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Book Review: On the Ground by John Stryker Meyer

John Meyer is probably the most prolific writer on the Vietnam era Special Forces operators. He has multiple books with first and second hand accounts of the Studies and Observations Group or SOG activities that took place "over the fence" in Cambodia and Laos during the American involvement in the Vietnam War.

This book is not an ultra technical history book, nor are any of the books he writes. He is the purveyor of stories about the experiences of him and his friends. Some of the stories are harrowing, while others are so ridiculous as to be fiction, but a fiction nobody could have imagined.

John Meyer tells his "man on the flying trapeze" story, giving an account of what happens when you are pulled out "on strings" and don't attach your hight snap link. Basically, Meyers unit was under attack and they needed to get to a n opening in the top canopy to be extracted. As a helicopter couldn't land (or wouldn't due to safety reasons) they dropped ropes for the operators to hook into via snap links on their belts and shoulder harnesses. They would then be dragged through the air on these ropes until the pilot could find a safe place to put down and load up the men. The problem was that this time, Meyer was distracted with having to shoot at his attackers and only got his belt link snapped. Needless to say, his upper body weight took over and flipped him upside-down in the air. It was only an observant person in the craft that noticed and set the helicopter down early to correct his position.

In a lighter instance, the men had to deal with water buffalo's. Indigienous to the area, and harmless enough normally, Meyer relates a story of how one could lose his entire belongings to the critter as it plows straight through your hooch (living space).

This book is wildly entertaining and is a fast, fun read for anyone that likes adventure and military history.

The book can be found at:

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