Turning Points: Character Forged in the Crucible of Combat is dedicated to the memory of Commander Richard Ross Brydges, Ph.D. I was introduced to Richard R. Brydges by my friend, Linda Rice, Ph.D., when I was teaching in the Doctoral program at the University of San Diego. I was primarily working for McGraw Hill and IBM at the time. Richard was attending USD classes to earn his doctoral degree at the time. He was intelligent, compassionate, loving and dedicated from the beginning. Through my working hours, teaching classes, and traveling for my job, we found time for family, friends, and each other. Richard attended the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland and played football for the Naval Academy, before coming to California, so we scheduled our wedding at the Annapolis, Chapel, November 6, 2004.
Over the years, I learned that the heroes who served in Viet Nam and previous wars were not comfortable finding words to describe their war time experiences. I proposed questions for the Military Officers to answer, and recorded their responses for the book, Turning Points. Our friend, Jon Corey, Ph.D. edited the military language and personal memories with his significant knowledge of the difficulties and extraordinary daily life of the Viet Nam Officers. The amazing Military Officers who shared their stories leave a legacy of honor and memory for future generations. The heroes’ stories I collected from the Viet Nam officers and published in this book, Turning Points: Character Forged in the Crucible of Combat, are to honor the life, memory and legacy of the men and women who served.
No one can speak about the souls of the men who served in the Vietnam War except those service members who actually fought on the ground, in the air, and on the sea. Only these special individuals can describe their combat experiences, affording us powerful insights into their personalities, behaviors, and morals with vivid descriptions of life-altering warfare events that remolded each man in his own “Crucible of Combat.” Life-altering decisions and close combat actions have awe-inspiring and permanent impacts on individuals and recast the very core of every individual, as well as their values, convictions, vulnerabilities, strengths and perceptions. The accounts of closely-contested battle situations and ultimate survival are exclusive life scenarios full of unexpected plot twists, with capture or death possible consequences.