Long Daze at Long Binh by Steve Donovan and Fred Borchardt

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Long Daze at Long Binh: The humorous adventures of two Wisconsin draftees trained as combat medics and sent off to set up a field hospital in South Vietnam

I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

This is the memoir of two men who were drafted and sent over to Vietnam as medics. They met when they were first inducted and spent the entire two years together over there. This book is funny, interesting and sometimes sad.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. I like that this was looking at the lighter side of what some personnel went through. This is not making light of war in any way; this is about the day to day stuff that happens in the army. Sometimes they are not the most organized: unforeseen problems pop up that can be just funny. Keep in mind that these two guys were in a field hospital (they were non-combatant personnel). Yes, they went through the same training, but they were there to save people not to shoot them.

The sense of humour in this book is great. They are constantly trying to “beat the system” whenever they could. From skipping out on some of their laps in the daily run, to finding a way to help soldiers with typing reports instead of filling sand bags all day. The miscommunications with the locals were hilarious (e.g. trying to explain to the women how to use a western toilet when they didn’t speak Vietnamese). You can imagine how that went down. Everyone over there was on a huge learning curve. They were away from home, living with a new language and new rules around them without any privacy.

Along with all the funny anecdotes, there is some very interesting information in the book. I’m not going to lie, I don’t know a lot about the army or the nitty gritty of war. This did shine a light on some of what happened during the Vietnam War, and what the medics went through: problems they needed to deal with that I never would have thought of, such as the realistic issue to keep their feet dry. A little more of an explanation about Agent Orange. We all know about what happened to the people, but the army had no idea it would have those affects. Their own soldiers were exposed to this stuff too.

As horrible as war is, and all the negatives that come from it, it seems to happen nonetheless. These two men managed to look at the brighter side, did an extra year over there and came out of it all with a great friendship and some funny stories. This is their story.

If anyone is looking for a lighter story and wants to learn a bit more about the Vietnam war, I would suggest picking up this book.

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