“Never for Glory,” a work in progress, the sequel to “The Patriot Oath”

Never for Glory is the unfinished sequel of The Patriot Oath. With 25 completed chapters, there are about 10 to 15 left to finish the first draft. The first five chapters have already been presented to two of the four critique groups I belong to. One of the two groups has heard all of The Patriot Oath. The second group hasn’t, and I am getting conflicting constructive criticism from the two groups. One group is suggesting a lot of changes, and the other group familiar with the first novel in the series likes what they’re hearing with little need for massive revisions.

With this post, I’m inviting readers that have read The Patriot Oath to have a look at Never for Glory’s first chapter and, if wiling, to leave comments letting me know what works, what doesn’t. Thank you. If this early preview works, I have another four chapters I’m willing to add to this post later.

Chapter One

After their first HALO jump together in 2002, Josh and Cheéte vanished into the Hindu Kush Mountains, a rugged area covering 160,000 square miles. Their orders had been to search for targets of opportunity, and for weeks they worked alone with little or no support.

Now, in 2019, seventeen years later, they were doing it again. Still, this time their C-130 belonged to The Oath Group, and it was 30,000 feet over Venezuela.

Getting ready for the repeat was like déjà vu all over again. Back then, they were Marine Corps scout snipers serving in Operation Anaconda against al-Qaeda, Taliban insurgents, and members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. That had been their last mission together. Cheéte retired a few months later in 2003.

“I can’t believe my ghillie suit still fits,” Josh said. “It feels the same, hot and heavy. Too bad DARPA wouldn’t let me use that invisible, bulletproof combat suit for this mission. It was perfect last summer for our sortie in Montana.”

Cheéte grunted as he finished squeezing into his old camouflaged ghillie suit. Once he had it on, he looked like an unkempt yeti that needed to lose some weight. “Well, some of us don’t always get what we want. You’ve been out for less than a year so I’m not surprised your suit fits, but I think mine is going to eat me like it’s a starving anaconda.”

They were talking to each other through their helmet’s military-grade communication units.

Josh grinned as he fastened a g-suit around his abdomen and legs, covering most of the camouflaged outfit he wore underneath. Then he manually inflated the g-suit’s five air bladders. The pressure around the muscles would prevent blood from pooling in the feet and legs and push blood pressure up to the heart and brain. The last thing he did was to attach the oxygen mask and tactical goggles.

With a frustrating sigh, huffing, and puffing, Cheéte managed to do the same thing. Once they were on the ground, they’d ditch the gear required for the HALO jump. Their ghillie suits were designed to conceal them from prying eyes.

Like most Marine Corps snipers, they’d made their own unique disguises by hand and, when not in use, stored them in sealed, plastic boxes lined in cotton and kept dry with silica gel packets.

“I’m worried my Christian Crow wife knows about my two other common law wives,” Cheéte said, interrupting Josh’s thoughts.

Josh did a double-take and stared at his old friend. “Whoa! Where the hell did that come from?”

“Well, in case I don’t make it home, I wanted you to know what’s going on in my life. My Christian wife said the only reason for sex is to create children for God. When I said no more kids, she cut me off. There’s no way I’m going without. I refuse to let my demons have an excuse to mess up my nights. What about you?”

“I have nothing to confess to anyone,” Josh replied.

“Ah, … what about Rachel and Mia?”

A green light came on, signaling that it was time to jump. At the same time, the C-130’s ramp started to yawn open, depressurizing the cabin.

Josh stood, ready to go.

“Well?” Cheéte asked.

“I haven’t had sex with anyone since Rachel was shot in San Francisco and is still in the hospital. So, I’m not that desperate.”  Finished, he walked off the aft ramp and dropped from sight, falling 30,000 feet toward the ground.

“Sheesh,” Cheéte hissed. “That’s not what I wanted to hear.” Then he was dropping with his belly pointed toward the ground, his chin lifted up, and his arms and legs spread out for stability.

