After growing up in Northern California, I attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, and served in the United States Army as an Armor and Special Forces officer while based in Korea and Japan, respectively. I served and deployed in four combat tours to Iraq and the Philippines, and received several medals for my accomplishments, including two Bronze Star Medals. I also worked extensively throughout Southeast Asia and the Middle East in special operations missions, and have lived in ten countries since leaving California. I was also selected for early promotion to major prior to a voluntary and honorable discharge from the U.S. Army. Yellow Green Beret is my first book.
or Special Forces officer-turned-writer Chester Wong, being a Green Beret was tough business. Okay, there were a few laughs—in fact, there were countless random acts of hilarity, but maybe it’s how Wong looks at life that makes the difference. In Yellow Green Beret: Stories of an Asian-American Stumbling around U.S. Army Special Forces, one thing is certain: becoming an Asian American Green Beret is a calling only the wild should answer.
Whether or not you’re in the Army, there’s a whole lot of adventure and a whole lot of “who’d have thoughts” and “imagine thats” in this military memoir. With short stories like “Johnnie Walker Brown,” “Wily Filipino Cell Phone Thieves,” and “Sniper School: Extending the Range of Personality Lethality,” Wong pokes fun at the ironies of special operations combat, the idiosyncrasies of military life, and the absurdities of life on the frontline; more often than not he heckles his own harebrained ways. Each vignette is a standalone anecdote; sometimes there’s a lesson, sometimes it’s just for a laugh. He reminisces his West Point and Special Forces training, working with various militaries in Southeast Asia, and serving in Iraq and the Philippines, as well as general tidbits of military life. With a self-deprecating humor style, he leaves readers rolling with laughter and reflection on his unique observations and lessons learned from a path not often taken, which is good since this memoir is the first in a three-part collection.