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.

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Part Two: Wyoming and Montana Road Trip-Grizzly, Bison and Moose

Grizzly, Bison and Moose…IT’S NOT A PETTING ZOO PEOPLE!!

He is not a Grizzly, but this is how a Bison looked after a bunch of European tourists bailed out of their vehicle and ran to within 15 yards of him where they began taking selfies–I kid you not!! Janet and I were on the opposite side of the highway (The Bear Tooth Highway north of Yellowstone) photographing him with a telephoto lens. Occasional snowflakes were darting about (the real ones) when these snowflakes began posing for their photos.

A Very Agitated Tetonka

They seemed to think this giant beast was as docile as a cow and they remained otherwise oblivious to the signs of agitation he was exhibiting. Thankfully, before he could decide if he wanted to gore a few of them, they loaded up and left. This was how he appeared shortly afterward. Anyone who knows wildlife can look at this critter and tell he was definitely at the limit of his patience.

 

Then there was the big grizzly out in the Shoshone River Valley west of Cody, Wyoming. He was on the opposite side of the river, about a hundred yards off the highway, guarding the remains of an apparent kill. Several people had stopped to take photos, and everyone remained on the highway near their vehicles–at least until the crowd grew. Then, as you might have figured, the 3% crowd showed up. That’s the ones lacking common sense. Two women and a man left the roadside and walked down closer to the river with their cell phone cameras. They approached to within fifty yards of the big Griz as many of us on the highway could only mutter “Oh $h%t!”

Big Grizzly, Shoshone River Valley

As you can see from my photo, he became focused on them. Grizzlies don’t look it, but they are agile as cats and incredibly fast. He could have sprinted across the river and reached them in as little as three or four seconds. Thankfully, they got their photos and returned to the shoulder of the road without incident. A few minutes later the bear left his kill and came down to the river, about 80 yards away, where he got a drink of water.

Griz Getting a Drink From the Shoshone River

 

The three most aggressive animals in this part of the country (and the ones responsible for the majority of attacks on humans) are the Grizzly, the Moose, and the Bison. Because they have often become accustomed to the presence of humans they do not run away and often appear deceptively at ease, which leads tourists to believe they are docile and relatively harmless. Nothing could be farther from the truth, and any of the three can kill a human in seconds.

We caught this bull moose crossing a sage flat early one morning near Moose Junction (go figure) in the Grand Teton National Park. Thankfully, none of the 3% crowd were around.

Moose, Teton National Park

Again, my 400mm telephoto lens brings him in close, while Janet and I remain nearly a hundred yards away.

I will leave you with the shot below, as a means of explaining how we get these photographs. During our travels, we ran into more than a few tourists who said, “We’ve seen very few animals. Where are you seeing them?” A few questions usually reveal they have risen a little after sunrise, had a nice breakfast at the restaurant and arrived at the park sometime around mid-morning–the time when most critters are bedding down for the day. As the photo below reveals and I explained to the tourists, “It’s not a matter of ‘where,’ but a matter of ‘when.’ You must get up before dawn if you want to see more wildlife.”  By the way: My next blog will announce the publication of my next book: Rawlins, No Longer Young, a historical western. https://rickdestefanis.com/rawlins-historical-fiction-western-book/

Tetons Before Sunrise

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