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Offerings: Norman Brookman's Letter

By Vietnam magazine 
Originally published on Published Online: December 13, 2010 
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Picture 1 of 4

Photo by Jennifer E. Berry/Vietnam Veterans Memorial Collection, Duery Felton, Curator


10 Responses to “Offerings: Norman Brookman's Letter”

  1. 1
    R.L.Andersen says:

    A tragic story to be sure. Having served in Vietnam with the 1st Infantry Division 66-67, I can relate to how easy it was to unselfishly change places with a fellow buddy. Fate is real and plays an important place within our lives. I based my decision NOT to extend my tour due to a fateful event that made me realize how fleeting "life" can be.


    A proud vet

  2. 2
    James Creeden says:

    This story is so typical of many men's experiences during war,it is almost a cliche'. Not to denigrate this story but to emphisize it's value!
    The 7.62X39 round is a conversation stopper,that's for sure. I don't know of any other history that came with it's own physical evidence. The author should be commended for having the presence of mind to dig this evidence out! Wow,what a mind- blower as we used to say back in the day.A real mind-blower. God be with you sir,god rest your buddy's soul as well. James J Creeden

  3. 3
    Ronald Stone says:

    I was a Marine in Vietnam, 67/68. I was with 2nd CAG, Combined Action Platoon 253 near Monkey Mountain. When I left Vietnam and returned to the States I left the Marine Corps and returned to civilian life where I became a Police Officer and later a Homicide Detective. I don't know it all and don't profess to, but I think I know a little about weapons, and what their rounds can do. I have personally seen what rounds can do to the human body and other objects they strike and I have seen what they look like afterward. So,,, I have an observation about this round and casing submitted by Mr. Brookman.
    1st. This round shows no signs of defect, ie: mushrooming etc., after impact with a human body and then entering a bunker wall, even if the round had made a clean, through & through shot, not striking the breast plate, rib cage, spine, there would still be some deformity of the round and after passing through the body it then struck a bunker wall, sandbag or wood, where it was later retreived by Mr Brookman it most certainly would be deformed. The round in this picture is in perfect condition as if it had been removed from the casing by hand.
    2nd. Unless Mr Brookman was standing next to the VC who fired this round and Mr. Brookman picked up the casing after the weapon discharged it, I am curious as to how he knew this was the casing that held the round that killed his buddy.

    I only provide this for "food for thought", Maybe this package that holds the casing and round are only symbolic of the round that killed his friend and not the actual round itself.

    • 3.1
      John says:

      I Concur

    • 3.2
      Susan Shaw says:

      Everyone has their cross to bear….whether it was the real round or not, the one given does symbolize a life saved. My cousin, who did three tours, in and around Teh Sahn, wore a similar round around his neck that was removed from his leg…….damage free. All things are possible……

  4. 4
    "chance" says:

    WARREN COMMISSION EXHIBIT #399 the magic bullet..Virtually
    intact after seven wounds in JFK and Gov Connolly…
    I didn't believe Arlen Specter about the single bullet theory…
    ……plus, JFK was shot from the front…I've seen pictures of his
    tie that he wore nov 22, l963…the tie fibers were pushed in from
    the front and into his neck, not outward from an exit wound…
    The Warren Commission lied to all of us…Rep Gerald Ford, Allen Dulles, Hale Boggs(killed in air accident) etc etc…
    A natio built on lies……………caveat …disgustibus non disputendem est……….chance"

    • 4.1
      Vic Allen says:

      Not really an appropriate place for Kennedy assassination conspiracy stuff.

  5. 5
    Vic Allen says:

    According to rangeragainstwar
    the slug is a 6.5mm and could not be fired from a 7.62×39 casing meaning the casing and the projectile don't match up.

  6. 6
    James Creeden says:

    How does it come to be a 6.5 mm slug. Who measured it and where. I am NOT contesting the findings,I just want to know the process that was used.In Detail. Thank you…James Creeden

    • 6.1
      Vic Allen says:

      I got the info from rangeragainstwar.
      ( )
      He has some pics on his site that show that the expended round is too small in diameter to have been a 7.62 round. He also has photos of 7.62 rounds which are clearly a different shape than the recovered round and have clear crimp marks which the recovered round lacks.

      The 6.5mm seems to be an educated guess on raw's part. It was, as I understand it, the standard issue WWII round for the Japanese army's bolt action rifle. Since the Japanese operated in Vietnam during WWII the presence of such a munition in that locale doesn't seem to be much of a stretch. But insofar as I can tell from ranger's post, it is an educated guess and not the result of a first hand forensic examination.

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