By Tami Jackson – email@example.com
RICHARD BOTKIN SERVED ACTIVE IN THE MARINES FROM 1980 – 1983, THEN 12 YEARS IN THE RESERVES. BOTKIN IS A MARINE’S MARINE AND, WHEN THIS TRUE STORY FELL IN HIS LAP, HE FELT COMPELLED TO MAKE IT HIS MISSION.
In Ride the Thunder, Botkin attempts to give a “30,000 foot view of and a fighting hole view of the war through the experiences of … 3 American Marine officers and … 2 South Vietnamese officers.”
The book, the story, highlights the difference between the North Vietnamese (NVA…the Communists) and the South Vietnamese (RVN) — the RVN were good guys. Incredibly hard-fighting good guys.
Ride the Thunder instructs about the Covan (trusted advisors), the TQLC (RVN Marines) and more, about which the average American is woefully uninformed.
Protagonists in Ride the Thunder include Americans (the late) USMC Col. John Ripley, USMC Col (Ret) Gerry Turley, USMC Capt George Philip, and Vietnamese Marine LtCol Le Ba Binh (“the Chesty Puller of the Vietnamese Marine Corps”) and Vietnamese Marine Nguyen Luong.
Ride the Thunder spans the years of American involvement in the war (1954 – 1975), with special emphasis on American and Vietnamese Marines. A central event in the book is the Easter Offensive, which was much bigger (by about 50%) than the better known Tet Offensive.
Radio talk show host and Botkin friend, Hugh Hewitt, divides the story into: pre-Tet; Tet; Tet to the Easter Offensive; Easter Offensive to collapse; and what happens in Vietnam afterwards.
In the days of the Vietnam War, America was experiencing unprecedented demonstrations against the war, spurred on by mis-reporting by many in media, including the venerable and trusted Walter Cronkite.
Subsequent generations of Americans have been taught that Vietnam was unwinnable, that the US involvement was ignoble, that our military were unheroic in that conflict…all of which are lies and distortions.
Why was Vietnam lost?
Many contributing factors, but 2 were chief among them.
The likes of Cronkite, John Kerry, and Jane Fonda helped form an intensely negative national perception of the war. And the very liberal 93rd Congress passed the Case-Church Amendment (prohibited direct US involvement) and the Foreign Assistance Act of 1974 (prohibited US funding and indirect support), thereby pulled the plug on all US support and funding.
The title of the book, and now the movie, comes from the famous Teddy Roosevelt “Man in the Arena” speech of April 23, 1910.