Speedy by Francisco Elizalde-Castaneda | Books in Review

Speedy: The Story of One Mexican in the Vietnam War (Xlibris, 93 pp., $24.99, hardcover; $15.99, paper) is a short, straightforward Vietnam War memoir by Francisco Elizalde-Castaneda. Born in Mexico, the author came to the United States in 1963, and was drafted into the Army in December of 1965 despite the fact that he could not speak English (he could understand and read English, though).

After basic at Fort Polk and AIT at Fort Lee in Virginia, Elizalde-Castaneda went to Fort Campbell. From there, he and his unit shipped out (by ship) to Vietnam in August 1966 from San Diego. They arrived at the coastal city of Qui Nhon, where Elizalde-Castaneda and company boarded C-130s and flew to Pleiku, where they set up the 573rd Supply and Service Company.

Elizalde-Castaneda (above) worked in a graves-registration-type job in his unit for most of his year in Vietnam. He provides good descriptions of what the war was like for him and his fellow support troops.

—Marc Leepson

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