Dean Kohler was just about to sign a recording contract when he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1965. He was a guitarist, singer and practically engaged to his high school sweetheart. Before he could locate Vietnam on a map, he had finished basic training and landed in Vietnam.
He might have been trained to fire a gun or toss a hand grenade, but he was nineteen years old and didn't understand what the war was about or why he was asked to possibly forfeit his future or even his life. He had no understanding of the people he would find in Vietnam or what their feelings about the war were.
At this time, the military seemed to do little to prepare soldiers for what they would encounter. (My brother-in-law was sent to Vietnam at about this time and was similarly uninformed). Within a few years, most draftees knew considerably more about the conflict than these earlier recruits did. The war and its pros and cons became a daily dialog in this country very quickly.
It is eventually Kohler's music that allows him to escape the horror of the war and the daily fears of serving as an M. P. in difficult, often horrific, situations. With encouragement from his commanding officer, he recruited other musicians, sent home for equipment like microphones and instruments and eventually got a band together. They toured bases across the country, trying to bring some music into the lives of homesick, scared servicemen. The camaraderie the venture brought him and the music he got to play got him through his year in Vietnam. His return home is also detailed briefly.
Rock'N'Roll Soldier is a memoir intended for teenagers. There are some sexual situations and typical soldier language but it is handled fairly discreetly.
Kohler continued his involvement in the musical business for many years.
Disclosure notice: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher (or his agent) at no charge to me. The publisher (or his agent) neither stipulated nor received from me any promise that the book would be the subject of an endorsement or review, either positive or negative.
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