Loved Your Book
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
God bless and keep writing.
Learning About Friends
Interesting how you feel you know someone so much better after reading their memoir. i finished you book, Promises kept. You certainly have an incredible story -- and life to tell about.
...You both have had to live with the personal consequences of the war the rest of your lives. Your book, especially the subtitle, is well named.
Glad to know you are living happily in Laguna Woods Village, close to family and friends. There are some compensations to being seniors.
My mother, Joyce, had given me a copy of Promises Kept over Christmas when she came to GA for a visit. She mentioned that you are a neighbor of hers. I am currently serving in the Navy (I’m sure she mentioned that!) 2 weeks ago I brought this book with me to the USS WASP in Norfolk, VA were I would be for training exercise. I must say to both of you THANK YOU for your sacrifice so many years ago and that continues to this day! Rough, your story gave me motivation to keep pressing forward no matter what the situation my be. And Lu, the strength that you had during those trying times and continue to have is encouraging. But I must ask you Rough; did you ever get in touch with Joe, Wild Bill, Mac, and Rat? You left me wanting to know and hoped that you did! When I come home on leave to visit my mom I would love to shake your hand and thank you in person for what you sacrificed for our country and continue to sacrifice. You are truly a miracle Rough and I am glad to have read how you over came all odds!
I wish you and Lu all the best and I hope I get the pleasure of meeting you someday soon!!
If you want to email me please don’t respond to this email as I will never get it as we pull in to port tomorrow.
NOTE: As in the book, the authors contacted two of Len's former platoon members. However since most of the other characters were composites, they, in fact, do not exist. And he has not located any additional members.
Dear Len and Lu,
...You gifted me your Promises Kept book a year ago because you heard that I came from Vietnam. I have read your book and I thank you for your precious gift.
I cried, I laughed and I cried reading your book. Like many Vietnamese people, I appreciate your courage and strength to survive the Vietnam war. It was a ridiculous war and it should have never taken place, however, everything has its positives. Without that ugly and ridiculous war, I would never have had an opportunity to become the person I am today, nor would I have had the freedom to live in this wonderful country of the USA and to meet heroes like you.
Thank you for the opportunity to meet you through "Promises Kept" and I will remember to always keep my promises and beliefs!
Love the Book!
October 3, 2011
Wow! Thanks for letting me into your world! You're a pretty tough old bird the both of you and I'm proud to of met you.
You know during this whole book I never once doubted you and ever had one thought that you were responsible for the deaths of anyone! I knew in my own heart, out comes, are decided by only one and that's Our good Lord looking down on us all. So glad to see the ending it had because that burden to carry for an entire lifetime with the not knowing did take its toll on you and Lu!
I can tell you I'm passing this book on to others to read and I know my family will appreciate it for the truth it relays to us all. When were so young its almost that lack of fear and the unknown that really prepares us for what's around the corner.
You are My Hero, Tough, and hope to see you many more times at the Circle in Orange.
God bless you and your family, your brother in War and Peace...
Douglas Wilson Plane Captain USS MIDWAY CVA-41
September 24, 2011
I'm almost half way done and I'm really enjoying it. Sure brings back memories! So many things apply even though I was in the Navy working on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier many of the same dangers apply. The not know what will happen or when it will happen can be a nightmare for anyone! Crashes, jet exhaust blast and being blown overboard, sucked into a engine miss haps that happen all the time during endless flight operations and you my friend always not knowing when and where that one bullet or RPG, mine or booby trap will come from. A tough way for a young man to stay alert 100% of the time. God bless you and your wife and I'm so proud to have met you both. I know I have a brother and sister for life. Much success to you both and I know we'll see each other again...
Your brother in arms...
August 11, 2011
Hey Rough! Just finished your book.
You captured Vietnam all right. The smells, sounds, the way we drove, what and how we thought. C-rats, real rats, rain, heat, bugs, sandbags. Being smelly and dirty. Being a new guy on the truck to your first outfit. All of it. You took me back. Excellently done!
Nicknames. We had a LDO LT we called Porky (not to him of course), one very hairy guy we called Pelt, a (white) fellow with tight curly hair we called Rughead, and the Top was always the Top.
The letters were great too. You were so lucky to have a loving wife as your anchor. So lucky. As I was reading I often got up and went and kissed my wife (we met and married in the mid ‘70s). She wondered what that was all about. Hee, hee.
OK, I was a REMF. Had the easiest tech job in the Marine Corps. Still, led daylight patrols, rode shotgun on convoys over Hai Van pass, did a lot of courier duty flying on every helicopter and transport aircraft that operated in I Corps. And my hilltop was spanked hard the first night of Tet. Carried the wounded, watched one guy expire right in front of me that night. Still, not at all like your deep jungle slogs.
I was a student at Long Beach State while you were next door at the VA Hospital. I often thought of you guys. Got back in ’68 and the war just kept going. It remains heartbreaking. For us it won’t ever go away, just maybe into the background a bit. Certain smells, sounds of fireworks, I’m there again.
And at the Wall. Wow. I had tears.
But what happened between the lummie grenade and when you got hit? Are those blanked out days?
You sir, are an inspiration, and I am proud to be your friend. We know each other from the Saddleback VETS office, where I’m a volunteer. You visited one day, and after you left I told those still there a capsule version of your story. They were drop-jawed in awe. I look forward to seeing you again at the next dinner, if not before.
I can suggest only one change to your book, a quick edit. Where you reference the M-60 machine gun. It was heavy enough as a 7.62, you mistakenly call it a 60 caliber.
Your Vietnam brother and friend,
For God and Country
Quite a Story
May 24, 2011
Len and Luanna -
A Thank You
November 6, 2009
Mr. and Mrs. Rugh,
Thank you for coming out to Crown Valley Elementary this morning. On behalf of the staff and the students, I wanted to let to you know how appreciative we are for all you've given to the community and our country. Additionally, I would be honored if you would consider joining Crown Valley for the Laguna Niguel Parade on the morning of Saturday, December 18. In anticipation, I scheduled a convertible Mustang for the two of you to ride in along with our student council officers. I understand schedules are tight during the holidays, but I wanted to extend the invitation.
Once again, thank you for visiting CVES and sharing your story.
Crown Valley Elementary School
Remarkable Love Story
I have finished your book – what a remarkable love story! Thank you for writing it – I am recommending it to all my friends and acquaintances. I couldn’t put it down until I got so sleepy it would fall out of my hands. It’s amazing how similar our lives have been in many ways, but I marvel at what you have done – both of you. I am grateful that you were spared to come home and that a very special lady was there for you. I include you both in that circle of friends who I consider truly great and remarkable. However, I’m going to have to admit something a little embarrassing: the first day we got on the bus to NIH... Lu was kind of being in charge of most everyone, and I thought “what a pushy lady, that poor guy!” And then we got to know one another and I found it was really easy to like you, and now I know that if Lu hadn’t learned to be insistent (that’s a better word than pushy, right?) probably neither one of you would have survived – so thanks Lu; getting to know you both was one of the great experiences of my life. That book is incredible, from the title to the story. When you said you went back and forth between what you were each experiencing resulted in making it really powerful to me, but when you explained how you’d approached the writing I thought, “Wow, I’m not sure that can work to hold readers of varying interest to the finish," but it was perfect! I found myself laughing at times (for example, unfortunately we do learn some horrid language in the military) and crying at others.
With love and respect,
The Johnsons (Austin Ray and Susan), Richland, WA
PS: I kidded Len about not looking like the young man on the cover – actually you do look like that young man; and it makes for a better world that you are him.
Promises Kept--A Real Winner!
This book is an American treasure. The true story of one couple's promises to each other; their enduring love, commitment, and the ability to overcome the tragedy which almost took Len's life in the Vietnam War, grabs the reader from page one. And it continues to hold him/her through the steamy, bug-infested jungles of Vietnam, where the VC awaits around every corner, and the infantrymen of the 199th Light Infantry Brigade never know which day may be their last. The tension and emotion continue in the black days following Len's horrific head injury, when he is taken back home on a stretcher, the doctors doubtful he will survive; to the love of a young wife who stands by his side 'for better or for worse' as she helps her husband learn to walk and talk again, and to retain his dignity. The reader cannot help but root for Len, who is deemed by the VA to be 'untrainable,' as he struggles to finish college, and when he does, shares his pride. And he/she cannot help but celebrate with Len and Lu on the day their daughter is born--the child who was not supposed to be--the child who brings so much joy into their lives. This book definitely has something for every reader, young or old; whether he or she is currently serving in the military or has served at any time, or in any war. It grabs the reader who relishes a true and enduring love story; or one who loves reading about two humans' endurance, and their ability to overcome all the odds stacked against them. As for myself, I also found this book to be very healing. Being a Vietnam War widow, I at last experienced first-hand the horribleness of this war and the unbelievable struggles of the soldiers fighting it. And at the same time, I finally came to more fully understand why it had to be fought. More than anything else, however, I found myself in such awe and admiration of the young couple within the pages of this fine book. For their life story is surely a miracle come true--one of many 'promises kept.'
Christie Shary, Award-Winning Author as listed on Amazon
The Most Inspiring Book You Will Ever Read
Len Rugh was shot in the
head by an AK-47 round during a patrol in the jungles of Vietnam. Instead of
becoming one of the over 58,000 names on `The Wall' in Washington DC, he
survived and made it home, carried on a stretcher, more dead than alive. The
book, Promises Kept How One Couple's Love Survived Vietnam, tells
the story of how his wife, Luanna, stood by his side, how he was able to live a
full and rich life-despite his limitations, how love survived against all odds,
and how he gained peace thirty-one years after returning from the war.
Lorna Collins, Author as listed on Amazon
Tops the List of Sincere Narrative Achievements
I just finished "Promises Kept" which gave me a more sincere appreciation of your "trials and tribulations." The twenty-third Psalm verse sums it up more than any other statement: "Even though I walk through the valley dark as death, I fear no evil, for thou are with me." "Promises kept" is truly an odyssey that anyone who lived through the Vietnam era should read.
...I can flatly state that [the] book is one of the best human interest sagas I have ever read...this saga should be made into a movie! I can see the first sequence at The Wall, the slow walk down the path to "1969," the shock of not finding the "names," the flashback to Vietnam, the action, the firefights, the patriots, etc... It brings tears to my old weather-beaten eyes just visualizing you winning the impossible dream after all.
Of all the books I have read about conflicts our country has been engaged in, "Promises Kept" tops the list of sincere narrative achievements, bar none.
John B, Washington