Because most of the characters in Last of the Annamese are concerned with military matters, much of the language in the book typical of the patois of soldiers and Marines. I realize in looking over the terms included in the book’s glossary that that was the language I spoke during the final days of Vietnam. Because the three major male characters are Marines, the book uses more Marine slang than any other.
Because I worked with Marine units so often between 1962 and 1975, when Saigon fell, and because it was the Marines that saved my life when I escaped under fire, I still use a number of the Marine terms recorded in the glossary—much to the confusion of everyday American citizens. “World” still means the United States to me, and my natural impulse is to refer to a wall a “bulkhead” and a floor as the “deck.” And “ASAP” springs to my lips faster than “as soon as possible.”
All that makes people think I’m a little odd. That’s okay with me.