Content With My Wages Vietnam

Content With My Wages, A Sergeant’s Story: Book I-Vietnam

Softcover-Perfect Bound

4.75 out of 5 based on 8 customer ratings
(8 customer reviews)

$20.00

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This is both a history, a memoir, and a critique of certain combat actions of the 1st Infantry Division during the years: 1966 and 1967. The author requested a transfer from the 2nd of the 54th Infantry, 4th Armored Division, in Germany  to the 1st of the 16th Infantry in Vietnam. Arriving shortly after the disastrous battle of August 25th, 1966, he joined a rifle company that was being rebuilt by a Special Forces captain who had replaced the former company commander, KIA in that battle. There the author began to learn the ways of a combat infantryman in a jungle war. After a number of road clearing operations, ambush patrols and search and destroy missions, he describes his battalion’s participation in Operations’ Cedar Falls and Junction City, the largest operations of the Vietnam War. Between operations are descriptions of medical evacuation, hospitals, base camp amusements, rest and recuperation (R+R), and more. In June of 1967, the 1st of the 16th Infantry fought the 271st VC Regiment at the battles of Xom Bo I-II during Operation Billings. During Xom Bo II, the author’s platoon was at the center of the main enemy assault. Out of forty-three men, he was one of eight who walked away. He describes the battle of Onh Thanh, which took place after he left. There, the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry was almost completely destroyed by the 271st. Finally the he describes his own struggles with the memories of the war after he returned home and how he found peace.

8 reviews for Content With My Wages, A Sergeant’s Story: Book I-Vietnam

Softcover-Perfect Bound

  1. 5 out of 5

    (verified owner):

    This is a fascinating account of Murry’s service with A Company, 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry during the Vietnam war. Murry takes the gloves off to tell his story about the way he saw the war during 1966-67. It is a well-written, very readable account of life as a grunt in the relatively early stages of the conflict.
    Steven E. Clay, President, 16th Infantry Association and Author of “Blood and Sacrifice-The History of the 16th Infantry Regiment From the Civil War Through the Gulf War.”

  2. 5 out of 5

    :

    A revealing account of the Vietnam war as seen through the eyes of a young infantryman. This is the real-life version of “Platoon” with all of the naïve expectations, confusion, fear, camaraderie, and courage that many young American solders experienced in the fog of war. The Author writes not just to tell his story but to pass on “lessons learned” in hopes that future generations of soldiers benefit from his experience. I enjoyed it immensely and look forward to the next two books on the Drug War and Afghanistan.

  3. 4 out of 5

    (verified owner):

    An Unstinting Veteran’s Memoir
    on March 26, 2015

    Greg Murry’s memoir of his service in Vietnam, 1966-67, is a very good read. Although he claims in his preface that it was “fairly easy” to write this record of his “actions and failures” in the field, anyone who reads this will realize that he has worked diligently to produce an honest, impressive narrative. He begins by asking “What is history, what are its sources?” Are the sources good enough “so that those studying history will feel comfortable in accepting what has been written as truth?” (p. xvi). And Murry does not exempt himself from that question, stressing that he reports only what he saw and admitting that his own perspective is likely no more reliable than any other.
    Murry is unstinting in relating much of what he saw in Vietnam, from the rather murky mission to the difficulty of identifying the “enemy,” the problems from poor training to needless bureaucracy to self-serving decisions (he has some pointed criticism of the “amateurism” of many newly-arrived junior officers). He also gives credit to those who risked their lives in numerous patrols, frustrating attempts to corner an elusive enemy, and the morale problem of being forced to fight in a struggle that had increasingly less support back in the States. The overall impact of the memoir is a story of duty and perseverance that deserved far more recognition than it was to receive for many years.
    His narrative of the fire fight near Xom Bo on June 17, 19 1967, when a Viet Cong force ambushed much of the regiment and inflicted heavy casualties before retreating, is an exceptional summary of combat, comparable to the combat descriptions in Harold Moore’s “We Were Soldiers Once and Young, “or in Tim O’Brien’s “If I Die in a Combat Zone.” The Xom Bo narrative is all the more impressive because Murry compares his own memories to those recorded in the extant historical source. He includes excerpts from after-action reports, the official U.S. Army volume, other memoirs, and a filmed documentary that uses interviews with other veterans of the battalion. He adds to this the memories of other members of his battalion. In so doing he underlines yet again the chaos of combat:“unlike training, at the end of the battle many of the participants are either dead or have been evacuated for their wounds . . . another problem is that a soldier is generally unable to separate himself from the mass of emotions that result from surviving” (p. 261). Murry concludes his memoir by casting doubt on the accuracy of post-combat interviews for an acute analysis – or an effective learning tool – for battle.
    Because of its unique, well-documented approach to a combat story, its straightforward and clean prose, and its willingness to show that battle is only rarely a clear victory or defeat, Murry’s books is recommended to anyone who wishes to know more about the Vietnam conflict, wants a fine story of the realities of combat, or wants to appreciate the complex issue of what, indeed, is history.

  4. 5 out of 5

    (verified owner):

    A must read for those interested in the Vietnam War
    on March 30, 2015

    This is an excellent history. It merges the author’s memoir with other events and background.The result tells the reader the life of an infantry soldier in combat combined with what was going on at higher levels and in the enemy camp. Some of his comments are both frank and at times amusing such as his comment: “We had found a booby-trap the old fashioned way, again.” He is critical of the brass in Vietnam as he should be and his analysis of their performance is factual and penetrating. This is a must read for all who are interested in the Vietnam War.

