New Book Tells the Story of a Young Marine's Adventure During the Vietnam War

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Bruce Hoffman spent four years in the United States Marine Corps. Two of those years were spent in Vietnam and Okinawa. The story describes his path to combat and the adventures along the way.

And My Mother Danced With Chesty Puller by Bruce Hoffman is the story of a young Marine's adventure during the Vietnam War, sometimes humorous, sometimes hair-raising.

Drawn into the Marine Corps by World War II stories from family members and the ultimate dream of serving as an Embassy Marine in an exotic land, Hoffman enlisted in 1964. Over the next few years he struggles to get into the fight in Vietnam but mostly finds himself stuck "in the rear with the beer". After volunteering three times for Vietnam he's finally able to transfer to Marine Corps Helicopter Squadron VMO-2, and fly as an Aerial Gunner in UH-1E Huey Helicopters.

"My first kill and the loss of fellow Marines left lasting memories but so did the adventures at other duty stations along the way," Hoffman said. "I wanted to highlight the adventure part rather than focus on the combat. From the feedback I'm hearing, my readers appreciate being reminded of the little details about their service that made the experience less painful."

Hoffman shares stories about boot camp where he writes, "Parris Island, the first place the Marine Corps tried to kill me." He also goes in-depth into being stationed at the Marine Corps Air Stations in Beaufort, SC and Cherry Point, NC. It was the Beaufort station where he turns down a part-time job as a shotgun rider for a bootlegger. Then off to war training at Camp Pendleton, CA followed by the endless tales of booze and brothels in Okinawa. He was able to find a few girlfriends in the Carolina's, Okinawa, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam.

The one life lesson Hoffman says he wants to pass along to future Marines who read this book was taught to him by a Major at his first duty station in Beaufort. "Be careful who you make friends with." the Major warned him. "You become who your friends are, if you pick Marines who get in trouble, you will get into trouble, if you pick good Marines as your friends, you will become a good Marine. Pick your friends in this Marine Corps very carefully." Hoffman says this is a life lesson he still carries to this day and has served him well throughout his life.

The book title refers to a story told by his parents that during a 1st Marine Division reunion in Chicago, his mother danced with the legendary Marine Corps General Chesty Puller. He writes, " I told your father I'm going to go over and ask General Puller to dance, he is just sitting there, he needs to get up and enjoy himself...While we were dancing, I pointed to your father and said that's my husband, he served with you and has great respect for you. After the dance the General led me over and he shook your father's hand and told your father, "Thank you for being with me." Your father tells that story more than I do now."

Bruce Hoffman returned to Tampa and retired as a captain with the Sheriff’s Office, after twenty-seven years. He worked for a federal agency in Washington, DC, was security chief for the Tampa Port Authority after 9-11-01, and later owned an investigative business. He is retired and lives in Dahlonega, Georgia. To purchase the book, please visit http://www.mymarineyears.com.

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GREG HOFFMAN

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