Wolff, the future author of This Boy's Life, barely finished high school and skipped a summer job on a Coast and Geodetic Survey ship to enlist in the Army at 18. He went to paratroopers jump school and, despite being lazy and a rebel, managed to get an officer's commission because he had what they call "command presence." Just before, during, and after his service, he visited his estranged father, an inveterate liar and con artist from whom the boy had been estranged for three years.
In Vietnam Wolff was stationed near My Tho in the Mekong Delta, well out of the way of the action (his primary dangerous mission during the initial period is to steal a TV set from officers quarters at another base over Thanksgiving so he can watch "Bonanza") until the 1968 Tet Offensive surprised American and South Vietnamese forces all over the country.
This report prepared by David Loftus