As Josh fell hard and fast, he thought about Rachel and Mia. He’d lied to Cheéte. He was desperate, explaining why he was losing a lot of sleep. But he disagreed with the crap that sexual frustration was normal. So, shrug and take it in stride.

Bull shit! he thought. He couldn’t remember ever being celibate this long before.

The temptation to keep both of his lovers, as Mia had suggested, was almost overwhelming. But, when he thought about going through with it, he heard Dr. Tate’s voice telling him that would be wrong. Then there was the Christian guilt his mother instilled in him as a child with the Seventh Commandment, “Thou shall not commit adultery.”

He still didn’t understand why his mother started preaching that to him when he was seven. It couldn’t have been because of his crush on Rachel in 2nd grade. He never told anyone about that. There was no way his mother could have known.

To escape the jumble of depressing thoughts stirring up trouble inside his head, he gave himself over to the plunge. Jumping from 30,000 feet felt more like flying than falling. It was windy, loud, and intense. Josh’s senses became wildly alive. That’s why he had an obsession for HALO jumps. The thrill lasted about three times longer than a basic skydiver’s altitude.

With a stable belly-to-earth position, the fastest speed he’d reach was 120 mph. If he wanted to fly faster, he’d shift position so his head was facing the ground and his feet were pointed up. Then he’d drop at 180 mph. Josh had always wondered what it would be like to die like that. Every time he jumped, he’d been tempted to find out.

Checking out of life like that also offered him an easy way to avoid deciding between Rachel and Mia. Because this was a high altitude low open insertion, the main chute was programmed to open automatically at 1,900 feet. If that failed, the reserve chute deployed at 1,000.

The best way to bail out of life would be to use one of his keen-edged combat knives and cut the straps that held the two ‛chutes to his body.  He had about a minute left to make that decision.

Was there a better way to die if you were doing something you loved? He started laughing and thought he sounded possessed.

Still, there was Damian Bran, the man they were hunting. He was the one responsible for Rachel living in a hospital, trapped in a coma. Wasn’t that a good enough reason to hang on?

Bran had been a heartless CIA agent for thirty years who left the agency in 2009. He was also known as the Strawman because of his tall, thin stature. Soon after he retired, he’d joined a white supremacist neo-Nazi militia in Montana and ended up working for a ruthless libertarian billionaire, a match made by Mephistopheles.

Josh had been hunting Bran since Rachel had been shot. His efforts to find the former CIA agent had started by putting the man’s wife under surveillance. There had been no calls or texts in or out. Instead, she hadn’t budged from their home in a remote area of Minnesota and didn’t seem to care if she ever saw her husband again.

After The Oath Group’s successful raid in Northwest Montana on that neo-Nazi training camp, Charles Tweet, the billionaire that financed the militia, revealed it was Bran who introduced him to the profitable sex trade. It turned out that the former field agent had started trafficking children years before he left the agency.

Most of the young sex slaves Bran sold to Tweet had ended up working in massage parlors spread across the United States. But some of the most beautiful had suffered a worse fate. If one of them was unfortunate enough to catch the billionaire’s eye, they were doomed.

His last intended victim had been a seventy-six-pound thirteen-year-old Ukrainian girl. The billionaire had slipped a plastic bag over the child’s head while he was raping her. When Cheéte had burst into the underground room where it was taking place, the girl was being suffocated by Tweet, using a method known as erotic asphyxiation.

Later, during his interrogation, Tweet revealed that Damen Bran had introduced him to that risky erotic method. When the billionaire accidentally murdered his first victim, Bran had shrugged it off and said, “Females were created for two purposes. To give men pleasure, and if they survive, to make babies. Besides, when you’re kidnapping children and selling them for a profit, expect to lose a few. Think of it as collateral damage, a business expense.”

Tweet accepted that justification as gospel and had gone on to murder more than a dozen young girls over the years that followed. Now, the billionaire was in court, fighting to avoid spending the rest of his life in prison. The judge had not approved bail, but his lawyers were claiming the evidence was inadmissible.

