LUSK – The Niobrara County Library held an evening event for the community to come talk with an author with ties to eastern Wyoming.
That man is known by many titles – neighbor, Representative, athlete, teacher and more. He’s also known as Marine Capt. Doug Chamberlain, author of the book, Bury Him: A memoir of the Viet Nam War.
Chamberlain was born in Scottsbluff, Neb., but came home and continues to reside on his family’s land near LaGrange. He was elected to the Wyoming House of Representatives in 1976, rising through the ranks of the Republican membership to become Majority Floor Leader and, eventually, Speaker of the House. He served in the Legislature until 1994.
Bury Him tells the story of a young Marine’s journey during the Vietnam War, where Chamberlain writes about life before being drafted into military service until 1969 and the decisions he had to make. As a young man with a higher education, Chamberlain chose to enlist into the Marine Corps to go through the Officer Candidate Training. He soon found himself amidst turmoil one can only imagine without having seen and experienced it firsthand.
Chamberlain continues on to tell about the men he met and served with during his time in Vietnam, and an order that still haunts him.
Prompted by a question asked of Chamberlain several years ago by a former student, he decided to tell his story.
Taken from his written words in Bury Him: “One rule we were taught was ‘Marines never leave anyone behind.’ The training was explicit that there was never a reason or excuse to even consider doing it. To leave a fellow Marine behind was considered to be the most dishonorable thing any Marine could do, and that principle was the very foundation of our organization…no excuses, never considered, and it must never happen.”
After telling of the training that was drilled into him during his time at Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Va., in 1965, readers can better understand the trials Chamberlain faced post-training and in the middle of the war with an order to bury a fellow Marine who had been killed and left behind by another unit.
It was an order Chamberlain and his men were forced to obey as part of a coverup, he said.
“The center-point of the book is an order I got when I was Company Commander,” Chamberlain said. “This has weighed very heavy on my mind, and the minds of my men, ever since it happened.”
Chamberlain has been available to sign copies of his book, which launched around Veteran’s Day, and stopped to visit with the community at the Niobrara County Library on Wednesday.
“This was only the second time I’ve been able to get through it without getting too emotional. It’s been difficult, but I’m getting better,” Chamberlain said. “You can get to where you can talk about it, but the facts are, you know in my opinion, that I was part of the ultimate dishonor of a fellow Marine.”
Chamberlain said that he thinks this process has been somewhat of a relief to the other men involved but it has still been hard on them.
As for his community, Chamberlain says that they have been very kind.
“Bury Him” can be purchased through Chamberlain’s website at www.marinedougchamberlain.com, at the Library or through Amazon.