Sky Hawk
by Gerit L. Fenenga
Trafford Publishing

"I knew why I was here. In my own small way, I would make the supreme sacrifice, if necessary, to enforce the containment of communism and to provide assistance to a population struggling for independence and self-determination."

Retired colonel of the United States Marine Corps, Gerit L. Fenenga, recounts the days of his deployment in Chu Lai during the Vietnam War. Assigned to the First Marine Aircraft Wing, Fenenga (a major at the time) begins his third overseas tour in his military career. He is a family man, with a wife and two kids, a dog, and a mortgage. He also has a college degree but in the midst of war, this and his rank as a major matters none. Fenenga walks us through the early days of his deployment to Chu Lai (pronounced "Chew Lie") through his preparation and training and progression towards full combat. In just one year, Fenenga witnesses firsthand the complexity and brutality of war that many of us will never understand. But Fenenga knows the importance of his role during this significant war and his personal sacrifice.

Through his own words and voice, Fenenga details the nuances of military life and the experiences of combat. This is not the grand story of a Hollywood version of what happened in Vietnam because here Fenenga gives us the blunt truth of it. He balances moments of mundane day-to-day life in the military camp with instances of humor set against brutal conflicts and near brushes with death that he and his comrades face. His memoir is not just about his experience, but also a way to offer lessons learned and to be remembered. He provides arguments and insight for the necessity of strong foreign policies and a good, quality armed force.

Sky Hawk boasts a beautiful cover of a flying hawk, and its title references the aircraft that Fenenga trained in and flew. While at times heavy with military terminology that lay readers may not readily understand, Fenenga still provides a rare glimpse of life in the armed forces and the machinations of war that is at once arresting and admirable. This is a memoir to be read and respected, not just by lovers of military and world history, but by anyone who can appreciate the sacrifices and importance of freedom.

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