The information that pinpointed Bran’s location in Venezuela had come from Mia Belle-Chanson, one of Josh’s best friends and a former lover. To her fans, she was a singer-songwriter and a documentary producer. What her followers didn’t know was what she did away from a studio or stage. Because she’d been kidnapped in Haiti at the age of fourteen to become a sex slave, she now operated a secret network that rescued abducted children all over the world. Josh had met Mia when he and Cheéte had rescued her and several other girls soon after they’d been snatched.

Venezuela was the perfect country for a brute like Bran. After Venezuela’s President, Nicolas Madura’s rise to power in 2013, sex trafficking and child sex tourism had become common, and it was getting worse.

The intel from Mia’s rescue organization reported that Bran was living on an isolated cattle ranch located in Venezuela’s savanna southwest of the Rio Apure River.

Having second thoughts about dying, Josh checked his altimeter to determine how much time he had left to decide one way or the other.

AMAZON US

Good News Twice in One Day

Early this morning—before I went out to work on the patio-fence with more than one gate project that I’m building from scratch—I checked my e-mail and discovered that my suspense-thriller, Running with the Enemy, had been awarded an Honorable Mention in General Fiction at the 2103 New York Book Festival.

A good way to start the day.

Fast forward several hours—I finished working on the project about 3:00 pm, took a shower, and then logged-on to check my e-mail only to discover that Running with the Enemy had been named Runner Up (2nd Place) in General Fiction at the 2013 Beach Book Festival.

A good way to end the day.

In twelve days on June 22, the 2013 New York Book Festival will be held at the Radisson Martinique on Broadway in New York City’s Midtown Manhattan—just steps from the Empire State Building.

When Running with the Enemy picked up its first honorable mention at the 2013 San Francisco Book Festival, I attended the free seminars and the private award ceremony, but I’m not planning on buying a ticket to fly to New York at this late date. With the lowest nightly rate for the Radisson at $385.00 and flights to New York from San Francisco costing $583 – $2,072 (depending on the airline you book a flight with), I’m staying home. The grand prize winner wins $1,500, but an honorable mention and a runner-up do not come with a cash prize.

However, if you live near New York and you are a writer, poet, author and/or an avid reader, you may want to take advantage of the free seminars. The San Francisco event was well worth my time, and I’m planning on going next year. The price of a BART ticket to ride into San Francisco from where we live is about $10 round trip.

NEW YORK BOOK FESTIVAL DAY SCHEDULE
– this event is free –

  • 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. The Art of Marketing and Promotion – An examination of what it takes to get your book noticed in a crowded marketplace. 
  • 1:00 p.m.-2:10 p.m. Writing About Your Life – “Write what you know” is one of the most debated axioms of an author’s life. A panel that drew on their experiences and career paths discusses what it takes to put it all down in book form.
  • 2:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Children’s Books in a Modern Age – Authors/publishers of award-winning books from the San Francisco Book Festival talk about their books and the market.
    Panelists: 
  • 3:40 p.m.-4:00 p.m. Dr. Neal Hall – the poetry winner of the San Francisco/New York/New England/Paris and Los Angeles festivals reads from his work and answers questions.
  • 4:10 p.m.-4:45 p.m. The Future of Books – The rise of eBooks, the shrinking retail scene, the consolidation of big publishing and the explosion of the online world. A discussion on where everything appears to be heading and how you can leverage these developments.
  • 4:45 to 5 p.m. A Conversation with the New York Book Festival grand prize winner

The grand-prize winner of the 2013 New York Book Festival was Searching for Zion: The Quest for Home in the African Diaspora by Emily Raboteau (Atlantic Monthly Press). The Rainbow Troops by Andrea Hirata was the winner of the general-fiction category and it was first published in Indonesia in 2005 selling more than five-million copies. The English translation of Hirata’s novel was published by Sarah Crichton Books (February 5, 2013)

The grand-prize winner of the 2013 Beach Book Festival was Inside Linda Lovelace’s Deep Throat by Darin Porter published by Blood Moon Productions, March 12, 2013. The winner of the general-fiction category was Rosi’s Time by Edward Eaton, published by Dragonfly Publishing.

