Diary of a Sky Soldier
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Book notes and
An e-mail from David Trexler whom I proudly service with in Vietnam -
It's been 2 years since
we met in Boise for lunch with my son Wes. I apologize for that. I
want to thank you again for the copy of the book you wrote. I don't
know why, but, it took me about a year before I started to read it. You are one of my heroes. Thank you for your service
and also for what it took to write that book. Once I got to reading it,
I thoroughly enjoyed it. You did a nice job on it.
I hope all is well with you and your family.
David L. Trexler
An e-mail from a friend Bob Chubb - January 2014.
wonderful surprise . This is no kidding. Jen bought me a copy of your
book for Christmas and I was sitting here reading it when I took a break
to check my e-mail and found yours with the songs . Have listened to
your song , was excited so had to e-mail you back right away. Perry ,
your book is blowing me away. I never new all what you did and went
through in Viet Nam. Working with you everyday and I can't remember you
saying much . Well I need to get back to it. Thanks again so much. Merry
Christmas to you and yours. Bob. Will get back to you when I finish .
A proud E-mail from my daughter Michelle - May 9, 2012
I just wanted to let you know of an experience I have had in a class a
couple of days ago. I am helping a history class. The kids behaviors
make it so that two teachers are needed in a room. Well there is the
history teacher and me. She was talking about World War I and
discussing the good parts in it. One student said, "We are Americans,
we have always won." The teacher said, "I wish that was true, does
anyone know of a war that was not successful?" And so we began a long
discussion about Vietnam. So the next day I brought in your book and
she had me talk about it at length. It was so neat! I was able to show
off my dad and show off your book. Thank you for writing it.
Thank you for making me very proud of you and all that you have
accomplished. It was a great daughter/teacher moment.
Ken Wilson's Book Report,
March 17, 2012
Your book is very well written and the fact I
have known you since you were ten years old I now know why it was so
hard for you to explain to me and your family what really happened while
you served in Vietnam. Your book clears up all the questions I had as
you came home to us a different guy than you were when Uncle Sam called.
Our friend from Oregon who also read your book said about the same thing
about his close friends who served about the same period as you did.
Thank GOD you came home to us. Your brother in-law forever, Ken.
From: Mike Bulgin:
It is not every
From: Kris Pardue
Posted review on
January 3, 2012
The Commitment and
Agony of a Young Man
This is a war story
about an innocent
young man who came
from a very small
rural community. In
fact, the remoteness
of the area where he
was raised would
cause the author to
be naïve in many
worldly ways. Be
that as it may,
Perry enjoyed a
great childhood that
hard work, rewarded
by lots of love,
security, and the
closeness of family.
Graduating from high
school as a star
athlete was quite an
however, it was also
a time for the
author to make some
decisions about his
choices down to
either getting very
college (boring) or
signing up for
which would allow
him to take
well. Being the
Perry opted for the
The author left home
a very resilient,
impervious young man
dedicated to the
"forever" love of
his life that he
planned to marry
upon return from the
Vietnam War. He
stronger" but -----.
Life changed quickly
as Perry was forced
from country living
into the realities
of becoming a
The "Diary of a Sky
Soldier" will tap
your every emotion.
It's a love story;
it is a chronicle of
anticipation, but it
is most intriguing
because it is a
of all the emotional
conflicts the face
of war brought to
this young man. The
weaknesses of the
military system and
the politics at play
were also very
A must read for
anyone wanting to
learn more about the
sacrifices and the
experiences of our
young soldiers at
From: Rich Ryan
Monday, November 28,
2011 8:53 PM
I finished your book
Holiday. You should
be very proud of
yourself. The book
was very well
written and captured
the daily drudgery
that could turn to
situation in less
time than a heart
situations from the
FNG to the Gunner
being 40 mils off
and then deciding to
leave the unit, the
pushing through a
himself, and the
frustration of being
ambushed when it was
farmers had to know
it was coming but
failed to warn the
people who were
fighting for them,
the R & R, and those
long feeling of
being alone while
you fight depression
in the midst of a
war. Excellent work
Tuesday, October 25,
2011 8:53 AM
the type of courage
these guys had to
muster really brings
tears to my eyes (as
did Perry’s book)
experiencing war and
all that accompanies
it through the eyes
of a participant, it
really takes on a
new meaning and
Inhumanity to Man!
and appreciation of
what a person can
these brave young
men suffer for the
freedom we sometimes
take for granted.
Amazing!! You have a
“winner” and he
fortunate to have
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Interesting Veterans Statistics off the Vietnam Memorial Wall
"Carved on these walls is the story of America , of a continuing quest
to preserve both democracy and decency, and to protect a national
treasure that we call the American dream."
~ President George Bush
SOMETHING to think about - Most of the surviving Parents are now
There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black wall, including
those added in 2010.
The names are arranged in the order in which they were taken from us by
date and within each date the names are alphabetized. It is hard to
believe it is 36 years since the last casualties.
