In Shaggy Six: Tribute to a Fallen Soldier (Create Space, 190 pp., $14.95, paper) Mike Manger has written an amazingly honest and interesting memoir of his year in Vietnam as a door gunner and crew chief on a Huey gunship. He served under Col. Lawrence Johnson, the commanding officer in the 7th Squadron, 17th Air Cavalry. Johnson is “Shaggy Six.”
Somehow Manger, who writes in a random, almost free-association style, makes everything immediate, compelling, and fresh. He kept this reader hanging on his every word, especially in the Tet Offensive section.
Manger has written an Army memoir that well communicates what it was like to fly 650 combat missions in Vietnam from 1967-68. He gets in his licks about the dangers of Agent Orange and is never slow to express an opinion.
His total honesty and his acceptance of whatever Army life tossed his way made me like him very much. His recounting of eating a dinner of baked Army ham and the importance of eating what is placed in front of you was poetic and true. That dinner of Army ham was one of my favorites during my tour of duty.
Thank you, Mike, for a fine, heartfelt memoir.