It’s a Jungle Out There: An Inspiring Year In the Life of a Charlie Ranger

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A novelized depiction of a year in the life of an Airborne Ranger during the height of AmericaÂ?s longest and most controversial war. At its heart, Of Their Own Accord is not just a war story, but a love story; a vivid portrait of the love and loyalty between a unique brotherhood of warriors who depend on each other for their survival.

Some people are born optimists. For Joe Dunn—newly married, just out of school—the next three hundred and sixty five days would prove to be a mixture of sunshine and rain. His job was to find the sunny route. It wouldn’t be easy. Dunn was going where one wrong move might find you impaled on spikes of bamboo, covered with leeches, or being hunted by strangers whose job was to kill you. Welcome to the deadly jungles of the Central Highlands of South Vietnam, the “green hell” that serves as the setting for Of Their Own Accord [The Writers’ Collective, Cloth, $24.95; Paper, $16.95], Gary Dolan’s riveting new novel about life and death in the elite “Charlie Rangers” of the 75th Infantry.

For anyone unfamiliar with these extraordinary men, Charlie Rangers are the best of the best, the infantry equivalent of Navy SEAL’s, and the Green Berets, the guys who wrote the book on special operations. These are soldiers of nearly super-human dedication, responsible for the most missions, the most productive missions, and the most widespread insertions of the entire war in Southeast Asia. That Mr. Dolan was one of them—Lieutenant Gary Dolan, Platoon Leader 2nd Platoon Company C (Airborne), 75th Infantry (Rangers)—underscores the verisimilitude of this novelized depiction of a year in the life of an Airborne Ranger during the height of America’s longest and most controversial war.

It’s 1970 and Lieutenant John Dunn—a stand-in for Dolan--finds himself “in country,” ready and eager to put to use the skills for which West Point trained him. Defying conventional army doctrine, the young officer makes the decision to lead by example instead of privilege of rank, refusing to send his men into the horror that awaits them without sharing the unimaginable peril. Like Apocalypse Now, Of Their Own Accord makes immediate an experience of war impossible to imagine unless you’ve been through it. And like Band of Brothers, it brings home the unqualified heroism and fierce devotion of a unique brotherhood of warriors.

Dolan does a masterful job of revealing the truism only combat veterans understand—that, as another former Ranger says in his introduction, “it is not patriotism that inspires young men to such bravery, but their love and devotion to their comrades.” It’s a surprise, in a way, that a story about death and destruction would evoke in the reader such feelings of tenderness. At its heart, Of Their Own Accord is not just a war story, but a love story; a vivid portrait of the love and loyalty between men who depend on each other for their survival. To the extent that these Charlie Rangers are the progenitors of today’s Special Ops forces deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq, Of Their Own Accord takes on a spine-tingling immediacy. Here are men whose courage, intelligence, honor, and integrity you’re glad to have working on your side—which enables the reader to experience an emotion not often associated with the war in Vietnam: pride. Of Their Own Accord, (which is also the Rangers’ motto referring to the fact that Rangers volunteer for these assignments) serves as a needed tonic for the thousands of disenfranchised veterans who were never accorded the recognition and appreciation they earned during America’s most divisive war. In Of Their Own Accord, Dolan makes palpable the understanding that valor and honor were every bit as present in this war as they had been in every way before it.

About the Author

Gary Dolan received a BS in civil engineering from the United States Military Academy in 1969 and a JD from New York Law School in 1977. Dolan is an attorney licensed in the State of New York, a public accountant and a Certified Trade Broker. Dolan's distinguished five-year military career includes a one-year tour of duty in Vietnam in 1970 with Company C (Ranger), 75th Infantry (Airborne). While on active service, Dolan was awarded the Airborne, Ranger, Jungle Warfare Expert, and Combat Infantryman Badges as well as ten Combat Air Medals, the Bronze Star, and numerous other achievement medals. He retired as an LTC from the Army Reserves. He served as President of Company E (Long Range Patrol), 20th Infantry (Airborne) and Company C (Ranger), 75th Infantry (Airborne) Association, Inc. His book Of Their Own Accord relates the heroics of the Rangers in Viet Nam.

In 1996, Gary Dolan founded and served as CEO of eBarter, the world's first online, interactive barter exchange and predecessor to BigVine, Inc., of which he is the Founder. Bigvine was the premier online barter exchange and was funded with $60 Million by the world's leading investors, including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the partners of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., American Express, NBC and Sanford Robertson (founder of Robertson Stephens & Co., LLC.).

Prior to starting eBarter, Dolan owned a law and an accounting practice and taught courses throughout New York on how to start and run a profitable small business. From 1978 to 1990, Dolan practiced general law as managing partner of Alonge & Dolan. In addition, Dolan served as consultant to the United States Small Business Administration's (SBA) Small Business Development Center at the State University of New York at Farmingdale. He also served there as an adjunct professor for 14 years, teaching business law and accounting. Dolan currently works as an attorney in his own practice, serving select clientele and conducts seminars on elite leadership in the US and abroad to corporate executives.

In his spare time, Dolan enjoys traveling, skiing, and has been a New York high school baseball umpire for five years. He and his wife, Linda, live in Farmingdale, New York. They have three grown children.


Victor Gulotta


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