The private-award ceremony will be held June 21 at the Grolier Club in Manhattan.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

2013 San Francisco Book Festival Award Winners

Running with the Enemy by Lloyd Lofthouse was awarded an honorable mention in general fiction at the 2013 San Francisco Book Festival.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00034]

 

The winner of the general fiction category went to John Irving’s In One Person published by Simon & Schuster, and the grand prize was awarded to The Power of Starting Something Stupid: How to Crush Fear, Make Dreams Happen & Live Without Regret by Richie Norton with Natalie Norton — Shadow Mountain Publishing.

John Irving won the National Book Award in 1980 for The World According to Garp, and he received an O. Henry Award in 1981 for the short story “Interior Space. In 2000, he won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules.

Richard Norton, the grand prize winner of the 2013 San Francisco Book Festival, is the CEO of Global Consulting Circle. He is a sought after speaker and consultant for the corporate growth and personal development industries. Norton has shared the stage with bestselling authors such as Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and Kevin Rollins, former CEO of Dell Computers.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning My Splendid Concubine and Running with the Enemy. His short story, A Night at the ‘Well of Purity’ was named a finalist in the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. Anchee Min, Lloyd’s wife, is the author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year—in addition to national bestsellers Becoming Madame Mao and Empress Orchid, which was a finalist for the British Book Awards. Min’s memoir, the sequel to Red AzaleaThe Cooked Seed—will be released May 7, 2013.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
is the award winning author of
My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition].

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW

Friendly fire thanks to dead batteries

In 1966, we arrived in Vietnam with PRC-10 field radios that we carried on our backs. The batteries were so old, we often carried several that had never been used for back ups when we went on patrols, ambushes, recons and field operations.

The idea was that if one battery was dead, maybe one of the spares worked.

On one night patrol, all three batteries failed and that almost got us killed. I was a field radio operator so I carried the radio and was responsible to call for supporting fire, an extraction for wounded, artillery support, etc.

This patrol went out in the dark and we came back several hours later right before dawn.  Because our hill had been hit every night for weeks, we were all nervous and on high alert.  The Vietcong would hit and run—fire a rocket, a few sniper rounds, a shoulder fired rocket, or toss a grenade inside the wire and then melt away. One Marine had his head torn off from a rocket that was fired through a bunker’s firing slot. The other Marines in that bunker survived but they watched their buddy get beheaded when the rocket hit him in the face but didn’t explode.

As the radio operator, it was my job to make the last call just before we returned from the night patrol and let them know we were on our way in so they wouldn’t shoot at us.

But when all three of the batteries were dead, there was no way to call in. We had to go in cold.

The sergeant in charge said we couldn’t make a sound, because we had to get close enough to the wire so his voice could be heard.


PRC-10

There was a spring on the other side of the wire that fed a creek and we walked in that creek careful to make not one sound.  Then one Marine tripped and as he hit the ground made a loud clattering noise. A heart beat later, we were all sucking that creak water.

Without hesitation, the bunkers on the other side of the wire inside our base camp opened fire on us with fifty calibers. We lay in that stream as the tracers shot inches above our heads. The sergeant shouted “cease fire”.

“How do we know it’s really you and not a trick,” the reply came. “Why didn’t you use the radio?”

“The batteries are all dead,” I called. “Call the communication bunker and ask for the name of the radio operator who was assigned to this patrol. How would the gooks know that?”

“And what is your name?”

I called it out and a few minutes later we were given the okay to stand up and walk one-by-one inside the wire.

