(Bios are in Alphabetical Order; Click Picture to Enlarge)

Barry Abrams

Barry Abrams in Saigon, at left, with his good friend, John Mikesch; then Barry in later life in Paris

Barry Abrams, born in Amarillo, Texas in 1944, was a 1966 graduate of the University of Nebraska.  When he arrived in Saigon in December 1966, assigned to AFVN, he was quick to learn how to operate the cramped control room, and to handle the somewhat primitive equipment he found there.  He and AFVN colleague, John Mikesch, became fast friends, and their friendship continued until Barry's death in 2009.  John's memories of Barry follow.

We both ended up living at the Dia Nam BEQ for the first month or so.  We celebrated Christmas Eve together eating Chinese food in a little restaurant that had French music playing.  We enjoyed a bottle of Liebfraumilch wine to continue the international theme.  By month two we were both in the Ambassador BEQ, sharing a room.

It was a routine to always head up to the roof of any building we were staying in after we got home from the station.  It was amazing to watch and hear all the nighttime activity, mortars and rockets (which we hoped would never fall short; they often flew overhead of our position), flares, and that constant siren with the sound of explosions every so often.  Several times we were spotted by the MP's and they were most unhappy, but amazingly we never got caught.

Barry and I spent hours debating logic, ethics, and "what this is really all about."  Barry was a very bright man.

At the station I was able to show him some of the tricks of television, and once out of the building we shared great meals and wonderful discussions.  Later Barry also found a little apartment near Cholon.  He had purchased a motorcycle, so we did a few day trips to Long Binh and a few other nearby communities.  There were also a few evenings when Barry picked me up at the Ambassador and we spent the night.  It was all highly illegal and dangerous, which made it all the more fun.

By late 1967 Barry had worked out a deal with JUSPAO to do some media relations with their unit.  When his first wife came to Vietnam at one point, Barry was busy with his JUSPAO responsibilities, so I became her host.  We were able to eat dinner at Mike Turpin and Lili's apartment, then a little tour of the station.  Got her back to her hotel before curfew.

After Barry's time with the Army, he went to work for a television station in Honolulu as a photographer and producer.  He had a new wife and son.  Then, in the 1970's, Barry's mom was in poor health, living in New York state.  Barry and I determined that their trip from Honolulu to New York might be easier if they spent a few days in Seattle on the way.  I met the plane, and it was great to see Barry, and to meet his wife and son, Jesse, and even the family dog.  I was able to get a job offer for Barry at KING-TV as a photographer in the production department (much better deal than working as a photographer in news).  He said "thanks, but I have to do this," and that was the last time I saw Barry.

In 2003 he began a job teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) for Air France employees in Paris.  He was working there when lieukemia entered his life, and that life ended in August of 2009.

We had continued our friendship with phone calls and e-mail until the end.

Charles Benson "Chuck" Adams

Chuck is pictured in 1970 at Da Nang, first in a nice pose on the news set, then outdoors, and next with a visiting Ron Ely (TV's Tarzan); then we see Chuck and his bride Nancy at their 7 July 2012 wedding and two years later on an outing in Toronto.

I served as assistant to the OIC at AFNE, based in Frankfurt, Germany, from 1968-70.  Then I was with AFVN from May 1970 to May 1971, serving first as OIC of AFVN DaNang/Det. 2 for six months on Monkey Mountain, where I succeeded Air Force Capt. Elliott "Johnny" Johnson.  Then I served as Chief of News/news director of the network, based in Saigon, for the rest of my tour.  I separated from the Army upon arrival back in the States with the rank of captain.  I received the Army Commendation Medal while with AFNE, the Joint Service Commendation Medal and Bronze Star while with AFVN.

I've always enjoyed telling about my Vietnam experience, which could have been completely different.  Because, as one who enlisted for Signal Corps OCS (I was a radio-TV speech major at Ohio State, where I also got a master's in broadcast journalism), I actually went through Infantry OCS at Fort Benning, where I was trained to be an Infantry platoon leader.  But a visit to officer personnel while at Signal School at Fort Gordon, and an offer to give Uncle an extra year, produced the AFNE assignment.

Re my RVN experience, when people ask what I did in Vietnam, I tell them I spent half my tour in a movie ("Good Morning, Vietnam") and the other half in a TV series ("China Beach").  I missed Adrian Cronauer by several years in Saigon.  The in-country R&R station and also a MASH hospital was at China Beach in DaNang.  And that, of course, led to "China Beach," the TV series starring, among others, Dana Delaney and Marg Helgenberger.

When I consider what I was trained to be in Vietnam, and what my classmates did, I consider myself very fortunate.  There were a number of Purple Hearts, but only one KIA.  We graduated 125 primarily Infantry in June 1968, and only Jake Kinser, an Army aviator, died in combat.

So I always thank my lucky stars, in the Infantry platoon leader sense, but also because one of the first things I was given to read upon arrival in Saigon was the story of AFVN Hue and Tet of 1968.

I've actually spent most of my life as a sports PR guy, beginning in NBC Press Department and then moving to NBC Sports.  I worked in pro soccer with the New York Cosmos and North American Soccer League, baseball in the Baseball Commissioner's Office and with the Chicago White Sox, and here in Florida with the PGA Tour.  Since 2002, I've been writing for the Beaches Leader/Ponte Vedra Leader, a "mom and pop" twice-a-week paper based in Jacksonville Beach.

(2014 UPDATE)  Along with my 2012 marriage to Nancy came my retirement from the Beaches Leader.  I was there a total of 10 years.

(2017 UPDATE)  Sadly, the Website has been notified of the loss of Chuck's lovely bride Nancy.  She died of cancer 13 March 2017 following a brief hospitalization.  Burial was in Jacksonville National Cemetery.

James Edgar Adams

A snapshot of Lieutenant Colonel Adams at a reception is followed by a headshot of Colonel Adams in retirement

Rocky Mount, North Carolina native James Adams, born 8 October 1925, grew up in a family with two brothers and two sisters, a third sister having died in infancy.   Blessed with a natural radio voice, he was hired as a deejay by a local radio station at the age of 15.  It was a job he would keep through his graduation from Rocky Mount High School in the class of 1943.  Then, with war blazing, he enlisted in the Navy 26 July 1943 and saw action in the Pacific.  Following his discharge 3 May 1946 the young veteran returned to civilian status and resumed his budding media career.  Working at WTAR-TV, the NBC affiliate in Norfolk, Virginia, he became a news anchor by the time he was 30.

His military career had not yet ended, however.  The young media personality joined the National Guard 11 September 1950 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant.  His service in Korea as an aerial and forward observer earned him a Bronze Star for Valor.  Converting to a regular Army career, he attended Signal Corps Officer Basic in 1956 and was promoted to Captain.  A tour with American Forces Radio and Television Service followed with an assignment as OIC of AFN-Europe, and then he headed to the White House Communications Agency, a tour for which he was awarded the Legion of Merit.

He was named OIC of AFVN in 1969-70, and upon his departure from Saigon 2 June 1970, the Lieutenant Colonel was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal and the Bronze Star for Service with one cluster.  His final tour prior to his retirement in 1974 as a Colonel was a Pentagon posting as Director of Command Information.

In 1993 the Colonel and wife Madelyn moved from their home in Springfield, Virginia to Indian River Colony Club, a retirement community in Melbourne, Florida.  Locally known as "the Voice," the Colonel often accepted speaking engagements at the retirement village, and he was a frequent lay reader at his church.  He was also an active member of the Cape Canaveral Chapter, Military Officers' Association of America.  Following the death of Madelyn, his wife of 60 years, he remarried in 2009.

The Colonel passed away 30 July 2016 at the age of 90.  He was survived by his wife, Raye, son James Lamont Adams of Lexington, Virginia, and by three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.  In addition to his first wife, Madelyn, Colonel Adams was preceded in death by his son Stephen Kent Adams, and a great-grandchild.  Burial was in Arlington National Cemetery.

Ulysses Steven "Steve" Adolph II

Steve was born 15 July 1942 in the city of Grayling in upstate Michigan.  His 21-year-old father was active duty Army, having enlisted 19 November 1941, 18 days prior to Pearl Harbor.

Steve was 23 when he was drafted in 1966, but he extended his enlistment in order to accept appointment to OCS.  By the time he arrived in Vietnam 10 November 1968 he was a 1LT, having been trained in the Army's airborne course and at Special Operations School.  Initially assigned as XO of a Special Forces Detachment at Minh Thanh, due north of Saigon in Tay Ninh Province near the Cambodian border, he later served with a promotion to captain, as CO of the Special Forces detachment at Camp Tong Le Chan, about 55 miles north of Saigon.  A collateral duty was to act as MACV liaison officer, which required that he assist the MACOI Public Information Division in Saigon in the gathering and dissemination of battlefield statistics.  At tour's end, 3 December 1969, Captain Adolph had earned both the Bronze Star Medal and the Joint Service Commendation Medal for his contributions to MACOI.

Back in CONUS, Steve departed active duty, but remained in the Army reserve.  He began a career with Ford Motor Company as a supervisor in the headquarters plant in Dearborn, Michigan.  In his spare time he enrolled at the University of Michigan, where he earned a degree in 1987.

As a reserve field grade officer, Adolph accepted TDY assignments and graduated from the Command and General Staff College before he was recalled to active duty in 1991 for service in the Gulf War.  His awards and decorations during this period of active duty included the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman's Badge, a second award of the Bronze Star, an Air Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and a Silver Star.  He retired as a full Colonel in 1998 with 31 years of military service.

In his civilian career with Ford Motor Company, the Colonel had transferred in 1994 from Dearborn, Michigan to the Hamburg (New York) Stamping Plant where he retired two years later with 25 years seniority.  After Ford he began work with a civilian security company in Hamburg.  Then he and wife Arlene opened a Bed and Breakfast establishment in a converted 1902 Edwardian-style house.  Hamburg, only about 15 miles south of Buffalo, attracted Niagara Falls visitors year-round.  The B&B was called The Colonel's Retreat, and the Colonel was happy to make himself available to greet his overnight guests.

In 2002 Adolph was unexpectedly diagnosed with cancer, and after entering Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, he died 15 June 2002.  In addition to his wife, the Colonel was survived by two daughters and two grandchildren.  Burial was in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 68, Site 3333.

Hansen Ross Ahasteen

Hansen Ahasteen: as a talented graphic artist at work, and as a proud retired Marine

Marine Sergeant Hansen Ahasteen was AFVN's graphic artist in 1969-70.  He provided the artwork at the Saigon studio, and even decorated the walls of the Saigon USO.  Nicknamed "Chief" by his fellow servicemen in recognition of his Navajo heritage, Sergeant Ahasteen, born 31 March 1946, was a native of Low Mountain, Arizona, and attended Chinle High School and Eastern Arizona College prior to his enlistment.

As a Marine from February 1967 to February 1971, Hansen was trained at Camp Pendleton and Parris Island.  Though attached to AFVN Saigon, he traveled extensively while in Country as he serviced AFVN's outlying detachments.  During this time SGT Ahasteen actively engaged the enemy and was awarded combat ribbons.  He later suffered from PTSD as a result.

Following his military service, Hansen held a number of interesting occupations.  Among them were printer, cartoonist, and columnist for the Navajo Times, part-time sign painter and deejay, and he was an active rodeo participant and a rodeo announcer for 32 years.  He also was employed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and served for four years as a deputy sheriff in south Mississippi.  During this period, he used his spare time productively as he attended classes at the University of South Alabama in Mobile.

Today, Hansen makes his home in Arizona with wife Elizabeth.  The Ahasteens have two daughters and two grandchildren.  The elder daughter received her bachelor's from New Mexico State University and her master's from Indiana University.  She is currently Director of the Native American and Minority program at Purdue University.  The younger daughter, as of 2010, is a student at Purdue's School of Veterinary Medicine.

(UPDATE)  Mrs. Elizabeth Bencenti Ahasteen, Hansen's wife, passed away 30 April 2018 at the age of 72.  Burial was in Sunset Memorial Park, Gallup, New Mexico.

Archie Richard Aho

Archie Aho was born in 1931, the fifth of the 13 children of Mr. and Mrs. John Aho of rural Minnesota.  Mr. Aho was a Finnish immigrant and Mrs. Aho was the American-born daughter of Finnish immigrants.  Not surprisingly, Finnish was spoken in the family.  Archie grew up in Mahtowa, about 30 miles southwest of Duluth, and attended high school seven miles to the south in Barnum, Minnesota.

He made his career in the US Army, where he was trained in technical equipment maintenance.  On 12 March 1955 Archie married Miss Iris Melita Swanston, who had immigrated to the US from England along with her family.  The couple made their home in Duluth.

Archie's RVN assignment came in 1967-68 when, as a staff sergeant, he was assigned to AFVN's Detachment 1 at Qui Nhon.  As chief television equipment maintenance engineer, he was responsible for keeping TV programming on the air.  Qui Nhon was located about 270 miles northeast of Saigon, and its Channel 11 telecasts covered a wide area of the country.

After his retirement, he and Iris moved in 1975 to Somerville, a small town in southeastern Texas about 25 miles southwest of College Station.  Here they lived until 2009 when Mrs. Aho passed away.  Archie continued to live in Somerville, which is an easy commute of about 90 miles to Houston where his daughter, grandson, granddaughter, and great-grandson reside.

Cleveland Michael Akey


This future Master Gunnery Sergeant was born 21 August 1916 in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.  With an older sister, and a younger brother, the family soon moved ten miles south to Nekoosa, Wisconsin, where Mike, as he was called, finished high school in 1933.  He did not enlist until after Pearl Harbor, nine years later.  His career in the Marines would start in 1942 with Marine basic at San Diego and would last 30 years.

Mike saw action right away.  Assigned as a crewman on a torpedo bomber outfit, his was the first Marine torpedo squadron to fly against the Japanese.  His base at Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, was bombed almost daily for some 8 to 10 weeks.  On one of his flying missions a 500-lb bomb became jammed in the partially open bomb bay, and the air stream started the bomb's propeller to spin, which in turn activated the exploding mechanism.  The plane could not safely land, and the pilot ordered Mike and the other crewman to bail out, which they did promptly.  The skillful pilot expertly landed the aircraft in such manner that the bomb did not explode . . . but it easily could have.  Among the awards and decorations awarded to Staff Sergeant Akey in WWII are the Navy Distinguished Flying Cross, the Navy Air Medal, the WWII American Campaign Medal, and the WWII Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal.

Sergeant Akey later served in Korea where he was awarded the Korean Service Medal with three bronze stars, and the Korean UN Service Medal.  Then in Vietnam as Master Gunnery Sergeant, he was assigned as NCOIC of the Public Information Division at MACOI.  During this period of June 1969 to July 1970, he earned the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Vietnam Service Medal with three bronze stars.

Following his 1972 retirement, he and his wife, the former Miss Amine Louisa Eckert, resided in Hot Springs, Arkansas.  They were the proud parents of a son, Marine First Lieutenant Stephen Michael Akey, who saw service in Vietnam.  They were also proud of their grandson who became a successful industrial designer in Brooklyn, New York.

Gunny Akey passed away 24 January 1990, and was buried in Little Rock National Cemetery.  Mrs. Akey died 11 years later to the day on 24 January 2001, and was laid to rest at his side.

James Larry Akin

Jim Akin was born on Christmas Day 1931, the youngest of the three sons of Mr. and Mrs. Tular G. Akin of Mounds, Illinois, in the extreme southern tip of the state.  Never a metropolis, Mounds had a population of a little over 2,000 when Jim was born, but a steady decline set in and the 2010 population was 810.

Jim enlisted in the Army, and served in American Forces Radio and Television postings both overseas and stateside.  His last overseas duty was as a Master Sergeant in Vietnam where he was NCOIC at Detachment 4 in Nha Trang in 1968-69.

Only a little over one year after his return from Vietnam, Jim died of cancer.  He and his wife, the former Miss Grace Edna Haney of Cairo, Illinois, were residents of Huntsville, Alabama at the time, and Jim was just days away from observing his 39th birthday in December 1970.  Burial was in Huntsville Memory Gardens.  In addition to wife Grace, he was survived by three daughters and two sons.

Richard Chisholm Akins

Richard is shown in 1974 speaking in NYC to the International Radio Forum; then on the job in 1983 and in a 1991 snapshot.

Richard Akins, second of the three sons of Mr. and Mrs. Russell Dewalt Akins, was born 14 November 1946 in the New York City suburb of Bronxville.  The family later moved to the southwestern Pennsylvania town of Perkasie, where Richard was a 1965 graduate of Pennridge High School.  A year later he was in the Army, and he spent 1967-68 in Vietnam.  Although first assigned as a combat correspondent, he was soon sent to AFVN in Saigon where he worked as a SP4 in television production.  This turned out to be the start of a lifelong career in show business.

Returning to CONUS, Richard found employment in New York with CBS television where he held cue cards for Captain Kangaroo and Ed Sullivan.  This led to uncredited acting jobs in minor roles, and the seed was set.  Only three years after his Army service, Richard was hired as executive director for a production company in Philadelphia, and then with this experience he headed for Los Angeles where he founded his own company, Richard Akins Productions.  One of his employees was a young lady named Janina Sikorsky, originally from Hightstown, New Jersey, and on 25 September 1976 Richard and Janina were married.

Back at home in Pennsylvania, a dinner theater was up for sale, and the two newlyweds bought it.  Richard sold his Los Angeles production company, and the 29-year old entrepreneur hired a crew of his old high school classmates to run the theater/restaurant/hotel complex.  The Playhouse Inn was a tremendous success, and he eventually owned three dinner theaters in the Allentown area.  In 1988-89 he was elected president of the National Dinner Theater Association.  During this period he also produced at other theaters, including the Westbury in New York and Harrah's in Atlantic City.  By 1989 he had the assets and experience to move upward, and he leased a facility in Jupiter, Florida which he described as "the finest dinner theater in America."  The Jupiter Theater had been owned and operated for ten years by Hollywood's Burt Reynolds, a local resident who had gone to high school in Palm Beach, 25 miles to the south.  Although Reynolds continued to own the building, Richard owned all rights to the theater.  While producing plays at the Jupiter, Richard also arranged a national comedy tour for Tim Conway and Tom Poston, and for a time, he worked as booking agent for The Amazing Kreskin.

In 1997, Reynolds decided to sell the building, and Richard was not ready to buy it.  Moving to coastal South Carolina he managed the Palace Theatre in Myrtle Beach until August 2000 when he returned to Bucks County, Pennsylvania where he ran the Playhouse Inn, which he had owned 24 years earlier.

His later negotiations to bring a musical to Broadway did not reach fruition.  In early February 2009, Richard visited his doctor, complaining of back pain.  The diagnosis of "muscle strain" unfortunately turned out to be incorrect.  Six weeks later on 31 March 2009 Richard succumbed to an aggressive and untreatable form of pancreatic cancer.  He was 62.  In addition to Janina, his wife of 35 years, he was survived by daughter Alexandra and sons Christopher and Todd.

John Dempsey Allgood

1) John in Saigon; 2) on the air with "Dawn Buster;" and 3) at his leisure

John Allgood was born 27 August 1947 in Monroe, Louisiana.  He was an only child and his father died when John was young.  He lived with his mother who suffered from diabetes, a disease which eventually took her life.  Upon his mother's death, he enlisted for a tour in the Navy and then briefly returned home where he worked for a time as a radio deejay in Ruston and Bastrop, Louisiana.  He did not finish high school.

When he left Louisiana for the final time, this time to join the Army, he largely broke off contact with family members.  At some point prior to his assignment to Vietnam, John married briefly and fathered a daughter.  Trained as a medic, he was sent to Vietnam in 1972, where his radio experience earned him an audition with AFVN.  He was popular with his colleagues, and was soon hosting the famed morning show, "Dawn Buster," where he proved to be a very talented broadcaster.  At his next duty station, Fort Lewis, Washington John married a second time, but this marriage, like the first, eventually failed.

Back in civilian life, John moved to Southern California and worked for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.  There is no clue as to why he never ventured into radio in the lucrative California market.  Although he had no formal training in broadcasting, John's natural talent would easily have allowed him to develop into a first rate deejay.

John Dempsey Allgood died in Los Angeles 15 June 2006 at the age of 58.  The MACOI Website has not been able to determine John's final occupation, nor has it learned the cause of death.

James M. "Jim" Allingham

Jim at AFVN, followed by a pair of on-air shots; then Jim and Shirley at home Christmas 2008

I had the privilege, and the honor, to serve as a radio and TV newscaster for the American Forces Vietnam Network (AFVN) in Saigon and on Hon Tre Island (off the coast of Nha Trang) from August, 1969 through early August, 1970.

I say "privilege" because my assignment was just that, a privilege, compared to the guys who hacked their way through the jungles and mucked their way through the rice paddies, facing incredible danger virtually every minute of their tours.

And, I say "honor" because I got the opportunity to work with some of the greatest talent in the field of broadcasting at a time when radio still had personality and television was beginning to find its place in society.

I was born on April 24, 1948 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of a steel worker and grandson of a humble Irish immigrant who came to this country alone as an indentured servant when he was 14.

In 1966, I graduated from Hopewell High School in Aliquippa, PA.  I attended Kent State University, Ohio, for a year as a radio/TV broadcasting major before an athletic injury and the draft changed my life forever.  Long story short, since DINFOS was booked solid and with the prospect of finally passing an induction physical looming, I was advised by Major Lyle Barker to attend John Cameron Swayze's Career Academy School of Famous Broadcasters in Washington, D.C.  One week after graduation in February, 1968, I was on my way to Fort Jackson, S.C. for basic training.

Thanks to the deal brokered by Major Barker, I was awarded a "civilian acquired skills" MOS of 71R upon graduation from BCT at Ft. Jackson.  I was immediately sent to 5th U.S. Army HQ at Fort Sheridan, Illinois.

At that time (May, 1968), 5th Army was top-loaded with 71R's and short on 71Q's (information specialists).  So I was "awarded" the 71Q designation and assigned to the Public Information Branch, where I was on the team planning the state funerals for former Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower (OPLAN Kansas) and Harry S Truman (OPLAN Missouri).

Ike died on March 28, 1969.  The funeral team was dispatched to Abilene, Kansas, where I assisted in operating the press center, one of the greatest personal and professional experiences of my life.  Tired of planning presidential funerals and eager to get behind the microphone, I volunteered for Vietnam as a 71R in June, 1969.  In late July, I completed jungle training at Fort Riley, Kansas and sat at Oakland Army Depot, California for three weeks, while the Army decided who would, and who wouldn't go to Vietnam thanks to President Nixon's ordered drawdown of troops.  It was decided that I was one of the ones who would go.

After arriving via World Airways at Bien Hoa and processing through the 90th Replacement Battalion at Long Binh, I finally arrived at AFVN, Saigon, in late August, 1969.

I was assigned to the News Department, under the tutelage of Staff Sergeant Nick Palladino.  For the first two months, I worked the day-time shift; I was switched to the all-night shift in late October and worked that shift until I was transferred up-country, to Detachment 4 at Hon Tre Island in early January, 1970.  The "Island" is where I spent my last 6 months in country.

I worked with some great guys and some incredible talent, both in Saigon and at Hon Tre.  Guys like Barry Brower, Tom Benintende, Hugh Morgan, Carl Carter, Larry Green, Paul Bottoms, Pat Sajak, Bob Lawrence, Tom Sinkovitz, Norm Garrett, Gary Gears, Bob MacArthur, Roger Ashworth, Tim Mautz, Bill Hall, Meade Mitchell, Tony Lyons, Aaron Gilmore, Nick Palladino, Harvey Bernstein, George Warde, Wayne Cannon, Norm Mackenzie, Preston Cluff, and Rick Frederickson, among the names I can remember.

I spent the last 6 months of my 3-year Army stint at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), Maryland as editor of the base newspaper and producer of a weekly radio show.

From February, 1971 to April, 1973, I was a reporter for the Beaver County Times, a daily newspaper in Western PA.  Through my old boss at APG, I landed a job as a GS-9 public information specialist.

I retired from APG in August, 2003 as Chief of Public Affairs (GS-13) of the U.S. Army Chemical and Biological Defense Command, a position I had held for 22 years.

I had a great career in and out of uniform.  My military experience was a real plus; both professionally and personally.

Lewis Noble Allison

In the first snapshot, Lew is on the right with his AFVN OIC, Captain Elliott Johnson (photo courtesy Army Captain Charles B. Adams).  The second photo shows Lew as a retired civilian.

Lew Allison was born 15 July 1930 in Hannibal, Missouri, a truly all-American town which, 95 years earlier, had been the birthplace of Sam Clemens, aka Mark Twain.  His parents, Christopher Kincaid Allison and Pauline Mavis Noble Allison divorced when Lew was three.  Both parents remarried, and Lew grew up with several half-siblings.

He graduated from Hannibal High School in 1948 and joined the Navy in 1950, but switched to the Air Force in 1954.  Then 16 years later, as a senior NCO in 1970, Chief Master Sergeant Allison was assigned to Saigon as NCOIC of TV production at AFVN.  Before his tour was over, he had relocated up north to Detachment 2 in Da Nang.

Following his retirement in 1980, Lew accepted a civil service position with DOD.  He became a full-time retiree in 1994, and he and wife, Lilia, resided in Aurora, Colorado with easy access to conveniences offered by Buckley Air Force Base.

Unfortunately, Lew's final days were spent in a battle with colon cancer.  He lost the fight 14 July 2002, one day shy of his 72nd birthday.  He was laid to rest at Fort Logan (Colorado) National Cemetery.  In addition to wife Lilia, the Chief Master Sergeant was survived by six daughters, a son, and 11 grandchildren.

Faustino "Tino" Roberto Almodova

Tino Almodova, a retired Air Force Master Sergeant, resides with wife Charlotte in Peoria, Arizona, about 15 miles northwest of Phoenix.  There are some folks who think Peoria is in Illinois, and they're right.  But many of the original settlers of Arizona had migrated from Peoria, Illinois, and that city was the inspriation for the name of their new home.  Although not incorporated until 1954, a post office had been at Peoria since 1888.  The city boasted a population of 150,000 as of the 2010 census and its city-owned sports complex is spring training home to the San Diego Padres and the Seattle Mariners.  Luke Air Force Base is located ten miles west of the city.

Tino was born 5 October 1941, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Juan Almodova of Colorado Springs.  By the time Tino entered high school in 1957, however, the family had moved to Yuma, Arizona, and Tino was a 1961 graduate of Yuma Union High School.  He joined the Air Force immediately thereafter.

His first overseas assignment was at Bien Hoa Air Base, Vietnam in 1965-66, and by 1969 as a staff sergeant, Tino was serving as administrative specialist with the North American Defense Command Hedquarters at the now defunct Ent Air Force Base in Colorado Springs.  It was from this posting that he left for his second Vietnam tour in January 1971.

In Saigon he served MACOI as personal administrative aide to Brigadier General L. Gordon Hill, Chief of Information.  Tino's duties, as recorded on a September 1971 performance review included "initiating, maintaining and disposition of administrative files, (and) documenting, controlling, and distributing classified and unclassified material."  The list went on to include responsibility for "typing of adminsrative correspondence, multilith masters for publication, messages and forms."  After listing several additional clerical duties, the review concluded that Tino was outstanding in every category, and performed in a manner consistent with NCOs of much higher rank and experience.  He returned to CONUS 17 January 1972 having earned the Bronze Star Medal and the Joint Service Commendation Medal.

His initial posting following Vietnam was to the USAF Recruiting Command at Scottsdale, Arizona, where he was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal.  He then held similar positions in Phoenix, Arizona and Plano, Texas.

Tino's outstanding service record continued through retirement from the Air the 1980's.  Tino and Charlotte have lived since November 2002 in Unit 6 of Peoria's Sun-Air Estates.  Their home is situated just a couple of blocks off the banks of the New River, but this seemingly pleasant happenstance is mitigated by the fact that New River is dry most of the year.  There is, however, a paved bike/hiking trail traversing 16 miles along the path of the riverbed, and it can be accessed year-round.

Ernest T. "Bill" Altman

Bill is shown on the air at AFVN, then as an AFVN photographer.  These are followed by a pair of headshots:  one "then" and one "now."

Bill Altman joined the American Forces Radio Service in Saigon in January 1965 as a SP5, and he departed a year later as a Staff Sergeant.  He worked in the news department, and also hosted a Country-Western radio show.  After his tour, he was selected for OCS and later returned for a second RVN tour as a commissioned officer.

Following his military duties, Bill began an equally impressive civilian career.  Armed with Bachelor's and Master's Degrees from The American University in Washington, DC, Bill worked his way up the sales and marketing corporate ladder to become an officer in several major trade associations.  He held executive positions with the American Subcontractors Association, the National Business Forms Association, the Association of Wall and Ceiling Industries International, and in 1987 he became President of the Hardwood, Plywood and Veneer Association, a position he held until his retirement in 2009.

With 165 member firms, the HPVA works to "promote and support the use of high quality, environmentally sound, decorative wood products manufactured in North America."  The organization's extensive laboratory and technical staff constantly runs tests on products used in the industry in order to promote voluntary standards which improve quality and safety for the end consumer.  Bill is a Certified Association Executive and was named to the US Department of Commerce Industry Trade Advisory Committee for Paper and Wood Products.

During his business career, Bill lived with wife, Joan, in a Virginia suburb of Washington, DC.  They now live in happy retirement on Fidalgo Island in Washington State's Puget Sound.

James Craig Amross


Jim Amross, born 19 October 1945, was the youngest of the four children of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Amross of Riverview, Michigan, a Detroit suburb.  Following his 1963 graduation from Riverview Community High School, Jim earned a BS in Secondary Education at Northern Michigan University in upstate Marquette.  As a student, he took deejay shifts on local radio at WWAM in Cadillac and WDMJ in Marquette, but his budding career was interrupted by military service.  In October 1969 he arrived in Saigon, where he became the "all night man" as host of the "Orient Express."  Jim reports the most requested songs during his year in Saigon were, not surprisingly, "We Gotta Get Out of this Place," "Leavin' on a Jet Plane," and "Someday We'll be Together."  As a SP5 he also served as AFVN's music director until his return to the USA in October 1970.

Back in the USA, Jim eventually settled in the Toledo, Ohio area, where he worked in radio at WSPD and WLQR, and recorded TV and radio commercials as a freelance voiceover talent.  He also traveled for a time, doing industrial trade shows and public affairs presentations.  He later joined the Global Recruiters Network, a recruitment and staffing firm, as a recruiter, and he served as Admissions Representative for Toledo's Lincoln College of Technology.

In the mid-1990's Jim's niece married Tom Arnold, Roseanne Barr's ex, and Jim temporarily became the uncle of the actor.  During this period, he appeared in a couple of Arnold's movies, including a brief speaking role as a policeman in "The Stupids."

In retirement in the Toledo suburb of Sylvania, Jim fondly recalled his days with AFVN.  "I had a great time bringing a little bit of home to our troops in Nam, but the real heroes were the guys in the jungle," he said.  He was honored in 2008 in Wyandotte, Michigan, a neighboring city of his original hometown, Riverside, by being invited to represent Vietnam veterans in the annual Fourth of July Parade.  His vegetable garden kept him busy, and he often prepared meals using his home grown produce.  As an accomplished cook, Jim became locally famous for his macaroni and cottage cheese and his chicken noodle soup.

Although he remained active and outwardly healthy, Jim suffered a heart attack 9 April 2014, and his productive life ended at the age of 68.  He was survived by wife Margaret, three daughters, and four granddaughters.  Burial was in Great Lakes National Cemetery, Holly, Michigan.

John Thomas Anderson

John Anderson was born 8 December 1930, in eastern New York in the town of Torrey, which lies on the banks of Seneca Lake.  At the age of 16 and a half, he enlisted in the Texas Army National Guard, and he went on active duty with the US Army 31 December 1947.  Following training at Fort Benning, Georgia, and Fort Carson, Colorado, he was assigned to Fort Rucker, Alabama, as a broadcast specialist.  In September 1958 he transferred to Fort Brooke, Puerto Rico, and by August 1962 he was a part of Armed Forces Korea Network for a year.  Then following a tour at Fort Bliss, Texas, he returned to AFKN, this time as a broadcast supervisor.  In February 1966 he was given a similar assignment to Fort Meade, Maryland, until his orders to Vietnam were issued.

He arrived at AFVN as an SFC in March 1967 to serve as NCOIC at Detachment 5 in Hue.  It was a smooth operation until 31 January 1968, when the Communist North launched the Tet Offensive.  At the first wave of the attack, the Hue television crew shut down operations and mounted a defense of the station, but with no resupply and no relief their efforts were doomed.  For five days they held out against a vastly superior force until, with every man wounded at least once, they ran out of ammunition and were captured by the enemy.

Sergeant Anderson, shot in the chest, was taken prisoner 5 February 1968, just 23 days prior to his scheduled rotation back home.  Despite the severity of his wound he was force-marched on a grueling six-week trip to North Vietnam.  On his way, SGT Anderson attempted three times to escape, but each time he was recaptured . . . and punished.  When he arrived at his POW camp, his weight had dropped by 84 lbs.

His first months were spent in a cell four feet by six feet, and only five feet high.  Endless interrogations were commonplace, and the Sergeant was often placed in solitary confinement for up to six months at a time.  After 1,858 days in captivity, John Anderson was repatriated 5 March 1973, and after a brief recovery period in an Army hospital, he retired from the Army as a Master Sergeant 13 August 1973.

He then began a second career as a Department of the Army civilian, first with the Recruiting Command, developing recruiting advertising for radio and television, and then in 1977 as AFRTS station manager at Stuttgart, West Germany.  He returned to the US in 1982 as Public Affairs Officer for the US Army Ordnance Center and School at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.  He left government service in 1983 to become operations manager of a radio station in Niagara Falls, New York, but returned to work for the Environmental Protection Agency in Niagara Falls until his death in 1988 at the early age of 57.  He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

MSG Anderson's military awards include the Silver Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device and two Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Purple Heart with three Oak Leaf Clusters.  In his honor, Department of the Army annually presents the MSG John T. Anderson Military Broadcast Journalist of the Year Award to the Army E-6 or below who best represents the highest standards of military broadcast journalism.

Robert A. "Bob" Andresen

First, a snapshot of Bob at AFVN; then, pausing during hectic semi-retirement, Bob is shown alone and with Elaine

After training at the US Army Information School at Fort Slocum, New York, Bob Andresenk, the grandson of Norwegian immigrants, was sent to the Armed Forces Radio Service-Saigon, the precursor of AFVN.  Serving from August 1963 to August 1964, Bob was in-Country during the Kennedy Assassination and the coup that ousted President Diem.  The Tonkin Gulf Incident occurred just as he was packing to leave.

His next assignment was to Frankfurt with the Armed Forces Network-Europe as a SP5.  When his enlistment ended 18 months later, he chose to stay with AFN as a civilian newsman.  He did not return to the US until 13 years later.

In 1977 Bob joined CBS-owned WBBM in Chicago as a news writer and producer.  Seven years later he went to a job as managing editor of Philadelphia's KYW-TV, where in 1986 he won an EMMY in the Innovative Programming category as Executive Producer of "Sunday Edition."  In 1987 he returned to Chicago for a 5-year stint as Morning Editor of the all-news WMAQ-AM.

Bob's second career, as an educator, included adjunct professorships at Northwestern, Loyola, Columbia, and the University of Illinois.  Then, in semi-retirement he entered a third career as a trainer and consultant, which included traveling to such places as Nigeria, the Republic of Georgia, Moldova, and the Maldives.  When not on the road, Bob and wife Elaine make their home in Chicago.

Editor's Note:  Following a lengthy battle with lung cancer, Bob died 30 August 2018 at the age of 77.

Francis Lloyd "Tony" Antoine

Tony Antoine was born 5 August 1936, one of the 14 children of Mr. and Mrs. Henry L. Antoine of New Iberia, Louisiana.

Joining the Navy, he was trained as a photographer, and by 1969 when he arrived at the American Forces Vietnam Network, Tony was a chief petty officer.  He served as lead photographer at AFVN-Saigon, capping a distinguished naval career that included service as both a land-based photographer and an aerial photographer assigned to ships and carriers.  Upon his return to CONUS, Tony was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Air Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal.

Following his naval retirement as a Chief Petty Officer, Tony became a civil service employee Naval Intelligence. His final retirement from the Civilian Intelligence Personnel Office as a GS-14 capped a 40-year career of combined government service.  For the last thirty years of his life, Tony had resided in the Washington, DC area.

Unfortunately, the time he spent in total retirement was a brief one.  Tony passed away 21 November 1997 at the age of 61.  He was survived by two sons, a daughter, and three grandchildren.  Burial was in New Iberia.

Bryant Joseph "Buck" Arbuckle

Chief Petty Officer Bryant "Buck" Arbuckle arrived in Saigon in June of 1962.  Although the Navy listed his MOS as Journalist, his education at the NBC Radio School (NY) and subsequent experience as a jazz disc jockey after WWII landed him the assignment in Saigon.  Along with Lt. Kiley, Chief Arbuckle set up the new Armed Forces Radio station on top of the Rex Hotel and began broadcasting during the summer of 1962.  His morning show, "The Dawnbuster Show" eventually became the springboard for Adrian Cronauer, famous for his show-opening, "Goooooood Morning, Vietnam!"  Mr. Cronauer would go on to write the screenplay for the movie, "Good Morning, Vietnam" featuring Robin Williams.

Chief Bryant Joseph Arbuckle was born in 1924 in New York, NY.  His childhood included several years at Peekskill Military Academy, where he was roommates with actor Lee Marvin.  He enlisted in the Navy in 1942 and was assigned as a corpsman to the supply carrier Katashan Bay in the Pacific theater.  Upon discharge from the Navy in 1947, he worked in radio for a while in Winston-Salem, North Carolina before re-enlisting during the Korean War.  After his discharge he once again worked as a radio announcer in McAllen, Texas and Silver City, New Mexico.  He re-enlisted for the last time in 1956, drawing duty as a journalist for the SUBPAC base newspaper in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  While there, he wrote a humorous weekly column called "Don't Quote Me."

After Hawaii, Chief Arbuckle and family were transferred to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Lakehurst, New Jersey, Saufley Field, and Pensacola, Florida before going to Vietnam.

After a two-year stint in Saigon, Buck and family were assigned to AFRTS in North Hollywood, CA.  After that, Norfolk Naval Air Station became home for Chief Arbuckle's last two years in the Navy.  He retired to Scottsdale, AZ in 1968, and became public relations director for the Phoenix Zoo.

Bryant "Buck" Arbuckle died of cancer at the age of 51 in 1976.  His wife, Margaret M. Arbuckle also died of cancer in 1980.  They are survived by four sons, six grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Contributed by Chief Arbuckle's Son, Les

Barry Lee Armstrong

Barry Armstrong, born 12 June 1953, enlisted immediately in the Army after high school, and following Basic at Fort Ord he was trained as an electronics technician.  In October 1972 he was posted to AFVN's Detachment 4 at Nha Trang, just in time to assist in the closure of the station.  Det 4 seems to have ceased broadcasting in late 1972, but NCOIC Al Claros stayed behind with Barry into early 1973 to disassemble and pack equipment.

During the short time Barry was at Det 4 prior to the shutdown, he quietly added a personal touch to the television broadcasts.  In the mornings as he was warming up transmitter equipment he went "live" and substituted Rock 'n' Roll for the standard recorded cart music.  He was pleasantly surprised at the positive feedback he received from troops in his broadcast area.

Barry was a native of the city of Simi Valley, California, the population of which at the time of his enlistment was about 60,000.  Post-Army he returned home where he married and in 1993 became father to son Brenden Armstrong.  Although little information is available regarding civilian employment, he listed his occupation as Librarian when called to jury duty by Ventura County in 1998.  Among his chief hobbies was fishing, and he proudly wore a "fishing hat" embellished with an insignia reading Vietnam Vet, and displaying flags of the RVN and the USA.

Barry died on 28 May 2006, a few days shy of his 53rd birthday.  Although in country less than six months, his death was blamed on Agent Orange.

Stephen C. Ashley

Steve Ashley:  at his AFVN desk and at the AFVN mail cage; then a couple of headshots 40 years apart

Steve was born and raised in Maine, where he was a 1969 graduate of Mount Desert Island High School in Bar Harbor.  He joined the Army in 1970, and liked it so much that he stayed with it for the next four decades; then he returned to Maine.

In 1972 he went to Saigon as the last of AFVN's company clerks.  From morning reports and special projects to mail call, he made the job look easy.  After Vietnam he served AFRTS in Germany, and he remained on active duty until 1984.  Then, while serving at Fort Meade, Maryland, he applied for a vacant civil service position and ended up a few years later as the post's Retirement Services Officer.  By the time he retired in 2010 his resume included 38 years of government service.

Returning to his beloved Maine, Steve and wife Joyce settled on picturesque Mount Desert Island.  The island, which is connected to the mainland by three bridges, is a popular vacation destination for tourists who visit Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park.

Steve and Joyce are the parents of two daughters, and they have three grandchildren.

Roger Clay Ashworth

Roger 1) early days; 2) a promo card at WWHY; 3) at AFVN; 4) in 2003; and 5) at WSBP in 2010

Roger was born in 1945 in Huntington, West Virginia.  He began his radio broadcast career in 1963 as weekend deejay at WWHYwhile still in high school.  After graduation he enrolled at Marshall University in Huntington, where he broadcast on the University's WMUL, a low-wattage outlet which, in 1961, had been the first public radio station in the state.  He also worked at local stations WSAZ and WCMI as announcer/engineer/program director.

Leaving the college campus prior to graduation, Roger joined the Army, where he served a Vietnam tour beginning in July 1969.  Assigned as a Sergeant to AFVN in Saigon, he made a major contribution to the network's air quality by "donating" a number of radio jingles which were the property of a well-known production company in Dallas, and which had been "borrowed" without permission of the copyright owner.  "The Brass had no idea," Roger later admitted.  He also adapted several familiar jingles from a well-known soft drink company for AFVN's R&R promotional spots. In January 1970, he became deejay host of the popular "Dawn Buster" show, a job that lasted, with a brief extension of his tour, until September 1970.

Following his military service, Roger returned to college and completed his degree in broadcast engineering.  He then worked in management with a local TV station for four years, before moving into radio engineering.  By the early 1990's he was in Dallas, as chief engineer for KPLX and KLIF, and by the end of the decade he was in Florida where he and wife Jancee, along with a couple of business partners, incorporated Mid-Florida Broadcasting in 1999.  He later opted for semi-retirement and became a part-time engineering consultant for stations in the Orlando, Florida area.

In 2009 Roger and Jancee moved into Plantation Landings, a pleasant lakeside retirement community in Haines City, just a stone's throw from Walt Disney World.  Here, Roger continued his part-time business activities and also started a non-profit low power FM (LPFM) station which broadcast music and information of interest to Central Florida's senior population.  WSBP, 87.9 FM carried the syndicated "Music of Your Life" adult easy listening format, and Roger supplemented it with community announcements and local church services.

