Company of Heroes
A Forgotten Medal of Honor and Bravo Company’s War in Vietnam
Osprey Publishing, Oxford, United Kingdom, 2015, 320 pages
Book Review published on: April 14, 2017
I highly recommend this book to professionals throughout the service, past and present. Company of Heroes is a snapshot in time that conveys the story of Leslie Sabo, a true American hero, and the men he served with him. Author Eric Poole does a brilliant job of describing the actions of this hero during the Cambodian Campaign in 1970 that lead to Sabo’s nomination for the Medal of Honor. Unfortunately, the nomination packet was lost and ultimately forgotten by the Army. However, the bond among this small band of warriors was so strong that they were unwilling to let Sabo’s actions go unnoticed, and they fought for over forty years to get him the recognition he so richly deserved.
The tale of Sabo and the men he served with epitomizes the experiences of American infantrymen in Vietnam. Young, innocent, and inexperienced in combat, the infantrymen had to quickly adapt to the environment and realize that, in order to survive, they had to band together and protect one another. Sabo adapted well to his role in combat; the author portrays him as being at peace and ready to give his life for his country and his brothers in arms, and Sabo did just that. On 10 May 1970, Sabo's unit was on an interdiction mission near Se San, Cambodia, when it was ambushed from all sides by the Vietnam People’s Army. Sabo repeatedly exposed himself to North Vietnamese fire, protecting other soldiers from a grenade blast and providing covering fire for American helicopters until he lay mortally wounded.
Poole is a wizard at constructing the events surrounding this truly inspiring story. The only cons to the book are its length—it is far too long—and some of the material revolving around the soldiers’ prewar civilian lives that did not lend to the story and could have been omitted.
The value of reading this book lays in its lessons for the current generation of those serving: the lessons of selfless service and professionalism that can be gleaned from this wonderful story of Sabo and his friends, comrades, and brothers. Company of Heroes is a must read for anyone who has doubts about why men and women serve our country and are willing to pay the ultimate price for freedom with their lives.
Book Review written by: Col. James L. Davis, U.S. Army, Retired, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas