Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Through the Valley / William Reeder Jr.

Subject: Book on My Captivity in Vietnam

I am a Life Member of SOA, a Pink Panther Cobra pilot from the 361st Aviation, and a former POW.  I respectfully request that the following go out to the membership:

I have written a book that you might find of interest.  The title is Through the Valley: My Captivity in Vietnam. It is about my POW experience in Vietnam and is being published by the Naval Institute Press.  It is available for order now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or any other bookstore.  The story opens with a mission I was part of to extract the survivor of what I recall to be an indigenous recon team out of Thailand.  I believe this is the same mission that Ed Lesesne received a Silver Star for on an unsuccessful extraction attempt earlier that day.  The story then follows the deteriorating situation in the Central Highlands as the Easter Offensive unfolded and my eventual shoot-down at Ben Het and capture by the North Vietnamese three days later.  It then follows my experience from a jungle prison camp in Cambodia, through a forced march up the Ho Chi Minh Trail, and time spent in two of the prisons in Hanoi before being released in 1973.  Besides my own story, I recount the stories of some of the other prisoners I was with in Hanoi, including Dennis Thompson, Harvey Brande, Steve Leopold, and Jim Thompson -- all Special Forces guys.
Thank you very much for sharing this with the membership.  Bill Reeder

Through the Valley is the captivating memoir of the last U.S. Army soldier taken prisoner during the Vietnam War. A narrative of courage, hope, and survival, Through the Valley is more than just a war story. It also portrays the thrill and horror of combat, the fear and anxiety of captivity, and the stories of friendships forged and friends lost.
In 1971 William Reeder was a senior captain on his second tour in Vietnam. He had flown armed, fixed-wing OV-1 Mohawks on secret missions deep into enemy territory in Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam on his first tour. He returned as a helicopter pilot eager to experience a whole new perspective as a Cobra gunship pilot. Believing that Nixon’s Vietnamization would soon end the war, Reeder was anxious to see combat action. To him, it appeared that the Americans had prevailed, beaten the Viet Cong, and were passing everything over to the South Vietnamese Army so that Americans could leave.
Less than a year later, while providing support to forces at the besieged base of Ben Het, Reeder’s chopper went down in a flaming corkscrew. Though Reeder survived the crash, he was captured after evading the enemy for three days. He was held for weeks in jungle cages before enduring a grueling forced march on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, costing the lives of seven of his group of twenty-seven POWs. Imprisoned in the notorious prisons of Hanoi, Reeder’s tenacity in the face of unimaginable hardship is not only a captivating story, but serves as an inspiration to all.
In Through the Valley William Reeder shares the torment and pain of his ordeal, but does so in the light of the hope that he never lost. His memoir reinforces the themes of courage and sacrifice, undying faith, strength of family, love of country, loyalty among comrades, and a realization of how precious is the freedom all too often taken for granted. Sure to resonate with those serving in the armed forces who continue to face the demands of combat, Through the Valley will also appeal especially to readers looking for a powerful, riveting story.

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