The 5th General Order
The Fifth General Order - a novel by Robert Stapleton This is a story about hard times. It is a story about coming of age. It is a conversation between an old man and a young man, about what the young man will become. This is a story about love and hate, passion and compassion, fear and bravery. This is a story about hope. The story asks you to think. The story asks you to consider where you will be in life. The story asks you what you know and what you think you know. The author speaks only from experience. Born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1948, Robert Stapleton served as a combat Marine in the Republic of Viet Nam in 1967-68, and as an infantryman in Bravo Company 1st Battalion, 7th Marine regiment, in the 1st Marine division. He served from Hill 10 in the infamous rocket belt west of DaNang across from Charlie Ridge, to the more infamous Ashau Valley and later as a CAG (combined action group) Marine south of Chu Lai in the footprint of the earliest American Marine operation - Starlight and Hastings - in a still highly contested area, doing civil affairs and military training, counter-insurgency, living with the Vietnamese. They were bloody times. An independent sort, Stapleton earned a bachelor of science degree in agribusiness with a specialty in resource management. He settled in Arizona in 1971, and found work as a blacksmith and farrier, a horse trader and trainer. He was a cowboy, and a wilderness packer, and for over a decade he worked intermittently recovering stolen cattle. He has been an agricultural field man and advocate, writing summaries about government policy impact on family farmers and ranchers, and now volunteers his time working with a horse therapy program for disabled youth. Medically pensioned out by the Veteran's Administration as a consequence of the war, Stapleton lives quietly with two horses and a blind dog in Phoenix, Arizona, where he remains politically active in the patriot movement with no apologies. If his story has the air of authenticity, it's because he knows all too well the territory of which he writes.
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