What if your country started a war and when you answered the call to duty you discovered that not all of your enemies wore a uniform different from your own? What if your knowledge of enemies-among-friendlies increased ten thousand-fold the basic insanity already instilled by diametrically opposed priorities to “accomplish the mission” and “protect the troops”? Welcome to the Vietnam War and the conflicts of leadership experienced by Mickey 6, young 2nd Lieutenant and protagonist of the novel bearing his callsign as its title. Readers of Mickey 6 journey with combat platoon leader Mickey through an incomprehensible war made more devastating by the unnecessary stresses of a power struggle between leaders within the hierarchy of combat command. 
Mickey 6 provides a rare view of war as examined in the stream of consciousness dialog between Mickey and Problem Solving Central, or PSC, his callsign for his conscience. Through detailed combat scenes and exquisite storytelling prowess, novelist John Koelsch brings the Vietnam War and all of its conflicts and glory to life as no author has done since Ernest Hemingway wrote about World War I. In Mickey 6, Vietnam Veteran Koelsch’s carefully wrought characters, torn between duty and personal ethos, tread deeply into the circumstances that force payment of an eternal price from the souls and minds of those who serve, and from those who lead, as they fight for their country. With themes applicable to warriors of all eras, Mickey 6 chronicles the struggles of leadership in war, of loss of humanity, and of the enduring spirit of those who must return to life from the ravages of war. 

An Excerpt from Chapter 10 - “Thunder Six”

Perimeter duty the next day progressed easily. Platoon members, in small groups, shopped at the market; everyone thoroughly cleaned weapons and gear in preparation for the ambush that night. Most of the men napped and rested for the evening’s activities. The Vietnamese market operating steadily at the front gate, reduced real concern over a daytime attack by the local VC. That would be bad for business.
I worked on the route to our ambush site with the new maps provided by my favorite oxymoron – military intelligence. They were actually decades old French maps. The French were noted for things such as fine wine and being notably absent when the VC attacked, as well as for the poor quality of their cartography. However, they were all I had. The maps showed the runway adjacent to the Thunder, so I used the eastern end of the runway, a firmly fixed position, as a reasonable starting point for the mission. The route I calculated would take us fifteen hundred meters, roughly along and south of the road. A seventy-five degree turn to the south and another five hundred meters would take us to the trail crossing we were to ambush.
Immediately following an early supper, we set out from the edge of the runway. Within five hundred meters the inaccuracy of the maps revealed itself. The route I had laid out with such care took us north of the road and at an angle that would clearly take us even further north away from our destination. A brief consultation with Stringer resulted in moving back to the south side of the road, arbitrarily knocking ten degrees off the compass heading for declination (also known as map inaccuracies), and agreeing that Kentucky windage would be necessary to find our ambush site. 
Two hundred meters further it became clear that windage would need to be more like monsoon-age. Once again, we  drifted to the north side of the road. I saw two basic possibilities, the map was totally incorrect in its placement of the road and we should alter our course, or the road was in proper perspective in relation to our ambush site and we should ignore the compass headings.  Not locating our assigned site would leave us exposed to arbitrary artillery interdiction fire, and conversely unable to call for fire support accurately – a situation designed to maintain blood pressure at a level to prevent any inaccurate diagnosis of being dead. 
Gilvey looked at me, shook his head, and quietly spoke, “Bummer.”
Michael gave a rather eloquent shrug of his shoulders. 
Leon offered, “Beats me.”
They all looked to me to produce a magic wand. Time to roll the dice. “Okay, the consensus is to parallel the road for another three hundred meters, make our turn and expect to find our spot between four and six hundred meters out. Is that about right?” 
Grins and a chorus of “Yeah,” “Right,” “Sounds good,” assured me that my guess was as good as anyone’s under the circumstances. It was either right or wrong, so that made it fifty/fifty. Quick message to P.S.C., how’s my math?
When it comes to calculating odds, you should stick to something you’re good at, like dealing with the Brass. You know your odds are as good as any wild guess would give you. Shitty! 
Okay, but is there, like, a better option?
No. Change your flankers and get moving. There’s not much daylight left.
“Michael, who’s running flank?”
“Zimmer’s been out since we started.”
“Okay,” I said. “Bring him in and put Moore out. When we turn into the bush, Leon can put one out on the left. Let’s move it out!”
I reviewed the decision as we hiked alongside the road. I found no better solutions and returned my focus to the present moment. A fleeting question breezed by as I shifted mental gears – Why change flankers? Dunno, seemed like a good idea. Pay attention boy. Time to run the show.
 We reached the turning point and changed course smoothly. The sunlight was a very late in the day, not much left type twilight. It would be good if  the site isn’t too...
The concussion from the blast knocked me back a step. I hit the ground with everybody else. Smoke and dust billowed towards us from the right and my ears rang with all the Bells of St. Mary’s.
“What the hell’ve we got?” I yelled. “Does anyone know what the fuck that was?”
“Flank triggered a booby trap!” someone yelled.
“Oh shit! That damn explosion was no grenade. It was fucking huge!” I stated the rather obvious.
I peered through the dust and smoke trying to see, I don’t know what. I knew for a certainty that the last thing I wanted was to go see the results of that explosion. Just as surely, I knew that was my job, and I couldn’t duck it.
I rose to one knee and tried to get moisture into the Sahara Desert that was my throat, to direct the search. Something moved amidst the floating dust curtains hanging in the air. I instinctively shouldered my M-16, then dropped the barrel down at a sight not to be believed.
Thickly coated with dust, a short, vanilla-pale spectre (Not a green ghoul!) walked towards us on shaky legs and in a tremulous voice, sounding eerily like a spirit freshly returned from dying, said “Don’t shoot! It’s me! Moore!”
Then he collapsed.
We rushed to his aid. I reached him first and was reassured to see his chest rise and fall with ragged breaths. A moment more and a dozen soldiers surrounded their comrade. Order came quickly with a few sharp commands issued from my throat by an unknown source. The men set a perimeter and Doc worked on Moore.
To the Vietnamese all Americans are six and a half feet tall like Zimmer. In fact, Moore was barely five four. He had indeed tripped a booby trap. An unexploded 105 round from a past fire mission, rigged by Charlie into a half piece of bamboo as an aiming device and set to remove a GI’s head. If Moore were an average six, six GI, he would now be headless.
It hit me like lightning searing through my gut– 
Or if I had left Zimmer on flank, it would have decapitated him. I shivered. Why did I make that change? No! Never mind I don’t ever want to know.
Doc reported that Moore was basically okay, except for his ears. All he could hear was ringing, very loud ringing. He could stay with the ambush and be sent to Charlie Med at Quon Loi for a more thorough check up in the morning.
We reorganized and moved within minutes of that report. We pushed hard but night caught us before we found the crossroads we were to ambush. I set a defensive perimeter and called the Captain. He did not care for my explanation of why we weren’t on site. He reluctantly agreed to my suggestion to accurately locate our position. Shortly a flare round erupted over the ambush site. I called in an adjustment. A second flare bloomed much closer. The third adjustment had the flare immediately above us. Our position was fixed. Artillery interdiction and fire support were not further problems.
I took the radio and vowed to monitor it all night. I knew I would not sleep.
Some damn leader I am. Here I sit with the lost platoon and the only reason I don’t have a dead man on my hands is because the little fucker was short. God! How ironic? What did you do in the war, Daddy? Oh I picked the shorter guys so Charlie shot over their heads. Brilliant, fucking brilliant! What next? Pick the skinny guys so the bullets would only hit their shirts. Oops, been there! Done that! Dear God, if you are there, I can’t do this. Get me out of here before I get someone killed. Please.
I did nod off just before dawn and Weiler grabbed the radio to give our sitrep.
Oh! Amazing, I can’t even do the poor martyr bit right! 
Dawn arrived and we made good time back to the Thunder. Yvette and the other vendors greeted us with their sales pitches as we moved through the gate. Fielder called me to his bunker before we reached our sector.
“Lieutenant, I’d give you the ass chewing your pathetic map reading deserves right now, but it will have to wait. Get your men geared up for an eagle flight in thirty minutes. We need you for a search and destroy mission.”
“Yes, Sir. And for the record, the maps are unreadable, but I’m sure we’ll talk.”

