© Copyright 2011 Terry Tibbetts - Author All Rights Reserved.
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From Clark Welch, Don’s comrade in Vietnam:
Don Holleder was tough, blunt, straight forward, driven, victorious, and destined for even greater accomplishments, even more glorious victories. But from the very first pages, the future loss of that great man overshadows the exciting well-written stories of his athletic strength and team victories, the close portrayals of his personal discomfort, and the accurate stories of his military adventures. Even as the wonderful story of the young Don Holleder unfolds, I dreaded reading forward to the horrific actions leading inevitably to the terribly sad loss of this great son, athlete, cadet, Soldier, husband, father. On the day Don Holleder was lost, I was in action with 142 brave young Americans, trying to fight and survive as we were ambushed and massacred by 1,400 men of the People’s Army of Vietnam. I have since that battle of October, 1967, met twice on that battlefield with my then-enemy Commander, Colonel Triet. We have become very close. His men were then reduced to eating leaves and grass, because we had found his cached rice - I said “your men were tough,” he responded “All Soldiers are tough.” The game we were playing was truly a Spartan game. He continued "on this day, no one won; we left because we had killed all the Americans." As the book very accurately describes, we were being savagely beaten by a much larger, stronger force and desperately needed help. Sixty-two brave young Americans died of the fighting that day. We desperately needed help and Don Holleder played out the last minutes of his last game as a Spartan would have - he was the only officer of the US Army who moved towards us to help. Don Holleder was the only officer who moved toward the sound of the guns to help save the suffering, beleaguered American Soldiers. On that horrible day, we all did the best we could. Those of us who survived will continue to honor and thank God for that great Soldier, Don Holleder, who played a Spartan game right to the last second. This book realistically lays out the life of the young Don Holleder; we can dream along with him about what his future would hold; how I wish we could have seen this Spartan return with his shield, and not on it.
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