Who knew ahead that the 1960’s would be so weird? When in 1962 three bright young men eagerly enter Brown University, one of the most liberal colleges in America, they have no idea what will unfold during the turbulent decade to come. They all have earned full Navy ROTC scholarships and look forward to serving their country in uniform when they graduate. In fact, they all sign up to be United States Marine Corps officers. As an inconceivable series of world and national events dramatically transform the nation from a people rooted in conformity and comfortable conservative values into one imbued with new found skepticism and liberalism, there is no place where these ideas take hold more quickly than on the college campuses. The Vietnam catastrophe, which had not even been a blip on the radar screen, mushrooms into perhaps the most divisive issue of the century. The three find themselves struggling to swim against the flood tide of anti-establishment and anti-military sentiment. Yet, they persevere while remaining steadfast in their conviction to answer their country’s call. They are fun-loving, serious, naive, immature, and yet mostly dependable, all in one package. They study, play sports, party, drink beer, chase girls, horse around, fall in love, graduate, get married, have kids, and go off to war. This true story recounts college life, fast friendships, and boys becoming men. There is plenty of humor, love, determination, and rambunctious adventure, even as it becomes clearer every day that the ugly cloud of Vietnam is destined to seize their lives after graduation. On 6/6/66, seconds after receiving their degrees, gold USMC second lieutenant bars are pinned their collars, and they enthusiastically march off to infantry officer training in Virginia. It is a bittersweet time as new marriages struggle to coalesce despite the terrifying separation which is imminent. One immediately goes to Vietnam and returns home before the other two, who have trained to become fighter pilots, join squadrons in DaNang. Sadly, despite tremendous personal sacrifice, they still must endure catcalls and blatant disrespect from the very people at home whose freedom they are committed to ensure. Dreadfully, the pilots never return and perish in the cockpits of their spectacular war machines over the jungles and seas of Vietnam, resolutely carrying out their assigned missions in that God-forsaken place. Never does their resolve and commitment to duty waiver. Was this horrible price worth it? That dilemma has taken a half century to contemplate.
About the Author
As a businessman Robert John DeLuca was compelled to operate within tightly restrictive parameters defined by market conditions, government regulations, and other restraining variables. Now as an author, however, he enjoys the wonderful freedom limited only by his own creativity and passion. He has always had a strong interest in writing, which he cultivated at Brown University and the University of Pittsburgh, where he earned BA and MBA degrees respectively. As a United States Marine he attained the rank of Captain and served in Vietnam. He left the service to enter business, where he worked primarily in banking and real estate development. After several years in Pittsburgh, he eventually relocated to Houston, where he founded his own firm. His extensive business background provides a strong platform and fertile resource in support of his writing endeavors. His literary works include “The Nelson Trilogy” consisting of the published “The Pact with the Devil”, a novel pitting a head-strong Texas businessman against a vicious Mexican drug lord, and sequel novels, “The Master of Deceit”, to be released in the summer of 2017, and a third saga which is in process. His two published non-fiction works: “The Perfect Pro Football Coach”, deals with NFL head coaching, and “Beatles, Books, and Bombs, and Beyond”, a bittersweet self-account of life as an ROTC student on an ultra-liberal Ivy League campus in the turbulent 1960’s and a tribute to fallen USMC Vietnam comrades. He has written articles on sports for periodicals and won first place in the Houston Writers House and Texas Authors, Inc. short story contests. His website is http://bdlauthor.com/ . A New Englander by birth and jarhead by choice, Mr. DeLuca left Boston before the Patriots stopped being a joke. He has raised a family of four sons, and resides with his awesome wife, grandchild-of-the-week, and alter ego, bullmastiff Stanley in Friendswood, Texas.