— William Westmoreland United States Army general 1914 - 2005
Westmoreland's foreword to Beyond Nam Dong (1998) by Roger H.C. Donlon
Kontext: The Green Beret... proudly worn by the United States Army Special Forces... and acclaimed by our late President, John F. Kennedy, as "a symbol of excellence, a badge of courage, a mark of distinction in the fight for freedom..." In Vietnam the men of Special Forces were the first to go. They frequently fought, not in great battles with front-page attention, but in places with foreign sounding, unknown names; and often times no names at all. One such place was Nam Dong. In July of 1964 this Special Forces Camp, in the jungle-clad mountains near the Laotian border, came under a fierce attack. It was the first time that regular North Vietnamese Army forces joined the Viet Cong in an attempt to overrun an American outpost. The North Vietnamese reinforced battalion of eight hundred men was determined to eliminate this camp- an impediment to their further infiltration down the Ho Chi Minh trail from Laos to the south of Vietnam. Roger H. C. Donlon, then a captain and, commander of Special Forces Detachment A-276 at Camp Nam Dong along with his brave twelve-man team, 60 Nungs and 100 loyal Vietnamese successfully defended the camp. For their valor two of his sergeants were posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Four other team members were awarded Silver Stars, and five more Bronze Stars with V for valor. Roger Donlon was the first soldier I recommended to receive the Medal of Honor for heroism which was later presented to him by President Lyndon Johnson. He was the first soldier of the Vietnam War to receive this award. "Beyond Nam Dong" is his personal story... from his scouting days as a boy in upstate New York, through the Vietnam conflict, to his present efforts at reconciliation. It is the inspiring story of a courageous soldier and patriot.