Page 83. " and the booby-trapped 105 round blew him into a tree. "

A 105mm round is typically used in the Howitzer, a large cannon used to destroy enemy bases or vehicles from several miles away. But a 105mm round can also be used as the explosive in an improvised munition, detonated remotely.

The United States expended more bombs and artillery shells in Vietnam than in World War II. By contrast the Viet Cong used guerilla warfare tactics, particularly booby traps. Unexploded artillery rounds or bombs could be refashioned as land mines. These caused severe injuries such as loss of limbs or death amongst US infantry personnel.

Below is one of 26 Private SNAFU ('Situation Normal, All Fouled Up') cartoons made by the US Army Signal Corps to educate and boost the morale of the troops. Originally created by Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) and Phil Eastman, most of the cartoons were produced by Warner Brothers Animation Studios:



Many other concealed devices were deployed against Americans during the Vietnam war:

Panji traps - Long nails or lengths of thin steel rods, hammered flat at the ends, filed into a barbed shape, then hammered through blocks of wood.

Cartridge traps - A section of pipe or bamboo with a tack nailed through the base upon which sits a cartridge with the tip slightly above ground level.  When a soldier stepped on the cartridge, the pressure caused the tack to ignite the primer, firing the round up through his foot.

Spike Board - A treadle board, one end of which is spiked. When a man steps on the treadle, the spiked end flies up striking him in the face or chest.

Page 83. " But what wakes me up twenty years later is Dave Jensen singing 'Lemon Tree' as we threw down the parts. "

Written by Will Holt, based on a Brazilian folk song, "Lemon Tree" was made famous by Peter, Paul & Mary, Bob Marley, and Trini Lopez

 Listen on Spotify



Page 87. " The AO stood along the South China Sea "

The South China Sea is part of the Pacific Ocean. It is bounded to the northeast by the Taiwan Strait (by which it is connected to the East China Sea); to the east by Taiwan and the Philippines; to the southeast by Borneo; to the southwest by the Malay Peninsula; and to the west and north by the Asian mainland. It covers an area of about 1,423,000 square miles (3,685,000 square km), with a mean depth of 3,976 feet (1,212 metres).


The South China Sea and the East China Sea together form the China Sea.

Page 88. " the man finally shrugged and shot in the Novocain and yanked out a perfectly good tooth. "

Novocain is a trademark for the local anaesthetic procaine. It is used in dentistry and to reduce pain caused by the intramuscular injection of Penicillin. It works primarily as a sodium channel blocker.

Page 90. " I swear to god, man, she's got on culottes. "

Culottes are a cross between a skirt and trousers/pants.  They were designed to look like a skirt yet offer women more freedom for physical activities such as horse-riding or gardening.

Page 94. " She hopped a C-130 up to Chu Lai and stayed at the USO "
Public DomainUSO

The United Service Organizations (USO) started in the early 1900s as a "Home away from Home" for members of the military. During WWII it became widely popular and many Americans not serving volunteered to help provide USO services.

After the war it was disbanded, but was reinstated in the Korean War. During the Vietnam War, USO started to locate some of its bases in combat zones, providing entertainment and other services to members of the military.

Page 95. " How does a Claymore work? "

The Claymore mine is an anti-personnel mine used by the U.S. military. The Claymore is command-detonated and directional, meaning it is fired by remote-control, shooting metal balls into the kill zone like a shotgun.

Page 98. " For hours at a time she plunked away at C-ration cans. "

Type C Ration Cans were developed in 1938. They were used by land forces when a Type A ration (fully cooked meal made from field kitchen or mess hall) or Type D Ration (military grade chocolate) was insufficient.

C rations were divided into M (meat) and B (bread) products: the M products were meat and beans, meat and vegetable stew, meat and spaghetti, ham, egg and potato, meat and noodles, pork and rice, franks and beans, pork and beans, ham and lima beans, and chicken and vegetables; the B products were biscuits, compressed and premixed cereal, candy-coated peanuts or raisins, powdered coffee, sugar, powdered lemon or orange juice, cocoa powder, hard candies, jam, and caramels. A C ration box (for 8 men) contained three M products and three B products per man per day: 48 cans between 8 men.