The Proud Bastards:
One Marine's Journey from Parris Island through the Hell of Vietnam
by E. Michael Helms
My rating: 5 stars
Publication Date: February 20, 2004
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Historical Memoir
Print Length: 288 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
In 1967, a young E.
Michael Helms boarded a bus to the legendary grounds of Parris Island,
where mere boys were forged into hardened Marines -- and sent to the
jungles of Vietnam. It was the first stop on a journey that would
forever change him -- and by its end, he would be awarded the Purple
Heart Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit
Citation, and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry.
From the brutality
and endurance-straining ordeals of boot camp to the endless horror of
combat, Helms paints a vivid, unflinchingly realistic depiction of the
lives of Marines in training and under fire. As powerful and compelling a
battlefield memoir as any ever written, Helms's "grunt's-eye" view of
the Vietnam War, the men who fought it, and the mindless chaos that
surrounded it, is truly a modern military classic.
The Proud Bastards by E. Michael Helms
It takes courage to enlist knowing you will be dumped into one of the ugliest and most controversial wars of recent history, Vietnam. To bare your soul and write about the horrors, nightmares and fear endured while trying to maintain your humanity and come home alive, well, that goes beyond any courage I could ever possess. E. Michael Helms has given this reader an eye-opening experience into the hell he lived in from Boot Camp to Vietnam and he does it with dignity, grace and stark honesty. Proud Bastards is Mr. Helms’ journey, the good, the bad and the ugly, told as only one who lived through the assault on his senses, his person and his heart as he struggled to survive intact, emotionally, mentally and physically. Watching comrades fall, dealing with the brutality of an extreme foreign climate, smelling death and suffering all around, Mr. Helms brings each page to life with his words until, from the safety of your arm chair, one feels they are there beside him every step of the way, from the young man naïve to war, to life as a fighting marine whose heart and mind are forever filled with people, places and events that are a huge part of the history he lived.
E. Michael Helms knows how to tell a story from the heart, pulling no punches, while riveting his audience to every single word he writes as his tale honors all of those who have stepped onto a battlefield knowing they may never leave. Mr. Helms makes his personal journey, our journey, I laughed, I cried and my heart raced as I hung on every word. Despite one’s personal feelings about war, there is no way to ignore the strength and courage of the individuals who stood tall and dug deep when needed. That is how powerful E. Michael Helms’ writing is. Well Done!