of 10,000 Pains: The Destruction of the 2nd NVA Division by the Marines,
by Zenith Press (www.zenithpress.com)
John Wurm, Zenith Press Marketing Manager – Military/History)
new book, Road of 10,000 Pains: The Destruction of the 2nd
NVA Division by the Marines, 1967 will be available in April.
the operations in the Que Son Valley from April to November 1967 and
operations Union I, Union II, Cochise, Adair, Swift and Essex.
This has been an on and off project of mine for about six years. During
this time I have lived in three states and two foreign countries and
have lost the contact data for some of the Marines and Corpsmen that
If you wish to order them from me, I will autograph and send them
to you for $25 each. This includes the cost to me, including shipping
from the press, the discount price of the book, the padded envelope
and the cost of shipping to you. I
will send you as many copies as you would like. I would like to get
as many of them done at one time as a convenience to me so try to
order as many as you need all at once. If you cannot do so, I will
accommodate late orders into the foreseeable future.
is an excerpt from the book from Operation Swift:
NVA came at Murray’s men in a whirlwind of violence—hard
on the heels of mortars that mushroomed across the knoll throwing
hot, sharp steel in every direction; within the lanes marked by the
tracers of Soviet-made machine guns and small arms that chain-sawed
every bush, sapling and blade of grass to stubble; the NVA soldiers
came by the score, in platoon formation, firing from the hip; they
came in squads, firing and maneuvering their three man fire teams;
they came singly, men orphaned by the Marines’ return fire but
still on their feet and attacking; they came at the Marines in a flood,
like water from a burst dam, flowing around the strong positions,
threatening to carry away the weak and then trying to come together
on the far side; attempting to isolate and surround small clumps of
resistance. They nearly succeeded. Had it not been for the outstanding
courage of the individual Marine and their close air support, the
entire company would most likely have been butchered on the knoll.”
of John Wurm, Zenith Press Marketing Manager – Military/History
look at the lush expanse of Vietnam’s Que Son Valley today,
it is hard to imagine a time when peaceful prosperity didn’t
envelop the region. Covering 273 square miles, the populous, rice-rich
valley serves as an agricultural center for a now thriving nation.
Over four decades prior, however, the area known as “The Valley,”
would serve as host to one of the bloodiest series of battles in modern
at the time, and in the decades to follow, by the iconic battles that
took place at Khe Sahn, Hue City, and Saigon in the early months of
the Tet Offensive, the bloody back-and-forth engagements taking place
in the Que Son Valley from April-November 1967 would prove to be some
of the heaviest and costliest of the entire war. On one side was the
2nd NVA Division, a group of largely veteran soldiers hardened by
years of ferocious combat. On the other, the 1st Marine Division,
the Old Breed, heir to the most glorious history in the entire U.S.
for the first time, the Que Son Valley campaign is covered in comprehensive
and uncompromising fashion. Road of 10,000 Pains, which takes its
title from a translation of The Iliad, is itself an epic oral history
of war. The battles fought within four miles of Route 534 in Vietnam
over seven months in 1967 are described in dramatic interviews with
more than ninety U.S. Marines who were there. The action in the Que
Son Valley was so intense that many of the men on the ground were
unaware of the nearby route that connected these events until now.
from official histories, American and Vietnamese, and from interviews
with over 150 Marines, corpsmen and North Vietnamese Army soldiers,
author Otto Lehrack has compiled a riveting account of men at war.
heroic struggles of those who risked so much at the Que Son Valley
were destined to be lost on the scrap heap of history, but thankfully,
Road of 10,000 Pains makes up for lost time by finally honoring these
men. Here, finally, is the authoritative account of the sacrifices,
hardships, triumphs, and pains of their epic mission in The Valley.
THE AUTHOR: Otto J. Lehrack is a retired Marine, two-tour
Vietnam veteran, and the author of three books and many articles.
He served 24 years in active service as both an officer and enlisted
Marine. He served as commanding officer of India Company, 3rd Battalion,
3rd Marines in his first tour in Vietnam and as Operations Officer
of the 1st Radio Battalion on his second tour. Lehrack has also taught
world history, Russian history and writing at the university level,
been an executive with a Hawaiian sugar plantation and the COO of
a small computer hardware company in Silicon Valley. Two of his books
were Military Book Club main selections, and one of them won the Greene
Prize awarded by the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation. He currently
lives in Flushing, New York.
of 10,000 Pains: The Destruction of the 2nd NVA Division by the Marines,
images below to enlarge)
by Ryan Hooley, Dec. 15, 2010)
Road of 10,000 Pains"
have read it through twice now. I went to Nam at the start of the
operation Union I, and received my 3rd heart, Nov 8th. on Essex. Most
grunts knew nothing about the big picture and our mission, only that
the gooks were building up for Tet. Hell, most of the time we had
no idea where we were until we passed the same place a few days later.
