Through the Valley

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by William Reeder Jr.

The gripping memoir of the final U.S. Army man taken prisoner during the Vietnam War, Through the Valley, is a must-read. Through the Valley is more than a war story; it is a story of courage, hope, and survival. It also depicts the thrills and horrors of war, the terrors and anguish of imprisonment, and the stories of new and old companions.

William Reeder was a senior captain serving in Vietnam for the second time in 1971. During his first deployment, he flew armed fixed-wing OV-1 Mohawks on covert missions deep into enemy territory in Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam. He returned as a helicopter pilot, wanting to see the world through the eyes of a Cobra gunship pilot. Reeder was eager to witness combat action because he believed Nixon's Vietnamization would bring the conflict to an end quickly. To him, it looked that the Americans had won, that they had defeated the Viet Cong, and that they were handing over control of the situation to the South Vietnamese Army so that the Americans could depart.

Reeder's helicopter went down in a blazing corkscrew less than a year later, while giving support to soldiers at the beleaguered base of Ben Het. Reeder escaped the collision, but he was apprehended three days later after eluding the enemy. He was detained in jungle cages for weeks before being forced to march on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which claimed the lives of seven of his twenty-seven POWs. Reeder's resilience in the face of incredible adversity while imprisoned in Hanoi's renowned prisons is not only a compelling narrative, but also an encouragement to all.

William Reeder discusses the agony and sorrow of his struggle in Through the Valley, but he does it with the optimism that he never lost. His story reaffirms themes of bravery and sacrifice, unwavering faith, familial strength, patriotism, comrade ship, and an understanding of how valuable freedom is, which is all too often taken for granted. Through the Valley will appeal to readers searching for a dramatic, fascinating novel, as well as those serving in the military services who continue to confront the strains of battle.

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— William Reeder Jr., Through the Valley