Just Dust: An Improbable Marine’s
Vietnam Story – Second Edition
Just Dust is the first-person account of a reluctant serviceman. It is the story of how a young man unprepared to make meaningful decisions, decides to join the US Marine Corps in 1965. Skinny, tall, and a self-proclaimed “wimp,” Wes Choc sweats through boot camp, isolating himself, not making many friends … but ever-so-barely making the grade despite predictions otherwise. He is so different that only leftover boots from WWII even fit his oddly-sized feet.
After crossing the Pacific aboard a trio of consequential US Navy vessels (USS Vancouver, USS Iwo Jima, USS Thomaston), PFC Choc was posted to two historically significant places, Hill 55 and Khe Sanh. The author details his experiences inside Vietnam, including carrying radio for his captain, jobs examining personal effects of those killed in action to finally returning home to unimagined pursuits in Washington, DC.
Despite being at the forefront of the Vietnam War, the author does not tell a Rambo-type or more typical John Wayne-type war story. Evaluative and observational, Just Dust is more journal than history, more about trying to fit in than being admired, more about trekking roads less traveled than just being a grunt.
This pensive narrative from a contemplative skeptic poses questions that many will identify with immediately from their own parallel journeys. What core values nurtured by the military process also offer important life lessons? Are unconventionalities, inexperience or attitude things that make one more worthy as a person, or less worthy a Marine? What was actually gained from this Vietnam experience that mattered most? In the end, the author’s meditations lead him to grasp what Semper fi meant to him then and means to him yet.
Wes Choc grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, until 1965 when he joined the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam era. Since the end of his military service in 1969, he has lived in a dozen states across the country throughout his more than forty years in business working for the American Automobile Association. In 1992, he was appointed president and CEO at AAA MountainWest, overseeing all business and club operations in Montana, Wyoming, and Alaska. After retiring from AAA in 2008, he and his wife, Carol, moved to Arizona; they now live in northwest Tucson.
Just Dust is available in paperback online at Amazon.com, Google.com, or Barnes&Noble.com as well as in various other e-book editions.
To buy this book, go to: amazon.com for the listing and for more information.
Wes Choc is also available for speaking engagements at libraries, book stores, military clubs, assisted living facilities, or wherever veterans may meet.