Incident at Muc Wa

War Story (Jim Morris)

I was in Vietnam as a reporter in 1964. Among other stunts, I hooked up with a Special Forces A Team based at Cheo Reo in the Central Highlands. (You can read about them in The Only War We've Got.) Jim Morris was in the team that replaced these guys a few months later, and he inherited their interpreter, a handsome Montagnard called Cowboy, who unbeknownst to the Americans was a leading figure in an independence movement called Fulro, for United Front for the Liberation of Oppressed Races.

Morris tells his own story--the American story--of his multiple tours as a Green Beret in Vietnam. But running through it is the parallel story of Cowboy, who becomes a warlord in his own right--a sort of "fourth force" in this many-pronged war whose major participants were the South Vietnamese, the North Vietnamese, and the Americans. Cowboy worked for the Americans, plotted for the Montagnard, and may well have been murdered by the South Vietnamese.

I discovered this book long after it was published, when it was recommended to me by one of the Green Berets I'd known in 1964. I'm delighted to see that it's still available. It belongs on the shelf of any student of the Vietnam war.

Later: more recently, I read this book again, and more carefully, when I was researching Cowboy's life story. The result was Cowboy: The Interpreter Who Became a Soldier, a Warlord, and One More Casualty of Our War in Vietnam -- Daniel Ford

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Cowboy: interpreter, warlord, one more casualty

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