Dan Rodgers was a young man, just married to his sweetheart and contemplating a career in professional baseball when the notice came. He had been drafted into the U.S. Army and was likely headed to war in Vietnam.
"I got my draft notice the day (he and wife Sue) were married," Rodgers said. "I was drafted just as the Angels and the Giants had offered me baseball contracts."
Soon after Rodgers was sent to basic training and infantry school and then received his orders to fly to Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam.
Rodgers said the book starts by telling the story of his company's experience during the infamous Tet Offensive in January of 1968.
"We were chasing five enemy combatants across a rice paddy and there was a pretty big river we had to cross," he said. "Those five were leading us directly into an ambush from North Vietnamese (NVA) soldiers."
That's when Rodgers said that mortars rained down on their positions and the air was full of automatic fire.
By the time it had calmed down Rodgers company had been decimated. At 8 a.m. the company had 143 men. Just two hours later there just 13 men were left.
"It looked like the entire tree line was coming at us," Rodgers said of the more than 2,000 camouflaged NVA soldiers they encountered that fateful day.
Rodgers spent another six months in Vietnam after that day, continuing to dodge bullets, artillery and mortar fire, while praying to stay alive.
Once he got home he made a seemingly normal life. He started a family with Sue, raised three children and owned a construction business. However, there was a darkness, a hole, a lonely sadness still inside of him.
"I had anger issues, I would fight people at the drop of a hat," he said. "I had horrible nightmares and memories."
"One night I remember he woke up and pushed me to the floor and said 'get down, there's a bomb over there,'" his wife added.
Rodgers finally went to the VA to treat his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – nearly 30 years later. Doctors told him to write down his memories and stories as a coping mechanism. Once the doctors read them, they were shocked.
"It started as a form of treatment, but they and others encouraged me to start putting things in chronological order and told me I should write a book," he said.
Those memories are now in print for the world to read, as Rodgers recently published "Call Me Sergeant Rock: How a Boy Becomes a Man in Vietnam."
"It's a non-fiction memoir about how I survived and so many others didn't," he said. "Much of the book goes into the lives of the people who came into my life during Vietnam."
Rodgers said that many of the original 13 survivors of that January day have contacted him since the book was released.
"I keep getting told thank you for writing a book about how it really was and not watered down," he said.
Sue said that despite hearing many of the stories first hand, it wasn't until she read her husband's book that she realized how horrific it all was.
"I never realized how bad it really was until I read it," she said.
Rodgers said he hopes that readers understand what soldiers went through while they were involved in a conflict thousands of miles away.
The book is available at Rodgers website sbpra.com/ danrodgers, or at Amazon. com and Barnes and Noble.