Westholme Publishing

A Personal Reflection of a Frontline Soldier in Vietnam and Cambodia During the Cultural Maelstrom of the 1960s


Five Four Whiskey
A Memory of War
Robert Sweatmon

$26.00 Hardback

$18.95 Paper

  • 256 pages
  • 6 x 9
  • 20 color illus, map
  • Military History
  • World Rights

About this Book

“I wasn’t ready for the last hundred pages of this memoir. The emotional level builds slowly, almost imperceptibly. Without realizing it, as the combat became heavier and the scenes in Cambodia unfolded, I was hooked. By the end I was stunned by the impact.” —John M. Del Vecchio, author of The 13th Valley

“Five Four Whiskey is a remarkable portrait of a long ago time when our country was riven by the ‘free love’ movement and the no-nonsense combat soldiers who went off to participate in the ‘national nightmare.’ It’s a beautiful act of recollection that should take its place on the small shelf of necessary books on the Vietnam War.” —Joseph G. Peterson, author of Gideon’s Confession

“An excellent memoir. . . . a compelling narrative. . . . Sweatmon also delivers a very accurate depiction of what he and other Vietnam veterans faced coming home.”Vietnam Veterans of America

 “Taught, poignant writing.”—Si Dunn, Dallas Morning News

 “Without realizing it . . . I was hooked. By the end I was stunned by the impact.” —John M. Del Vecchio, author of The 13th Valley Robert Sweatmon


In late 1969, twenty-year-old Robert Sweatmon received a letter informing him that he had ten days to report to the United States Army. Like thousands of others, he had been drafted. Assigned as a rifleman with a mechanized unit, the author began a year-long odyssey in the Southeast Asian wilderness that would change his and his fellow soldiers’ lives forever.

Taking its title from the nighttime radio code call and response between base camp and those on ambush patrol, Five Four Whiskey: A Memory of Waris a moving account of life as a combat soldier in the Vietnam War. Set mostly in the sprawling woods and rubber plantations northwest of Saigon, the author explains what his unit was asked to do and what obstacles they faced, including an elusive but deadly enemy, multiple kinds of booby traps, and antitank mines. The author, a notable television personality following the war, does not sensationalize his account; rather, his book allows a new generation to understand the emotional and physical pressures of the times. Coming of age in the maelstrom of civil rights and the free love culture, the author and his fellow soldiers saw their idealism quickly vaporize in the face of the grim realities of war. Here they learned to compartmentalize their lives as a way to survive, but it was their strong bonds that ultimately kept them from succumbing to the madness that surrounded them. Kept in the field for almost the entire time of his tour, the author was in a unit selected to conduct a clandestine reconnaissance in Cambodia and then lead the 1970 invasion, where he was wounded. Following his convalescence, he was sent to Nui Ba Den, the fabled ghost mountain haunted by the spirit of a Vietnamese princess, until he received his papers that he had completed his combat service. At that moment, his year-long mental wall between soldier and civilian fell away as he counted the last terrifying hours before he was safely out of Vietnam. A tour-de-force of military memoir, written in an objective and often literary prose, Five Four Whiskey perfectly captures how ordinary civilian-soldiers survived an ordeal set in one of the most turbulent times in American history.

ROBERT SWEATMON attended North Texas State University before entering the United States Army. After being discharged, he taught history for almost three decades. In the 1990s he entered the entertainment industry, playing roles on television shows such as Walker, Texas Ranger and America’s Most Wanted. He is best known for his recurring role on the internationally famous children’s show Barney and Friends. He lives with his wife in rural Wise County, Texas, where he writes screenplays and directs independent films.



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