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For 34 years Richard Charles Martinez kept a journal dealing with his experiences as an infantryman in the Vietnam War. Martinez writes in a style that conveys awe regarding what he saw and did. At times, he also projects an air of innocence that lifts him above the moment. A 20-year-old college dropout draftee, five-ten, and a 125 pounds, Martinez found infantry duty difficult, but he performed as demanded. Martinez served with the 1st Battalion/26th Regiment of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division stationed at Quan Loi and Lai Khe in 1968-69. Some conclusions sound self-evident, but considering them in context with what he wrote earlier, his words profoundly summarize a lifetime of thought. The shock of combat and its aftermath “stays with you forever,” he says, “in memories and nightmares.”
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