A Marine Company Commander in Vietnam
R. D. Camp. Jr.
with Eric Hammel
In thhis vividly told first-person narrative, retired Marine Colonel Dick Camp colorfully recounts the daily combat actions and command decisions of his Vietnam experience as “Lima-6”—the com-mander of Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 26th Marines—from June
1967 through January 1968.
Upon his arrival in Vietnam, Captain Camp finessed his way into the immediate command of Lima Company following the death of its previous commander near Khe Sanh. Instantly, he was thrown into the tense experience of patrolling the beautiful, deadly jungle valleys around Khe Sanh and escorting supply convoys along embattled Highway 9
between Dong Ha and Khe Sanh.
For six full months, Dick Camp commanded Lima Company in alternating periods of intense combat and intense waiting—a typical, virtually emblematic experience shared by his
peers in the 1967-1968 phase of the war in northern Quang Tri Province, bordering the DMZ and North Vietnam. In early September 1967, Camp’s battalion was almost overrun near besieged Con Thien in an ambush sprung by a full North Vietnamese Army regiment. In early January 1968, Lima Company ambushed the commander and staff of a North Vietnamese regiment apparently charged with assaulting the Marine lines at Khe Sanh. Three weeks later, Lima Company and the rest of the reinforced 26th Marine Regiment were besieged inside the Khe Sanh Combat Base by two North Vietnamese divisions.
As much as Lima-6 is about fighting the Vietnam War, it is also the story of the tight camaraderie of the Marine infantry company at war—of men from widely disparate backgrounds thrown together to succeed or fail as a fighting force. It is a compelling human story of an infantry company at war as seen through the eyes of its commander—the lonely man upon whom all others depend for guidance, wisdom, strength, and humor.
An intensely frank, always human memoir, Lima-6 sets out to make no political ordeological points. It is a candid, refreshing narrative by a combat commander about the experience of command and the brotherhood of men at war. Lima-6 is, above all, an honest account of life and death at the heart of the Vietnam War.
Dick Camp was a Marine infantry officer for twenty-six years. He served in a wide variety of command and staff billets, including assignments as a reconnais-sance platoon commander, company commander, and recruit training battalion commander. His last assignment was at Marine Corps Headquarters, where he served as operations officer for Marine recruiting. He now lives in Northern Virginia.
Eric Hammel, a military historian, has written nearly forty books, including Pacifica Military History’s Fire in the Streets: The Battle for Hue, Guadalcanal: Starvation Island, Guadalcanal: Decision at Sea, Ambush Valley, and Khe Sanh: Siege in the Clouds. He lives near San Francisco.
Critical Acclaim for Lima-6
“A solid contribution to Vietnam literature. . . . Always readable, frequently vivid."
“Camp’s gritty narrative is flawless as it takes the reader through six months of the Vietnam War through the eyes of an infantry officer . . . a must for those who want to understand the awesome responsibility a company commander has in war. An honest portrayal.” —Vietnam Bookstore Book Report
“Solid, down to earth, and faithful in describing the way it was [for] one Marine company commander.” —Leatherneck
“An honorable and dead-honest narrative.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Camp’s autobiography underscores the essential nobility often displayed by men sharing dire circumstances.” —Cincinnati Enquirer
About R. D. Camp Jr.
See more books from this Author
Published July 29, 2009
by Pacifica Military History.
Biographies & Memoirs, History, War, Travel, Professional & Technical.