Two days before Christmas 2010, doctors advised Roger that he had inoperable cancer.  He died 15 January 2011, survived by wife Jan, daughter Kristen, grandson Keegan, his father and his sister.

John Aubuchon

John is pictured on the job at AFVN in Saigon, later in a nice headshot, and speaking at the National Press Club.

John Aubuchon's elevation to the prestigious post of President of the National Press Club topped off a lifetime of achievement in the field of journalism.

A native of St. Louis, John was the son of a career Naval officer.  He received his high school education at an armed forces school in Taiwan, but returned stateside to attend the University of Missouri and the University of Maryland.  His first job in broadcasting was as a disc jockey for an AM station in Annapolis, MD.  He got his break in news gathering after he joined the Army and was posted to AFVN in Saigon, where he worked the on-air news desk.  This assignment coincided with the Tet Offensive of 1968, and John fearlessly carried sound equipment to the sidewalk in front of the US Embassy while it was under attack by the NVA.  He ended his Army career with an assignment to the Washington, DC American Forces radio-television service, where he covered the Pentagon and the national political scene.

Following his military service, John was hired by WTOP-AM, the Washington, DC all-news station, and later by UPI Radio Network.  He soon worked his way into television as a reporter for WJLA-TV, Washington's ABC affiliate.

After three years as a public affairs officer for Prince George's County, Maryland Board of Education, he returned to broadcast news in the early 1980's as White House Correspondent for Tribune Broadcasting, where he covered the tumultuous times of perestroika and glasnost, in which the Cold War ended and the Berlin Wall was brought down, and in which the state of the economy came to the forefront.  He then accepted a position with CNN NewSource, a subscription news bureau for television stations affiliated with the Atlanta-based Cable News Network.

Joining Maryland Public Television in 1996, John covered the state and national political scene as senior correspondent on a variety of news and public policy shows.  While at MPT, he was honored with the Ted Yates Emmy Award from the D.C. Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in recognition of his "outstanding professional and personal qualities in his contributions to Capital Region television news and public affairs."

It was during the dark days following 9-1-1 that John was elected by his peers to head the National Press Club for the calendar year 2002.  He had previously served as president of the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors (ACRE).  John's professionalism was recognized universally among his fellow journalists for his fairness and objectivity.

At the youthful age of 57, only months after leaving the NPC presidency, John died from complications of lung cancer.  Survivors included his wife, the former Akemi Hirakawa Clark, son Lawrence Christian Aubuchon, daughter Cathryn Aubuchon Jones, father Commander (USN, Ret) Robert W. Aubuchon, brother James C. and sister Suzanne M., and three grandchildren.

Each year on 3 May (the UN-designated "World Press Freedom Day") the National Press Club confers the John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award upon individuals who "have advanced the cause of press freedom and transparency."  The award is given to one domestic and one international recipient.

Michael D. Babcock

A nice snapshot of Mike is followed by an action pic of Mike as an AFVN cameraman

Born 3 February 1946, Mike was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Arden Babcock of Deer Park, Washington.  Although not far from Spokane, Deer Park is a rural town affording residents plenty of opportunites to commune with nature.  In his boyhood, Mike obviously enjoyed this environment, as evidenced by his elevation to the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America at the age of 16.  He graduated from Okanogan High School in Okanogan, Washington in 1964.

After high school, Mike joined the Army, and by June 1966, as a SP4, he was in Vietnam.  Although not originally assigned to AFVN, he secured a transfer five months later to Detachment 1 at Qui Nhon.  The Detachment had only recently become operational, and one of Mike's first jobs was to build the news set in the new studio.  Since materials were scarce, Mike became a "scrounger," seeking needed equipment by any means - - mostly by bartering with other detachments and associated units.  Once all the pieces were in place, Mike became a cameraman in the news department, where he worked with anchorman Mike Turpin.  Including an extension, Mike, who earned a promotion to SP5, was in-country until February 1968.

Back in civilian life, he settled in Tidewater Virginia, where he enjoyed a lifelong career in broadcast media.  Working full time as a photojournalist and assistant chief photographer for WVEC Television in Norfolk, he also operated The BEC Group, Inc., a camera accessories store specializing in professional equipment for photojournalists and videographers.

In 2006 WVEC sent Mike to Iraq to film a six-part series on medical facilities available to our troops wounded in battle.  With camera in hand, he accompanied a medical reporter as wounded troops were evacuated from Baghdad to Ramstein, Germany, and then to Andrews Air Force Base at Washington, DC.  The series was nominated for an Emmy Award.

Mike and wife Doris reside in Norfolk, where they raised two sons.

John Franklin Bagwell


A native of Ardmore, Oklahoma, John Bagwell began his radio career in 1965 while a student at the University of Oklahoma.  He worked part-time at KUVY, the campus radio station, and then as a stringer for KOMA, a respected 50,000-watt Top 40 station in Oklahoma City.

In 1966 John joined the Army, where he was assigned to the First Cavalry Division and was sent to Vietnam in 1967.  There he had the good fortune to be reassigned to AFVN, with a duty station of Hue.  This assignment, however, coincided with the nationwide enemy attacks of Tet 1968, and the AFVN station was overrun.  The radio personnel defended the station heroically, but when it fell the staff was either executed or taken prisoner.  John was the only one able to escape.

After a second AFRTS assignment to the Southern European Network in Vicenza, Italy, John was released from service in 1969.   Amond his awards and decorations were the Purple Heart, Bronze Star with V device for Valor. Army Commendation Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Sharpshooter Badge, and Presidential Citation.  Back in civilian life, he accepted a job at KERA, the public television station in Dallas.  While there he moonlighted with the advertising department of The Grand Prairie Daily News.

In 1970 he relocated to Odessa, Texas, where he attended classes at Odessa College and worked for KRIG, KQIP, and KOZA radio.  In Odessa he started his own advertising business, which he continued until he earned an Associate Degree in 1973 and moved back to Ardmore, his hometown.  There he worked for KVSO in sales and on the air until he got the urge to open another advertising agency.  Working full time, he also attended classes at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, where he earned his Marketing degree in 1980.  He then moved his prospering advertising business to Dallas, where he is now the owner of Bagwell Marketing, a full-service advertising, public relations, and marketing company.  He is also President of Bagwell Promotions, which provides contests and promotional items for radio stations nationwide.

He has also taught marketing, advertising, accounting, and general business classes at Murray State College in Oklahoma and Richland College in Dallas, and he has conducted business-related seminars for several organizations.  In 2012 John was one of the eleven veterans from the Third Congressional District of Texas whose extraordinary service was recognized by Congressman Sam Johnson, himself a decorated Vietnam War veteran who spent seven years as a POW.

John and wife, Rosemary, live in Dallas, and have two sons.

Adam Charles Baker, Jr.

Adam Baker was the son of a prominent Hilo, Hawaii businessman.   His father, Adam Sr. was proprietor of the Gaiety Theater, Hilo's first motion picture theater, and later the ornate Palace Theater, the building of which still stands and is on the National Register of Historic Places.  Mr. Baker was a nephew of the last royal governors of Hawaii.  Adam Jr., born 14 January 1921, grew up with three brothers and three sisters, and he married Miss Elfrieda Ludloff, whose family owned the preeminent bakery company on Hawaii (the big island).

The Army career of Adam Jr. began during WWII, and continued through Korea and Vietnam.  As a Master Sergeant, he accepted appointment as a Warrant Officer, and it was as a CW4 that he was assigned in December 1968 to MACOI.  His tour as AFVN supply officer ended 11 December 1969, with his having been awarded the Bronze Star Medal on 6 October 1969.

Chief Baker resided in Hawaii in retirement.  He died 12 March 1995 at the age of 74, and was buried in Plot S 0 234 of the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.  There he joined wife, Elfrieda, who had died nine years earlier.

Basil Lee Baker

1) and 2) Colonel Baker at his office; 3) at home - 156B Cong Ly Street, Saigon; 4) with Mrs. Baker at Tan Son Nhut Airport; 5) the Bakers in retirement in Phoenix

Lee Baker was born 1 August 1916 in Louisville, Kentucky.  After high school he enrolled in the ROTC program at the University of Kentucky, and following graduation he began an Army-Air Force career that would last through WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.  After a peacetime pre-WWII assignment in Puerto Rico, he served in the China-Burma-India Theater in WWII, Japan during the Occupation, England during the Korean War, and following graduation from the Air War College with a promotion to full Colonel, he was serving as Public Information Officer at Wright-Patterson AFB when he was tapped as MACV's first Chief of Information from 1963 to 1965.  For a time his duties were coordinated with the MAAG (Military Assistance Advisory Group) Information Officer, Army Captain Gary Werner, but the Captain soon departed with the final demise of MAAG.

At this early stage in the Vietnam War, the position of Chief of Information was classified as an accompanied tour, meaning the Chief's family could live in Saigon in his government quarters.  The Colonel's wife, Else, soon joined him, but her arrival in 1963 in the midst of the Buddhist uprising was fortuitous.  The self-immolations by Buddhist monks provided just a taste of what was to come.  Mrs. Baker set up her household in the Colonel's pleasant little villa at 156B Cong Ly Street, just across the street from Vietnam's Presidential Palace.  From this venue, the Bakers were perfectly positioned to witness the result of the two earth-shaking events which occurred in November 1963.  First, there was the upheaval following the coup that ended in the murder of Vietnam's President, Ngo Dinh Diem, and then only three weeks later, Saigon was on edge with the murder of America's President, John F. Kennedy.  For a time the streets of Saigon were not safe, and Mrs. Baker had to remain indoors as one unstable government followed another.

As the Bakers established a relationship with the Saigon press contingent, it began to dawn on them, as Mrs. Baker later wrote, that some reporters seemed more adept at making news than reporting it.  There was an occasion in which two reporters complained that Saigon's police force had "roughed them up," and when a briefing officer asked whether they might have done anything to start such a fracas, the two challenged the Army Major to a two-on-one fist fight.  At times, Saigon resembled a frontier town in the American West.

At the end of his tour, the Colonel opted for retirement.

Following his transition to civilian life, Colonel Baker joined the International Executive Service Corps for three years as Country Director in the Philippines.  The IESC was a Washington, DC-based non-profit whose mission was to recruit US volunteer experts to assist businesses in emerging-market countries worldwide.  He then spent the next 15 years in commercial real estate with a Phoenix, Arizona company.  Having relocated his residence to Phoenix, he made the city his home for the rest of his life.  His spare time was spent in diverse activities such as travel, spectator sports, snorkeling, and horse racing.  Having earned an MS in Public Relations from Boston University during his Air Force years, the retired Colonel earned an MBA in International Management from the local campus of Thunderbird School of Global Management.

Unfortunately, ill health in the form of pancreatic cancer suddenly took its hold, and the Colonel died 1 August 2003- -his 87th birthday.  He was survived by Else Iversen Baker, his wife of 54 years.  Mrs. Baker continued her active life in a senior living community in Phoenix until her death 29 October 2012 at the age of 91.  The couple had no children.

Photo of the Bakers at home courtesy of Mr. Jeff Iversen, grand nephew of Mrs. Else Iversen Baker

Lillian Emily Baker

Then-Major Baker is shown at right in casual conversation with a border guard at the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin.  Apologies for this poorly reproduced photo.  The photographer apparently wiped his lens with a dirty Kleenex.

Lillian Baker, a first generation American, was born 5 June 1925 in Miami, Florida.  Her mother had immigrated from the Bahamas and her father from England.  The family included a four-years-older brother.

In 1948 she earned a BS from Florida State University, which until a year earlier was known as the Florida State College for Women.  Incidentally, the university's football program began with the transition to coed classes, and the first-year's 0-5 record was a dismal start for a program that would eventually assume national prominence.

The young college grad enlisted in the Women's Army Corps 4 August 1949, and was commissioned a 2LT 11 April 1950.  As a Captain on 5 December 1956 she was assigned to the Plans Division of the WAC Training Battalion at Fort McClellan, Alabama.  Then, following DINFOS training at Fort Slocum, New York in 1959 she emerged as assistant information officer at WAC Headquarters, Fort McClellan.

Overseas service began in the mid-1960's for Lillian as she was promoted to Major with the US Army Information Office in West Berlin.  This led to her assignment to MACOI 20 May 1969 as information officer with the Public Information Division.  Prior to her departure from Vietnam 19 May 1970, the Major also served briefly with the Office of the Inspector General.  For her Vietnam service, she was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  She then was promoted to LTC after returning to CONUS.

Her final Army posting was to Fort Sam Houston in January 1972 as post information officer.  She elected to retire 28 February 1974, and resided in Merritt Island, Florida until her death 30 August 1997.  Burial was in Florida Memorial Gardens, Rockledge, Florida.

Paul Dean Baldridge

Paul is shown interviewing Air Force Reserve Brig Gen Jimmy Stewart and famed vaudeville performer and actress Gypsy Rose Lee, along with a later shot

In 2007, Paul retired after 15 years as Western Regional Manager for ABC NewsOne, affiliate services for ABC News in Los Angeles.

He served as chief announcer at AFVN headquarters in Saigon from July, 1968 to September, 1969.  Paul would interview motion picture and television celebrities (Jimmy Stewart, Gypsy Rose Lee, Joey Bishop, etc) when they were touring Vietnam.  While they were in the studio, Paul would have some of them (e.g.,Ricardo Montalban, Greg Morris) record on camera Army Public Service Announcements that he would write and produce.  Visuals to the spots were added in post production.

Working with Bobbie, the AFVN Weather Girl (Barbara Keith), he assisted her in developing many of the "bits" on the weathercast as in the time a "spontaneous monsoon" drenched her without any warning.  He poured a large wastebasket full of water on Bobbie at the end of the weathercast.

Paul produced and directed a series of half hour musical shows with a local Vietnamese group ("The Strawberry Four") who played American popular music.  The last six months of his tour were spent mostly in the news department at AFVN Quang Tri.  Between tours in country SP5 Baldridge vacationed in Western Europe for 30 days.

His first assignment in the Army after basic training was at the Public Information Office at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.  He created a five minute taped radio program highlighting the mission and accomplishments of the base.  The syndicated shows were sent to radio stations throughout the Southwest.

Paul worked a total of 17 years for ABC News in Los Angeles, managing the NewsOne bureau for 15, and working on almost every major story in the Western United States from 1990 to 2007 (plane crashes, earthquakes, floods, O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson, North Hollywood bank shootout, train wrecks, firestorms, mass murders, etc).  NewsOne Los Angeles would gather video from ABC affiliates throughout the West and uplink them to satellite news feeds for the rest of the network.  The bureau also had its own correspondent and producers and would do live shots on major stories.

He was employed by KOVR TV (the then-ABC affiliate) in Sacramento for 19 years after leaving the Army in Vietnam.  From 1970 to 1978 he was an announcer, director, writer, producer, and on camera movie reviewer.  In 1978, he transferred to the news department and went from 11PM producer to 5PM producer to Executive Producer to News Operations Manager.  In 1990 he joined ABC in Los Angeles as a news feed producer.

Paul grew up in San Diego and took his B.S. and M.A. in Broadcasting from San Diego State, where in 1963 he won the Time-Life scholarship as outstanding student in the Broadcasting Department.  In 1966, he did an additional year of graduate work in Broadcasting at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.  He was awarded a teaching fellowship and also won a statewide competition for a summer internship at WXYZ in Detroit.

Paul has lived in Simi Valley, California for 20 years (as of January 2011). His hobbies are investing, photography, and going to Hawaii as often as possible.

Russell Duane Bales

Duane Bales, the son of Russel Clifford and Helen Myers Bales, was born 10 August 1942.  The family included younger sister, Marilyn.  As a Marine sergeant, Duane was assigned to AFVN as a cameraman in 1969.  Then as a civilian, Duane rose to the rank of Captain with the Collinsville, Illinois Fire Department, from which he retired in February 2002 after 26 years of service.

He then began a second civilian career with the Illinois Fire Service Institute, sponsored by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Having begun employment part-time with the field staff of IFSI while still working as a shift commander with the Collinsville F.D., he moved seamlessly into the position of director for the vehicle/machinery extrication program.  As such, he supervised training of fire department personnel in Illinois and surrounding states in the areas of basic and advanced extrication from motor vehicles of all types.  He now serves as assistant fire education specialist in the St. Louis Metro East Section.

Today Duane and wife, Mary Joe, reside in a small Illinois town about 50 miles northeast of St. Louis, Missouri, or about 25 miles northeast of the Collinsville, Illinois Fire Department.  It would not be possible to think of a more aptly named place for an old Marine to reside.  The small town is Marine, Illinois.  The Baleses are the parents of three adult daughters.

DeForrest Ballou, III

LTC (later COL) Ballou as AFVN OIC; at right, presenting commemorative plaque to his XO, Lieutenant Commander Jerome Cleveland

My father, DeForrest Ballou III was born in Washington, DC, the only son of native Philadelphians DeForrest II and Emily McCauslan Ballou.  His father, a surgeon educated at Princeton, was a career Army officer.  Dad's family also included two sisters, three other sisters having died at young ages

My father joined the Corps of Cadets at Vermont's famed Norwich University, where he graduated with honors in 1949 with a degree in journalism.  After considering a life in the civilian sector at DuPont Chemical in Delaware, where his sister's husband was an engineer, he decided to enter the military profession.  He married my mother, Joan Dumary, at age 21 and began a military career at Fort Riley, Kansas.  His Army service would span 33 years.

Following assignments in Kentucky and Germany, Dad attended the University of Florida, where we all lived in Gainesville and Dad earned his Master's Degree in English.  We then moved to Governors Island at New York City for two or three years, where Dad was assigned to the Army Times as a photojournalist.

Then Dad was off to Korea, which was very traumatic for our family.  When he returned we went to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas where he attended the Command and General Staff College.  This was followed by a Pentagon assignment for four years and then Vietnam in 1966-67, where he served as a Lieutenant Colonel at AFVN.  In Vietnam, his job as OIC was to supervise construction and preparation of the new television studios and transmitters.  Life in Virginia at this time was a surreal experience for us teenagers and a challenging time for my mother.

Upon his return from Vietnam, Dad went to Fort Meade, Maryland, where he had a command.  He loved this job especially.  He then went to the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, and then back to Kansas where he taught for three years.  In 1973 he began his last assignment with the Pentagon as a Public Affairs Officer.  He retired from the Army as a Colonel in 1977, and accepted a position as editor of American Defense Magazine.  He held this job for the next 13 years, retiring finally in 1991.

My dad loved the water.  He was brought up on the Jersey shore, and enjoyed fishing and boating for the rest of his life.  My parents always had boats and later in life RVs and vacation homes.  My parents were devoted and loving grandparents and a major force in our children's lives.  My father was a man of integrity and honor, and I have tried to bring up my daughter with those same values.  As I write in 2009, she is in Boston attending law school, and I know Dad would be so proud.  My father instilled in us pride in the Ballou family name and explained to us its role in the history of the US since the Colonial Period.  He loved music and the arts, and we were exposed to classical music as well as scores from Broadway.  He loved to build furniture and was an accomplished wood worker.  And, most importantly, he had an intense faith in God and was a devout Episcopalian his whole life.

Dad died in 1997, survived, in addition to my mother and myself, by my sister Susan Emily Allen, my brother DeForrest IV, and Dad's sister Emily Fry.  He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Contributed by Mrs. Anne Ballou Hinte, Colonel Ballou's daughter

Raymond John Banks, Jr.

Ray Banks, Jr. was born 22 July 1931 in upstate New York, and grew up in Owego, a village with a population of 4742 at the time of Ray's birth.  Owego is 75 miles due south of Syracuse, and only seven miles north of the Pennsylvania state line.  The village should not be confused with Oswego, a somewhat larger port city on the shores of Lake Ontario.

He enlisted in the Army in 1956 and continued to serve for 20 years.  Following postings in West Germany, he was assigned in 1969 to be NCOIC of AFVN's radio operations in Saigon.  As a seasoned Master Sergeant he quickly earned a reputation as a skillful procurer of supplies - - sometimes colloquially referred to as a wheeler-dealer.  He was able to arrange for favorable exchange of materials and food items with nearby units, thus enabling AFVN to restock its supply shelves.  The menu at the snack bar was also noticeably refreshed.  But Sergeant Banks also performed his "normal" duties in exemplary fashion.  He improved the quality of programming to the extent that the AFVN detachments were furnished with 21 hours of material each day, thus allowing the sometimes understaffed outlying crews to spend more time on local programming for the remaining three hours.  When Sergeant Banks returned to the USA 7 March 1970, he had earned a Bronze Star Medal.

Six years later, the master sergeant retired to Rochester, New Hampshire, a city of 30,000 situated on the Maine state line.  He later relocated to the town of Temple, in southern New Hampshire, where he operated an antique shop in the nearby town of Wilton.

Sergeant Banks died at his residence 28 October 2000 at the age of 69.  He was survived by wife Carole, a daughter, and three sons.  Burial was in Sacred Heart of Jesus Cemetery, New Ipswich, New Hampshire.

Ronald Lewis Banks

As an Army engineer, SP4 Ron Banks ran AFVN's transmitters in 1970-71.  A native of Riceville, an unincorporated community in McMinn County, Tennessee, Ron's home was only some 20 miles from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and Ron considered himself a genuine "Tennessee Hillbilly."  Finding AFVN lacking in his favorite genre of music, Country/Western, he took it upon himself to do something about it.  Since one of his duties was to run the TV test pattern one hour before sign-on every morning, he convinced himself it would be helpful to accompany the video test with an audio test consisting of music by his favorite Country artists.  Receiving no complaints (and no reprimands), he continued the practice until he departed Saigon in August 1971.

Ron was born 20 December 1947, the son of a WWII Army Air Corps veteran who had served on Okinawa.  The elder Mr. Banks was a local farmer, and Ron's roots were deep in east Tennessee.  Returning home to Riceville, he met and married Miss Ramona Bliscerd, an Illinois native who had moved with her family to neighboring Etowah, Tennesee.  The family eventually included a son and a daughter, and two grandsons.

In 1986 Ron was elected to the office of Mayor of McMinn County, a position he would hold for 14 years.  Tennessee had adopted the County Mayor/Board of Commissioners form of government in 1981, with the mayor in charge of all daily operations of the county government.  Following his retirement in 2002, Mayor and Mrs. Banks continued to reside in Riceville.

Stephen Richard Banks

Steve, the brother of Ron, whose bio appears above, was born 1 March 1952.  The family also included Elaine, the middle of the three siblings.  It was unusual for two brothers to be sent to a combat zone at the same time, and even more unusual for them to be assigned to the same unit, but that is what happened with Ron and Steve.  While SP4 Ron was manning the transmitters, SP4 Steve was occupied with AFVN's supply room.

Steve appears to have been anxious to join his older brother in the Army, perhaps out of respect for his father who was a WWII veteran who served on Okinawa.

With his wife, the former Edna Morgan, he owned and operated E&S Accounting and Tax Service.  The business was located in their home which is about eight miles west of the McMinn County Seat of Athens, Tennessee.  The family also operated a farm on the premises.

On 8 January 2016 Steve's life was claimed by cancer.  In addition to wife Edna, he was survived by two adult children, a grandson and a granddaughter, and his two previously mentioned siblings.

Burial was in Morgan Cemetery (AKA Upper Spring Creek Cemetery) on Redmond Road in rural McMinn County, Tennessee, with full military honors.  Steve's grandson, Stephen Robert ("Bob") Banks performed Taps.

Rodger R. Bankson

Two shots of COL Bankson in Saigon, followed by a Pentagon pose

Rodger Bankson was born 26 March 1915, the son of the city editor for the Spokane (Washington) Daily Chronicle.  He was the eldest of three brothers, all of whom served in the military and became talented wordsmiths.  The middle brother, Budd N. Bankson, was an Army captain in Special Services.  He entertained troops in WWII and was a prolific published author during and after the War.  The youngest brother, Douglas, served in the Navy and became a professor of creative writing at the University of British Columbia.  Rodger, himself, was a distinguished career soldier who served in combat and was a respected public affairs officer.

The future Colonel began as a newspaper reporter in Spokane.  Following graduation from Washington State College (later University) in 1937, he received an ROTC commission and entered the Army as a 2LT.  In December 1941, Lieutenant Bankson was on his way to the Philippines as a platoon leader with the 161st Infantry, but in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor the 161st was quickly diverted to Hawaii where it joined the 25th Infantry Division.  Bankson ended WWII as a battalion commander, having attained the rank of LTC.  He distinguished himself in action at Guadalcanal, the Solomon Islands, and the Philippines.

His post-WWII release from the Army proved to be only temporary.  He returned to his home state of Washington where, for a time, he published a weekly newspaper, but finding the sudden transition to civilian life not to his liking, he returned to the Army.

During Korea LTC Bankson was deputy information officer for the Far East Command in Tokyo, where he handled press relations during the signing of the Korean armistice, the prisoner exchange and the return to the US of Korean War dead.  He was universally praised by civilian war correspondents for his candor and accessibility.

In 1955-56 he attended the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, after which he stayed on as an instructor until 1959.  The early 1960's found him assigned as information officer at Strike Command (STRICOM) at MacDill AFB, Tampa, Florida.  STRICOM was a unified service quick response team formed in 1961, six months after the Bay of Pigs invasion, to keep a sharp eye on Castro's Cuba.  Colonel Bankson's unique experience and judgment qualified him at this critical juncture in American foreign policy to deal with an eager press contingent in the quelling of rumors and dispensing of factual information.

By 1964 Vietnam had begun to replace Cuba as America's hotspot, and Colonel Bankson was selected as special deputy assistant secretary of defense to handle Southeast Asia news.  He immediately left for a first-hand look at Vietnam.  Shortly thereafter, the Colonel was assigned to MACOI as Chief of Information, where he served in 1965-66.  Under his leadership, "openness" became the watchword.  Regular briefings were expanded to provide more accurate information to civilian reporters, and the correspondents were given more help gaining access to the field.

Following his Saigon service, COL Bankson became Director of Defense Information at the Pentagon with the title Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs.

He retired from the Army with numerous awards and decorations, including the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit, and two Army Commendation Medals.  He and wife Eleanor moved to the peaceful environs of rural Samuels, Idaho, just across the state line from Spokane, Washington, and about 50 miles from the Canadian border.  The Colonel died on the Fourth of July 1980.  He was survived, in addition to his wife, by sons Peter, of suburban Washington, DC, and Jeff, of Sandpoint, Idaho.

Raymond Ney Barry

Ray Barry was born in Hollis, Oklahoma in 1926.  After graduating from the US Military Academy in 1950, the young 2LT began his military career as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division.  His first overseas assignment was to Korea, where he promptly distinguished himself in battle.

Sent to the 48th Field Artillery Battalion, 7th Infantry Division, he served as a liaison officer assigned to train and supervise forward observers, making almost daily inspections of observation posts.  He accompanied combat patrols deep into enemy territory to gather information necessary to pursue unit objectives.  In recognition of his dedication and leadership, 1LT Barry was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V" device.

He was also awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart for his heroic actions on 11 July 1953 at Hill 347, also known as Porkchop Hill.  After being severely wounded by incoming mortars, Barry maintained his post, helping to hold off two divisions of Chinese Communist troops.  While engaged in coordinating fire support to aid friendly forces, his bunker received a direct hit, causing severe injuries, including burns to his face.  He continued to coordinate friendly fire until completely incapacitated.

During his calmer peacetime assignments, as a Captain and Major, Barry earned three masters degrees in the fields of Meteorology, Journalism, and History.

In Vietnam as a LTC, Barry was assigned to MACOI as Chief of the Information Advisory and Accreditation Division from July 1971 to April 1972.  In this capacity, Colonel Barry worked to broaden the professional background and knowledge of the officers responsible for the information program.  He monitored the information effort in its totality, and was thus able to handle small problems before they became larger.  Through diplomacy and skillful negotiation, he convinced our Vietnamese ally to formulate new rules of conduct for their briefing officers, thus gaining trust with the American and international press.  For these efforts, Colonel Barry was awarded the Legion of Merit along with an Oak Leaf Cluster to accompany his previously awarded Bronze Star.

Upon retirement as a full Colonel he resided with wife, Marjorie in Highland Ranch, Colorado, where he worked hard to polish his golf game, and won a number of club championships.  His latter years were unfortunately marred by a battle with cancer, and the Colonel passed away 8 September 2009.

In addition to Marjorie, his wife of 58 years, he is survived by his daughter and two grandsons.  He was buried with full military honors at Fort Logan National Cemetery.

Ronald Craig ("RC") Bartlett


RC Bartlett was born 11 March 1950 in Salina, Kansas.  His family also included three sisters.  Following high school, he was honored with a letter from the Selective Service system, and at the age of 19 he found himself as an 11B10 assigned to the deep forests of Vietnam with Charlie Company, 2/22nd Infantry, 25th Infantry Division.  This was not to his liking.

A visit to the Re-Up NCO allowed him a chance to extend the remainder of his two-year commitment by three years with the promise of a choice of duty assignments.  Thus, in September 1969 he joined AFVN in Saigon, where he found maid service in a premier hotel with hot showers every morning and clean sheets every night, and his new work environment was air-conditioned(!).  "I couldn't see," he exclaimed later, "how life could get any better."

As a SP4 he became a TV director, working primarily with the news department, but also with a number of entertainment shows.  "Star Search" was one of those.  It was an amateur talent show which would bring GI's in from the field for a moment under the spotlights.  It predated by more than a dozen years the stateside nationally syndicated TV show of the same name hosted by the late retired Marine Reserve Colonel Ed McMahon.  Another program was "In Town Tonight," in which dignitaries and celebrities who had come to Vietnam to visit and entertain the troops would be interviewed in a Johnny Carson Show format.  He also directed the network's New Year's Eve special on 31 December 1969.  This was a live presentation of the stage show "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," aired in its entirety.  RC returned to the US 5 August 1970, having been awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal.

After fulfilling his Army obligation, he and wife Alieen settled in Georgia, and RC studied at Columbus State University as he began work in the television industry as a civilian.  His career would eventually last 43 years and would include service as a producer and director in the Columbus and Atlanta communities, as well as manager for the local NBC affiliate.  He later rejoined government service as TV director and editor for the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

When he was finally coaxed into retirement, he settled in the city of Stockbridge, 20 miles south of bustling Atlanta.  He was an active member of his local American Legion Post, and his favorite pastimes were fishing and grandchildren.

On 3 March 2017, eight days before his 67th birthday, RC unexpectedly passed away.  Burial was in Parkhill Cemetery, Columbus, Georgia.  He was survived by Alieen, his wife of 45 years, daughter Tracy, and grandchildren Caleb, Silas, and Lily.  Burial was in Parkhill Cemetery, Columbus, Georgia.

Andrew J. Barylski, Jr.

1) A nice headshot; 2) Obviously conducting field research for an Observer article, Andy samples Montagnard rice wine in Gia Vuc, Quang Ngai Province; 3) a headshot a few years later; and 4) as a Legionaire

Andy Barylski, a first-generation "Baby Boomer," was born 12 August 1946, the son of a WWII Veteran and Pearl Harbor Survivor.  His father, Andrew Sr., was active in veterans' affairs in Connecticut and participated regularly in VJ Day and Memorial Day observances.  Upon his death in 2010 his life was commemorated on the floor of the US House of Representatives, and his biography appears in the 21 December 2010 Congressional Record.

Andy joined the Army in 1965, following his 1964 graduation from Tourtellotte Memorial High School in North Grosvenordale, Connecticut.  Trained as a Military Journalist/Public Information specialist (MOS 71Q20), he served with two units in Germany and was assigned to MACOI in 1966-67.  As a SP4 in the Command Information Division, he traveled extensively throughout Vietnam and contributed feature stories to the MACV Observer, the official weekly MACV newspaper.  His articles also appeared in "Stars & Stripes," "Army Times," and "Air Force Times."  In addition to letters of commendation from the Army and the Air Force, Andy was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service.

Following his return to civilian status in 1968, he attended Quinebaug Valley Junior College in Danielson, Connecticut, and was employed for six years as staff reporter and Danielson bureau chief for the Norwich Bulletin.  He then segued into a broadcast media job with a pair of radio stations in neighboring Massachusetts.  As sales manager for WESO and WQVR, he not only sold air time, but also wrote and produced radio commercials.  In 1988 he changed careers and entered the automotive sales industry.  Until his retirement in 2009, Andy worked variously as a salesman, marketing manager, customer relations manager, sales manger, and internet sales manager.  Ford Motor Company awarded him Master Certification, and named him Blue Oval Certification Champion and Mercury Advantage Dealership Champion, and he was a member of the Mark of Excellence Program sponsored by General Motors.

Over the years, Andy has continued to serve his country as a hyperactive member of The American Legion.  In 2007-08 he served a term as Connecticut's State Commander, and over the past 40 years of his membership he has held numerous other leadership roles.  He was previously the state's Senior Vice Commander, and has served as the Department webmaster.  As State Historian, he was elected president of the American Legion National Association of Department Historians in 1986-87.  On the district level, he has been commander, vice commander, and adjutant, and he has served several terms as post commander, adjutant, and finance officer.  He has been elected delegate numerous times to the American Legion National Conventions, and was awarded Life Membership in 1986.  He also holds membership in the Sons of The American Legion, and has served that organization as Detachment Commander and National Executive Committeeman, and he has regularly attended their national conventions as a delegate.

Andy resides with wife Rita in the city of Putnam, in the extreme northwest corner of Connecticut.  Rita has served the American Legion Auxiliary as President and Secretary-Treasurer.  The couple are the parents of two adult children, both of whom have served their country in the military.  Mike spent eight years in the Marine Corps, and Dennis was on active duty with the Army for nine years before retiring from the National Guard as an SFC.  Andy's talents continue to be utilized by various organizations on patriotic holidays.  He was guest speaker on Memorial Day, 2009 in Thompson, Connecticut, and he drove home a very poignant point.  After noting that many Americans see Memorial Day as simply an opportunity to soak up the sunshine or get a good deal at the car lots and department stores, he concluded:  "It's nice to have time for those things, but don't forget the point of the holiday.  Remember why the flags fly at half staff and why there are tiny flags by the gravestones in our cemeteries.  People died for those.  People just like you and I."

Richard O. "Rick" Bednar


Rick Bednar, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles J. Bednar of Galesburg, Illinois, became fascinated with radio at an early age.  While in junior high, he built a small radio station, with a range of two blocks, in his basement.  This evolved into part-time jobs at a couple of local stations, WAIK and WGIL as a teenager, and by his senior year at the University of Illinois, he was working in television.  WCIA, a CBS affiliate in Champaign hired him as a weatherman, game show host, and booth announcer.

After receiving his BS in Communication, he enlisted in the Army and in 1968-69 was assigned to AFVN.  He arrived in Saigon while the cleanup from the NVA's Tet Offensive was still in progress.  The station had been damaged by a car bomb, and Rick was startled to find shards of glass still embedded in the wall of the lobby opposite where the windows had been.  He was assigned an afternoon air shift on FM, and also hosted an evening AM show called "Town and Country."  The evening show proved to be very popular.  He played two hours each night of country music, and received requests from GI's all over Vietnam, and also from Navy ships at sea, and, surprisingly, from Vietnamese listeners who couldn't find the American country genre anywhere else.

After Vietnam, Rick returned to Champaign and WCIA-TV, where for the next four decades he was a writer/producer, weatherman, and announcer.  He also returned to classes at the University of Illinois, where he earned his MS in Communication.

When he retired after 42 years at WCIA Rick stayed in the business as owner/operator of his own recording studio.  He specializes in radio and television voiceovers and commercial spot productions.  As an independent producer of broadcast commercials and audio/video soundtracks, he has worked with such clients as Sears, Anheuser-Busch, Pillsbury, State Farm, General Motors, Caterpillar, Archer Daniels Midland, IBM, Sylvania, Hilton Hotels, and the US Army.

Rick makes his home with wife, Sandra, in Champaign, Illinois.  In January 2010, Radio World Magazine published a feature article by Rick about his experiences in Vietnam.

Bruce Elliott Beebe

Bruce Beebe, born 11 June 1944, is a native of Piedmont, California and a 1962 graduate of Piedmont High School.  Piedmont is a city of 1.7 square miles total area completely surrounded by the city of Oakland.  As a residential community it has an extremely high population density.  The city includes no major highways, and aside from a few small retail stores and three banks, no commerce is conducted within its borders.  It is, however, a pleasant place to live.  Following high school, Bruce entered the University of Oregon as a Speech/Communications major.  He earned his BS in 1966 and immediately entered the US Army.

In 1969 he was assigned to AFVN's Detachment 7 at Chu Lai.  It was during his tour as OIC that Channel 13 opened a new TV studio and boosted its broadcast power from the previous 500 to 30,000 watts.  The new power vastly improved the station's coverage, allowing it to inform and entertain the entire area of operation for troops of the Americal Division.  Actual construction of the new studio was done by Mobile Construction Battalion 7 (MCB7), a unit of the Navy's Seabees headquartered in Quang Tin Province.  At the dedication ceremony, Captain Beebe presented a plaque to MCB7's CO, Commander Phillip Oliver, Jr.  BG Roy E. Attebury, Assistant Commander of the Americal Division, participated in the ribbon cutting.  The "ribbon" was news film from the previous night's telecast.

Following a very successful military career, Bruce returned to civilian life in the San Francisco Bay area.  For 23 years he served as vice president of Buckley Broadcasting Corporation and general manager of KKHI AM/FM in San Francisco.  Then in 1997 he joined Clear Channel Radio, where he continues in the first decade of the 21st century as Senior Marketing Manager for the Bay Area operation.  Here, Bruce supervises retail advertising, promotion, and marketing for Clear Channel's ten radio stations in San Francisco.

Bruce resides today on a golf course in the Peacock Gap Subdivision of San Rafael, California.  He is the father of three grown children.

Morrie P. Beitch


Don't embellish my tour in Vietnam.  I saw no combat.  I was drafted in January 1968.  I was a PFC & SP4 at AFVN Saigon from August 1968 through February 1969 and AFVN Tuy Hoa from February 1969 through June 1969.

While in Saigon I worked behind the scenes in TV-- film room, audio, camera, video switching.  In the film room, Dave Kramer and I would receive the films of current network shows and tapes of current sports from stateside AFRTS.  The tapes would be aired on AFVN Saigon and a kinescope would be made and sent to the upcountry detachments.  My main job was to time the shows so the program director would know how much time to fill with PSA's and the on-air operators would know where to insert them.  My job included actually watching the shows so I could remove anything I deemed improper that AFRTS-LA had missed.  Shortly after arriving I had to edit out the John Byner RFK imitation in Laugh In, as Kennedy had just been killed 2 or 3 months earlier.  In October, the tape of the World Series games showed up including Jose Feliciano singing the National Anthem.  After the brass saw his version, I had to edit out the National Anthem from the kinescopes before sending them upcountry.  I also ran audio in Saigon for a lot of the interviews.  The USO stars would do an interview in Saigon on tape, then copies would be made on kinescope and sent to the other TV detachments so the guys would know who's coming.  I remember miking Gypsy Rose Lee, Pat O'Brian, Joey Bishop, the Cascades, Ernie Banks, Ron Swoboda, Bing Devine (Cardinals GM), etc.  I was not directly involved in news gathering.  A Navy career E6 (Dale Pitman) handled all news film.  He dealt with film shot in country in addition to stateside material.

In Tuy Hoa I added on-air sports and news on TV.  Again, we had no news gathering capabilities; we recorded the noon radio newscast from AFVN-AM and transcribed (typed) it so we could do a 6 PM and 10 PM news/sports cast.  We added some feature SOFs to fill the time.

I was put in for E5 just before leaving 'Nam in June 1969.  I got to Fort Gordon for my last 6 months in July '69 and made E5 before the month was out.  Then just before leaving the Army in January 1970 I was offered E6 if I would re-up for 4 years.  I left to go into private broadcasting.

As a retired TV station general manager, I'm in Destin, Florida playing golf, reading, boating.  My daughter, Amy, works for KTVI-TV in St. Louis, and is married to Mike who teaches at Maplewood, Missouri; and I now have two grandchildren--Tyler and Reagan.

Stephen Paul Bellamy

An action photo shows Steve hard at work at AFVN

Steve Bellamy, born 21 May 1947 in Cleveland, Ohio, was second eldest in a family which included two sisters and two brothers.  The family resided in the suburb of Cleveland Heights, a city of approximately 50,000 population.  Steve was a 1965 graduate of Cleveland Heights High School, and earned a degree in 1967 from DeVry Institute of Technology.  He entered military service later that year.

Steve's first job in the Army was to broadcast medical training programs on cable at the Medical Training Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.  He had been well-prepared for this job with a primary MOS (military occupational specialty) of 26T20, Broadcast Engineer, and a secondary of 91A10, Medical Corpsman.  Then, in Vietnam in 1969-70, he again utilized both occupational specialties when he was assigned to AFVN's Detachment 1 at Qui Nhon.  Here, the busy SP4 served as Chief Engineer for both television and FM radio, and also as a medic for local signal units.

Post-Army, back at home in Cleveland Heights, he was employed for five years as engineer at several area radio stations and in 1975-76 as video tape operator for WJM-TV.  He then freelanced on mini-cam crews in Chicago and New York City for four years until he returned home to establish Bellamy Productions in 1981.  This is an all-purpose public relations company specializing in Internet, radio, and television marketing and advertising, and general consultation.  He has continued to operate this business through this writing in 2017.  He and wife Gail Anne live in a restored 1904 Victorian home in the historic section of the city.  Gail, the daughter of newspaper reporters, is managing editor and food editor for Restaurant Hospitality Magazine, and she is also a published poet.  With a Ph.D in creative writing, Gail served a two-year term as Poet Laureate for the city of Cleveland Heights.

Steve also has printer's ink in his veins.  His father, Peter Bellamy, a WWII Navy veteran, was drama critic for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and his grandfather, Paul Bellamy was a long-time editor of the newspaper.  His great-grandfather was Edward Bellamy, utopian-socialist author of the classic novel, "Looking Backward," and Steve is a distant relative of the man who authored our Pledge of Allegiance, Francis Bellamy.

Charles Thomas "Tom" Benintende


Tom Benintende graduated from high school in Berwick, Pennsylvania in 1966.  He later furthered his education with classes at Penn State and Central Texas Community College, and he achieved certification in Digital Media from Seminole State College in Florida.

Enlisting in the Army, Tom was an honors graduate of DINFOS, and was assigned to American Forces Radio and Television as a broadcast specialist.  In 1969-70 he served a tour in Vietnam, playing the hits for the troops as a deejay with AFVN's Detachment 4 in Nha Trang.

Upon his return to Pennsylvania as a civilian in 1972, Tom was hired as program director/account executive/drive-time deejay for broadcast companies with radio stations in Bloomsburg, Wilkes Barre, Scranton, Allentown, and Williamsport.  Using the air-name Tom Benson, he stayed through 1998, when his then-employer, Dame Media, was purchased by Clear Channel.

