Marine Corporal Danny Lane received two purple hearts for his combat wounds during the Vietnam War. He shares the details of his gripping and courageous story for the first time in 50 years in his new book, “Some Gave it All: Through the Fire of the Vietnam War.” On this post-Fourth of July week, I want to recap key points in his patriotic and freedom story to inspire you.
As his own official website explains, Daniel “Danny” Lane served with the 1st Marine Division 3rd Battalion/5th Marines in 1968-1969 in Vietnam as an 0341 and 0331 grunt infantry combat soldier. Danny operated out of An Hoa Combat Base known as “Rocket City” and the “Dodge City” area, known to the grunts as Dodge City for its shoot-’em-up atmosphere twenty kilometers south of Da Nang.
Lane was a Mortar Man, Rifleman and M-60 Machine Gunner, and Squad leader with H&S Company and Mike Company 3/5 Marines.
He specialized in 60mm mortars, M-60 machine guns, M-79 grenade launcher, M-16 and explosives.
He was an FO (Forward Observer) for other infantry companies during major operations.
He participated in the following military operations: Operation Meade River, Operation Taylor Common, Operation Durham Peak, Operation Pipestone Canyon and several other unclassified covert operations.
On May 30, 1969, Cpl. Lane and Gordan Dean Perry laid in the same foxhole fighting during Operation Pipestone Canyon, which started on May 26 and wouldn’t end until Nov. 7. Two months earlier, Lane had the premonition that he would die at night. So when the battle broke out again that evening, he was certain Heaven was calling his number.
The fighting was as intense as any in the abyss of Vietnam when the enemy broke their lines and hand-to-hand combat ensued. When the smoke cleared, however, it was Perry who perished. Lane lay severely wounded, for which he received one of his Purple Hearts.
For the last five decades, Lane has wanted to honor and pay tribute to Perry and other young brave marines who battled alongside them, enduring some of the toughest jungle warfare of any war.
Lane explained to the Dominion Post, “It was kind of a hardcore story, but a story that needed to be told. People can know really what happened, he went down fighting and he was giving all he had before the bullet got him. Gordan was 19, just like I was at the time, and we were taking care of each other. Fighting the war that we didn’t even know anything about…. He can be laid to rest as a hero, and somebody that paid the price.”
Lane added, “It affects me more now than it did then because Marines were being killed every day and we didn’t know each other’s names a lot of times. We didn’t get too close to people most of the time, but we did have a duty to protect each other and that brotherhood kicked in.”
Because too many of our Vietnam War veterans returned to an ungrateful nation, I hope Lane’s book becomes a bestseller and turns into a movie so a grateful nation today can honor these fallen heroes and freedom fighters. (You can see photos of Lane and his military brothers in Vietnam as well as read more combat details on his website. Lane also gives an interesting interview with KKNW Seattle about his book and time in Vietnam – it starts at the 3:12 mark.)
War is hell, but for some, surviving is worse. In Lane’s case, like with so many other amazing vets, both fighting and surviving are hell.
The Dominion Post reported, “Lane’s book, ‘Some Gave It All,’ begins in 2006, with Lane laying on train tracks, waiting for a train to hit him. Unconscious, Lane is taken to a hospital, and his history of Vietnam unfolds to the reader. The doctors try to determine who he is and how he got to that point.”
I’d encourage you to pick up a copy of “Some Gave it All” and read the rest of his inspirational story. His co-author, Mark Bowser, also gives some great additional biographical notes about Lane in Bowser’s four-minute YouTube video.
Check out what others have said about their book:
“Some Gave it All is a must read for every red blooded American!” – Colonel Phil Torres, U. S. Marine Corps
“Some Gave it All is a must read for anyone who wants the real skinny on the brotherhood of combat … you will find yourself mesmerized and brought into the action like never before.” – John Ligato, Marine, FBI Special Agent (Ret.), author of the John Booker Series
“Gripping! Suspenseful … the more I read, the more the storyline came to life and the more immersed I became!” – Colonel Steven B. Vitali, USMC (Ret.)
“Some Gave it All … brutally powerful, inspiring depiction of sacrifice, honor and faith. … It reads like an action movie” – Art Camacho, award-winning motion picture director
The Norris family personally knows all too well about war sacrifices and its tumultuous aftermath.
My father fought in World War II at the Battle of the Bulge, and came home a PTSD disaster that affected our family forever. I served four years in the Air Force in South Korea, and my brother Aaron served in the Army there, too. But our brother, Wieland, was killed in action in Vietnam when he walked point alone and drew out enemy fire so that others in his platoon could fight their way out to freedom. Many souls were saved on that day because of my brother’s bravery. He will killed on June 3, 1970, by a single bullet shot to the heart. It’s a shot that shattered our hearts too, and I still feel it to this day. I dedicated my “Missing in Action” movies to Wieland – he was in my heart and mind the entire time I filmed them. (My 97-year-old mom wrote a chapter on each of Norris men, and for the first time tells Wieland’s war story at length in her autobiography, “Acts of Kindness : My Story,” available at ChuckNorris.com or Amazon.)
I want to thank Cpl. Lane for being brave enough to share his story with the world and have to relive so much of it in order to do so. My wife, Gena, and I also want to thank him from our hearts for his continued service to our country as a share of the proceeds from his book will be donated to Kickstart Kids, our non-profit foundation and charity to help middle school children learn character through karate. (Lane is also a decorated martial arts champion.)
When it comes to our courageous military service men and women who have served past and present, James Allen was absolutely right: “No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.”