Last edited by Kajizragore
Tuesday, May 5, 2020 | History

9 edition of Fiddler"s Green found in the catalog.

Fiddler"s Green

by Jack C. Stoddard

  • 36 Want to read
  • 38 Currently reading

Published by Wasteland Press in Louisville, Kentucky .
Written in English

    Subjects:
  • Military - Vietnam War,
  • History,
  • History - Military / War,
  • Military

  • About the Edition

    Review Written by Bernie Weisz November 5, 2010 Vietnam War Historian, Pembroke Pines, Florida
    U.S.A. Contact: [email protected] Title of Review: "Americans in Vietnam: No Baby Killers, Just 19 and 20 Year Old Good Men Doing An Impossible Job!" It is truly amazing how much historic innuendo a reader can discover about America"s involvement in Vietnam from a book titled about an old U.S. Cavalry fable. However, this is exactly the case with Jack Stoddard"s "Fiddler"s Green." I had initially read "What Are They Going to Do, Send Me to Vietnam" and knew there just had to be more from Mr. Stoddard than that. In his initial book, readers discover an array of vividly true accounts composed of a group of frightened young men thrown into the Vietnam War cauldron, perhaps one of America"s most ill-conceived military campaigns ever undertaken. Arriving in S.E. Asia with the moniker "FNG", Stoddard began his Vietnam journey as a green, 22-year-old buck sergeant and after almost three full tours of combat duty, went "back to the world" as a battle-hardened veteran. He did not write this book for posterity or financial gains. With designs of leaving a legacy to his family and all who crossed his path, Jack went back 40 years in time to recount the unbearably hot and humid jungles of southeast Asia, dredging up long repressed memories. Organizing these stories into a book, Stoddard vividly described what it was really like to be a grunt in Vietnam. The reader is treated to the entire Vietnam experience, e.g. days of boredom interspersed with moments of sheer terror, miserable weather, lonesomeness and everything from hand grenades to hemorrhoids. there are terrifying moments such as when Stoddard drove his 50-ton tank, called the "Double Deuce," into enemy infested Khe Sanh to even finding sardonic humor in the anecdote where his new second lieutenant drove his tank straight into the mud where it promptly sank. Many stories were told that never made print in newspapers nor history books. However, one particular story, that of Frank Saracino, a man who paid the ultimate price for his sacrifice, is what "Fiddler"s Green" is all about.

    Jack Stoddard explained what happened to Saracino in his first book. They had known each other for less than a month while they served together in an elite unit called "the ARP"s" (Aero Rifle Platoon) in 1969. Jack was also Saracino"s roommate and was with him the day he was killed. As part a search and destroy mission known as "Atlas Wedge", the ARP"s searched out, discovered and engaged the enemy outside a small hamlet on the outskirts of a very large rubber plantation owned by a French family, today a household name, e.g. "Michelin." The date was March 20, 1969. After being in Vietnam for nine months, Stoddard had transferred from a tank battalion to the ARP"s. Formally having the protection of a tank, going into his first battle as a grunt shielded only by his M-16 and uniform was a bit unnerving. Saracino and Stoddard were air lifted into battle in separate helicopters, and as Stoddard watched his friend leave, he said to him: "See you later, good buddy! Saracino responded by exclaiming: "We"ll have a cold one tonight, Jack." Tragically, these were the last words Stoddard ever heard from his friend. Saracino, a squad leader and point man , went ahead first with his particular platoon to do what was known as "BDA" (bomb damage assessment), evaluating the damage done to the enemy by "Arc Light" B-52 bomber strikes 7 miles northwest of Dau Teing. Saracino"s platoon came upon the bunkers of a North Vietnamese battalion and promptly assaulted it. As "point man" Saracino was the first and placed in the most exposed position in his "ARP" military formation, being the lead soldier to advance through hostile and unsecured territory. Generally speaking, a point man in Vietnam was frequently the first to take hostile fire. The inherent risks of being point created a need for constant and extreme operational alertness.