After working in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania as program director for Clear Channel's News/Talk WHP and Country WRBT, he moved to Orlando in 2001 as program director for the company's Newsradio 540 WFLA in Orlando.

In 2009 Tom departed from the day-to-day grind and became a consultant.  He now offers his experience from the last 30+ years to smaller-market radio stations who wish to improve their ratings and revenue.

Tom and wife Gail reside in the Orlando area. They have three adult children, and three grandchildren.

Robert L. Bensman

Born 27 November 1949, Bob Bensman was the youngest of the three children born to Mr. and Mrs. William F. Bensman of Buffalo, New York.  Following high school, Bob enrolled at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri.  The college had become famous some twenty years earlier when the campus gymnasium had been selected as the venue for Sir Winston Churchill to deliver his famous "Iron Curtain" speech.  In fact the plaster was not yet dry on the reconstruction of the exterior of the Church of St. Mary, Aldermanbury.  The church, designed in 1667 by Sir Christopher Wren, had been demolished during the London blitz of WWII, and the original blocks had been brought to Fulton to allow for the structure to be rebuilt as part of the Winston Churchill Memorial on campus.  The interior was not finished until midway through Bob's college education, which ended in 1971.

After college, Bob joined the Army, and served as an audio engineer at AFVN in Saigon as the Vietnam War came to a close. Even that late in the US presence, there was still a makeshift quality about life in Saigon. Instead of a steel Army-issue wall locker, Bob's room at the Walling BEQ was furnished with a massive free-standing wooden closet with mirrors on the front, an artifact left over from the Walling's days as a civilian hotel.

Back in the USA, Bob lived for a time in Georgia and New York before relocating to St. Charles, Illinois, 50 miles west of downtown Chicago. Here, he joined his two siblings in the establishment of a family business, the Lotus Property Group, LLC. With Bob as Managing Member in Illinois, the firm's New York affiliate is managed by brother William F. Bensman Jr., and the Florida location is handled by sister Barbara Fonner.

Bob and wife Susan are the parents of two sons and a daughter.

Peter Bruce Berlin

Pete as cadet at military school; as a soldier (plus enlarged detail); with Judy in 2007; and a tour guide in Europe

Peter Berlin may have subconciously prepared himself for a career in radio when, as a boy, he made announcements over the public address system of his father's hotel.  Peter grew up in the Far Rockaway neighborhood of the New York borough of Queens, and lived there through elementary school, but he moved south to attend Riverside Military Academy, a 7-12 prep school in Gainesville, Georgia.  He continued his southern migration, and, in 1963 graduated from Pinecrest High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  He has made his home in south Florida ever since.  His first real venture into radio was at the University of Miami, where in 1967, he was a co-founder of WVUM, the student-run campus radio station.  Peter graduated from UM in 1968 with a degree in broadcasting.

Along with his college degree, Peter was presented with an Army ROTC commission, and his period of active duty began immediately.  As a Signal Corps Officer, he was sent to Vietnam in 1969.  His first assignment as a 2LT was as OIC of AFVN's Detachment 5 in Quang Tri.  Shortly after his promotion to 1LT, however, Peter departed AFVN for the Long Binh Army Post with duty at the Southeast Asia Pictorial Service.

After completing his military obligation, he returned. to south Florida, where he began a radio career at several stations in the Miami area. Beginning as a deejay at WFUN, a top-40 AM station, he advanced through program director at WWOK to a job as station manager of Miami's top FM station, WLVE on the 93.9 band, known as Love 94. But after a decade of Army and radio, Pete sought employment in a profession with more security, so in 1978 he became a banker. Joining Citizens Federal Saving and Loan, he became Senior Vice President for Marketing.

In 1987 he bought a travel agency in the Fort Lauderdale area, and in 1989 he decided to go full-time.  He left the bank and for the next 20 years his personal attention developed Peter Berlin Travel Center into one of south Florida's top cruise and tour agencies.

Pete is (semi-) retired now, and he and wife Judy continue to enjoy the sunny clime of Fort Lauderdale.  And as a bonus, their daughter, Karen, has presented them with two grandsons.

Bennett H. Bernstein

CPT Bernstein is shown prepping Bobbie Oberhansley for her nightly broadcast as AFVN's TV weathergirl

Bennett Bernstein, born 19 May 1931 in Brooklyn, New York, was Chief of Network News as an Army Captain at AFVN TV in 1967-68.  He was well prepared for this assignment, having served previously as a 1LT as Chief of the Technical Services Branch at the Army Pictorial Center in Astoria, New York.  He would later retire as a Major after 23 years, but only to begin a new career as hospital administrator of the VA Medical Center in Northport, New York - - a career that would last 22 additional years.

The Major had been commissioned after enlisted service which included a tour in Germany in the early 1950's.  Elder of his two daughters, Charlene, was born during this tour, where he had married Miss Hilde Rissel, a German national.  The family settled in Wantagh, on the southern side of Long Island, New York, and the Major commuted 25 miles to the north for his VA hospital job.

When his marriage ended, Bennett re-married, and he and wife Nancy resided in Swiftwater, Pennsylvania, a pleasant unincorporated community in the eastern part of the state, 25 miles from the New Jersey state line.

Hilde, meanwhile, moved to the small community of Rock Hlll, New York, about a hundred miles north of New York City, where she died of cancer in 2006.  The couple's daughter, Charlene had lost her life in a 2001 automobile accident.

In retirement Bennett was an active member of the American Legion, and an energetic participant in the local Blueberry Festival. He also reportedly spent spare time at the bowling alley. The Major passed away 10 January 2003 at the age of 71. He was survived by wife Nancy, daughter Sheryl, and four grandchildren. Burial was in St. Paul's Cemetery, Swiftwater, Pennsylvania.

Harvey Allan Bernstein

Harvey, a draftee from New York, had been an accountant in civilian life.  As an Army SP5 admin clerk at AFVN HQ, he performed his job perfectly, but everyone who came in contact with Harvey knew he was 'way overqualified.  When the time came for a big IG inspection, it was Harvey who was chosen to visit all the detachments to make sure the files were in order.  Harvey was in-Country from August 1969 to July 1970.

Today Harvey serves as Chief Financial Officer of a major New York apparel import firm, to which he commutes daily from the suburban New Jersey borough of Keyport.  He received his economics and accounting degrees in 1966 from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Harvey and his wife, Roberta, have two children and a grandson.

A few years ago, while on a trip to Asia, Harvey took Roberta to Saigon so she could see the sights he had seen so many years before.  He showed her the BEQ where he had resided during his Army days, but his 26-year old tour guide had never heard of AFVN.

Paul Lawrence Berry

A nice portrait of Paul is followed by snapshots of Paul with wife Amy and with former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.

Paul Berry was was born 15 February 1944 in Detroit, Michigan and educated at that city's High School of Commerce.  He joined the Air Force with hopes of becoming a pilot, but instead he was trained as a Licensed Practical Nurse and a Dental Assistant and assigned to the Medical Corps.  Following expiration of his first enlistment, he reenlisted with a more realistic goal.  This time he was sent to DINFOS with an assignment to American Forces Radio and Television Service.  Then as a broadcast specialist he was sent to Vietnam where he was assigned to AFVN's Detachment 6 at Tuy Hoa.  This was a fortuitous assignment because after working as on-air sportscaster, he was moved to Program Director for the station, and a brand new civilian career suddenly was within his grasp.

Upon his return to Detroit with an honorable discharge and experience as a broadcast journalist, he found employment as a reporter and weekend anchor with the local ABC-owned affiliate, WXYZ-TV.  Four years later, in 1972, he was afforded an opportunity to move to a more lucrative market.  He was hired by Channel 7 WJLA-TV in Washington, DC where he anchored the station's 5, 6, and 11PM newscasts.  He would become senior news anchor and remain at the station until 1999.

In the Capital City, Paul became one of the most respected journalists in America.  He won nine local EMMYs and was awarded the Capitol Region's EMMY for Outstanding News Anchor.  Washingtonian Magazine named him "Washingtonian of the Year," and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences presented him its prestigious Ted Yates Award for the outstanding professional and personal qualities he exhibited in his work.  The Academy followed this award by voting Paul into the "Silver Circle" in recognition of his contributions to Washington television.  Paul was the originator of two WJLA popular community service programs, "Crimesolvers," and "Seven on Your Side."

On 26 May 1999, at the age of 55 with 27 years at WJLA, he decided to retire from television in order to focus on a career in radio.  He hosted "The Paul Berry Show" on Washington radio for a number of years and then transitioned into a weekly radio talk show, "Home and Family Finance Radio," sponsored by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and syndicated nationally by the Radio America Network.  As of 2015 the show is carried in 64 US markets and on the American Forces Radio Network worldwide.  He also returned to the local airwaves in Washington, DC with a daily show called "DC Talker" on WTNT-AM.

Today Paul makes his home in suburban Maryland with wife Amy.  He is the father of a son and two daughters, and both Paul and Amy are licensed realtors.  He serves on the Board of Trustees for Ford's Theater, and is past president of the Chesapeake Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.  He is a commissioner of Maryland Public Television and runs his own media consulting company, Paul L. Berry and Associates, LLC.

Charles Daniel Bertsch

A posed outdoor snapshot is followed by a photo of Chuck on the job at AFVN, and then a more recent headshot.

Charles D. Bertsch, today a resident of Phoenix, Arizona, is busily employed in the computer industry.  He has been associated with several major computer builders and programmers, and as of 2018 shows no signs of slowing down at the age of 71.

Charles was a 1965 graduate of Holland High School in Holland, Michigan.  With his diploma in hand, Chuck joined the Army and left for Basic at Fort Knox.  Then following DINFOS training, he was assigned duty as a producer with American Forces Network-Frankfurt, after which in August 1967 he transferred to AFVN as program director at Detachment 3, which was located at Pleiku, high atop Dragon Mountain.

In 1968, the young veteran enrolled at Michigan State University.  Newspaper articles from across his college career indicated that Charles was among a small group of students "honored for outstanding academic achievement."  One of the latter articles read thusly: "Area students who received a 4.0 or straight A average include Charles D. Bertsch, a senior . . . ."  Another article reported on the 1972 graduating class and listed 13 honor graduates from the Holland area.  "Graduating with high honors (was) Charles D. Bertsch. . . ."  He had earlier been inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.  His BS degree was in the field of Engineering and Computer Science.  He later earned an MS degree in computer science from Arizona State University.

It's interesting to note that Chuck's uncle, Mr. Fred S. Bertsch, was principal of Holland High School when Chuck graduated.  He had resigned his commission as a Navy Lieutenant Commander to return to good ol' Holland Hi.  In 2010 he published his memoirs titled It's Not the School I Hate; It's the Principal of the Thing.  If the book lives up to its title, it's gotta achieve classic status.  The book is currently (as of late 2018) available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other book sellers.

Gregory Joseph Beveridge


Greg Beveridge has come a long way since he got his start in telecommunications at AFVN.  It was in 1968-69 that his Army enlistment sent him to Saigon in the field of television and radio transmitter operations/maintenance.  The quality of his work was was evidenced by the awarding of a Joint Service Commendation Medal on 1 August 1969 as he returned to CONUS.

Back in civilian life, he worked for a time in broadcast engineering while attending classes at Arizona State.  He graduated cum laude in 1975 with a BS in Electronic Engineering and began a career with some of the biggest and brightest telecommunications companies in the world.  Over the years he served as Chief of Technology for US West (later CenturyLink), Vice President of MediaOne (later ComCast), and Vice President of AuraServ Communications, before he founded Beveridge Consulting, Inc., in which he advised numerous clients in the rapidly expanding telecommunications industry.  His chosen career lasted over 40 years before he elected to retire.

Greg produced many innovations in his field.  Between 1995 and 2013 the US Patent Office has issued 13 patents in his name, and his articles have been published in numerous trade journals.  He has maintained membership in the Society of Broadcast Engineers, and is a past board member of Belgium's Telenet Flanders Group.

On 6 September 1991 Greg married the former Miss Debra Hach, and he is now the father of three daughters.  He and Debra reside in the Denver suburb of Thornton, Colorado.  Among his pastimes is a busy membership in the Polka Playmates Band, which plays gigs across northern Colorado with Greg on the electric bass.

Charles C. "Chuck" Bexley

2 snapshots of SFC Bexley at AFRS are followed by a shot of Chuck in costume and a photo of Chuck calling at a Saigon venue

Chuck Bexley, son of a WWI Army veteran, was born 13 June 1928 in Michigan, but by 1935 the family had moved south.  Chuck and his brother Warner grew up in the community of Panthersville, Georgia, which was an unincorporated rural area in the 1930s, but has since been absorbed into the urban sprawl of Atlanta.  His rural roots, however, followed Chuck throughout his life in the form of a love for the art of square dancing.  He would become a champion Caller .

Both Chuck and Warner joined the Army.  Warner saw service in Korea, and Chuck decided on a military career.  In 1964-65 Chuck was sports director for AFRS (the AFVN precursor) at the Saigon headquarters.  His time in Vietnam proved to be a major outlet for his dance passion, as he used his off-duty hours to teach square dancing at USO and Special Services events.  His return to CONUS brought him to Fort McClellan, Alabama as NCOIC of the information office, and when not promoting the square dance in his off-time, he coached the Army's Junior Bowling League.

The late 1960s found SFC Bexley serving as NCOIC of the Army Info Office in Berlin, and he somehow found a ready and willing audience for his dance passion among both Americans and Germans.  As official Caller for the Berlin Dancing Bears Square Dance Club, Chuck offered a series of 18 lessons for $5.  This was a real bargain, especially since the first three lessons were free with no obligation to continue.  Square Dance "Jamborees" were held all across Europe in cities such as Madrid, London, Heidelberg, and Paris.

Finally in retirement, Chuck resided in an unincorporated area of central Florida.  Known as Oxford, the community lies within Sumter County, which owns the distinction of having the oldest median population of any county in the USA.  This is due to the presence of The Villages, a highly-populated and highly-advertised senior citizen community located about a 15-minute drive from little Oxford.

Chuck never, however, reached the distinguished plateau of senior citizenship.  He died in Oxford at the young age of 51 on 3 December 1979.  Burial was in the Garden of Memories Cemetery, Tampa, Florida.

Gilbert M. Billings, Jr.

Gilbert Billings, Sr. was an MD, but the plans of his namesake son to follow in his career were overtaken by world events.  Gil Jr., born 15 June 1923, was a freshman at Wake Forest when Pearl Harbor was attacked, and he enlisted in the Army in 1942.  Entering the Aviation Cadet Program, he served as a pilot for the duration.

After the War, the young veteran returned to the college campus, where he earned a bachelor's degree from Wake Forest and a master's degree in Journalism from the University of North Carolina.  Hired by the Raleigh News and Observer, he was working in the editorial offices when war broke out in Asia, and he was recalled to active duty in 1951.  In Korea his journalistic skills were recognized, and Lieutenant Billings was assigned public affairs duties.

With a promotion to Captain, Billings' next major assignment after the signing of the armistice was as historian for Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, where he recorded America's nuclear tests.  He accompanied scientists of the Atomic Energy Commission to the Marshall Islands, and witnessed the detonation of the first successful hydrogen bomb on Eniwetok Atoll.

As a Major, he attended the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama in 1960-61, and then accepted assignment to the 5th Air Force at Fuchu Air Base, Japan.  During this period, he was sent twice to Vietnam, first on a public affairs mission, and second as a representative of SEATO.

Four years as Public Affairs Officer at Burtonwood Air Base in England followed.  A major US cargo, transport, and maintenance facility, Burtonwood was originally an RAF base.  The US had assumed control during WWII, and the base became the gateway for American troops in Europe.  It ranked as one of the largest US installations on foreign soil.

With a promotion to Lieutenant Colonel, Billings went to the Pentagon, assuming PA responsibilities at the National Military Command Center, the headquarters for command and control at DOD.  This assignment required daily coordination with MACOI, and Billings became familiar with activities of the daily press briefings in Saigon, which the press nicknamed the "Five O'Clock Follies."

In 1969, Billings received a coveted assignment to Vietnam.  The now seasoned public affairs professional became Executive Officer at MACOI.  This coincided with President Nixon's "Vietnamization" program, a particularly delicate time in the US pursuit of victory.  A restless Saigon press contingent required every bit of tact and diplomacy that Billings could muster.

Then for his final assignment from 1971-75, Lieut. Col. Billings was sent back to Europe as Chief of Public Affairs at US European Command (USEUCOM), the unified command which handled Cold War operations.

Gil Billings retired from the Air Force in 1976, and returned to his native North Carolina.  He took a position as Director of Public Affairs at Western Piedmont Community College and free-lanced as a reporter for the Morganton News-Herald.

The Colonel died 15 January 2000, at the age of 77.

James Henry Black

Army SP4 Jim Black served at AFVN's Detachment 4 on Hon Tre Island in 1968-69.

Following his military obligation, he returned home to Wisconsin, where he began an academic career that culminated in a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin in 1990.

Today he is engaged in the practice of Psychology in several venues.  First, he owns a private practice, The Psychology Clinic, in Madison.  Second, he is supervising psychologist for the Emergency Services Unit of the Mental Health Center of Dane County, also in Madison.  Third, he is consulting psychologist for Innervisions Counseling in the neighboring city of Baraboo, Wisconsin.  Fourth, he serves as Clinical Assistant Professor for the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin.

As an experienced mental health professional, Dr. Black counsels individuals and couples, while also providing family therapy.  He has extensive experience in crisis intervention counseling, parenting and relationship issues, affective disorders, and grief counseling.  His expertise in critical incident debriefings makes him invaluable in trauma management and EMDR therapy.  He also provides consultations for corporate management, and he has performed numerous psychological evaluations for the courts, and for social services agencies.

Reed W. Black

Accompanying a small headshot is a photo of Reed as he broadcasts "Land Line Now" to truckers everywhere.

Reed Black was assigned to AFVN to do TV and AM radio news in Saigon.  It was the start of a lifelong radio career.  Over the next four decades, he worked a number of stations, mostly in the Kansas City area.

His early on-air work included WIBW-TV in Topeka, and Sunflower Cablevision in Lawrence, Kansas, along with Kansas City's KUDL radio and KMBC-TV.  Then beginning in 1979 he began a 20-year career as reporter/news anchor at Kansas City's CBS affiliate, KCTV.

As of 2010, Reed is a columnist for Land Line Magazine, the business journal of the trucking industry, and anchor of the daily "Land Line Now" news show on XM Channel 171.

He holds a Journalism degree from the University of Missouri, and he is recipient of both the Gold and Silver Heart of America Awards from the Kansas City Press Club Society of Professional Journalists.

Reed and wife, Mary, reside in suburban Kansas City.  They are the parents of two adult children.

Michael M. Blake

Mike Blake at WFIE through the years

Mike Blake is a native of Munster, Indiana, a lovely little city which hugs the Illinois state line not far from the banks of Lake Michigan.  A gifted athlete, he played team sports in grade school and lettered in two sports in high school.  In 1962 he entered Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, majoring in political science with a speech minor.  He soon developed an interest in theater, and he became a broadcaster on the campus radio station.  Upon graduation he earned a master's degree in radio, TV, and film in 1968 from the University of Iowa.

Mike then joined the Army, and by 1969 was a member of the news staff at AFVN.  His on-air duties included anchoring both radio and television news at Detachment 4 on the shores of the South China Sea.  When he returned to Munster in 1970 he was an experienced broadcast journalist, and he soon found work with WFIE-TV, Channel 14 at Evansville in southern Indiana.

He began as a weekday weatherman and weekend sports anchor, and a year later he was promoted to sports director.  Eventually he moved into news reporting, and by 1986 he was anchor of WFIE's first 5 PM news show.  Over the years he also hosted a Friday and Saturday night show dedicated to high school sports and he anchored "Midday with Mike," a noon half-hour newscast which evolved into a full hour.  In 2010 the station honored Mike with a one-hour televised presentation, before a live studio audience, on the occasion of his 40th anniversary at WFIE.

Over the years, Mike became very much a part of Evansville's cultural and civic life.  He participated in numerous charity fund drives, acting as emcee at around 50 public events each year.  Chief among his charitable activities is his annual hosting of the local segment of Jerry Lewis' telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Mike and Jenny, his wife since February 1973, are the parents of four adult children.

Ralph William Blanchard, Jr.

1) Lieutenant Commander Blanchard on the tarmac at Tan Son Nhut; 2) dining with Mrs. Else Baker, wife of the Chief of Information; and 3) Captain Blanchard in retirement

Ralph Blanchard, a native of Sugar Creek Township in Hancock County, Indiana, just to the east of Indianapolis, was born in 1929 to Methodist missionaries who had recently returned from a mission to China.  He was the second son born to Rev. and Mrs. Ralph William Blanchard, Sr., and in fact his brother Richard, older by four years, had been born in Chungking.  A sister, Carolyn, was born in 1931.  The family soon relocated to Wolcottville in the northeast corner of the state, and then in 1942 to the town of Tryon in eastern North Carolina.

Following his 1943 graduation from high school in Tryon, brother Richard joined the Navy, but soon received a medical discharge.  Ralph waited a few years before he, too, joined the Navy.  He had worked for a time as a journalist in Atlanta, and the Navy assigned the young ensign to the public information office at NAS Alameda, California.  In 1958 he was sent to the Navy press office in the Pentagon, where he fielded inquiries from reporters as well as the civilian public.  It wasn't long, however, before he was designated to deliver the daily 0800 news briefing to the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Arleigh Burke.  This required that he spend a couple of hours each morning reviewing articles from a half dozen newspapers plus wire service reports and radio morning news.  Although initially nervous and unsure of himself in the daily deskside meetings with the Big Man, he grew to enjoy the exchange, and reports he completed the assignment "without dire consequences."

Seven years later, the now-seasoned lieutenant commander reported to the press office at MACV.  In the summer of 1965, Air Force Colonel Basil Lee Baker was serving as the first Chief of Information for the operation soon to be named the MACV Office of Information.  Lieutenant Commander Blanchard was designated a briefing officer, serving the needs of a growing international press contingent.  Recent attacks at Bien Hoa airbase and the AFRS studio in Saigon's Brink Hotel piqued press interest and prompted Col. Baker to upgrade briefing procedures.  The result was the "Five O'Clock Follies," and Commander Blanchard was in the briefing officer rotation.  It was "an interesting time in public affairs history," he later wrote.

After Vietnam he was sent to the Naval War College at Newport, Rhode Island, graduating from the School of Naval Command in 1968.  The path to senior officer status was thus smoothed, and by the time of his 1981 retirement, Captain Blanchard was serving as Director of Defense Information in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

The Captain retired to the Washington suburb of Springfield, Virginia, and for a time he was on staff at the Armed Services YMCA, where he was heavily involved in programs and activities related to family issues in the military.

Since 2000, Captain Blanchard and wife Jannette have made their home in Durango, Colorado.  Their son, Will, had previously located in the city, which is situated in the Animas River Valley, and had begun a fishing guide service.  The Animas River is a haven for fly-fisherman, and Will had become so busy that he needed help.  The Captain came aboard to work in management and scheduling.

In addition to son Will, the Blanchards also have a daughter, Beth, and they have two grandchildren.

Victor LeRoy Blosser

Vic was born 20 October 1946 in Spearville, Kansas.  The community of Spearville is located about 20 miles northeast of the formerly notorious western town of Dodge City.  His parents were Mr. and Mrs. Richard Winston Blosser, and the family included a brother and two sisters.  The Blossers moved several times, and by 1964 when Vic graduated from high school the family resided in Park City, a Wichita suburb.

He joined the Marine Corps immediately after receiving his diploma and was trained as an electronic technician.  He made rank swiftly and was sergeant by the time of his 1967 deployment to Vietnam.

Assigned to AFVN, he was sent to Detachment 4 at Nha Trang as a Transmitter Maintenance Technician.  At the time of his arrival, the AM station was still under construction, and he was awarded a Joint Service Commendation Medal for his work in prepping the facility for broadcast.  Following a six-month extension of his tour, Vic returned to CONUS in 1968 and received his honorable discharge 28 May 1970 as a Staff Sergeant.

With his training and experience in the field of electronics, Vic was hired by Raytheon Aircraft, which eventually merged to form Hawker Beechcraft.  At the Beechcraft facility in Wichita, Vic was classified as a field engineer II in the Engineering Metrology Laboratory.  Metrology is a highly specialized field dealing with precision measurement of length and angles, and it was Vic's job to develop and maintain the company's calibration systems.

Following his retirement, Vic resided in Haysville, Kansas, a suburb to the south of Wichita, until his death 3 November 2010 at the age of 64.  He was survived by his wife of 37 years, the former Mary Jane Welch, two adult sons, three grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Paul Joseph Blum

Paul is shown at right with his OIC, CPT Charles B. Adams (photo courtesy of CPT Adams), and then in a later headshot as a civilian.

CWO Blum was born 19 August 1928, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Blum of Chicago.  His Army career began in 1950, just in time for him to be shipped to Korea as an infantryman.  He would serve his country for the next 21 years, retiring in 1971 as a CW4.

It was while he was stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma as a CW3 with the 3rd Target Acquisition Battalion, 26th Artillery, that he received his orders for Vietnam.  In Saigon, he was named Supply Officer for the AFVN network, and he found his work agreeable to the point that he extended his tour by six months.  He returned to CONUS 26 June 1971, having earned both the Bronze Star Medal and the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  He then elected to retire, having been promoted to CW4.

Settling in the Salt Lake City area, he joined a civilian company as supervisor of inventory control, and after leaving that job he spent the following 15 years as a volunteer for charitable causes.  He joined the local Council on Aging, where he served as vice president, and he worked with the Meals on Wheels program.

Paul lived comfortably with wife Ryoko in North Salt Lake City until his death 11 September 2014 at the age of 86.  He was survived, in addition to his wife, by daughter Annette Blum Jan and granddaughter Claire.  Annette, an attorney, served as of 2014 as a Utah assistant attorney general, and her husband George as a flight nurse for the University of Utah Medical Center.  Granddaughter Claire, a 2014 high school sophomore, is a champion equestrian with a show horse named "Artistic Flair."  She has successfully competed against professional riders in the categories of dressage, cross country, and stadium jumping.  Paul was very proud of his family.

Erich Sheldon "Shelly" Blunt

New Orleans native Shelly Blunt enlisted in the Army 24 September 1946, 36 days after his 21st birthday.  Following his initial assignment to Alaska, he sidestepped to the Air Force, where he remained through a military career that lasted a quarter of a century.  Postings included Korea and Keflavik, Iceland where he both wrote the news for the NATO base newspaper and reported the news as AFRS station manager.  His service at AFVN came in 1966-67 after he had achieved the rank of Master Sergeant, and he was instrumental in the installation of television in Vietnam.  His next assignment after Saigon was as radio/tv instructor at the Defense Information School, after which he returned to civilian life.

His post-retirement activities revolved around the military.  For the next 20 years, Shelly resided in the area surrounding Keesler AFB at Biloxi, Mississippi.  At various times he was employed as safety specialist for Biloxi's VA Medical Center, Civil Defense Director for the city of Biloxi, and program director for the local ABC/CBS affiliate WLOX, while also taking assignments with the Merchant Marine and the US Army Transportation Corps.  He did not slow down until the onset of the cancer that eventually took his life.

Shelly spent his last months in a Gulfport, Mississippi hospice, and he died there 9 December 2001 at the age of 76.  He was survived by wife Jeanette, a son, two step-sons, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.  Burial was in Section 54, Site 836 of Biloxi National Cemetery.

Arthur Kent Borland


Borlands had populated Louisiana for generations; Art Borland's grandfather and great-grandfather had lived in Alexandria, and Art was born 2 April 1941 to Arthur and Joyce Borland in Shreveport.  It must have been difficult for him to leave, but after his graduation from Fair Park High School in 1958 that's exactly what Art did.  He joined the Navy and was trained in electronics.  It would be his career for 20 years.

In August 1968, as a Radioman First Class (E6), Art was assigned to AFVN as network teletype repairman in Saigon.  His job was to keep the news circuits from AP, UPI, and the American Forces Network in Washington up and running.  During his tour he visited all of AFVN's up-country detachments, and installed many of the systems that powered AFVN for the duration of the war.  In May 1969 he transferred to "the back woods," as Art referred to Detachment 1 at Qui Nhon.  He spent his last four months there, and returned to CONUS 7 August 1968.

Over the course of his 20 years in the Navy, Art was assigned at various times to sea duty with the USS Dahlgren, a Farragut-Class Destroyer, the USS Parrot, a minesweeper, and the USS Julius A. Furer, a Brooke-Class Frigate.  He also saw service at Antarctic Support, McMurdo where the temperature ranges from around negative 60 to positive 50, and Guantanamo Bay where the temperature hovers around 80.  His military awards and decorations included the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Antarctica Service Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal and Service Ribbon, Vietnam Service Medal and Service Ribbon with three Bronze Stars.  He retired in 1978 and then took a civilian job for 10 years with Naval Electronics Systems Command in Washington, later renamed Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), where he worked on warfare communications designs.

Art's retirement years were plagued by several health problems which he blamed partially on Agent Orange.  Advised to seek a warmer climate, he moved to San Antonio, where he resided for 21 years.  After undergoing 4-way bypass surgery, and having parts of his right foot removed due to diabetes, Art had high praise for Kay, his wife since 1965, as his chief nurse and medical adviser.

With Kay at his side, Art passed away 24 October 2014 at the age of 73.  He and Kay were the parents of two sons, and they had three grandsons and a granddaughter.

Paul Alex Bottoms

In his "Paul Poppins" days, Paul was a 16-yr old deejay at KFSA.  A little later, he is shown at AFVN, and still later at WRVA in Richmond.

Paul, born 26 August 1948 in the small northwest Arkansas community of Mountainburg, grew up in a family with two older sisters.  While a student at Mountainburg High School he began working at KFSA radio as a teen-aged disc jockey, and apparently influenced by the August 1964 release of Disney's movie about a flying nanny, he used as his air name Paul Poppins.  Then upon his 1967 graduation he left his job at KEWI in the Little Rock suburb of Benton to enlist in the Army.  A year later he was in Vietnam, where he stayed for two tours from July 1968 to June 1970.  By volunteering for a second consecutive tour, Paul was able to cut five months off his service obligation.

He spent the first month at Chu Lai working in the information office, before being selected to visit the Saigon station in preparation for bringing television to AFVN's Detachment 7.  Although on TDY, he did not leave Saigon again.  He was assigned a six-hour night shift, including hosting the "Orient Express" show, which ran from 0100 to 0400 hours.  Later, he did the "Dawnbuster" show, using a pre-recorded version of the elongated "Good Morning, Vietnam" sign-on.  For a time he was designated "Chief Announcer."  He remained on TDY status for the entire two years, which meant that he had to return to Chu Lai for outprocessing when he rotated back home in June 1970.

When he returned to civilian status, he resumed his radio career.  By 1973 he was morning news anchor at WAMS, Wilmington, Delaware, and the following year he was news director at KONO in San Antonio.

News jobs in Chicago, Charlotte, Dallas, and Washington DC followed.  Then, suffering from "burn out," Paul began a four-year stint working behind-the-scenes with KRLD in Dallas.  He returned to news broadcasting in 1997 with KWCY in Phoenix, but soon moved on to 50 thousand watt WRVA in Richmond, Virginia as morning news anchor, retiring in 2011.

Paul resided in suburban Henrico County, Virginia where he spent his spare time fishing, which was easy because local promoters claim the County has 71 perfect fishing spots.  When not fishing, or not on his way to or from one of the 71 spots, this inveterate reader could often be found in libraries or bookstores.  He was also a happy, proud, and very energetic volunteer at the Richmond International Airport branch of the USO.  He remained active until 7 March 2019 when, at the age of 70, Paul passed away unexpectedly, apparently from natural causes.  Friends say they'll always remember his robust sense of humor and his infectious laughter.

David E. Boudreaux

Dr. Boudreaux poses solo, and with two favorite CO's: BG Sidle in Saigon, Vietnam and Miss Carol in Florence, Italy

Born September 9, 1942, in New Iberia, Louisiana.  Father was on active duty in the Army Air Corps and would go on to enjoy a 21-year career in the U. S. Army as an armor officer.  He retired as a major with his last tour of duty spent as the armor advisor (MAAG) to the South Vietnamese army.  Mother has spent her life as a stay-at-home mother and housewife.

Started first grade in the Panama Canal Zone in 1948; finished high school at the American Community School in Saigon, Vietnam, in 1960.  Also attended schools in Louisiana, Texas, California, France, Kansas, and Kentucky before finishing high school and enrolling at Louisiana State University in the fall of 1960.  All travels were a result of my father's service in the army.

Graduated from LSU in January of 1965 and was commissioned a second lieutenant.  Receiving a two year deferment, I enrolled in graduate school at LSU, received an M. A., and taught one semester at Nicholls State University (Nicholls State College at that time) in Thibodaux, Louisiana, before going on active duty in May of 1967.

Attended Armor Officers Basic Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky and was assigned to the Department of School Support at Fort Rucker, Alabama.  Attended the Defense Information School at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indianapolis, Indiana, prior to deploying to South Vietnam in May, 1968.

Arrived in Saigon during the "mini Tet," and was assigned to MACOI at MACV Headquarters located at Ton Son Nhut.  Brigadier General Winant Sidle was the Chief of Information, MACOI, and Major David Smith was the head of Command Information in MACOI at the time.  As a first lieutenant, I was assigned to be the officer in charge of the pamphlet branch, command information.  My duties included writing command information brochures and pamphlets.  There was an immediate need for a brochure to explain the "Open Arms" program, or the "Chieu Hoi" initiative, which allowed for members of the Viet Cong to come over to the side of the South Vietnamese without retribution.  With the assistance of my staff, I saw the pamphlet to publication and distribution.  I also wrote and published information pamphlets on R & R sites to help the soldiers decide on where to take their R & R.  Additionally, I wrote a weekly column, "Viewing Vietnam" for the MACV Observer.  The column focused on the history and culture of the Vietnamese people.  In a readership survey, I was pleased to learn that the column ranked second in "favorites" among the troops, right behind the weekly "pin up" of one of the "Gowland Girls."  After the assignment of additional officers to Command Information, I became the officer in charge of the MACV Observer and also edited the orientation edition of Stars and Stripes, which was distributed to all incoming servicemen and women.

Returned to CONUS in January, 1969, and out-processed at Oakland, California.  Believing my army days were behind me, I returned to Nicholls to teach English.  After one semester, I decided to pursue the Ph. D. and enrolled at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  While I had earlier turned down an offer to become a member of the Louisiana National Guard, upon entering graduate school I joined an Army Reserve unit, the 306th Civil Affairs Group, based in Fayetteville.

Returned to Nicholls and to Thibodaux after completing my coursework for the doctorate.  Received my Ph. D. in English in 1975.

Having enjoyed the Army Reserve experience in Fayetteville, I sought a reserve unit to join in Louisiana and found a home with the 377th Support Brigade, which later became the 377th TAACOM.  I served as the secretary to the General Staff until I transferred to the 4157th USARF School in Baton Rouge.  In the school, I served first as a Command and General Staff instructor, then as the OIC of officer courses, and finally as the assistant commandant of the school.  I retired in 1993 as a lieutenant colonel.

Served at Nicholls State University as instructor, rising through the academic ranks to that of full professor.  Served as head of the department of English from 1977 until 1995, made dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 1995 and then vice president for Institutional Advancement in 1998, where I continue to serve.

Married Carol Defelice in May 1964.  We have two sons, Daniel and Anthony; two daughters-in-law, Gretchen and Nicki; and six grandchildren.

(Editor's Note:)  After a 46-year career at Nicholls State, LTC Boudreaux retired 30 June 2012 . . . but not quite.  Noting that the university was in the throes of a budget crisis, the professor voluntarily continued to work as vice president for institutional development for an additional year without pay.  When he vacated his office a year later, he still remained a presence on campus as he retained his role as executive director of the Nicholls Foundation, which raises funds for the university.  "David's selfless decision to retire yet continue with his day-to-day responsibilities truly reflects his love for Nicholls," said the university's interim president.)

William F. "Bill" Bozarth

Lieutenant Bozarth at AFVN, and a little later as a civilian videographer

Bill Bozarth's affection for video production began when he was a boy.  He says it was instilled in him when he used to watch and help his dad.  It seems to have been only natural that he would build his life around the video industry.  By the time he came to Vietnam as an Army Signal Corps 1LT, he was fully qualified to perform his assigned tasks as News Officer at AFVN HQ in Saigon, and later as OIC at Detachment 4 in Nha Trang.

Upon his release from active duty he joined CBS in New York, and later he brought educational television to Fort Dix.  He taught college courses both here and abroad, and spent a time directing sports webcasts.  With a Master's degree in television production from NYU, he could do it all.  Bill keeps himself up to date with the fast-changing industry by returning to NYU for continuing education courses, and by attending industry conferences and conventions.

In 1985, he founded Interactive Video Productions in Medford, New Jersey.  Here, Bill's business is video production.  He produces documentaries along with educational, training, sales, and inspirational videos worldwide.  He is also an equipment expert, able to engineer material and facilities to do a job quickly and flawlessly.

Bill and wife Penelope continue to reside in Medford.  They are the parents of son Will, who has joined his father in the family business, and daughter Alison, a highly respected equestrian trainer who has presented Bill with two fine grandchildren.

Gale Norman Bradish

With big-time apologies for the quality, here's a pic of Gale spinning the platters at AFVN, and later getting a breath of fresh springtime air in Midland, Michigan.

Gale Bradish, born 23 August 1947, is today an Air Force retiree living in Midland, Michigan.  Midland, in the central part of the state, is a city of a little over 40,000 population, and is best known as the city in which Mr. Herbert H. Dow founded Dow Chemical Company back in 1897.

Gale is a 1965 graduate of Summerfield High School in Petersburg, a small town about 50 miles southwest of Detroit.  He enlisted immediately after high school, and was assigned mostly stateside duty for the first seven years, the exception being 20 months at Hickam AFB, Hawaii.  Then in July 1972 he was posted as a staff sergeant to the 366th Combat Support Group operating out of Da Nang Air Base.  The 366th Tactical Fighter Wing was in the process of deactivation due to President Nixon's Vietnamization program, and the Support Group had time on its hands.  This explains how Gale was able to add MACOI experience to his resume.

Gale's job at the 366th was maintenance of Air Crew Life Support equipment, very important when combat missions are flown.  The stand down which was affecting the workload at the 366th also was affecting the work of AFVN.  Departure dates of broadcast personnel were firm, and when AFVNers left for home they were not being replaced.  The work, however, still needed to be done.  "I was a volunteer at Monkey Mountain (the hillside location of the AFVN facility)," Gale explains.  "I had a radio program, but also ran the television control . . . .  I was there a month or two then told to report back to Da Nang and Life Support.  I really enjoyed helping at AFVN . . . .  Learned a lot about AFVN and was thinking of cross training, but decided that Life Support was more suited for me."

Mostly stateside duty followed, although he was posted for one-year tours to West Germany and England.  His final assignment was to Military Airlift Command at Scott AFB, Illinois from which he retired as a Chief Master Sergeant in August 1989 with 24 years of active duty.

Although ostensibly retired, Gale stayed busy.  He went back to school, and in 1992 earned a degree in Business Administration at Northwood University in Midland.  He then signed on as a civilian employee of the US Army in Columbia, South Carolina, where he helped institute the new General Fund Enterprise Business Systems, which allow diverse Army organizations to quickly compile and share financial and accounting data.  Gale and the former Miss Thayer Brownell had been married 27 September 1971 while Gale was stationed at Wurtsmith AFB in Oscoda, Michigan, about 90 miles north of Midland.  An interesting tidbit is that Thayer's father, Mr. John Brownell recorded a hole-in-one at the age of 85.

Forrest G. Brandt

A pair of snapshots of then-1LT Brandt enjoying the tropical Lai Khe climate are followed by a shot of the Lieutenant doing what infantry officers do.

(Editor's Note:  As a part of his PIO duties with the First Infantry Division during his 1968-69 tour at Lai Khe, then-1LT Brandt produced a half-hour radio show for AFVN.  Titled "Duty First," the show aired on Saturdays and consisted of interviews and personal reports about the men of the Big Red One as they performed their mission in the field, relaxed during their off-time, and thought constantly of life back at home.  Although Colonel Brandt is no Henny Youngman, he delivers his bio in a unique series of one-liners.)

Graduated from Ohio State University, commissioned through ROTC in June 1967

Entered service at Ft. Eustis in September of '67

XO for Transportation Company, Ft. Lewis, later worked the military desk at Seatac airport and as training officer for 6th Army ROTC

Transportation officer for the 1st Signal Brigade September - November 1968 until saved by LTC Franklin, who helped me get a transfer to the 1st ID PIO shop

Received an early out for good behavior and returned to OSU in August of 69; subsequently worked as a sales gerbil for Remington Rand, a PIO for Ohio Department of Industrial Relations and Governor's Office, then became a teacher, retired from teaching in 2005

Remained in the reserves, served 6 months as assistant G4 - Logistics, Army Materiel Command

Retired as LTC in December 1997

Now working as an Adjunct Professor of English, Northern Kentucky University

Louis Adelard Breault, Jr.


Massachusetts-born LTC Lou Breault served at MACOI in 1964-65, just as General Westmoreland was beginning his MACV command.  Air Force Colonel Lee Baker was Chief of Information, and the press contingent, although eager for information, was quite small.  Colonel Breault had served previously under Westmoreland, and knew him well.  Nearly a decade earlier, Westmoreland, then a major general, was commander of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky while Breault, then a major, was base public affairs officer.  The two men had become close during a 1958 training exercise in which some 1300 paratroopers participated in a mass jump with the General as one of the jumpers.  Suddenly a wind shift blew hundreds of the men off their landing strip, with numerous injuries and five men losing their lives.  Major Breault later reported details to the press, but in real time he had personally rescued one struggling paratrooper by throwing himself across the man and holding him until he could be separated from his chute.  Gen Westmoreland, himself, was dragged a considerable distance on the ground, thankfully without injury, and reported later "I just couldn't run as fast as my chute was going."  Major Breault, although three years younger than Westmoreland, had nonetheless passed his 40th birthday, and displayed considerable athleticism in the rescue.

Breault was a native of Auburn, Massachusetts, 50 miles west of Boston and 6 miles due south of Worcester.  Born 17 October 1917, Breault was eight years old when Dr. Robert H. Goddard fired off the world's first liquid fuel rocket in Auburn in March 1926.  Breault's father, an immigrant from Canada, was a grocer and local political figure who was elected to the city's school board the year prior to Breault's birth, and later served as a city selectman and as a member of the Massachusetts House.  His mother was an immigrant from England.  Young Lou was educated in the Auburn schools and then attended South High School in Worcester, the high school from which Dr. Goddard had graduated in 1901.  Lou went on to the University of Massachusetts where he majored in English and busied himself in his spare time by playing in the marching band, serving on the yearbook staff and as sports editor of the student newspaper, member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and the Press Club, for which he served a term as president.  He graduated in 1937 and began his Army career.

