Aug 22, 2023
Riding Shotgun With Charlie
Author, Vietnam Veteran
It's a great feeling when someone recommends a passenger and it works out well. Robin Bartlett was referred to me. I reached out, did an introduction, and he sent me a copy of his book. After reaching out and setting up an interview date, we were able to make the show happen.
We start by talking about some of the nonsense that are New Jersey gun laws. To add to the “fun”, in New Jersey BB guns aren’t legal. And aren’t serialized, too. When he goes out to target shoot, Robin transports everything legally, of course, and keeps his paper with him as well.
At the age of 8, Robin was caught with .22 rounds, a hammer, and a chisel. He and his friends were opening the cases and lighting the gunpowder. It was then his dad knew it was time for some gun safety lessons! (PS: Don’t Try It At Home!) While living in Virginia, he joined the Davy Crockett Junior Rifle Club and started with a .22 rifle doing the NRA qualification program. He’s done years of target shooting through college years doing all of the NRA programs.
Robin is from a long line of military men who went to West Point. After his friends enlisted and were reassigned, he decided it was time to join the ROTC. He spent 6 years as a career officer and spent time in Vietnam. He was assigned to the 101st Airborne, which was a good assignment.
Robin spent time leading the younger troops, which weren’t much younger. And learning from some of the older leadership, which wasn’t much older. His main objective was to his men in the platoon; it wasn’t to have a high body count of the enemy. He was responsible to get everyone home safely. It didn’t always go that way of course. He tells us a gut wrenching story about the first loss he had. He had to make due and fly with some bodies that didn’t have bags. They only had ponchos to wrap the bodies in.
Eventually Robin was given a job at the 14th MHD. He didn’t know what it was. He asked others what it was and they didn’t know either. He finally was pointed in the direction and found a tent that said 14th Military History Detachment. Their motto was “You fight it. We write it”. He was given a job that was what he went to college for as a comparative writer. Out of the three who had writing in their background, he was the only one to take the job.
The job was in a tent that came with things like cots, refrigerator, two fans, and a shower. He was required to do quarterly reports and review the lessons learned. These reports became the official battle reports. Sometimes they were told to be less than truthful. In one instance, they were not able to get a count of the enemy killed because the Vietnamese took the dead off the field. Robin was told to give a false number and make it real.
When he got out he got into publishing and spent years in the publishing business. He talked with several other Vietnam vets about their experiences. And they weren’t all the same. After getting feedback about experiences, he decided to write about his experiences. His mother saved all of his letters in the original envelopes with the dates stamped on them. He was able to relive the war with what he remembered and what he wrote. It took him 10 years to turn it into his book, Vietnam Combat: Firefights and Writing History.
The book is very unique in that he was able to put the memories and letters together. It’s an exciting read that I”m sure you’ll enjoy. You can find the links below to Robin’s social media and website. You can buy the book on Amazon, but I’d suggest buying it right from him and having it autographed. I like having a collection of autographed books.
“The life expectancy of a platoon leader in Vietnam was 90 days.”
“Body count was the metric by which we were evaluated.”
“Writing this book was supposed to be cathartic for me. It was supposed to get me through all this crap.”
“I had to relive so many of these events. Many of them were horrific.”
Robin Bartlett Website
Robin Bartlett Facebook
Robin Bartlett Instagram
Second Amendment Foundation
Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms
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