Fifty Years in a Foxhole is an episodic account of the author's seven months in combat in Vietnam. He and his platoon were in several major engagements including the Battle of the Hills and Operation Utah. The main focus of these operations are the lives of the marines and attrition through action and "friendly fire" as they endure these pointless dangers.
Each chapter contains two parts, and the second part is about the author's fifty years of living with undiagnosed PTSD. He struggled to find a way to live in the thrall of the existential elan he developed in combat while insisting that this edgy verve could be enjoyed without the constant threat of fear, violence, and death. It explores PTSD from a new perspective, more as a shared betrayal with many other people in our society.
Charles Kniffen is a combat wounded veteran of the Vietnam war. He obtained a GED while serving in the Marine Corps and earned a Master's Degree in Philosophy from Uconn. Previous to his college education, Charles worked as a truck driver, a milkman, and a herdsman on a New England dairy farm. He was employed as a Mental Health Worker, a Licensed Social Worker, and a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor in Albuquerque, NM. The uncontested high point in his job-hopping, entry-level career was working with autistic children to write, develop, and produce a series of puppet plays.
Charles attends a Combat Veteran's group in Machias, ME and has been an all-season solo kayaker for two decades, plying the North Atlantic from Spring Point to the Bay of Fundy. He and his wife, Rhonda Welcome are the co-owners of Turtle Dance Totems, a sea-junk assemblage art studio and they are leading a community project to recover and re-articulate the skeleton of a 55' finback whale buried in the mud flats of Mowry Beach, Lubec, Maine.