Reviewed by Paul Johnson for Readers’ Favorite
In the later stages of the American involvement in Vietnam, things have started to change. An Air Force senior NCO (non-commissioned officer) runs a very large black market operation providing goods and supplies to all branches as well as the South Vietnamese Army. Several young airmen, bored with their stateside duty, volunteer for service in Southeast Asia. They are quickly absorbed into The Kansas NCO’s network.
After numerous black market trips in “Indian” country, they are picked for a special assignment and quickly become entangled in a drug operation that sends them outside the wire for several weeks where they end up fighting for their very lives. They soon learn they have been victimized by treachery in their own ranks. But, that’s not their biggest problem. Special Ops soldiers have been informed of their presence and will do everything they can to kill them. As the story unfolds, the men find some unlikely allies, along with some unexpected enemies, as they attempt to safely return to where it all started.
I found The Kansas NCO by Jr. Joe Campolo to be compelling. There were many different sides to the war in Southeast Asia. This is a look at one that is not the normal “grunt,” slugging it out through the jungle and rice paddies. The characters were memorable and well developed and showed the true feelings of those eagerly awaiting “DEROS”. The language was rough in some areas, but this was the way of life for those involved. The plot moved along at a good pace with intrigue, danger, and death along the way. The ending was very nicely done.