Cherries - A Vietnam War Novel by John Podlaski

The scores of naive, frightened, and awed young men arriving daily in Vietnam were branded “Cherries” by their peers.  Thrust into an unpopular war, these new recruits had much to learn before being accepted and fully trusted by their brothers.  The first few months in country served as an intense learning experience, where they saw, heard, and endured things never thought humanly possible.  When they had finally learned how to fight in the war, it was time for them to go home.

This story follows an eighteen year-old “Cherry” serving his year in Vietnam.  He and his fellow soldiers would experience more fear, sadness, and pain during their tours of duty than most men would endure in a lifetime.  These boys are forced to become men virtually overnight, learning the ropes quickly to make life or death decisions, while depending upon one another to survive.

Throughout their transitions from Cherries to war-hardened veterans, their experiences are at times educational, horrific, comical, and tragic in their never-ending search for the enemy through the dark, wet, bug-infested jungles and mountains of South Vietnam.

John Podlaski served in Vietnam during 1970 and 1971 as an infantryman with both the Wolfhounds of the 25th Division and the 501st Infantry Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division.  He was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star, two Air Medals, and a Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.  He has spent the years since Vietnam working in various management positions within the automotive industry and has recently received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration.  Now works in sales and logistics for a Belgium company that supplies gears and shafts for transmissions and diesel engines.  John is a member of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 154 and lives with his wife, Janice, in Sterling Heights, Michigan.  They own a 1997 Harley Davidson Heritage and are both members of the Great Lakes Chapter of South East Michigan Harley Owner’s Group. This is his first novel. Division and the 501