As a career public affairs officer, he served numerous posts across the country and across the globe.  Early on, as a first lieutenant he was assigned to Army Service Forces Headquarters, Eighth Service Command in Dallas, Texas as assistant public relations officer.  In 1951-53 at the height of the Korean War he was a member of the Seoul press office, and post-Vietnam, as a full Colonel, he was public affairs officer in divided Berlin.  In Saigon, the 1964 Christmas Eve bombing of the Brink BOQ, in which LTC Breault was domiciled, was personal.  In his follow-up press briefing, he confessed to the assembled reporters, "We don't know where we will spend Christmas now."  The following year the press hammered Breault regarding an operation in the Da Nang vicinity in which some of the casualties were women and children.  "This was a village," Breault patiently explained, "in which the Marines uncovered elaborate tunnels leading to concrete-lined underground chambers.  The entrances to this underground network were within the houses.  The village had all the aspects of a military fortress.  There's no such thing," he continued, "as military age . . . (and) they even saw a woman firing against them."  A month later he rotated back to the US with an assignment to the Third US Armored Corps, Fort Hood Texas.  In a departure award ceremony, the lieutenant colonel was presented the Legion of Merit by General Westmoreland and the Vietnamese armed forces presented him with the Medal of Honor, First Class.

After a thirty-year career, Breault retired in suburban Washington, DC, but his retirement was all too brief.  The Colonel passed away 22 September 1971 at the age of 54.  He was survived by his wife, the former Lois Beatrice Lansford, and two daughters.  Interment was in Section 8, Site 8403, Arlington National Cemetery.

Barry Lee Brehm

A snapshot of Barry in Vietnam is followed by a couple of later photos.

ETR-2 Barry Brehm was born in Decatur, Illinois on 2 July 1947.  He enlisted in the US Navy on 6 October 1966, and was discharged to return to college at the University of Illinois on 8 September 1972.

I enlisted for six years in order to obtain the schooling (both electronics and nuclear power) the Navy offered with the intent of becoming a nuclear reactor operator upon my discharge.  In brief, my service in the Navy included boot camp in San Diego, BEEP (Basic Electricity/Electronics Prep) School in San Diego, electronic technician school at Treasure Island in San Francisco, eight months on the USS Northampton in Norfolk before heading to the first six months of nuclear power training in Bainbridge, Maryland, followed by six more months of nuclear power (prototype) training outside of Saratoga Springs, New York.  Upon graduating from Nuke school I received orders to AFVN-Saigon, which included attending Counter-Insurgency School in Coronado, California (across from San Diego).  Many of my fellow graduates also received orders to Vietnam.  There simply weren't enough nuclear power billets on ships in the Navy for all of the students they were putting through Nuke school.

My tour of duty at AFVN-Saigon ran from January 1970 to January 1971, and as an electronic technician my job was to maintain the electronic equipment at the station.  However, the reason I, a radar ET, was assigned to maintain communication equipment is a mystery, but I was glad I was, as duty at AFVN was relatively safe and secure compared to those who served in the field, on swift boats, or in other line-of-fire capacities or more remote areas.  For that, I have forever been grateful.  I heard stories about some of the guys who arrived in-country with me and within a week were on swift boats receiving enemy fire in the Mekong Delta or elsewhere.  I couldn't imagine how life-altering such experiences would have been.

As noted above, my tour was up in January 1971 and I decided to take 30 days leave before heading to my final duty station at the Naval Air Station in Quonset Point, Rhode Island.  I believe we had a non-stop flight back to Travis AFB, California and then from there I took a commercial flight to O'Hare in Chicago.  However, it was quite the rude awakening when I got off the plane in the 16-degree weather at O'Hare compared to the 90-degree temperatures I was used to.  Nevertheless, I was happy to be home and happy to get some of my mother's great home cooking.  I had dropped about 25 pounds in Vietnam due to the constant heat and humidity and not liking the food that well, and came back at my lowest weight since my freshman year in high school (right around 135 pounds).  But after eating all my "favorites" for 30 daiys I was back up to 165 pounds by the time I arrived at Quonset Point -- a gain of 30 pounds in 30 days!

After my discharge I returned to college at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana where I graduated and went on to a career in Public Accounting and Internal Auditing.  During my college years, it wasn't uncommon to quaff a few in Murphy's Pub, a local bar and restaurant.  One night while I was there I was heading to the john to deposit a couple of cans of beer when who walks out but one of the guys I was stationed with at AFVN-Saigon.  It wasn't someone I knew real well while there, but we recognized each other immediately and shared our stories over the remainder of the evening.  Unfortunately, I don't remember his name and I never saw him again, but it was great seeing him.

After college and working in Chicago for three years in public accounting, I returned to Champaign-Urbana to help someone I had tended bar for during my college years open a new pizza restaurant and bar.  That ultimately didn't work out, and I returned to public accounting in C-U for a year before getting a job in Internal Auditing at a local hospital.  I worked there for the next 26 years and retired in July 2009.  I still reside in C-U and spend my time on my hobbies of golf, photography, and pocket billiards (or Pool, as most call it).

Sad Addendum:  Barry passed away 31 May 2017.  Burial was in Roselawn Cemetery, Champaign, Illinois.

Daniel Rell Brereton

Dan Brereton was born 20 July 1927, the son of George and Hazel Brereton who lived at the time in Wisconsin.  He was named Daniel in honor of his paternal grandfather, and Rell to honor his mother's maiden name.  It is interesting to note the extremely unusual circumstances that brought his parents together.  His birth, quite honestly, came within a hair's breadth of never of never taking place.  His father George was a professional gambler who was plying his trade in 1912 when he purchased first class passage on the maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic.  Published sources confirm that of the 776 adult male passengers, only 128 survived, but somehow George managed to climb aboard Lifeboat #9, and he was one of the 128.  Then there was a second unusual happenstance that resulted in Dan's being brought into this world.  George married Dan's mother after only a short wait of two months following the suicide of his first wife.  At some point during the 1930's, the family moved to Oakland, California, and George later committed suicide in 1942 while Dan, an only child, was in high school.

Dan enlisted in the Army Air Corps in September 1946, but mustered out after serving in the Canal Zone.  He reportedly took civilian employment in San Francisco where he married and divorced before enlisting in the Marines.  During the late '50s to early '60s he was assigned to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at San Diego, and in July 1969 he was reassigned as a staff sergeant from his job as station manager of American Forces Radio in Iwakuni, Japan to the news staff at AFVN in Saigon.  His final assignment after Vietnam was back in Japan where he served during the Sapporo Winter Olympics of 1972.

Following his retirement as a Gunnery Sergeant (E7), he lived in suburban Dayton, Ohio until his death 28 December 1982 at the age of 55.  The limited resources of the MACOI Website have not been able to confirm reports that Dan died in an automobile accident.  In addition to his cause of death, a couple of other mysteries have emerged.  Some sources list Dan's middle name as "Dell," which is incorrect, and others say Grace Brereton was his step-mother.  In reality, Grace was George's first wife, and she died before Dan was born.  He never had a step-mother.

Rutherford Vincent "Jack" Brice

Jack in WWII, in Vietnam, and (finally) in peaceful retirement

(Editor's note:  Portions of the following are from an in-depth interview conducted in April 2003 by the Veterans' History Project for the Library of Congress, and are used with expressed permission of Colonel Brice.)

I served as an enlisted man, an NCO, and an officer.

I enlisted in the Navy in 1942 when I was 17 and was sent to the Pacific to join Carrier Area Service Unit 14, the part of the fleet that included the USS Intrepid.  During WWII I was in Guam, Saipan, Leyte and Guadalcanal.

After the War, I signed a chit to go to college; I went to Morgan State College Baltimore, Maryland, and graduated and was commissioned on the 6th of June 1950.  Ten days later I was sent to Fort Benning to the officers' basic course, and to the Infantry School, then jump school, and Ranger school, and on the 26th of June the Korean War broke out.

February I had my orders to go to Korea.  First I was assigned to the 11th Airborne Division.  I was special forces insurgents as a jumper, and we had an advance drop 66 percent casualty.  I was hit in my leg and sent to Manila.  It wasn't a serious kind of thing, more shrapnel than anything.  Just scraped up my bone a little bit.  At any rate, I came out of that and I couldn't jump.  So I was sent to the Second Infantry Division, 23rd Infantry Regiment, C Company.

That's when the Second was training to go into the attack for Heartbreak Ridge, one of the fiercest battles in the war.  Heartbreak Ridge, at a height of 1069 feet, was the predominant land mass in that area.  The Marines held it back and forth.  I mean they kicked our butts off, we'd kick their butts off.  It was really a Heartbreak.  Climbing up that thing from the reverse slope was unbelievable.  The North Koreans and the Chinese had it all tunneled in, and they had artillery in the base.  They'd been there for a long time.  Anyway, finally we, along with the 24th, took care of that hill.  There were a lot of people killed there, I mean lots of people were killed at Heartbreak.  Heartbreak Ridge, Old Baldy, and Pork Chop.  I was in all three.  I was a platoon leader at Heartbreak, and a company commander at Old Baldy and Pork Chop.  (Editor's note:  Captain Brice received the Silver Star for his heroic leadership at Old Baldy when he filled in for a wounded battalion commander and led a charge that secured the hill.  The battle lasted a full week.  "I did a lot of growing up in those seven days," he said.)

I was reassigned to the 24th Infantry Division, 34th Infantry Regiment, and I was sent to winter training.  I was assigned to Camp Fuji at Gotemba.  It was at the base of Mount Fuji, and we had ski school there and we dropped out of airplanes in the snow.  White uniforms, supposed to be the real going thing at that time.  It was special forces, where you're supposed to go and blow up bridges, all that stuff.  I stayed in Japan for pretty close to ten months in that assignment.  Then I was sent back to the 24th, 34th Infantry Regiment again as part of the operation team.  Didn't stay there long.  I was shipped to Panama.

I went to Panama as an operations officer.  And then I was assigned as an education officer for the Caribbean command.  And that's when I was RIFed.  I went from captain to SFC   After the Korean war they were reducing the service, and so they were kicking out reserve officers like crazy.  So, anyway, that's what happened.  I elected to stay in the service as an SFC.  I could never be lower than that because I was ROTC commissioned.

And that's when I got really involved in the whole broadcast business.  I was doing news analysis at the time.  From there I was shipped to Fort Huachuca, and being RIFed, I'm an SFC, but at Fort Huachuca, Arizona I came up on the promotion list, and was immediately promoted to First Sergeant.  Then within six days I had new orders promoting me to Major in the Air Signal Corps.

Then I went to my first assignment in Vietnam, which was in Two Corps, and I served with BG Joe Stillwell, Junior.  (Editor's note: BG Stillwell, nicknamed "Cider Joe" was the son of legendary WWII General "Vinegar Joe" Stillwell.)  I was in the operations division, and this was 1962, when they were building the AFRS radio station.  One of my jobs was to assist in the setup.  I was made a happy man, frankly.  That was a great tour of duty for me.  And then, after nine months I got shipped back to the United States.

Stateside I was assigned as airborne brigade commander for the 114th Air Assault, and that was interesting but that didn't last very long because I had been exposed to that radio thing.  I went to Fort Gordon to the television division of the Southeastern Signal Corps School, learned some more stuff for about six, seven months, and then shipped right back to Vietnam to do that "Good Morning Vietnam" kind of thing to build up that station.  I was now announcing at the station and doing Good Morning Vietnam. (Editor's Note:  For a brief time in 1963, SFC Brice assumed interim host duties for Dawnbuster from CPO Buck Arbuckle.  He served in this capacity until July 1963 when CPO John Ramsey arrived.

I went from there to Orleans, France as the broadcast officer.  That was about 60 miles from Paris, and when de Gaulle kicked us out of France I went to Germany and took the station in Munich.  I did regular broadcast stuff around the station for Armed Forces Network. Europe.  In Vietnam they called it Armed Forces Radio.  They didn't call it Armed Forces Network then.

And then for my last assignment I came to Atlanta.  I came here thinking I was going to an O-6 slot.  When I got here it was only an O-5 slot, so I knew I wasn't going to get promoted, and I was not going to be sent to the Command and General Staff school either at this point.  I talked to the brigadier who was my advisor in the Pentagon, and I said "There's no way I'm going to stay here."  At that time I only had 24 years and eight months.  It was stupid on my part, no doubt, but I was ticked off, so I said "Well hell, I'll retire," and I did.  I got a job as an Extension Area Manager of the Neighborhood Service Center in the Pittsburgh Community Area of Atlanta for Economic Opportunity Atlanta, and within four or five months I was promoted to director of that neighborhood service center.  I went on to do some other things as a civilian also.  I was the director for Atlanta's Head Start program for a while and then a Congressional Senatorial Investigator for child related programs throughout the Southeast.

I didn't go back to school when I left the Army; however during my military career I had taken some courses at the University of Wisconsin, and I had also taken correspondence courses, passed all the required tests and received an MBA from there.  I also got a master's in Psychology--Human Behavior from the University of Maryland while in the military, so the Army did me good.  Most recently, and since I have been involved and completely engaged in the field of aging for so many years, I attended the University of Southern California and received a graduate degree in Gerontology.

I had served 24 years, eight months in the military, and 19 of them were for all practical purposes overseas -- nineteen years out of almost 25.  My career was quite diverse as I served alternately as an NCO and an officer, sometimes in the same organization.  It even confused me at times.  I had quite a meaningful career experience.  (Editor's note: Confusing or not, Jack Brice retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.)

I've been in the management and administration business for many years, and recently completed a six-year tenure as a National AARP Board member where I also chaired the AARP Foundation's Board of Directors for 4 years, and was AARP Senatorial/ Congressional spokesperson at times on some community issues.  I was a member of the Board of Directors for SHARE, Inc. at the University of Pennsylvania, a Curriculum Selection Committee member at the University of Georgia's Social Work Department, and a member of Georgia Gerontology Society's Board of Directors.  I also served as Secretary for the National Council on Aging.

(On 18 April 2014, Good Friday, Jack passed away.  A native of Charlottesville, Virginia, he had lived in retirement with wife Barbara in the Atlanta suburb of Decatur for approximately a decade.  In addition to his wife, he was survived by six children, 12 grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren.  His military awards and decorations included the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and a presidential citation.  Per his wishes, his body was donated to the Emory University School of Medicine.)

Garry F. Brill

Garry at his first radio job at WAZL, Hazleton, PA; next, posing at AFVN's FM studio; then a pair of "modern" shots:  Garry in his personel record library and a nice headshot

When growing up and playing playground and Little League Baseball in Hazleton, Pa, one never gave a thought to Broadcasting as a life-long profession.  My Little League Manager, Joe Barletta, was also one of the brothers who owned Angela Park, now only a memory, and I was working for him on weekends giving change in the Penny Arcade.  One weekend in 1958 I was given the night off, and attended Saturday Night Swing-out, a record-hop, sponsored by WAZL Radio.  As a park employee, I was able to get up on the platform where the DJ, Bill Schmeer, was working, and he showed me the equipment.  I was really impressed.  A few weeks later I was working in the Arcade when Joe Barletta said the WAZL disc jockey needed some assistance with the equipment, and he remembered showing me how everything worked, so he asked me to help him for a little while until the other DJ arrived.  That "little while" turned into three hours and I missed my bus ride home.  The WAZL DJ offered me a ride home, and on the way we found out that my brother Bob Brill helped Bill with a flat tire earlier in the month.  When we got into Hazleton, we stopped at WAZL to un-load the equipment . . . and from that night in 1958, who would have thought that 50+ years later, Broadcasting would be the ONLY profession one would be involved in.

In 1968 I married my wife Virginia, who I met in Juneau, Alaska.  I was working at KJNO in Juneau, while she was teaching school on Douglas Island.  We eventually settled in Grand Rapids, Michigan (WERX Radio) and later transferred to Council Bluffs, Iowa (KRCB Radio) when I was drafted.  Following basic training at Ft. Lewis, I was assigned to the Presidio of San Francisco where I worked at the Public Affairs Office and also produced Public Service Radio programs that were distributed to hundreds of radio stations in the western United States.  They were 15-minute, 30-minute, and also 1-hour public affairs programs titled "Salute in Sound" and "Serenade in Green."  It was at the Presidio that I received my orders for Vietnam.

Upon arrival in Nha Trang, and as a Broadcast Specialist (MOS 71R20) I somehow ended up as a clerk and doing supply inventory.  I attended a nighttime class offered on-base - - "management" course; however, I was the only person to show up for class.  The instructor, a Major, was disappointed that only 1 person showed up but hoped for better results the following week.  The following week, again, I was the only person and during the hour the Major had me fill out a personal information sheet that included my background, which showed my years in broadcasting.  He asked me what duties I was assigned to at Nha Trang, and found out that I was a clerk.  I could remember him telling me what a shame it is that soldiers assigned here in Vietnam are not placed where they can do the most good.  He said that one of his duties was to see that officers are placed in positions that they would be most effective, but, he didn't think he could do anything for me.  The following week, I was awakened in the middle of the night and told to pack my duffel bag as I was going to Saigon and was assigned to AFVN.

When I arrived at the studios of AFVN, I was not expected.  I met with the Colonel who questioned my orders.  He told me, "I have friends here in Vietnam who I can't get assigned here, how did you??"  I had no explanation, except for the story about the Major I met in Nha Trang.  I was told there are no positions open here and we will have to place you at one of our stations up-country.  In the meantime, I was assigned to write PSA's, and just wait for further orders.  I was listening, and observing the operations of both the AM and FM stations, and at that time, most of the operations were duplicated until 9AM, when the AM and FM had separate broadcasting programs.  It was then I had an idea and asked my immediate supervisor if he would entertain the thought of a separate morning wake-up program on FM, a show that featured a lighter music format that would play artists like Sinatra, Mathis, The 4 Preps, Streisand, with a mix of the "softer" current songs, with a target audience of those over 30.  He liked the idea and presented it to the Colonel, who wanted to hear a sample program.  I put together a full hour edited spec tape and the brass bought it, and that's how the FM morning show was created.  Then came the question, what do we call it?  We produced TV promos asking to write in and name the show, and that's how we got the name SUNRISE IN SAIGON.  After the 6AM news, AM and FM split, and that was my job, while in Saigon.  We started a Hometown Salute, where we received letters from those "in-country" and saluted their hometowns.  We received so many requests that we saluted a different hometown each hour.  We did "local" weather reports with Air Force reporters via telephone from Tan Son Nhut Airport. It was all local, and all for Saigon!  At the top of the hour, we joined AFVN-AM for the news and the news department recorded hourly sports reports - - usually 60-seconds - - that we played on the half-hour.  There were never any restrictions on the music.   However, although I did keep a daily log of the music I played, nobody ever asked to review it.  For my year in Saigon, it was a great gig.  If there was no production work for me after the show at 9AM, I would go to the library and get detailed information about the hometowns we would salute.  I wrote the scripts and either Sergeant Larry Woods or SP5 Mike Sullivan would voice them.  I still have three reel-to-reel tapes in my library of the Hometown Salutes, as well as three Sunday Showcase shows and about six full hours of Sunrise in Saigon.  I also produced a Sunday Showcase program for FM and filled in on the AM side, quite often doing Solid Gold.

My last song played on Sunrise in Saigon was "The Curtain Falls" by Steve and Eydie.

My wife and I returned to both Nha Trang and Saigon as part of a cruise." It was wonderful to show her the places I served while in the Army.  I can honestly say that in all my years of Broadcasting, one of my most rewarding experiences was doing Sunrise in Saigon.

After the service, I worked in radio in Visalia, California, then back to Juneau to manage KJNO Radio and finally I returned to California to put on KIQO FM, Atascadero-San Luis Obispo, California.  Virginia and I purchased 100% of that station in 1985, and also bought KWEZ-FM in 1995.  KIQO-FM was Oldies and KWEZ FM was Country Oldies.  We sold both in 1999 and retired.

Virginia and I still live in Atascadero; our daughter Rene' lives in Glendale, California.  We were fortunate to travel the world.  I am past-President of the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce, and also served as President of Atascadero Rotary in 1989, where I am still an active member.  Today, I write and voice TV and Radio commercials as well as own a Music/Message on Hold Business.

Donald L. "Scotty" Brink

Scotty Brink: Promo Card from 1966; in Saigon, 1967; Back Home, 1969; at WNBC, 1979; and Semi-Retired in 2008

Popular American DJ Scotty Brink got his start on WTKO in Ithaca, New York in 1959, and the next year, at the age of 19, he moved to a five-year stint at WIBG in Philadelphia.  It was not until he arrived in 1965 at KHJ-FM in Los Angeles, however, that he affected the nickname "Scotty."  He had heretofore been known on the air as "Don Brink," but there was already a deejay at KHJ named Don, and management thought two Dons would confuse the audience.  Scotty was still working at KHJ when his draft notice arrived.

As a result, Scotty spent 1967-68 in Saigon at AFVN.  Although in civlian life he had entered the major markets and was paid at a commensurate level, at AFVN he was paid on the same scale as every other junior enlisted man.  He did not want to be there, but to his credit he made the best of it.  Right away, Scotty noticed AFVN radio did not have a Top-40's program, so he convinced the station OIC and NCOIC of the wisdom of such a show.  Quickly instituted, the "Go" Show was an immediate hit with its GI audience.  Scotty was also backup for the Dawnbuster Show, and for a time he handled the AM radio night shift.

As one of the more experienced broadcast personalities at AFVN, Scotty was occasionally called upon to conduct TV interviews for visiting USO performers.  One such interview caught station personnel by surprise.  The rumor mill had it that Scotty's last civilian radio job, the one at KHJ in Los Angeles, had made him a Hollywood celeb, but no one was prepared for what happened when Lana Turner dropped by the station for an interview.  Scotty requested he be assigned to Miss Turner because "he knew her."  "Yeah, right" was the response, but he got the job.  When Lana arrived at the station, she screamed "Scotty, what are you doing here?!?," rushed past all the gawking station personnel, and gave Scotty a big hug.  His reputation soared.

When he returned to civilian life in 1968, it was back to big time radio.  He first returned to KHJ for two years, and then took a job in Chicago before moving on to KJR Seattle to handle the drive-time show.  In 1971 KELP in El Paso hired him as a consultant, his first off-air job, but the following year he was hired by Boston's WRKO, first as a deejay and later as Program Director.  This was followed by two years at Houston's KAUM-FM, and then in 1976 by two years as vice president of KUPD in Phoenix.  Beginning in 1978 he spent three years at WNBC in New York, followed by WCAU in Philadelphia and KHOW in Denver.  A seven-year stay in Nashville began in 1982 when he worked successively at WLAC-FM, WSIX, and WGFX-FM while teaching a production workshop.  In 1989 he left for KSDO in San Diego, and in 1992 he went to KOAI-FM in Dallas.  This was followed in 1994 with a job at KYCW in Seattle.  Scotty had loved Seattle when he worked there in 1970, and was happy to get back to the Northwest, but when a morning job beckoned at KXGL-FM in San Diego, he moved again, although not for long.  An opening back in Seattle caught his fancy.  This time he took a position as Vice President for Programming and Operations with New Northwest Broadcasters, a radio group with stations in Oregon, Washington, Montana and Alaska.  Then, after a final on-air stint at WRLL Chicago, Scotty moved to Oklahoma and into semi-retirement.

Scotty's wife, Elaine, was a corporate executive with Express Personnel Services.  She had joined the company in 1996 as a regional director after prior employment with other personnel placement services.  In Oklahoma her career continued with Express (now called Express Employment Professionals) as a Senior Vice President.  Scotty works out of a combination home office/studio on consulting jobs, commercials, imaging, and syndication projects.

William F. "Bill" Brockman II

Bill earned a B.S. in Secondary Education from Texas Christian University, and an MBA from Vanderbilt University.

As an ROTC Distinguished Military Graduate, Bill was commissioned an Army officer and served with the Army Recruiting Command, 101st Airborne Division, the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and, as an Army captain, Admin Officer at MACOI in 1971-72.

Following his military career, Bill served as a hospital chief executive officer in Tennessee, Virginia and Florida.  He then entered the teaching profession as adjunct instructor in Economics and Management at Ocala's Central Florida Community College.  In 1996 he changed course slightly, becoming a teacher in the Manatee County, Florida public school system.

By 2003, however, a new concept in secondary education had begun in neighboring Sarasota County with the opening of Sarasota Military Academy, the nation's first charter military public school.  Bill joined the faculty first as a teacher of Economics and American Government, and later as Chairman of the Social Studies Department.  Five years later he was promoted to Dean of Students.

Bill started the first middle school Civil Air Patrol program in Florida, and went on to serve on the CAP Southeast Region staff, and as Director of its Civic Leadership Academy.

His wife, Virginia, is employed as Sarasota County Health Departments's Coordinator for Florida KidCare, which provides affordable health insurance for children from birth through age 18.  The Brockmans make their home in the Lakewood Ranch section of Bradenton.

Ralph "Toney" Brooks

Toney Brooks as AFVN news anchor and, later, as scholar and novelist

Toney Brooks was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and attended (where else?) the University of Alabama.  Prior to his Army service he was on the air at WTBC radio in his home town from 1962 to 1966.

When he arrived in Saigon shortly after the 1968 Tet Offensive as an Army SP5, he served as War News Editor and AFVN's television news anchor.  His daily beat included covering the MACOI afternoon news briefings (the "Five O'Clock Follies").

When Toney returned to civilian life in 1970 he served a brief on-air career before being promoted to management, and later promoting himself to ownership.  Following a stint as GM of KLAW radio in Lawton, Oklahoma, he relocated to Denver as president of Sandusky Broadcasting, a division of Sandusky Newspapers of Ohio.  The Sandusky group, a major player in the midwest, was made up of mostly FM stations.  His career with the company was to last 30 years.

In retirement, Toney paid an extended visit to the UK, where he settled in the town of Penzance, in the Duchy of Cornwall, and began a detailed study of the history, theology, and philosophy of the Celtic culture.  The center of his attention was Mariology, the discipline associated with Mary, the mother of Jesus.  Upon returning to America, he became recognized as an authority on Celtic mythology.  Settling in Salina, Kansas and Barrie, Ontario, he began a second career as a writer.

He has published one novel, and is, as of 2010, working on a second.  The Mystic Rose, Celtic Fire incorporates a mixture of historical and fictional characters in both ancient and modern settings.  Its genre is fantasy fiction, and it plausibly concerns the return of King Arthur, as forecast by Cornish legend.  The novel can be purchased through  His second novel, currently under construction, Seshat and the Golden Pyramid, continues the theme, and connects the new world with the ancient, beginning in New Orleans and ending in Hermopolis, Egypt.

Toney is also a blogger, often contributing thoughtful articles on world events, culture, and history to and other websites.  Oh, yes -- one final thought.  He says only his mother has ever called him Ralph.

Richard Brooks

Rich Brooks with a friend at AFVN, then an on-air shot, and later receiving a pre-jump good luck kiss from another friend

Rich Brooks' MACOI assignment was at AFVN's Detachment 3.  He was at Dragon Mountain from September 1968 to August 1969.  After an eventful tour of duty, even more excitement was to come later for Rich.

Back in the USA, he settled into a long-time job as a reporter (or "ink-stained wretch", as he puts it) for the Press-Enterprise in Riverside, California.  Riverside is a pleasant city of about 300,000, some 60 miles east of Los Angeles, on the edge of the Mojave Desert.  Rich says he enjoys his work, and for sure some of his assignments have an excitement factor, but Rich the mild-mannered reporter often dons his cape and adjusts his personality for a real heart-thumping bit of fun, and that's where true, honest excitement enters the picture.

Rich Brooks is a skydiver.  He has done it for years, beginning in 1968.  He's a member of several skydiver organizations, and has traveled extensively to participate in mass jumps.  As a member of POPS (Parachutists Over Phorty Society) he was part of a world record jump in which 110 divers held their formation for ten seconds.  His largest mass jump to date was with 356 other 'chutists.  As this article is written in 2011, Rich is not far from his 10,000th jump, and if you think that's a lot, it is.  But the record for lifetime jumps by a single individual is over 36,000, and there is one fellow who obviously has too much time on his hands who holds a record 640 jumps in ONE day.  By the way, it takes 65 jumps for a paratrooper to earn the Army's Master Parachute Badge.

When Rich is not pecking on his keyboard or packing his parachute, you might find him in his new pastime, ocean kayaking along the West Coast.  This is one busy fella.

Robert Lynn "Bob" Brossia

Bob the schoolboy is followed by his 1963 job at WTOD in Toledo. An AFVN shot shows Bob in his infamous fright wig, and then a bit of press coverage. Lastly, a photo of Bob with wife Linda.

Bob Brossia, a Michigan native, was born in 1944.  Following high school graduation in 1961, Bob went into the deejay business, and by 1963 was working in the Toledo, Ohio market.  Following a stint at WTOD, he moved in 1966 to WYYC and then to WCWA, where he was working when he entered military service.

In May 1970, as an Army SP5 he was assigned to AFVN in Saigon.  Although he had been a popular top-40 deejay in civilian life, the Army at the time needed someone to play country/western music, and as the new guy, Bob got the job.  Tackling his assignment with a passion, he allowed his sense of humor to take full control of the master board.  Somehow he came up with barnyard sound effects, and it was not unusual to hear the sound of chickens, pigs, and cows during his intros and even in the middle of some of the songs.  He occasionally interrupted his music with shouts of "yahoo" or "yee-haw," mimicking dogie-taming cowboys in western movies.  On the air and off, he would call everyone he met "Buckaroo."  At times he would don a bristly wig and make faces through the control window and at anyone who happened to be visiting the station.  Although he was unseen by his listening audience, the wig seemed to inspire additional zaniness, to the point that country music fans would call the station in praise or protest.  Bob was, however, a very professional deejay.  The country/western slot was the only job available at the time he arrived, and he confided to a colleague that after a couple of months, he actually became a fan of the genre.  His civilian media experience allowed him to do occasional fill-in work on the TV side as floor director for the station's newscasts.

After discharge in 1971, Bob returned to Ohio, where he made his home in suburban Toledo and began employment with Martin Marietta.  In 1979 he adopted honeybees, and worked up to around 20 hives.  For recreation he volunteered as helper-coach for the girls' track team at a local high school, and the girls honored him with the nickname "Bee-Man."  Among his other hobbies were SCUBA diving and running three-to-five miles every day.

Having married the former Linda Ranes 19 April 1969, Bob became father to two sons and two daughters, and among his grandchildren he counts a set of twin girls.

Barry Brower

Three photos of Barry on the job at AFVN are followed by a pair of nice snapshots of Barry and Jen.

I was born in London, Ontario, Canada in 1945.  My mother was Canadian, a nurse for the Allegan County, Michigan, Health Department until she retired in 1973.  My father, who was raised on a Michigan farm, worked for the Standard Oil Company until his retirement about the same time.  Both are deceased.

I grew up in Wayland, Michigan (pop. 1500) and graduated from Michigan State University in 1967 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.  After university, I worked briefly for TV/Radio stations in Lansing, Michigan; Berkeley, California; and Stockton, California.

The Vietnam War was happening and I was drafted.  In 1969 I went to Vietnam, working as a journalist and broadcaster for AFVN.  I spent some time as a journalist for the 1st Logistical Command at Army Headquarters in Long Binh, as well as Cam Ranh Bay.  Then I did TV Sports for AFVN, Hon Tre Island, (off Nha Trang), before I was discharged in late 1970.

I returned to California, briefly living in the San Francisco Bay area before moving to Arcata.  In San Francisco I became enamored of bluegrass music, and soon decided to learn to play.  In order to purchase a guitar I went down to Mill Valley and stood by the roadside hawking a large number of rock & roll records I had for $1 apiece.  With the proceeds I bought a Guild D-50 and was on my way.  Some 37 years later I have played in 5 working bluegrass bands, as well as numerous other related musical groupings.

I developed a major interest in environmentalism and entered the Environmental Sciences graduate program at Humboldt State University with an emphasis in Communications.  I worked seasonally for the National Park Service and Forest Service as a Ranger, which continued into the 1980s.  During this period I worked for Grand Teton, Redwood, and North Cascades National Parks, and with the Forest Service as a Wilderness Ranger in the Trinity Alps and Olympic National Forest.  In Arcata I hosted one of the first dedicated bluegrass radio programs west of the Mississippi River, on KXGO-FM.  This began in 1972 and ran until 1975.

In 1979 I was married and shortly thereafter moved with my (then) wife to Bella Coola, British Columbia where I began working with the provincial Forest Service.  My job was to manage the program for small business operators, among which were "handloggers," an interesting group of folks who logged selectively adjacent to B.C. Coastal inlets.  They used a tugboat, chain saw, and choker line and typically lived in a float camp where they also boomed the logs.

I had the great fortune and opportunity to make frequent trips throughout the central coastal areas in a vintage 1934 forestry boat, week-long adventures that were informative and inspiring.

Bella Coola is a remote valley, with less than 2000 residents, and a compatible music situation was hard to come by, but I managed to put together a little acoustic country/bluegrass/folk trio, the "Hills Brothers," and we performed occasionally at local events and gatherings.

In 1984 my wife and I separated and I decided to return to the United States.  I settled in Langley, Washington, moving to a home in Everett in 1989 where I still reside.

Because the environmental job market had tanked, I went back to school and received my Master of Library Science from the University of Washington in 1987 and began work at Everett Community College.  Subsequently I worked as a Librarian for Western Washington University for nearly 11 years, and then for Whatcom Community College for two years.  As of this writing I am retired but working part-time at Everett Community College.

In 1981 my father, then 68, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease.  His decline was quick and catastrophic.  A handsome, young-for-his-years, outdoorsy sort was reduced in a few years to a drawn, vacant, bed ridden individual.  He remained that way until 1994, when he died.  I cannot say enough about the devastation of this illness, as severe a case as I've seen.  My mother, who was ten years older spent most of her remaining years attending to him in a nursing home, and then began having stroke-related dementia of her own.  She died in 1998 in an assisted living facility near me in Everett.

I formed the "Friends of Sally Johnson" bluegrass band in 1985, playing guitar and mandolin.  We played numerous festivals, clubs, and events in Washington for the next five years.  We performed on ABC's "Home Show" in 1988.  I put together the "Grand Ole Ospreys" in 1990, and this lasted for a couple of years.  In 1993 I formed "The Fossils."  In 2000 we released a CD, "The Fossil Record" (Voyager VRCD-0348) which got good reviews.  It included three original pieces I wrote.

I met my wife, Jen Dunton in 1997.  Jen is from a large musical family and she performs in a group, The Dunton Sisters, with her sister and mom as well as a separate classical music trio.  She and I also have a group known as "Pearly Blue." We perform bluegrass, old time country, and folk music.

Beginning in the 1980s I began writing free-lance pieces for various publications, including Bluegrass Unlimited, Raincoast Chronicles, Canadian West, Seattle Weekly, Everett Herald, and Habits of Waste Quarterly.  These articles were a mixture of interviews, profiles, and travel pieces.

From 1985 to 2001 I was one of the hosts of Bluegrass Ramble at KBCS radio in Bellevue, Washington.

I also have pursued an avid interest in photography.  I won the Everett Herald grand prize for a photograph I took of the Blue Angels at Seafair in the 1990s.

What a great life I have had!

Please visit my website: for photos, articles, and music links.  Nothing to purchase; just enjoy!

Ralph William Brown

Ralph is pictured with two Monkey Mountain limousines, and then relaxing after a hard day's work

Was drafted in 1970, was a Spec.4 in the Army in 1971, was originally assigned to a psychological unit in Pleiku with a MOS of 84D20 audio specialist.  Requested transfer to AFVN citing my civilian experience in radio/tv which was granted around August 1971.  Spent a week in Saigon at the main AFVN site before I was assigned to the AFVN detachment in Danang on Monkey Mountain as a broadcast engineer, where I spent most of my time at the AM transmitter site on Red Beach at Camp Books.  Went on TDY to Chu Lai to help dismantle the equipment there.  I was granted an early school release and left AFVN in January 1972.

Continued my career in TV at the NBC station in Phoenix, AZ until I retired in 2004.

William Forrest "Bill" Brown, Jr.

At left, Bill at AFVN; then a recent headshot of Bill; next, in the Astros' broadcast booth; and at right, with broadcast partner Jim DeShaies.  At retirement, Bill was honored with a bobblehead.

Bill Brown, longtime Voice of the Houston Astros, was an AFVN sports broadcaster in 1971.  As an Army SP4 he spent a year in Saigon and says he "enjoyed every minute of the experience." Among his fondest memories is his meeting with two baseball stars who toured Vietnam after the 1971 baseball season.  He had the opportunity to interview Bobby Bonds, the great Giants right fielder and father of Barry, and Dock Ellis, the Pirates pitcher credited with a no-hitter in 1970.  Bill returned to CONUS 22 January 1972, having been awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal.

The son of a Sedalia, Missouri lawyer who had served in the WWII Pacific Theater from 1943 to War's end, Bill was a graduate of the University of Missouri and had begun a broadcasting career at WOAI-TV in San Antonio.  Then after the Army he joined the sports staff at WLWT-TV in Cincinnati.  He spent a year with Home Sports Entertainment, one of the nation's first regional sports networks, in Pittsburgh, and he did television play-by-play for the Stingers, Cincinnati's ice hockey team in 1975-76.  He then spent six years as television broadcaster for the Cincinnati Reds before he was named director of the Sports Time Cable Network in 1982.

Moving to Los Angeles and reasoning that satisfactory baseball jobs were "so difficult to get," Bill altered his career path a bit.  He joined the Financial News Network, but not as a market analyst.  His job was senior producer and anchor of FNN's SCORE programming.  This sports news service was intended to attract new viewers to a network that was financially troubled.  He stayed with the venture for four years - - until he was contacted by the Houston Astros with an offer he could not refuse.

In 1987 he joined the Astros as play-by-play commentator.  At the end of the 2011 season, his 25th year with the ball club, Bill had been on the air for half of Houston's 50 seasons as a Major League franchise.  Jim Deshaies, former lefthanded Astros pitcher, joined Bill as color commentator in 1997, and the broadcast team was among the most popular in baseball.

Bill is modest about his success.  The TV baseball broadcaster, he says, "is more of a moderator. He needs to work with the analyst and the stat crew and the (production) truck. There are more constraints (than with radio broadcasters), and it's necessary to be a team player."  Games from Minute Maid Park are broadcast across Texas and surrounding states by Fox Sports Houston.

Bill was inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004.

"I know there will be a date and time when I have to end my career," he once said, but quickly added "I still view it as a great, enjoyable job."  That date and time came at the end of the 28 September 2016 final home game of the season.  Bill ended his 30-year Astros career eight days after his 69th birthday.

Bill and wife Dianne reside in Houston.  They have a daughter, Allison, and three grandchildren, Luke, Emma Kate, and Caitlynn.

Kenneth Albert "Ken" Bucher

Born 5 July 1943 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Ken was educated at Kelly High School 20 miles up the road in Benton, Missouri and enlisted in the Navy immediately after his 1961 graduation.  His Navy career would last until 1981, and he would retire as a Master Chief Petty Officer (E-9).  The Navy kept him busy as he served tours on four ships as well as several stateside bases, plus tours in Iceland and Guam and three tours in Vietnam.  Among his Vietnam tours was a 1970-71 assignment as SK1 (Storekeeper First Class) at AFVN Saigon.  It was during this tour that Ken met Miss Nguyen Thi Tien of the city of Sa Dec, located in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap.  Although it took an extension to gain her hand, Ken and Tien were married in 1972.

Following his retirement from active duty, Ken entered into a 16-year career as a civilian with the Department of the Navy.  Here he served a number of postings to military installations in the US and overseas, finally retiring from Civil Service as a GS-13 at the Public Works Center, Pearl Harbor.

Ken and Tien then moved to a Fort Worth, Texas suburb where they purchased and operated a mail/shipping franchise for a time before finally deciding on FULL retirement.

Ken died at his residence 12 March 2021 at the age of 77, and was buried at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, Section 106, Site 952 with full military honors.  The North Texas Patriot Guard Riders provided an Honor Guard and escorted the procession.

Predeceased by two daughters, Ken was survived by Tien, his wife of 48 years, daughters Kelly and Brandi, and grandchildren Bobbie, Jessica, and Michael.

William Eugene "Bill" Buck

Photos 1, 2, and 3 show Bill progressively as a new recruit, a corporal, and a sergeant.  Photo 4 is of Bill and Gin, and  the final photo is a Vietnam snapshot.

Marine Staff Sergeant Bill Buck arrived at AFVN's Detachment 3 at Pleiku in March 1969, and was assigned to TV production.  A ribald but amusing story begs to be included here:  Bill was on the air doing a newscast when a VC rocket crashed through the studio from one side to the other.  He later claimed it didn't faze him but he did have to change his pants.

Bill, an Ohio native, was born in 1938 and joined the Marines immediately out of high school in 1956.  Following basic he was assigned to the Marine detachment aboard the USS Yorktown, followed by assignment to rifle companies in infantry brigades until 1965 when he was redesignated a broadcast journalist, MOS 4313.  It was after a three-year posting at the Boston, Masschusetts recruiting station that Bill reported to AFVN.  He returned to CONUS 24 February 1970, having earned a Joint Service Commendation Medal.

With a promotion to MOS 4391, Public Affairs Chief, Bill served with Fleet Marine Force Pacific public information for three years before reporting to American Forces Network HQ in Washington, DC.  This was a two-year assignment, and was followed in 1976 by a move to 12th Marine Corps District HQ at Treasure Island, California, where he remained for two years before reporting in 1977 as a Master Sergeant to Marine Corps Air Bases West, headquartered at Kaneohe Marine Air Station, Hawaii.  In 1980, he elected to retire with 24 years of service.

Bill and wife Gin (Virginia) resided in retirement in a beautiful gated community in North Fort Myers, Florida.  Their home was on a lake opposite the 2nd hole of Sabal Springs Golf and Racket Club.  It was here that Master Sergeant Buck died 24 April 2012 at the age of 72.  His widow, Gin, followed him only six months later on 22 October 2012.

Charles Michael "Mike" Buffington

Mike Buffington was a native of South Carolina, born 30 December 1942.  He entered Army service out of high school.

His first Vietnam assignment was in 1969-70, as AFVN's morning deejay at Quang Tri.  He returned for a second tour in 1972, after which he served as sergeant first class with American Forces Radio at Fort Greeley, Alaska.

His final assignment was to 13th PSYOPS at the JFK Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, where he was NCOIC of WCMA, the post's radio station.

In retirement, Mike resided in Parkville, Maryland until his death 5 December 1997, 25 days before his 55th birthday. SFC Buffington was interred in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 8, Plot 7557.

Robert David Burford


David Burford is an Indiana native, born 28 June 1946 to Mr. and Mrs. Robert K. Burford.  As an Army recruit, he was assigned as a staff writer for the post newspaper in his first duty station at Fort Jackson.  When he arrived in Saigon in August 1968 he received a somewhat similar assignment as copy writer for AFVN TV news.  He soon branched out into film editing as well.  As a measure of his value to the network, David was promoted to SP5.

