Here is what readers are saying about Care Under Fire:
One Man’s Vietnam Experience With Lessons For Us All
This is an extraordinary book. Bill Strusinski has done an excellent job of sharing his story as a combat medic in the Vietnam War. It is a war story, a coming of age story, a reflection on the political and social situation of the late 1960’s, and much more.
As a young man drafted into the Army, Strusinski left his home in St. Paul, MN, and after basic training and medic training, learned he was going to Vietnam to serve as a medic with soldiers fighting in the jungles along the Cambodian border. You experience how adversity, fear, and brotherhood transform him, on an accelerated schedule, into a man of courage and conviction.
I came of age in the late 60’s, stateside, with an entirely different set of experiences. This book helped me appreciate the sacrifices these young men made in service to us and our country. While many were wounded and lived thanks to the efforts of medics like Strusinski, it seems all of them suffered invisible wounds…of traumatic experiences, of living through death and destruction, and of rejection when they returned home…which they carry still today. Strusinski’s book fills me with a profound gratitude for these soldiers and their service.
Strusinski tells his story in an easy, conversational manner, as though talking with friends over a cup of coffee. Yet he is able to articulate much of what he and his brothers in arms were unable to share with us for decades. Read this book.
The Account Not Told By the Scholars and Politicians
I have read many books, articles and papers on the Viet Nam War. None have provided a more down-to-earth feel and understanding of that wars daily danger, stress, anxiety, comradeship, courage, and often individual nobility as does Bill Strusinski’s “Care Under Fire”
In offering the sense of the real day-to-day Strusinski provides the reader a emotional connection to his fellow 19 to 22 years old fellow soldiers of varied race, geographic and economic circumstance yet each now dependent on one another in a distant place in dangerous days. “Care Under Fire” reveals an empathy in its author that all of us wish to find in the bedside manner of any medical provider. In this case it is manifested and matured in a jungle of venomous snakes, giant mosquitoes amid a committed and dangerous enemy combatant possessing encouragement to shoot the “Doc”.
This book is neither military critique nor political manifesto – it is a up close and personal story from the heart of one who still today clearly cares for his fellow soldier as much as he did then.
“Care Under Fire” is a readable and moving account that is worth the read.
I am glad the author shared his story and you will be glad you read it.
“My best living condition in Vietnam were in a base camp tent. Is it any wonder that I’ve chosen to avoid camping for the rest of my life?” page 42. My father-in-law, a captain in the 4th Marine Division, after his time island hopping in World War II, said the same thing.
I enjoyed this memoir particularly as the stories ring true and are honestly presented. As an army medic in Vietnam the author can give a broad view of powerful events. I have read memoirs written by soldiers from the World War I, World War II, Vietnam, and the first Gulf War and this one ranks in the top tier.
I am glad the author shared his story and you will be glad you read it.
An honest and highly personal account
Bill Strusinski’s memoir of his tour of duty as a combat medic in Vietnam is a good read…a very good read. His narrative benefits from both his clear writing and storytelling style. His organizational skill and his eye for narrative detail provide the reader with both a personal and historical context that adds depth to his narrative. As a combat vet myself (101st Airborne) I found much in his narrative to relate to. He does a good job of weaving together the individual and universal threads of his story..
Strusinski was a front line medic. Medics are intimately involved with their patients, carrying a double burden of being combat soldiers as well as healers. It’s no accident that so many combat medics received the nation’s highest awards for bravery.
There is much humor in this book, some of which is genuinely funny and some of which is the nervous gallows humor of people working in high stress situations. There is other emotion, too. Bill does not flinch from revealing moments of stark terror that comes with a firefight or ambush. This has the effect of making the narrative more human and more honest.
Finally, there is pride — the kind of genuine pride a person feels who has taken on a tough job and done it well. This pride is evident in the way he talks about his comrades, his unit and his job and, yes, on his own performance.
There is much to recommend in this book for those who have been to war and for those who seek to understand the emotions and feelings of warriors.
Disclosure; i worked with Bill for many years before we ever talked about our war experiences. This book is a good reflection of his character and strengths.
How to take immediate control, and make decisions, when everyone is counting on you!
A really great read! I read almost the whole book the day I got it. From his childhood to getting Drafted into Vietnam, Bill Strusinski, brings you right into the Main Body of the book. Which was his Heroic Combat Experience as a Young man, thousands of miles from home, and the person the guys referred to as “Doc!” He was there on Patrol, and did his Job, when he was called upon to do so. He Fought Along side his Military Brothers, and rendered aid, when they needed it. His experience talks about the difficult situation, that he was in. To be that age and have a few weeks of medical training, then sent to war. The decisions he had to make, under Duress, and in Combat, with basically no one to call for help. He had to learn to make decisions quickly. The follow up of the book explains what it was like when he came back home, and the way that he now saw life, from a different perspective. How that Vietnam Experience, basically molded him into the person he is today! He was able to take that early experience and move forward and apply himself to someone that does good for all. Awesome book, good read. Recommend for anyone that wants to know what it was really like, and inspiring for anyone to see and know what he did with his life after the war
Care Under Fire a must read
I am an avid reader as evidenced by my library of well over 1,000 books. Only one other of those holds the same distinction of Care Under Fire – I did not put it down once I started reading. Riveting, well written, poignant, sobering and most importantly, the price this nation sacrifices to ensure our freedoms. I have known Bill Strusinki for nearly 35 years and found him to be a very special person, Care Under Fire provides those insights on what combat does to a person and Bills journey in life illuminates the phrase of triumph of the spirit. It makes no sense but Bill made sure it made sense. I felt like I was there and to use the phrase that war is hell is woefully inadequate in what we ask the youth of our nation to do. I called Bill upon finishing the book and thanked him for his service (which I had done before but a new appreciation upon reading) and applauded his ability to share and more importantly, dedicate his life to improving public policy. Character of a monumental order.
“Care Under Fire” Review
have been friends with the author, Bill Struzinski, for over 50 years. During this time, I’ve found Bill to be kind, thoughtful, compassionate, intelligent, and humble. After reading “Care Under Fire”, I now have a better understanding of how those traits and characteristics were developed. I would highly recommend this book as it clearly portrays the physical and mental challenges that my friend dealt with as a medic in Vietnam. Bills actions were heroic and I am proud to call him my friend
Good decision making
This version of the Vietnam war is unique as seen through the eyes of a medic turned lobbyist. I am close in age to the author and remember the many different conflicts at home as well as the news of latest conflicts in Vietnam. Strusinski is a gifted decision maker with actual experience to validate his claims in war and at the capitol. This book gave me a different perspective of the Vietnam war due to the good logic and decision making of Stuinski Way to go “doc”.
‘Care Under Fire’ is good read
‘Care Under Fire’ gives a personalized view of the Vietnam War from a Vietnam Combat Medic who served in the war. This book gave me a better insight into a war that happened when I was 5 & 6 years old and into how an why it had a long term affect on those that served. Thank you for your bravery, compassion, patriotism and service Mr. Strusinski and to all that served.
WOW – this reflection was deep, raw and inspiring.
I kept on thinking about how timely it was to read about the sacrifice, fear, preparedness (or learning on the fly when under prepared), and the tumultuous events and emotions that shaped this time period. I think for so many, there was not a feeling of closure, but catharsis. Hopefully we can continue to learn from the past and the pressure of current events can lead to a sense of forgiveness and renewal. After reading this, I have a deeper gratitude for frontline responders and for the difficult decisions that had to be made to survive.
Vietnam then and now
Bill Strusinski offers an intimate and personal perspective on an important part of our country’s history. His memoir is a powerful and valuable inspiration drawing from family and childhood formation on the east side of St. Paul to the realistic trenches and dangers of Vietnam. It’s an easy and engaging read that offers insights into a past that continues to shape our country during these challenging and perilous times.
The book brings a human perspective from the trenches to the Vietnam War
When I first met the author seven years ago in his role as a lobbyist, he portrayed a certain humble confidence that I believed, but didn’t understand. After reading “Care Under Fire” and learning of the heroic and humbling experiences of his service as a medic in Vietnam it’s crystal clear how and why that confidence is not only earned, but accurate. Bill’s story of his time as a combat medic will help you appreciate the fear, accomplishment, pain, happiness but mostly grace under fire that a kid from St. Paul showed during a very difficult time in our history. For me it also brought a very complicated subject (the Vietnam War) and personalized it in a way that helps me appreciate all our vets (especially the “grunts”) even more. The book is well worth your time, and may make you think differently about a lot of things in life. Great job Bill and thanks for your service.
A Common Man Placed in Extraordinary Situations…Who Came Out of it an Exceptional Human Being.
This book is a view of the Vietnam war through the eyes of a common, young man from Minnesota. The story is told in a voice that is best described as hearing it from a close friend from across your kitchen table.
The messages and lessons learned over a 366-day military tour are ones of courage, sacrifice, honor and most of all humility.
Care Under Fire should be a must read for all middle school, high school and history students. My only hope is that this fine book is made into a motion picture to allow the story to be told visually in detail.
The feeling of being there.
I loved this book. I came away with a different
Feeling about this war. And it made me feel like I was there.