    Frank Saracino sensed this, and while he directed his fellow ARP"s to take cover, he single-handedly assaulted an NVA bunker and destroyed it with a hand grenade. Joined by his platoon, he continuing to advance into the NVA stronghold killing two enemy soldiers that tried to escape from a second fortification. Cleverly disguised in camouflaged bunkers, the NVA suddenly let go a fuselage of fire, pinning down Saracino and his men down with machine gun and antitank rocket fire. Sacrificing his safety, Saracino placed suppressive fire on the NVA, thus endangering himself to a torrent of NVA bullets. This brave action enabled the rest of his ARP platoon to withdraw and remain safe until they could secure a safer location. Following three air strikes at the entrenched enemy, Saracino once again led his men forward and for a second time he became separated. Discovering another enemy bunker, Saracino assaulted it, killing both it"s occupants with hand grenades. Attempting to resume his one man fight, he pressed forward to another stronghold. This time, an NVA machine gun nest started to fire on Saracino and his men. Seeing that his men were exposed to the deadly enemy fire, Saracino tried to save them from being wiped out by engaging this machine gun nest and drawing fire to himself. It was while Saracino attempted to throw a hand grenade at the NVA emplacement to silence it that an enemy 51-caliber bullet blew the top of his head off, ending his life. Ultimately, the hidden gun which sprayed death was silenced and the enemy moved out of range, deep inside their well hidden bunker system.

    Stoddard and his platoon arrived to finish off the battle and retrieve the bodies of their fallen comrades. In doing this, his ARP group came upon Saracino"s body. He was found face down in a large ditch in between the long rows of Michelin rubber trees. His body had to be carefully rolled over, as the NVA were lowly enough to booby trap dead American corpses. Aside from Franks" M-16 being swiped, it appeared the NVA tried to steal Frank"s boots as trophies of war. Frank was religiously taken off the battlefield by Stoddard and three others. In "Fiddler"s Green", Stoddard wrote that when they tried to move Saracino"s body to a "Blackhorse Huey (the "BLACK HORSE REGIMENT" was the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, considered one of the best combat units in Vietnam) Franks" head had slipped off the poncho and a chunk of his brains fell out and landed on the infamous "red dirt" of Vietnam. Stoddard made a point of this red dirt, asserting the following: "We soldiers hated that red dirt sometimes more than the enemy. That red dirt seemed to cover every square inch of Vietnam. It would turn into so fine of a powder it was just like covering everything in this room with Johnson"s baby powder. That damn red colored dirt was always in your eyes, your mouth and your ears." Robert Topmiller, a combat medic during the 1968 Tet Offensive, would later publish a book entitled "Red Clay On My Boots." Through one of his characters, Stoddard further explained himself: "We didn"t want any part of Vietnam going back home with Frank. The war was over for him. His family deserved at least that much. I mean that was about all we could do to honor our friends. to make sure they went home without their bodies covered in that red dirt. Finally I looked at the other three soldiers who were holding each corner of the poncho and said, "it don"t mean nothing." It took me many years after I returned from Vietnam before I could ever shed a single tear about anything. It was like I had lost my soul or something." Ironically, "It don"t mean nothing" turned out to be the name of another book Stoddard would later publish.

    When Stoddard and his fellow ARP"s reached a small landing zone, one of four choppers there waiting had a "Blackhorse" patch painted as it"s insignia. The group carried Saracino"s body to it. Stoddard explained what ensued: As we laid him inside, one of the pilots turned to us and said, "you"ll have to take that soldier back to one of the dust off choppers." We looked at him and replied, "he"s one of us, he"s an ARP, and we want you to take him home!" I think the pilot saw the stern look in our eyes and he talked to his superior over the headset. One of the soldiers told the pilots "Frank arrived in a Blackhorse chopper and by God he is going back in one!" In a moment the pilot told us, "We"d be proud to fly him back." The Blackhorse Huey was just clearing the tree tops by the time we got back to the plantation. That was the last time I ever saw my friend Frank. Fly, Frank, fly, you"re leaving this hell on earth." So, what is ""Fiddler"s Green" and how does this relate to this story? Stoddard had a close friend of his killed by friendly fire during the war named Chris Cordova. Stoddard contacted his family after the conflict ended, answering many questions to the surviving Cordova"s giving them closure. Similarly, Stoddard made contact with Saracino"s family as well, connecting with Franks father and sister. Claiming she had a vision of Frank"s death, Fran Saracino wanted to know everything about her brother, such as was he in a good mood when he died, was he scared, how did he die, was he wearing a helmet and was he put in a body bag? Although Frank was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, a curiosity of closure over Frank"s death never ceased in his sister"s mind. The funeral was a closed casket. His sister even wondered if it really was her brother in the coffin. This book answered all questions sought out and brought desperately needed peace and closure to the Saracino"s.

