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Through the Valley: Vietnam, 1967-1968

James F. Humphries
Through the Valley:  Vietnam, 1967-1968
ISBN: 978-1-55587-821-4
1999/340 pages/LC: 98-46944

"A superbly written and researched story of combat in Vietnam."—Aldo E. Salerno, Army History

"In this engrossing chronicle, Humphries offers a balance of emotion and dispassionate professionalism, demonstrating his ability to describe the controlled chaos of combat without reducing it to a sterile recital of facts.... Humphries also provides a unique description of the enemy side, giving Through the Valley a three-dimensional approach most books forego.... Through the Valley brings the reader to the battlefield, inside the soldier's mind, and offers a glimpse into how the enemy thought. But it also tells the story of the sacrifices made by American soldiers during the costly conflict."—Major Dominic J. Caraccilo, Vietnam

"A riveting account of several hitherto obscure or overlooked battles in the northern provinces of South Vietnam in 1967 and 1968."—Dr. George M. Watson, Jr., Air Power History

"A book that puts you on the ground with the riflemen or in the battalion or brigade Tactical Operations Center while letting you see the whole picture.... Through the Valley is not merely a personal recollection of an individual company grade officer's Vietnam tour. It is a well documented, well researched battle narrative."—MAJ Glenn F. Williams, On Point

"Humphries provides a comprehensive portrayal of a rifle company commander's life—his responsibilities, worries, triumphs and failures that, summed up, are his accomplishment of his mission.... a refreshing report of an infantryman's lot in a period of active combat ... a worthy addition to anyone's library."—Gen. Frederick J. Kroesen, USA Ret., Army Magazine

"Humphries excels in capturing the problems, confusion, teamwork, and heroics tat accompany combat."—Charles C. Morrisey, The Journal of Military History

"Detailed, well-researched, and readable."—The VVA Veteran

"Through the Valley ... is a must-read for anyone claiming to be knowledgeable about Vietnam combat. Humphries is to be commended for the excellence and professionalism he exhibits in his superlative work. With it he honors those who served."—Gary L. Noller, Americal Division Website

"[Through the Valley] is a sad story.... It is also a fine story of outstanding combat leadership and of courage and aggressiveness under heavy fire.... [It] is well worth the reading for those interested in how the conventional war was fought in Vietnam."—Parameters

"Humphries has created an immensely well-researched, first-hand account of American grunts slugging it out against a well disciplined and determined enemy.... Through the Valley has it all. The carnage, the heroics, the soul searching that continues to this day.... There is no bravado, no self-serving agendas, no chest beating, and no acrimony. Written from the gut, this factual account is a must on the reading list for warriors."—Brig. Gen. Dennis Leach

"Through the Valley is a gripping account of combat action in Vietnam.... It is historically accurate and superbly done."—Chuck Carlock, author of Firebirds

"If you but one book on Vietnam, this is the one to buy!"—Lt. Col. W.C. Curtis USMC Ret.

“Colonel Humphries has set a new and enduring standard for non-fiction books about the Vietnam War. In his monumental work he tells about Infantry combat from his own perspective as leader and commander, including participants above and below him in the chain of command. His extraordinarily detailed and comprehensive research into the archives adds both context and detail. The result is ‘combat truth.’"—F. Clifton Berry, Jr.


A Main Selection of the Military Book Club

The fierce close combat in the remote areas of South Vietnam’s northern provinces in 1967-1968—the battles of Hiep Duc, March 11, Nhi Ha, and Hill 406—has been a strangely underreported slice of the Vietnam War. Through the Valley brings those battles into sharp focus, chronicling the efforts of the proud units of the Americal Division and the 196th Light Infantry Brigade against a stubborn enemy in long-forgotten villages and on torturous hills.

Colonel Humphries draws on both his own combat experience and the eyewitness reports of fifty former veterans. Weaving his account into a narrative frame based on a multitude of official U.S. Army and Marine Corps documents, he creates a powerful reconstruction of combat in Vietnam. He also pieces together information from myriad declassified documents to trace the actions of the opposing North Vietnamese and Vietcong units and to put a face on an otherwise anonymous enemy.


Col. James Humphries (Ret.) began his military career with the 101st Airborne Division and then served two tours of duty in Vietnam with the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry, 196th Light Infantry Brigade, first as rifle company commander and next as operations officer. He retired from the army in 1988 after commanding the Military Community in Heilbronn, Germany.


  • A Hill West of Tam Ky.
  • Task Force Oregon.
  • The Assassins.
  • Green Seeds.
  • The Hiep Duc Valley.
  • The 1st VC Main Force Regiment.
  • Twister Charlie.
  • A Real Hero.
  • An Encounter at Dusk.
  • The Longest Night.
  • Oscar, Herman, and Lise.
  • Phu Binh.
  • Harker.
  • In the Enemy’s Camp.
  • A Day With No Sun.
  • Final Shots.
  • Meeting Delta.
  • Cedar Mountain Six.
  • The 3d NVA Regiment.
  • Helix One-One.
  • 11 March.
  • Stay Behinds.
  • Specter.
  • Fire Base Belcher.
  • The Third Marines.
  • Nhi Ha Village.
  • The Second Day.
  • 4 May.
  • Lam Xuan (East).
  • Xom Phoung.
  • Home to the Que Son Valley.
  • Hill 406.
  • The Final Objective.