Eleven Bravo, the opening short story in the series, was released on April 6, 2011. The title refers to the Army’s 11B designation for the combat infantryman. After an brief scene in Tiger Village of Fort Polk, Louisiana (the primary training center for Vietnam-bound infantry), the story opens as a young soldier arrives in Vietnam while Neil Armstrong walks on the moon, and the story concludes nearly a month later as soldiers celebrate to the music of Jimi Hendrix at the same time the rock star is performing live at Woodstock.
Between these two cultural placeholders of the summer of ’69, the infantrymen of Alpha Company endure a torturous “hump” through the mountainous jungles of the central highlands, encountering hostile North Vietnamese combatants, impassable terrain, and heat stroke. This short story is less about patriotism and heroism than it is about the gut-wrenching reality for the Vietnam combat soldier.
Eleven Bravo is the first volume of a series entitled LRRP Rangers Vietnam by RW Holmen, a Vietnam veteran who was awarded the bronze star for his role in the firefight depicted in this short story. RW Holmen is the author of an acclaimed novel of historical fiction (A Wretched Man, a novel of Paul the apostle), and his story-telling craft is on full display in this series of short stories he calls “autobiographical fiction”. Each story is based on true events but with literary embellishment that offers a compelling, even haunting, interpretation of the Vietnam experience.
For veterans, LRRP Rangers Vietnam, will be a vivid recreation of Vietnam service, for those who lived through the turbulent sixties, the series offers meaning and context, to those too young to remember, these short stories offer a glimpse into the most controversial war and perplexing period in American history. It all starts with Eleven Bravo.
There I was, lying in a spotlight, and I don’t mind telling you that my butt muscles were clenched tight. If my nose had been pressed any tighter against mother earth, I would’ve been breathing worms. There wasn’t a goddammed thing I could do except lay still and wait for the AK-47 round that I would never hear or for the Willy Pete to burn out, whichever came first.
Eleven Bravo may be purchased as a standalone eBook for $2.99 or all five short stories may be purchased together in a compilation called Prowl as either an eBook ($6.99) or a paperback ($9.95). Any and all eBook formats of Eleven Bravo may be purchased and downloaded directly from the publisher or from Amazon and other online bookstores.
THE FULL SERIES