    What was "Fiddler"s Green? Amongst the army, particularly the cavalry soldiers, there is a legend called "Fiddler"s Green" where according to this fable all cavalry soldiers go when they die. According to the folklore, it is a beautiful slice of heaven with special green meadows and peaceful valleys replete with a crystal clear fishing pond and grassy knolls. Horses of the cavalry inhabitants leisurely feed and wild game such as antelope and deer run free. Thousands of large white tents are stretched across the meadows floor and a store, or canteen, called "Sutter"s Store" stocks supplies and passes out rations of cold ale to all troopers. In terms of weather in "Fiddler"s Green", high seventies and always sunny in the day and forty at night, never a rain nor cold spell. It is half way down the astral road to hell and no other branch of service may stop there except the cavalry. Some troopers continue their final journey to hell, but none ever reach there. Once at the gates of Hell, troopers realize their canteen of liquor is empty, and needing a refill, promptly return to "Fiddler"s Green." Frank Saracino has been a resident of this valley since March 20, 1969. Mr. Stoddard intelligently conceived a story that followed a group of soldiers that resided there, showing how these spiritual soldiers can contact family members and see and hear what their relatives are saying and doing on earth. Through the story line it is shown that the hardest part for a new arrival at "The Green" was coming to grips with the fact that one minute they were in a firefight, in a battle such as "Custer"s Last Stand" or dying in a hospital bed. The next thing they know, they are being transported to the astral pasture of eternal rest in the back of a wagon being driven by a young cavalry soldier who died in the Civil War. However, by dying, these cavalry soldiers are transported to a warless, safe place, devoid of pain, fear or hunger. This is also the place from where Frank Saracino descends to give his family the truth of his fate, and the comfort that all is well and always will be so.

    Needless to say, Stoddard"s book goes far beyond the death of Frank Saracino and "Fiddler"s Green." There are a number of themes within the plot, many a reality for the Vietnam Veteran regardless of the passage of time. Despite writing this book almost 50 years after the fact, to remember his departed friend Stoddard had to bring back some horrendous memories of carnage, which he expressed as such: "What have I gotten myself into?, he thought suddenly aware that he didn"t want to remember the faces of all of his old friends, at least not the blood covered and war torn ones. But it was too late to stop the memories that were flashing faster and faster before his very eyes like endless black and white photos." Any Vietnam Veteran who decides to write a memoir of his Vietnam ordeal will encounter "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" (PTSD) memories, some very painful to recall. Another point Stoddard made in this book is the difficulty he had in sharing carnage and death in violent combat with non participants. To this, he asserted: "There"s an unspoken bond between soldiers-you don"t ever share the horrors of war with anybody except another soldier. And even then you don"t tell the whole truth, for that would be something no one could comprehend, not even the biggest and strongest of men. One can never explain the stench of death, the horror seen in a friend"s eye or a grown man crying like a baby pleading for his very life. And the shakes you get after a firefight, well you just don"t talk about it you know." Try as one may, is it possible for any Vietnam Veteran author to truly discuss the aforementioned in book form? Stoddard explains the price an individual will pay for being a soldier and with odors and sounds, elucidating it as such: "There is a smell of fear and a and a smell of death; a certain strange sound a man makes when he sees his friends dying all around him. And it"s true what they say about a grown man crying out for his mother or his God. Yes, there is a special look in a soldier"s eyes that tells another soldier that he has been there and has been baptized by fire. We call it seeing the tiger." How many history book concerning the Vietnam War will give you that information? None, I venture.

