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"This is my story; from the time when I was conscripted as a schoolboy into the army at age seventeen."

This story is fact and not fiction. It is not a historical account written in the first person, it is written as a novel giving insight into the small talk, the joys and the challenges of army life; culminating in the horror of war. The things many conscripted young men of our generation faced at the time. The language is brutal and foul at times but it is within context.

The story happens in 1975 starting with call-up, through basics and Parabat training and culminating in Operation Savannah, a CIA backed operation into Angola which lasted for almost a year. The largest deployment of South African troops since the Second World War; where South African soldiers fought Cuban forces sponsored by mother Russia.

It speaks of Kevin's journey from boyhood to manhood, accelerated by the furnace of war. Surviving two deadly ambushes, being rocketed and shelled and how he slips into a deep and black depression; somehow clawing his way back to mental stability.

It speaks of betrayal by the apartheid government and how "en messe", hundreds of men mocked and swore at the then minister of defence PW Botha.

At the end it touches on how Kevin has to cope with PTSD. How he partially heals himself while living as a beachcomber for three months, until he feels he can cope with life and living with others.

Paperback, 220 pages.

WARNING – This book contains some graphic imagery and language that some might find offensive.

Customer Reviews

Based on 6 reviews

Well done Kevin, what an exceptional well written book and so factual, brings back some disturbing memories, we were just boys (17) at the time, and what we experienced was unbelievable.


Clearing the dust off his old kitbag and army stuff, transported Kevin Vos back into the past... 30 odd years ago, pushed into the small corners of his mind.
Spring cleaning his garage turned out to be spring cleaning his soul.
I started reading this book 3 months ago, feeling more than just uncomfortable with eyes on the cover of the book following me. It was so bad that I covered the eyes of Salute the Eagle with two labels and still couldn't read the book.
Don't perceive the book as not good enough! On the contrary it’s a very good read. I just had a strange reaction to the ever following eyes on the cover. Halfway through the book I did something totally out of character, I put Salute the Eagle back on my shelve without finishing it. Then one night I woke up just before midnight and I knew I had to read it.
I laughed aloud for the army banter, suffered with the boys through training, and felt their pride when they succeeded in obtaining the coverted maroon baret.
The long days without action in the bush tend to rub the feeling of boredom off on the reader, I was with them in that endless bush, on that hill, waiting for anything to move.
Kevin desribes his feelings during contacts in such a vivid way that you can't help but hold your breath at some stages. Dispair, elation, boredom, the dark cloud of depression.... All scrambled together in the mind of an eighteen year old.
The uncertainty and deep fear when they hit contact and then how to deal mentally with casualties and the loss of friends, all portraying a deep sense of camaraderie between Kevin and his few friends.
Like so many others Kevin and his fellow combatants were on a train on their way to the states – no debriefing, no care about their mental state. Young boys who were brainwashed, turned into soldiers, taught not to speak about what happened, their innocence stripped..... then they're on their way home to try and cope with civvy life. The only thing they can do is to push the demons to the s...

Relative to story in book

Text not to bad. Placement of sentences sometimes doesn't make sense. Specifically in the first few chapters. Have read better experiences from parabats in other books.

Salute the parabats

A couple of editing errors, but loved the book overall. My brother was there with him so I could really relate, although until reading the book I never fully understood what they went through. Respect!

Excellent certainly some creative thinking and very apt. Only bats will understand!

Great read.

For a change this is not a war story but a brilliant personal account of his own war! No heroes just a great story about Kevin's battle with himself.
Pity that he felt the need to expand on the racism angle. Leaving that out would not have detracted from a brilliant account of his experiences in Angola. But I suppose that must be included to justify and sell an account of this type.

I particularly enjoyed the chapters on Sakkie and the senior, the medic bag as well as the piece on PW Botha. They are all good all the same.

Valskerm groete,

Dave Harris
A coy 77 78
Salute the Eagle!


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