On the job he became friendly with three Navy colleagues, Bob Sricklin, Bill Wilson, and Bud Hudgins.  In June 1969 the three were detailed to an assignment up north near the DMZ, and Hudgins arranged for David to accompany them.  David viewed it as a chance to get away for a few days -- almost a mini-R&R.  At the last minute, however, David had to back out due to a scheduling conflict.  He learned a few days later that the mission had taken a tragic turn when the vehicle carrying the men north had struck a mine.  All personnel aboard the truck were killed instantly.  David had been spared.

The following month, David was spared a second time.  The events began quite pleasantly, with David boarding a C-130 under orders to hand-deliver the film of the Apollo 11 moonwalk to AFVN's northern detachments.  It was a whirlwind trip, with David the only passenger aboard the plane.  When all the films were delivered, he spent the night on Dragon Mountain near Pleiku.  It was that night that the VC attacked the enclave and David became involved in his first and only firefight.  Thoughts of returning home in a body bag to the girl he had married a year earlier flooded his mind.  It had been another close call, but fortunately it was the last.  The next month, 17 August 1969, David returned to the USA, having been awarded a Joint Service Commendation Medal.

He made his civilian career as Transportation Officer at the St. Louis, Missouri County Jail.  For 28 years his job was to transport inmates from the jail to court appearances, and then return them safely and securely to jail.  In 2004 he finally and formally retired for good.

In his spare time, David works out regularly and he does volunteer work.  Aside from helping at food pantries and donating healthy blood for Sickle Cell patients, he tutors and entertains children at the Peace Center in downtown St. Louis.  The Center, a ministry of the Lutheran Church, provides support, services, and classes for immigrant families.

On 29 June 2018 David and wife Sandy, the former Sandra Lee Schindler, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  They are the parents of three adult children and four grandchildren, and make their home in Kirkwood, Missouri.

Donald Edward Burggrabe

Although he never carried the official title, USAF Captain Don Burggrabe was the first OIC of AFRS in Saigon.  He arrived in country in March 1962, as part of an early Kennedy administration shipment of 220 assorted advisors to the RVN government.  He was a public affairs officer, but since there was no public affairs office he found himself assigned to the Directorate of Education and Training.  Here he assigned himself the job of acquiring pamphlets and papers which could be airdropped by the VNAF to the civilian population in an early PSYWAR effort.  This somewhat casual project continued for a couple of months until June when SecDef McNamara met for a strategy session with MACV Commanding General Paul D. Harkins in Hawaii.  McNamara convinced Harkins that the troops on the ground needed news and entertainment.  Delivery of Pacific Stars and Stripes began immediately, and the two agreed that AFRS would begin in two weeks.  This seemingly impossible task was assigned to Don Burggabe.  He was one of the few available officers with TV/radio experience.

Burggrabe confiscated a linen closet in the Brink BOQ and convinced USIA to donate broadcast equipment he found stored in a warehouse.  Then he rounded up LP record albums from military and embassy personnel, and he almost began broadcasting before the two-week deadline.  The first broadcast actually took place 17 days after he was assigned the task.

Don Burggrabe was a St. Louis native, born 24 June 1932 and a graduate of Beaumont High School, on the city's north side.  He enrolled at Southeast Missouri State College at Cape Girardeau, Missouri in 1951 as a speech major, but left to join the Air Force three years later.  While at Southeast Missouri he was active in drama and had a part-time job as deejay and news writer at KFVS radio.  (He later was a 1960 graduate of the University of Omaha -- now the University of Nebraska.).

He enlisted in the Air Force with the intention of flying, and although he was forced to compensate for color-blindness by memorizing the eye test, he was commissioned as a navigator in August 1955.  His first duty station, McClellan Air Force Base, Sacramento lasted for six years, during which time he met and married local girl Miss Alice Green.  When a need for a public information officer arose, Don volunteered and was soon producing an Air Force promotional radio show on local station KGMS.  He later began a similar show on local televison which ran for 18 months on KCRA, and then on KXTV.

His next assignment was Squadron Officers School at the Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.  He ended the course as Distinguished Graduate, and that was followed by the above described visit to RVN in 1962-63.  He then went to the public information office at Clark Air Base, Philippines, and then in 1965, with a promotion to Major, to the Air Force Office of Information at the Pentagon.  This was followed by assignments to the Pentagon Personnel Office and 1968 to HQ US Air Force-Europe at Ramstein Air Base.  In 1973 he returned to CONUS to the Recruiting Service at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas as a Lieutenant Colonel, and in 1975 he was named Director of Advertising at Air Force Recruiting Headquarters.

With a promotion to Colonel in 1976, Burggrabe served a short tour as Director of Public Affairs for the Air Training Commmand and then a year later became West Coast Director of Public Affairs in Los Angeles.  Known as the West Coast Hollywood Office, the purpose of this Public Information Office is to promote USAF-friendly films for the silver screen and television.  The Colonel spent three years on this tour and then retired in 1980 with 26 years of service.

The Colonel then took a public affairs position with G.D. Searle & Co. in Skokie, Illinois, initially as a regional public affairs director, but a year later becoming vice president of public affairs for Searle Labs, US.  He retired in 1991 and moved with wife Alice to Roseville, California, a moderately-sized city located along I-80 northeast of Sacramento.

On 19 October 2002 the National Alumni Council of Southeast Missouri State University honored Colonel Burggrabe with a Distinguished Service Award.  The award is presented annually to outstanding individuals who attended the university but did not graduate.  The Colonel honored the school by establishing the Colonel Donald Burggrabe Endowed Performing Arts Scholarship.  The talent-based scholarship is awarded annually to a student majoring in the Department of Theatre and Dance.

The Colonel died peacefully in his sleep 26 January 2008.  He was survived by wife Alice, a daughter and two sons.

Charles Francis Burke

Chuck Burke, born 30 January 1942, was the eldest of the five children of Mr. and Mrs. Walter J. Burke of Minneapolis.  Mr. Burke was at the time a local labor organizer, but by the 1960s he had risen to the post of Secretary-Treasurer of the powerful United Steelworkers of America, where he served with Union president I.W. Abel.

On 29 December 1962 Chuck married Miss Virginia Derus, a talented Minneapolis stage actress.  The marriage, however, did not survive the 1960s.  Chuck enlisted in the Army in the early stages of Vietnam, and served two combat tours.  Although we were unable to gather details, we know Chuck was wounded and that he was twice awarded the Bronze Star Medal.  He was later commissioned, and by the time of his third Vietnam tour in 1970-71 he was an Army Captain.  This time he was assigned to the Command Information Division of MACOI as OIC of the official weekly troop newspaper, the MACV Observer.  He would return to CONUS 9 March 1971, having been awarded his third Bronze Star.

While in Vietnam Chuck met and married Miss Phan Thi Be, a Vietnamese national, and she immigrated to the USA as he was assigned duty at Fort Ord, California.  When Vietnam fell in 1975, Chuck requested and received State Department help in the evacuation of Be's seven-year-old daughter Phan Thi Huong, who had remained behind with an aunt in suburban Saigon.

Chuck retired from the Army as a Major, and resided in Sun City, Arizona.  It was there that he died 25 April 2000 at the age of 58.  According to a family member, death was due to the effects of Agent Orange.  Burial was in Holy Cross Cemetery, Minneapolis in Block 14 of Lot 336, Plot Number 5.

Francis Kaye "Frank" Burke

Born 13 January 1932, Frank is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank P. Burke of Elgin, Illinois.  While still in high school he joined a unit of the Marine Reserve in Evanston, Illinois in May 1950, assigned to a rifle company.  The Korean War erupted a month later, but Frank's transfer to active duty did not occur until the following January.  After Basic at Parris Island he left for Camp Pendleton, awaiting assignment to Korea, but at the last minute he was reassigned to the Marine Barracks at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan.  Back in the USA in 1952, and with a release from active duty, he attended Arizona State College at Tempe (now ASU) for three years.  He then rejoined the Corps as a Lance Corporal.

Trained in the Information field, he worked in both MOS 4312 (Journalist) and 4313 (Radio/TV Information).  He was later trained in MOS 4341 (Marine Combat Correspondent).  His next assignments were to Marine Air Station, El Toro; Marine Recruit Depot, San Diego; 9th Marine Corps District, Kansas City; and Armed Forces Press, Radio and Television Service at Brooklyn Navy Yard.  He then was sent overseas in 1966 for a 13-month tour with the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing at Da Nang, RVN, and after a voluntary extension he moved south to serve a second consecutive RVN tour with MACOI.  In Saigon 1967-68, he became program director for the FM station, and also took on-air shifts.  He was in his room at the Hung Dao BEQ in downtown Saigon when nighttime gunfire erupted from the alley below his window, announcing the Tet attacks of 1968.  Climbing to the relative safety of the roof, he watched the firefights taking place in the streets below.  With daylight, his instincts as a combat correspondent kicked in, and he shot five rolls of film using a telephoto zoom lens on his Pentax.  It was the next day before he was able to try to make his way to the studio to resume his job.  Chaos in the streets meant he had no transportation, and AFVN was located across town.  Traveling by foot, he reported shots were fired at him only once, and they missed.  With the gates secured at the station, as per SOP, he had to climb the fence to get in, and he immediately joined the crew on 24-hour guard duty.  The station was secure.  The next day, he signed the FM station back on the air, and fittingly played as his first musical selection Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture.

The following month, March 1968, he rotated back home to a three-year assignment at Quantico Marine Base, Virginia. In 1971 he attended Recruiters School at Parris Island and was on recruiting duty in Phoenix until his retirement in 1974.  His Marine Corps career had lasted 24 years and one month.

Making his first post-military home in Phoenix, he worked in Communications for the Arizona Department of Public Safety.  Then in 1981 he relocated to Stephenville, Texas, about an hour's drive southwest of Fort Worth.  Here, he enrolled at the local college, Tarleton State University, and with credit from his time at Arizona State, he was able to earn a BA with a double major in Speech Communication and English in 1985.

For ten years Frank and wife Melissa lived in Saudi Arabia, where Frank taught English as a Foreign Language to members of the Royal Saudi Air Force.  During this time, the Burkes took a vacation and visited Frank's old Army friend from Vietnam days in Australia, where they were treated to a 2200-mile road trip through the wilds of New South Wales.  Then back in Stephenville, Frank wrote features for a time for a newspaper in neighboring Dublin, Texas, and he worked as communication coordinator at a local non-profit organization called "The Helping Place."  In his spare time, Frank was elected to multiple terms as National Historian for the Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association, a post from which he retired in 2010, and was immediately named Historian Emeritus.  He also served as a member of the Stephenville Airport Advisory Board and the Keep Stephenville Beautiful organization.

Frank passed away 12 December 2020 at the age of 88.  Burial was in Erath Garden of Memory Cemetery in Stephenville.  He was survived by his wife of 38 years, Melissa Baskett Burke, son George, grandchildren Matthew, Jessica, and Sean, and great-grandchildren Arabella and Grant.

Robert Lawrence Burke

Following a West Point Class of '52 photograph is a shot of COL Burke as MACOI Chief and a family gathering for the Burkes' 50th Wedding Anniversary

In the summer of 1961 I finished my assignment as aide de camp to the Chief of Staff, Eighth Army in Korea and became a student at the Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas with my wife, Dorothy and children Randi Ann, 8, Karen, 5, and Bob, Jr., 3.  The following year I was sent to graduate school at the University of Alabama to study journalism.  While there I wrote news stories for the Birmingham Post-Herald, a daily newspaper.  I also taught a semester of feature writing, and worked in the press center in Tuscaloosa, aiding reporters covering the historic integration of the university by Vivian Malone and James Hood, two very brave people.

Elizabeth, our youngest, was born in Tuscaloosa.  She is now chairman of the science department at a high school in Fairfax County, Virginia and has three children of her own.  (All four of our children later graduated from 'Bama.)  I received a Master of Arts degree in Journalism there, and got promoted to major, then was sent back to Fort Leavenworth as a staff and faculty member, where I spent two years as features editor of the Military Review magazine, the College's professional journal.  I was also a thesis monitor for the college graduate degree program.

In 1966, after two years at Leavenworth, I was sent to the Defense Language Institute in Washington, DC to learn Italian, followed by an assignment as a foreign student at the Senola di Guerra (the Italian War College) in Civitavecchia, which was 35 kilometers north of Rome on the Tyrrhenian Sea.  It was a great learning experience, and I met many outstanding Italian officers, as well as officers from Germany, France, Spain and other nations.

In 1967 I volunteered for Vietnam and in July was assigned as Chief of Plans and Operations in the G-4 section of First Field Force.  The family moved from Italy to Groton, Massachusetts, near Fort Devens, where my sister Jean Landon and her family were stationed.  For the next seven months our G-4 staff helped support logistical operations of the 4th Infantry Division, 1st Cavalry Division, 173rd Airborne Brigade, elements of the 25th Infantry Division, the 5th Special Forces Group, a brigade of the 101st Airborne Division, and elements of the Vietnamese Army.  During that period I was medivaced to the 249th General Hospital in Japan for surgery on a slipped disc, where I spent a month, then returned to First Field Force.

In March 1968, a few weeks after the Tet Offensive, I was sent to Cam Ranh Bay to command the 6th Battalion, 71st Artillery, a Hawk surface-to-air missile battalion, protecting airfields, ports, command and control facilities, supply depots and US, RVN, and Korean ground forces in the area.

In August 1968 I was sent to Washington, DC and assigned to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs (ASD/PA), during the final months of the Lyndon Johnson presidency.  After the Nixon administration took office in January 1969, I was appointed military assistant to Jerry W. Friedheim, who became the primary press briefer and Pentagon spokesman for the next several years.

Almost everything I learned during the next four years was invaluable to me when I reported to MACV in 1972.  There never was a day during that period when Vietnam was not a front-page story.

I also attended White House backgrounders for the Press by Henry Kissinger in connection with major presidential news conferences; attended meetings at Justice chaired by Attorney General John Mitchell in preparation for some of the huge Washington rallies protesting the Vietnam War or racial injustices; and on one occasion I represented the United States in Brussels at a meeting of NATO public affairs officials.

In 1972, after four years at the Pentagon, I returned to Vietnam as Chief of Information at MACV, where I found an experienced public affairs staff of Army, Navy, Marine, and Air Force personnel, and a small number of invaluable Vietnamese civilians, including Miss Nguyen thi Ngoc Chu, better known as Miss Chu.  I also met her US Army soldier, Joe Green, who somehow managed to drop by the office so often I mistakenly thought he was part of the MACOI staff.

MACOI had sole responsibility for the release of all information on United States military operations in North and South Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and adjacent waters.  We were also responsible for a command information program and staff supervision of Armed Forces Vietnam Radio and TV Networks.

By the time we left in the spring of 1973, we had dealt with the NVN Easter Offensive, the mining of the harbors of NVN, the Linebacker II unrestricted bombing of military targets in NVN by the US 7th Air Force, US Seventh Fleet, and SAC B-52 Bombers.  And finally a peace treaty and a 60-day withdrawal of our troops, plus the exchange of POWs, under the supervision of the Four Party Joint Military Commission, supported by MACV Deputy Info Chief Pete Peterson, LTC, USAF.  And all this against a background of US national election campaigns in which both major parties were bitterly divided over the conduct of the war.

On the last day of our US troop withdrawal, I caught a C-130 flight to Bangkok with several other MACOI guys.  There we set up a new press office to handle press needs relating to US military operations still going on in Laos and Cambodia.

After a few weeks in Bangkok I returned to the US to attend the National War College, and was then assigned in 1974 as Director of Defense Information in OSD-PA.  I replaced Brig. Gen. Joe Cutrona, who retired.  This was the largest press office in the federal government.

In 1977, after nearly four years at the Pentagon, I retired from active duty and joined the American Newspaper Publishers Association, from which I retired again in 1991 as senior vice president.

In 1995, Dottie and I moved to Orange, Virginia where we are living happily ever after.  But I will never forget MACOI and the people there who served their country with distinction in a difficult time.

(EDITOR'S NOTE:  COL Robert Lawrence Burke passed away 31 January 2014 following a massive stroke.  He was 85 years old.  Survivors included his wife, Mrs. Dorothy Burke, three daughters, a son, eight grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.)

Roy Warren Burnette

Two snapshots of Roy in 1970 at AFVN (photos courtesy of CPT Charles B. Adams) are followed by a photo as Commander of American Legion Post 104, and in 2012 at WRGC

I was assigned to the Third Marine Amphibious Force next to Marine Aircraft Group 14 on the beach.  My MOS was 2511-Wireman, and I worked with the 5th Communication Battalion.

When I heard an announcement on the radio that AFVN was interviewing people with experience, I asked the First Sergeant about getting assigned to AFVN.  He agreed to give me a lift in the jeep to Monkey Mountain.

I passed the audition and in September 1970 was assigned to board watch and to do the 11 AM Country show on the AM station.  The program was called "Up Country," and I hosted it daily.  Soon I was assigned to do maintenance on the FM station which was fully automated.  While I maintained that equipment on a daily basis, I also ran the camera for the TV news and any other locally originated programs on the television station.

Soon another Marine broadcaster and I developed a show for Saturday mornings on AFVN-Da Nang TV called Mike's Discotheque.  We would play the current R&B and Soul records as we focused the cameras out the studio window from atop Monkey Mountain.  The cameras were strong enough to show a person in a truck fairly clearly as far away as the compound's main gate.  We would take calls, and if someone called in from the airport, or Marble Mountain we could zoom in on their unit well enough for it to be recognizable on their TV screens./p>

The Army Sergeant who served as television producer and ran the switcher rotated back stateside so they trained me to take his place.  That was a lot of fun and very rewarding.  Then there was an opening to do the sports report on television and they let me do it for a couple of months.  One night during the monsoons the building started leaking directly over the set.  By the time the sports report was finished I was drenched.  It must have been funny to watch.  After the monsoons the Third MAF rotated back to the states so I left in April 1971.

But shortly before rotating back, I was awakened one night by a voice calling for help.  I grabbed my rifle, helmet and flight jacket and quickly pulled up my pants and boots and went to see what was wrong.  The voice was coming from the Captain's room.  It is not good to open the door of an officer's private quarters . . . , in a war zone . . . , with a weapon . . . , when that officer is obviously having a nightmare.  So I tapped on his door and politely called out his name.  Quite embarrassed, he came to the door and said he was OK . . . just a bad dream.  Although he didn't express his gratitude in words, I guess he was grateful I cared enough to check it out.

During the TET celebration of 1971 we were supposed to be visited by a dignitary from Saigon.  The plane was to arrive about 9 PM and it was my turn to drive.  No one wanted to ride shotgun so I went by myself.  When I met the plane I learned that the dignitary's visit had been canceled, so I drove back alone.  There had been a lot of people in the streets on my way to the airport, but the Tet crowd seemed much larger and more menacing when I made my way back to Monkey Mountain.  I made the trip okay, but when I made another trip under similar circumstances a couple of nights later there were a couple of rifle shots overhead.  The next day an Air Force sergeant asked me about the bullet he found in the back of the truck.  These are just a few of the fun things we did.  It was a good experience.

I came back to North Carolina and worked in radio for 14 more years, taught broadcasting at the community college for ten years, worked in radio again for five years, and then got a real job, working with people with disabilities at a center for independent living.

I went back to college at Western Carolina University and got a couple of degrees which prepared me for the job I have now as Associate Director of Pathways for the Future in Sylva, North Carolina.  As a member of the National Council on Independent Living we go to Washington en masse annually and do an information campaign to our legislators.

2013 UPDATE:  31 August 2011, just as Roy was actively planning retirement, the local radio station closed due to "severe economic conditions."  He postponed retirement and together with wife, the former Janice Eloise Barnes (40th wedding anniversary 2013) and his son and twin daughters, Roy bought and reopened WRGC.  Now an NBC affiliate, the station operates on 5,000 watts of power at 540 on the AM dial.  In addition to his duties as general manager, Roy is co-host of the morning show.

Donald Scott Burns

Promo cards from 1969 and 1971; a mid-career shot; and a photo from 2008

Don Burns began a life-long radio career in 1963 at KVFM in San Fernando, California.  He moved on to KNJO in Thousand Oaks the following year, and then began a sabbatical of sorts.  He took an extended leave of absence while he served in the Army.  Toward the end of his enlistment, in the fall of 1968, he was assigned to AFVN in Saigon, where he hosted radio shows on both AM and FM.

In 1969 he returned to civilian status, and resumed his deejay career at KOL in Seattle.  The following year he returned to his southern California roots, and began a Los Angeles-area stint that would last forty years.  He began with a 9-to-noon show at KRLA, and aside from a brief hop to KROQ in '73, he remained at KRLA until 1975.  He then lent his talents to several other LA stations, including KIIS, KIQQ, KOST, and KUTE before landing at KTWV ("the Wave") in 1988.  On Valentine's Day in that year, KTWV became the first station in the country to assume a smooth jazz format, and Don's voice and mannerisms were a perfect fit.  During the 1990's, the Wave ranked consistently among LA's top five stations, and Don's afternoon drive slot, the "No-Stress Express," led in popularity.  His final show at the station was 28 May 2010.

In 2009 Don moved to La Quinta, a beautiful resort town in the Coachella Valley about 60 miles east of Los Angeles.  He set up a home studio and continued his KTWV show by voice-tracking, or pre-recording, his announcements and track intros and sending them to the station.  Although the process was unnoticed by his listeners, a new program director insisted on "live" broadcasts and required Don to return to the Los Angeles studios.  Don was happy in his new home, however, and did not wish to leave.  La Quinta has more than 20 golf courses, including the famed PGA West, and is home for a number of Hollywood celebs.  Known as "the Gem of the Desert," it is a very pleasant place to retire, and Don elected to do just that.

Douglas Allen Burns

SSG Doug Burns at MACOI PID, May 1970 and then 48 years later he poses with his motor home and his former PID colleague Miss Chu

Doug Burns was born 3 March 1949, the son of Joe and Ethel Burns of Mason, Michigan.  The family included Doug's four sisters and two brothers.  Mason, the county seat of Ingham County, boasted a population of 3500 at Doug's birth, but grew by 1500 additional human souls by the time of his high school graduation.  Interestingly, the city of Lansing lies 15 miles north of Mason, and is also in Ingham County.  Michigan is thus the only state in the USA in which residents of its capital city must travel to another city to visit their courthouse.  Dart Container Corporation is headquartered in Mason.  If you'll turn upside down the next foam cup you encounter, you'll find emblazoned there the word "Dart." Dart makes foam cups. In 2012 Dart bought the Solo Cup Company, so now each time you take a sip from the soda fountain you're supporting the economy of Doug's hometown.  Bottoms up!

Doug's a 1967 graduate of Mason High School, where he played Defensive End on the Bulldogs' varsity football team.  While still in high school he enlisted in the Army and left for Basic at Fort Knox at first opportunity after graduation.  AIT was at Redstone Arsenal where he learned to be the Army's finest Ammunition Records Specialist (MOS 76M20).  His first overseas tour was at Kaiserlautern, West Germany, where he was promoted to SP5.  The Kaiserlautern Military Community includes a dozen or so American Army and Air Force installations, and in the mid-1950s it was the largest American military concentration outside the USA.  It's also picturesque and pleasant, and only a stone's throw from Luxembourg, Belgium, and France.

17 months after his arrival in Germany, Doug volunteered for Vietnam, and following two weeks of jungle training he was given 30 days leave back home in Mason.  The next 12 months were spent in Saigon at the MACOI Public Information Division where Doug prepared major portions of the daily printouts for the twice-daily press briefings.  He collected data on battles to include location, units involved, and results, and was rewarded with a promotion to SSG (E6) with only 29 months in service.  He was also awarded a Joint Service Commendation Medal prior to his return to CONUS and civilian life 17 May 1970.

His civilian career was at General Motors in Lansing, where he assembled automobiles for 30 years in partnership with a robot who performed underbody welding, but all that was after four years as a bartender.  First things first, you know.

Finally In full retirement, Doug and wife Shirley could no longer take the harsh Michigan winters and they moved south.  Today they make their home in Daleville, Alabama, a pleasant community of about 5,000 population in the southeast corner of the state.  The town sits on the edge of Fort Rucker, the Army's aviation training center, and its slogan is "The Gateway to Fort Rucker."  A secondary claim to fame is that Daleville is the hometown of Miss Margaret Peterlin, as of this writing in 2018 the Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.  Doug is the proud father of three sons and a daughter, and, according to a recent headcount, nine grandchildren.

James W. "Jim" Burnside

Jim, a native of central Ohio, worked in radio during and after high school.  But, sensing that the draft would soon catch up to him, he enlisted in the Army in exchange for a broadcast assignment.  Following his training at DINFOS, which was only about 90 miles from home for Jim, he was sent to Germany with duty as the unit newspaper editor for the 4th Armored Division, near Furth.

Fortunately an alert personnel clerk noticed Jim's broadcast experience, and matched him with a vacant position with the American Forces Network in Nuremburg.  During Jim's year there as the morning deejay, he was billeted in a nice old hotel that had formerly been used as living quarters for Hitler's officers.

His next assignment was to Saigon, where from August 1967 to August 1968 he hosted the Dawn Buster show.  He particularly enjoyed doing the show's opening, and always yelled the elongated "Goooooooood Morning, Vietnam!" greeting as loud and as long as he could.  Jim also wrote, produced, and taped an FM program called "Show Time," which consisted of music and narrative from Broadway shows, television, and the movies, and aired on weeknights.

His Vietnam tour was perfectly timed to include the 1968 Tet Offensive, which began on 31 January.  On that morning, no one told Jim to stay off the streets, so he waited at the bus stop for his commute to the station, calmly assuming the continuing explosions he heard were related to the Tet celebration.  Finally convinced that the buses were not running, he hailed a cab piloted by a nervous driver who insisted he get out several blocks short of his destination.  It was here that he realized the constant explosions, lack of traffic, and flares being dropped from planes and helicopters did not represent a part of a joyous celebration.  Seeking refuge at the Continental Palace Hotel, he eventually was rescued and returned to his quarters for the rest of the day.  For the next few weeks, Jim worked a 24-on/24-off schedule, eating C-Rations, performing guard duty, and often sleeping on AFVN's concrete floor.

With a return to relative normalcy, a regular work schedule resumed, but on 3 May 1968, AFVN again came under attack.  The VC had loaded a taxicab with explosives and detonated it just outside the studio compound.  Although Jim was not on duty at the time, and AFVN suffered little damage, it was unsettling.

The next attack, which occurred the following month, found Jim on the air.  He had just signed on when at about 6:15 AM an explosion rattled the building.  Early morning listeners heard it this way: "Here we go again. Yes, we're ready to go again on Tuesday, June (a loud BOOM, followed by just a couple of seconds of silence). . . June 11th on the Tuesday Dawn Buster radio program.  6:16 is our time.  I'm Army Specialist Jim Burnside, the All American Boy, with the show with a bang--the Dawn Buster."  Jim put in a long music-fill cartridge and joined the rest of the staff in the bunker behind the studio.  After a few minutes, the all-clear was sounded and normal programming resumed.

It turned out the explosion resulted from an errant mortar round which had missed the studio and landed across the street, where it caused property damage and at least one civilian casualty.  Jim's off-hand "show with a bang" comment became quite famous, and a local military publication awarded him its "Steel Helmet Award" as "Mr. Cool of the Week."  Jim returned to Ohio a couple of months later, feeling fortunate to have spent time with AFVN, and "to be associated with so many talented professionals."  Remembering good times, he fondly recalled a pleasant leave in Bangkok and an R&R in Sydney which he described as "unforgettable."  "Just spending a year in a war zone was a great education," he said.

He credited a letter of commendation from AFVN's Deputy OIC as helping him to land a civilian radio job in Ohio immediately, and he soon was working as a TV weather reporter on the east coast.  He later became a long-term voice on WFBC radio in Greenville, South Carolina, where he eventually migrated into management.

Jim is retired now, or as he succinctly puts it, "this old Dawn Buster is now on Social Security and Medicare."

Donald Busser


The unusual similarity between Don Busser's name and AFVN's "Dawn Buster" radio show is remarkable.  It has led many people to assume that Don originated the show and, in a fit of extreme vanity, named it after himself.  Not so.  When Don arrived on the Saigon scene, "Dawn Buster" had already filled the 6 to 10 AM slot for nearly two years.

Don was a native of Ohio, a mid-American in every sense of the word.  In high school in the Dayton suburb of Kettering, Don had excelled scholastically and he was popular with his classmates.  He was vice president of his class, a member of the National Honor Society and the State Champion speech team, and was cast in school plays and musicals.  In his drama class, he once performed a scene from Teahouse of the August Moon in which he portrayed five different characters.

After high school he attended the University of Pennsylvania where, once again, he excelled.  It is believed he joined MENSA.  While on break during his freshman year at Penn, Don was invited to deliver a motivational speech about college life to a high school group back home.  But suddenly the following year, for reasons known only to himself, Don dropped out of college and enlisted in the Army.

His rare talents were, of course, recognized by the military and he was assigned to the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service, spending the final year of his Army time in Vietnam.  Upon termination of his enlistment he was replaced by Adrian Cronauer, and he temporarily returned home to Ohio.

He later reenlisted, however, and was sent to Germany, where he was a broadcaster on AFN-Stuttgart.  This proved to be his final assignment.  Tragically, he died of uncertain causes.  We are mortals.  There are many things we are not equipped to understand.

Brooke Cabaniss

Brooke in Basic, with AFVN (news and weather), with Sebastian Cabot, and back where he belongs.

On the first day of 1952 I was a skinny 16 year old kid working as a roustabout on a wildcat oil rig far back in the icy mountains north of Bakersfield, California.  My 17th birthday was nine days away.  About midnight the driller managed to get his foot caught in a retracting steel cable and his body was wrapped around a small pulley called a cat's head.  He was badly injured.  The crew put him into the back of a pickup and sped down the dirt road to the nearest hospital many miles away.  I and another kid about my age were left alone to monitor the turning bit and the machinery that kept it going.  It could not be allowed to stop.  We sat there in a freezing rain and looked at each other across the drilling platform for the rest of the night.  We realized that it could have been either of us in the back of that pickup.

When dawn finally arrived, and the crew returned with the good news that the driller would survive, I had arrived at the conclusion that there had to be a better way to make a living.  At my age, and with limited education, my options were limited.  I headed for Long Beach to persuade my mother to sign the papers for me to enter the Air Force when I turned seventeen.  After much haranguing, she finally gave in and three weeks later I was on a train headed for basic training at Lackland AFB, Texas.  I never looked back.  Much happened in between but twenty years later I retired as a thirty-seven year old Master Sergeant.

With a series of aptitude tests, the Air Force determined that I was suited to be a jet aircraft mechanic and I was sent to several schools to turn me into one.  For the next 11 years that's what I did.  For an additional 2 years I managed to escape the flight line by becoming a classroom instructor on jet aircraft.  I was teaching the F-4 at Holloman AFB, New Mexico when I was selected to attend the DINFOS School of Broadcasting at old Fort Slocum, located in New York Harbor.  That was before it was relocated to Indiana.

Since I was one of the few qualified F-4 instructors in the Air Force, the airplane people weren't too happy with my leaving but the selections were made at DOD level and my training detachment had made the mistake of allowing my volunteer application get off base.  What they had failed to realize was that I had been moonlighting at local radio stations for awhile . . . mostly under assumed names to avoid conflicts.  I was almost as happy to be getting away from those screaming jets as I was escaping that oil rig.  When I arrived at DINFOS I realized that life as I had known it was changed forever.  I was home.

In 1966, after graduating DINFOS, I was sent to AFPN at Clark Air Base in the Philippines.  I served as network radio director and helped out in the TV studio whenever possible.  While there I spent two weeks flying with the "Saigon Shuttle" operating out of Clark.  The C-130 crews were based at Clark but rotated to Vietnam on a regular basis.  Their mission was to shuttle cargo and troops in and out of tiny dirt strips from before dawn until far into the night . . . seven days a week.  My assignment was to ride the Shuttle for a complete rotation and film their story to be presented on TV back at Clark so friends and families could see what they were doing while they were away.  During that trip I was aware that AFVN existed but never had time to make contact.  That came later.

After the Philippines, and before Mount Pinatubo buried Clark under several feet of volcanic ash, I was sent to the Air Force Systems Command's information office at Andrews AFB near D.C.  My job there was to run the sound studio.  While there I produced recorded programs about command projects that were shipped to radio stations all over the country.  Mostly, I traveled to different bases around the command conducting interviews to use in the programs.  After 3 years I was getting a little tired of Class A uniforms and ready to get back into broadcasting.  I volunteered for Vietnam and AFVN.

I shipped out from San Francisco and arrived at AFVN Headquarters in Saigon in June, 1970.  After bunking in AFVN's air conditioned hotel with maid service for a couple of days, I reasoned that this wasn't going to be too bad.  That reasoning was short lived.  As most networks do, AFVN had several detachments scattered around the country.  I was informed that I was going to one of them.  I boarded a helicopter and was flown to Nha Trang where an old navy landing craft ferried me to Hon Tre Island.  When I noticed that I was sharing the boat with a large water truck, I knew the stay was going to be primitive.  Det. 4 consisted of the standard prefabricated TV trailer and related transmitters.  The previous inhabitants had constructed a plywood add-on studio and several ramshackle "hooches" as sleeping quarters.  I settled in as Program Director and with a great crew we got the job done.

After 6 months I took my R&R to Sydney and returned to Det. 11 in Qui Nhon.  Actually the detachment was high on a mountaintop overlooking Qui Nhon.  Before the war the city was described as "The Pearl of the Orient."  In looking down from above at the beautiful beaches, from where the scars of war couldn't be seen, I could understand why.  As at Hon Tre, I once again assumed the duties of Program Director and worked with an equally outstanding crew.  While it was a little more comfortable than the Island, it was less secure.  We were a little too close to the edge of the jungle for comfort.  Our constant blasting away at the tree line with the abundant ammunition stored nearby may have helped keep any potential attacks away.  We called it target practice but it was mostly boredom.

Nothing heroic happened during my stay in Vietnam and I saw no real combat.  My only injury was sustained in Qui Nhon when the VC blew the ammo dump at the bottom of the mountain and shook a can of peaches off the shelf above the bunk where I was sleeping and hit me in the head.  Hardly worthy of a purple heart, but I did receive a Joint Service Commendation Medal for my service at AFVN.

Unlike most, when my tour was completed, I did not board a military aircraft for San Francisco.  I bought some civvies, dusted off my passport and an American Express card I had stashed and boarded TWA for Europe.  My destination was Denmark where I spent some quality time with an old friend.  We rented a car and spent a couple of weeks driving around the country.  It was June and the bad parts of Vietnam rapidly became a fading memory.

After my visit in Denmark I found my way to Rhein Main, Germany where I caught a military hop to New Jersey and then onto my next, and final, assignment at Williams AFB, Arizona.  This time I had managed to circle the globe.  Williams was just across town from Luke AFB where I had begun my career 20 years earlier.  I retired at Williams and except for brief forays I haven't left Arizona since.

In the 37 years since leaving the Air Force I have tried many things too numerous to mention here.  I never attempted civilian broadcasting again.  I value my time with AFRTS, and AFVN in particular, but civilian broadcasting was too competitive, and far too commercialized, for my taste.  I didn't want to spend the rest of my life selling toothpaste and deodorant.  Also, humility dictates that I admit that my on-air performance could be described as "adequate" at best.  I would like to think however that I was a good broadcast supervisor and manager.

(UPDATE:  Brooke, born 9 January 1935 in Bryan, Texas passed away in Kingston, Washington 22 January 2020, thirteen days after his 85th birthday.  The MACOI Website is honored to have been allowed to include this first-person bio, which Brooke penned for us in 2009.  Brooke and wife Margo raised seven children, two of whom, Mark and Douglas, predeceased him.  He is survived by sons Michael, Keith, Eric, and Jason, and by daughter Michell.  His published obituary, written by those who knew him best, included a touching tribute:  "We will remember our father for many things including as a veteran entrepreneur, political analyst, writer, master mechanic, electrician, plumber, carpenter, diver, pilot, bookkeeper, and above all else, as a Master Dad.")

Harlen Joseph Campbell, Jr.

In Photo 1, Harlen is shown in his MACOI days in Saigon; then after a couple of more recent snapshots, he is shown with his 2019 novel about a man-made plague that spreads across the USA and then Europe.  It's a spine-tingler.

Harlen Joseph Campbell was born in the closing days of WWII, grew up in the Vietnam war, taken prisoner in the war between the sexes, and anticipates death in the war on poverty.  A man of no fixed abode at the moment, he spent his first two years in diapers, his next four in short pants, and the following eleven in the library, generally among the authors of science fiction.  He fled high school for college at 17 and spent four years supporting the brewing industry before he received a cordial invitation from his friends and neighbors to explore the world.

After a crash course at Fort Bliss in the spirit of the bayonet, which came as a bit of a surprise, Campbell explored both Germany and Vietnam.  In Germany, he entertained a band of chronic malingerers, easily identified by their wheelchairs and the metal rods sticking out of their legs, as a disc jockey at the 97th General Hospital's closed circuit radio station, where he specialized in producing late-night polka parties for an audience more accustomed to Aretha Franklin.  In Saigon, he transferred his energies to an effort to produce a page containing the perfect balance of photos of cannon fire and captured rice sacks for the MACV Observer, and discovered that there is no good way to work both "hearts and minds" and "body count" into a satisfying 3-column headline.

Upon release from his military duties, Campbell found himself less prepared than he hoped for the academic life.  He hurried through degrees in English and Journalism, snagged a Master's in English Lit. on his way out the door, and joined the struggle to grab a bigger piece of the American pie.

During all the conflict, he married, fathered one daughter and brought one novel to fruition, but took every opportunity to work on others.  He created one of the first author sites on the internet in 1995 to publicize Monkey on a Chain, ran the mystery writers' Left Coast Crime Convention in 1999, billed as the Last Great Crime of the Millennium, built Norm Zollinger's website for his Taos School of Writing and helped him with it until his death at the hands of the medical profession.  Between these labors, he supported himself in the construction, real estate, and information technology industries and tried to distill his life's experience into one pithy line he could pass to the next generations.  The best he's managed to come up with is "Keep your chin up and your head down," which he regards as less than satisfactory.  He is still working on it, but the clock is ticking.  Wait.  "The clock is ticking."  Hmmm.

Editor's Note:  As of 2019, Mr. Campbell has published four additional novels.  Jennifer's Weave, Sea of Deception, Plenum, and The Gabriel Extortion are available through normal book outlets, including Amazon.

Ama Bryant Canada


Bryant Canada was born 22 September 1938 to Mr. and Mrs. Hubert Canada in Vardaman, Mississippi.  Vardaman, located in northern Mississippi on State Route 8, is known as the "Sweet Potato Capital of the World."  The National Sweet Potato Festival has been held there annually since 1973.  That's 25 years longer than the Elvis Presley Festival has been held 20 miles to the northeast in Tupelo.

Air Force Technical Sergeant Canada served as TV News Director in 1968-69 at AFVN's Detachment 1 in Qui Nhon.  He had previous AFRTS service at the American Forces Philippines Network from 1965 to 1967.

Following his retirement in 1976 as a Master Sergeant, he and wife Sandra settled in Arizona.  The family resided in the central Arizona city of Prescott Valley, located about 85 miles north of Phoenix.  The city has an elevation of about a mile, and the highest point within city limits is a now-extinct volcano which was last active some 14 million years ago.  Apparently no one was inconvenienced by the last eruption, since the area's human habitation can only be traced back about 14,000 years.

A sad final paragraph must be added:  MSgt Ama Bryant Canada, USAF (Ret) passed away 11 August 2011 at the VA Medical Center in Prescott, Arizona.  In addition to his wife, Sandra, he was survived by son, Sean, and daughter, Steffanie, along with five grandchildren.  Interment was in Section C, Row B, Site 225 at Prescott National Cemetery.

John Richard Canty

1) With Hugh Downs on John's TODAY SHOW appearance; 2) the record; and 3) in retirement in the land where the rain falls mainly in the plain

John Canty was born 6 January 1928, the middle of the nine children of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Edwin Canty of Lowell, Massachusetts.  Following high school graduation at the age of 17, he enlisted in the Army for "the duration plus six months" as WWII wound down.  His three older brothers were serving at the time, along with his older sister, who was a member of the Navy Nurse Corps.  At War's end he re-enlisted for three years in the Army Air Force, having still not yet reached his 18th birthday.

Canty was trained as an airfield control tower operator, thereafter working military towers in Texas, New Mexico and California.  Upon completion of his enlistment, he returned to Massachusetts and entered Boston University.  While in college, he was a staff announcer on WBUR-FM, a station owned and operated by the University.  Then, in 1953, after graduating with a B.S. in Radio, Television, Electronic Journalism and Public Relations, Canty received an ROTC commission in the US Air Force.

As a reserve officer prior to his active duty assignment, he worked in radio at WOTW, Nashua, New Hampshire, WLLH, Lawrence-Lowell, Massachusetts, and WWNH, Rochester, New Hampshire, as well as WMUR-TV, Manchester, New Hampshire.  His civilian career continued until he was called back to active duty in 1962 in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Two years later, as a USAF captain in December 1964, he was assigned to Vietnam as OIC of the American Forces Radio Service, which at that time consisted of 15 satellite ground radio transmitters relaying programming which originated from the key station in Saigon.  During his RVN assignment, Canty took a side job with Group W, the radio network owned by Westinghouse Broadcasting Company, where he reported war news by shortwave twice a week using a pseudonym.

He did not immediately return to CONUS after Vietnam.  His next two assignments in Germany and Spain kept him overseas for five continuous years.  Then, returning to Stateside duty in 1970, he reported to Tactical Air Command Headquarters at Langley, Virginia.  It was here that he wrote a song dedicated to American fighter pilots killed or missing in action during the Vietnam War.  He had known some of these men personally.  Titled simply, "MIA/POW," and subtitled "The Prisoner of War Song," it was published as a 45 RPM record by MGM with vocal and guitar accompaniment by Canty, himself.  The Air Force sponsored a nationwide publicity tour by Canty to promote the recording, and he appeared on NBC's "Today" show and on the "CBS Evening News" with Walter Cronkite.

Following his retirement from the Air Force, Canty elected to reside in Spain, where he owned and operated Canty's Cantyna, a pizzeria/bar that catered to the American military near Naval Station Rota.  His recent book, "Birth of an American City," is a contemporary historical novel which relates the story of his home town, Lawrence, Massachusetts and the people, including his ancestors, who settled the area.  An earlier book, "Quo Vadis, America; Whither Goest Thou?," is a study of, as Major Canty sees it, the decline of America into secular socialism, which, he explains, began in the 1960's.

