One Hell of a Ride: Inside an Armored Cavalry Task Force in Vietnam by Colonel William C. Haponski

One Hell of a Ride: Inside an Armored Cavalry Task Force in Vietnam by Colonel William C. Haponski

Combatant Books

February 15, 2009


Book Goes Inside Both Enemy and Friendly Forces in Vietnam Combat


Combatant Books, a Florida small press, has published One Hell of a Ride: Inside an Armored Cavalry Task Force in Vietnam by retired Army Colonel William C. Haponski, the task force commander.

Lieutenant General Frederic J. Brown (Ret), former Chief of Armor and Cavalry US Army, and an armored cavalry task force commander himself in Vietnam, said on Amazon.com, “The historical treatment, general research, NVA content, and ability to write well make this absolutely the most comprehensive, best book on combat in Vietnam I have read.”

Against the backdrop of the full range of Indochina Wars 1945-1975, Haponski chronicles the dark and dangerous days in the III Corps area north of Saigon, presenting a microcosm of the entire Vietnam War.

His research base consisted of over 13,000 pages of combat records from National Archives, translations of enemy histories by a retired CIA officer, hundreds of testimonies from combatants, and his own extensive journals, letters, audiotapes, photos and films, and secondary sources, especially those revealing the area and enemy.

In the foreword to the book, General of the Army Jean Delaunay, a former Chief of Staff of the French Army, acclaimed it as “a magnificent work for future generations.”

The story, always focusing on the critical area north of Saigon, moves from French colonial experiences in Indochina into massive involvement of American forces. Then Haponski takes the reader inside the action as his task force conducts relatively quiet pacification operations which suddenly erupt into violent combat against regiments of two NVA divisions. The book continues with Vietnamese battles in this area after withdrawal of American forces in 1972 to the fall of Saigon in 1975. Finally, Haponski presents the post-Vietnam experience of returning to the scenes of battle and finding the little Vietnamese girl he loved, the same age as his own daughter, now a grown woman with a family.

Alternating slices of short time periods, some as brief as a minute or two taken from the records, he uniquely presents the major combat actions from both viewpoints as enemy and friendly forces are trying to destroy one another.

Brigadier General John “Doc” Bahnsen, author of American Warrior, said, “Bill Haponski describes the gut wrenching human side of the Vietnam battlefield in living color as only a caring combat commander can.”

Renowned military historian Lewis Sorley, author of A Better War, said, “This authoritative account is destined to become an instant classic of small unit warfare.”

Haponski is a 1956 graduate of West Point, and was awarded five medals for valor in Vietnam, including the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, and Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

He resides in Florida with his wife of 54 years, Sandra, where he is working on additional books on the Indochina Wars.

Click here to purchase One Hell of a Ride at Amazon.com.


Contact the author:

William C. Haponski, Ph D

combatant@combatantbooks .com


Contact the publisher:

Combatant Books

8284 SE 176th Lawson Loop

The Villages, FL 32162

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