Death Angel

A Vietnam Memoir of a Bearer of Death Messages to Families


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About the Book

The author enlisted in the Marine Corps at 17, with dreams of becoming a hero. Two years later, a disillusioned young sergeant returned from a tour of Vietnam, his new assignment, recruiting: finding a “few good men” for the Corps—and soon, too often, delivering death messages to the families of those he had recruited. Here are gut-wrenching memories of a Marine’s service in Vietnam, the grief of the parents, and the burden of guilt suffered by the bearer of the news.

About the Author(s)

Harry Spiller is the author of 18 books and numerous magazine articles. He served for 10 years in the U.S. Marine Corps with two tours in Vietnam. He also served as sheriff of Williamson County, Illinois, and retired as an associate professor of criminal justice from John A. Logan College. He lives in Marion, Illinois.

Bibliographic Details

Harry Spiller
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 256
Bibliographic Info: 6 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2012 [1992]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6741-9
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8782-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Introduction      xi

1. Boot Camp, the Beginning      1
2. Rumors of War      18
3. The Landing      40
4. Death of a Friend      52
5. Personal Mayhem      65
6. Blunders      74
7. Praying for War      90
8. Operation O.P.      96
9. Who’s Who      105
10. Homeward Bound      119
11. Hero’s Welcome      142
12. The Death Angel      162
13. Plant One, Enlist One      173
14. Adventure or Death      185
15. Memorial Service      193
16. The Parade      207
17. Enough Is Enough      223

Index      241

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Recommended”—Library Journal
  • “A well-written, often gripping account…vivid…intriguing…deeply emotional”—Military
  • “A grunt-level view of Vietnam and its aftermath”—The Spokesman; “details the torment of being both a Marine Corps recruiter and a ‘death angel’”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch Magazine
  • “Vividly relates the horrors seen and felt by serviceman, parent, and recruiter”—Heartland Writers’ Conference
  • “Shows the horror experienced by Marines, the nightmares suffered by parents and the burden of guilt suffered by a recruiter who ‘lost heart’—The Illinois Sheriff