In November 1968, Fred Krebsbach had just turned twenty-one, he had finished his education with a tech degree in engineering, and was looking forward to a bright future. However the US military had other plans, the war in Vietnam needed soldiers and he was called up for draft.
Before leaving for basic training, his uncle Gene, a WWII veteran advised him to take something which would give him comfort, with him, and he chose his First Communion rosary, something which would sustain him through the months of conflict.
After he had completed his training, he left his homeland for the Tan Son Nhut Republic of South Vietnam. Thus began his tour of duty in that hell hole, where for nearly seven long months he served as an M-60 machine gunner.
The author freely admits that he was changed in irrevocable ways, and reading his story, how can he not have been. Fighting the Viet Cong, and the North Vietnamese Army under terrible conditions, losing many of his ammo bearers to booby traps, and for me, one of the saddest things was that they never said hello, because then they would never have to say goodbye…
The detailed descriptions of army life in Vietnam, and how he survived it, is absorbing reading. I was amazed to discover that captured, and rehabilitated Viet Cong, were used by the army as Tiger Scouts, and sent out in front of the soldiers to find the booby traps, punji pits, daisy chains and explosives set by their ex-comrades.
The author says that hearing WWII veterans say that they wish they had talked to their family more, has been an important factor in his decision to writing this book. I can understand this as my own Granddad was a WWII veteran who was lost, presumed dead. In fact my Grandmother was told he was dead by the British War Office. Then he turned up in Australia a couple of years after the war had ended. Apparently, he had been taken there, having been released, he had been tortured, and it was that long before they could discover his identity. I remember, he never, ever, talked about his experiences.
It must have taken a lot of courage for the author to put these words down on paper, to search is memories, trace people, and diagnose the effect on his life of those months.
Yes he came back alive, and despite sustaining injury, in one piece. However the man who returned was totally different from the ‘boy’ who left his home to fight for his country.
He married Marcia, has had children, and grandchildren, he was one of the lucky ones, thousands did not. Because of this, he wanted to put pen to paper to explain in real terms the true cost of war, both mentally and physically.
Thank you Fred.
Reviewed by Susan Keefe
About the Book: Before leaving for Vietnam, twenty-one year old Fred Krebsbach received a piece of advice from his uncle: carry something with you into combat that will give you comfort in a time of need. He figured it was worth a shot and chose his First Communion rosary. This turned out to be a life-changing, maybe even life-saving, decision. Sent into combat as an M-60 machine gunner, for almost seven months Fred faced danger from booby traps, enemy combatants, and the jungle itself. After becoming injured and returning from the hospital he gave up the M-60 to become a squad leader for Special Forces. He endured seven more months of constant change and surprise, but one companion was constant―a voice inside his head that helped him find the right course of action to keep him alive. To this day Fred doesn’t know what it was exactly, but it may have had something to do with that dang rosary! Though he survived Vietnam, Fred was changed in irrevocable ways. He hopes his story helps his grandchildren and other young people understand the cost of combat and the value of thinking it through before engaging in war.
Available from Amazon in Paperback https://www.amazon.com/Okay-Fred-Krebsbach/dp/0989671011/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1484740731&sr=1-1
and Barnes and Noble in Paperback http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/okay-okay-fred-krebsbach/1117164622?ean=9780989671019