Civic Action, A True Story: Marines Fighting a Different War in Vietnam


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Civic Action was developed during the Vietnam War, conceived by Marine Generals and fashioned into a working model in Chu Lai by Major Richard F. Risner. The reader is given a glimpse into the lives and careers of two Marines whose friendship is cemented by the bonds of combat. Rich Risner and Dick Petterson molded the Civic Action Team that Hays later joined in early 1968. The Team worked with the surrounding villages and their leaders in a pacification effort. The idea was that if the Marines could win the hearts and minds of the people, they would deny sanctuary to the enemy. Danger is ever present as proven by an ambush attempt on Risner and Petterson by Viet Cong Tiger Guerillas. Later Major Risner experiences the ultimate terror of combat as a prisoner of war. Hays recalls Risner’s harrowing ordeal calling upon his determination, bravery and cunning.


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