When the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) planned to send forty thousand troops to attack the six thousand US marines at Khe Sanh in 1968, it expected a decisive victory. Certainly, the small US Special Forces camp in the way at Lang Vei would be quickly overcome. The tough, tenacious defenders at Lang Vei had other ideas. The two dozen US Army Green Berets and their four hundred tribesmen at Lang Vei gave the NVA such a monumental headache that they became known as the “Route 9 problem” all the way to the highest levels of the North Vietnamese government. Even the NVA’s tanks—their first use in the war—couldn’t completely defeat the stubborn US fighters. More than an intense, moment-by-moment description of the battle, Route 9 Problem: The Battle for Lang Vei details the personal side—who these men were, how they got there, who was waiting for them back home.
Written for today’s young adults to understand the war their fathers and grandfathers won’t discuss, Route 9 Problem fully explains all military jargon. Two other aspects separate this telling of the story from others.
- An unprecedented NVA perspective from translated documents and open-source materials detailing their first use of tanks in warfare.
- The stories of the American soldiers captured at Lang Vei and the anguish of the families back home whose soldier was missing in action, some for decades. The survivors of Lang Vei still hold vigil for the return of their last brother-in-arms, Daniel Phillips, nearly fifty years later.