TYLER--Author and Marine 1stLt. Michael Dan Kellum spent 21 years meticulously researching, interviewing and writing a 2-book series on the Vietnam War. His books are an unblinking look at Marine training leading up to and including combat in a war zone.
He will discuss his award-winning Books I and II, American Heroes: Grunts, Pilots & "Docs" at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 20 at the Tyler Public Library's Taylor Auditorium. The books won the Military Category of the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards in May 2012 while Book II was top finisher in the Biography Military Category and Book I tied for second in the Autobiography Military Category in the Stars & Flags Book Awards in November 2012 at Branson, Missouri.
"I wanted to write a book about my experiences in the Marine Corps over a 3 1/2 year period 1967-71 and that of many Marines and Navy Corpsmen whom I served with or had their stories passed down to me over a 1965-71 time span the Marines served in Vietnam. I felt like I had a unique perspective for telling these stories since I started out in the enlisted ranks and became an officer later through the Enlisted Commissioning Program and served a tour of duty in Vietnam in 1970 as a platoon commander in the bush, executive officer and commanding officer briefly," said Kellum.
His books cite 1,019 Marines and 42 Navy Corpsmen and takes a close look at the Vietnam War from the viewpoint of the enlisted men and junior officers in the Marine Air Wing and those grunts and Recon Marines who fought on the ground with their "Docs". Basically it's about the bleeding side of war at the grassroots level. The author indicated he wanted to put the reader in the vicarious position of looking out from under his steel camouflage helmet and walking in his jungle boots bleached white from the searing Southeast Asian sun. "I wanted the person who had never experienced war or the trauma we felt to see what we saw and what sacrifices and heroism our Marines and Navy Corpsmen exhibited."
Kellum will review his books followed by a question and answer period, sale and book signing. Admission to the book event is free. The books are published by Navarro-Hill Publishing Group. The scope of the books can be seen on the website www.michaeldankellum.com.
"I invite anyone wanting to know more about the Vietnam War to come on out. I've reached out to several veterans groups in the East Texas area to attend. I promised Marines living and dead I would not forget them...and writing these books has been my way of honoring that promise to keep their memories alive."