Vietnam Combat

Firefights and Writing History

Robin Bartlett

A young lieutenant is assigned to lead dangerous search-and-destroy missions in the jungles of I Corps in 1968—the worst year to be a combat infantry platoon leader in Vietnam.
Date Published :
December 2022
Publisher :
Illustration :
B&W illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781636242422
Pages : 288
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order


The year 1968 was arguably the most significant year of the Vietnam war. It was the height of the American involvement, and because officer casualties had been so great after the Tet Offensive of May 1968, all prior officer assignments were cancelled.

First Lieutenant Robin Bartlett, originally on orders to the 101st Airborne Division, suddenly found himself at the “repo-depo” in Bien Hoa reassigned to the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). The unit had more helicopter support than any other unit in Vietnam. The soldiers carried lighter packs, more ammo and water because of the availability of rapid helicopter resupply. Immediate support from artillery, helicopter gunships and ARA (aerial rocket artillery) was only minutes away to support a fire fight. Wounded troops could be medevacked even in dense jungle using “jungle penetrators.” It also meant that Bartlett’s platoon could deploy into hot landing zones at a moment’s notice if an enemy force had been spotted. And they did.

It was with extreme anxiety that Bartlett made his way to join his battalion and company—it was the worst of times to be a platoon leader in Vietnam, let alone a grunt serving in a combat unit. Bartlett also had to cope with personal issues of commitment to a war that was rapidly losing support not only back home but among the soldiers he was leading through the jungles of I Corps on “search and destroy" missions. Fifty years later, Bartlett’s vivid combat experiences are brought to light in a fast-moving, well-written, first-person narrative expressing the horror, fear, anguish and sometimes illogical humor of that war.

About The Author

Promoted to 1st Lieutenant after only one year, Robin Bartlett, at 22, assumed the leadership of the 1st Platoon, A Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). Over the next seven months, he led a platoon on more than thirty air combat assaults and search and destroy missions. Bartlett has spent most of his career in the publishing field. He is a long-standing member of the Independent Book Publishing Association (IBPA) and was the Director of Education for the organization for 13 years. Bartlett holds a BA degree in Comparative Literature from Claremont McKenna College in California and a master's degree in Media from Pace University in NYC. He has written numerous business publications and a previous professional book published by Market Data Retrieval/Dunn & Bradstreet.



1. My First Worst Day in Vietnam—Dealing with my first KIA
2. Training for War—Officer Basic and Airborne Training
3. Ranger School: Learning to Lead; Preparing to Kill
4. Back to the 82nd—Gaining experience at the 82d Airborne Division
5. First Days in Country—Assignment to the 1st Cav Division (Airmobile)
6. Ambushing Gazelles—Creative ambush gone wrong
7. The Jungle Penetrator—Evacuation in dense jungle
8. FNGs in the Field and Base Camp—New replacement story
9. Face-to-Face—meeting the enemy
10. Pay Officer—paying troops in the field
11. Blown Ambush—failed ambush
12. Saturation Ambushing—ambush technique in hot, dense jungle
13. Recon by Fire – Enemy Base Camp—Shooting artillery
14. The Silver Star—How my medic saved the day
15. Beyond Artillery Coverage—Danger of being out from under artillery cover
16. LZ is Green—landing in a suspected hot LZ
17. Auto Rotate—falling from the sky
18. Stream Crossing—danger from stream crossing
19. Letting It All Hang Out—failure to get the right size pants
20. Tracer Rounds—starting a fire with tracers
21. Surviving Leg Cramps—becoming dehydrated
22. Ambush in the Rain—the challenge of an ambush in the rain
23. Escort to Laos—escorting CIA into Laos
24. Tear Gas Attack—use of tear gas on enemy
25. Hard Luck Simmons—soldier drafted illegally
26. Walking Point—I did it one time
27. You Fight It We Write It—staff assignment
28. The Battle of the Parrot’s Beak—battle interview and report
29. Buying Art Supplies—trip to Saigon
30. Welcome Home—returning to the world
31. Butterfly Coincidences—unusual coincidences
32. Attributions—recognition of artists
33. A Boots on the Ground Point of View—final summary


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