VIc’s first novel, SNAFU was published in 2001. It is not just another Vietnam war story. Instead, it is about one Military Policeman’s experience in that war. Sometimes humorous and sometimes serious, SNAFU speaks from the heart about day-to-day life in the U.S. Army during the 1960’s. The author recalls firsthand the adventures of five young GIs who, working together, made a pact to survive the injustices, the red tape and the war.


Copies of Situation Normal All Fouled Up (SNAFU) are available directly from the author
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SNAFU is an old military acronym, short for Situation Normal – All Fouled Up. (Some would substitute a less polite word for the letter ‘F.’) Army veteran Vic Mills manages to bring out the true meaning of the word in this extraordinary novel of the Vietnam War. Loosely based on actual events, SNAFU is a comedy of errors.

Almost immediately after arriving at Basic Training, Vic is mistaken for an undercover Army investigator. Worried that their new ‘recruit’ has been sent to gather evidence of incompetence and wrongdoing, Vic’s Drill Sergeants can’t decide whether to kick his butt, or kiss it. By itself, a mistake of that magnitude could easily become the stuff of legend, but it’s only one in a monumental series of screw-ups.

Vic encounters buses to the middle of nowhere, pilots who fall asleep at the controls of their planes, and Vietnamese house cleaners who elevate cleanliness to the point of physical hazard.

The absurdity of Vic’s experiences, peppered liberally by his keen sense of irony, conjure up memories of Yossarian in Joseph Heller’s classic ‘Catch 22.’ But, unlike Yossarian, Vic is not content to protect his own skin while railing against the insanity of war. Vic is a Soldier, and he wants desperately to be a good one. Amid drugs, incompetence, and personal excess, he looks past it all to discover a love of the people he has been sent to protect. Moreover, he is not alone. There are others like him – other Soldiers who forge a code of skill and professional integrity that transcends their surroundings.”

– Jeffrey Edwards

“This book was surprisingly engaging for me. I have never read a book about wartime adventures but this one kept my interest and gave me a better understanding of what Army life is like. Vic tells of the corruption and mismanagement among some of the higher ranking officers and also of some really good guys. He gives us an insight into the lives of the Vietnamese people, whom he liked very much, and their society. There is humor as well as exciting action in Vic’s book. I would highly recommend it to everyone from teens to seniors.”

– E. F. Hansen

“Vic Mills does for MPs in Vietnam what M.A.S.H. did for meatball surgeons in Korea. The novel is a quick, enjoyable read based on the author’s wartime experiences. From the perspective of a soldier, Vic shows us the very best and worst of human behavior.

He presents the raw ugliness of war where little girls are molested by one side — and then rejected and murdered by the other. He describes the arrogance of ignorance where rookie guards struggle to open cans of food oblivious to the approach of VC soldiers a few yards away. He writes about malicious unit leaders who send others into combat while avoiding danger themselves.

However, the book is balanced. For every drunken pedophile, there’s an army of earnest young soldiers building an orphanage to help the forlorn children of Vietnam. For every meglomaniacal officer, reasoned, professional leadership saves the day time and again. If there’s heartbreak, there’s also joy. If there’s drudgery, there’s also fun.

The reader will laugh at the image of an amorous water buffalo going after an Army jeep — and then shed a tear for parentless children left behind in a war zone. SNAFU is about dignity, sorrow, absurdity — and in the end, kindess. Definitely worth a read.”

– Joyce Anderson
Watch Joyce Anderson’s interview with Vic Mills about Island of the Phoenix on the Media page.

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