With 40 Raiders and POWs contributing their heart-lifting stories, Who Will Go: Into the Son Tay POW Camp is released to mark the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking Special Operations mission.
"The 50th Anniversary of the Son Tay Raid is Saturday Nov 21st. I’ve just completed a 7-month journey writing a book heralding the Raid and all those who made the Raid possible. I was the youngest Raider and my book is entitled Who Will Go: Into the Son Tay POW Camp.
It includes stories by 40 of the Raiders, participants, and POWs, written in their own words for this book.
I explain my experience from Special Forces training, to the mission, to returning home. There are books about the raid written by aircrew and historians, but none by the Special Forces who were on the ground that night."
-- Terry Buckler
President of Chapter XXIX, The Arthur D. “Bull” Simons Chapter of the Special Forces Association
November 21st, 2020, is the 50th anniversary of the Son Tay Raid. The POWs and the participants in the Raid tell their stories in Who Will Go: Into the Son Tay POW Camp. The book provides a first-hand account capturing the story of the youngest Raider, Special Forces Warrior, Sergeant Terry Buckler. You experience the Raid through the eyes of this red-blooded American boy from the heartland who volunteered for the Army, the Green Berets, the Vietnam War, and the secret mission to rescue POWs in the most heavily protected enemy territory.
Knowing only that Colonel Bull Simons was looking for volunteers for a secret, danger-ridden mission, Buckler committed himself to it. The training began at undisclosed locations. They developed new tactics and employed never-before-used technologies. So shrouded in mystery, the mission’s true objective was not revealed to the Raiders until the day of the launch. Who Will Go describes Terry's journey from his home on a mid-western farm, through the Army Special Forces training pipeline.
He finds himself working with Special Operations legends Bull Simons, Dick Meadows, and Generals Blackburn and Manor, as they planned and executed the Son Tay Raid under the direction of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Then the book shares “the rest of the story” through never-before-shared accounts from aircrew members, Prisoners of War, and other Special Forces Raiders who were on the ground inside the camp.
This is a full picture of the Son Tay Raid, living it through the eyes of the men: the secret planning, humorous stories of training, heartbreak as the radios broke news real-time, and finally, the immediate and lasting benefits told by the POWs themselves for this book.
Professional military studies textbooks used by Special Operations Forces of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines teach the Son Tay Raid (Operation Ivory Coast, Operation Kingpin). It is a gold standard for spec ops mission planners. The lessons learned from this mission directly influence modern special operations missions. Examples include the raid on the Osama bin Laden compound. This book is a great addition to those works on Special Operations, told by the men who actually lived it.
Also, Who Will Go is a gripping action story, easily accessible to readers who are not familiar with military history.
I stand up and do a couple squats to get the blood flowing in my legs after sitting most of the three hours. I re-adjust my head set so I only have one ear covered and the other ear uncovered so I can hear Capt Dan. I re-check that my CAR-15 is set for rock & roll and my 30-round clip is in. I pull EJECT just to confirm I have a round in the barrel. The last thing I want is to have my weapon go “click” with my first shot when I step on the enemy’s territory. I feel my web gear to re-confirm that I have my grenades and that all my ammo is secured in my ammo pouches. My PRC-25 radio is squared away on my back. I have over 70 pounds of gear, but with the adrenaline pumping through my body I move as if I don’t have any extra weight.
As was rehearsed, all raiders are making the same checks to their equipment and each warrior is preparing to do what we came here for and that is to bring our POWs home. Mental checks. Say our prayers. Now it’s time to do our job.
Then, just as we are settling to the rice paddies at Son Tay and we are about to burst out the tail of the chopper onto the battlefield, I hear in my headset the voice of SFC (Sgt 1st Class) Howell, LtCol Sydnor’s RTO: “ALTERNATE PLAN GREEN!” “I repeat: ALTERNATE PLAN GREEN! DO YOU COPY?”
This is the first of the bad news I would hear tonight.
Terry Buckler was the youngest Son Tay Raider. His patriotism and optimism shines throughout the memoir as he threads his nine "Life Lessons" throughout the storyline. Among his peers and his leaders, he proved himself every step along the way by his character—and by topping off Basic Training with a rare perfect score on the Army’s Physical Fitness Test. In the 1970s, Ross Perot helped him secure a job at EDS, launching his business career. Years later, Buckler founded his own document imaging business, Delta Systems, based in Kansas City. Buckler is President of the Colonel Arthur D. “Bull” Simons Chapter XXIX of the Special Forces Association.
“Buck” has been instrumental in the Son Tay Raid Association which coordinates the Raiders to offer students of military history the perspectives of the Raiders themselves. A highlight was his leadership arranging a grand reunion in 2014 that included a televised ceremony at Kansas Speedway honoring the Raid and the Raiders at the start of the NASCAR race seen by millions.
Publishers and news media can contact Cliff Westbrook to arrange interviews, signings, and copies for book reviews at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This book will appeal to current military, veterans, military historians, and civilian lovers of action novels.