The title Xuc May roughly translated from Vietnamese means “never happen.” All the stories in this book are based on my recall of actual events, most of which I took part in during my tour of duty with an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit in South Viet Nam.
Xuc May was originally written to leave a permanent record for family and friends; it was never intended to be a literary masterpiece or commercial property. No military secrets are revealed or personal reputations compromised.
One of the driving forces in publishing these stories was to provide a contrast between EOD operations with 10-man units and 2-man teams in Viet Nam as opposed to the current 44-man units with 6 or 8-man teams. In 1969 EOD hadn’t any robots or computers or even body armor for its men who daily disarmed mines and booby traps.
I have refrained from recounting gory details or controversial military operations; rather the stories are intended to give an honest account of day-to-day life in a 10-man EOD unit while at war.
An astute reader may, after careful thought, discern what motivates men to accept the challenge of disarming explosive ordnance designed solely to maim or kill. I hope these tales will enlighten the reader to our joys and sorrows, loneliness and heartbreak that every soldier experiences when away from home. I hope it also explains the comradery and loyalty that develops among members of a small EOD unit while serving in a war zone.
(This is a reprint of XUC MAY with minor updates.)