The PRC-10 was first used in 1951 during the Korean War. The AN/PRC 25 replaced it in 1962, but the Marines were usually the last to get new equipment. We had no idea how old those batteries were but we were eating C-rations that were stamped 1945 so I think those batteries were probably from the early 1950s and had been in storage for almost fifteen years. Before I was rotated out of Vietnam in December 1966, the PRC-10 was replaced with the 25 that was several pounds lighter and had much newer batteries.

Discover Vietnam Rations and Nutrition Today

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
is the award winning author of
My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition].

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Missing John Wayne

I was not there when John Wayne dropped by the Battalion CP of the 1st Marine Division’s Tank Battalion in 1966 at Chu Lai, Vietnam. Instead, I was in the field. I don’t remember what I was doing in the field. I was on a night patrol, a recon, an ambush or a field operation but I wasn’t there.

I was in the field getting shot at—a walking target with a radio on my back or driving a radio jeep with no armor.  The jeep I drove in Vietnam was more than twenty years old and had a canvas top with open sides (no doors). Today, it would be unthinkable to send our troops into combat in one of those.

I was told Wayne drove in by himself in a 1945 Willys Jeep and walked around talking to Marines, drank a few warm beers with enlisted men then ate with the officers in their mess tent.

Years later, I wondered if Wayne really visited US troops in Vietnam and discovered, thanks to Google, that he did.

 “Once again, John Wayne found himself in the midst of a heated political controversy. It started in June 1966, when Wayne visited Vietnam to cheer American troops on the front and wounded soldiers in hospitals. The mission of the tour was twofold: It was a good-will trip, and at the same time provided him the opportunity to gather first-hand material for a film.

“It is unclear whether the idea to make a film on Vietnam originated before or during the trip. Before he left for the three-week tour, sponsored by the Department of Defense, Wayne said he was “going around the hinterlands to give the boys something to break the monotony.” “I can’t sing or dance,” he said, but “I can sure shake a lot of hands.” Source: Emanuel Levy Cinema 24/7

If anyone instilled a sense of patriotism in me for the US (not its political leaders), it was growing up watching John Wayne movies.

As a child, I knew nothing of politics but too much, thanks to my mother, of God and the Bible.

My father didn’t believe in God, didn’t vote and didn’t belong to any political party. He deeply distrusted politicians and said they were all liars and couldn’t be trusted. Today, I suspect that what he believed came from having survived the Great Depression (1929 to mid 1940s). At fourteen, he dropped out of school to find a job to survive. He would work for forty-six years before he retired on a union pension.

It doesn’t matter if I agree with Wayne’s conservative, hawkish, right-wing politics, because his screen image did more to instill my sense of patriotism than anything else did. In fact, he may have agreed with my father’s political beliefs.

Wayne’s attitude toward politics was at best ambivalent, considering it a necessary evil. “I hate politics and most politicians,” he repeatedly declared, and “I am not a political figure.” At the same time, he conceded that, “When things get rough and people are saying things that aren’t true, I sometimes open my mouth and eventually get in trouble.”

“About the only thing you have to guide you,” he said, “is your conscience.” One should not let “social groups or petty ambitions or political parties or any institution tempt you to sacrifice your moral standards,” but he conceded that, “It takes a long time to develop a philosophy that enables you to do that.” Integrity and self-respect were his most cherished values, “If you lose your self-respect, you’ve lost everything.” Source: Emanuel Levy Cinema 24/7

 

Good for Wayne. I respect him for being true to what he believed and standing up for it. To this day, I wished I’d been there at my base camp in 1966 the day he drove in to visit the troops, so I could shake his hand and listen to what he had to say.  Two years later, his movie, Green Berets, came out the same year as the Tet Offensive—considered by many to be the turning point in the war that led to the defeat of US goals.

What does patriotism mean to you?

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

The Blood Price – Part 4/4

Granted, World Wars I and II, and the Korean Conflict were unavoidable, and it could be argued that the War in Afghanistan was justified. However, we did not need to send American troops to Vietnam or Iraq and both of these wars were based on lies.

