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Richard Botkin

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Former United States Marine Corps Major Richard Botkin “graduated from the University of Michigan's School of Business.  He served from 1980 to 1995 on active and reserve duty as a Marine Corps infantry officer with units to include 2nd Battalion 7th Marines, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, and 4th Force Reconnaissance Company. His understanding for Southeast Asia has been enhanced by the nine medical/dental mission trips he helped to organize and lead to Cambodia between 1998 and 2007, and four trips to Vietnam, including one with his main Vietnamese character Le Ba Binh, to specifically do research for Ride the Thunder. Botkin currently lives with his family in northern California, where he is an investment advisor for a major brokerage firm.”  Richard Botkin is the author of Ride the Thunder: A Vietnam War Story of Honor and Triumph.

According to the book description of Ride the Thunder: A Vietnam War Story of Honor and Triumph, “Richard Botkin breaks new ground in telling the heroic story of a few American and Vietnamese Marines who fought brilliantly and turned the tide of the Vietnam War, only to have policymakers surrender the battlefield. Botkin recounts the exploits of the American Marines and their Vietnamese allies who were largely responsible for thwarting the North Vietnamese invasion of the northern portions of South Vietnam—known as the 'Easter Offensive of 1972' in the West that was intended to bring the nation to its knees. These are the men who 'rode the thunder' and almost saved a nation. Botkin tells the story of Captain John Ripley's daring raid to destroy the Dong Ha Bridge; Major Le Ba Binh and his seven hundred Marines bravely holding off more than 20 thousand North Vietnamese troops; Lieutenant Colonel Gerry Turley's leadership and bravery that helped thwart the Easter Offensive—and much more.”


Andrew R. Finlyson said of Ride the Thunder: A Vietnam War Story of Honor and Triumph, “I just finished reading this book and to be honest it brough tears to my eyes as I read about the heroism and sacrifice of the brave South Vietnamese and American Marines whose stories are told within its pages. As a Vietnam Vet and former US Marine, I found this book truly spellbinding and enlightening. Mr. Botkin is an exceptionally gifted writer who relates his story in a very compelling and entertaining way, filling every page with pathos, historical detail, action, and political insight. I personally know several of the participants in Mr. Botkin's book and he captures their personalities perfectly and in the most engaging way. Their acts of courage will inspire any reader who values the traits of a warrior. There is no need to resort to hyperbole when Mr. Botkin tells the story of several key participants in the defense of Quang Tri Province during the 1972 TET invasion by the North Vietnamese. Each of these participants, both Vietnamese and American, are larger than life heroes. Their stories are told in this book for the first time - and what stories they are! If you have an interest in the Vietnam War and would like to know the truth about how bravely our South Vietnamese allies fought and why they ultimately lost the war, this is a book you must have. I also highly recommend it for anyone with an interest in the human aspects of combat and the enduring triumph of the human condition despite overwhelming odds. In short, I consider this one of the very best books ever written about the Vietnam War.”


Ray Johnston Senior Pastor Bayside Church and President of Developing Effective Leaders said of Ride the Thunder: A Vietnam War Story of Honor and Triumph, “I love history that combines information with inspiration.  Ride the Thunder tells the history of the Vietnam War in a way not told before. It is a must read for those seeking a better grip on the heroism, commitment and class of the people who serve our nation.  Anyone reading these stories of dedication and sacrifice detailed and then applies that to their faith and family will be changed beyond all recognition.”

Ride the Thunder: A Vietnam War Story of Honor and Triumph
Richard Botkin  More Info

General Anthony C. Zinni, USMC (Retired) said of Ride the Thunder: A Vietnam War Story of Honor and Triumph, “Richard Botkin has written a brilliant account of the bravery and skill of a small group of American Marine advisors and the courageous Vietnamese Marines who fought to the end.  For those of us who served as advisors to these Marines, it is a moving, personal story magnificently told.  It is a must-read for all who want to understand the true nature of the Vietnam War.”


General Carl E Mundy, Jr., USMC (Retired), 30th Commandant of the Marine Corps said of Ride the Thunder: A Vietnam War Story of Honor and Triumph, “Richard Botkin places the reader in the middle of the war through the experiences of several U.S. Marine officers who served as advisors to the Vietnamese Marines—a Corps that, like our own, was one of the elite units of the Vietnamese armed forces.  The resulting story gives the reader a personal view of the men from both Corps who fought so nobly together, and a glimpse of true heroism, sacrifice, and overcoming challenges few are familiar with.”


Rear Admiral Jeremiah Denton, US Navy (Retired), former U.S. Senator from Alabama said of Ride the Thunder: A Vietnam War Story of Honor and Triumph, “Ride the Thunder by Richard Botkin is a great contribution toward correcting the myths that still prevail about the Vietnam War.  This is a powerful book, one that every veteran and patriotic American should read.”


Major General John S. Grinalds, USMC (Retired), President of The Citadel 1997-2005 said of Ride the Thunder: A Vietnam War Story of Honor and Triumph, “Ride the Thunder should be read by anyone interested in understanding the Vietnam War.  Ostensibly a story about the proud connection between the U.S. Marine Corps and the Vietnamese Marine Corps, it is also a compact account of the politics and economics of that sad episode in American warfare.  It provides a context of the world and domestic U.S. scenes that conspired to make this a war that—despite the heroism of these men on the battlefield—could never be won.  It is a book that will bring the reader to tears of admiration and frustration.”

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