Thursday, March 17, 2022

Not Paid Eleven Cents an Hour to Think Book Spotlight

Today, I have a military memoir to share with you!  Check out Not Paid Eleven Cents an Hour to Think and learn about author Jim Gibson!

Memoir (Military)

Date Published: January 22, 2022 (Hardcover coming March 2022)

Publisher: Acorn Publishing

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About the Book

Jim Gibson was flying to the other side of the world, barreling toward what he feared could be the end of his life. In 1968, five hundred American soldiers were dying every week in Vietnam. Outfitted in brand new, scratchy, combat jungle fatigues and boots, the twenty-year-old Army Private and trained Combat Medic found himself on a plane to a place he had never been, to fight a war he didn’t believe in. Young men like him were being drafted against their will every day, called into a war that made no sense to them. Vietnam, they thought, was a war orchestrated by relics; old white men and corrupt politicians willing to expend countless lives for personal gain. Still, it was no use to resist. There was nowhere to go, and the FBI made sure there was no place to hide.

 Read an Excerpt


December 1, 1968

I WAS ON this huge airliner flying into what I thought could be the end of my life.

By “huge airliner,” I mean a Stretch DC8, one of the biggest flight vehicles in the world. I was among about 225 other young soldiers flying west over the Pacific Ocean, headed for Vietnam on this military-chartered jet aircraft. Our country was losing sometimes five hundred soldiers a week at that point. I was twenty years old, an Army Private E-1, a trained Combat Medic, dressed in brand new, scratchy, combat jungle fatigues, wearing a pair of brand new, uncomfortable combat jungle boots. Most of us kids were scared to death. Some were sniffling and crying as we started our descent into Vietnam. I wasn’t afraid as I sat there in my seat and read The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ.

After a while, the sound system came on and the pilot told us we were soon to land. He told us to prepare ourselves as the aircraft would have to make a steep, radical dive as it approached the runway and that he would then have to, in a similar manner, bring the plane’s nose up just before landing. This to avoid being hit by enemy fire. The officer of the flight then came on and told us we were to get off the plane rapidly once we landed, then quickly make our way to a nearby concrete bunker. We were told to wait there for further instructions.

The officer had given us his orderly instructions but as soon as the plane landed and the doors opened, other voices commanded us: “Get out! Get out! Get out! Move! Move! Move! Get your asses off this plane! Now!”

There was a lot of pushing and shoving. The line of soldiers shuffled forward, and I moved with the rest until I was there at the doorway where we were practically being thrown off the plane. As I began moving out of the air-conditioned plane and down the ramp, I was hit with what seemed to me a blast furnace of humid air. Once on the ground, I was also greeted with an awful, nauseating smell. Somebody said it was the scent of burning shit. Oil barrels, cut in half, filled with soldiers’ shit soaked in diesel fuel and lit on fire.

The jet’s engines roared as the pilot began moving the plane down the runway to make room for the next transport coming right up behind him. I followed others to a bunker, then sat on my duffle bag in the heat. Men were running around yelling. Loud booming noises came from different directions off in the distance. It was getting dark.

There was a continuous loud sound of something like whomp you could feel coming from all directions. You could feel it in your bones. Helicopter blades thudded in the distance. It was then that an intense fear consumed me as I realized the absolutely insane madness that I had descended into.

This was Vietnam.

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About the Author

Jim Gibson was born in Santa Barbara, California in 1948. Growing up he was fascinated by the world around him, a curiosity that drove his love of reading at a young age. He has carried this passion for reading and desire for understanding throughout his whole life. In Not Paid Eleven Cents an Hour to Think, Jim recalls his fourteen months in Vietnam as an Army Medic and ambulance driver. In exploring his past and the lessons he learned, he considers what we must do to carry on. Mr. Gibson, now a happily retired grandfather, occasionally teaches abstract painting and other art classes in his community. He resides in Orange County, California.

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