COMMENTARY: War memoir touted

By John Launer, Special to

July 4 marks almost 250 years of freedom the U.S. has enjoyed. This was made possible by Americans fighting to gain and protect this freedom. Beginning in 1776 and the ultimate defeat of the British, then more wars including World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and more. American “boys next door” took up arms, said goodbye to their families and the government changed their lives forever.

There are many good accounts of what it was like to be in the fighting and dying. One of the best Vietnam accounts is the book “All Expenses Paid.” This non-fiction book, a snapshot of history in the chain of wars, details what it was like to be in Vietnam, the jungles, rice paddies, having to shoot someone you never met, and holding your buddy in your arms while he is fighting for his last breath.

The book is available at Amazon.

com, Barnes & Noble, and directly from the publisher,

The easiest and least expensive way to get your copy is Kindle e-book. It makes a great 4th of July remembrance. The book has been enjoyed by everyone who has read it, vets, non-vets, male, female, youngsters or adults.

While you’re ordering, buy several copies. They make great gifts. Your gift recipients will enjoy the book and thank you for giving them a copy. Tell all your friends and neighbors too.

Don’t delay, because the books are selling very well, so the longer you wait to order, the longer it will take to get yours. Be sure and read this book because then you’ll be ready to read Volume II when it’s published and follow the rest of my tour.

This book is also in the libraries at West Point and the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Texas Christian University, University of Houston and several other universities.

Here is a very short list of hundreds of reviews which are found on Amazon: “The author’s description of war and what grunts endured is one of the best I’ve read. I too served in Vietnam as a combat medic with the 101st Airborne Division 1967-1968 and can attest to the accuracy of what the author lays out in the book. The war and the killing and suffering, increased dramatically after the Vietnamese Tet holiday. John Launer told it like it was for the most part. We never kept weapons on safe as his unit apparently did. It was our SOP to have a round chambered and have the selector switch on “rock-n-roll” while in the field and on helicopters. But then again, that’s how we were trained.

“Just minor details that most likely varied from unit to unit. Grunts, as the author detailed, bore the brunt of the war and life was tough in the bush. Death was an Infantry man’s constant companion and if he let his guard down, he’d most likely face the Grim Reaper.

“Exhaustion and sleep deprivation can not be overstated as outlined by John. No true grunt would dare disagree with the author on this account.

“Respect to all that served in Vietnam, especially those in the bush day after day.

“Lastly, the book, indeed, was a five star effort. Great job by Mr.


“The book is very accurate, every time my feet are wet remember I identify with your stories. My wife wonders why I can’t stand wet socks.

It was a great read, I do apologize for whatever it’s worth as to how you guys were treated when you finally came home. My recommended read for a real sense of what Vietnam was like.

“Thank you John for allowing us to vicariously experience the true pain and suffering you grunts went through in Vietnam. I of course knew you guys lived a brutal and horrifying year over there but your excellent writing really brought it home. I realize it might sound trite but thank you for your brave service. Excellent, well written book. Highly recommended.

“One of the best books I have read on the war. Vivid details of what a grunt experienced told in a provocative and descriptive first person story. The psychological exploration the author allows the reader to engage in is fascinating.

This book makes you feel the pain these brave men went through.

Cannot express how much respect and admiration I have for the author.

If you are a Vietnam war buff, this book is a mandatory read. I will read it again, it is that good.

“It seemed like the longest tour ever. After a month or so it ended.

How come? It was the best infantry story ever but it ended. What about the last half of the tour and the R and R? Please finish the second half.

“Great read, John. I was there.

A/1/5 1st Air Cav. ’69 ’70 “You described that hell hole precisely as it was.

“One had to have been there to fully appreciate the sacrifices made by the U.S. Grunt.

“Like you, John, I would do it all over again if for no other reason than to meet some of the greatest American heroes in the world!

“Veterans have complemented the book. A Lt. Colonel Brigade Commander said he’s glad someone finally wrote this book. The account has never been written about before now. A U.S.M.C Veteran said it actually helped his PTSD. He was afraid it would cause flashbacks but it was a catharsis.”

John Launer is a resident of McAllen