    Stoddard brings up the anti war movement, being called a "baby killer" by hippie protesters as he walked in the airport terminal fresh out of Vietnam, as well as what Jane Fonda did and stood for. However, he simplified his role as a soldier in this war, what he believed in and why he fought so fiercely for South Vietnam as follows: "I believed I was doing the right thing. And I believed in my country even if they stopped believing in me. I knew the truth, not what all those protesters were saying. That was complete crap. I saw the faces on the Vietnamese people. I knew the real truth about people wanting to be free. You know they just wanted what we Americans already had. Anyway"s, I don"t even know if it matters now. In the end I guess we die for our buddies. That"s what it"s all really about-dying for those rag-tag guys you call your friends." This here is the essence of Frank Saracino"s life story and ultimate significance of his death-as well as a theme that pervades just about every Vietnam memoir I have ever encountered. In regard to Jane Fonda, Stoddard remarked: "You"d think I couldn"t care anymore. I guess I just lost too many good friends to ever forgive that Fonda person. I even hate talking about the Vietnam War anymore. It seems like most civilians either don"t care or don"t have enough sense to understand that we soldiers were only doing what the Americans told us to."

    As I"ve already stated, to the astute reader, there are pearls and gems laden throughout this story concerning the Vietnam conflict. Stoddard juxtaposed cleverly the war in Vietnam with the current situation in Iraq with the following anecdote: "It"s the politicians that really run the war, not the Army generals. They just follow orders like the rest of us. Look at this mess in Iraq. It"s Vietnam all over again. You think the generals are running this war? Hell no! It"s the politicians who have everything all screwed up. They tell the generals when they can fight and when they can"t, and by God that"s when our soldiers get killed for no reason." Anyone who doubts the validity of Stoddard"s previous quip may simply read General William Westmoreland"s memoir, or the various books put out by Robert McNamara, Lyndon Johnson"s former Secretary of Defense and one of the main architects of the Vietnam quagmire. Mr. Stoddard ends this incredible book of historical fiction with a comment that could easily speak for all who served and especially the 58,236 Americans who lost their lives in S.E. Asia. To that, Stoddard eloquently wrote the following: "When we soldiers came home from Vietnam there were no parades for us. Most of the guys found themselves being ashamed of even fighting for their country. That was wrong. What Vietnam was really about were good men like Frank Saracino doing an impossible job as best as they could, No baby killers, just nineteen and twenty year old boys who became men long before their time. " Well said, Jack Stoddard!!!!

    Edition Notes

    StatementFL
    The Physical Object
    FormatPaperback
    Number of Pages140
    ID Numbers
    Open LibraryOL8813161M
    ISBN 101933265434
    ISBN 109781933265438

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    Fiddler's Green had its origins in 18th century sailing lore. Common seamen, who repaired their lines with a splicing tool called a fid, dreamed of a sailor's heaven, where after the long voyage their every desire would be fulfilled. Today, Steve & Debi of Point Loma and their friends welcome you to their own Fiddler's Green where the best food. Fiddlers Green boasts relaxed dining and an extensive selection of international and tap beers, perched in the stunning location of Darwin's Waterfront Precinct. With a rustic style menu sourced from Irish roots and enhanced by fresh local produce, you will easily succumb to our succulent steaks and on: 3A & 3B Building 1, 19 Kitchener Drive, Darwin Waterfront, au.

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Fiddler"s Green by Jack C. Stoddard Download PDF EPUB FB2

Fiddler's Green book. Read 3 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. A San Francisco hood is rubbed out by rival Bruno Felkin, who himsel /5. Fiddler's Green is the sort of story that sated all my desires as a reader. I wanted adventure, and the fiery Fin Button and her intrepid crew whisked me away on an impossible quest.

I wanted keenly described, colorful lands full of adventure, and this tale sails into foreign ports and castles, follows knights and pirates from dungeon to high sea battle/5(62). "The Fiddler's Green" is the second part of Fin Button's story, continued from the first book, "The Fiddler's Gun." I greatly enjoyed this story through both books.

The story is FULL of twists and turns, gritty and realistic characters, personal vendettas and revenge, and mixed with all of that, hope, mercy, and grace/5.

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