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Reviewed by Roy T. James for Readers' Favorite
Soul of the Eagle: A Chaplain Assistant's Recollection of the Vietnam War by Philip V. Bulone begins in 1967, when he joins the 101 Airborne Division Chaplain Unit of a well known group, notable as a rapid reaction force since the invasion of Normandy. After a brief foray into the historical relevance of chaplains on the war front, as well as introducing a few colorful ones among them, he describes the role the chaplain plays in preparing the soldiers for their fights and the experience of living with them. Conducting prayer services, praying over wounded and dying men who cry out for absolution, and escorting some really adventurous chaplains who chose to join the patrol teams and be in the field where the basic lesson of gun handling he received during orientation days is put to the test, makes interesting reading.
Soul of the Eagle: A Chaplain Assistant's Recollection of the Vietnam War by Philip V. Bulone is as absorbing as a thriller. Preparing the fighting men before their moves and tending to the injured and the badly mutilated ones among both the American and South Vietnamese combatants is portrayed realistically. So is the threat from the Vietcong guerrillas and their merciless attacks on US troops as well as on defenseless civilians. The experiences Philip gained in handling God’s ministry with the chaplains as well as in their absence, and how that enabled him in his duties back at home, is described in these pages. The shock of not being welcomed as heroes but rather as killers ‘who would be greeted by cries of “baby killers,” “go back, murderers,” and other horrific chants by young and older people dressed in tie-dyed shirts, with ribbons in their hair, and long-haired men smoking marijuana’ also reverberates in this book.