"Steel My Soldiers" Hearts" is the story of how in January 1969, David Hackworth is brought to Viet Nam from the United States to "fix" (p. 1) the 4th Battalion, 39th Infantry of the 9th Division. It is the story of how the 4/39th went from a demoralized and dispirited infantry battalion to one of the top rated hardcore Battalions in the Army (p. 3).
The book is written in the first account. Colonel Hackworth and Ms. England rely upon his memories of the time spent with the 4/39th as well as interviews conducted with former member of the Battalion who served under him from January through May of 1969. They also used material from U.S. Army records (p. 437). Pseudonyms were used for some people to "preclude.
embarrassing those who didn"t always shine and/or to protect their families from any discomfort (p. 440).".
Colonel Hackworth writes about how he transforms a poorly trained, inept group of soldiers into an effective fighting force. He writes of dealing with the harsh conditions, terrain and climate of the Mekong Delta, lack of adequate leadership and the poor attitude of the soldiers not only toward the North Vietnamese Army, Viet Cong but also towards the South Vietnamese whom they were fighting along side (p. 129). The book also exposes the ineptness of career minded commanders who are more interested in jacking up body counts, gaining headlines and medals at the expense of those actually fighting the war. The reader is given a look into what infantry men in Viet Nam experienced from a leader's view, as well as that of the grunt's fighting in the Mekong Delta. .
The 4th Battalion, 39th Infantry of the 9th Division called Fire Support Base Dizzy in Dinh Tuong their home. Hackworth arrived at the fire base to find that its current leader, Colonel Lark*, had built the Fire Base in the middle of mine field; during the set up of FSB Dizzy, eighteen soldiers had been wounded inside the perimeter due to booby traps and mines (p.