Steel Rain, the Tet Offensive

Steel Rain, the Tet Offensive now has 23 5 star reviews including at least one from Canada. This is the most recent review:

“John Harrison does an eloquent job writing what it was like being in the infantry during the Vietnam war. I know, I was in the infantry in Vietnam. There is a statistic which states that only 1 out of 10 who served in Vietnam were in the infantry. All of us have been asked what that was like at one point since our return. It is an impossible question for most of us to answer in part much less in full. John Harrison manages to do this in his book, Steel Rain, the Tet Offensive. So, if you are inclined and wonder what it was like, or you want to tell someone else what you went through, buy this book. Show it to your friend. It tells that story. To, “LT” John Harrison- thank you Sir.Salute.”

Steel Rain, the Tet Offensive is available from Amazon in both paperback and Kindle format. Please give it a look.

Steel Rain, the Tet Offensive


More reader reviews. Eighteen 5 Star reviews, and now readers in Canada and Great Britain are buying my new book Steel Rain too.

Top customer reviews

Ronald G. Ford

February 8, 2018

Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase

Wow hell of a ride LT it’s hard to believe 50 years have past.Congrats on a great book I got it Tuesday evening and finished reading Thursday morning.The chapters I enjoyed the most were the ones I had no memory of.It seems my mind shut down for several months after 2/2/68 I know I was there and I’ve been told I did my job and fairly well but no memories of it yet February 2 is still sharp in my mind.i am very proud to call you friend without your leadership in and out of the field a lot of us would have never made it home.See you in D.C in a few days PS I had to smile reading about Gaffney with a bottle of Jack when the ammo dump blew up I can see that like it was yesterday the sky glowing with explosion and fire Captain G hollering and shouting orders and never letting go of that bottle.It always has reminded me of a scene out of Gone with the wind when Atlanta was burning.Maybe we should get a bottle of Jack and have a toast .Sound good ? Sgt Ron Ford


Amazon Customer

February 4, 2018

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
John is the soldier speaking the truest story of Vietnam. I will confirm his action as I was in a different company same battalion, fighting the same battle.

Steel Rain, the Tet Offensive by  john harrison

The Problems With Media Coverage of the Vietnam War Were Only Increased by the Ken Burns PBS Documentary

by: john harrison

The true story of the Vietnam War is dying out. The men that made that history like those before them are now rapidly becoming history themselves. While the Vietnam War was incredibly poorly covered by print journalism, it was well photographed. Those photographs and particularly the information that has come out from North Vietnam since the Vietnam War ended have already given lie to many of the most popular myths about the war. Unfortunately, there are many more myths are still out there, still getting in the way of the real story of what was the Vietnam War.

Except for a few venturesome souls, even Ken Burns agreed in his recent documentary that the print journalists covering the Vietnam War mostly stayed safe in Saigon. They did not really go out and cover the war like the intrepid journalists of World War II. That was particularly true during the Tet Offensive. It is hard to say you are covering a war when you do not really ever go look at it, but that did seem to bother these journalists.

I think that this may have been the first war where it was specifically dangerous to just be a journalist. That is, not only were they subject to the same risks as everybody else in a war zone; the journalists themselves were also purposefully targeted. The photographers had always had that risk, so they did not care. According to Ken Burns the print journalists in the Vietnam War did not respond as well. There were of course numerous exceptions, but they, and their work, was generally ignored.

Part of the problem with sifting out the truth today is that these print journalists covering the Vietnam War were and are very smart. They knew that the winds of public approval would change sometime, because these winds always change. So, they planted a few bombs for later use when people complained about the pervasive bias in their coverage.

For example, before he left Vietnam after covering some of the Tet Offensive there, Walter Cronkite did say in one report that MACV had said that the VC were taking a beating in the Tet ’68 battles still going on. However, when he got home to New York in his one and only editorial comment, a major announcement that was itself big news, on the progress of the Vietnam War Cronkite said that the people that were saying that the VC were taking a beating in the Tet battles were the same ones that had misled America so many times before about the Vietnam War and that they should not be believed again. It was classic, “have my cake and eat it too” journalism. When he was attacked years after the war for bias in his coverage, Cronkite immediately trotted this quote out as evidence of the contrary but ignored his later, much more highly covered, editorial.

As someone who had reported on and lived through the Battle of the Bulge during World War II, Cronkite above all the other journalists reporting on the war should have known better. As America’s greatest living journalist, Cronkite should have done better. He should have done his job.

