At the outset of the Vietnam War, the Army created an experimental fighting unit that became known as "Tiger Force." The Tigers were to be made up of the cream of the crop-the very best and bravest soldiers the American military could offer. They would be given a long leash, allowed to operate in the field with less supervision. Their mission was to seek out enemy compounds and hiding places so that bombing runs could be accurately targeted. They were to go where no troops had gone, to become one with the jungle, to leave themselves behind and get deep inside the enemy's mind.
The experiment went terribly wrong.
What happened during the seven months Tiger Force descended into the abyss is the stuff of nightmares. Their crimes were uncountable, their madness beyond imagination-so much so that for almost four decades, the story of Tiger Force was covered up under orders that stretched all the way to the White House. Records were scrubbed, documents were destroyed, men were told to say nothing.But one person didn't follow orders.
The product of years of investigative reporting, interviews around the world, and the discovery of an astonishing array of classified information, Tiger Force is a masterpiece of journalism. Winners of the Pulitzer Prize for their Tiger Force reporting, Michael Sallah and Mitch Weiss have uncovered the last great secret of the Vietnam War.
During the Vietnam War, Tiger Force was the code name of an elite platoon of the 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry. Its pedigree was impeccable. The battalion's executive officer, Maj. David Hackworth, organized the 45-man volunteer force in 1966, and it became one of the war's most highly decorated units, paying for its reputation with heavy casualties. But for seven months beginning in May 1967, Tiger Force descended into a moral abyss. Operating in what was defined as enemy country, the platoon engaged in an orgy of atrocities that ranged from taking ears, scalps and teeth to the mass killing of unarmed civilians. Conservative estimates count victims in the hundreds. From 1971 to 1975, the army mounted an investigation that documented the crimes, but decided "nothing beneficial" could result from prosecuting the platoon members or their leader. And so the story remained the stuff of rumor until Toledo Blade reporters Michael Sallah, Mitch Weiss and John Mahr responded to a tip and started interviewing former Tiger Force members. The resulting newspaper series, "Buried Secrets, Brutal Truths," won a Pulitzer Prize in 2004 and forms the basis of this outstanding book. In the best tradition of investigative journalism, the authors let the story speak for itself, and thus force readers to wonder: was Tiger Force's behavior aberrant or was it part of a half-submerged pattern spanning the entire war?
An interesting account of American soldiers in Vietnam. Might make you sick, or might give you some insight into the madness and insanity of war and why it is so hard for vets to adjust when they return. Definitely some bad apples leading others astray, while some just let it happen. This kind of thing happens in every conflict,
"The last great secret of Vietnam"
What a great read. I personally love Vietnam books. Books like The Things They Carried. Tiger Force is a blend of raw action and also a journey after the war which took me out of my shell of books that I normally read. This book will be big some day!
Must read for anyone in the military today. The information presented details exactly what happens when leaders lose control of their men. The message from this book is timeless; it will be relevant for as long as there are wars thought. Worth the read!