“Our Year of War: Two Brothers, Vietnam, and a Nation Divided”
Thomas and Chuck Hagel
by Daniel P. Bolger
Bravo Company – 2nd Battalion (Mech) – 47th Infantry
9th Infantry Division – Riverine Soldier
Two brothers–Chuck and Tom Hagel–who went to war in Vietnam, fought in the same unit, and saved each other’s life. They disagreed about the war, but they fought it together.
1968. America was divided. Flag-draped caskets came home by the thousands. Riots ravaged our cities. Assassins shot our political leaders. Black fought white, young fought old, fathers fought sons. And it was the year that two brothers from Nebraska went to war.
In Vietnam, Chuck and Tom Hagel served side by side in the same rifle platoon. Together they fought in the Mekong Delta, battled snipers in Saigon, chased the enemy through the jungle, and each saved the other’s life under fire. But when their one-year tour was over, these two brothers came home side-by-side but no longer in step–one supporting the war, the other hating it.
Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and his brother Tom epitomized the best, and withstood the worst, of the most tumultuous, shocking, and consequential year in the last half-century. Following the brothers’ paths from the prairie heartland through a war on the far side of the world and back to a divided America, Our Year of War tells the story of two brothers at war–a gritty, poignant, and resonant story of a family and a nation divided yet still united.
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