More recently, someone has analyzed the editorial content of the major newspapers during the Vietnam War and determined to their satisfaction that by far most of them supported the Vietnam War editorially. I don’t know whether that is true or not, but it is utterly irrelevant. It was the reporting on the Vietnam War that was defective, not the editorials. It was the constant claims of a “credibility gap” by the people covering the war from the comfort, and relative safety, of Saigon that was the problem.

These reporters, many of whom had never studied war, who had never gone to the field to look at the war for themselves, who were appalled by the bloody detritus that war churned up constantly, chose to simply disbelieve official reports and to substitute their own judgements. Just like Ken Burns, who presented only those veterans who were now ashamed, or dissatisfied in some way with their Vietnam service in his “documentary” when every poll shows that well above 80% of the veterans who actually served in Vietnam were proud of their service, these reporters too built a case, rather than filed a report on the Vietnam War.

There is a big difference between building a case and conducting a through investigation of facts as a reporter, and that singular difference is the principle problem with almost all of the reporting, and many of the books on the Vietnam War. It is not their “point of view” that is the problem, it is actual, willful, bias based on almost uniform ignorance of the war itself. No-one can reliably report on a battle in Phan Thiet from the rooftop bar of the Caravelle Hotel in Saigon, but that is what they demonstrably tried to do. Unfortunately, having made these ridiculous reports, they now feel compelled to defend them.

In a way it is similar to when the complaints started coming out about problems with the initial M16 rifle. The Army, in reply to numerous articles in several newspapers, put out a much hyped report that the M16 was X times more likely to fire the first shot than the vaunted AK47. All true, but that is a test of ammunition reliability, not a test of rifle reliability.

The problem with the first M16s surfaced only with the second or third shot, and they surfaced a lot. The true test of a rifle’s reliability is its ability to fire X rounds without a failure in a simulated combat situation. Had they made that test, the AK47 would have blown the M16 out the door. The AK probably still would, but even that does not make it a better infantry weapon, things like accuracy, rifle weight, weight of ammunition, bullet performance, ergonomics, ease of maintenance, etc., all come into play then. So, both sides played the same game, building a case rather than telling the truth.

The people making the M16/AK47 tests knew that they were functionally lying, they were after all real experts, but they did it anyway, just like Cronkite did when he made his famous “editorial comment”, just like Ken Burns did when he limited his “Vietnam War veterans” in his PBS documentary to only those of the anti-war persuasion even though they had to be harder to find.

It is a very real problem for actual historians of the Vietnam War that there is this sort of overlay of total crap out there, some from both sides, that they have to sift through to find the real stories still hidden down there somewhere, and now the real stories are all dying out as the Vietnam veterans ever more rapidly disappear.


At least one true story of our time in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive can be found in my new book, Steel Rain, the Tet Offensive which is available on Amazon both as a paperback and on Kindle. Please give it a look. See;


Best reader review of my new book “Steel Rain, the Tet Offensive 1968”

on February 8, 2018
quite possibly the finest infantry in Vietnam book I’ve read. He puts you there and shares things the average person just doesn’t know but will find fascinating. Warning, when you start it, you will finish it.

First Review for “Steel Rain, the Tet Offensive”

Got my first review for “Steel Rain, the Tet Offensive” on Amazon. ( Thanks Jerry Berry. Reviews help as a fellow author Jerry knows that.