About the Author
John Koelsch served as a Combat Platoon Leader in Vietnam. He was awarded a Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Bronze Star with “V” Device for Valor, and the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster. In 2009, 2010, and 2011 he experienced positive results in the National Veterans Creative Arts Competition writing in various forms. John currently resides in Salem, Virginia with his wife Nancy Wheeler.

Strategic Budgeting (ICMA MIS Report)  (5,000+ sold - Non-fiction)
A Christmas Pony (Short Story) – (Patchwork Path: Christmas Stocking Anthology)

Love is in The Air – “Horizons” – South Carolina Writers Workshop Anthology 
Shall I Lay You In Lavender – “The Quill” – SCWW Newsletter 
Love Begins But Never Ends – Turning Corners – Poetry Anthology
Calm –  (Haiku) – Prime Living” Magazine 
Musings 1 – “Clinch Mountain Review” – Poetry Anthology
You Don’t Know –Lacrossetribune.com 
Fast Movers –Lacrossetribune.com 
Seasons (Haiku) - Graphics By Marilyn: Lara’s Den ~ Haiku: Seasons 
Bugs – Graphics by Marilyn: Lara’s Den ~ Bugs
Silent Thunder – Graphics by Marilyn: Lara’s Den ~ Silent Thunder
The Unique Whole - Graphics By Marilyn: Lara’s Den ~ The Unique Whole
Cherry Blossoms – (Haiku) Sandusky Register Newspaper 

National Veterans Creative Arts Competitions
Forever In Black (Poem) – 1st Local/2009
Harvest (Poem Collection) – 1st Local/2009
The Interview (Duologue) – 1st Local & 1st National/2009
Ghosts (Monologue) – 1st Local & 3rd National/2010
The General - Keith Lincoln Ware (Short Story) – 1st Local & 1st National/2010
Andraste (Poem) – 1st Local/2010 
Shirley Jeffries Memorial Therapeutic Arts Scholarship Recipient/2010
Grunts (Poem) – 1st Local & 2nd National/2011 
Call Of Duty (Monologue) – 1st Local & 1st National/2011 
Service (Short Story) – 1st Local/2011 

Forever In Black – 1st Spiritual Category - “Poetry  Square Off  I” Columbia, SC /2002 
Flutterbys – 3rd Open Category - “Poetry Square Off II” Columbia, SC/2003
Olde Wheelbarrow New Tulips – 2nd Adult Category – Botetourt County Library Poetry Contest, VA/2007

Short Stories
The Interview – 2nd – Virginia Writers Club (Valley Writers)/2009

01  OCTOBER  2011
MILSPEAK BOOKShttps://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/milspeakshapeimage_3_link_0