One reason for these needless wars may be linked to corporate profits while keeping unemployment down.

The Great Depression originated in the U.S. and had its start around September 4, 1929 and became worldwide news with the stock market crash of October 29, 1929 (known as Black Tuesday).

The Great Depression devastated countries around the globe. In the United States, industrial production dropped by 46%; foreign trade dropped 70% and unemployment reached 25%—in some countries it was as high as 33%.

The wartime economic boom during World War II caused a dramatic increase in employment, which paralleled the expansion of industrial production. In 1944, unemployment dipped to 1.2 percent of the civilian labor force, a record low in American economic history.

In 1954, after the Korean Conflict unemployment in the United States went up to about 6%. Then the economy turned down in the summer of 1957 and reached a low point in the spring of 1958. Industrial production fell 14%, corporate profits dropped 25% and unemployment reached 7.5%

The US needed another war to stimulate the economy. The US had already unofficially been in Vietnam since 1953 and in 1964 the war became official with the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.

In 1960, unemployment in the US was 6.1%, but by 1964, unemployment dropped to 4.8% and then 3.4% by 1968. However, a year after the Vietnam War, unemployment was up again to 7.2%—a 212% increase since 1968.

It is now obvious that war is another option to keep Americans employed. Since the end of the Korean Conflict in 1953, the United States has been involved in thirty-two wars/conflicts. Source: List of wars involving the United States

I started to add up all the months and years US troops have been fighting somewhere in the world since 1953 and gave up—just Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan (three of the thirty-two conflicts) add up to more than forty years of combat.

In fact, before World War II, the allocation of resources to military purposes was typically no more than 1 percent of GNP, except during actual warfare, which occurred infrequently. Wartime and peacetime were distinct, and during peacetime—that is, almost all the time—the societal opportunity cost of “guns” was nearly nil.

However, following the Korean Conflict, military purchases reached an unprecedented level for “peacetime” and, despite some fluctuations, remained at or above this elevated level permanently. During 1948-86, military purchases cumulated to $6.316 Trillion, averaging about $162 billion per year, or 7.6 percent of GNP. Source: Cato Institute

In conclusion, after the Korean Conflict, the US capitalist consumer economy added war to its financial formula, and the price has been decades of spilled blood all over the world. The last question is, “Who benefits the most?”

Return to The The Blood Price – Part 3 or start with Part 1

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

The Blood Price – Part 3/4

The excuse for the wars in Southeast Asia was to protect Western democracy from the possible spread of Communism. To do this, the United States dropped over 7 million tons of bombs in Vietnam. In Laos, the US dropped 270 million cluster bombs and more than 20,000 Laotians have been killed by these bombs since the war.

In Cambodia, the US dropped 2.75 million tons of bombs.

For a comparison, in World War II a total of just over 2 million tons of bombs were dropped.

The Vietnam War lasted 19 years, 5 months, 4 weeks and 1 day. The number of military dead numbered in the millions. There is no way to count the number of civilian dead.

It is estimated that in Vietnam 411,000 – 2,000,000 civilians were killed; 20,000 – 200,000 in Laos, and 200,000 – 300,000 in Cambodia.


The United States is a peace loving nation!

What about government and religion in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia?

Vietnam has a Communist government. According to the CIA Factbook, 80.8% of the population belongs to no religion; 9.3% are Buddhists and 6.7% are Catholic (that’s almost seven times the ratio of Christians in Japan and we won that war).

In addition, Laos is still a Communist state. The predominant religion is Theravada Buddhism (67%). Animism is common among the mountain tribes. Buddhism and spirit worship coexist easily. There also are small numbers of Christians and Muslims—only 1.5% of the population is Christian.

Cambodia, however, is a multiparty democracy under a constitutional monarchy. It is no longer a Communist/Socialist state, and 96.4% of its population is Buddhist while 2.1% is Muslim. Despite the French colonization in the 19th century, Christianity made little impact in the country. There are around 20,000 Catholics in Cambodia which represents 0.15% of the total population and less than 2,000 Protestants.

