Raeford’s MVP – Military Fiction and a romantic love story

A Military Fiction Story about Love, War and Redemption

Military Fiction Raeford's MVP

Book #4 of The Vietnam War Series, Raeford’s MVP is a story of love, war and redemption. Guaranteed to make you laugh and cry, this book takes readers on a special journey with Sergeant Billy Coker from his last thirty days in Vietnam, back home to America and into the seemingly futureless void of post-traumatic stress. A military fiction story which is by turns deadly serious and side-splittingly funny, Raeford’s MVP introduces readers to the post-Vietnam world of a nineteen-year-old paratrooper who must find life after war.

Coker spends his last days in Nam reflecting on his high school years and realizes that his obsession with girls is what caused him to end up in Vietnam. Billy must now pay the price for those wasted years. With no direction, living day-to-day and with no vision of the future, he attempts to make sense of the horrors of battle and the guilt of surviving. Fighting, loving, and wandering across the country after his tour of duty, he sees only a meaningless life where no one seems to understand his terrible experiences in the jungles of Southeast Asia.

Plagued by post-traumatic stress and psychological impotence, Billy begins a search to find himself as well as some of his old buddies and someone special he lost along the way. He embarks on an adventurous journey as he seeks a meaningful future, only to reach bottom as he contemplates ending his life.

Raeford’s MVP, is a departure from the first two novels in the Vietnam War Series. Although the first six chapters of this story take place in Vietnam, author Rick DeStefanis takes his readers on a young veteran’s subsequent journey toward recovery. By infusing what could have been an otherwise mundane subject with humor and tenderness, he has produced another top-notch “page-turner.” Military fiction at its finest, Raeford’s MVP has been reviewed and recommended by veterans from privates to generals, as it delves deeply into the world of post-traumatic stress in such a way that readers find tears and laughter on the same page. Read it. You will be rewarded.

Raeford’s MVP Purchase Options

PRINTeBOOK  

amazon

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You may also enjoy my other books below:

Melody Hill: A Vietnam War Novel

Gomorrah Principle: A Vietnam War Sniper Story

Valley of the Purple Hearts: Book #4 of my Vietnam War Series

Tallahatchie: Southern Fiction and Dark Comedy

Rawlings, No Longer Young: A Western Historical Fiction Novel

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Light to Moderate Tornadoes with Scattered Cats

Light to Moderate Tornadoes

January 11, 2020

Sometime Around 5:00 a.m. Saturday Morning

The Cedar View Community, DeSoto County, Mississippi

My yellow male labrador retreiver busted out of his laundry room digs Saturday morning and ran back to our bedroom where he jumped on the bed and began licking my face and whining. Do you know what it’s like to be awakened from a deep sleep with a big mutt licking your face? I cussed him, but my wife Janet said she thought she heard distant thunder. Blondie (yes, my dog is named after a big Swede paratrooper army buddy who had that name) has experienced many thunder storms without acting like a wussy, so I got up, stumbled into the family room and turned on the TV.

And of course, while I’m trying to punch up the TV channel, my cotton pickin’ cell phone starts some kind of screaming claxon warning. Technology! Damned it, Jones. Gimme a break. Anyway, sure enough, there it was, a tornado warning with a big red cone coming our way—Hernando, Lewisburg, Cedar View and Olive Branch. I went to the back door, opened it and got stampeded by a heard of cats running between my legs. All this before my first cup of coffee…D#~!!! What can I say? I am NOT a %&$ morning person…at least not before a half-pot of coffee.

So anyway, shortly thereafter the TV and the power went blip and we were suddenly and irrovocably left in the inky black predawn darkness. I told my wife to get into the interior hallway and close all the doors.  I went to the front door and walked out on the porch (It’s something us rednecks do when we ain’t sayin’ “Here, hold my beer.”). Yeah, there was a little lightning, but it seemed quiet…..at first.

Only then did the tornado sirens begin wailing. We hear them test once a week, every week, but there’s no comparison when you know it’s the real thing. Kinda makes the hair crawl on your neck. The practice sirens remind me of sniper school back at Fort Bragg–no comparison to the real thing. Back in my railroading days, I once had to jump from a speeding locomotive when its brakes failed. Never since has there been a roller coaster or carinval ride that can increase my heart rate.

So, I’m on the porch, and a warm and somewhat pleasant wind is blowing in my face and I’m thinking WTF? This is pretty nice for January. The wind chimes are tinkling gently…but then from the somewhere down to the southwest I hear it. At first, it was distant. It was an ominous thundering roar, and it sounded like an F-4 Phantom fighter jet on continuous afterburner. It was a long way off, but enough to convince me standing on the front porch might not be the brightest thing I ever did. So, I joined Janet in the hallway. With pillows over our heads, we waited and she began talking, but I told her to wait! I thought I could hear it. Yes, even though we were now in the interior hallway, I could hear it. It was getting closer.

Within a minute the roaring thunder was upon us, that fast, the house literally quaked, our ears popped and loud thumps began coming from debris hitting the outside walls and roof. I was pretty certain we were about to view the night sky minus our roof. And that was when my dear wife said it. Yes, she really did.

“It sounds like a freight train,” she said.

I looked out from beneath my pillow at her.

“I can’t believe you really said that.”

“Well, it does,” she said.

I stood and tossed my pillow at her.

“Where are you going? You can’t go out there!”

“Listen,” I said.

The only remaining sound was the now fading roar of the tornado as it moved away to the northeast.

“It’s over.”

And it was…that fast.

I switched on my flashlight and went to take a look. As I went to the front door, I noticed one of the cats huddled on a dining room chair. She looked like she had been plugged into a wall socket.

“Buttercup?” I said.

She let out a long and pained, “MEEEOOOOOWWW.”

I opened the front door, but that was a ‘no-go.’ The topmost limbs of an oak tree, that only moments before had been sixty or seventy feet off the ground, were now blocking the door and porch, along with a pile of rocking chairs and such. The root-ball of the same tree had also torn a gaping hole in the driveway when it fell. A four by twelve foot section of asphault was gone.

Nothing but a mess.

After a few minutes checking things with the flashlight, I realized we had barely escaped a major disaster. The roof remained largely intact, although it appeared to have been ‘sand-blasted.’ We were unhurt and the critters, although somewhat frazzled, were all accounted for.

I checked on several neighbors and everyone was okay. In our front and back yards, at least four huge oaks, three of them at least four-feet in diameter, were down, along with a big elm and several mature cedars. The fences were gone. The ceiling fan on the back deck was stripped and what trees that were left were decorated for tornado season with strips of pink home insulation. Even my Jimmy Buffet, “It’s 5 o’clock Somewhere” sign was shattered.

It’s Five O’clock Somewhere…..

There’s a three-foot diameter oak tree about sixty-feet behind the house. Its trunk is twisted like a giant cork-screw. There is another that is at least four-feet in diameter that is snapped off thirty feet above the ground. I’ll be chain-sawing when the cows come in, but I absolutely refuse to whine. NO! No way. We’ve got neighbors in the area whose homes are flat as flitters.

Pink Insulation…the decoration for Tornado Season

I had two life-long friends, Ted Spence and Mike Thron, drive down from Memphis and after a day’s work clearing debris and puttin up temporatry fences, we didn’t put a dent in the damage, but we celeberated with a bottle of Evan Williams single barrel bourbon. I’m gonna buy a couple more chains for the saw and celebrate more in the coming weeks. There’s nothing like the adrenaline high of dodging a bullet.

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