Retired USMC Major General speaks on confusion, relationships in Vietnam

By Chris Swick
November 10, 2015

The Vietnam War is was a frustrating one for both soldiers and civilians alike.

United States Marine Corps Major General, Retired, John Admire told a packed American Legion Post 24 Saturday night that was one of two topics his book on the conflict, “Darker Than Dark,” covers.

“It was truly a war about misunderstanding and misinformation,” Admire said. “And I think we all recognize and accept that fact now, although we were all in denial at the time.”

During the war, soldiers were portrayed as bitter and reluctant to serve. The reality was much different, which Admire said a Harris Poll backed up in 1986 by showing 91 percent of soldiers polled were proud to have done so.

“I mean, 91 percent in politics, you very rarely get any poll hit 91 percent today,” Admire said. “But 91 percent of those who served in Vietnam served with pride. If they were ask to serve again, they would serve again. Ninety-one percent.”

The second topic of "Darker Than Dark" focused more on the triumph of friendships during the course of the war. That particular topic came through so strongly in the book that a friend of Admire's informed him he had, in fact, written a romance novel.

“[She said,] one of your themes in there is the love and the relationship developed among these Marines,” Admire said of the critique from his friend. “And how it becomes such an important part of their fight for survival; the fact that they truly do love and care for one another. And that relationship makes this a romance novel.”

Admire's book is centered around a Marine unit in the jungles of Vietnam and is historical fiction, though the battles are real and the characters are all based on real Marines. It contains three other themes aside from the relationship between the Marines; the confusion of a limited war, finding spirituality and war was about survival.

Admire served in the Marine Corps for 43 years, including 33 on active duty. That encompassed two wars and 5 combat tours as an infantry Marine, plus 10 years as an adviser with the U.S. Joint Forces Command.