A Contrarian Hero

The Contrary Perspective

Nikko Schoch By Bill Dyer

Forty five years ago this month, American troops engaged in an 11 day frontal assault on a hill over looking the A Shau Valley, thought to be a major supply and staging area for the North Vietnamese Army, operating under the cover of triple canopy jungle and thickets of elephant grass. The Vietnamese called it Dong Ap Bia (Crouching Beast Hill). Originally referred to by the military as Hill 937, the metric elevation shown on their maps. The members of the 101st Airborne—the “Screaming Eagles”—came to call it Hamburger Hill.

Forty years ago I moved to the Napa Valley and soon thereafter met Nikko Schoch. He had grown up among the vineyards, as his family was in the wine business. He worked for a while as a winemaker, until he realized he needed more distance from alcohol. He was quite counter- cultural, with flowing hair and…

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