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Unveiling the True Stories of Vietnam: An Interview with Doyle Glass, Author of “Swift Sword”

In the world of historical literature, few books capture the raw reality of war like “Swift Sword: The True Story of the Marines of Mike 3/5 in Vietnam.” This powerful narrative, written by Doyle Glass, offers a gripping account of the harrowing experiences of the Marines during the Vietnam War. We had the privilege to sit down with Doyle Glass, a bestselling author and passionate storyteller, to delve into the inspiration, research, and emotional journey behind his remarkable book.

Q: What inspired you to write “Swift Sword” and focus on the Marines of Mike 3/5 during the Vietnam War?

The inspiration for “Swift Sword” came from a deep sense of respect and gratitude for the veterans who served in Vietnam. I wanted to honor their sacrifices and ensure their stories were told accurately and compassionately. The bravery and camaraderie of the Marines of Mike 3/5, particularly during Operation Swift, were compelling narratives that deserved to be shared with the world.

Q: Could you elaborate on the research process for “Swift Sword”? How did you gather and verify the information from veterans and other sources?

The research process involved a combination of personal interviews, reviewing after-action reports, and reading numerous accounts of the battles in the Quế Sơn Valley. I conducted forty-nine personal interviews with Marine veterans, spoke with their friends and families, and even visited Vietnam to gain a deeper understanding of the terrain and context. Verifying the information was a meticulous process, as I cross-referenced the veterans’ accounts with official reports and other historical documents to ensure accuracy.

Q: You mentioned conducting forty-nine personal interviews with Marine veterans. What was the most challenging part of these interviews?

The most challenging part was reliving the traumatic experiences with the veterans. Many of them had not spoken about the war in decades, and revisiting those memories was emotionally taxing for them and for me as well. It required a great deal of sensitivity and empathy to navigate these conversations, ensuring that the veterans felt comfortable and respected throughout the process.

Q: As someone who did not serve in the military, what drove your passion for telling the stories of these Marines?

Although I did not serve, I have always had a profound respect for those who did. The sacrifices made by the Marines and other service members have afforded us the freedoms we enjoy today. I felt a personal obligation to honor their service by telling their stories with the utmost respect and accuracy. This passion was fueled by a desire to give a voice to those who might otherwise remain unheard.

Q: How did your personal experiences and background influence your approach to writing this book?

My background in storytelling and my personal experiences of loss and resilience played a significant role in shaping my approach to writing “Swift Sword.” Having faced personal tragedy during the book’s creation, I was able to connect on a deeper level with the themes of sacrifice, courage, and endurance. This perspective allowed me to approach the narrative with a sense of empathy and authenticity.

Q: “Swift Sword” delves into the harrowing experiences of combat. How did you manage the emotional weight of these stories during your writing process?

Managing the emotional weight was indeed challenging. I often found myself deeply moved by the stories of the veterans. To cope, I relied on a strong support system, including my family and colleagues. Taking breaks and allowing myself time to process the emotions also helped. Ultimately, I was driven by the responsibility to honor the veterans’ experiences, which kept me focused and motivated.

Q: You’ve mentioned struggling with perfectionism in the book’s creation. Can you share more about the challenges you faced in ensuring the book accurately portrayed the events and emotions of the battle?

Perfectionism was a significant challenge because I wanted to ensure that every detail was accurate and every emotion was authentically conveyed. Balancing factual accuracy with emotional storytelling required meticulous attention to detail and constant cross-referencing of sources. The veterans’ memories sometimes differed, so I had to piece together the most coherent and truthful narrative possible, while staying true to their individual experiences.

Q: One of your goals was to let the veterans tell their own stories. How did you achieve this in your writing, and why was it important to you?

Allowing the veterans to tell their own stories was achieved by using extensive quotes and first-person accounts throughout the book. Their voices brought authenticity and depth to the narrative that I, as an outsider, could never fully capture on my own. It was important to me because their firsthand experiences are the heart of the story, and it was essential to honor their perspectives and memories.

Q: What was the most impactful or memorable story shared by a veteran that you included in the book?

One of the most impactful stories was from Retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel JD Murray, who shared his experiences of disassociating from the horrors of war to lead his men effectively. His insights into the emotional toll of command and the strategies he used to cope with the constant threat of death were profoundly moving and offered a unique perspective on the psychological challenges faced by combat leaders.