Jerry Berry 
5.0 out of 5 stars Continuing the Legacy
February 2, 2018

Format: Paperback

John and I have known each other since 1967, when we came together as members of the 3-506 at the unit activation in April of that year. While in training at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, we trained together in the swamp of George, and the mountains, of Tennessee for combat in South Vietnam. As an airborne battalion, we deployed together aboard the USNS General William Weigel in October 1967, headed for combat together in Southeast Asia.
The Currahees of the 3-506 saw its first combat in South Vietnam on Veterans Day, November 11, 1967. As paratroopers, we fought and died together in the Central Highlands and Coastal Plains of a small, virtually unknown country named Vietnam to prevent the spread of Communism in that part of the world.
We cried together when fellow teammates died on the battlefield. Those of us who survived the horrors of the Vietnam War came home together, yet will never be whole again. A part of us will always remain behind in the blood-soaked ground of Vietnam, yet we still stand tall and proud as paratroopers and Americans soldiers. We continued the legacy of our proud unit and honor our WW II predecessors by answering the call to duty when our nation greatly needed our fighting skills, remembering with pride the profound words of Col. William H. O. Kinnard, who was the assistant chief of staff to Gen. Anthony C. McAuliffe, commander of the 101st Airborne “Screaming Eagle” Division of WW II–“To those of you left to read this last daily bulletin–do not dwell on the disintegration of our great unit, but rather be proud that you are the ‘old guard’ of the geatest division ever to fight for our country. Carry with you the memory of its greatness where ever you may go, being always assured of respect when you say, ‘I served with the 101st.”’
I can attest to the validity of Lieutenant John Harrison’s detailed account of his tour of duty as a platoon leader and executive officer for Company A, 3-506, because I was there with him as we trekked through the jungles and rice paddies of South Vietnam in search of the enemy. AIRBORNE, SIR!
– Jerald W. Berry, paratrooper, rifleman, and battalion PIO, Vietnam 1967/68.
Author of “The Stand Alone Battalion”, “My Gift To You”, Twelve Days In May”, In The Company of Heroes”, and the soon to be released “They Called Us Currahees”.

Many of my Vietnam stories are now a book on Amazon–Steel Rain, the Tet Offensive 1968.

Steel Rain, the Tet Offensive 1968” is available on Amazon right now in paperback and Kindle format. Many of the stories have been re-written, added to and now are placed in the chronological order that they occurred. In addition, I have written a short piece for each story placing it in context. Please give it a look.

A Question of Honor, or the lack thereof

A Question of Honor,

or the lack thereof

by: john harrison

Serious athletes should avoid at least three of of the Ivy League universities in the future. So should all serious students intent on an education. Real gentlemen and real ladies need not apply, they will not be welcome there.

New Jersey’s Princeton University has suspended its entire men’s Swim Team over the offensive content on a team message service. This marked the third such action against an Ivy League athletic squad since this November, 2016. The move comes after New York’s Columbia University suspended its wrestling team and Harvard University in Massachusetts canceled its men’s soccer season.

However, collective punishment is simply wrong. It is both absolutely wrong headed and utterly ignoble to knowingly punish innocent people on purpose, no matter how noble the aim, no matter how pure the goal. The ends do not justify the means. How often must we relearn this? It is basic to a civilized society. One would have hoped that a truly great university would have understood this. Sadly, one would have been wrong, three times in a row.

Common sense tells anyone that collective punishment is lazy, counterproductive and particularly unfair to those who follow the rules. Clearly common sense, ethics and even simple morality are in short supply even at the highest levels at Princeton, Harvard and Columbia universities.

In Discipline with Dignity, a respected classroom management book by Richard Curwin and Allen Mendler, the conclusion is clear: “Group punishments are almost always ineffective. They generate resentment in the innocent students who learn to think that they might as well break the rules because they will be punished anyway, and they teach the rule violators that they will not have to take responsibility for their actions. Focus instead on teaching correct behavior through natural and logical consequences.” It is extraordinary that Columbia, Princeton and Harvard need to relearn this.

Let us remember again that the ends never justify the means. Mussolini may well have made the trains run on time. Togo may well have wanted to solve the critical Japanese problem of lack of natural resources. And, Stalin may have been a sincere communist. However, what all three of these have in common is that they all, along with Hitler and all the other despots from the beginning of time, repeatedly engaged in collective punishment. Collective punishment is a weapon, it is a preferred tool, of a tyrant. Innocence is not only not a defense, it is not even relevant.

Collective punishment, is absolutely banned under international law. Think about that for a minute. Under the 1949 Geneva Conventions, collective punishment is defined as a war crime. What have Columbia, Harvard and Princeton done? Where is the outrage?

Anyone that goes to Princeton, Harvard or Columbia do so at the risk of their athletic career, and their much more importantly, of their very soul. They will not be taught to excel, they will be taught that only power matters, not law, not morality, not ethics, just raw power.

If the problem at these universities was really an entire team culture issue, then that is a coach problem and easily solvable. A team should reflect the culture of the university. Unfortunately, it seems that the Harvard soccer team, the Princeton swim team and the Columbia wrestling team do reflect what can only be described as an abusive culture at these universities, and in the worst possible way.

The leaders of these three universities should be ashamed. The NCAA should investigate and punish these universities for their reprehensible actions. They have dishonored themselves and their universities in the most basic of ways. Of all of the people in America, they should have known better. We trusted them with our youth. They have abused our trust, and our children.