Jack, I've visited your web-site a few times over the past three months and just finished reading through all the rest of it. It is especially well done and will be an important contact point for anyone involved in or interested in the Battle of Kontum. Thanks for all the time, effort, and money you have put into it.
For the past few years I have been doing a google search for "Kontum" every six months or so just to see if there was anything new. The last time I did it must have been around December last year but your site did not come up then. So I assume from that and the 2002 date on it that it is new this year. Dale Andradé told me about it when he was advising me about some research I was doing at the Center of Military History this past April. Actually, I am well into writing a book about the Battle of Kontum.
That was a really bad tour in Vietnam for me in many ways so until a few years ago I just wanted to forget about it. Dale Andradé interviewed me a couple times and when I got a copy of his Trial By Fire I located Jack Truby, who had been senior advisor to the 23rd Division, and Wade Lovings, who had been advising the 44th Infantry. Over the next couple years I found the letters and tapes I sent home from Vietnam and gradually became more able to deal with the events of spring 1972. In January 1999 my wife and I spent three weeks in Vietnam including Kontum. We followed an itinerary I worked up and had a Vietnamese driver and guide.
I finally decided to write a personal memoir about the Battle of Kontum, mainly for my children and grandchildren. However, as I proceeded I realized that I knew very little except what happened right around me during the battle. I've been writing magazine articles about military history and also genealogy. So I added Kontum to my research plan on research trips wherever it was appropriate. Found your excellent "Combat Power: An Ontological Approach" at the Military History Institute a couple years ago. Somewhere in that process I began to think about turning all that time and effort into a book.
Aside from Jack Truby and Wade Lovings I have not done much interviewing yet. That is partially because I believe I will ask better questions if I have the first draft completed before talking to people. So I'm not quite ready to spread the word that I am writing a book and want people to contact me. Am also concerned that responding to too many emails and starting interviews now might be a diversion that would delay finishing the first draft. Too bad I didn't know about you sooner. Regards,
REFLECTIONS: "Combat Power: An Ontological Approach" is the paper I did at the Naval War College. I wrote it as a "primer" for politicians who I thought needed to understand what combat power is... I sent a copy to President Clinton... Don't laugh - I got a nice letter back.