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Leatherneck Magazine

May 2010

LZ Loon

I just finished a book entitled: "Loon" A Marine Story by Jack McLean.

I highly recommend this book to fellow Marines that served in the war in I Corps during the period 1968- 1969 or anyone interested in the war from the perspective of a Marine grunt. Like many of you, I have not forgotten what time or distance or indifference seem to want to remain hidden from the public, known only to those who took part in some forgotten battle. The dead and the wounded demand to be heard and they deserve to be remembered by a nation that called on them for the ultimate sacrifice. Honor is forever and we Marines have a long memory.

This book is the memories of Corporal Jack McLean who served with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division in Vietnam and follows his time form civilian to boot camp to Vietnam and return to civilian life. His participation in the three day battle for Landing Zone Loon in northern I Corps near the border of Laos in June of 1968 is the heart of the book. The under-strength Charlie and Delta Company both took horrendous casualties and performed with valor and distinction against great odds. Charlie Company landed with only 180 men and only 60 remained not wounded or killed after the landing, battle and extrication.

I find his story to be honest, realistic and accurate as to what I remember of my time as a young Marine grunt with the 1st Marines at that time.

I also agree with his observations and comments at the time concerning the state of affairs with our country, especially with the lack of thanks or gratitude to those who wore the uniform of our military.
For example: "But there were no crowds. There were no parades. Perhaps, we thought, all of that would come later. So all waited. Several million of us. It never came."

Another example, his comments on leaving his buddies and rotating home: 
"I was so very sad. I was so very happy. Mostly, I felt very alone."

Books like this are a catalyst for some of us to remember what we try to forget and possibly write our own memoirs. Books like this one are also a good way for those who want the real story, removed from the political whitewashing or historical rewriting that seems to abound concerning the Vietnam War. Generals give orders, NCO's fight the war.

Semper Fi, Fox

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