He is a member of the Retired American Military Iberian Council (RAMIC), and has served the organization as its president, and he remains an active participant in the affairs of the American community in Rota.  In 2008 he spoke at a Veterans Day health fair conducted by the US Naval Hospital Rota (USNHR).  "The retirees appreciate everything the hospital does," Canty told the administrators and staff, adding that the hospital served to "provide easy access to tests that we, as older people, should be having regularly (as well as) key preventive medicine . . . made available to us."  In 2012 Major Canty returned to the hospital as Special Guest Speaker at a ceremony dedicating a permanent indoor POW/MIA display.

Beginning in October 2008, and continuing through 2009, the Major contributed his thoughts to a weblog he called "Canty Shanty."  "I'm old and battered," he told readers in his introductory comments, "but that's what life has done to one who's done what I've done and been where I've been."  He and wife Pilar, reside in the Spanish city of El Puerto de Santa Maria (the Port of Saint Mary), population approximately 100,000.

Editor's Note:  Major Canty passed away 26 April 2017 at the age of 89.  Burial was in Spain.

William David "Bill" Capps

1) The early days of Bill's Air Force career; 2) in Saigon; 3) at AFVN Nha Trang; 4) at the Air Force Academy; and 5) in retirement with Mrs. Capps

Bill Capps was born in 1936, the first of the two sons of Mr. and Mrs. William H. Capps of Port Huron, Michigan.  After high school, he enlisted in the Air Force in 1954.

Following Basic Training, he was assigned as a Personal Equipment Specialist to the 3505th Pilot Training Wing at Greenville Air Force Base, Mississippi.  Then in 1957 he was given his first overseas assignment with a three year tour with the 339th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Misawa Air Base, Japan.  During this tour, the young Airman notched three major civilian-style accomplishements.  First, he bought a Yamaha and helped organize the Misawa Dusters Motorcycle Club; second, he married a young Japanese lady; and third, he welcomed his first daughter into the world.  In 1960, after an eventful three years, he returned to CONUS.

By 1971, Capps had gained seniority and was a Staff Sergeant. It was at this point in his career that he went to AFVN as a Ground Radio Communications Technician.  Serving as night engineer at the Saigon key station, he also regularly visited Detachment 4 at Nha Trang on maintenance duty.  He departed Vietnam in 1972 and retired from the Air Force five years later as a Technical Sergeant.  Just prior to retiring, on 27 September 1976, Bill married for the second time.

As a civilian, Capps earned an associates degree in Electronic Technology, and worked fifteen years for Detroit Edison at its Fermi II Nuclear Power Plant.  After retiring from this civilian career, Capps took a job as maintenance specialist for Target Stores, where he remained for an additional five years before fully retiring in 1998.

Bill resides today with his wife, Wong in the small Michigan town of Carleton, located about 45 minutes south of Detroit, close to the banks of Lake Erie.

Anthony A. Caputo


Anthony Caputo was born in 1919 in Montclair, New Jersey.  After high school he attended the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1941.  Then, as a handy and legal means of avoiding the draft, he joined the Marines.  At Quantico, Virginia, he went through Officer Candidate School and emerged a second lieutenant in November 1941.  His first assignment was to recruit college students for the Marine Corps; then two months later, he reported to the newly established Marine base at New River, North Carolina, later to be renamed Camp Lejeune.

After serving first as a company commander, and then as aide to General Hal Turnage, the base CO, the lieutenant received what turned out to be a truly historic assignment.  The Marine Corps was actively recruiting Black Americans for the first time in its history, and they would be trained at Montford Point, near Jacksonville, North Carolina.  Lt. Caputo would be assigned to the group that would receive and train the first recruits.  "It didn't occur to me," he admitted years later, "that this would be a historical event."  To him, it was a routine assignment.  "Everybody was a Marine, as far as (I was) concerned," he said.  "We were all just Marines."  Not only was he responsible for training these Marines, he was also responsible for integrating them into the Corps at unit level.

The Montford Point assignment lasted a year; then with a promotion to Captain, Caputo led Battery A of the 51st Composite Defense Battalion, the first company of Black Marines to enter the service.  The 51st Defense Battalion was formed with an anti-aircraft shore-defense mission, and it was populated with Montford Point graduates.  Armed with 155-mm, 90-mm, 40-mm, and 20-mm antiaircraft guns, 50-caliber machine guns, and the radar equipment necessary to detect and track targets, the battalion began a six-month training regimen by firing off the coast at aerial and sea targets.  Captain Caputo was assigned to train the 40-mm group, and he reports they performed "very well."  They were assigned overseas in February 1943, and, with his mission complete, Caputo left the 51st and was reassigned to Okinawa.

He was with a recon outfit in 1945 that invaded Okinawa, less than 350 miles from mainland Japan.  When the battle was over, Caputo was with the 1st Marine Division on Guam, preparing to invade Japan.  Every day was spent rehearsing for the amphibious landing, which everyone knew would be very, very dangerous.  Caputo knew the Japanese homeland would be well defended and casualties would be high on both sides.  When preparations were over, the 1st Marines sailed for Japan, but the LST's soon reversed course in midstream and returned to Guam.  Nagasaki had been bombed and the Japanese had surrendered.  "I never saw so many happy men jumping around and excited," he said.  "We were one happy group."

Back on friendly shores, he was assigned to the 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune.  After his initial tour, he became the Camp's legal officer.  He then went to Quantico, on staff with the Basics School which trained newly-commissioned lieutenants.  Then he became a student, himself, at the senior amphibious warfare course.

Now it was time for Korea, and Lieutenant Colonel Caputo battled the North Koreans and their Chinese allies for a year.  As CO of a battalion in the 1st Marine Division on the western front, he was in nearly constant combat -- "every day and every night," he says.

Back from the combat zone, Caputo was a training officer at Fleet Marine Force Pacific, and then Director of Information at Marine Headquarters.  Pleasant duty followed, with a three-year trip to Stockholm, Sweden as Marine attache.  Then, back at Camp Lejeune, he was CO of the 8th Marine Regiment of the 2nd Marine Division.  The unit took part in the Cuban Missile Crisis in the fall of 1962, and Caputo was afloat off the coast of Cuba until Khruschev famously blinked.  Back at the Pentagon, Caputo was Deputy Inspector General of the Corps, and then he was sent to Vietnam.

Assigned to General Westmoreland's MACV, he served in the Public Information Division of MACOI.  Reporting to Colonel Rodger Bankson, Caputo briefed the civilian reporters at JUSPAO and diplomatically handled their special requests and demands.  His next assignment was his last with the Corps.  Returning to Quantico, he served a final tour as CO of the Corps' Officer Candidate School.

After retiring as a Colonel, Caputo and wife Mary now reside in the small-town county seat of Burgaw, a stone's throw north of the coastal city of Wilmington, North Carolina.  Still active in community affairs, the Colonel and Mrs. Caputo served as Grand Marshalls of the 2011 Burgaw Christmas Parade.  The couple, who celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in 2012, have two children, five grandchildren, and five great grandchildren.

On 27 June 2012, the United States House and Senate awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to the Montford Point Marines.  The award ceremony was held in Washington, DC with approximately 400 Montford Point Marines in attendance.  The Commandant of the Marine Corps held a special parade in their honor at Marine Barracks Washington and presented each man a bronze replica of the Gold Medal.  Among those unable to attend the events was Col. Caputo, so on 22 August 2012 a special presentation ceremony was held for him in Burgaw.  The medal is awarded to persons "who have performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture that is likely to be recognized as a major achievement in the recipient's field long after the achievement."

(UPDATE:  Colonel Caputo passed away 11 October 2017 at the age of 98.  He and Mary would have celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary 34 days later on 14 November.  The Colonel was survived by daughter Kathryn and son Robert, grandchildren Dayna, Paul, Christopher, Nicholas, and Matthew, and by great-grandchildren Connor, Quinn, Kyra, Jude, and Jacob.)

Ronald Charles Carita

A nice headshot of Ron is followed by a snapshot in RVN jungle fatigues

Massachusetts native Ron Carita, born 15 July 1947, was the grandson of Italian immigrants.  The family moved slightly to the south before Ron started school, however, and Ron grew up in the extreme northeast corner of Connecticut with Massachusetts about ten miles to the north and Rhode Island about ten miles to the east.  The family resided in Windham County, the least populated of the state's eight counties, more specifically in the North Grosvenordale section of the town of Thompson.  In the 1950 census, Thompson's population was listed at 5500.

As soon as Ron was able, he joined the Marines where he was trained in clerical functions, and was assigned mostly to public affairs, with occasional forays into broadcasting.  By the time of his 1968-69 visit to Vietnam, Ron was a sergeant and was named FM program director at Detachment 3 in Pleiku, where he also pulled an on-air shift.  Then, following an R&R sidetrip to Hong Kong, he was temporarily assigned to Nha Trang, where he helped in the construction of a building to provide needed office space for the expansion of Detachment 4.  He returned to CONUS 20 October 1969 having been awarded a Joint Service Commendation Medal.

His next posting was to the Marine Corps Public Affairs Office in downtown Los Angeles.  Shortly after his arrival, Ron requested a few days leave, which was granted, and he arranged for 19-year old Miss Jeanne Boutin to fly from her home in Windham County, Connecticut out to California for the purpose of marriage.  The wedding took place in the lovely coastal city of Ventura 13 December 1969, but the marriage, which produced three children, would last only a decade.

Back in civilian life in Connecticut, Ron was employed as marketing manager for a home security systems company when he was diagnosed with cancer.  His doctors blamed his Vietnam exposure to Agent Orange, and he died at the age of 50 on 23 January 1998.  Burial was in St. Joseph Cemetery in Thompson, Connecticut.

Carl Raymond Carlson

With apologies for the quality of both photos, a nicely posed headshot of COL Carlson during his Vietnam days is followed by a photo of the Colonel at Southern Illinois University's Aerospace Ball.  He is accompanied by Miss Karen Kissack, the 1971 SIU Aerospace Queen.

The future Colonel, who answered to "C.R." his entire life, was a native of suburban St. Louis Park, Minnesota, about seven miles southwest of downtown Minneapolis.  Born 22 April 1920, he graduated from high school in 1938 and entered Hamline University, a small but prestigious college located in neighboring St. Paul.  Following his graduation he enlisted in the Army Air Corps 22 June 1942 and won a commission in 1943--the same year he began a 50-year marriage with Miss Ruth Dearstyne, who had been his high school and college sweetheart.  In WWII he saw action in the China-Burma-India Area of Operations.

Post-war, he earned a master's and a doctorate from the University of Minnesota, and and in 1951 he graduated from the Air Command and Staff College.  Following a tour in Australia, he served stateside at the Air Force Training and Research Center at Randolph AFB and Brooks AFB from 1956 to 1961.  Then in November 1961 he was assigned to DOD at the Air Force Public Information Office.

Throughout the 1960's he remained in the information field, and in June 1969 he was named Chief of the Public Information Division at MACOI.  Here he was remembered by his news editing clerk as a hard worker who frequently lunched at his desk with bouillon cubes dissolved in hot water.  He was awarded the Legion of Merit prior to his 8 June 1970 return to CONUS.

His post-Vietnam assignment was Commandant of Aerospace Studies (Air Force ROTC) at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.  SIU had hosted an ROTC program since 1931, but this was a particularly bleak time due to campus unrest.  Two months before the Colonel's arrival, the ROTC building had been occupied and vandalized by militant protestors, and the Illinois National Guard was called in to disperse the crowd.  When asked his thoughts on the incident, Colonel Carlson compared it to people who want to eliminate the fire department because they don't like fires.  During his tour, which ended 1 July 1972, he worked to mend fences between the factions that divided the campus.

Then following service as Vice Commandant of the Air Force ROTC program, which was headquartered at DOD, he was sent in 1976 to the Air University at Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, Alabama as Commandant of the Academic Instructor and Allied Officer School.  The mission of this facility was to train military officers and equivalently ranked civilians from allied nations.  He retired the following year, and he and Ruth made their civilian home in Montgomery.

The Colonel accepted the position of Executive Vice President of the Coosa-Alabama River Improvement Association (CARIA).  This tax-exempt non-governmental agency had been established in 1890 with a goal of increasing shipping traffic on the Coosa River.  The Coosa is part of a river network which extends from the north to the south of the state, eventually flowing into Mobile Bay, an inlet of the Gulf of Mexico.

Widely respected as a civic leader in his adopted city, the Colonel passed away 20 January 1993 at the age of 72.  In addition to wife Ruth, he was survived by a daughter and two sons, and by the time of Mrs. Carlson's death in January 2014 his progeny included five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Arthur O. "Art" Carney

Art Carney was born on 11 January 1912 in Tarentum, Pennsylvania, a borough in Allegheny County on the Allegheny River about 22 miles northeast of downtown Pittsburgh.  As the son of Mr. and Mrs. Clyde E. Carney, Sr., Art's family included four brothers and four sisters.  Leaving high school after two years, he found employment at Ludlum Steel as a semiskilled laborer working as a Metal Grinder/Filer/Buffer/Polisher, and on 31 March 1940, at the age of 28, he married 21-year old Miss Dorothy Debor of nearby Brackenridge, Pennsylvania.

It did not take long for Art to react to the events of 7 December 1941.  37 days later, on 13 January 1942 he visited the recruiter in Pittsburgh to enlist in the Army Air Corps for the duration plus six months, and seven months later he was engaged in aerial combat with the Tenth Air Force in India.  Dorothy remained in Brackenridge.

Newly promoted T/Sgt Carney was assigned as a tail gunner, and was soon recipient of the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross.  By the end of March 1943 Art had flown more than 200 hours of combat missions from bases in India and China.  After 300 hours he earned an Oak Leaf Cluster for his Air Medal.  When his "duration plus six months" tour ended, Art elected to stay in the military.  His career took him to Korea seven years later, and he then served numerous posts, both stateside and overseas, during the Cold War.  In 1967, as a Master Sergeant, he went to Saigon as Engineering NCOIC at AFVN.  This would be Art's final overseas assignment.  In retirement, Art and Dorothy returned to Allegheny County, where they resided in peaceful Natrona Heights.

Art passed away 6 April 1999 at the age of 87, and was interred in Prospect Cemetery, Brackenridge, Pennsylvania.  Dorothy, his wife of 59 years, survived him along with their two sons, two daughters, and four grandchildren.

Haig Oscar Cartozian


Haig Cartozian was born 5 November 1929 in Evanston, Illinois, the son of Latvian immigrants.  He was named after his father, Haygazoum Osgihan Cartozian, who had Anglicized his name when he became an American.

Young Haig joined the Navy during the Korean War, and later received a commission.  Then, as a career Naval officer, he served mostly in public affairs.  As a Lieutenant Commander at MACOI in 1969-70 he was assigned to the Public Information Division as a briefing officer.  Specializing in US Navy operations, he fielded questions from the press contingent attending the afternoon news conferences at JUSPAO (Joint US Public Affairs Office) in downtown Saigon.  Prior to his departure from MACOI 23 January 1970 he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal.  He retired from the Navy as a Captain.

Settling in Ellensburg, Washington, just east of the Cascades in the central part of the state, the Captain and wife Janice began twenty years of residence, which would not end until 2001.  Over the years Haig worked variously in public affairs jobs, including Senior Vice President for Marketing at Black Angus Restaurants, a western US chain, and later as owner of a consulting firm, Market Share Resources.  Meanwhile, wife Jan, a native of neighboring Yakima, became a mortgage banker, working at several commercial banks in the area.

Both were also active in community affairs.  Haig served as president of the Ellensburg Rotary Club, where he was also recipient of the Paul Harris Award, named for the founder of Rotary International.  For their sponsorship of the annual Ellensburg Rodeo, Haig and Jan were awarded the Gold Buckle.

When complete retirement finally began to make sense to this busy couple, they moved to the quietest place they could imagine - - Gedney Island in the waters of Puget Sound.  Sometimes called Hat Island, Gedney is a private island only 1.5 miles long by a half mile wide.  Both Cartozians frequented the nine-hole golf course just down the beach.

They later moved to the Augusta Ranch retirement community in Mesa, Arizona, where they lived on the edge of the Augusta Ranch Golf Course.  When not practicing their putts, the couple enjoyed traveling, mostly in the USA.

On 31 March 2016 Captain Cartozian passed away at the age of 86.  In addition to Janice, he was survived by two sons, two daughters, and five grandchildren.

Robert J. "Bob" Casey


Bob Casey, born 28 August 1943, was the second of the five children born to Mr. and Mrs. Edward P. Casey.  The senior Mr. Casey was an inventor who built and installed some of the first public address systems in New York City.  Bob learned the craft at an early age, and as a teenager in Yonkers, New York, he utilized his sound skills deejaying sock hops in Yonkers, New York.  He was good at it, and soon was picking up gigs across all of Westchester County.  When his part-time job began to seriously interfere with school work, he had to decide which was more important, so he dropped out of high school, and at 17 he joined the Army.

His familiarity with sound systems brought him a Signal Corps assignment to Korea in 1962.  He found Korea a cold and desolate place, very similar to the scenes at fictional 4077th MASH.  When the interminable tour eventually ended he spent 18 months at Fort Bliss, and then tried civilian life again.  He ended up back in the Army, with his old Signal Corps job, but assigned this time to Germany.

Bob began immediately to request a transfer to AFN-Europe, where he hoped to work as a sound engineer.  It was not until December 1967 that his request was granted, and he reported to Frankfort.  Then he heard about AFVN.  He encountered a friendly NCO in personnel and in March 1968 he had orders for Vietnam.

Arriving at AFVN Saigon, he was assigned to radio, mostly doing studio production work.  One of his first chores was to handle one of AFVN's most important assignments.  This was the taping of the daily press briefings at JUSPAO, the Joint US Public Affairs Office.  The entire briefing was recorded each day, with the tapes rushed back to AFVN for transmission to the Pentagon.  The purpose of this activity was to allow DOD officials to know at least as much as the press, thus allowing them to respond to stateside reporters' questions with a degree of consistency.

Within six months he became head of production for the American Forces Vietnam Network, but then he had a brainstorm.  He suggested through the chain of command that a radio show which concentrated not on top-40 hits, but on the retro hits of yesteryear would be well received.  Upon approval, he was given an hour and a half once a week -- Saturday nights at 10:30 PM on a trial basis.  Bob began his on-air show 25 October 1968, by coincidence ten years to the day after he ran his first sock hop back in New York.  Titled "Solid Gold," it was the first "oldies" show on Armed Forces Radio, and it soon became one of 1969's most popular shows in Vietnam.

Trouble came when Bob had a second brainstorm.  He obtained permission to run a survey of his listeners to find the top-20 greatest hits of all time, promising to play them in countdown fashion.  The problem was that the final hit, the Number One hit of the survey, turned out to be "Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones.  This was not on AFVN's playlist.  The deejays were not authorized to play it, and the record was not carried in AFVN's record library.

On questioning, Bob readily admitted that he had brought the record in from his private collection.  This was a major infraction, he was told.  It was contraband, and was to be treated in the same manner as if he had smuggled narcotics into the studio.  He was taken off the air, and would have been transferred to Da Nang had he not been saved by Divine Intervention in the form of a painful cyst on his rear end.  The end result was Bob was medivaced to Japan for treatment, and by the time he returned his tour was over and he was eligible for rotation back to the USA.  Although Bob was gone, his show "Solid Gold" continued to be a mainstay of AFVN long into the future.

He flew home two months early with a full honorable discharge in his hand and a job waiting for him at WMCA radio in New York City.  Then for the next four years, Bob was part of an annual USO-sponsored live broadcast of New Years' Eve at Times Square.  It was sent around the world to military installations and ships at sea by AFRTS Headquarters.

When WMCA changed its format, Bob went to WNBC, and then on to the NBC radio and TV network.  In 1972, he formed his own sound system company and worked first in the then-thriving disco market.  Soon he moved on to accept major sound projects such as St. Patrick's Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, and the National Shrine in Washington, DC.  He also did the sound for the Pope's 1979 visits to Yankee Stadium and Battery Park at the tip of Manhattan, and on Liberty Weekend in 1986, he again did the sound at Battery Park for an estimated 200,000 spectators.

After a rigorous security screening, Bob was hired by the White House to do sound for Presidents Carter and Reagan.  Later in the 1980's he joined the Radio Bedside Network and visited the VA hospitals weekly.  In the 1990's Bob sold his company and prepared to retire when he was approached by a major audio distributor to sell audio equipment to customers like NBC, CBS, and ESPN.

Bob retired on 30 acres of woods in upstate New York with a nice house and a beautiful office and studio at his home.  He continued to accept a few voice and music projects, and enjoyed showing visitors his collection of antique microphones and his collection of some 10,000 records.  He began a series of visitations at the local VA hospital where he walked around and swapped stories with the guys.  The VA patients treated him like a celebrity due to his AFVN experience, but, Bob modestly claimed "to me, they are the celebrities."

Bob passed away 18 October 2016 at the age of 73.  He had been diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer.

Felix L. Casipit


Felix Casipit, fondly known to his colleagues as "Bud," and described by a member of his command as "friendly, marvelously efficient, talented," was AFVN's next-to-last OIC.  The Lieutenant Colonel, an Army Signal Corps officer, was a native of Massachusetts, born 14 April 1933.

US troop strength had declined by the time of Col. Casipit's RVN tour, finally reaching a low point of approximately 30,000 before he rotated back home.  He was there, however, at an important time in US history, and he took his job very seriously.  During the 1972 US election campaign, LTC Casipit realized that AFVN's PSAs "urging" American troops to vote were ineffective.  He approved a stronger "get tough" message opining that those who didn't vote should forfeit their right to gripe later on.  "We don't have dependents around, so we can talk in the vernacular," he said at the time.  "We're talking to the American fighting man so we can say 'Get off your butt'. . . ."  Then on Election "Night," (which was actually the next afternoon in Saigon) AFVN-TV ran a US-style election report with a specially constructed set which allowed for rapid updates state-by-state.  "We figured the fellas over here were entitled to see as nearly as possible the same kind of coverage they see in the United States," Colonel Casipit explained.  The final results, as shown on AFVN's tote board (pictured above), appeared on every television set tuned to Channel 11.

He returned to stateside duty, and by the mid-1970's was named Chief of the Directorate for AudioVisual Activities.  In this position he was in charge of guidelines for a modern system of disseminating information.  Then in 1980, with a promotion to full Colonel, he was named Director of the Army Broadcasting Service.  It is amazing that during this period the busy LTC also enrolled in graduate school, earning a Ph.D in 1983.  The ABS was tasked to assume control of the American Forces Network worldwide, and COL Casipit reported directly to the Deputy Chief of Public Affairs.  Under the Colonel's leadership, AFN was unified and improved with new equipment, and radio/TV coverage was expanded in an effort to reach every US serviceman stationed overseas.

Following his retirement from active duty, COL Casipit accepted a civilian position with the Army Pictorial Command in Washington, DC.  This job would be the last time he would serve his country.  The Colonel unexpectedly passed away 3 September 1999 at the young age of 59.  He was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery, survived by wife Ruth and sons Anthony and Michael, all of suburban Washington, DC.

Mrs. Ruth Casipit died 10 February 2009, and joined the Colonel at Arlington.  Anthony, a teacher in the Fairfax County, Virginia school system is coordinator of the system's Junior ROTC program.  Michael is an engineer with defense industry contractor General Dynamics.

Duane Harlan Cassidy

As a Major in 1969, General Cassidy was a PID Briefing Officer

General Duane H. Cassidy was born in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania 24 November 1933.  He served in the United States Air Force for nearly 36 years, retiring in 1987.  Upon earning his commission as a second lieutenant in 1954, he became a rated Pilot and Navigator and he earned the Parachutist Badge.  His initial operational assignments in the Air Force were to the Military Air Transport Service.  During these assignments he participated in numerous rescue and weather reconnaissance missions, and also the hydrogen weapons tests in 1956 at Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshall Islands.  Then for ten years he flew bombers in the Strategic Air Command during the height of the cold war.

In September 1968, as a major, he was assigned to the Republic of Vietnam, serving first with 7th Air Force's Tactical Air Control Center and then, in 1969, with MACOI-PID as air briefer to the Saigon press corps.

He returned to the Air Force airlift mission in October 1969, and in August 1972 he assumed command of the 8th Military Airlift Squadron at McChord Air Force Base, Washington.  He entered the Air War College in August 1974 and, upon graduation in 1975, again served at Military Airlift Command headquarters, as assistant chief of staff.

In August 1976 General Cassidy was assigned as vice commander of the 63rd Military Airlift Wing at Norton Air Force Base, California, and in February 1978 he became commander of the wing.  He returned to Military Airlift Command headquarters in July 1980 and after initially serving as assistant deputy chief of staff he became the command's deputy chief of staff for operations in August 1981.

From October 1983 to August 1984 he served as commander of Military Airlift Command's 21st Air Force at McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey.  During this period Military Airlift Command was heavily involved in support of United States operations in Lebanon and Grenada, where he commanded the Air Armada that brought the US medical students home.  In September he assumed command of the Military Airlift Command (CINCMAC) and was promoted to General in November 1985.

On 1 October 1987, he assumed command of U.S. Transportation Command upon its initial activation.  As commander in chief of Transportation Command (CINCTRANSCOM), he was responsible for global land, air and sea transportation for all U.S. fighting forces.  Operating directly under the Joint Chiefs of Staff, this new unified command maintained a worldwide mobility system for use in contingency situations.  It incorporated as components not only the Military Airlift Command, but also the Navy's Military Sealift Command and the Army's Military Traffic Management Command.

The general retired from the Air Force 30 September 1989 with more than 8,000 flying hours.  His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Air Medal.

He then embarked on a civilian career in the transportation industry, joining CSX Corporation as Vice President, and later Senior Vice President for Sales and Marketing.  He held the position as Chairman of the Commercial Board until 1999.  He then served on the boards of several corporations and as a consultant to the Secretary of the Air Force.  He was named Vice Chairman of the National Defense Transportation Association and Chairman of the Airlift/Tanker Association.  In 2003 Governor Jeb Bush of Florida appointed the general as co-chairman of the Governor's Advisory Council on Base Closures.

He earned a BS in 1968 from the University of Nebraska, and an MS in 1975 from Troy State University.  He also attended specialized courses at Northwestern University, Harvard University, and the University of Pennsylvania.  He resided in peaceful retirement in Chapel Hill, North Carolina until his death 8 February 2016 following a short bout with cancer.  He was survived by Rosalie, his wife of 61 years, two daughters, two sons, eight grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.  Burial was in Arlington National Cemetery.

Editor's Note:  Factual material is from the official USAF biography with updates by General Cassidy.

Robert Spencer "Cas" Castagnetto

Cas as a young captain, a retired lieutenant colonel, and in a casual pose with wife Susan

Robert Castagnetto was born in 1931, the eldest of the three sons of John and Genevieve Castagnetto of San Francisco.  He graduated from St. Ignatius College Preparatory School, a Jesuit institution, in 1949, and from the University of San Francisco, also a Jesuit school, in 1954.  As an ROTC student at USF, he was commissioned the year prior to his graduation, and received orders for active duty upon the awarding of his degree.

He listed his Army assignments as follow:

1) Battery Platoon Leader; Battery Gunnery Officer; Battery Executive Officer; Assistant Battalion S-3 (Operations) and S-4 (Logistics); Battery Commander

2) Served in Anti-aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battery; a Sky Sweeper Gun Battery; Nike-Ajax, Nike-Hercules, and HAWK missile batteries

3) Served as Special Projects Officer for the Commandant of the Defense Information School for two years

4) During the last eight years before retiring in 1974, served two tours with MACOI and also two tours with the Office of Information, Department of the Army

In the first of the two MACOI tours listed above, Major Castagnetto was a briefing officer.  In his second tour as a Lieutenant Colonel, he was Chief of the Public Information Divison.

At the time of his retirement in 1974 his awards, decorations, and commendations included:  Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal

In retirement in Charles Town, West Virginia, Colonel Cas survived a 2012 bout with pancreatic cancer.  The disease, however, returned with a vengeance in February 2015, and this time it took only three months to claim his life.  He was 83.

Colonel Cas was survived by his wife Susan, a daughter, a son, three granddaughters, and a grandson.  Interment was in Berryhill, Virginia.

Gary David Cattrone

Three photos of Gary at AFVN are followed by a 2011 shot from Gary's time with Wente Vineyards.  Shown with Gary is Steve Paulson, popular San Francisco Bay area TV weatherman and former KPIX colleague of Gary's.  Mr. Paulson is a wine connoisseur and a Wente customer.  The final photo is of Gary and wife Dotty.

I grew up in Stockton, California and worked cutting hair.  I was a barber, actually a starving barber, because when the Beatles introduced the young folks to long hair it became very hard for a barber to make a living.  I was also going to junior college in Stockton part time, but I didn't have enough credits to keep me out of the draft, so I soon found myself at Fort Ord for Basic Training.  After the first few days of testing I was told my math scores qualified me for several MOS's, and among them was radio and TV electronics.  That's the one I chose, and I signed up for the required one-year extension and went on with basic training.  After basic, I was sent to Fort Monmouth in New Jersey, where I spent about eight months going to school.  I was then sent to the Army Pictorial Center in Astoria, New York, and worked with folks who made the Big Picture and military training films.

In the beginning of my third year of service I got orders for Vietnam.  Although I did not realize it before I arrived in Country, I was sent over there unassigned, and I was picked up by the Fourth PSYOP Group where the officer in charge noticed my MOS was TV cameraman and told me I should be over at MACV.  The next day I was sent up to AFVN's Detachment 1 at Qui Nhon.  When I arrived on Vung Chua Mountain, I was interviewed by Sergeant Hernandez, the NCO in charge TV equipment.  When he asked what I did back home I told him I was good at woodworking and building structures, and right away I was running the TV remote station, building a news set in the makeshift studio, and also building individual rooms in the quonset hut for some of the staff.  Before I returned to the USA 30 May 1969, I was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  I also received my honorable discharge a few days later.

I am proud to say that the Army was one of the best things that ever happened to me, as it gave me a career in the television industry.  Back in the USA as a civilian in 1969, I got jobs in New York City with NBC, and then with CBS, and then I worked back in my hometown of Stockton, California at KOVR, an ABC affiliate.  This led to a 34-year career in On-Air Operations at KPIX-TV in San Francisco.  KPIX gave me the opportunity to do a lot of different jobs.  Over the years I handled Master Control, Video Tape recording and playback, the editing of news stories, and studio camera for local shows.  I handled lighting, audio, and switching, and I was a tech on the news vans where I set up live shots, and I did a lot of sporting events.  I even worked up at the transmitter on occasion.  It was a great 34 years at KPIX, and I worked with a great group of people.  The TV broadcast industry was good to my family.

I am now happily retired, and love every minute of it.  I met my wife Dotty when I was assigned to the Army Pictorial Center, where she was working as a civilian.  As I write these words in 2015, we will soon celebrate 46 years of a wonderful marriage.  We have three great kids, six wonderful grandchildren, and we love and are so proud of all of them.  We like to travel a bit, to see friends.  My hobbies are playing guitar and singing, and woodworking.

Editor's Note:  Gary modestly left out any mention of his wine-making talents.  He and son Paul made wine for about 13 years.  "When I started," he writes, "I just wanted to make wine like my grandfather."  He credits Paul for improving the quality and increasing the output.  At their peak, Gary and Paul were producing about 200 cases of California wine per year.

The Indy International Wine Competition is an annual event at Purdue University.  Each year the judges examine almost 3000 wines from across the planet, and medals are awarded for the best in various categories.  In 2010 Gary and Paul won Silver Medals for their Barbera and their Pinot Noir.  They also won Silver at the San Joaquin County (California) Fair and at the California State Fair Home Wine Competition.  For a time during his retirement years, Gary was employed by the highly respected Livermore, California-based Wente Vineyards.

Marvin Knight Chase, Jr.

COL Chase as a young Captain in the Korean War.  This was his wife's favorite photo.

Marvin Chase, Jr. was born in Camden, New York on 14 March 1926.  From the time he was a young boy, he dreamed of becoming a soldier.  His dream was thwarted initially due to severe burns, especially of his face, neck and hands, sustained in an accident at the family's turkey ranch in Potrero, California.  After undergoing extensive plastic surgery over the course of many years throughout his childhood, he learned leadership skills in the Boy Scouts and achieved the rank of Life Scout.  He graduated from San Diego High School in June 1944 where he joined the Junior ROTC.  Marvin was a lay reader for St. John's Episcopal Church in Chula Vista.  He was also a member of the San Diego Press Club in 1944-48.  Even though he received an appointment to West Point and passed the scholastic and physical requirements he was denied admission due to his scarring.

He attended San Diego State College for one year, but left due to lack of funds and went to work for Consolidated Aircraft.  Subsequently, Marvin honed his journalism skills writing for the Coronado Compass Publishing Company from January 1947 to May 1951.  Marvin was active in the Army Reserve until he finally received a commission and reported to Fort Knox for the basic officers' Armor course in 1951.

In 1952 he volunteered for duty in Korea and was assigned to the 179th Infantry Regiment Tank Company of the 45th Infantry Division as a platoon leader in March 1953.  Only a few weeks later Marvin was wounded 9 April 1953 and he was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action, and the Purple Heart.  He recalled one Easter in Korea when he was unable to get a chaplain to celebrate Easter Services on the front lines.  He received permission from his priest in California to offer a prayer service, which was a great comfort to his troops.

In September 1953 he was transferred to the Far East Command in Tokyo, and he subsequently held command and staff assignments in Okinawa, Texas, Germany, Virginia, and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  Then while serving at the Pentagon as a Major, he volunteered for duty in Vietnam and was assigned to the Military Assistance Command Vietnam Office of Information in March 1966.  His 12-month tour in Saigon was spent as Senior Briefing Officer at the JUSPAO daily press briefings (the "Five O'Clock Follies").  In February 1967, a month prior to his return to CONUS, he received his BA from George Washington University.  Following a brief leave, he returned voluntarily for a second tour in Vietnam, this time with a promotion to Lieutenant Colonel in command of the 3rd Battalion, 6th Artillery in 1967-68.  Here he served during the Tet Offensive of 1968, and arms fire could easily be heard in the background of the tapes he sent home weekly to his family.  He was proud of the bravery of his men, especially when they thwarted an attack on the headquarters one night.  Not a single soldier was wounded.  The Montagnards of the mountains in South Vietnam presented Marvin with one of their weapons (which never made it back to the States) in appreciation of his service.  On returning to the US, he worked for the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel at the Pentagon.  In 1970 he was awarded an MS in International Affairs by George Washington University.

Marvin's 32 years of military service included 23 years as a field artillery officer overlapping with 27 years as a public affairs officer.  He worked at the Pentagon from 1970 until his retirement in 1982, and received a promotion to Colonel.  For several months in 1976 he was Chief of Public Information for General Alexander Haig at SHAPE in Belgium.

He passed away at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio after a massive heart attack 23 July 1995, and is buried in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.  He was survived by his wife Sally, a daughter, two sons, and five grandchildren.

Contributed by COL Chase's daughter, Mrs. Sarah Petrik

Louis Arthur "Lou" Chatelle

Captain Chatelle at AFVN, and at an AFVN awards ceremony with LTC James Adams

Louis A. "Lou" Chatelle was born 2 April 1935 and grew up in the Finger Lakes Area of New York State.

He enlisted in the US Marine Corps in September 1955.  Following his initial training and his first assignment as a field artillery cannoneer he volunteered for and was assigned to Special Foreign Duty with the State Department and served at the United States Embassies in Seoul, Korea and Tokyo, Japan from December 1957 until August 1960, whereupon completion he returned to the United States and duty with the First Marine Division.  In early 1962 he was assigned to Drill Instructor School, and subsequently duty as drill instructor at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego.  While there he was selected for appointment to Warrant Officer.  After completing the course of instruction he was assigned to the Ninth Marine Corps Reserve and Recruiting District in Kansas City, Missouri.  In November 1965 he was ordered to the First Marine Aircraft Wing, first as the Informational Services Officer at the Marine Corps Air Station, Iwakuni, Japan and later to the Informational Services Office in Da Nang, RVN, where he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant.  Following that assignment he returned to the United States for duty at The Twelfth Marine Corps District in San Francisco.  While there he was promoted to First Lieutenant and Captain and sent back to the Republic of Vietnam where he was placed in command of the American Forces Vietnam Network's Radio and Television stations at Quang Tri and later at Qui Nhon.  Returning to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in mid-1970, he commanded Company "C," served as operations and training officer of the First Recruit Training Battalion, and later on the Commanding General's Staff as Public Affairs Officer.  His final assignment in the Marine Corps was as the Deputy Director of the Camp Pendleton Public Affairs Office from which he retired in September 1975.

During his twenty years as a Marine, Captain Chatelle earned the Air Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal with Gold Star and "V" Device, unit citations from the United States and Republic of Vietnam, the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal with Bronze Star, and service and campaign awards.

Schools:  Marine Embassy Guard School, 1957; Drill Instructor School, 1962; Marine Warrant Officers' Screening Course, 1964; Marine Warrant Officers' Basic Course, 1964; Informational Services/Public Affairs Officers' Course, 1964.

Record of Promotions:  Private First Class E-2, May 1956; Corporal E3, November 1956; Sergeant E-4, December 1957; Sergeant E-5, June 1960; Warrant Officer, February 1964; Second Lieutenant, May 1967; First Lieutenant, September 1968; Captain, January 1969.

He and his wife, Mary, live in San Diego.  They have a son, Kenneth, a former Marine, a daughter, Lisa, and three grandchildren.

John Thomas Cheeley


John Cheeley, elder of the two sons of Mr. and Mrs. Henry George Cheeley of St. Louis, was born 2 June 1939.  He enlisted in the Army out of high school, and was serving at American Forces Radio Alaska when the historic 1964 earthquake occurred.  Two years later he reported to DINFOS as an instructor, and then as a Sergeant First Class he spent 1970 as AFVN's NCOIC at Detachment 3 in Pleiku, replacing MSG Chester McNeese.  Returning to CONUS 5 January 1971, having been awarded a Joint Service Commendation Medal, Cheeeley was sent to a second tour at DINFOS.

Upon his retirement in 1983 as a Sergeant Major with 25 years of service, Cheeley remained in the Indianapolis area, the scene of a significant portion of his military career.

In retirement, he took a job with the American Red Cross while he kept busy in charities and other organizations.  John had been a supporter of the Boy Scouts of America since he had joined the Cub Scouts at the age of eight.  As an adult in 1995 he had been awarded the Silver Beaver, Scouting's highest award, and in 2013 the Crossroads of America Council presented him the Daniel Carter Beard Masonic Scouter Award.  He has also served as an adult leader in the Firecrafter organization, which has similarities to the Boy Scouts, and was awarded that organization's highest rank.  His memberships included the Free and Accepted Masons (F& A M), and the Murat Shrine, the largest Shrine Temple in North America.

Following a brief period of hospitalization, John died 16 November 2014.  Funeral services took place in the Indiana Masonic Home in Franklin, and burial was in Forest Lawn Memory Gardens Cemetery, Greenwood, Indiana.  John was survived by wife Susan, three children, and three grandchildren.

Walter C. Christiansen

Born 5 August 1946, Walt Christiansen was an up-and coming Army staff sergeant when he arrived in 1971 at AFVN.  Over the past five years he had already been an AFRTS radio and TV broadcaster in Berlin, and his assignment prior to Vietnam had been at Alaskan Forces Radio Network, where he had worked both sides of the microphone.  In Saigon he was News NCOIC for the network, with collateral duties as television newscaster and producer.

The following year found him in the radio/TV division of the US Army Pacific producing the radio program PACIFIC REPORT, and serving as Chief of Television at Tripler Army Medical Center.  With the POW release at War's end in Vietnam, he was also selected to produce Operation Homecoming programming for AFRTS affiliates worldwide.

Later postings included Network Chief Announcer for AFN-Europe/Frankfurt; Announcer, DeeJay, and Producer at AFN-Europe/Kaiserlautern; and News Director, News Anchor, and Producer for American Forces Korea Network.  Then in 1979 he received a three-year assignment to develop and teach the Broadcast Managers Course at Defense Information School at Fort Benjamin Harrison.

This stateside duty was followed by six years in Korea, during which time he was promoted to Sergeant Major.  His first posting as advisor to Korean electronic media was followed by assignment as American Forces Korea Network Director of Special Operations.  In this capacity, he produced specialty programming in Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, and other countries in southeast Asia.  Then with his final promotion Walt filled the position of AFKN Sergeant Major with the added duty of producing AFKN's coverage of the Seoul Olympic Games, which were transmitted to AFRTS outlets around the world.

Following his distinguished and very busy Army career, the retired Sergeant Major moved to leisurely Panama City Beach, Florida, but in 2000 he was hired for a civilian job with the United Seamen's Service (USS).  This non-profit, federally chartered organization does for merchant seamen what the USO does for the military, with centers in ports around the world.  Walt accepted a Civil Service GS-14 position as Senior Director of the USS Center in Naha, Okinawa.  His facility provided a number of services for ships and sailors that bring supplies needed by the US military.  There was a restaurant, bar, library, gift shop, game room, telephone bank, and internet cafe.

After five years in Okinawa, Walt transferred to Pusan, Korea, where he serves American seaman with two USS facilities in the world's fifth-largest seaport.  Walt and wife Sue live comfortably in Pusan, South Korea's second largest city.  The Christiansens are the parents of four sons and four daughters, and they have 11 grandchildren.  Back home, the family is scattered across America, mostly in Arizona, Florida, and Indiana.

Dan Christopher (Drobnick)

An on-air shot of Dan at AFVN in 1970 is followed by a nice photo 46 years later

Though I served in the Army with my given name, Dan Drobnick, the name change to Dan Christopher took place in 1976 when I went to work as a news anchor in Tucson.

While in college, I worked as a reporter for KDAL-TV in Duluth, Minnesota.  Following graduation, I volunteered for the Army and arrived in Vietnam 11 July 1969.  After my discharge from Vietnam on 30 July 1970, I went to work as a producer for WGN Radio and Television in Chicago, then as an anchor for KVOA-TV in Arizona, then as an anchor for KOVR-TV in Sacramento, then as an anchor/reporter for KATU-TV in Portland, Oregon.

For the last 30 years of my broadcast career while in Portland, I also owned a professional portrait studio, which has been a wonderful experience.  In mid-2015, my wife and I moved to Las Vegas to be closer to our children and reopened my studio.  (  I am also a freelance news and promotional writer.

While I started my tour in South Vietnam in Long Binh as a clerk-typist at the Head Shed, my buddies soon began rotating back to The World.  They encouraged me to apply for a job at AFVN in Saigon, because I had already worked in television news.  The bosses at the television station told me if I could get my command to release me, they wanted me to be part of the radio-TV staff.

Within a month or so, my transfer was approved.  I took over as an anchor soon after Robert "Bob" Lawrence, as is reported in this website, became a chaplain's assistant, following his on-the-air accusations that MACV was censoring the news.  To say the least, it was a tense time in the studio.  I walked straight into the fire as the new kid on the block.

