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Page 33
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<< 32. Battle Green Vietnam34. A Very Different Book About Vietnam >>

Brothers in the Mekong Delta

By Bart House (reviewer)

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Brothers in the Mekong Delta: A Memoir of PBR Section 513 in the Vietnam War
by Godfrey Garner
(McFarland, 2020)

As the title states: This is a memoir.

From the book synopsis: "following the Tet Offensive, 1967 to 1968 (he) saw increased policing of the canals and tributaries of South Vietnam aboard patrol boats riverine (PBR)'s: unarmored, heavily armed and highly maneuverable vessels designed to operate in shallow waters: by uses of jets instead of propellers."

This memoir recounts the experiences of the author and his shipmates as they cruised the VC occupied backwaters of the Mekong delta.

The author served two tours in 1967 and 1968. After a lengthy break from military service, he rejoined the US Special forces and retired from the 20th Special Forces Group in 2006.

He is a faculty professor at Mississippi College and and adjunct at Tulane University and Belhaven University.

The author and his shipmates were from the South and being US Navy, all enlisted. He does not take a political view of the war in Vietnam. The book is a memoir of this time in his deployments.

The author describes his social life and non-combat experiences as well as a few combat recollections. He recreates some dialogue in some specific experiences and remembered incidents. In the latter part of the book, he also covers his efforts to reconnect with his shipmates after their service and ends the book with details of their personal lives after Vietnam.

These Riverine units worked with SEAL teams: providing insertion and extractions and were assigned two Huey Seawolf gunships per river section. The book includes some details on the duties and tactics of these PBR's. He details his training and path to his assignment to his unit: PBR River Section 513: Sadec, near Vinh Long.

He provides details of his base at Sadec, life there and some details of the Vietnamese supporting their base as well as bio and social details of the crew he served with. He gives insight into their duties, their equipment, deployment, combat missions, and recollection of some specific combat actions and the group's reactions to the events.

I found this book to be long on details of drinking bourbon and talking and a bit short on his combat and actual in country service. However, I would say he does well in most aspects of describing the whole milieu of his experience; both combat and non combat life in his tour of duty. I would give the book 4 of 5 stars.

Bart House, USN MMFN, Vietnam Dec72 to Feb73, USS Milwaukee (AOR-2), Christmas Bombing campaign, Operation Linebacker 2.

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