As a symbol of patriotism and public support during a time when anti-Vietnam war sentiments were growing, the Minnesota Twins baseball team and Marine Corps recruiters in the Minneapolis – St. Paul area came up with the idea of the team sponsoring a recruit platoon to be named the ‘Twins Platoon.” A letter sent out to area Marine recruits informed them they would be sworn in on TV at pregame ceremonies the night of June 28, 1967. Among those receiving the letter was the author, Christy Sauro Jr.
On the designated night, over one hundred young men and four young women stood in the open field in a casually fashioned “civilian” formation and were sworn in. By the end of the sixth inning, the new recruits were hustled out to waiting buses, sped away to the World Chamberlain Field Airport, boarded an American Flyers chartered flight, lifted off the Minneapolis runway and flew into the blackened night for San Diego. Before dawn the next day, the recruits of the Twins Platoon were standing on the yellow painted footprints of the receiving barracks at the Marine Recruiting Depot as they met with trepidation their three tough Drill Sergeants of Recruit Platoon 3011.
Sauro breaks his masterfully written book into three chronicle sections: Before Vietnam, Vietnam Tet 1968, and After Vietnam. In Part One, he introduces the reader to some individuals of the platoon as they nervously enter boot camp and how they experience the dehumanizing, rigorous training necessary to become a Marine. Not all make it. This was followed by the demanding individual training each must go through as they prepare for combat.
In Part two, Sauro’s true talent as an accomplished and sensitive writer shows in his telling of the individual stories of young men who fought bravely in some of the toughest fighting of the war: The Siege of Khe Sanh and the Tet Offensive, including the brutal Battle for Hue. Other smaller but equally brutal and bloody battles followed. As is the nature of war, not all of them came home in one piece. Some did not come home at all, giving rise to those who lived to grieve over them.
Part three deals with platoon members who survived the war and came home to quietly rebuilt their lives as best they could while dealing with physical damage, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and the felling that eats at all combat veterans who saw death: why them and not me?
I strongly recommend this firsthand story of American life being lived at the limits – and changed forever.
Beginning with the opening paragraph, I felt like I was transported back in time from the platoon’s origins in 1967, through boot camp, their fighting in Vietnam, and the men’s homecoming.
What became completely obvious after reading the first few pages of the book is the enormous amount of time and care the author devoted to researching his fellow Marines and telling their story. This book was a decades’ long crusade, and each chapter is brimming with detail. The reader feels the emotions, spirit, heroics, of the twenty or so Marines who comprise the book’s focus.
To say I recommend the book is an understatement. The Twins Platoon should be mandatory reading for all Americans since it transcends the war in Vietnam and provides a “foxhole” view of Americans at war. – Patrick O’Donnell
Christy Sauro has captured the heart and soul of those young Marines who were known as “The Twins Platoon.” We get to follow the lives of some of these men as they go through basic training and eventually go to Vietnam. Some are killed, some physically wounded, others emotionally damaged, but all of them have changed in some ways. – W. H. McDonald, Jr.
Christy Sauro’s account represents the brutal, heart-wrenching reality of the latter. It’s unvarnished and candidly brutal in its portrayal of Marine Corps training. Training that would ultimately steel them in their daily struggle as they were thrown into the teeth of the conflict during the Tet Offensive of 1968.
It’s painful and revealing, sad, yet inspiring as these young warriors fought for their very survival only to return to a nation tired by war and indifferent to their needs and sacrifices. – Jack Grimm
The Twins Platoon is way more than a war story. Everything Chris Sauro has in him is in this book. It’s a great story, kind of a love story about Marines. It’s all about what Semper Fidelis really means: Always faithful, faithful for life, faithful if need be beyond life. – Eric Hammel
Author of Pacific Warriors
About the Authors of the Twins Platoons
Following former Marine Corps Sgt. Christy W. Sauro Jr. returns from Vietnam. He had a successful career in the insurance business. His writing has been published in magazines such as Leatherneck and Readers Digest. He and his wife live in North Branch, Minnesota. The Twins Platoon is his first book and is recommended reading by the New York Public Library under “Books for Teens.”
In 2011 the book was awarded the prestigious “Stars and Flags” military book award “Biography Gold” when it tied for 1st place in the category “Non-fiction Biography.”
The author was honored as the CBS Veteran of the month for May 2014.