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Bill Lindsay

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Bill Lindsay was born and raised in Connecticut. The town where he grew up was a small, mostly rural town typical of New England. He entered the Marine Corps through the Platoon Leaders Corps in 1967, while still in college. Bill was commissioned a second lieutenant in the summer of 1969, and after completion of the USMC Basis School in Quantico, Virginia, and Reconnaissance Replacement Training in San Diego, he was sent to Vietnam in January, 1970.

After discharge from the Marine, Bill began a 44 year career in the insurance and employee benefit industry. Notable in his career were his successful experiences as a leader in insurance and health care reform efforts.

Bill and his wife, Carlene, reside in Denver, Colorado.

POP SMOKE Cover
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR

POP SMOKE

BY Bill Lindsay • POSTED ON Dec. 11, 2020

A veteran’s debut memoir focuses on his grueling Vietnam tour as a Marine platoon commander.

Lindsay, right out of officer training, landed in Vietnam in 1970. As a second lieutenant, he became a platoon commander stationed in Da Nang. Much of the author’s book follows his time fighting in the field. He led soldiers on a number of dangerous missions against the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese army. Lindsay quickly learned the enemy wasn’t “a bunch of rice farmers” lacking skills, as some people claimed. The VC and NVA proved resourceful, using American claymore mines against United States soldiers and salvaging unexploded bombs after American raids. As with any good leader, Lindsay’s chief concern was ensuring his soldiers made it out alive. But it wasn’t only gunshots and tossed grenades that were a constant threat. The platoon also faced Vietnam’s relentless heat and occasionally lethal wildlife, like large pythons or highly venomous bamboo vipers. Nevertheless, the soldiers, despite injuries, days without showers, and families waiting at home, continued to fight. In his memoir, which features historical photographs, the author’s writing is modest but concise: “As patrols moved out from the perimeter, they noticed signs of the enemy: campfire sites, some bowls and half-eaten meals, and assorted equipment that was left behind. Obviously, they had withdrawn in a hurry. But where did they go?” Myriad descriptions of combat are nerve-wracking; since the platoon moved as quietly as possible, descriptions of sudden enemy attacks are all the more shocking. Readers will surely care about the soldiers as Lindsay unquestionably did; he mourned deaths and, at one point, searched for a Marine lost during a mission. The author never overtly supports or criticizes the Vietnam War, instead concentrating on the various perils, from illnesses to friendly fire. But while he praises the VC’s and NVA’s effective tactics, he often refers to the soldiers by a racial epithet, and not just in dialogue, which some readers will find off-putting.

A gritty, if uneven, wartime account.

Pub Date: Dec. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64111-974-0

Page count: 222pp

Publisher: Palmetto Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021