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MIKE Force: A Novel of Vietnam's Central Highlands War

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A soldier serving with the MIKE Force in Vietnam wakes up every day knowing it might be his last. You don't run with the indigenous Montagnard strikers expecting to live forever. That's the nature of the beast that haunts American advisors serving with the tough little highland tribal volunteers in Vietnam's misty, enemy-infested central highlands. It's tough, demanding du A soldier serving with the MIKE Force in Vietnam wakes up every day knowing it might be his last. You don't run with the indigenous Montagnard strikers expecting to live forever. That's the nature of the beast that haunts American advisors serving with the tough little highland tribal volunteers in Vietnam's misty, enemy-infested central highlands. It's tough, demanding duty and just the kind of thing that attracts military mavericks like former Peace Corps volunteer Galen St. Cyr, who finds empathy and a new, mystical identity with the Jarai tribesmen of his MIKE Force unit. He finds himself on the outskirts of the regular U.S. military along with hand-picked American, Australian, and Vietnamese Special Forces advisors and quickly discovers that duty with Montagnard soldiers involves more than just beating the bush and killing the enemy. The world of the Jarai is both primitive and complex, and learning to survive in it is the challenge of Galen's turbulent life. On a journey that becomes as much spiritual as military, St. Cyr virtually becomes Jarai, taking a hauntingly lovely native lover who commands a squad of assassins and listens to spirit voices, and deals with tribal separatist elements who are planning an anti-government coup.


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A soldier serving with the MIKE Force in Vietnam wakes up every day knowing it might be his last. You don't run with the indigenous Montagnard strikers expecting to live forever. That's the nature of the beast that haunts American advisors serving with the tough little highland tribal volunteers in Vietnam's misty, enemy-infested central highlands. It's tough, demanding du A soldier serving with the MIKE Force in Vietnam wakes up every day knowing it might be his last. You don't run with the indigenous Montagnard strikers expecting to live forever. That's the nature of the beast that haunts American advisors serving with the tough little highland tribal volunteers in Vietnam's misty, enemy-infested central highlands. It's tough, demanding duty and just the kind of thing that attracts military mavericks like former Peace Corps volunteer Galen St. Cyr, who finds empathy and a new, mystical identity with the Jarai tribesmen of his MIKE Force unit. He finds himself on the outskirts of the regular U.S. military along with hand-picked American, Australian, and Vietnamese Special Forces advisors and quickly discovers that duty with Montagnard soldiers involves more than just beating the bush and killing the enemy. The world of the Jarai is both primitive and complex, and learning to survive in it is the challenge of Galen's turbulent life. On a journey that becomes as much spiritual as military, St. Cyr virtually becomes Jarai, taking a hauntingly lovely native lover who commands a squad of assassins and listens to spirit voices, and deals with tribal separatist elements who are planning an anti-government coup.

46 review for MIKE Force: A Novel of Vietnam's Central Highlands War

  1. 4 out of 5

    William Bennett

    He had me on the first page. In Mike Force, Shaun Darragh has penned a very enjoyable read about an aspect of the Vietnam War that has received far too little attention. His novel is a story of Special Forces’ “private” army: the MIKE Force. Shaun Darragh served in Vietnam on a Special Forces Operational Detachment A (SFOD-A), and with the II Corps MIKE Force. Darragh has capitalized on his experiences in Vietnam and his strong historical knowledge to craft a novel that reflects the reality of wo He had me on the first page. In Mike Force, Shaun Darragh has penned a very enjoyable read about an aspect of the Vietnam War that has received far too little attention. His novel is a story of Special Forces’ “private” army: the MIKE Force. Shaun Darragh served in Vietnam on a Special Forces Operational Detachment A (SFOD-A), and with the II Corps MIKE Force. Darragh has capitalized on his experiences in Vietnam and his strong historical knowledge to craft a novel that reflects the reality of working with indigenous forces in an extremely complex socio-cultural-politico environment. Consequently, his novel includes elements of a war story, a spy story, and, of course, a love story. Darragh’s plot line intertwines the stories of a FULRO1 plot for a second uprising in 1968, the “Vietnamization” of the MIKE Forces, and the personal story of a young Special Forces captain, Galen St. Cyr, and his love for the Po Lan, or clan leader, of the Jarai, a Montagnard tribe in the central highlands of Vietnam. Of particular interest to this reader was Darragh’s reflection of the diversity that was Special Forces in the mid-Sixties. Veterans from the Korean War and the First Indochina War and members from the Australian Army soldiered alongside recent graduates from the high schools and colleges of America. Career NCOs and officers soldiered alongside “first termers.” The protagonist, St. Cyr, reflects that diversity having had a failed stint in the Peace Corps before enlisting in the U.S. Army. In some works, Montagnard and Vietnamese characters are often little more than caricatures. In reality, not all were good; nor were all bad and the roles Darragh has these characters play reflect that reality. Darragh’s work is ethnically, geographically, and historically accurate except for small exceptions required to lend credence to the story. Though classified as a historical novel, old MIKE Force hands should be able to identify a few of their comrades from whom Darragh drew his characters or relate to some of the actions he depicts. Of import to the civilian reader, Darragh makes selective use of footnotes to assist the reader with acronyms and colloquialisms. Also of note, Darragh strikes an excellent balance with his use of ethnic colloquialisms in the dialogue. Vietnam veterans and veterans of MIKE Force, in particular, will find this story especially enjoyable. But, Darragh’s audience should not be limited solely to veterans; even civilians will enjoy this novel. Novels have long impacted our understanding of history and the application of the military craft. The students of the Indochina wars and irregular warfare will want to put this work on the shelf next to Chapter LX member Jim Donahue’s works on the MIKE Force and Jean Larteguy’s The Centurions and The Praetorians. The Dega won the First Place in the 2010 Florida Writers Association Royal Palm Literary Awards for unpublished historical fiction.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Merrell Branstetter

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lorna G. Cessna

  4. 4 out of 5

    ED Anthony

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jessika Richter

  6. 5 out of 5

    mabon cornwell

  7. 4 out of 5

    Heather Milliron

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kami Pineda

    A great story! Thoroughly believable, the mountain tribes who helped are real n unfortunately were left behind except for a few who manage to escape whether thru us or on their own. Same thing happened in Irag or Afghanistan, use locals to help n leave them.

  9. 5 out of 5

    winston sapp

  10. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Winkler

  11. 4 out of 5

    Leigh Ann

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lee Wallace

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sherri Olson

  14. 5 out of 5

    Warriors Publishing

  15. 4 out of 5

    Barbara L. Mason

  16. 5 out of 5

    DS

  17. 4 out of 5

    fay m withers

  18. 5 out of 5

    Unbridled Books

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ross L. Webster

  20. 5 out of 5

    Arturo

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kim

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ray

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ted

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Heare Watts

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jean

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

  27. 5 out of 5

    Zandt McCue

  28. 5 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  29. 5 out of 5

    Micielle

  30. 5 out of 5

    Diana

  31. 5 out of 5

    Robert

  32. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Reader

  33. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Bradley

  34. 4 out of 5

    Ann Ellis

  35. 5 out of 5

    Pam

  36. 5 out of 5

    Julia

  37. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Schwarzer

  38. 4 out of 5

    Leland Lee

  39. 4 out of 5

    Karen Michener

  40. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

  41. 5 out of 5

    Stacia Chappell

  42. 5 out of 5

    Coleen

  43. 4 out of 5

    Grace

  44. 5 out of 5

    Jill

  45. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Johnson

  46. 5 out of 5

    Sweetpea

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