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In 1968 James T. Gillam left college and was drafted into the Army. Within a month he transformed from an uncertain sergeantwho tried to avoid combatto an aggressive soldier killing his first enemy and planning and executing successful ambushes in the jungle. Gillam was a regular point man and occasional tunnel rat who fought below ground an arena that few people knew about until after the war ended. He became a savage strangling a soldier in hand-to-hand combat inside a lightless tunnel. As his mid-summer date to return home approached Gillam became fiercely determined to come home alive. The ultimate test of that determination came during the Cambodian invasion. On his last night in Cambodia the enemy got inside the wire of the firebase and the killing became close range and brutal. Gillam left the Army in June 1970 and within two weeks of his last encounter with death he was once again a college student and destined to become a university professor.

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