Q: “Swift Sword” has been described as an unqualified success. How has the reception of the book been among veterans and the general public?

The reception has been overwhelmingly positive. Veterans have expressed their gratitude for accurately capturing their experiences, and many have found the book to be a source of healing and validation. The general public has also responded well, appreciating the in-depth look at the realities of combat and the personal stories of bravery and sacrifice. It has been incredibly fulfilling to see the impact the book has had on readers.

Q: Have any veterans or their families reached out to you with feedback after reading the book?

Yes, I have received numerous messages from veterans and their families. Many veterans have shared how the book helped them process their own experiences and feel a sense of camaraderie with their fellow Marines. Families have expressed their gratitude for providing a deeper understanding of what their loved ones went through. These responses have been incredibly rewarding and affirming.

Q: You mentioned facing personal tragedy during the writing of “Swift Sword” with your wife’s battle with cancer. How did you find the strength to continue your work on the book during such a difficult time?

It was an incredibly challenging time, but my commitment to honoring the veterans’ stories kept me going. My faith in God, and the support of my family and friends were invaluable, providing the emotional strength I needed to persevere. Writing the book also became a form of therapy, allowing me to channel my grief and focus on a project that held great meaning and purpose.

Q: How has this experience shaped your perspective on life and storytelling?
This experience has reinforced the importance of resilience, empathy, and the power of storytelling. It has taught me that through adversity, we can find strength and purpose. Storytelling has the power to connect us, heal us, and preserve the legacies of those who have gone before us. It has deepened my appreciation for the stories of others and the impact they can have on our lives.

Q: What do you hope readers take away from “Swift Sword” about the Vietnam War and the experiences of the Marines?
I hope readers gain a deeper understanding of the sacrifices made by the Marines and the harsh realities of combat. I want them to appreciate the bravery, resilience, and brotherhood of these men, and to recognize the profound impact the Vietnam War had on their lives. Ultimately, I hope the book fosters a greater respect for our veterans and a commitment to remembering and honoring their service.

Q: Are there any future projects you’re working on that you’d like to share with your readers?
Yes, I am currently working on a new book that delves into the life of Robert Benoist, a French Grand Prix racing champion and secret agent during WWII. Titled “Unthrottled: The Passion, Struggle, and Honor of Robert Benoist,” it explores his remarkable journey and contributions to the resistance against German occupation. I’m excited to share this incredible story with my readers.

Q:How does “Swift Sword” compare to other notable war memoirs and histories, such as E.B. Sledge’s “With the Old Breed,” which you mentioned was influential to your work?

“Swift Sword” aims to provide a similarly unvarnished and brutal account of combat as “With the Old Breed.” Both books focus on the personal experiences of the marines, capturing the raw emotions and harsh realities of war. While Sledge’s memoir is based on his first-hand experiences in WWII, “Swift Sword” relies on the detailed recollections of the Vietnam War veterans I interviewed. My goal was to achieve the same level of authenticity and emotional impact, ensuring that the voices of the Vietnam veterans are heard and their stories are preserved for future generations.

Q: What unique aspects of the Vietnam War do you feel are most important for readers to understand, especially those depicted in “Swift Sword”?

One of the unique aspects of the Vietnam War that “Swift Sword” highlights is the complexity of guerrilla warfare and the psychological toll it took on the marines. The war’s political context, the challenging terrain, and the constant threat of ambushes created a uniquely stressful and dangerous environment for the Marines. Additionally, the book sheds light on the camaraderie and brotherhood that developed among the marines, as well as the long-lasting impact the war had on their mental health and personal lives. It is crucial for readers to understand these dimensions to fully appreciate the sacrifices made by these brave individuals.

Doyle Glass’s dedication to telling the true stories of the Marines of Mike 3/5 in Vietnam has resulted in a powerful and moving narrative that honors their bravery and sacrifices. Through meticulous research and heartfelt interviews, “Swift Sword” offers readers an unfiltered look into the realities of combat and the enduring bonds formed amidst the chaos of war. As we conclude our conversation, it is clear that Doyle Glass’s work serves not only as a historical account but also as a tribute to the resilience and courage of the Vietnam War veterans. His commitment to preserving their legacy ensures that their stories will continue to inspire and educate future generations.

To know more about the author, you can visit his website at www.doyleglass.com or find his book “Swift Sword: The True Story of the Marines of Mike 3/5 in Vietnam” on Amazon.