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11 True Stories About America’s Military Heroes

Celebrate the American military heroes who answered the call of duty.

Courageous, resilient, and extraordinarily selfless, the men and women who fight for our freedom are America’s greatest heroes. The following military memoirs span decades and document a variety of military campaigns, from the Screaming Eagles’ airborne actions on D-Day and American Special Forces operations in Vietnam, to present-day engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq. Throughout, readers witness the camaraderie and valor of soldiers in combat and the sacrifices they must make in times of war and peace.  

Buy Goodbye Vietnam at Amazon

Goodbye Vietnam

By William Broyles

Texas native William Broyles Jr. was a 24-year-old student at Oxford University when he joined the US marines in 1968. Soon, he found himself commanding an infantry platoon near Da Nang. In this “exceptional and memorable” account (Gay Talese), Broyles returns to the battlefields of Vietnam to sit down with his former enemies of war: the Vietnamese generals and soldiers.

RELATED: 10 Unforgettable Vietnam War Books 

Goodbye Vietnam

By William Broyles

Buy Girl at Sea at Amazon

Girl at Sea

By Joanna Sprtel Walters

Girl at Sea is the powerful autobiography of Joanna Sprtel Walters, a Surface Warfare Officer in the US Navy who broke through gender barriers as one of the first female officers to serve aboard a combatant warship. Walters served on the USS Paul F. Foster and the USS La Moure County during her Naval career, achieving the rank of lieutenant before her retirement. Her memoir charts her rise through the ranks and her battle to thrive in the man’s world of the US Navy.

Girl at Sea

By Joanna Sprtel Walters

Buy Hal Moore at Amazon

Hal Moore

By Mike Guardia

Veteran and military historian Mike Guardia delivers the ultimate biography of American hero Lt. Gen. Harold ("Hal") Moore. Moore stands as one of the most admired American combat leaders of the last 50 years for his service in the Korean War and the Vietnam War, and is the author of the critically acclaimed military memoir We Were Soldiers Once…and Young.

RELATED: 5 Unforgettable Books on the Korean War 

Hal Moore

By Mike Guardia

Buy We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young at Amazon

We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young

By Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway

In this New York Times bestseller, Lt. Gen. Hal Moore joins forces with journalist Joseph L. Galloway to chronicle in vivid detail the battle of Ia Drang in Vietnam. In November 1965, then-Lt. Col. Moore and the 450 soldiers under his command landed in the la Drang valley. They soon found themselves surrounded by some 2,000 North Vietnamese soldiers. As Moore’s vastly outnumbered men fought for survival and eventually drove back the North Vietnamese forces, a sister battalion due north suffered heavy casualties. Together, these clashes were the first major engagements between the US Army and the People’s Army of Vietnam—and set the stage for the years-long conflict to come.

We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young

By Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway

Buy Absolutely American at Amazon

Absolutely American

By David Lipsky

In Absolutely American, Rolling Stone journalist David Lipsky chronicles the daily life of cadets at the US Military Academy at West Point, New York. Beginning in 1998 and spanning four fateful years, Lipsky follows a colorful cast of future soldiers, detailing the joys, struggles, and sacrifice of life on the Long Gray Line.

Absolutely American

By David Lipsky

Buy In Formation at Amazon

In Formation

By Lt. Col. Cheryl Dietrich

Lt. Col. Cheryl Dietrich is one of only a hundred female officers to have achieved the rank of colonel or higher in the US Air Force. In this first-hand account, Lt. Col. Dietrich chronicles her transformation from introverted recruit to a top military commander and key force in redesigning the structure of the Air Force within the Pentagon. Throughout, Lt. Col. Dietrich reveals the challenges she faced and the glass ceilings she broke as a woman rising through the ranks of the military.

In Formation

By Lt. Col. Cheryl Dietrich

Buy We Few at Amazon

We Few

By Nick Brokhausen

Green Beret Nick Brokhausen served in Recon Team Habu, CCN on his second tour to Vietnam in 1970. The American Special Forces squad embarked on a number of perilous reconnaissance missions in the dense, enemy-controlled jungles of Laos and Cambodia. Joining them in the fight were the Montagnards, an oppressed mountain minority group of the Central Highlands of Vietnam trained by US forces and fully engaged in the war. In this gripping account, Brokhausen offers an insider’s look at his fight in Vietnam.

We Few

By Nick Brokhausen

Buy D-Day with the Screaming Eagles at Amazon

D-Day with the Screaming Eagles

By George Koskimaki

George E. Koskimaki was a former paratrooper of the 101st Airborne Division (also known as the Screaming Eagles) who jumped into Normandy on June 6, 1944 as General Maxwell Taylor’s radioman. In this one-of-a-kind volume, Koskimaki collects captivating firsthand accounts of the D-Day invasion from the men who were there, from battery commanders and division command personnel, to surgeons, field medics, chaplains, and the rough and ready airborne troopers.

RELATED: Axis vs. Allies: 10 Riveting World War II Thrillers 

D-Day with the Screaming Eagles

By George Koskimaki

Buy Nightcap at Dawn at Amazon

Nightcap at Dawn

By J. B. Walker

In this “truly extraordinary” collection (Christopher Hitchens), Sgt. J.B. Walker assembles candid emails written by US soldiers fighting in Iraq. The American soldiers behind these messages reflect on the merits and hardships of the counterinsurgency, vividly capturing Iraq’s war-torn city streets, the suffering of Iraqi civilians, and the shared struggles experienced by US forces.

Nightcap at Dawn

By J. B. Walker

Buy Thunder Run at Amazon

Thunder Run

By David Zucchino

Thunder Run documents the 2003 surprise assault on Baghdad by the Second Brigade of the Third Infantry Division, an armored force comprised of three battalions and fewer than 1,000 men. Zucchino, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, captures the battle and the intense fighting experienced by the Second Brigade soldiers, who, after three days of combat, successfully captured Baghdad.

RELATED: 10 Books on Terrorism From Our 16 Years at War 

Thunder Run

By David Zucchino

Buy Unbreakable Bonds at Amazon

Unbreakable Bonds

By Dava Guerin and Kevin Ferris

This heartfelt collection, which includes forewords by President George H.W. Bush and former Maryland congresswoman Connie Morella, shares the inspiring stories of ten Silver Star Mothers who aided in the recovery of their wounded warrior sons and daughters at Walter Reed Hospital. Deeply touching, Unbreakable Bonds celebrates the steadfast courage of the soldiers in recovery, the selfless love of their mothers, and the network of caregivers who assist our servicemen and women.

Unbreakable Bonds

By Dava Guerin and Kevin Ferris

This post is sponsored by Open Road Media. Thank you for supporting our partners, who make it possible for Early Bird Books to continue publishing the book stories you love.

Featured photo: Matthew Huang / Unsplash 

Published on 29 May 2017

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