom invited me to come fishing a trout lake with him, but each time I was too busy. A few weeks ago I saw him in Bemidji and again he invited me. I told him that this summer I would definitely be up for a day of fishing.
Tom’s Memorial reads:
And if I should go before you
Know that part of me still
You will not see me, yet I will
Be there walking with you.
You will not touch me,
Yet I will live in your heart and
Have faith that we will one day
Hand in Hand in eternity.
Until then, live your life for life
And know that I am with you.
Tom, perhaps one day we’ll still get out fishing.
Smooth sailing, my friend.
Email I recieved from Larry Reid on May 3, 2012 in response to Muddy Jungle Rivers:
You don’t know how much your book meant to me Wendell!
I don’t remember everything that happened that day. At Spec 4 (E-4) I was the ranking man with the most time in combat left in 3rd platoon, Co. D, 4/47th Inf Bn, 2nd Bde, 9th Inf Div. I had 3 others with me. One of them was named Gene Fountaine. I was in touch with him for a while but haven’t heard from him in years now. The 4 of us were assigned to 2nd platoon for the rest of that operation. I was only lightly wounded and finished the operation. Third platoon was wiped out that day.
Another soldier who was in the well deck was Stafford Cowles. He helped to kick some of those burning ammo and grenade cases over the side. I am still in touch with him but he moved to Guatemala last year. He was wounded pretty bad that day and choppered out. The Latino you mentioned using a bunk may have been Hector Lugo-Mojica. He was KIA and here is the link to his name on The Wall: http://vvmf.org/thewall/Wall_Id_No=31542
Be sure to click on the remembrance I left for him at the bottom of the page.
Your book confirmed some things that I remembered but could not confirm. One was that I thought I saw a medevac chopper shot down. Thank you for letting me know that I didn’t imagine that. Another was about the hook not letting the ramp down. I sat at the front of the ATC at one point when we were beached to discourage Charlie from tossing grenades or firing another RPG. It was hell for all of us that day.
I have more details I would like to share and some questions to ask. I was the 3rd platoon RTO and should have known the name of the black sergeant who took over the empty .50 cal turret, but I cannot think of it. I still have my orders awarding me the Purple Heart…maybe his name is on there. I will look for my Vietnam storage box.
I look forward to continuing our conversation. I am very glad you survived that day. The “official” records say that we only lost 4 people, but I doubt their KIA count and would like to find out how many more died of wounds within a few days of 8/18/1968 from that ambush.
It is an honor to be in touch with you.
I find it incredible how today’s technology is capable of connecting strangers, across time and distance, who shared a common experience four decades in the past. I hope to hear from others.