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Arthur Wiknik, Jr.

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Arthur Wiknik, Jr. served in Vietnam with Co. A 2/506th of the 101st Airborne Division as an infantry squad leader from April 1969 to March 1970.  He was one of the first in his unit to safely reach the top of Hamburger Hill during the final assault.  A few months later, he prevented a possible attack on a remote firebase by discovering a nearby enemy weapons cache.   Arthur Wiknik’s writing credits include stories in Chicken Soup for the Brother and Sister Soul, Chicken Soup for the Mother and Son Soul, Chicken Soup for the Father and Daughter Soul and Chicken Soup for the Veteran’s Soul books.  He has also had articles in Army, Soldier of Fortune, Players, North American Whitetail, Rural New England and Heading Out magazines.

Proud of his military service, Arthur gives talks at schools, colleges and civic organizations about his Vietnam experiences.  A dedicated community volunteer, Arthur is a 17-year member of the Haddam Memorial Day Parade Committee, is a founding member of the Haddam Veteran's Museum and is a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Arthur lives in Connecticut and works as a Technical Recruiter.  He is available for book signings and to give presentations on his Vietnam War experiences. Arthur Wiknik, Jr. is the author of Nam-Sense: Surviving Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division.

According to the book description of Nam-Sense, it “is the brilliantly written story of a combat squad leader in the 101st Airborne Division. Arthur Wiknik was a 19-year-old kid from New England when he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1968. After completing various NCO training programs, he was promoted to sergeant "without ever setting foot in a combat zone" and sent to Vietnam in early 1969. Shortly after his arrival on the far side of the world, Wiknik was assigned to Camp Evans, a mixed-unit base camp near the northern village of Phong Dien, only thirty miles from Laos and North Vietnam. On his first jungle patrol, his squad killed a female Viet Cong who turned out to have been the local prostitute. It was the first dead person he had ever seen.

Wiknik's account of life and death in Vietnam includes everything from heavy combat to faking insanity to get some R & R. He was the first man in his unit to reach the top of Hamburger Hill during one of the last offensives launched by U.S. forces, and later discovered a weapons cache that prevented an attack on his advance fire support base. Between the sporadic episodes of combat he mingled with the locals, tricked unwitting U.S. suppliers into providing his platoon with a year of hard to get food, defied a superior and was punished with a dangerous mission, and struggled with himself and his fellow soldiers as the anti-war movement began to affect his ability to wage victorious war.

Nam-Sense offers a perfect blend of candor, sarcasm, and humor - and it spares nothing and no one in its attempt to accurately convey what really transpired for the combat soldier during this unpopular war. Nam-Sense is not about heroism or glory, mental breakdowns, haunting flashbacks, or wallowing in self-pity. The GIs Wiknik lived and fought with during his yearlong tour did not rape, murder, or burn villages, were not strung out on drugs, and did not enjoy killing. They were there to do their duty as they were trained, support their comrades - and get home alive. "The soldiers I knew," explains the author, “demonstrated courage, principle, kindness, and friendship, all the elements found in other wars Americans have proudly fought in.”

 

On reader of Nam-Sense said, “Wiknik's NAM SENSE is one of the best memoirs by a grunt, and I've read most of them. I was in Wiknik's battalion but did not know him. His sense of the absurdities in the Army as well as the real strains on a grunt in the field are more candid that most memoirs. I can vouch for the authenticity of the story on page 63 about the soldier hanging from the chopper by a rappelling rope ... it was my unit that was being inserted, and I can never forget the horror of that event. I would rate Wiknik's book among the best VN memoirs along with those of Brennan, Burns, Foley and O'Brien.”

 

On reader of Nam-Sense said, “NAM SENSE, as the parody of this title suggests, is an AMAZING story, which undoubtedly rings as true today as it did 40 years ago when it all happened! It was written by a bright and capable man who never wanted to be in the Viet Nam war, nor any war for that matter, but who made the best of an ugly situation, in order to keep himself and his men alive. As a Non-Commissioned Officer at a very young age, Art Wiknik Jr. was forced to deal with all of the ugliness of war: macho superior officers, hunger, mistakes, uncertainty, homesickness, lack of love, death of friends and fellow soldiers, and the constant fear of never returning home alive. His book is a candid exposé of the reality of war, including the psychological trauma inflicted by fighting a war that was not supported by a large contingent of the American people. The writing is riveting, sometimes horrific, but always honest in its portrayal of his inner emotions, as counter as they sometimes were to logic or sanity. In it, you can feel the frustration, anger and pain that these young soldiers experienced as they were thrown into a war that no one (except the military "Lifers") wanted to be in. Many of his experiences make one wonder why we value the lives of our young men and women so little when we send them to war, and when they come home after they have sacrificed so much. The realities of Wiknik's life as a soldier, the emotional roller coaster he felt and the fear of imminent potential death must parallel the same emotions felt by our brave soldiers now in Iraq, especially as support for the present war is waning. This is a MUST READ for those interested in the inner feelings of brave young men sent to war, no matter which continent, no matter which century.”

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