The Trion Syndrome
The Trion Syndrome came from my own struggle to come to terms with the unspeakable things I went through and participated in during the years I served as a clandestine signals intelligence operative working under cover with soldiers and Marines in Vietnam. I began to wonder if men who had demonstrated that kind of ferocity were even capable of love. I returned from Vietnam an emotional wreck, after living through the fall of Saigon and escaping under fire after the North Vietnamese were already in the streets of the city. I had all the classic symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Injury—panic attacks, flashbacks, nightmares, irrational rage. My marriage crumbled, and I was afraid I was going to lose my children who were my reason for staying alive. I turned to helping others—AIDS patients, the homeless, the dying in the hospice system, and now sick and dying soldiers in a VA medical center—and writing. I resumed my study of German and sought the wisdom in Greek mythology to heal me. In the process I rediscovered my most cherished author, Thomas Mann. Then Dave Bell, the protagonist of Trion, took me over. To find peace, I had to tell his story. Hence Trion.
Tom Glenn has worked as an intelligence operative, a musician, a linguist (seven languages), a cryptologist, a government executive, a caregiver for the dying, a leadership coach, and, always, a writer. Many of his prize-winning short stories (seventeen in print) came from the better part of thirteen years he shuttled between the U.S. and Vietnam as an undercover NSA operative supporting army and Marine units in combat before escaping under fire when Saigon fell.
With a BA in Music, a master’s in Government, and a doctorate in Public Administration, he toured the country lecturing on leadership and management, trained federal executives, and was the Dean of the Management Department at the National Cryptologic School.
Maryland Public Television interviewed him and 15 others in its salute to Vietnam vets aired in May 2016, and his memoir article on the fall of Saigon has been published by Studies in Intelligence and reprinted in the Atticus Review. In late 2017, the New York Times published his story on his role in the 1967 battle of Dak To in Vietnam’s central highlands. His writing is haunted by his five years of work with AIDS patients, two years of helping the homeless, seven years of caring for the dying in the hospice system, and Post-Traumatic Stress Injury, a consequence of his time in Vietnam. These days he is a reviewer for The Washington Independent Review of Books and the Internet Review of Books. Adelaide Books of New York will bring out his latest novel, Secretocracy, and his short-story collection, Coming to Terms, in early 2020.