Saturday, March 21, 2015

Review of The Element of Surprise: Navy SEALs in Vietnam by Darryl Young

Author:  Darryl Young.
Title:  The Element of Surprise:  Navy Seals in Vietnam.
Publisher:  Ivy Books.
Copyright:  1990.
Pagers:  274.
Price:  $7.99 (US).

Overview and Impressions:
The author talked about his six month tour with Juliet platoon while on the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.  Young spends ten pages in the preface on SEAL training.  After reading that, I thought I'd die.  Out of seventy-eight candidates, twenty seven made it in his graduating class.  After that, the SEALs spent another nine months training before being deployed in country.

The missions were interesting.  The SEALs were mainly concerned with capturing members of the Viet Cong alive for interrogation.  The SEAL spent a lot of their time doing intelligence gathering on the river.  Most of their insertions were by boat.  There were occasional helicopter insertions.  But Young didn't like those missions.  He preferred watercraft.

Young's SEAL platoon didn't lose one member KIA.  But they did take some casualties from shrapnel and small arms.  Throughout his book, the SEALs also showed their dedication to their small arms and training.  But this particular SEAL Team dresses anyway they wanted.  I was told by a friend some of the SEAL Teams are by the book, some of them are really loose when it comes to their dress.  I guess it's been that way since their inception.

Still, it was an easy and enjoyable read.  This now ends my reading collection on Vietnam for a while.  I still have one book about the US Army in the Mekong Delta in 1970.  But that is on my Nook to be read at a later date.


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