Code Name, Copperhead: My True-Life Exploits as a Special Forces Soldier

Joe R. Gerner, Author, Joe R. Garner, Author, Avrum M. Fine, With Simon & Schuster $22.5 (431p) ISBN 978-0-671-86435-4
Garner's memoir is an engrossing chronicle of his adventures during 21 years as a sergeant major in the Army's Special Forces. His account is all the more noteworthy for the fact that much of the material was classified until recently. With freelance writer Fine, he describes how he ran mercenaries into Laos, Cambodia and North Vietnam for the hush-hush Studies and Observation Group, rescued a Marine infantry company stranded on the Laos-Vietnam border and engaged in several breathtaking duels with the North Vietnamese. Garner was the first GI to free-fall with a nuclear device strapped to his back. His comments on fine-tuning his parachuting technique (``Batman never had it better'') and on testing special equipment on the battlefield are unfailingly interesting. He also recounts how he sought to help restore the Army's image in the face of antiwar activists' disparagements by organizing a re-creation of the 1804 Lewis and Clark expedition. It was a stirring success; Garner and team were welcomed warmly along the 2800-mile trail. Photos. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/30/1994
Release date: 06/01/1994
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