The book enlightened me about what was transpiring incountry and with
other Companies around us. Makes sense 43 years later. I know that
each of us had different experiences even though we were together
in the same fight. Sometimes the book just did not do justice to what
had occurred. It is close enough to bring back memories. In
my eyes, every guy there deserved a medal. I have never met a Marine
who has not run under fire to help a fellow grunt. I knew we were
in some bad stuff, but figured every grunt in Nam had the same happening
to them. Then to find that we lost more guys then anyone, Whew.
I read how many guys were KIA in each fight, it seemed to me,
that we lost a lot more than what was stated. It seemed that everyone
on Swift was wounded. Probably just my imagination. Anyway, it brought
tears to my eyes.~Ryan Hooley, M Co. 3/5
by Frank Jurney, Apr. 27, 2010)
recently read Otto's book "Road of 10,000 Pains." I have
waited a few days to let it soak in -the struggles, complexities,
intensities and memories of our situation are well described by Otto.
The Marines that served in the Que Son got a full dose of the war-the
reconnection given to the individual Marine is well-documented . Putting
together all the pieces in an outline form -the history-the campaign-the
units -the enemy-the individuals--the results were well-depicted in
great depth. We
who served in the Que Son in 1967 now can understand the overall scope
of the operation.There is much praise for the individuals and the
small units that conducted these battles. Their history is now documented
and will be placed with the archives of the 5th Marines.
would also like to praise the leaders I was blessed to have served
with -Captain "Judge" McElroy and Captain JD Murray, without
their dedication, training and great leadership, our situation could
have been much worse. Thank you for your outstanding leadership and
guidance. Thanks Otto for a wonderful job of putting all the pieces
together -great job -great book.
also would like to make a point that helped me to cope and understand
the Vietnam War. The article was written by Jack Smith, son of Howard
K. Smith -TV anchor. Jack was with the Army and was wounded during
the Ia Drang Valley fight, 93% casualties. Jack, as many warriors,
had trouble understanding the war -twenty years ago Jack wrote the
following, "I watched the Berlin Wall come down and as an ABC
News correspondent, I witnessed first hand the collapse of Communism.
I remember thinking, 'My God, containment worked.' We won the Cold
War. However meaningless Vietnam seemed, it contributed to the fall
Nov 66/Dec 67
by Debbe Reynolds, Apr. 26, 2010)
true merit of any writing is the impact it has on those who read it.
In the few weeks since Otto's book on the Que Son battles was published,
I've been privileged to see and hear first hand how Marines who fought
those battles are reacting to the book. Gordy Seablom who served in
M Co. 3/5 with my husband, Brad Reynolds, visited us and they spent
the whole weekend passing Otto's book back and forth, reading paragraphs
out loud, stopping to tell "the rest of story" and many
more incidents that the book brought to their memory. We've had long,
lively phone talks with JR McElroy, Jr., Jack Swan, Howard Haney,
JD Murray, and many more Marines all over the country about their
reactions, many blown away by the amount of research done, but mostly
praise for Otto's work despite some parts they thought needed more
When I read the "The Book," I had a hard time controlling
my emotions, and tears at times, For 30 years, Brad has told me of
the Marines he served with, and the battles they fought, but little
or nothing has been published that really tells the strategic importance
of what the Marines accomplished in the Que Son Valley in 1967. I
didn't realize just how many USMC battalions were involved in these
operations, and the staggering losses to individual companies.
I am honored and proud to know some of the Marines and Corpsmen who
shared their memories with Otto, and many more who survived those
battles and could probably fill a whole other volume with their remembrances.
I believe that Otto has done a great service honoring these warriors
and their fallen friends, not only by his tremendous research, but
by making their combat history come "alive" to the reader.
I know he spent a lot of time with the Marines he interviewed, going
to reunions all over the country to listen and learn, even going to
Vietnam with Marines who showed him where they were during the battles,
reliving it all 40 years later.
also know that Otto's book will have a huge impact on families and
friends of these Marines. When I emailed info about it to my niece,
Anita, this is what she wrote: