Cover image for Year in Nam : a Native American soldier's story
Year in Nam : a Native American soldier's story
TeCube, Leroy, 1947-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xix, 261 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS559.5 .T43 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



In 1968 Leroy TeCube left his home on the Jicarilla Apache reservation to serve as an infantryman in Vietnam. This memoir looks at the daily lives of infantrymen from the perspective of a Native American, showing how his religious and cultural beliefs gave him strength in terrifying situations.

Author Notes

Leroy TeCube works in the Environmental Protection Office of the Jicarilla Apache Tribe.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

TeCube, a member of the Jicarilla Apache tribe of northern New Mexico, was drafted into the army and served in Vietnam from January 1968 to January 1969. He recalls that when he arrived, he was dazed and disoriented but soon became a veteran of "search-and-destroy" missions into the Vietnamese countryside, searching for, and finding, the enemy. TeCube's leadership skills, intelligence, and courage gained him the respect of enlisted men and officers alike. But as more and more people in his company died, and as the war itself became increasingly unpopular at home, a terrible sadness pervaded the soldiers. They even accepted death, which they felt would certainly come. But TeCube's salvation was the discipline and strength of his native culture, which he drew upon in his darkest times. Straightforward and unaffected, this memoir presents a point of view rarely found in the literature of the Vietnam War. --Brian McCombie

Choice Review

TeCube, a Jicarilla Apache and one of the approximately 82,000 Native Americans who served in the Vietnam War, tells a story of his year in combat that is both ordinary and extraordinary. Experts will find much in the account that confirms other combat narratives. He acknowledges that some of his comrades at times harmed and even killed villagers. He also mentions ARVN (Amy of Vietnam) executions of civilians and suspects they were almost a routine occurrence. What is special is TeCube's point of view. Although some Vietnamese saw him as different from other GIs and more like them because of his ethnic origin, he unquestionably supported the war. Called "Chief" by members of his platoon, TeCube's abilities made him platoon leader. Special to TeCube's ability to navigate terrain and direction were his calls on his Creator to help and protect him. By the end of his tour, TeCube had dismissed the idea of ridding Vietnam of communist domination and arrived where most soldiers did, giving a priority to survival. Readers should mark his words in the introduction: "In a sense, as infantryman, we all died in Nam. Views about ourselves were forever changed in a period of time that was an eternity to us." All levels. C. W. Haury; Piedmont Virginia Community College