Thomas Elliott

Two Years to Serve

In 1966, at the age of 20, Thomas Elliott was drafted into the U.S. Marine Corps. The transformation from carefree surfer to a hardened U.S. Marine required some serious re-programming. After boot camp assigned as a radio operator Thomas embarked on a harrowing adventure that would change his life forever, an odyssey that thrust him into the fire of combat in Vietnam.

Painstakingly recounted after more than 50 years, many spent trying not to remember, his unflinching memoir describes with honesty and vulnerability what it was like to go through boot camp and then endure firefights, battles, victory, and profound loss in Vietnam. Thomas recalls how friendships were built, and the trust between fellow Marines needed to survive. He tells in gripping detail the events and daily grind of life as a grunt in Vietnam. He shares his raw emotions at seeing friends killed in combat, and at digging up enemy graves for the body count. We experience his unflinching firsthand account of living in a muddy hole eating nothing but C-rations, suffering through endless days of relentless monsoon rain with no shower, hot meals, or beer for months, and the chaos and utter terror of combat missions. Then later in his tour assigned to a Combined Action Platoon, he witnessed the difficult lives of the Vietnamese civilians

Written from the perspective of a young draftee who did not want to be there, Thomas’s memoir of battles, heroes, and everyday bravery is hard to put down and harder to forget.


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