An American Knight


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by Norman Fulkerson

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The Life of John W. Ripley, UCMC

In an age besotted with false heroes and anti-heroes it is refreshing to meet a true hero. Colonel John Ripley was one. He was a highly decorated veteran; he was also a ‘quad body’, that is, a member of a very elite group of soldiers who have passed the gruelling training courses of four world-class special forces units: the US Marines, British Royal Marines, Navy Seals, and US Army Rangers.

He is without doubt best remembered for his heroic feat at Dong Hoi in Vietnam in 1972, where he single-handedly stalled a North Vietnamese invasion of the South, preventing a rout of the South Vietnamese army and gaining precious time to regroup. In fact, historians accredit Ripley’s feat with delaying the tragic collapse of South Vietnam for two years!

Colonel Ripley was as brave off the battlefield as he was on it. He did not shy from controversy when principles were at stake. He challenged the politically correct thinking of today’s military establishment. He vigorously opposed open homosexuality in the armed forces.

On a personal level he was a just, kind and humble human being and an inspiration to many a young soldier. Colonel John Ripley was a true hero because he was not only an outstanding soldier but also a true gentleman.

In sum, this book conveys the beauty of the military vocation, with its glory and honour, as well as its challenges and setbacks, its sorrows and sacrifices.

Hardback. 208 pages. Illustrated.