I soon got a sense of the frustration that Bob Lawrence must have gone through about controlled news.  Here's why.  Our news scripts were reviewed by mid-level officers before we went on the air.  I suppose there was a spot of wisdom in that, because some news staffers had limited experience as professional journalists.  However, at the same time, U.S. troops in Nam were supposed to receive the same news that aired back in the states, except for certain strategic information that could compromise our troops in the war zone.  Things like troop movements.

Yet the officers reviewing scripts were often overly cautious in what they would allow us to say.  That meant, at least in my case, a fair amount of "negotiation" with the officers about the news rules.  I felt compelled to "negotiate" as hard as I could to provide our military personnel with the information they were entitled to, knowing that I could not serve that purpose well if I was reassigned.  Please know that this is not a commentary on what Mr. Lawrence did.

The military's control of information was an equal source of frustration at the so-called "Five O'clock Follies" held in a hotel lobby in downtown Saigon.  That's where network correspondents gathered once a day to for a press briefing on the war.  Info was tightly controlled.  Since then, of course, the World Wide Web has made all of this a moot point for today's troops.  Unlimited global information is now available on-line.

As I drew closer to the end of my tour -- still recalling the events with Mr. Lawrence and my continuing "negotiations" about news scripts -- there seemed to be a nervousness among the brass about what I might say on the air.  I was suddenly assigned to a satellite AFVN broadcast facility at a post way up in Quang Tri - not far from the DMZ.  There I would anchor the news out of a cramped trailer, still devoted to doing my best for the troops far away from the bright lights and chaos of Saigon.  An affable medic volunteered as the sportscaster and became the only other person on-air in that tin can outpost during my tenure.  After several weeks in that quaint little suburb I was reinstated as a main anchor at the AFVN news desk in Saigon and remained there until my departure.  I had the pleasure of working with dedicated news guys from all branches of the service.  One of them, Mike Sullivan, would later become the best man at our wedding.

Here's a sidebar:  The night before I left Saigon, a half dozen of my best buddies from AFVN were gracious enough to give me a going away party at a fine French restaurant in the city.  With pinched pennies, we dined at that restaurant when possible.  The owner and the entertainers were most accommodating and gracious, often joining us at our table for good conversation and a complimentary round of aperitifs.

Evidently, the job of my buddies that night was to get me as shit-faced as possible.  They did their job well.  Much of the revelry became a blur.  After our meal, they poured me into a jeep and joined me for a return to the barracks.  I would only find out the next morning about the sobering drama that had transpired that night before.

I'm setting the stage here.  All this happened about the same time that the ARVN had seized the so-called Parrot's Beak region following their retaliatory attack against the Khmer Rouge.  It was one of their few victories.  They were feeling their oats.  They felt they earned something special.

As it was explained to me, a rag-tag bunch of off-duty renegades from the ARVN had heard about the "rich" soldiers who were eating at that French restaurant, and had evidently posted themselves nearby to rob and even incapacitate us as we left.  The proprietor of the restaurant got wind of the plan.  I can never fully repay his thoughtful kindness on behalf of all of us who were there.  He went outside to deal with the thugs.  Instead of just sending us on our way, he paid them off with food and cash.  He also summoned the MP's who also deserve hero status for arriving in force to give our lubricated band of revelers a well-armed escort back to our barracks.  Of course, none of this compares with the perils that our guys in the swamps and jungles faced day after day.

Here's a footnote:  During my last night on the air delivering the news, the television control room was brimming with nervous officers watching me closely and presumably prepared to pounce on some "kill" button if I strayed from procedure and mentioned something like censorship.  I did not.  We were all simply doing our jobs.  I returned to the states the next day.  Honorably.  And gratefully.  An experience -- with memorable friendships -- none of us will ever forget.

Edward J. Cielesz


Summoned by Uncle Sam in 1969, Ed Cielesz went to DINFOS in Indianapolis to brush up on his journalist skills before shipping out to Vietnam for a tour with MACOI.  Assigned in 1970-71 to the Command Information Division, he served as a staff writer for the MACV Observer, the official weekly MACV newspaper.  Somehow, given names became unimportant at the CID; nicknames abounded.  The CO, LTC Nealon, was Moose, and others were called The Silver Fox, The Bear, Redneck, TopCop, Gunny, Kansas, Sleazy, Gray, and Professor.  Although there was no Dopey, Sleepy, or Doc, there was a Hurricane J. Mouse, and that was Ed.  "Reasons unknown," he says.  Before his 9 June 1971 departure, Ed was awarded a Joint Service Commendation Medal.

After MACOI his next stop was at NATO/SHAPE in Belgium, where he worked with the administration and the adjutant general's office in developing an information base for newly assigned personnel.  Then in March 1972 he returned to the USA, assigned to the 395th Evacuation Hospital, which was run by a reserve unit in Gary, Indiana.  Although Ed makes no claim that he was NCOIC of his section, the fact remains that he worked in a one-man office.  One of his jobs was to publish the unit newsletter, which at that point had not yet been born.  His first task was to select a medical-sounding name for the journal, and as a trial balloon he floated "Band-Aid."  Perfect.  But then the CO had reservations.  What if there were a copyright infringement lawsuit?  Ed worried a bit because the travel time from Gary to Fort Leavenworth was only eight hours by transport van.  When the first of the monthly two-page newsletters rolled off the mimeograph, it carried the clever title THE GAUZETTE.  He remained editor-publisher until his discharge in March 1973, at which time he became Editor-Publisher Emeritus.

Ed became a successful businessman in the cities of Lowell and Lake Village in the extreme northwest corner of Indiana.  Located just off I-65, south of Gary, Lowell is best known as the hometown of Jo Anne Worley, of the 1960s-70s classic television series, Laugh-In.  The town also boasts the oldest Labor Day parade in the state.  As owner of two automotive facilities, Ed was assisted in the family businesses by wife Sandra, whom he married in 1986.  He opened an auto body repair shop in 1983 and stayed there until he sold it in 1989.  Later that year he opened a new towing and used car company, Frontier Automotive Service, Inc.  Then he purchased AutoPool, Inc. (dba P&L Auto Pool) which was an auto auction company specializing in the sale of damaged insurance vehicles, repossessed and used dealer cars, and donated charity cars from across the country.  He combined both businesses into a single location.  Then in 2008 he sold all his business interests and retired.

Ed and Sandra are a community-minded pair of citizens.  Among their public spirited contributions is their partial sponsorship of the annual Western Horse Show at the Lake County Fair.  They reside on a small farm outside of Lowell, and in 2013 Ed completed a long-time project of restoring his 1971 Corvette.  He continued the work on his 1958 Chevy.

Joseph Felix "Joe" Ciokon, Jr.

Joe in the early days; with daughter, Lisa, USN; and screenshot of 2009 national TV interview aboard USS Midway

Born January 18, 1939, near Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri.  Joe is a Commercial Art graduate of Hadley Technical High School, St. Louis.  He entered the Naval Air Reserve February 12, 1956.  After Boot Camp, he was hired at McDonnell Aircraft Corporation in the Aeronautical Engineering Department, where he produced silk screens for the first line production model of the F-4H "Phantom" fighter aircraft of Vietnam War fame.  He was called to active duty September, 1957, and remained until retirement with 30 years distinguished service.

Joe's military career has spanned a broad spectrum of experience as a Navy aerial photographer, newspaper editor, and broadcaster worldwide.

Combat Veteran:  Joe served a tour of duty in Vietnam (1967-'68).  As the Television News Director and Anchor in Saigon, he covered the TET Offensive extensively for the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS).  He received a personal decoration for his work from General William C. Westmoreland, Commander U.S. Military Assistance Command (MACV).  Later, in another dangerous theater, he received the Purple Heart medal for wounds suffered during the terrorist attack on the Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, October 23, 1983.  He served as senior enlisted advisor for Navy forces ashore while on temporary duty from FASOTRAGRUPAC, NAS North Island, where he served as Media Services Division Officer and Command Master Chief.

Returning to San Diego in September, 1986, after his final Navy assignment as Command Master Chief of the Navy Broadcasting Service, Washington, D.C., he joined a limited partnership with a local advertising agency, producing commercial videos until December, 1987, when he was hired as a marketing consultant for a local developer.

Joe was called to Navy Civil Service in January, 1988, and retired May 30, 2003, from his tenure as a GS-13 Public Relations Specialist on the personal staff of the three-star admiral in charge of all Naval Aviation assets, Commander Naval Air Forces.

Joe has a pending B.S. in Education, Training, and Development from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.  (We at the MACOI Website were curious as to the word "pending."  Joe patiently explained that alghough he had finished the academics, he had just not got around to requesting the paper.  He was busy, and a strong believer in first things first>/em>.)  He is a qualified Department of Defense Instructor.  He also holds a Fifth black belt in Kodokan Judo and serves as Head Coach for the Navy Judo Team.  He was training camp manager and assistant coach for the 1980 and '84 U.S. Olympic Judo teams.

In September, 2003, he was asked to join the MIDWAY Museum team and accepted a volunteer position as the ship's Public Affairs Officer (PAO).  He was recently honored as the Volunteer of the Year for 2006, with over two thousand volunteer hours for the museum.

Joe is married to the former Mary Quiroz of Chicago, IL, also a Navy Veteran.  They met at NAS North Island in 1964, and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in April 2018.  They have three adult children and reside in Poway, CA.

(A SAD UPDATE:  Following a lengthy illness, Master Chief Journalist Joe Ciokon passed away 4 March 2021, surrounded by his family.  In addition to wife Mary, Joe's surviving family includes daughter Lisa and sons Joe III and Ramon.  Interment was in Section 10, Site 264 of Miramar National Cemetery, San Diego. Following a lengthy illness, Master Chief Journalist Joe Ciokon passed away 4 March 2021, surrounded by his family.  In addition to wife Mary, Joe's surviving family includes daughter Lisa and sons Joe III and Ramon.  Interment was in Section 10, Site 264 of Miramar National Cemetery, San Diego.)

Bernard Clancy


Bernie Clancy was drafted into the Australian Army and was sent to Vietnam in April 1968.  It was not unexpected, and it was not truly unpleasant.  Australian forces had been engaged in the Vietnam War since 9 June 1966, and Bernie looked upon the war as an adventure.  He was a journalist, albeit only for a bi-weekly newspaper in his small home town.  One day he hoped to write a book about his experiences.

His plans were not actually fulfilled until more than 30 years had passed.  His novel, Best We Forget, was published in September 1998, but by that time he was a successful journalist, a playwright by virtue of "Foxholes of the Mind," which had good reviews, and now an author.  He knew he owed his success to his Vietnam adventure.

He had been an Army reporter in Vietnam, and he had enjoyed a daily outing on AFVN, having been assigned to the daily five-minute broadcast of Australian news.  He returned home in April 1969, and on 13 November 1969 the Aussie troops were no longer treated to the daily AFVN news reports.  On that day, 7 months after his DEROS, AFR (Australian Forces Radio) began broadcasting from a station in Vung Tau for four hours each day.

Back in Australia, Bernie signed on with the Melbourne Sun News Pictorial in 1972, and stayed with the newspaper until 1988, when he founded a public relations business, and consulted with some of the nation's biggest companies.  He retired in order to move to the Bellarine Peninsula on the southeastern edge of the country, where he practiced beach bumming and golfing.

His novel is a good read, described by one critic as "Australia's Catch 22."  It's available in the USA as of this writing in 2016 at Amazon, Alibris and the other regular places.

Bill Clarke

a pair of shots of Bill at KMGH and one with his retirement beard

Bill Clarke got his start in radio as a deejay at KLZ-FM while a student at the University of Denver.  He graduated in 1967, and entered the US Army the following year.  After training at Fort Lewis and Fort Benning, he was assigned to the Public Information Office of the First Cavalry Division at Phuoc Vinh, Vietnam.  While working as a radio producer at First Cav, Bill was assigned TDY to AFVN in Saigon.  Here he worked in television production and on-air news, including coverage of the daily MACV press briefings at JUSPAO.  He was also assigned to the production team which filmed a documentary about US military action in Cambodia.

When he returned to civilian life in 1970, he resumed his media career -- this time in television news.  For a time he worked in Dallas at KDFW, but he was primarily a Denverite, and his career was at KCNC (Channel 4 -- CBS) and KMGH (Channel 7 -- ABC).

Beginning in 1985, Bill was Channel 7's consumer reporter.  Along with advice and warnings on products and services, Bill also reported on entertainment, politics, and business, but his primary concern was the health and welfare of Denver-area consumers.  Among his regular features were an annual tour of California wine country, and a popular series called "One-Tank Trips," which featured excursions to interesting sites which could be accomplished on a single tank of gas.

After 20 years, Bill tapered back a bit, appearing on-air only three days a week, but by 2007 he felt the need to get away from the daily grind and he entered the retirement phase of life.  For a brief time, however, he was pulled back into consumer reporting as a columnist for Denver's Rocky Mountain News.  The newspaper, however, ceased publication in February 2009.

Today, Bill spends his time doing "fun things," like travel, writing, voice work, and continuing to do special projects in the community.  Over the years he had lent support to a number of charities such as Volunteers of America and Habitat for Humanity, and his work in that area is unabated.

Adolfo M. "Al" Claros


In a message to the MACOI Website, Al Claros related that he had "read with interest all the stories told by many of our friends who served in AFVN.  It did bring back memories of those gone by years."  Al, an Air Force Tech Sergeant, had served Nha Trang's Detachment 4 in 1972-73 as its final NCOIC.  "Myself with two other guys," Al continued, "closed the place down and shipped everything stateside, and we were shipped back to the US."

Born 10 July 1935, Al Claros was an American by choice, having immigrated to the US from Panama.  He brought his technical skills to the Air Force, and found a home there.

After leaving the military, Al attended the University of Texas at Arlington in 1975-77.  His civilian education, together with his military experience, brought him to KDAF-TV, Channel 33 in Dallas, where he was employed as a broadcast engineer.  Since he was highly skilled in still photography, he also sought and accepted photography projects in his off duty hours.

With wife, Tsui-O, and adult daughter Linda Ann, Al settled in the town of Pantego, Texas, which is located in the urban sprawl between Dallas and Fort Worth, and borders the city of Arlington.  Among his numerous present or past civic activities is membership on Pantego's Planning and Zoning Commission and vice chairmanship of the town's Zoning Board of Adjustments.  He is also an active member of the Society of Broadcast Engineers Chapter 67 in Dallas, and of the local Lions Club, where he has served in numerous leadership positions, including president.  He also serves on the board of directors of the Lions Organ and Eye Bank.  In 2010 he was named Pantego's Lion of the Year.

Laurie Amber Clemons (aka Mrs. Stephen E. Parkerton)

1) Laurie wishes us a Merry Christmas, 2) spins a vinyl LP for her AFVN listening audience, 3) checks the international headlines(?) in Stars and Stripes, and then a few years later (4) she's an officer of the law.

Laurie, a California native, relocated to Alaska when she was 18.  Her father, a hard-hat diver, had taken a job in Cook's Inlet.  Although her surfboard was useless in the 49th state, Laurie loved Alaska.  Her only sister, Jaye, lives in Sterling, Alaska and works as cook on the very oil rig her father helped build.  The two sisters are very close.

Laurie had known since childhood that she wanted to serve in the military.  Her mother had served in the Army Air Force in Italy during WWII, and her father had served in the Coast Guard.  She picked the Air Force because she loved jet fighter aircraft.  When other girls were playing with dolls, Laurie had made a kit model of the F-104 Starfighter and memorized the nomenclature and capabilities of the entire F-100 series.  She knew she could not be a pilot ("I got air-sick on playground swings.  Besides, women weren't allowed to be pilots."), so she set her sights on Aircraft Controller.

Joining the Air Force in February 1967, she took basic training at Lackland AFB, Texas, and then went to Keesler AFB, Mississippi for OJT as a personnel specialist.  Air Force regulations at the time barred females from several classifications, including Air Traffic Controller.  She received TDY training as a Personnel Specialist at Amarillo AFB, Texas.  While at Keesler, Laurie met, married and divorced a fellow airman ("a great guy," she says.  We're still in touch.").  She extended her enlistment for two years in 1972 in order to attend Broadcast Specialist school at DINFOS, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana.  After DINFOS she returned to Keesler for a few months, awaiting orders for AFVN, Saigon.

"I ended up in Vietnam," Laurie says, "because I pulled strings to go there.  I made friends with the duty assignment guy at DINFOS and he asked where I'd like to go.  I said 'Vietnam'.  He was a bit taken aback and asked 'Wouldn't you like SHAPE Headquarters in Belgium?,' and I repeated 'Vietnam'."  Family tradition was involved in Laurie's decision.  "My mother had served in a war zone," she explained, "and I wanted to follow in the family footsteps."  Laurie's curiosity and sense of adventure also played a part.  "I'd seen the Vietnam War on TV for years and wanted to see what it was really about," she says.

Upon arrival in Saigon in November 1971, Laurie became the first woman permanently assigned to AFVN.  She was given the classical music program on AFVN-FM.  Due to the prevailing attitude that "women are not authoritative enough to carry a TV news program", she did not get in front of the camera.  Instead, she achieved success directing the live TV newscasts.  It was during this period that she met and began to date a fellow radio broadcaster named John Allgood.

Laurie was discharged from the Air Force in late 1972, and joined her mother and sister in Alaska (her father had passed on).  John Allgood was reassigned to Fort Lewis, Washington upon his return from Vietnam a few months later, and Laurie and John were married in Tacoma, Washington.

In 1975 Laurie joined the Navy Reserve as a JO (Navy Journalist) for eight years after which she transferred to the Army Reserve, always remaining in the broadcast field, serving 12 more years.  She is now retired from the military reserves.  In 1976 Laurie and John separated and she moved to California to embark on a career in Law Enforcement.  In early 1978, after graduation from the Police Academy on the GI Bill, she became a full-time police officer for Westminster P.D. in Orange County, California.  Soon she and John Allgood officially divorced (John died in Los Angeles in 2006).  Laurie served as a patrol officer for ten years, a detective for nine years, and then was assigned to the Westminster Mall security detail for a year. Undergoing six-way bypass heart surgery ended her police career.  For years Laurie had been mis-diagnosed with chronic heartburn, but when proper tests were finally run, the heart problem was found, and immediate surgery was required.  She says "My heart was in great shape -- it was the plumbing that sucked.  I woke up sliced, diced and tattooed."  She was medically retired at the age of 48.

In post retirement Laurie resumed the active life to which she had become accustomed.  After obtaining a Private Investigator's license she began a ten-year stint performing security clearance background investigations with USIS (US Investigative Services, Inc.), a company on contract with DOD.  This second career ended, however, when the global banking collapse of 2008 triggered a reduction in government hiring, which in turn forced USIS to reduce its staff.  All contract employees were terminated.

While full retirement works for many of us, it did not suit this busy young lady.  "As of 2009 I've been fully retired and pretty much hate it," she reported.  She partially filled the void with an impressive travelogue.  Over the years, she has been, in her words, "to China, Russia, Europe, back to Asia, the Carribean, and all places north, south, east and west."  She even returned to Vietnam a few years ago.  After seeing the sights of present-day Saigon ("You wouldn't recognize it."), she cruised up the Mekong river into Cambodia, and stayed in Siem Riep to see "the wonderful ruins and the not-so-wonderful killing fields."  From there, she visited Thailand, a country she loves, where she took R&R from Vietnam.  She returned there twice as an Army reservist for Operation Cobra Gold, a joint country military exercise.  "I could live in Thailand," she says.

But she does not live in Thailand.  In October 2019 she reports "Parks and I have moved to Coeur D'Alene (Idaho), half an hour east of Spokane, Washington and about an hour from the Canadian border."  Parks, her husband of 25 years, is Stephen E. Parkerton.  Like Laurie, Parks is retired police officer, and also like Laurie, he is a Vietnam Vet.  His service in the USMC included two RVN tours as an EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) Tech, and perhaps not surprisingly with a 2336 MOS, Parks was wounded while performing his duties.  The old war wounds have continued, and chronic pain has limited his mobility.  The new home is quite different from the former digs in Mission Viejo, which was about an hour from the Mexican border.  Laurie says it's a "lovely area.  We have a beautiful view and ten wooded, rocky unusable acres.  We also have a small herd of 18 elk that visit, a few white tail deer and the occasional group of wild turkeys."

Coeur D'Alene (pronounced "Kor de Layn"), with a population of about 50,000, is the largest city in the Idaho panhandle.  Locals, as well as outsiders who do not speak French, refer to it simply as "CDA."  It was designated an All American City in 1990 by the National Civic League, and among Laurie and Parks' neighbors you'll find the designer of Voyager, the first aircraft to fly non-stop around the world.  That would be Mr. Burt Rutan whose home overlooks the Coeur D'Alene Lake.  Medal of Honor Recipient Colonel Pappy Boyington of Black Sheep Squadron fame was born there, and Academy Award winner Patty Duke is buried there.  Laurie and Parks are convinced their relocation was right.  "In Idaho," Laurie boasts, "gun possession is encouraged and we actually have four distinct seasons.  S-o-o-o different from SoCal.  We should have done it many moons ago."

Jerome Laverne Cleveland

1) Commander Cleveland at AFVN, and 2) Captain Cleveland in retirement

Navy Captain Jerry Cleveland is today a Florida retiree.  His Navy career, which spanned 21 years, was spent in public affairs, and he remains today a member of the US Navy Public Affairs Alumni Association.

As a LCDR in July 1966, the Captain was assigned to MACOI's Press Section, but it was soon learned that he had a background in television, and a transfer to AFVN was quickly arranged.  At that time, the TV facility in Saigon was under construction, and television was temporarily being provided by seven airborne TV stations.  Navy crews flew high over the country broadcasting information and entertainment to the troops below, and the commander's expertise was needed to complete the transition to a land-based unit.  In October the ground station was up and running, and by July 1967, when the commander rotated back to CONUS, AM/FM radio and television were broadcast from a single modern facility.  "It was a rewarding tour of duty," the Captain reports.

He retired in 1975, and has lived in Stuart, Florida ever since.  Stuart, known as the "Sailfish Capital of the World," is a city of about 15,000 located just off US A1A, midway between Cocoa Beach and Cape Coral.  The Captain's residence is situated on a canal with easy access to the Atlantic Ocean, and only blocks from a beautiful Par-71 golf course operated by the Stuart Yacht and Country Club.

Since the death of the Captain's wife, Mrs. Lona Lee Byrd Cleveland, in 2003 after 48 years of marriage, his family has consisted of four sons and eight grandchildren.

Preston Cluff

Photos 1, 2, and 3 show Preston at AFVN.  Photo 4 shows him as a happy civilian.  The final photo serves as documentary proof that some fish stories are true.  About those Alaskan King Salmon, Pres confesses "my wife has caught the biggest one over the years (55 pounds)."  But, he continues, "Quantity-wise, we load up mostly on reds.  We also get silvers, and once or twice a year get out on the ocean for some halibut."  As of 2014, Preston has been fishing Alaskan waters for 36 years.  Looks like he's about to get the hang of it.

Born in February of 1944 in North Conway, New Hampshire, I was very close to not even seeing military service.  Hell raising that resulted in a police record caused four branches of the military to reject my request for enlistment.  This caused a momentary sigh of relief as I knew I would now not be going to Vietnam.  Then a "funny thing happened on the way to the forum;" the Army still saw fit to draft me in October 1965!

Assigned to the 196th Light Infantry Brigade, I attended Basic at Fort Devins, Massachusetts, and AIT at "Camp" Drum, New York.  Then, it was off to Nam in June of '66 where we set up our base at Tay Ninh, and later moved to Chu Lai as part of the Americal Division.  It was with the 196th that I earned the CIB.

I applied for and was granted an extension in May of '67.  From then until my departure in June of '71 I served with AFVN.  With a lot of help from Marine MSGT Dan Dougherty and soon-to-be longtime friend Nick Paladino, I finally got a chance to do on-air radio and television sports.  I must admit Nick and I were partying fools when not at work.  We then followed each other to the American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) in Virginia.

From there I went on to the Alaska Network at Elmendorf AFB as news and sports director, to be followed by an assignment with the 4th PSYOP Group at Fort Bragg.  Then came a two-year stint with AFKN, Yongsan, Republic of Korea, from 1992-94.  It was here that SGM Bob Nelson worked his magic and got me back to Alaska in the public affairs field at Fort Richardson.  My final assignment was as Public Affairs Supervisor at Presidio of San Francisco, finally retiring as a MSG (E-8) after 27 years in October, 1992.

I immediately went to work in a civil service position with the Fort Richardson fitness center sports office.  I retired from civil service at the ripe old age of 62 in 2006.

My wife, Jae, and I wed in October of 1994.  We spend virtually every summer weekend on the bank of some river here, loading up on salmon.  During the winter months (while Jae continues to work) I must endure day after day of football, basketball or hockey on the tube.  It's a rough life, but I wouldn't trade it for anything!

Barry Preston Coffman

Barry Coffman, the son of a WWII Marine sergeant, was born 20 December 1948.  The Coffman family, which also included Barry's younger sister, Susan, resided in the northwestern Virginia town of Dayton, not far from the West Virginia state line.  Following his 1966 graduation from Turner Ashby High School in neighboring Bridgewater, Virginia, Barry entered the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, where he earned his AB in speech and theater in 1970.  He then entered the military service, and served as an Army SP4 at AFVN in 1971-72.  In his off-duty hours, Barry volunteered as a performer with the Saigon Community Theatre, a stage production company made up of English-speaking amateurs with a regular production schedule that included such diverse Broadway plays as "The Odd Couple," "The Lion in Winter," "Bell, Book and Candle," and "Under Milkwood."

Returning to civilian status in 1972, Barry settled in Richmond, Virginia and worked for an advertising agency.  Then from 1975 to 1982 he served as president and general manager of WGOE radio, a progressive format station operating at 1590 khz.  Moving to the island of Guam, the US territory in the Mariana island chain, Barry taught for a time and worked for the local cable TV system.  Back in Virginia in 1989, he earned his MA from the University of Richmond and was employed as advertising and sales manager for Storer Cable in Chesterfield County.  The operation was soon bought out and expanded by Comcast, and one of the new employees was Miss Brenda Nunnally, who would become Barry's wife.  The newlyweds built a house in Deltaville, a picturesque community on the shores of Chesapeake Bay at the eastern end of Middle Peninsula.

Leaving Comcast in 1998, Barry became publisher of a regional trade magazine, and a year later he and Brenda bought a small retail establishment in Hartfield, Virginia.  They renamed the little store Coffman's on the Coast, and transformed it into a gift and clothing boutique aimed at the tourist trade.  Four years later, the Coffmans opened a second store in Tappahannock and Barry quit the magazine.  As of this writing in 2012, he busies himself in community service.  Having served as president and assistant governor of the Rotary Club, he was named to the executive board of the William and Mary Alumni Association.  Brenda serves on the board of Friends of the Deltaville Library, and both Barry and Brenda have served on the committee for the Lieukemia Cup Regatta for a number of years.

Duane Irvin Collison

Duane, a 1956 graduate of Nichols High School in Muscatine, Iowa, was raised in unincorporated Wap Sinococ, Iowa.  The son of Mr. and Mrs. Forest Collison, Duane's family also included a younger brother and an older sister.

His Air Force enlistment soon took him to Loring Air Force Base, Maine, now defunct, but at the time a major element of the Strategic Air Command.  Then, following promotion to the NCO ranks at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, Sergeant Collison was sent to Vietnam in November 1968.  First assigned to AFVN's Saigon studio, he was reassigned three months later to Detachment 7 at Chu Lai, where as Chief Engineer his task was to oversee equipment operations of Channel 13, which began broadcast 14 March 1969.  On 24 October 1969, two weeks prior to his return to CONUS, Duane was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal.

It was during his first Air Force assignment at Loring AFB that Duane married the former Miss Yvonne Hora of Lone Tree, Iowa.  The wedding on 14 May 1959 was followed by the births of two sons, Ricky in 1960 and Roy in 1962.  The Collisons celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in 2019 at their home in Abilene, Texas.

Dennis Virgil Colston

Dennis Colston had been a high school athlete.  At Waynesville (Ohio) High, he was a four-year Letterman in Track, and was holder of the Warren County Long Jump Record.  He was also a 2-year Letterman in Basketball, and scored 338 points his senior year.  Then in 1988, 27 years after his graduation, he was inducted into the Waynesville High School Sports Hall of Fame.

Born 18 June 1943 to Mr. and Mrs. Virgil B. Colston, Dennis grew up with a brother and a sister.  After high school, he joined the Army, where he continued to excel.  Assigned as a SP4 to AFVN at Saigon, he hosted a radio show, playing the top-40 hits from back home.  When interviewed in 1967 by the New York Times News Service, he explained, "What most of the guys seem to want is the type of music that brings back memories of the States," and that's what Dennis gave 'em, along with a friendly deejay-style patter.

Back home in 1970 Dennis married Miss Karen Lou Armstrong 13 June -- five days before his 27th birthday.  Like Dennis, Karen also stood out from the crowd.  She had been a high school cheerleader, a member of her college drill team, and she had performed with the Dayton (Ohio) Ballet Company.  Her lifelong interest, however, was gardening, and she must have had the greenest thumbs since Johnny Appleseed.  She freely donated her plants to such organizations as Habitat for Humanity, and the local county's Council for Children.

Dennis' working career was spent in the housewares industry.  After holding positions with Regina, Anchor Hocking, and Rubbermaid, he joined KitchenAid in 1985, and advanced to the position of general manager of the company's portable appliance division.  Karen also excelled in the industry.  She enjoyed a 16-year career with Whirlpool.

Tragically, an unexpected massive heart attack claimed the life of Dennis Colston 4 September 1998.  Wife Karen continued her employment until 2006 when her health suddenly took a downturn.  She lost her life to cancer two years later on 26 August 2008.  Dennis and Karen were the parents of two adult children, Cyndi and Michael.

Russell Lindsey Conrad

When SP5 Lindsey Conrad arrived in Saigon in September 1970, he was sent to AFVN as an engineer.  His introductory tour of the station was followed by a meet-n-greet with his new colleagues, but then an unusual thing happened.  It was suddenly discovered that Detachment 3 at Pleiku had a far greater need for an engineer than did the Saigon station.  Lindsey had to stop unpacking his duffel bag and head immediately for the airport.

He was unable to settle in properly as the newbie engineer in Pleiku, however, because he promptly assumed the title of Chief Engineer, a job that had previously been held by a senior NCO; not by a SP5.  The SFC who held the job had been given an emergency transfer to another detachment, and the SFC who replaced him departed shortly thereafter, and it became Lindsey's job to maintain the equipment necessary to keep Pleiku's radio and TV station on the air.

After a brief break-in period, he was also tapped for on-air duties as the TV weatherman.  This must have been a strain for a fellow already challenged with responsibilities far beyond his paygrade, for Lindsey had no experience whatever in reporting the weather.  Then to make matters worse, one night the wire service lines went down and there was nothing for the regularly scheduled news/sports show to air.  Lindsey ended up doing a 28-minute weathercast which amazed the staff and those viewers fortunate enough to be watching.  According to one AFVNer who was there at the time, Lindsey "came up with some stuff that even the most educated meteorologists would still be scratching their heads over."  It's unfortunate that the broadcast was not recorded for use in meteorology schools the world over.

Upon his return to civilian life, Lindsey enrolled at the University of Oregon and then began a lengthy career as an insurance adjuster.  His first job was in 1978 in Orange County, California, where he worked for Careco, and eventually became vice president.  He later worked for CUNA and Liberty Mutual, among others, before assuming his current position with SAFECO in 2008.  This took him to Parker, Colorado, a Denver suburb of about 45,000 population.  It is here that Lindsey and wife Susan make their home today.

Joseph L. Cook

1&2) 1LT Cook stands in Pleiku's monsoon mud awaiting the dry season; 3) Ah, no more mud; 4) Much later, with wife Janis and daughter Jacqueline looking on, LTC Cook is presented with the Legion of Merit by BG Charles D. Bussy in a Pentagon ceremony; 5) Lastly, a nice Army portrait of then-LTC Cook.

Joe Cook would end his Army career as a Colonel, but it all started when the young lieutenant was assigned to MACOI.

1LT Cook spent 1967-68 in a split tour in Vietnam.  Working in two radically different environments might have confused and discouraged a lesser man, but apparently not Joe Cook.  He worked a partial tour in Saigon as a Special Projects Officer, and the remainder of his tour as OIC of AFVN's Detachment 3 at Pleiku.  He did a good job, and apparently his time at AFVN tickled his fancy, because the remainder of his Army career revolved around AFRTS.

In a career that spanned nearly 30 years, Joe would work his way up through the ranks, and by the late 1980s he was a Lieutenant Colonel serving as Deputy Assistant Director of AFRTS in our nation's capital.  It was he who brokered a deal with Saudi Arabia to allow our troops access to American Forces radio.  The Lieutenant Colonel agreed to a prohibition on religious programming in the country in exchange for a variety of stateside news programs to be broadcast uncensored.  His leadership also resulted in our troops worldwide receiving a daily dose of Rush Limbaugh - - not the entire three hours, but a one hour exposure for troops who had become addicted back in the USA.

In the 1990s he was promoted to full Colonel, and named Commander of the AFRTS Broadcast Center; then shortly thereafter he became Chief of Staff of AFRTS.  Among improvements he instituted were encryption of AFRTS satellite transmissions, and a complete cessation of overseas music distribution on old-fashioned vinyl.  The network began to utilize recordings on CD, which not only simplified delivery but presented programming with enhanced clarity.

Somehow all good things must come to an end, and when retirement began to seem like an option, the Colonel taught for a time at a DC-area junior college, and then he and wife Janis retired to Plano, Texas, a city of a quarter million population just 20 miles north of downtown Dallas.  The city is named for the flat area in which it is located.  If quality of life is a concern, Plano has been recognized by rating agencies as one of the safest cities in our nation, and the US Department of Justice has officially recognized the city's neighborhood watch program.  Although located in a major metropolitan area, Plano appears to be an excellent city for retirees.

Brett Davis Cornwell

SP4 Brett Cornwell was a cameraman at AFVN in 1972.  In addition to the routine duties of news/sports telecasts, Brett also shot celebrity interviews and USO shows, including Miss America's 1972 visit to the troops in Vietnam.

When his military days were over, he remained in the TV business, and by the mid-1970's was news anchor at WSTV in Steubenville, Ohio.  Then, after the station changed its call letters to WTOV, he came back as VP/GM, and he held the same position later at WNWO in Toledo.  With a relocation to Bowling Green, Kentucky, Brett was named GM of WNKY, the NBC affiliate in that city.

Brett was born in Pittsburgh in 1950, and his mother resided in the Overbrook neighborhood of South Pittsburgh until she moved to the Bowling Green area shortly before her death 22 October 2003.  She had been a special education teacher and a volunteer in many causes she believed in.  On 30 May 2003, shortly before her passing, Brett founded a charity to honor her and carry on a portion of her work.  As of 2016 the Anne Cornwell Foundation, Inc. continues as a 501C3 non profit organization with Brett as its President.

Robert Boniface Cortez

Robert Cortez, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Chavez Cortez, was born 14 May 1927 in Santa Barbara, California.  He worked in the family business until graduation from Santa Barbara Catholic High School in 1945, at which time he joined the Navy, serving as a boatswain mate at the very end of WWII.

At about the same time young Robert returned from the war, the family of a young lady named Mary Anne Kohn moved to Santa Barbara.  The story is told that Robert and Mary met during a neighborhood pick-up football game, and it was apparently not a sissy touch football game because Mary laid a hard tackle on Robert, and it affected him for life.  The two were married 1 September 1951.

After receiving a degree from Loyola University, Robert was commissioned as an Air Force officer, and in November 1965 he was assigned to AFVN in Saigon.  As a Captain, he replaced Air Force Captain John Canty as Network OIC.  This lasted until the arrival of Army Lieutenant Colonel DeForrest Ballou in early 1966.  Colonel Ballou was named OIC of the growing Network, with Captain Cortez serving as OIC of the radio section until his return to CONUS in November 1966.

Following stateside assignments, Robert and Mary settled in Mercerville, New Jersey while Robert was serving as public affairs officer at nearby McGuire Air Force Base, and then when Mary took a real estate job, Robert opened a Mexican restaurant.  It was shortly thereafter that Robert took his retirement from the Air Force as a Major.

Not quite ready for complete relaxation, Robert worked for a time in public affairs for the Walt Disney Company in Anaheim, and in public relations for Avon Products, Inc. in New York City until 1992 when he and Mary moved to Pensacola, Florida.  Here, in retirement, the couple traveled as they wished -- mostly to visit their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren in such places as California, Indiana, and Hawaii.

This idyllic life lasted until Mary, in her 80's, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  She died after 59 years of marriage 28 July 2010.  Major Cortez lived on until 5 February 2014.  He was survived by his son and three daughters, 11 grandchildren, and 4 great grandchildren, with two more great grandchildren on the way.  He was buried in Barrancas National Cemetery, Pensacola.

Donald Lee Cotterell

Don on the job, at his leisure, and a little later

Don Cotterell was born 6 July 1938 in Power County, Idaho, the third son of Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Cotterell.  The family eventually included six children.  After graduation in 1956 from Pocatello High School in neighboring Bannock County, he joined the Air Force.

As a Technical Sergeant, Don was assigned in 1968-71 to the American Forces Radio station at Wakkanai Air Station, Japan, which is located at the northernmost point of Japan's northernmost island, Hokkaido.  His AFVN assignment would come a year after Wakkanai in 1972-73.  Under no circumstances could Wakkanai be considered an appropriate training ground for Vietnam.  Climate-wise, northern Japan and South Vietnam are complete opposites.  At Wakkanai, accumulated snow would often reach the rooftops, and Sapporo, the site of the 1972 Winter Olympics, is on the southern portion of Hokkaido.  His duties included a Country Music show in the morning and a newscast in the evening, but the radio assignment that brought him the most pleasure was playing the part of "Uncle Don" on a children's show.

At AFVN, Don hosted the afternoon "Town and Country" show, and is fondly remembered by Country fans across Vietnam as "the old stump jumper."  In an April 2000 message to the AFVN blog moderated by Dr. Bob Morecook, Don listed several former AFVN colleagues before paying AFVN the ultimate compliment.  "It is people like you," he wrote, "that made this my best tour of duty in 20 years of Air Force."

After his 20-year Air Force career, Don made his home in south central Arkansas with wife Brenda Kaye.  He accepted a civilian job as PIO for the Grant County Emergency Management authority until final retirement, when he moved to the city of Mountain Home in extreme northern Arkansas, literally on the Missouri state line.  It was here that Don passed away 16 January 2016.

Jay Douglas Couch

A snapshot of Jay as a soldier is followed by a recent photo of Jay and Sandra.

Jay, born 9 February 1950, was the middle of the three children of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Douglas Couch, and the only boy.  His father was a WWII Navy veteran who had seen action the South Pacific and North Africa.  After the War he enlisted in the Coast Guard and served primarily in Alaska and the state of Washington.  In retirement, Mr. and Mrs. Couch returned to their home in the Black Hills of South Dakota, where Jay graduated from Rapid City High School in the Class of 1968.

Jay then entered the US Army where he was assigned to MACOI in 1970-71.  As a member of the Public Information Division, Jay was a part of the news gathering staff which produced the bulletins for the twice-daily press briefings.  By the time of his return to civilian status, Jay decided to reside on the west coast, and he settled in the northern California city of Ukiah, the seat of Mendicino County, with a population of around 10,000 at the time.  It was here that he married Miss Sandra Castorena in January 1976 and that daughter Sarah was born in October 1978.

His civilian occupation revolved around the electrical wholesale business, but having obtained a real estate license he occasionally sidestepped a bit in order to take advantage of the California land boom.  He and Sandra today make their home in Fair Oaks, a prosperous but unincorporated Sacramento suburb with a population of around 30,000.

Kenneth Everett Couch

Ken Couch:  at AFVN; running the camera; guarding "The Beat Goes On" with an M60; with Lynne; and in 2006

Ken Couch, a Navy Photographers Mate First Class (E6), was AFVN's photographer in 1972-73.  As the American standdown proceeded under terms of the ceasefire agreement worked out in Paris, and personnel were steadily withdrawn, Ken was crosstrained until he knew practically every job in the station.  Although not trained for broadcasting, he even worked several on-air positions at various times.

After the hectic days of closing down AFVN, Ken returned to "regular" Navy duties until retirement.  He then worked as a civlian for the US government until 2001, when he formally retired a second time.  His final job, perhaps a bit out of character for a photographer, had him working as a statistician for a military hospital.

After leaving his civil service job, Ken dreamed of two things.  First he wanted to resume his career in photography, and second, he longed to move to Australia.  The latter, unfortunately, required literally tons of paperwork.

Ken, along with wife Lynne, retired to San Diego, and when it appeared that all T's and I's were crossed and dotted, and that the emigration and immigration authorities on both continents could think of no further ways to hold up the approval for the pair to become Australians, the Aussie government placed a hold on all immigration in reaction to the 911 attacks on America.  By this time, the Couches had rented out their California home, and had no place to live.

It was at this juncture that they became bi-coastal Americans.  They moved to Pensacola, Florida.  It was a city Ken had spent time in during his Navy career, and he had loved it.  Ken and Lynne retained ownership of the home in San Diego, and thus counted themselves residents of both cities.

Although the dreams of Australia are still active, it's beginning to look as though the Couches will remain Americans for the immediate future.  For this pair, however, life is lived in limbo.

Ken has bought a boat, and today plies the waters of Pensacola Bay.  He's a fisherman, and Pensacola presents plenty of water and plenty of fish, so Ken and Lynne might just stay put.  Perhaps more later.

(Editor's Note:)  Ken remained a bi-coastal American until 26 February 2015 when he unexpectedly passed away the age of 73.

Robert S. Cranston

At left, an official Army portrait of COL Cranston, and at right, the Colonel at top in Det. 5, Hue

(Editor's Note:  In November 2012 COL Cranston underwent heart surgery at the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville.  Although the surgery was successful, complications arose and the Colonel passed away 17 February 2013.  Burial was in Section 11, Site 223-2, Arlington National Cemetery.)

A London born Texan, Colonel Robert Cranston volunteered for active duty with the 124th Cavalry, Texas National Guard in November 1940.  He became Sergeant Major of the 51st Signal Battalion at age 22 and from there attended OCS and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in 1943.  He was subsequently sent to England where he trained at Malmsbury in Wiltshire.  His unit, the 36th Signal Company was attached to V11 Corps, commanded by Gen. J. Lawton Collins.  After three days afloat he participated in the invasion of Europe, landing on Omaha Beach.  After the capture of St. Lo, Cranston's unit was attached to several units within the First Army.  He was wounded in Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge, but later returned to duty and met the Russians at the Elbe River just prior to the Nazi surrender.  He then received orders to the American Forces Network in Paris, where he was assigned to Headquarters as Executive Officer.  This launched him on his long career in the Information field.  He was asked to take over the Armed Forces Radio Network in Vienna.  He spent eighteen months there which involved the command of stations in Vienna, Linz, and Salzburg.

