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War Story (Jim Morris)

I was in Vietnam as a reporter in 1964. Among other stunts, I hooked up with a Special Forces A Team based at Cheo Reo in the Central Highlands. (You can read about them in The Only War We've Got.) Jim Morris was in the team that replaced these guys a few months later, and he inherited their interpreter, a handsome Montagnard called Cowboy, who unbeknownst to the Americans was a leading figure in an independence movement called Fulro, for United Front for the Liberation of Oppressed Races.

Morris tells his own story--the American story--of his multiple tours as a Green Beret in Vietnam. But running through it is the parallel story of Cowboy, who becomes a warlord in his own right--a sort of "fourth force" in this many-pronged war whose major participants were the South Vietnamese, the North Vietnamese, and the Americans. Cowboy worked for the Americans, plotted for the Montagnard, and may well have been murdered by the South Vietnamese.

I discovered this book long after it was published, when it was recommended to me by one of the Green Berets I'd known in 1964. I'm delighted to see that it's back in print. It belongs on the shelf of any student of the Vietnam war.

The main column
That's Cowboy on the left, leading the column; Capt. Walter Swain (killed in action in 1968) on the right. Cowboy himelf may have been murdered by the Vietnamese government.