Medal of Honor Recipient 'Highly Recommends' VFW Vietnam Book

Brutal Battles of Vietnam ‘tells the story in a much better way than most books do’

Medal of Honor recipient James E. Livingston spoke at VFW’s 118th National Convention on Tuesday to give his thoughts on the recently released Brutal Battles of Vietnam, a book compiled by VFW magazine’s former editor in chief, Richard Kolb, and former art director, Robert Widener.

During a speech at the convention’s business session, Livingston, a retired Marine Corps general, said the book “is a prime example of unbiased and honest historical preservation” and tells “the human side” of the Vietnam War.

“It really tells the story in a much better way than most books do,” Livingston said. “It’s a truthful story that tells of the commitment, service and sacrifice of all who served in Vietnam.”

Livingston, a Gold Legacy Life Member of Post 10624 in Mount Pleasant, S.C., said he “highly recommends” Brutal Battles of Vietnam to everyone, especially Vietnam War veterans. He said the book will show Vietnam War veterans the “bigger picture” of the war.

“They were all a part of a bigger effort,” Livingston said. “Many of them only know about their own experience. This book shows what they really did.”

Brutal Battles of Vietnam features some 100 military actions of the Vietnam War, including Battle of Dai Do. During the battle, then-Cpt. Livingston earned the Medal of Honor for his actions as company commander of Echo Co., 2nd Bn., 4th Marines. He said the battle “demonstrated the commitment, leadership and personal qualities of the young Marines and sailors involved.”

“Those 18 and 19 year olds were willing to go into harm’s way and do what their country asked them to do,” Livingston said. “That continues to inspire me today.”

After receiving the Medal of Honor, Livingston joined VFW about 47 years ago. Livingston said he has always been a “great admirer” of VFW and that he is proud to be a VFW member because the organization “cares about veterans” who have “served and sacrificed” in uniform.

Brutal Battles of Vietnam: America’s Deadliest Days, 1965-1972 is available at the VFW Store.

This article was written by Dave Spiva, editorial associate, VFW magazine.