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May 23 , 2009

The Dirty Boots

The Stories of a Reluctant Warrior


It is 1966, when a nineteen-year-old boy from Three Rivers, Michigan, follows family tradition by enlisting in the United States Navy. A plan which he “thinks” will guarantee an uneventfful tour of duty aboard a US naval ship goes awry when he is deposited in the middle of a war zone in South Vietnam. For the next gruelling year, he performs the duties of a fleet marine force medic, caring for wounded and dying American marines. Dubbed Doc John by his comrades, he soon becomes entrenched in a strange, dangerous world, where he becomes both witness and reluctant warrior. Whether he is patching up wounded comrades or placing Band-Aids on scrapes of native children, young Doc John somehow manages to do an impossible job, even as the world is falling down around him. He not only learns the sad lessons of war, but survives them and finds himself in the process. These are the experiences of a different kind of soldier, who manages to traverse a minefield of emotional upheaval and can still tell his stories with honesty and self-deprecating humor, exemplyfying the resiliency of the human spirit.

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