Many Vietnam memoirs have appeared in recent years, but not a single one has the humour, pathos, poignancy, and often sheer hilarity of John J. Gebhart's riveting LBJ'S Hired Gun. As Gebhart tells it, he was a 'smart-mouthed college boy' who joined the Marines to see the world and 'dust a few black pajamas for Uncle Sam.' Two gruelling tours of duty later (1965-1967) he returned home as a sergeant after surviving 240 combat missions (12 air medals) and being shot down twice. On his chest was the Navy Commendation Award (with the combat V). LBJ's Hired Gun launches with Gebhart's grim recollection of the intense old-school brutality that was Marine Corps training on Parris Island before transitioning to his difficult journey for Southeast Asia aboard a troop transport with 2,000 other nameless grunts. These hardships offered but a glimpse of the suffering he and his comrades were about to endure. His candid account of life and death in Vietnam is written with a lively, infectious flair. But be forewarned: no attempt has been made to sanitize this memoir with politically-correct language. Gebhart tells his story exactly as he and his comrades spoke in the 1960s.

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