CALL ME SERGEANT ROCK (How a Boy Becomes a Man in Vietnam)

CALL ME SERGEANT ROCK (How a Boy Becomes a Man in Vietnam)

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About CALL ME SERGEANT ROCK (How a Boy Becomes a Man in Vietnam)

'They are walking parallel to our position. I close my eyes tight and start to pray again. I believe in God with all of my heart and soul, but I know that it is time for Chuck and me to go to heaven tonight.'

'I look at Chuck, my best friend, and notice that he is praying also. He finishes his prayer and looks at me. His eyes tell the story. He knows that this will be our last night on earth. Chuck also knows that he and I will be in Heaven soon. He glances at me again and tilts his head as if to say, “We just said the same prayer, and thank you for being my friend.” '


SERGEANT ROCK evolved from a naïve, morally good, Christian, church going, baseball playing, skinny little college kid to a hardcore well-trained killing machine in Vietnam. From California to the Tet Offensive of 1968, the cultural shock is overwhelming! He is thrust into war and killing. He finds that his approach to life and death has to be changed quickly. Sgt. Rock is pressured to change his values but he holds fast to his beliefs. He, at times, does things uncharacteristically to save others. Sgt. Rock’s attitude toward killing and death changes for the worst, but his approach toward life improves. Sgt. Rock is a much better person for the choices he makes.
In the course of a single Tet Offensive battle, Sergeant Rock’s company loses all but thirteen men in just two hours. His faith increases when he actually meets his guardian angel amidst a desperate battle. He knows he needs help for he cannot save everyone by himself.
Sergeant Rock quickly learns that just staying alive comes at a premium price. It takes a quantum amount of deaths to save a few. His responsibilities go from taking care of only himself, to being responsible for the lives of his men, and the deaths of hundreds of his enemy. Sergeant Rock knows whom he can depend on to save lives. He knows which men to watch because if they don’t adhere to his directions they, or someone else, will die.
He pushes his squad and his friends to their limits, because he knows that death for all may be just past the next bush. He may be only twenty but he thinks like a forty-year-old veteran. The body count soon is shoved so deep in his mind he wonders if he can ever be around normal people again.
Sergeant Rock experiences many horrors, such as watching a head being cut off from a VC. He watches friend after friend die as heroes. He is challenged with decisions about what’s right and what’s wrong. He quickly sees that not all things are black and white.
Friendly fire for sleeping on guard duty wounds a man in Sergeant Rock’s squad. This is another dilemma he has to figure out.
In every company there are comedians, killers, liars and heroes. Mike Rydser makes plenty of jokes and makes everyone laugh. He also cuts off a head of a VC. Sgt. Rock believes that Mike Rydser holds a wounded, captured VC under water until he dies then unties the VC from the stretcher. The VC is floating down the river. Mike Rydser’s comment was, “He tried to escape Sarge!” Chuck Lewis is Sergeant Rock’s best friend and right hand man. They are from the same area in California. Chuck and the Sergeant fight side by side. Emerald is afraid of everything. Sergeant Rock teaches him to kill or be killed at the DMZ, by leaving him by himself to defend a position.
The hardships his squad must face, such as going without fresh water or clothes for fifty-seven days, being shot down several times in a chopper, and just trying to stay alive is overwhelming. Sergeant Rock and his company fight the VCs and NVAs all the way north to the DMZ, losing men and being mentally strained as they traveled.
How much can our minds take before they crack? Sergeant Rock believes that it is only through divine intervention that he is alive to tell his story.


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