AN ArmyFirefighter
in Vietnam

Military history continues to evolve and grow. Every conflict that had American troops on the ground is full of historical notice and activity, and the Vietnam War is no exception.

Chief Michael L. Kuk’s writing tells of the time that he spent in Vietnam with the U.S. Army as a combat firefighter. This work encompasses what a very small detail of soldier-fighters did while they were stationed there in support of the overall war effort. It wasn’t a glamourous war-hero position. But it required bravery and encouragement to face and overcome other hazards the could present. A misstep would result in serious injury and/or death if these soldier-firefighters did not perform to the highest standard so required.

An Army Firefighter in Vienam

About the author

Michael Louis Kuk, PhD., CFO, FIFireE, FABCHS, CHS-V, CNTA, CHSEMR, is the retired Fire Chief for the Joint Readiness Training Center and U.S. Army Garrison at Fort Polk, Louisiana.  He has over 55 years of fire service experience, with 50 plus years of chief officer tenure.  In 1965 he became a Fire Explorer Scout and began his journey in the fire service.  A United States Army Vietnam Veteran, his professional service began at Fort Polk in 1969, going on to serve as the Station Chief for the U. S. Army Firefighters’ USARV Detachment at Long Binh, Vietnam during 1970 and 1971. After his military obligation was completed, he served in his hometown department of Clinton, Iowa as a Tillerman and one of the 1st EMTs. In Louisiana he served as the fire chief for OLIN Chemicals and PPG Industries in Lake Charles, and the first chief of the Ward 1 Fire Protection District of Moss Bluff. He was the first chief in Louisiana to have active duty career and volunteer women firefighters, including officers and EMT’s


The events of this book tell his story in a matter-of-fact manner.  .No Hollywood limelight, just a hard, factual retrospect of young American soldiers doing the right thing at the right time, to save and protect the US military’s assets and personnel in a remote part of the world.

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What They're saying

"Great reality book. Shows something different in the heat of war."
"I personally know the Author Great Guy and an Amazing Book"
"Having known the author in his capacity as a Firefighter (Fire Chief) for over 20 years, I have been anxiously awaiting this look back at his early, and dare I say, formative years in Firefighting. I have no doubt that his commitment to service, to country and this profession began here. Highly recommend you get a copy and see for yourself. Bravo Zulu, Chief Kuk from a retired Navy Firefighter."

"Chief of the Keyboards"

The Mike Kuk Show is a one-man-band musical entertainment act that utilizes the latest in keyboard, drum machine, and synthesizer technology.

His unique work with state of the art keyboards and drum machines has created the sound of a five-piece band with a real Hammond organ and Leslie speaker.

What is actually happening here is that he has taken and made the “Nashville” sound truly “portable.”   The whole show is full of his unique customized music, thereby technologically producing a unique live sound for any musical venue.

His musical style is built up around a strong Country-Rock-Swamp Pop flavor.  Two unique Zyedeco and Cajun accordions also augment his overall sound.  His exciting musical selections have easily pleased a wide audience of all ages.

The music of The Mike Kuk Show has been heard around the world.  His military travel duties, and his work as an internationally well-known fire chief, has permitted him to take his music with him in an ambassadorship role. 

As a distinguished and decorated U. S. Army Vietnam Veteran Combat Firefighter, he continues to perform at military, firefighter, and civil ceremonies and events across the Nation.  He has received numerous awards for his musicianship, and is recognized as our country’s top performing Firefighter-Musician.

Back in the 1970’s, he was nicknamed the “Chief of the Keyboards” during his countless musical performances in the southern venues of Louisiana and Texas.  Thus, this unique title has become a distinct part of his musical stage trademark.

He is a lifetime member of the American Federation of Musicians, Locals 67, 79, & 116, serving as a proud Union member since 1965. 

In 2006 he was inducted into the 50-60’s Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame with his 1960’s band the “Union Jacks”, of which he was the organist and leader.