Though his service post-dates the Vietnam War, many of the men who mentored Rich Botkin, heroes he greatly admires, were Vietnam Veterans.
In “Ride the Thunder,” Botkin attempts to give a “30,000 foot view of and a fighting hole view of the war through the experiences of … 3 American Marine officers and … 2 South Vietnamese officers.”
The book, the story, highlights the difference between the North Vietnamese (NVA…the Communists) and the South Vietnamese (RVN) — the RVN were good guys. Incredibly hard-fighting good guys.
“Ride the Thunder” instructs about the Covan (trusted advisors), the TQLC (RVN Marines) and more, about which the average American is woefully uninformed.
Protagonists in Ride the Thunder include Americans (the late) USMC Col. John Ripley, USMC Col (Ret) Gerry Turley, USMC Capt George Philip, and Vietnamese Marine LtCol Le Ba Binh (“the Chesty Puller of the Vietnamese Marine Corps”) and Vietnamese Marine Nguyen Luong.
“Ride the Thunder” spans the years of American involvement in the war (1954 – 1975), with special emphasis on American and Vietnamese Marines. A central event in the book is the Easter Offensive, which was much bigger (by about 50%) than the better known Tet Offensive.