The Dirty Thirty: A memoir of a Lexington, KY soldier in the depths of Vietnam

“The Dirty Thirty” is a memoir about Richard (Dick) Hudson’s experience in the 1/30 Artillery (air mobile) in Vietnam in the 1960s. Born and raised in Lexington, KY, Dick’s experience in the military in Vietnam was like nothing he had seen before. It changed his perspective on morality, mortality, relationships, music, and so much more. All that he does today, he does with a renewed sense of meaning and vitality in light of the events that took place in the jungles of Vietnam. This is described in his 2007 book “The Dirty Thirty”.
This is an astounding book. I cannot think of another book that tells the story of Vietnam better from the perspective of a grunt with no self-serving reason to make himself sound like a hero or someone who wanted to tell us “what we should have done”.
It is the only thing that I have ever read from the point of view of someone that was there and clearly and honestly speaks for the majority of soldiers who have defended us since 1776.
A masterful book and a great read. I hold Dick in high regard for what may be the best ground-level book of our unfortunate adventure in Vietnam.This should be a required read at Ft. Sill.
Jim Heldman
Captain, Battery Commander, Battery D, 2nd Battalion, 4th Artillery, 9th Infantry Division (Vietnam 1967 – 1968).

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About the Book

Imagine being just twenty-one, thirteen thousand miles from home in a strange country where the inhabitants want to kill you! Envision living in mud, eating food packed in 1941, witnessing hostilities from your enemies and among your friends.

“The Dirty Thirty” explains life as it was as a Gun-Bunny, a trucker, a thief and a soldier in the jungles and towns of South Vietnam. Live as a draftee lived among the diversity of an army of draftees. The odd and endearing characters of “The Dirty Thirty” and the strict ‘military minds’ of the Lifers, will give you a glimpse of the real Vietnam experience.

Jolt at the realization that the NVA was not an ‘Evil Empire’, but a military force with a ’cause’ and a heartfelt dedication among its soldiers. Be sad at the plights of individual U.S. soldiers at the mercy of the U.S. ‘Military Machine’. Be proud of the sacrifices made by the men and women of both sides during the 10,000 Day War.

“The Dirty Thirty” gives a day to day account of what life was really like on the fire bases in the jungles and hills of Vietnam and Cambodia in 1969-1970.
When I read this book, I could hardly lay it down as the author drew me into the panorama of his experiences. I heartily recommend it as an excellent memoir.

Edward M. Coffman
Emeritus Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

About the Author

Upon returning to his hometown of Lexington in 1970, Richard (no longer a Mouse) Hudson resumed his musical career while attending the University of Kentucky. He soon renewed an acquaintance with Shirley, a friend and fellow musician he knew before he went to Vietnam. They married in 1972. After living out of state for several years, the Hudsons moved back to Kentucky to be near their families. They still reside in Lexington where they run their own businesses and play bluegrass music with friends.

Richard’s sense of right and wrong, his ability to relate and identify with people in all walks of life and his general zest for life, he attributes to his brief military service in Vietnam.

Richard W. Hudson’s memoir of his experience in the war in Vietnam as an enlisted man in an artillery battery and battalion headquarters company in the First Cavalry Division is one of the best memoirs of that war. His tour was from June 1969 to August 1970. His account includes descriptions of combat and the friends he made. During his first seven months he was wounded and later suffered from illness. When he returned to his battalion he was reassigned as a driver in the battalion headquarters company. Near the end of his tour, a sergeant who hated him assigned him to a particularly vulnerable artillery position which enemy troops attacked. He was lucky to get out alive in that situation.