Night of the Silver Stars

The Battle of Lang Vei
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Published:October 16, 1997
By William R. Phillips (Author)

During the night of 6-7 February 1968, two dozen U.S. Army Green Berets and several hundred indigenous troops held off a numerically superior force of North Vietnamese tanks and infantry in one of the finest, most exciting examples of collective bravery, endurance, and the will to survive any war has produced. Here for the first time is the full account of that violent, deadly stand by Special Forces team A-101 at the tiny compound of Lang Vei. Nineteen Silver Stars, a Distinguished Service Cross, and a Medal of Honor were awarded, yet until now the battle has languished in the war's shadows. Making use of extensive interviews with survivors, recently uncovered oral histories, and official records, author William Phillips presents astounding tales of individual and team courage against overwhelming odds. He vividly recounts the story of eight Green Berets who held out all night against tank, grenade, and flamethrower attacks. He details the embattled camp's controversial and much-delayed relief and extraction—not by the U.S. Marines from Khe Sanh nine miles away but by super-secret MACV-SOG commandos and an air campaign of unprecedented proportions.

Phillips focuses on four Green Berets, including his first cousin, missing in action since the battle, to deliver a poignant, unforgettable portrait of some of America's finest soldiers leading their cherished Bru and Hre montagnard charges in the battle of their lives. A Vietnam combat veteran himself, Phillips weighs and analyzes the conflicting stories of snarled communications, faulty weapons, countermanded orders, and service rivalries to flush out the truth of Lang Vei. His balanced, highly readable account serves as a testament to those special warriors of whom so much was asked during the Vietnam War.

List Price: $34.95
Member Price: $27.96
Product Details
  • Subject: Vietnam War
  • Hardback : 208 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (October 16, 1997)
  • ISBN-10: 1557506914
  • ISBN-13: 9781557506917
  • Product Dimensions: 6 X 9 in
  • Shipping Weight: 14 oz
  • "The story of the Battle of Lang Vei is presented here in detail, with unswerving dedication to objectivity and accuracy by its author...I am pleased to recommend [this] book." — William C. Westmoreland, Gen., USA (Ret.)
  • "Bill Phillips has done a splendid job researching and re-creating one of the most harrowing battles of the Vietnam War." — Stephen Hunter, author of Point of Impact and Black Light
  • "A truly remarkable a war distinguished by small unit actions, two dozen Army Green Berets and several hundred indigenous troops established a battle plan at Lang Vei that is still being recalled and related to today. That battle represents the finest combination of U.S. and indigenous troops in cooperation during combat, and Phillip's account confirms completely the Special Forces' confidence and support of its Vietnamese compatriots." — Francis J. Kelly, Col., USA (ret.)
  • "Night of the Silver Stars should be required reading for all students of military history." — James C. Donahue, author of Mobile Guerrilla Force
  • "As one whose own experience in Vietnam was almost prosaic by comparison, I stand in awe of the men of Lang Vei and am grateful to William R. Phillips for recording their heroism." — John Cardinal O'Connor, Rear Adm., USN (Ret.)

William R. Phillips served nine years of active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps, advancing in rank from private to sergeant before being commissioned as a second lieutenant upon graduation from Penn State in June 1963. He served twelve months in combat in Vietnam, from March 1965 to February 1966. Phillips holds a Lifetime Master classification with the National Rifle Association and was a member of numerous prize-winning high-power riffle teams. He is currently treasurer of Bucknell University and secretary of the Investment Committee of the university's Board of Trustees. He lives in rural north-central Pennsylvania with his wife, Peggy. Phillips is the author of six articles on special operations warfare. This is his first book.

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