If we use the result of America’s wars in Southeast Asia as an example of what is to come, what will the Middle East look like fifty years after the war in Afghanistan ends?

Continued on August 4, 2012 in The Blood Price – Part 4 or return to Part 2

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

The Blood Price – Part 2/4

For the United States to defeat Japan, the Japanese suffered tremendous loss of life. Before the two atomic bombs were dropped that ended the war in the Pacific, Osaka was hit hard suffering more than 10,000 civilian casualties in March, June, July and August 1945.

Total dead on both sides of World War II is estimated to be more than 73 million. The majority of deaths took place in the Soviet Union and China (about 85%). Japan lost more than two million troops and 500,000 – 1,000,000 civilians.

In comparison, the United States only lost 1,700 civilians.

The result today: The government of Japan is a constitutional monarchy where the power of the Emperor is limited, a ceremonial figurehead—a symbol of the state and the unity of the people. Power is held mostly by the Prime Minister of Japan and other elected members of the Diet (Japan’s parliament).  The Diet is made up of two legislative houses.

How about religion in Japan? Shinto (practiced by 83% of the population) and Buddhism (92 million Japanese identify themselves as Buddhists) are Japan’s two major religions. The Muslim population is about 115,000 – 125,000 and there are about 5,000 Hindus in the country along with 2,000 Jews.

About one to two million Japanese are Christians (1% of Japan’s population) and many live in Western Japan where Christian missionaries were active during the 16th century.

Then there is Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos where the United States failed to achieve its goals—maybe!

Continued on August 3, 2012 in The Blood Price – Part 3 or return to Part 1

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

The Blood Price – Part 1/4

This series of posts was inspired by Eric Pfeiffer, writing for Yahoo News, who reported, Air Force officer creates database of every U.S. bomb dropped since World War I. My goal is to make a point, which I will do in Part 4.

The project Pfeiffer writes about is called THOR: Theater History of Operations Reports. The officer compiling this database of every bomb dropped by the United States is Lieutenant Colonel Jenns Robertson.

In World War I, the US came late to the carnage. The war started in July 1914 and ended November 1918. The number of troops involved was huge. The Allied Powers, which included the United States starting in 1917, had almost 43 million troops while the Central Powers—Germany, Austria-Hungry, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria—had more than 25 million.

Almost ten million troops were killed and more than twenty million wounded.

After the War, Germany was left to rot and that led to the rise of Hitler’s Nazi Party and World War II.

However, after World War II, the US stationed troops in Germany and Japan, and almost seventy years later, the US military is still there.

What did that achieve? Germany is a democratic, parliamentary republic known as the Federal Republic of Germany. It is not a clone of the United States political system. In fact, Germany’s legal system is being used as a model to build China’s modern legal system.

The Germans practice a number of religions: Christianity is the largest with more than 48 million adherents (divided between Protestants and Roman Catholic). Almost 4% are Muslim (2.3%, are of Turkish origin and less than a third have German citizenship). There are 166,000 Jehovah Witnesses and more than 37,000 Mormons. Two-hundred thousand Jews still live in Germany, but before the Nazi’s there were about 600,000.

How about Japan?

Continued on August 2, 2012 in The Blood Price – Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

From Memoir to Novel – the metamorphosis of a manuscript about war as hell – Part 3/3

According to Vietnam: Looking Back at the Facts: “About 5,000 men assigned to Vietnam deserted and just 249 of those deserted while in Vietnam.”

Then there were crimes other than rape. Near the end of my 1996 combat tour, the armorer of our gun company was caught selling weapons on the black market in Vietnam—weapons that ended in the hands of the Viet Cong soldiers that ambushed a Marine patrol—The Marines won that fight, and that’s how they discovered the weapons that led back to our armorer.

The armorer was sentenced twenty years to life in a federal prison.

