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David H. Hackworth (1930–2005)

Autor(a) de About Face: The Odyssey of an American Warrior

7+ Works 1,397 Membros 20 Reviews 5 Favorited

About the Author

Colonel David H. Hackworth served in the military for twenty-five years and received 110 medals for his service. He is the author of Hazardous Duty, The Price of Honor, and Steel My Soldiers' Hearts. He died in 2005.
Image credit: Copyright Eye On Books.

Obras de David H. Hackworth

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Amazing story by an amazing soldier. Unfortunately I see the same mindset Hackworth described in the army as in many bureaucratic institutions. So often there is a lack of self evaluation for fear of being blamed for the failure. The Vietnam War happened to be a great crime against it's own soldiers. This is an exciting read that doesn't stop until the end of the book. Somebody needs to make this a movie. My only complaint is as a war historian novice I find it very hard to follow without detailed maps of the battles.… (mais)
CMDoherty | outras 10 resenhas | Oct 3, 2023 |
This is an excellent read. It is really the story of one man's military career, from enlistment in 1946 to leaving the US Army in 1971 as a Colonel who had turned against the war in Vietnam. Each part of the story is well told and interesting. One thing that some might find annoying is that he mentions everyone he's ever met, or at least it can seem that way. I was also surprised to see so much about his service in the Korean war as I thought the book was mostly about Vietnam. That is not a complaint, nor are the chapters on his peacetime service a criticism. I often found myself reading into the next chapter instead of stopping as I normally do. The only point I will make is that this is a memoir and as such one of it's purposes is to put the author in the best possible light. That is true of nearly all memoirs.… (mais)
bookmarkaussie | outras 10 resenhas | Aug 9, 2020 |
This is the story of a very highly decorated U.S. Army vet whose records include 2 DSC, 10 silver stars, and 8 Purple Hearts.

Hackworth joined the military at 14 during WWII. He did not see combat then but saw plenty of it in Korea a few years later. He was given a battle field commission there and served in combat as both an enlisted man and a front line officer. Hackworth also relates his service in Vietnam and his disenchantment with the Army as the bureaucrats and ticket punchers took over and the fighting man was poorly trained or rewarded when it came to the higher officer ranks.

These lessons and problems he discusses are still relevant to our military today.

I'm going to add two stories from the book that stood out to me.

“I remember in Italy in 1946, when I was detailed to guard German prisoners of war. One of the prisoners was a tough lieutenant captured at Salerno. He spoke English, so I whiled away my duty hours giving him a hard time. Once I asked why, if he and all he Kraut friends were such brilliant soldiers and supermen, was a 15 year old me the one holding the weapon and he was a prisoner of war? He answered me with a story. “I was an 88-mm anti-tank battery commander,” he said. “We were on a hill and the Americans kept sending tanks down the road below. Every time they sent a tank, we knocked it out. They kept sending tanks, and we kept knocking them out, until we finally ran out of ammunition. The reason I’m here,” he finished his story, “is the Americans didn’t run out of tanks.”

After WW II, a boy named Willie Lump Lump enlisted in the Army. He went to Fort Benning to take his infantry training, sixteen weeks of sweat and tears and lots of punishment, to turn him into a hardened soldier. Along about the seventh week of training, a sergeant stood up in front of his class and said, “Gentlemen, I’m Sergeant Slasher, and today I’m going to introduce you to the bayonet. On guard!” With that, the sergeant went into the correct stance for holding the bayonet. “On the battlefield,” he continued, “you will meet the enemy, and there will be times when you will need this bayonet to defeat the enemy. To KILL the enemy! Over the next weeks you’ll be receiving a twenty-four hour block of instruction on the bayonet, and I will be your principal instructor.”
Willie Lump Lump went back to the barracks, deeply upset. Man, that was so brutal out there today, he thought. The war is over. We’re living in peace and tranquility, and still the Army is teaching us how to use these horrible weapons! “Dear Mom,” he wrote home. “Today the sergeant told me he’s going to teach me how to use the bayonet to kill enemy soldiers on the battlefield.”
Willie’s mother was shocked. She got right on the phone: “Hello, Congressman DoGood? This is Mrs. Lump Lump. I want to tell you what’s happening down at Fort Benning, Georgia. Here it is, 1949, and they’re teaching my baby to kill with a bayonet. It’s uncivilized! It’s barbaric!”
The congressman immediately got on the horn. “Hello, General Playitright at the Pentagon? This is Congressman Dogood. I understand the Army is still giving bayonet training.”
“Yes, we are.”
“Do you think it’s a good idea? I don’t think it’s a very good thing at all. It’s even… somewhat uncivilized. I mean, really, how many times does a soldier need his bayonet?”
“Not very often, sir, it’s true. Actually, I was just reviewing the Army Training Program myself, and I was thinking that the bayonet is a pretty obsolete weapon. I agree with you. I’ll put out instructions that it’s going to stop.”
The next day, seven hundred miles away: “Gentlemen, I am Sergeant Slasher. This is your second class on bayonet training –“ The sergeant was interrupted by a lieutenant walking purposefully toward him across the training field. “Stand easy, men.”
“It’s out,” the lieutenant whispered.
“What!” said the sergeant.
“It’s out,” the lieutenant whispered again.
The sergeant nodded, his mouth wide open in disbelief. He returned to his class.
“Gentlemen, we’ll have to break here. It looks as if bayonet training has been discontinued in the Army.”
A year later, PFC Lump Lump, the model soldier, deployed to Korea with the 1st Battalion, 15th Regiment, 3d Infantry Division. He was standing on a frozen hill and the Chinese were coming at him – wave after wave after wave. Willie stood like a rock. Resolutely, he shot the enemy down. Suddenly he realized he was out of ammunition. He looked at his belt – not a round left. He saw a Chinaman rushing toward him. He remembered the first class on bayonet training. He reached down and pulled his bayonet out of his scabbard. Shaking and fumbling, he tried to fit it on the end of his weapon, but by that time the Chinese soldier was standing over him, with a bayonet of his own.
The Secretary of the Army signed his thousandth letter for the day: “Dear Mrs. Lump Lump: It is with deep regret that I must inform you that your son, PFC Willie Lump Lump, was killed in action 27 November 1950.”
Heartbroken, Mrs. Lump Lump wrote to some friends of young Willie’s in the company. “How?” she asked. “Why???” “Willie wasn’t trained,” they wrote back. “He didn’t know how to use his bayonet.” Now Mrs. Lump Lump was not only heartbroken, but outraged. She didn’t even bother to call Congressman DoGood. She barged right into his office.
“Why?” she cried and screamed. “Why wasn’t my son trained for war?”
The mythical Willie Lump Lump was my training aid. I used him in every unit I commanded, to explain two things to the troops: first, that the training they were about to receive was in their best interests, and second, that the civilian population didn’t know diddley-squat about the realities of war.
… (mais)
Chris_El | outras 10 resenhas | Mar 19, 2015 |
Col Hackworth (Retired) talks about how he was given one of the worst units in Vietnam and turned them from terrible apathetic soldiers with a high causuality rate to an effective unit with high esprit de corps and a lower causuality rate while actually putting a hurting on the enemy.

Gives you a on the ground perspective of what it was like in Army combat units in Vietnam. Both when it was in poor shape and after Hackworth had the unit in their best form. It's an honest look at how life was which makes it fairly graphic in parts.… (mais)
Chris_El | outras 7 resenhas | Mar 19, 2015 |


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