Over the past six days, I have posted a blog about each of my six published books. But despite my advanced age and inevitable enervation, I still have books I want to write. Aging has slowed me down in just about every respect: I walk more slowly and with a limp; I sleep every chance I get; all of my senses have weakened; and I lack the energy to do what used to be routine tasks. Despite all that, my ability to think, and with it to write, is better than ever.
The two books I’m working on are, as always, drawn from real experiences in my past life. One is based on my more than twenty years with Su, my partner who died a little over two years ago. She was in many respects the love of my life. The time I spent with her gave me some of my happiest memories.
The other book is about the 1967 battle of Dak To in Vietnam’s western highlands. I was deeply involved in that conflict. It was during my years in Vietnam as a civilian working undercover as an enlisted man in whatever unit, army or Marine Corps, I was supporting. I wore their uniform, lived with them, slept on the ground next to them, ate C-rations sitting in the dirt next to them, and went into combat with them.
In the summer and fall of 1967, I was supporting the U.S. 4th Infantry Division and 173rd Airborne Brigade in the foothills of Vietnam’s western highlands. The guys thought it was hilarious that a civilian who outranked their commanding officer was living with the troops. They snitched my fatigue uniforms and paid a local tailor to sew nametags over the breast pockets. One read “Glenn,” and the other read “Civilian.” They couldn’t stop laughing as I wore the uniforms and insisted on taking my picture. Since I was operating undercover, I usually didn’t allow any photos of me. But I made an exception in this case. Here’s the result: