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Book By Author:  Joe Rosato

Dog Tags & Wedding Bands
 Dog Tags & Wedding Bands
 Dorrance Publishing Co. Pittsburgh, PA


On a dark haunting Saigon night in late-summer 1968, two volunteer American Red Cross nurses disappeared without a trace. Officials dismiss their disappearance as being “Absent Without Leave” (AWOL) and with the passage of time, they were simply forgotten.


At least until thirty-seven years later when Chet Ross, a Vietnam veteran, is experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) flashbacks and nightmares of the former war-ravaged country. While mourning the death of his wife, Chet Ross is mesmerized as he watches a tropical depression form over the Bahamas.  Before long, this little-known storm turns into Hurricane Katrina. This triggers Chet's memory of a tropical depression in Vietnam in 1968 that developed into Typhoon Cobra. He recalls the destructive forces and surging waters of Typhoon Cobra that are almost identical to those of Hurricane Katrina. Chet asks himself, why don't the New Orleans elected officials seem to care? Remembering Typhoon Cobra's devastation was way beyond any forecasts or predictions and thousands of poor villagers lost their lives along the Mekong Delta.


As if drawn by an unexplainable force, Chet stumbles upon the story of the two missing nurses. He is more determined than ever before to investigate as he relives every one of his nightmares. In his relentless pursuit of the truth, Chet disregards his own health concerns. By accident or fate, Chet meets a man named Ta Ning, who was witness to a pivotal event when he was a young orphaned teenager. Ta’s tragic story reminds us all that during a war, the worst of humanity shows its ugly face, torturing its victims in unimaginable ways.


Chet’s travels reawaken the atrocities and corruption of war along with his sad but remarkable connection to the two nurses. Although this is a fictional story, some of the dates, events and places are real and the author has used his own Vietnam experience to help develop the storyline.


Date Reviewed:   



A tragic story about Vietnam in the summer of 68.


Dog Tags & Wedding Bands by Joe Rosato is a tragic and brutal story about the Vietnam war in the summer of ’68. Starting in the present day, Chet, the main character, who served on a Swift Boat in the Mekong Delta is troubled by disturbing dreams that involve a consistent gurgling sound. Remembering the dreams, Chet’s sub-consciousness brings back that sound over and over to haunt him. He decides that he needs to go back to Vietnam to investigate why this is troubling him even if it just quiets his troubled mind. What unfolds from his findings is truly horrific in its cruelty of two volunteer Red Cross nurses. The novel follows two women and their desire to be close to their husbands in a time of war and what becomes ultimately their demise. The story goes back and forth, following the women and the path that leads them to Vietnam and also to Chet in the present, getting closer to the source of that gurgling sound. What he uncovers is humanity at its worst. He also discovers that love, however brief, can be immortalized in a few pieces of metal.

Rosato is a very passionate writer. He writes from the heart and from his experiences. Even though this is a fictional novel, you can definitely surmise while reading it that he brings a lot of his own feelings and thoughts into the characters and their surroundings. If I can fault anything, it may be that there was sometimes too much detail that only those reading from the era would appreciate for its historical significance. Rosato does an admirable job of showing how many Vietnam vets are still dealing with the traumas of that war. He shows that some can, not only survive, but also find closure from much needed retribution of the past.

Although it was a fictional novel, I was hard hit about half-way through. The women’s stories shocked me with their child like naiveté about war and the obliviousness of love that can lead you down a dark path. Tie that in with fate’s cruelty and the fact that you can be wiped out of existence in a millisecond reinforcing that life is fleeting. That does not mean the past can’t be uncovered and that is what the author’s message is in Dog Tags & Wedding Bands. Evil can still be found out even from the past and the bravery of those forgotten can still be honoured.


Author Details

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Joe Rosato Author:  Joe Rosato



Joe Rosato is a tour guide and Liaison to the Board of Directors at the New Jersey Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Foundation. He has volunteered at the memorial since 2007. Joe enlisted in the U.S. Navy from his hometown of Brooklyn, NY on Dec. 7, 1966. His basic training was at The U.S. Submarine Training Center in New London, CT. Joe Rosato served in Vietnam at Yankee Station in 1968 as a Helmsman and Lee Helmsman aboard the aircraft carrier USS America CVA-66.


Joe Rosato is retired as an owner of a freight Logistics Company based in Wall, NJ and worked in the freight transportation industry for over 43 years. He lives in Farmingdale, NJ and has two children and two grand children.


Joe is an active volunteer in The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary at the Manasquan Inlet, NJ. He also is a lifetime member of Vietnam Veterans of America and holds memberships in The American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He considers volunteering at the NJVVMF a passion for giving back some history to the youth of New Jersey.