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About Leo Joseph Heaney
Leo enlisted and served in Vietnam from April 1966-July 1968. 17 months (June 1966-October 1967) were with Tiger Force, of the 1st Battalion, 327th Parachute Infantry Regiment. His highest rank was Sergeant E-5 attained at age 19. Citations included: Combat Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal with Valor Device and Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, Four Overseas Service Bars, Presidential Unit Citation for serving with 1/327th Infantry during Operation Hawthorne and the relief of Toumorong--1966.
While attending Penn State University he participated in the ROTC program, and placed first of 1600 cadets at the 1971 ROTC summer camp at Ft. Indiantown Gap. ROTC honors: Distinguished Military Student, 1971; Distinguished Military Graduate, 1972.
After graduation, he re-entered the service as a commissioned officer in the Regular Army: Primary branch--Military Intelligence; Combat Arms branch--Infantry. He later resigned his commission with the rank of Captain.
While pursuing a certificate in Education from the University of Puget Sound he helped research and write a narrative of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe which assisted the tribal historians in the tribe's petition for Federal recognition. He also served as tribal representative on several archaeological projects in Western Washington.
He retired after 30 years as a high school Social Studies teacher.
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For the past 15 years, members of Tiger Force, an elite group of American paratroopers serving in Vietnam, have been branded in the press as a rogue unit of rampaging GIs. Finally, additional research reveals the confusing rules of engagement, recorded statistics, and many previously untold personal accounts regarding this combat force’s unique character and adventures.
For military and history buffs alike, the memoir explains the structure of this highly decorated unit operating in the jungles of Vietnam. It also sheds light on the complicated issues of warfare, and how choices made by the press can have life-long effects on individuals.
Written by a seasoned Tiger who served in this unit for 17 months, the book provides insight into the daily challenges and personal exploits of the men. Whether facing off with a water buffalo, sleeping in the middle of a stream, crawling into a VC tunnel, discussing Latin with a monk, walking into a minefield, or watching friends fall in battle, Leo makes you feel like you are right there with his team. He introduces you to many distinctive and memorable personalities who have proudly worn the Tiger Force Badge.
- Battles of Tiger Hill and Tiger Valley
- Discussion of free-fire zones, press coverage, and agent orange
- Daily routines and combat patrols in the jungle
- Patrols with indigenous allies
- Life at base camp
- Liberation of POW camps
- Clarification of relevant military operations, i.e. Hawthorne, Malheur, Wheeler
- Map and extensive glossary of military terms
“Leo Heaney is a storyteller. His personal memories of that time (in Tiger Force) are both heartbreaking and hilarious…kept me entertained from beginning to end.”—K Evans
“Perhaps the most vivid of the many books I’ve read on that war.”—K McKeehen
“Tiger Force is nothing less than a total immersion in the experiences of a line soldier serving in a unit created to suit the unique nature of the Vietnam War.”—P Gross