“Fragging” and “Combat Refusals” in Vietnam were not unknown and some of these incidents have been documented. I recall one fragging in my unit. A lieutenant, considered an asshole by many, was taking his shower at night when his quarters were fragged. He survived because he wasn’t in the tent. The next day, he was a different person—a reformed asshole turned nice guy.

The question of crimes such as ‘fragging’, ‘combat refusals’, desertion and AWOL within the Vietnam conflict is one which brings emotions to the fore. Many veterans deny that ‘fragging’ or ‘combat refusals’ occurred, whilst others feel desertion and AWOL was merely a means of resisting what was felt to be an unjust and illegal conflict.” Source: http://home.mweb.co.za/re/redcap/vietcrim.htm

Then there is the CIA’s role in moving drugs from the Golden Triangle to America where they were sold to fund illegal operations that the US Congress did not approve. To this day, the CIA denies doing this.

However, “The KMT exported their opium harvests usually by mule train across the mountains or by unmarked American C-47 transportation planes to Thailand for processing. Some was flown on to Taiwan. In 1950 the CIA purchased bankrupt Civil Air Transport (CAT) for $950,000 and used their fleet of planes to run weapons to KMT General Li Mi in Shan province, and the planes returned to Bangkok filled with opium.” Source: Dark Politricks.com

In addition, “Bob Kirkconnell, a retired Air Force chief master sergeant spent 27 years on active duty, and was involved in an investigation of heroin smuggling into the US using killed-in-action human remains out of Vietnam.” Source: http://www.wanttoknow.info/militarysmuggledheroin

For more information on drug smuggled into the US during the Vietnam War, I recommend reading The Cadaver Connection from History Net.

Then there was the Marine I met on the flight to Hong Kong from Vietnam. He asked me to share a hotel room with him—to double up because he was on his third tour in the combat zone (I was into my fifth month by then), and he had to have a white, round-eyed face wake him in the morning before any strange Asian, almond shaped eyed face (like the women or men that cleaned the hotel rooms in Hong Kong), came into the room while he was sleeping.

Note: the French left Vietnam in 1956, which is when the US sent advisers into Vietnam to start working with and training the South Vietnamese military. The National Liberation Front, known by us as the Viet Cong, wouldn’t be formed until 1960. The U.S. started using Agent Orange in 1962 and the Declaration of War by Congress would not become official until 1964.

The first time I crossed from my bed to his and shook his shoulder, he quickly rolled over, pulled a Colt forty-five from under his pillow, and centered the barrel between my eyes as he clicked off the safety.  He blinked to clear his vision and stared at me before he lowered the weapon.

He had a Chinese girlfriend in Hong Kong, and they had a child together.

After that first morning in Hong Kong, I didn’t see him for a while since he was staying with his Chinese girlfriend and child—that is until she got angry with him and threw him out.

At the time, no one had put a clinical, psychological name on PTSD and it wasn’t officially studied.  That wouldn’t happen for more than twenty years.  What’s ironic is that I now sleep with a .38 caliber loaded with hollow points and the first thing I do when I wake up each morning is to listen for any out of the ordinary sounds in the house before I get up and sweep the house to see if any of the windows and/or doors have been forced.  Once I’m satisfied the house is secure, I store my weapon in a safe place—not for me but for my family.

When my novel was completed to Miller’s satisfaction, she contacted a reputable agent to represent it. Several of the writers in the workshop were published thanks to Miller’s support. However, the agent for my work, which was originally called “Better a Dead Hero“, could not sell it. The publishers responded that the Vietnam War as a topic was not selling and they were not interested.  That was in the late 1980s.

The manuscript that is now  “Running With the Enemy” sat gathering dust for more than twenty-two years before I found it on a shelf in the garage, renamed it  and ran it through several edits and revisions. I expect the novel will be released in the next few months hopefully before the end of September 2012.

Return to From Memoir to Novel – the metamorphosis of a manuscript about war as hell – Part 2 or start with  Part 1

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”