  5. 5 out of 5

    (verified owner):

    Like at LZ GEORGE and its lopsided kill ratio
    on April 2, 2015

    Amongst the astronomical number of books published about the war in Vietnam, the combat memoir has become a genre in itself. Hundreds if not thousands of veterans from that conflict have taken up the pen to lay down on paper their own experiences of it and some of them have become literary classics (Caputo’s A Rumor Of War or Mason’s Chickenhawk come to mind).
    By nature, these memoirs only concentrate on a very limited aspect of the war, that lived directly by the author, and don’t provide much in terms of the bigger picture. This one is different. While its author, Gregory H. Murry, might have been “content with his wages” as the title suggests, he certainly wasn’t content with simply telling his own story, and needed to understand why he had been send to Vietnam and make sense of what he lived there.
    Murry served with Company A, 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry of the Big Red One from September 1966 to September 1967 during the “big units war” when the 1st Infantry Division was conducting massive search and destroy operations north of Saigon (ATTLEBORO, CEDAR FALLS, JUNCTION CITY….) and was trading punches with the hard core units of the Communist B2 Front, more commonly known as COSVN. This would culminate on 17 June 1967 at the battle of Xom Bo II during Operation BILLINGS where his platoon was ambushed on LZ X-Ray (a homonym of the one made famous in We Were Soldiers Once…And Young) and almost completely destroyed, a traumatic event that would haunt him for decades.
    Of course at the time he didn’t know the details of the hows and whys such and such operation was conducted; he was, as he simply puts it, on “Operation Vietnam” 24/7. The questions came later, when the time was ripe for revisiting his memories of the war and put his experience into perspective. For this he did what the serious historians do, research the archives for official documents, operational reports, lessons learned and after action reports and compare it with the experiences and memories of the people who were there, in this case himself and his platoon buddies. That’s how the book is build, the anecdotal and the factual being constantly interwoven in skillful writing, confronting what he saw firsthand and what was reported.
    This leads him to question the soundness of the strategy used at the time. During his tour, Murry served under two commanding generals who were big proponents of the conventional war, William E. Depuy and John H. Hay, for whom the key to success was a simple matter of destroying enemy units in such a decisive way they would concede defeat. Sometimes it worked, like at LZ GEORGE and its lopsided kill ratio, sometimes it lead to catastrophes, like Bong Trang, Xom Bo II or Ong Thanh, but more often than not, US forces would simply hit “dry holes” , as Depuy later admitted. The “tipping point” (where enemy losses would become unbearable for him) that General Westmoreland had envisioned never materialized and the North Vietnamese were able to prolong the war for years, ultimately to their advantage.
    This being said, the book isn’t just dry military history, it is also and foremost, a personal account, full of anecdotes and recollections, friendships and awkward moments (I particularly enjoyed the “Irish Girls” episode). It is also a classic story of the innocent changed forever by his experience of War. Murry is a reserved man, he doesn’t let his emotions invade his narrative, but you can sense this is the story of someone who struggled a long time to overcome the survivor’s guilt he felt after the battle of LZ X-Ray and has finally made peace with his demons. Writing is a catharsis, some people say, and in this case I think this is particularly true.

  6. 5 out of 5

    :

    This is one of the best books I have read about what has happened in the past 50 years. I was stationed in Bamberg, German. As I was leaving Greg was arriving, we will never know if we met on post. This book has so much history in it, Greg has describe all of the details and I feel as if I was there and understand what is happening. In my opinion, Greg was chosen to write this book fulfilling God’s plan for veterans and their families to have peace of mind knowing their story has been told. I liked the scriptures Greg used. Greg spent some time in Law Enforcement and finished his time in the military. In my opinion, Greg biggest victory was accepting Christ as his savior. I answered the call to become Chaplain Years ago and reading Greg book gives me a better understanding of PTSD. I am looking forward to Greg next book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    :

    I read Greg Murry’s book”Content With My Wages”It was a very good look at the life of an Infantryman during the Vietnam war! As an Infantry veteran of that war I easily identified with his story, am looking forward to his next two books covering his career! Chuck Mundahl Co C 1st Bn 2nd Inf “Black Scarves”1st Inf Div 66-67

  8. 5 out of 5

    (verified owner):

    By Frederic C. Wagner III on July 8, 2015

    Since I am an author of sorts– though not in this category– I am hesitant to write reviews of another author’s book. “Content With My Wages,” however, deserves a review and it deserves a good review. MSG Murry (ret.) and I served in the 1st Infantry Division (different units) at approximately the same time and I am familiar with virtually every place he mentions and all the senior officers he discusses. This is an honest, straight-forward, and absolutely marvelous book, written with love, passion, decency, and a keenness only a hero can articulate… and he has also done his research, something I demand absolutely as an author. I do not necessarily agree with all his conclusions, but his opinions are informed and lived, and that is what matters. If I were ever to recommend a book about Vietnam, I would recommend this one as the first read… then go on to “We Were Soldiers….” “Wages” rings true, it rings alive, it rings love and compassion and honesty. You can never go wrong with a book like this.

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