I was born Michael Gorden Berski in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. I was adopted Michael Gordon Rosendahl in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The adoption was due to the death of a mother and the disappearance of a father. One girl and two boys share my DNA. Amy lives in Jacksonville, Florida. Steven resides in Houston, Texas and Tony is in his eighth year in the United States Marine Corps. Tony became a Marine while fighting house to house in the streets of Fallujah, SEMPER FIDELIS. I am now recently retired and live with my wife Lily within the boundaries known as the city of Kissimmee, Florida.
Graduating from Missouri Military Academy in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and sixty five, the first decision I would make, within my first exposure to the world, would be a mistake. I would decide to forgo college for the adventures of war. Then I would quickly learn that within war there is no adventure! This decision would produce images and thoughts that would dwell within my mind, every day, for the remainder of my life. For in my nineteenth year I would become a professional killer and I would kill a large number of people with great precision and little remorse.
I would arrive in Vietnam in December 1965 and depart in January 1967 thus the year 1966 was life altering. Fate would deal me a remarkable hand. For within this year I was assigned to the elite of the elite. The reader should know that I was not qualified for such a task. But Recon Marines were being killed faster than trained volunteers could be found. I would live through this incredible experience only because of the skill and professionalism of the Marines that accompanied me into the jungle. This book is our story. It is a story of the joys of life and the sadness of death. This story travels from the exhilaration of survival to the despair of defeat. Within this story is a degree of camaraderie that only the damned can share.
The darkened meandering maze we call the Vietnam War split my beloved country in two. It is for this reason that I make an effort to write about the how’s and why’s. For only through knowledge can we learn. There are 58,153 names carved into the sacred wall of granite and 2,503 reported as missing in action. It is for them, my comrades, that I have pushed this pen. Also, you must know one basic fact: I will take to my grave an immense amount of pride in the realization that I was once and will always be “a combat veteran of the United States Marine Corps.”
Please note that the photographs are a gift from the participants.