Alpha One Sixteen

A Combat Infantryman's Year in Vietnam

Peter Clark

A new visceral memoir of a year of combat with Alpha Company, 1st Infantry Battalion, in Vietnam, 1966.
Date Published :
November 2021
Publisher :
Illustration :
5 b/w photos and 5 b/w illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781612005997
Pages : 224
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781636240565
Pages : 224
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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Peter Clark's year in Vietnam began in July 1966, when he was shipped out with hundreds of other young recruits, as a replacement in the 1st Infantry Division. Clark was assigned to the Alpha Company. Clark gives a visceral, vivid and immediate account of life in the platoon, as he progresses from green recruit to seasoned soldier over the course of a year in the complexities of the Vietnamese conflict.

Clark gradually learns the techniques developed by US troops to cope with the daily horrors they encountered, the technical skills needed to fight and survive, and how to deal with the awful reality of civilian casualties. Fighting aside, it rained almost every day and insect bites constantly plagued the soldiers as they moved through dense jungle, muddy rice paddy and sandy roads. From the food they ate (largely canned meatballs, beans and potatoes) to the inventive ways they managed to shower, every aspect of the platoon’s lives is explored in this revealing book. The troops even managed to fit in some R&R whilst off-duty in the bars of Tokyo.

Alpha One Sixteen follows Clark as he discovers how to cope with the vagaries of the enemy and the daily confusion the troops faced in distinguishing combatants from civilians. The Viet Cong were a largely unseen enemy who fought a guerrilla war, setting traps and landmines everywhere. Clark's vigilance develops as he gets used to ‘living in mortal terror,’ which a brush with death in a particularly terrifying fire fight does nothing to dispel. As he continues his journey, he chronicles those less fortunate; the heavy toll being taken all around him is powerfully described at the end of each chapter.

About The Author

Peter Clark was raised in Illinois, where he graduated from New Trier Township High School. He was in the United States Army from 1965 to 1968, including Vietnam service with the 1st Infantry Division. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois and Yale Law School and a member of the Massachusetts Bar. He has been a county prosecutor, counsel to state mental health and social service agencies, a legal aid lawyer, and an Assistant Attorney General in Massachusetts. He currently serves in the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services in the Office of the Inspector General. He currently lives in Catonsville, MD.


"Thoughtful, provocative memoir ... A worthy entry in the vast library of books devoted to a misbegotten conflict."

- Kirkus Reviews

"Peter Clark spent nearly a year in Vietnam with the 1st Infantry Division. Now, a half century later, after Yale Law School and many  years of public service, he writes magnificently of that youthful experience. In intelligent, articulate and beautifully evocative language he renders an honest, moving and richly nuanced account of what it was like to go to war and then, being wounded, to come home again. Compassion, good sense, and decency permeate every page. An outstanding contribution to the literature of the Vietnam War."

- Lewis Sorley, author of A Better War

"Alpha One Sixteen is a great and necessary addition to the canon of Vietnam War memoirs. It may be hard to believe, but the days are numbered for America’s surviving Vietnam War veterans. Like their fellow warriors of America’s many conflicts, the memories of Vietnam veterans like Peter Clark need to be heard, studied, and appreciated. Clark and his fellow men of the 16th Infantry Regiment have earned the right to be read by a new generation of Americans."

- New York Journal of Books

“Clark presents a detailed account of his day-to-day activities facing the enemy in triple-canopy jungle, rice paddies, and unfriendly villages… The heart of this worthy book… describes what befell him and his fellow infantrymen as they regularly experienced the worst that war can offer.”

- The VVA Veteran, September/October 2018

"This is one of those books - from a personal perspective anyway - that I had to keep reading. Not just for the account of the fighting but for the gentle humour and humanity that the author displayed….  A damn good book and I would heartily endorse it."

- Army Rumour

"This is another fascinating experience of war in Vietnam, and this time tells us the experiences of a young infantryman serving with the US First Infantry Division, the Big Red One, in Vietnam during 1966… Well worth reading for anyone with an interest in the history of the Vietnam War for the US Army."

- Robin, Military Model Scene

Clark seems lucky in a way – for one thing he didn’t get killed or disabled, which clearly he quite easily could have been. But it also appears that while there, and ever since, he has been able to maintain a certain detachment, and more or less clearly states that he hasn’t suffered from any kind of PTSD, unlike his father had experienced since fighting in Europe in WW2. After his Army service, he completed his studies, attended Yale Law School and qualified for the Bar in Massachusetts. Perhaps it is the combination of his trained analytical mind and the apparent lack of any lasting trauma that has resulted in this particularly well-written, detailed and engaging piece of writing.

- Kitmaker Network

"… [a] particularly well-written, detailed and engaging piece of writing."

- Armorama

"An impressively candid, detailed, informative, and emotionally engaging military memoir of one man's experience fighting in Viet Nam."

- Midwest Book Review

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