Beginning at the apex on panel 1E and going out to the end of the East
wall, appearing to recede into the earth (numbered 70E - May 25, 1968),
then resuming at the end of the West wall, as the wall emerges from the
earth (numbered 70W - continuing May 25, 1968) and ending with a date in
1975. Thus the war's beginning and end meet. The war is complete, coming
full circle, yet broken by the earth that bounds the angle's open side
and contained within the earth itself.
The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth ,
Mass. Listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on
June 8, 1956. His name is listed on the Wall with that of his son,
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on
Sept. 7, 1965.
There are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall.
39,996 on the Wall were just 22 or younger.
The largest age group, 8,283 were just 19 years old 33,103 were 18 years
12 soldiers on the Wall were 17 years old.
5 soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old.
One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock was 15 years old.
997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam .
1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnam .
31 sets of brothers are on the Wall.
Thirty one sets of parents lost two of their sons.
54 soldiers on attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia . I
wonder why so many from one school.
8 Women are on the Wall. Nursing the wounded.
244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War; 153
of them are on the Wall.
Beallsville, Ohio with a population of 475 lost 6 of her sons.
West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation.
There are 711 West Virginians on the Wall.
The Marines of Morenci - They led some of the scrappiest high school
football and basketball teams that the little Arizona copper town of
Morenci (pop. 5,058) had ever known and cheered. They enjoyed roaring
beer busts. In quieter moments, they rode horses along the Coronado
Trail, stalked deer in the Apache National Forest . And in the patriotic
camaraderie typical of Morenci's mining families, the nine graduates of
Morenci High enlisted as a group in the Marine Corps. Their service
began on Independence Day, 1966. Only 3 returned home.
The Buddies of Midvale - LeRoy Tafoya, Jimmy Martinez, Tom Gonzales were
all boyhood friends and lived on three consecutive streets in Midvale,
Utah on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh avenues. They lived only a few yards
apart. They played ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field. And they all
went to Vietnam . In a span of 16 dark days in late 1967, all three
would be killed. LeRoy was killed on Wednesday, Nov. 22, the fourth
anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Jimmy died less than 24
hours later on Thanksgiving Day. Tom was shot dead assaulting the enemy
on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
The most casualty deaths for a single day was on January 31, 1968 ~ 245
The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 - 2,415
casualties were incurred.
For most Americans who read this they will only see the numbers that the
Vietnam War created. To those of us who survived the war, and to the
families of those who did not, we see the faces, we feel the pain that
these numbers created. We are, until we too pass away, haunted with
these numbers, because they were our friends, fathers, husbands, wife's,
sons and daughters. There are no noble wars, just noble warriors.
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Diary of a Sky Soldier is a true story of a young American sent to the
Vietnam War by his country. When he
returned from Vietnam, he wanted nothing but absolute seclusion from the
experience. He utterly blocked the traumatic experience from his mind
and deliberately avoided all contact with anything that would remind him
of the war. He did not, and could not, consciously share the experience
or its related nightmares with anyone—not even those that he dearly
There was a sobering event that changed
his emotions about Vietnam. When his mother and then his father passed
away, he and his siblings were preparing the home for sale; he
discovered a box of his Vietnam letters, newspaper clippings, and
magazines in the house his mother had saved. With this find, he had a
strong desire to write this book as a means of healing from the
psychological trauma that burned within him. The driving force was a
diary he kept in Vietnam that demonstrates the everyday emotions of war
in a handwritten style. The book is in full color to reflect the true
feelings of the scanned images of diary pages, letters, and photographs.
This book is a day-to-day narrative based on the diary entries, and the
personal war experience many years after he lived it. It portrays his
feelings as a low-level private with the 173d Airborne Brigade working
his way through combat to a squad leader buck sergeant. It expresses the
hardships endured with the loss of true comradeship and the struggles of
human attributes that are sacrificed during war.
He left to serve his country when it was united in purpose, united in
spirit, and united in a common bond of patriotism. He returned to a
world of disinterest, of disbelief, of resentment, of oppression,
outrage, neglect, and draft dodgers. He returned, no longer a young
innocent boy, but bewildered, confused, and uncomfortable expressing
experiences to an unfamiliar society—an opinionated country that would
change America forever.
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EKKER was born in 1947 and grew up in the small town of Hanksville, Utah
before oil roads, telephones, television, and Lake Powell. At age 14,
because there was no high school in Hanksville, he moved away from home
to attend high school and lived with his Uncle in Green River, Utah.
During his first year of college he was drafted by the military to serve
his country. After 20 years of reliving the life-changing experience of
Vietnam, he started writing his story to subdue the emotions. This true
story is based on his diary entries and the letters he sent home to his
mother. This once-in a-lifetime book came to ‘The End’ after 40-plus
year of research and writing. It is now finished and he is enjoying the
normal life of retirement, a Social Security check, the mortgage,
4-wheeling, camping, fishing, and playing his pedal steel guitar.
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