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Firsthand accounts

  • World War II Magazine

    Terror and Survival at Tarawa

    The returning amtrac churned toward the safety of the invasion fleet at Tarawa. A Japanese shell splashed close behind. A second exploded to the right. Then came the third...

  • Vietnam Magazine

    Death Dance in the Dark

    James Gillam’s most terrifying moments in Vietnam came in the pitch-black darkness of an enemy tunnel. After his poor academic performance in the spring of 1968, Ohio University sophomore James Gillam lost his deferment and was drafted...

  • Vietnam Magazine

    An Angel in Dien Bien Phu’s Hell

    On a mission to evacuate wounded, a young flight nurse finds herself trapped, as the Viet Minh close in to capture the last French outpost. Born into a storied family, Geneviève de Galard was shaped by its patriotic spirit and even as a...

  • Vietnam Magazine

    One Wild Ride to Destiny

    A Marine helicopter pilot reveals new insights into the legendary 1965 mission chronicled in Life by photographer Larry Burrows. It was a clear, sunny Wednesday in the scenic Que Son Valley, southwest of Da Nang, the last day of March...

  • Vietnam Magazine

    Garcia’s Cadillacs

    Although he stood less than 5 feet tall, Marine Salvador Garcia was a giant. There is a special place in my heart for Salvador Garcia. His curious eyes and humble expression opened onto a soul that was modest and accepting, but he was a...

  • Vietnam Magazine

    Hell on a Hill at Khe Sanh

    For nearly 80 days, Marines on the hills surrounding Khe Sanh endured one of the war’s fiercest fights. The top of what became known as Hill 861-A was just virgin land covered with elephant grass and bamboo when I first saw it. My...

  • Vietnam Magazine

    Vietnam Book Review: Dusterman

    Dusterman: Vietnam, Story of the Last Great Gunfighters by Joseph M. Belardo Sr., SamPat Press, 2010 Soldiers have kept diaries for millennia. Many of these historical reminiscences became memorable and timeless books that linked single...

  • Vietnam Magazine

    Case of the Mysterious Lob Bomb

    Protecting the drawdown of U.S. troops in 1971, a cavalry squadron was hit with a puzzling—and terrifying—enemy tactic. At long last, the stewardess announced that we would be arriving at Cam Ranh Bay shortly. It was early March 1971...

  • America's Civil War Magazine

    ACW Book Review: A Young Virginia Boatman Navigates the Civil War

    A Young Virginia Boatman Navigates the Civil War: The Journals of George Randolph Wood edited by Will Molineux, University of Virginia Press, 2010, $30 FOURTEEN-YEAR-OLD GEORGE Randolph Wood worked on the James River in Virginia with his...

  • America's Civil War Magazine

    ACW Book Review: Faith, Valor, and Devotion

    Faith, Valor, and Devotion: The Civil War Letters of William Porcher DuBose edited by W. Eric Emerson and Karen Stokes, University of South Carolina Press, 2010, $49.95 STUDYING TO ENTER THE Episcopalian ministry when the war began, South...

  • America's Civil War Magazine

    Diary of a Morgan Raider

    Sometimes a war story can be reduced to one seemingly endless fight. Probably no aspect of Confederate cavalry raider John Hunt Morgan’s operations are more obscure than those from early 1863. Without a doubt, those operations represent...

  • America's Civil War Magazine

    America’s Civil War Book Review: The Civil War Letters

    The Civil War Letters of a Confederate Artillery Officer (Col. Frank Huger, C.S.A.) edited by Thomas K. Tate, McFarland & Co., 2011, $45  COLONEL FRANK HUGER, THE SON of controversial Confederate General Benjamin Huger, was one of...

  • Vietnam Magazine

    Books in Brief | Combat Talons in Vietnam

    Combat Talons in Vietnam: Recovering a Covert Special Ops Crew, John Gargus, Texas A&M University Press, 2017, $35 A personal account from mission planner John Gargus, Combat Talons in Vietnam recounts the first use of C-130s...

  • MHQ Magazine

    Bill, Willie, and Joe

    The artist made two dogfaces world-famous, and they did the same for him...

  • Aviation History Magazine

    Ambush by the China Blitzers

    A handful of American pilots in war-weary P-40s took on 32 Zeros over Nanning, with surprising success. As he neared the Allied air base at Nanning on April 5, 1944, Japanese navy pilot Ippei Yoshida grew uneasy. Yoshida’s air group and...

  • Aviation History Magazine

    Wildcats Battle Hawks Over Casablanca

    In one of WWII’s more ironic spectacles, American planes fought American planes in the skies above French Morocco. The Allied invasion of Algeria and French Morocco in November 1942 was a complex and daring operation that would not have...