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The Bridge at Dong Ha

This is the true story of the legendary Vietnam War hero John Ripley, who braved intense enemy fire to destroy a strategic bridge and stall a major North Vietnamese invasion into the South in April 1972. Told by a fellow Marine, the account lays bare Ripley's innermost thoughts as he rigged 500 pounds of explosives by hand-walking the beams beneath the bridge, crimped detonators with his teeth, and raced the burning fuses back to shore, thus saving his comrades from certain death.First published in 1989, the book has broad appeal as a riveting tale of adventure. But John Miller has taken this daring act of heroism beyond the specifics of time and place to provide new insights into the nature of war and warriors, characteristics that have remained unchanged for centuries and will remain valid for generations to come. It has been on the Marine Corps Commandant's recommended reading list since 1990. Newly illustrated by Col. Charles Waterhouse, USMCR (Ret.).
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About the Author

John Grider Miller (1935-2009) was a Colonel in the United States Marine Corps, who served as Managing Editor, of U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings and of Naval History.


On Easter 1972 Captain John Ripley braved light weapons fire from North Vietnamese troops to rig explosives to a bridge crossing the Cua Viet River. When the span fell, a major route into the South was closed to the massed troops, and part of the momentum for the so-called Nguyen Hue offensive was temporarily blunted. Ripley's gallant effort was especially courageous since he was acting against a command suggestion to hold the bridge for a counterattack that could not have been mounted, and South Vietnamese troops were in disarray and fleeing to the South all around the Vietnamese unit he advised. Miller's narration of this small action tends more toward the sensational than the historical; the violent and vividly told story may appeal widely to adventure readers. Military Book Club dual main selection.-- Mel D. Lane, Sacramento, Cal.

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