Tarnished Brass Curtain (ebook)

Tarnished Brass Curtain (ebook)

Richard Rose
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TARNISHED BRASS CURTAIN: A NOVEL OF VIETNAM SYNOPSIS “”Tarnished Brass Curtain: is a frame story, taking place during a single week in October, 1968, with flashback chapters from one week to six months. It opens in a Navy Public Affairs Office on the west coast. The admiral's son, a helicopter pilot, has apparently gone underground rather than return to his unit in the Mekong Delta. The frame deals with how the command handles the PR crisis. The flashbacks show combat, discussions of conscience and loyalty, and how the lieutenant reached his decision. Two men are shown in transition: Fred Hetherington, the young lieutenant, who grows throughout the story, matures and goes from uncertainty to conviction; and Dan Levin, the older senior chief journalist in charge of the enlisted staff of the PAO, who goes from certainty to denial. The younger man is a product of generations of military tradition, son and grandson of flag officers. The older man, a career navyman, is an outsider in this military world; he is ambitious, Jewish, has intellectual pretensions and an almost fatal love for words and their meanings, without a full understanding of their consequences. The story begins in the Public Affairs office of the commander of the Pt. Cambiar, Calfifornia Navy Base. A call comes in from the local newspaper concerning a rumor that the commander's son, a navy combat helicoptaer pilot, has gone underground, rather than return to his base in the Mekong Delta after being home on leave for his mother's funeral. The command chief of staff not only wants to suppress the rumor, but actually fabricates a message implying that the pilot is on extended leave. The decision is also made not to inform the admiral, who is still mourning the loss of his wife. The PAO staff leadership—the acting public affairs officer and the leading chief petty officer -- is divided on the suppression of the truth.

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