He was then assigned to the Pentagon in the Office of the Chief of Information.  He was involved in radio and television, including the production of programming.  He also spent considerable periods in Korea during the war, primarily combat reporting in the field.

When General Dwight D. Eisenhower was appointed Supreme Allied Commander, Europe he requested Cranston for an assignment in his NATO Headquarters in Paris.  Cranston was in Paris for almost four years, handling radio, television and pictorial media relations.

New York City was the next stop for Cranston.  He was assigned to the Army's Office of Information, controlling the release of film to the New York television media.  He was also technical advisor to the Phil Silvers show, a bold experiment in military cooperation with a comedy series.

Then Cranston was again assigned to the Army's Public Information Office in the Pentagon.  Among many other duties he was Executive Producer of The Army Hour and The Big Picture, the Department's weekly radio and television programs.  He was also appointed to the Regular Army.

Following his promotion to Lieutenant Colonel, Cranston was assigned as Commanding Officer of the American Forces Network, Europe in Frankfurt, Germany.  He was responsible for all phases of the operation which consisted of sixty-three stations located in France and Germany.

Cranston was then assigned as Officer in Charge of the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service in Los Angeles, overseeing the operation of AFRTS worldwide.  During this period he planned and put into operation the basic concepts for the American Forces Vietnam Network, spending considerable time in Vietnam to accomplish this mission.  During this period, Cranston was promoted to full Colonel.

Cranston was transferred back to the Pentagon at the end of this tour of duty and assigned as Deputy Director, American Forces Information Service, following which he returned to Los Angeles for a second tour as Commander, Armed Forces Radio and Television Service.

In April, 1973 Colonel Cranston retired from the Army with over 30 years service, but in early 1974 he was called in and appointed civilian Deputy Director of the American Forces Information Service.

In August 1978 Cranston was appointed by the Secretary of Defense as Director of the American Forces Information Service and appointed to the Senior Executive Service.  He was responsible for all internal information for the Armed Forces, including radio, television and print media.  He also supervised the Defense Information School.

In March 1983 after a total of forty-three years combined service, Cranston retired and moved to Smith Mountain Lake near Roanoke, Virginia, where he lives with his wife, Sandy.  He served on the Virginia Board for Veterans Affairs and was a member of the Board of Trustees for the Virginia Veterans Care Center.  He is a Life Member of the American Legion, Military Officers' Association of America, Military Order of the Purple Heart, US Cavalry Association, and the SHAPE Officers' Association.

Colonel Cranston's military decorations include:  The Distinguished Service Medal; Joint Service Commendation Medal; Army Commendation Medal; Purple Heart; and the EAME (European-African-Middle Eastern) Campaign Medal with five bronze stars.  His civilian awards include: Secretary of Defense Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service; Secretary of Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Medal; and two other significant awards:  Government of the Netherlands Medal of Merit and the USO Silver Distinguished Service Medal for Community Service.  On 1 February 2001, the Colonel was inducted into the US Army Public Affairs Hall of Fame in a ceremony in Washington, DC.

Jack Morris Crawford

Jack's 1969 induction photo is followed by a shot from an AFVN Pleiku newscast and a 14 April 1973 portrait of a special day for Jack and Belinda.

I was born in New Albany, Indiana on July 31, 1945.  I graduated from New Albany High School in 1963.  I graduated from Indiana State University in 1968 with a degree in Radio-TV.  While at ISU I was Sports Director at the campus station WISU-FM and was a DJ at WBOW-AM.  I was drafted later that year and entered the Army in October, 1968.  A few weeks before I received my draft notice I was hired for the all night shift (Midnight to 6:00 am) on WKLO, Louisville.  Management promised they would have a job waiting for me when I returned and they kept that promise when I was discharged in May 1970.  My wife, Belinda started working at WKLO a year or so later and we were married on April 14, 1973.

In October, 1973 we moved to Nashville, Tennessee when I was hired as Program Director of WKDA-FM (now WKDF), an Album Rock station.  Our sons, Jason and Jeremy were both born in Nashville.  In 1978 we moved to Simi Valley, California when I took a consulting job with Los Angeles based Drake-Chenault, a radio programming and syndication company.  Radio being a very mobile industry, we moved back to Nashville, then to Greenwood, South Carolina, back to Nashville and finally in 1993 to Saugus, California when I went to work for Westwood One Radio Network at their Valencia, California studios.  In January 2001 I went to work for AP Radio (Associated Press).  In 2004 AP Radio did a re-alignment and moved my position back to their Washington, DC headquarters.  We decided that Santa Clarita, California was our home and elected not to move again.  An opportunity presented itself to buy the UPS Store franchise in Castaic, California and I've been running it ever since.

I did my basic training at Fort Knox which is only about an hour away from my home town.  My AIT was in artillery at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.  In March 1969 I was sent to Vietnam, assigned to Headquarters, 4th Infantry Division at Camp Enari near Pleiku in the Central Highlands.  With my radio background I was soon transferred to the Public Information Office where I began doing a daily newscast and DJ show on the AFVN radio station in Pleiku which was located on nearby Dragon Mountain.  Ultimately I was reassigned to MACV and stationed at the Dragon Mountain studios.  For the rest of my tour I continued to do a daily DJ show on AFVN Radio, as well as a daily newscast and a daily sportscast on AFVN-TV.  Near the end of my tour the AFVN, Pleiku studios were relocated to a nearby Air Force Base.  I extended my tour from 12 months to 14 months so that when I returned stateside I was given an early out having less than five months remaining on my two year commitment.

Hank Nevins and David Koserbuba joined the Pleiku detachment shortly before I left.  And I had the great fortune of working with Rick Honea during my time at Westwood One.  (Editor's Note: Bios of Nevins, Koseruba, and Honea are included in this section.)

(Editor's Addendum:)  As an AFVN deejay, Jack used an unusual air name - - "Jaxon Q Crawford."  When we asked Jack how this came about, he answered:  "As for the Jaxon Q thing, one of the DJ's I worked with at WBOW in Terre Haute started calling me that and it stuck.  I decided to use the Jaxon spelling rather than the more traditional Jackson.  When I got to AFVN I just continued to use it.  Nobody ever said I couldn't or shouldn't.  Ironically, when I returned to WKLO in Louisville I initially used Jaxon Q on the air, but the Program Director wanted a more natural presentation and felt that could be better accomplished if I used my real name so, Jaxon Q ceased to exist."  Now we know.

Larry Allen Crider

Larry Crider as a young soldier in Vietnam's central highlands, and as a retired minister in east Texas

Larry Crider had worked as a writer/reporter/on-air personality for several radio and television stations, and was a happy employee of NBC news when he was drafted in 1967.  Assigned to the Infantry, he converted to enlistee during basic training in order to improve his MOS.  In Vietnam he was sent to Pleiku in the central highlands as a member of the Fourth Infantry Division. He was eventually sent to AFVN's Detachment 3 on TDY from 4th ID, where his civilian broadcast experience and the college education toward a degree in journalism and mass communication were put to good use.  He served the remainder of his tour as a writer/director/deejay/news anchor, and never went back to the 4th ID.

Upon his rotation to the US he completed his military obligation at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas.  While he was warmly welcomed by the civilian population of El Paso, he suffered the all-too-common ridicule and ostracism experienced by many returning Vietnam Vets while traveling in other parts of the country.  When his three-year obligation ended, Larry completed his degree at the University of Houston, and then he did his graduate studies at Southern Methodist University.  Instead of comfortably settling into broadcasting as he had planned, however, Larry altered his career path and became a United Methodist minister.  He pastored churches from 1971 until December 2000

In retirement, Rev. Crider returned to his pre-Army career as a writer and occasional broadcaster.  He began a syndicated newspaper column called "Living and Learning," which was geared toward small weekly papers across the country, and he wrote for several religious journals and e-zines.  He has also written and recorded a radio program called "Curious History," which was run on several public broadcasting stations, and stepping perhaps slightly out of character, he has written a murder mystery play which was performed at a dinner theater in east Texas.

Larry makes his home with wife Laurie in Longview, Texas (population approximately 75,000), east of Dallas and near the Louisiana state line.  He is the proud father of daughter Erin, an English teacher at Stanton College Preparatory School in Florida, and sons Matthew, an assistant professor of Theater at the University of Wisconsin, and Sean, a Class of 2010 high school student.  Rev. Crider, now peacefully retired, no longer performs ministerial functions except for occasional preaching.

Adrian Joseph Cronauer

1, Sergeant Cronauer at AFRS; 2, Hitting the Books at Law School; 3, at Work at DOD; 4, a Busy Retiree

Mr. Cronauer, a native of the Pittsburgh suburb of Wilkinsburg, grew up in the Pittsburgh neighborhoods of Homewood and Penn Hills.  His broadcasting career began at the age of 12, when he was a semi-regular on a children's amateur hour on a Pittsburgh television station.

As a student at the University of Pittsburgh, he helped found the university's college radio station, WPTS.  In his spare time in 1959-60, he was a free-lance announcer and a volunteer announcer/cameraman at WQED-TV, where he eventually worked his way up to director.  His first job there was as an office gofer for Fred Rogers.  The iconic "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" did not begin national distribution until 1968.  When the Good Morning movie came out, his grandchildren weren't very impressed, but the fact that he knew Mr. Rogers made them jump for joy.

After his sophomore year, Cronauer dropped out of college and went to work for an advertising agency.  Then in the fall of 1960 he enrolled at American University in Washington, DC.  He didn't graduate but when he enlisted in the Air Force he displayed his college transcript of courses in broadcasting and they made him a radio-TV production specialist.  After a year at the educational TV set-up at Sheppard AFB he was sent to Greece to work on the Armed Forces radio and TV facility there.  By 1964, Sergeant Cronauer had familiarized himself with Greece and yearned for more excitement.  With one year left in his enlistment he requested a transfer to Japan, but Japan was a three-year tour and he had no intention of reenlisting, so he was given his choice of Korea or Vietnam.  He chose Vietnam because "it seemed like a fairly interesting tour."

After his honorable discharge Cronauer went to Ohio as a news reporter and anchorman.  Then followed a series of episodes in management.

In 1979 he joined with his old Vietnam friend, Ben Moses, to write a television screenplay based on his military DJ experiences.  But the collapse of South Vietnam was still too close in time and nobody wanted to talk about a sitcom based in Saigon.  So Cronauer and Moses put the idea on the back burner until 1982 when, still thinking television, they rewrote it as an idea for a Movie of the Week.

Moses' agent managed to get the script into Robin Williams' hands.  Seeing the potential playing a DJ would give him to display his ad-lib talents, Robin and his agent bought an option on the script, and after a drastic rewrite tailored to the talents of Mr. Williams, the hit movie "Good Morning, Vietnam" was filmed.  Aside from his name, the filmed character bore little resemblance to the real Adrian Cronauer.  As Cronauer often told veterans, "You know, if I had done even half the things Robin did in that movie, I'd still be in Leavenworth."

Using the proceeds from the sale of his movie script Cronauer attended law school at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was Special Projects Editor of the University Law Review.  With his Doctor of Laws degree in hand, he then began a new career as senior partner with a Washington, DC law firm titled Burch & Cronauer, where he concentrated on information and communications law, representing radio stations, a satellite radio network, cable systems, and clients involved in newly emerging technologies including wireless cable and personal communications services.  He was a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Federal Communications Law Journal and was admitted to the Federal Communications Bar Association, the Bar Association of the District of Columbia, and Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity.

In September 2004, President George W. Bush appointed Cronauer Special Assistant to the director of the POW/MIA Office at the Department of Defense.  With about 88,000 wartime military personnel unaccounted for, including 78,000 from World War II, 8,100 from the Korean War, and 1,800 from the Vietnam War, his job was not an easy one.  His office supervised some 600 employees, including 500 overseas.  Using the latest technology, they would track every possible lead to find the remains of missing American military personnel.  For his work at the Pentagon, Cronauer was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service.

He was a life member of the American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, the VFW and VietNow.  He served as a national officer of the Knights Templar, was an honorary Kentucky Colonel, and a member of the Australian Returned & Services League.  He was a recipient of the Order of St. Maurice from the U.S. Infantry Reserve.  For years he spent much of his spare time speaking throughout the country on the subjects of patriotism and flag protection before veterans and military groups.  He served as a member of the Virginia Public Broadcasting Board, the Arlington County (Virginia) Cable TV Advisory Committee, and the Board of Governors of the New School for Social Research in New York City.  He served two terms as a trustee of the Virginia War Memorial and was a former member of the national board of the Armed Forces Broadcasters Association and the board of the National Vietnam & Gulf War Veterans Coalition, and he was a life member of MENSA.

Mr. Cronauer passed away 18 July 2018 following a lengthy illness.  He was predeceased by Jeane, his wife of 36 years, a stepson, and a grandson.  He was survived by a stepson, four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.  Burial was in Southwest Virginia Veterans Cemetery, Dublin, Virginia.

William Mathew Crooks

Bill Crooks was born 29 April 1922 to Mr. and Mrs. Claude N. Crooks on a homestead near Culbertson, Montana.  Three years later the family moved to Four Lakes, Washington in the eastern part of the state, southwest of Spokane.  Bill attended high school in the town of Cheney, Washington and began classes at the State Normal School (later Eastern Washington University).  He left the college campus, however, in 1942 to enlist as a Naval Aviation Cadet.

He quickly distinguished himself as a Marine Corps fighter pilot in the South Pacific and the Philippines during the War, and was subsequently assigned to occupation duty in Peking, China.  When the Korean War broke out, the Marine Captain again engaged in aerial action against the enemy.  During peaceful intervals, he returned to college and earned a BA from the University of Washington and an MS from George Washington University.

During the 1950's he was a flight instructor at Pensacola, Florida; a rifle company commander at Camp Lejeune; and an instructor at the Marine Schools at Quantico before being ordered overseas to Okinawa as Executive Officer of the 3rd Marine Reconnaissance Battalion and later as Operations Officer, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division.  His 1960's assignments included deputy controller, Fleet Marine Force Pacific in Hawaii; CO of the 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, and Executive Officer of the Recruit Training Regiment.  Then, after completing the Naval War College at Newport, Rhode Island in 1966, he was assigned to G-3 Plans Division, HQ Marine Corps, Washington, DC.  His MACOI assignment was next.  In 1967-68, the Colonel was sent to Saigon as Executive Officer of the Office of Information.

The final assignments of his career were to the Office of Information, HQ Marine Corps, where he served consecutively as Assistant Director, Deputy Director and Director of Information.  In April 1973, the Colonel elected to retire.

His awards and decorations were numerous.  From his WWII service, they included the Distinguished Flying Cross with additional Gold Star in lieu of a second award, five Air Medals, the Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Citation with one star, Navy Occupation Medal, China Service Medal, the Asiatic Pacific campaign medal with two stars, the Philippine Presidential unit Citation and the Philippine Liberation Medal with one star.  For his Korea service he was awarded a second Gold Star in lieu of a third award of the Distinguished Flying Cross, his sixth through eighth Air Medals, United Nations Service Medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the National Defense Service Medal with one star.  His Vietnam service won him a Legion of Merit with Combat V, the Joint Services Commendation Medal, the Vietnamese Medal of Honor 2nd Class, the Vietnamese Psychological Warfare Medal, and the Vietnamese Service Medal with three stars.  He was also awarded a second Legion of Merit for his service as Marine Corps Director of Information.

Returning to civilian life in the Tacoma area, he was employed by the Aerojet General Corporation for three years before accepting a teaching position in 1976 at the Pacific Lutheran University School of Business.  In 1992 at the age of 70, the Colonel chose full retirement and settled in the Tacoma suburb of Fircrest.  Aside from frequent visits to the Fircrest Golf Club, Colonel Crooks remained active in Rotary International, the Navy League, Toast Masters, the Army-Navy Club, the National Press Club, the local Chamber of Commerce, the Propeller Club, the Marine Corps Association, and his service as an Elder in his church.

The Colonel passed away 31 January 2013 at the age of 90.  He was survived by Roberta, his wife of 66 years, two daughters, and two grandchildren.  Interment was in Section 23, Site 67, Tahoma National Cemetery, Kent, Washington.

Wesley M. Cunningham


Wes Cunningham, a native of Harrisonville, Missouri, graduated in 1968 from Harrisonville High School.  Two years later he was caught in the draft and he landed in Saigon as a SP4 in 1971.

Assigned to AFVN, he spent three months in the news department before being given a deejay slot on the overnight "Orient Express" show.  Six months later he enjoyed the experience of welcoming a fellow Missourian to Saigon.  Rick Turner hosted "Dawnbuster" until Wes handed off the "Express" show upon his departure.  Although Rick had previously served with AFVN, his prior experience was up north at Qui Nhon, so Wes gave him an impromptu mini-orientation to big city life.  While showing him the attractions of Tu Do Street, Wes somewhat heroically saved Rick from a street pickpocket.  It seems to have been a really thorough orientation.

Back in the USA as a civilian, Wes began a thirty-year career on Kansas City area radio.  He worked primarily on KFKF and WDAF (the latter station carried its "W" designation prior to the 1923 requirement for "K" call letters west of the Mississippi, and was grandfathered in).  He also worked for a time in Branson, just a few miles to the south.

In 2006 Wes retired from the daily broadcast grind, and became a voiceover specialist.  He is heard nationally on commercial spots for such major clients as Sprint, Walmart, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, AT&T, McDonald's, and Hallmark.  His major local clients include the K.C. Royals, the K.C. Star, the K.C. Zoo, and the Branson Chamber of Commerce.

Wes has a son, Ryan, and a grandson, Ayden.

Frank W. Currier

Born 16 October 1944 in Evanston, Illinois, Frank Currier earned a BA in Journalism from the University of Missouri in 1966 and an MA in English in 1968.  While attending classes he worked as a reporter for KOMU-TV in Columbia, MO.  He then entered the US Army and served a tour as first lieutenant with AFVN Radio in Saigon.

Upon his return to civilian life, Currier began a distinguished career in broadcast news which would last for 30 years.  Beginning in 1970 as a reporter-anchor-producer and magazine show host at KUSA-TV in Denver, he moved in 1979 to WBBM-TV, the CBS-owned Chicago affiliate, where he earned three local Emmy Awards.

He joined CBS News in 1982, first as a reporter and then, in 1985, as a correspondent.  Based in Chicago, Currier covered a wide range of domestic and international news stories, including a series of on-the-scene reports on the Solidarity movement from Warsaw and Gdansk.  In 1988, 1989, and 1991 he earned three national Emmy Awards, including one for a CBS Evening News report on the liberation of Kuwait.

In 1999 he joined the faculty of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University as Professor of Broadcast Journalism.  Currier and wife Donna make their home in suburban Syracuse, New York.

Homer Scott "Hal" Cutlip

This third person bio was written by Major Cutlip, himself.  He passed away 25 September 2015 at the age of 80.  The Major was survived, in addition to wife Pamela, by a son, three daughters, two step-daughters, 19 grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren.  He was predeceased by a daughter.  Burial was in the Biloxi (Mississippi) National Cemetery.

Major H. S. Cutlip retired from active duty with the US Marine Corps 1 October 1978, after more than 25 years of continuous service.

He began his military career as an 18-year old Private.  He advanced through the enlisted ranks and earned a commission in the officer ranks during the Vietnam conflict, and retired with the rank of Major.

Born 28 February 1935 in Centralia, West Virginia, he completed secondary schooling in Clarksburg, West Virginia and enlisted in the Marine Corps 5 May 1953.  He underwent recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina, attended specialty training at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, and then was assigned to duty at the Marine Corps Depot of Supplies in Albany, Georgia.

In 1955, then a Corporal, he was assigned to a Marine Detachment and deployed to the US Army Base at Fort Benning, Georgia, where he served as a rifle marksmanship instructor.

In 1956 he attended Drill Instructor School at Parris Island, then served there as a Drill Instructor until March 1958.  He was promoted to Sergeant in June 1956.  He was then assigned to the Marine Corps Receiving Barracks, Yamansee, South Carolina, where he served as a military policeman.

In 1959, his next assignment took him to the island of Okinawa, where he was assigned to the 3rd Tank Battalion, 3rd Marine Division (FMF).  While in that assignment he deployed twice with his unit to Japan for combat training.

Returning to the United States in 1960, he was assigned to the Marine Aviation Detachment, Naval Air Station in Memphis, Tennessee.  While at Memphis, he commanded the Marine Detachment Drill Team and Drum and Bugle Corps, which made public appearances around the nation.

He returned to the Marine Corps Supply Center in Albany, Georgia in September 1963 and soon after began his public affairs career as editor of the Center's newspaper, "The Emblem."  While at Albany, he was also employed as a correspondent for the local daily newspaper, The Albany Herald, advancing to the position of Assistant Sports Editor in 1965.  He became well known in Georgia for his work with high school athletes and youth groups. He was promoted to Staff Sergeant in 1965.

In January 1966 he returned to duty as a Drill Instructor -- this time at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California.  He was selected for commissioning to Second Lieutenant in July 1966, and received his commission in September of that year.  In January 1967 he attended the Information Officers Course at the Defense Information School, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana.  Upon graduation, he returned to the Marine Corps Supply Center in Albany, Georgia to become the Center's first Public Information Officer and served in that capacity until July 1968.  He was promoted to First Lieutenant in December 1967.

He returned to the Defense Information School in 1968, and graduated from the Broadcast Officers Course en route to duty with the American Forces Vietnam (Radio and TV) Network in South Vietnam.  His first assignment in Vietnam was as Officer-in-Charge of the AFVN Detachment 4 radio station at Dong Bai Thien.  In August 1968, he was assigned duties as Officer-in-Charge of AFVN Detachment 3 at Pleiku, located in the central highlands atop Dragon Mountain.

On 25 May 1969, while making a late night check on perimeter guard posts, Lieutenant Cutlip detected Viet Cong "sappers" attempting to breech the camp's defensive perimeter under the cover of darkness.  He instantly realized that his troops were unaware of the pending peril, and that the entire mountaintop camp was about to be attacked with hand-held rockets, explosive charges and small arms fire.  Alone and armed only with a .45 caliber pistol, he opened fire on the enemy.  The Viet Cong retaliated by firing rockets and small arms fire toward his position.  Although wounded in the leg by shrapnel, he still directed his troops to their defensive positions and successfully repelled the enemy attack.  For his actions that night, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal (with valor device) and the Purple Heart Medal for his wounds.

On 25 July 1969, a loaded US Army UH-1H helicopter, attempting to fly around Dragon Mountain during dense fog and deteriorating weather, crashed into the mountain near the summit and close to Lieutenant Cutlip's detachment site.  Climbing the treacherous terrain, Lt. Cutlip was the first to reach the crash site where he discovered the "Huey" upside down and engulfed in flames.  With complete disregard for his own safety, he ignored the exploding munitions and the intense heat to repeatedly enter the aircraft to remove crash victims.  When others arrived to assist, he led them up the steep terrain and continued to enter the wreckage until all ten casualties were removed.  For risking his life to save others, he was awarded the nation's highest non-combat award for heroism -- the Soldiers Medal. He is one of very few Marines ever awarded the US Army medal for heroism.

He returned to the United States in August 1969 and reported to Headquarters, 6th Marine Corps District in Atlanta, Georgia as the Public Affairs Officer.  He was promoted to Captain in March 1970.  During his assignment in Atlanta, he attended Georgia State University.

In August 1972 Captain Cutlip reported to the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing and Marine Air Reserve Training Command, Naval Air Station, Glenview, Illinois, where he assumed the duties as the Public Affairs Officer.

In May 1973 he assumed the additional duty as Aide-de-Camp to the Commanding General, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing/Marine Air Reserve Training Command -- a position he held for three consecutive commanding generals.  He transferred to New Orleans in July 1974 when the Wing Headquarters was relocated there from Glenview, Illinois.  He was promoted to Major in June 1977 and was assigned duty as Recruiting Officer with responsibility for the nationwide recruiting program for the Marine Corps Air Reserve.

In addition to the Soldiers Medal, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart, he holds the Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Army Presidential Unit Citation, the Good Conduct Medal with three Bronze Stars, the National Defense Medal with three Bronze Stars, the Drill Instructor Ribbon, the Vietnam Service Medal with four Bronze Stars, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, the Vietnam Meritorious Unit Commendation (Civil Action) Medal, and the Vietnamese Campaign Medal.

Following retirement from the Marine Corps, Mr. Cutlip was employed at Pendleton Memorial Methodist Hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana, serving in the capacities of Director, Safety and Security; Director, Special Services; Vice President, Support Services; and Vice President, Facilities Management.  He retired from Methodist Hospital in 2002 after 22 years.

Mr. Cutlip is married to the former Pamela L. Brooks of Pampa, Texas.  The couple resides in Slidell, Louisiana.

Joseph Frederick Hughes "General Joe" Cutrona

1) LTC Cutrona in stateside duty; 2) COL Cutrona as MACV Chief of Information; 3) Greeting RVN Minister of Defense Nguyen Van Vy; and 4) right, General Joe in retirement at 2010 Memorial Day ceremony

(Administrator's Note:  BG Cutrona was born in Buffalo, NY in1920, and was educated locally to include an undergraduate degree at Buffalo's Canisius College in 1941.  But even as a boy he "knew" he would one day attend West Point.  Sure enough he did, graduating on 6 June 1944, D-Day, and his entire class was shipped immediately to various battlefields.  Young 2LT Cutrona was sent to Europe, where he landed at Normandy just weeks after the invasion, and traveled through Luxembourg and Belgium on his way to Germany, where he participated in the liberation of "4 or 5" concentration camps.  He finished the war as CO of an artillery company assigned to the 89th Infantry Division.  He then proceeded through Korea, quickly making rank, and by 1965, in the Vietnam era, he found himself an LTC at Fort Wainwright, Alaska.  At this point, we'll pick up his personal narrative.)

When I left Alaska, I drove down the Alcan Highway to Haynes, Alaska and took the island waterway ferry to Vancouver, BC and then on to Carlisle, Pennsylvania and the Army War College.  I then had seven children and my late wife, Mary Grace, who died in 1981.

I was promoted to full Colonel while at the War College and was assigned as the Division Artillery Commander of the 4th Infantry Division.  We deployed to Vietnam in September 1966, and set up at Pleiku, in the Central Highlands.  During that year the Division Artillery Battalions plus the attached battalions fired one million rounds of artillery at the enemy.

From Vietnam, I went to the Pentagon and was assigned to JCS in the Joint Reconnaissance Center where I was Chief of Worldwide Aerial Reconnaissance, including satellite reconnaissance.  This was the only 9 to 5 five-day-a-week job I ever had in the Army in more than 30 years.  The only time we worked overtime was when we lost the Pueblo off Korea.

I only lasted there about four months because I was pressured to take a job as Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Southeast Asia.  In that job I visited Vietnam and toured from top to bottom within a period of some 18 months to keep abreast of what was going on.  I also attended weekly meetings at the White House, chaired by the National Security Advisor to the President, along with other conferees such as Richard Helms, then-director of the CIA, and the Bundy brothers, both Assistant Secretaries of State.  I represented the Secretary of Defense at these meetings.  Those trips were the first time I had ever seen Saigon except from a helicopter as I flew over to inspect troops from the Central Highlands who were assigned a temporary mission south of Saigon.

It was then time for my second Vietnam tour.  The Army had sent me to the University of Missouri in 1947, directly from Europe, and I had earned a Master of Arts degree in Journalism.  This meant I was qualified to be Chief of Information for General Creighton Abrams.  I arrived in Saigon in September 1969 and found it to be quite an experience.  I expected this assignment to be a breeze after being in the jungles of the Central Highlands for a year.  What a mistake that was.  I inherited 550 war correspondents.  The best thing that happened to me during that tour was that I was promoted to General Officer before I left.

From Saigon I went to Europe, and back to the Artillery.  I was assigned as Commander of V Corps Artillery, and it was a great job.  One interesting sidelight . . . I had put in a thousand hours of combat flights in my helicopter in Vietnam but was too busy to learn to fly.  My pilots in Europe couldn't get over the fact that I never learned to fly a helicopter in Vietnam and insisted that I should learn.  I did not become a certified pilot, but I did learn to fly a helicopter and actually flew at the controls around Europe.  I commanded the Corps Artillery from September 1970 through September 1973.

From Europe I went back to Washington and the Pentagon, this time as Director of Defense Information, a position in which I had to approve any press release by any of the armed forces in Washington, and approve all of the armed services responses to press inquiries, plus I was charged with responsibility for all Pentagon press conferences.  It was an interesting job and a tough one, but I had a staff of about 150.

I retired 1 August 1974, and continued to live in the Washington area.  I ended up in a civilian job which had nothing to do with the military, as Executive Director of the National Small Shipments Traffic Conference.  We had about 400 corporate members who were shippers, and about 100 associate members comprised of various types of motor carriers who got the corporate members' products to market.  I filled this post for about 21 years and remained a consultant to the organization for an additional three years.

I already mentioned that my wife, Mary Grace, died in 1981.  All of our children are now grown and on their own and doing well.  In 1985 I was fortunate to meet a widow whom I married in September of that year.  Alice and I lived in Alexandria, Virginia until January of 2002, at which time we moved to Naples, Florida, where we now reside on a full-time basis.

Editor's Note:  General Cutrona passed away Christmas Day, 2010 at the age of 90.  His narrative modestly omitted a listing of his numerous awards and decorations, which included some of the highest honors our country can offer.  Among them:  Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, five awards of the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star.

Bruce Edward Dadd

The photographs are unfortunately of poor quality.  The first is a poor reproduction of Bruce's high school yearbook photo, and the second is cropped from a shot snapped from a distance.

On the day Bruce Dadd was born, 6 June 1944, the eyes of the world were focused on the far-away beaches of Normandy.  The date of his birth may have been a signal that he was pre-ordained to later become a soldier, and play a role in Vietnam, the war of his generation.  He grew up in suburban Cleveland, literally on the shores of Lake Erie.  Born in Lakewood, Ohio, he graduated from Bay High School in Bay Village, Ohio in 1962.

Having decided on a career in broadcasting, Bruce enrolled in the Career Academy School of Famous Broadcasters in Atlanta, Georgia.  His extraordinary talents were clearly recognized when, upon graduation in 1967, he had a job waiting for him doing news at Atlanta's rock'n'roll powerhouse WQXI.

The Atlanta job proved to be temporary, however, as Bruce soon began his Army service.  In late 1968 he arrived in Saigon as a SP4 for duty with the American Forces Vietnam Network.  His OIC recalls the "young, tall guy" as "a hard worker and a good newsman."  By sheer coincidence, Bruce was on duty in the pre-dawn hours when teletypes carried the news on 29 March 1969 that former President Eisenhower had died.  It was quite appropriate that it was Bruce, whose birth had coincided with General Eisenhower's historic military triumph, who brought the news to American servicemen across Vietnam.  Later that year, he departed for CONUS as a SP5.

On 22 May 1971 Bruce married Sharon Dell Ford, a native of Houston, Texas, and the young couple moved to the Houston area, where Bruce pursued his career in radio news.  On 22 April 1976, he was one of a select group of 12 Texas newsmen invited to the White House for a private session with President Gerald Ford.  Bruce's job at the time was News Director for KEYH radio in Houston.

His distinguished broadcast career continued until his sudden death 21 October 1999 at the too-young age of 55.  In addition to wife Sharon, Bruce was survived by his two sons, Steven Bruce (born 2 March 1977) and David Ford (born 12 September 1979).  Sharon continues to reside in Houston.

Patrick Ronald Daigle

Pat Daigle takes five at AFVN

Pat was born in Alaska on St. Patrick's Day, 1936.  His parents, Alton and Eva Lejeune Daigle, soon moved to Louisiana, however, and Pat was raised in the South.  He later graduated from Louisiana State University and became a rabid lifelong fan of LSU Football.

Making a career of the Army, he was assigned mostly to AFRTS, and spent his Vietnam tour in 1969 as a Staff Sergeant at AFVN's Detachment 4 in Nha Trang.  He was later assigned to AFKN, with duty at Camp Casey, Korea, and his final assignment was as NCOIC of DINFOS at Fort Benjamin Harrison.

He retired as a Master Sergeant with more than 20 years of service in the early 1980's and took up residence in La Vernia, Texas, a small town on US 87 just to the east of San Antonio.  He married Kathy Miller shortly after retirement.

Pat possessed a pleasing personality and was said to be a friend to all.  He loved a good time, and an old Army buddy claimed he could "charm the honey out of a rock."

Sergeant Pat Daigle passed away 19 September 2010 at the age of 74.  In addition to Kathy, his wife of 26 years, he was survived by three brothers and a sister.

Donald Francis Dalton

Donald Dalton was born on the Fourth of July 1932 to Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Dalton of Hyannis, Massachusetts.  During his 27 years of military service he saw combat in both Korea and Vietnam.

During his second Korean assignment in 1960, he served as station manager at AFKN.  Here he met an attractive young Korean civilian who was employed as the station's secretary, and on 8 March 1960 he married Miss Ki Ryun Kim in the American Embassy.

Following Korea, the staff sergeant was sent to France, and then in 1969 as an SFC he served with a combat unit in Vietnam.  In mid-tour, however, he was reassigned to AFVN.  Although capable of handling on-air shifts, Don served as admin NCO at Detachment 2 in Da Nang.

Don, who incidentally was called "Dizzy" by close friends, retired as a master sergeant in Magna Township, Utah, a Salt Lake City suburb.  Here he died 20 June 1991 at the young age of 58.  He was survived by Kim, his wife of 31 years, two sons and three daughters.  Burial was in the Utah State Veterans Cemetery in Riverton, Utah.

Harry Jirou "Jerry" Dalton

A photo of General Dalton in uniform is followed by a pair of portraits from his retirement years.

General Dalton was born in San Antonio, Texas in 1927.  Following high school graduation in 1945, he attended the University of Texas in Austin, majoring in advertising.  As a student at UT, Dalton was an intramural debater, a member of Alpha Kappa Psi, the international business fraternity, and a member of the Air Force ROTC program.  Following his graduation in 1949, the General attended graduate school.  As a distinguished ROTC graduate, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1950.

Volunteering for active duty at the beginning of the Korean conflict, his first assignment was assistant public information officer at March Air Force Base in California.  The following year he moved to Lake Charles Air Force Base, Louisiana as public information officer with the 44th Bombardment Wing.  In June 1953 he was assigned as information services officer at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, headquarters of the Strategic Air Command.

In July 1955 General Dalton was assigned to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, where he served as director of information for the 3rd Air Division.  He returned to the United States in July 1957 for assignment to the SAC Directorate of Information where he held successive jobs in the Internal Information, Plans and Liaison, and Public Information Divisions.

In September 1960 he was assigned to be a plans officer in the Office of Information, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, and in January 1963 he was named special assistant to the Air Force director of information.

He attended the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va., from January to June 1965, and then transferred to Wiesbaden, West Germany as executive assistant in the Office of the Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Forces in Europe.  In September 1966 he became chief, Public Communications Division, Office of Information, at USAFE headquarters.

His next assignment, as a lieutenant colonel, was to MACOI in Saigon in July 1968 where he served as Executive Officer to BG (later MG) Winant Sidle and BG (later MG) Lucius Gordon Hill, Jr.  During this assignment he regularly flew combat support missions as an aerial photographer.  He departed Vietnam in July 1969 after 32 combat missions and earning the Air Medal, a Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit and the Distinguished Service Medal.

He was then assigned, once again, to the Pentagon as a Plans Officer in the Plans and Programs Division, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) from September 1969 to June 1972.  Promoted to Colonel in 1970, his duties included service as Chairman of the Department of Defense POW/MIA Public Affairs Panel and as a member of the DOD POW/MIA Task Group and the White House POW Group.

In June 1972 he was named Director of Information for the Air Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas.  Three years later he went back to the Pentagon, first as Deputy Director of Information, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, and later as Director.  In December 1975, then-Colonel Dalton was promoted to Brigadier General, thus becoming the first Flag Officer whose entire career was spent in public information.  In 1979 General Dalton's position title was redesignated from Director of Information to Director of Public Affairs.

General Dalton retired in 1980 after a 30-year career as a combat-decorated Air Force veteran.  In addition to his Vietnam awards, listed above, his decorations and awards included the Joint Service Commendation Medal with "V" Device and Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Republic of Vietnam Honor Medal First Class, and Republic of Korea Order of National Security Merit (Cheonsu) Medal.

Following his military retirement, General Dalton began a 15-year public relations career in civilian life.  He worked for five years heading the public relations department of Electronic Data Systems, owned by fellow Texan Ross Perot.  He then served as Manager of Corporate Communications for LTV and Vought Aircraft, and followed this up with a three year stint as an independent consultant.  In 1998, the General retired a second time.

But in retirement, the General never really slowed down.  He remained a member of the Public Relations Society of America, having been elected their national president in 1990.  He also continued to serve in the PRSA adjunct organization, the Public Relations Student Society of America, which supports scholarships and awards program for public relations students.  When his term as PRSA president was over, he served as founding president of the PRSA Foundation, which encourages contributions from members of the profession in order to promote research and education.

As a charter member of the Air Force Public Affairs Alumni Association, he was listed in "Who's Who in the South and Southwest," and was chosen by the Aviation/Space Writers Association as the outstanding public information officer in the military.  He was the first recipient of the Outstanding Graduate in Public Relations award at the University of Texas, and he was recipient of the U.S. House of Representatives Minority Leader's Special Award for Outstanding Service to the Nation in 1980.  He also received the Texas Public Relations Association award for Outstanding Public Relations Practitioner and the Texas Public Relations Association's highest award, the Golden Spur, for outstanding service in 1991.  He is a member of the DINFOS Alumni Association Hall of Fame.

In 1955, as a young Air Force Captain, General Dalton married the former Marion Packard Hume, and over the course of their 55 years together, a family consisting of two sons, a daughter, and seven grandchildren grew around them.  Then on 20 February 2010 General and Mrs. Dalton returned from a dream vacation in Italy.  They spent 26 days touring Rome, Sorrento, Capri and the Amalfi Coast, Tuscany, and Venice.  18 days later, Mrs. Dalton unexpectedly passed away in her sleep.

The General continued to reside in Dallas, where he eventually remarried.  Then, on 1 November 2020 at the age of 93, General Dalton passed away of natural causes.  At his request, his body was donated to medical science.

General Jerry Dalton was survived by his wife Carolyn Mabel Dalton, daughter Cynthia, sons Robert and Steven, and seven grandchildren, Grace, Michael, John, Faith, Hope, Andrew and Austin .

Joseph Anthony D'Alusio


SP4 Joe D'Alusio, a Rhode Island native, was assigned to AFVN's Detachment 5 at Quang Tri in 1969-70.  He is remembered as a fun-loving guy who preferred Hawaiian-style shirts to his O.D. Army fatigues, but who always took his job seriously.

Before he left the Army, Joe also pulled a tour at AFN Bremerhaven where he hosted the afternoon drive time AM show and also did board work.  Since Germany was an accompanied tour, Joe's wife joined him as the talented fellow performed puppet shows and specialty acts for military dependent children.  He also provided AFN network coverage for the 1972 Munich Olympics.

After his military service, Joe easily segued into civilian broadcasting.  For more than 20 years he lived in Gulfport, Mississippi where he served as President and CEO of American Audio and Video Systems, Inc., a company which designed radio and television programs for closed-circuit networks nationwide.  He was also contracted as videographer for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce and for the Mississippi Sea Wolves professional hockey team based in Biloxi.

With a relocation to Jackson, Mississippi Joe has produced and hosted news shows for Mississippi Educational Television and has founded a production company which produces pre-packaged shows for commercial radio stations throughout the country.  As of the first decade of the 21st Century, Joe has over 40 years of media experience, having produced radio and television programs enjoyed by audiences across North America, Asia, and Europe.

Donald James Dare

1) Don as a North Carolina Wesleyan student in 1967, then 2) as a Knoxville investigative reporter, and 3) on the job in a live remote

Don Dare was born in Kingston, Pennsylvania, the only child of Mr. and Mrs. Donald C. Dare.  The senior Mr. Dare was a WWII Army Air Corps veteran.  Young Don was raised in the Philadelphia suburb of Media, and was a 1964 graduate of Penncrest High School.  He then enrolled at North Carolina Wesleyan College, where he frequently made the dean's list and busied himself with extracurriculars.  Don quickly joined the Chapel Choir, Circle K and the Wesleyan Players, the college's honorary theater organization where he was elected vice president. .Also in his freshman year, Don became Wesleyan's first male cheerleaer.  (Editor's Note:  Although cheerleading is most frequently associated with football, a sport which was not established at Wesleyan until 2005, the cheerleading squad wowed the crowd at every homestand of the soccer and basketball teams.)  Along with the BA in Speech-Theater which he earned in 1968, Don also earned an ROTC commission which allowed him to enter the US Army as a broadcast officer.

Following officer basic training, Don was assigned to Fort Gordon, Georgia, and it was during this time that he married Miss Lynn Alligood, whom he had met as a fellow student at NC Wesleyan.  Lynn continued her studies after the December 1969 wedding, and received her BS in education in 1970.  Then, less than a year later, in September 1971 Don was ordered to Vietnam, where he served as a First Lieutenant at AFVN in Saigon.  He credits this tour for forming the foundation of a life-long career in broadcasting.  He returned to CONUS 14 September 1972, having earned both the Joint Service Commendation Medal and the Bronze Star Medal, and following separation from the Army he returned to the college campus.

A year later he was awarded his MA in Journalism from the famed Henry W. Grady College of Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, and he began his career in TV news.  Starting with WLAC-TV in Nashville, Don moved through Miami and St. Louis during the 1970's before joining NEWSCOPE, a nationally syndicated news program based in Los Angeles in 1983.  In 1985 he returned to Miami where he remained until 1996.  In August of that year, he joined WATE-TV in Knoxville, Tennessee as a consumer and investigative reporter.

Over the years, Don has won a number of major awards, including a regional Emmy, six Emmy nominations, three regional Murrow Awards, the National Press Club's Consumer Award, a Green Eyeshade Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, a Silver Circle Award from the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences, two awards from the Associated Press as Tennessee's Reporter of the Year, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from North Carolina Wesleyan College.

In his spare time, Don enjoys hiking, running in local 5K road races, all kinds of team sports, his Sunday School class, singing in his church choir, and working with the Boy Scouts of America.  He and wife Lynn live in a Knoxville suburb, where Lynn is a middle school teacher in the Knoxville county school system.  In 2014 they celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary.

Phillip R. Davies

Phil as a youngster, as an AFVN broadcaster, and doing show prep as a civilian deejay

Phil Davies, born 5 September 1950, was a native of Los Angeles, but the family moved a hundred miles up the California coast to Santa Barbara when Phil was ten.  He was a curious boy, and as he listened to the radio he began to wonder just exactly where the sound came from.  Soon he learned there were a couple of broadcast studios nearby, and he began a series of visits.  As he became a familiar fixture, the staff of both KACL (1290) and KIST (1340) would patiently answer his questions and allow him access to the mysterious area beyond the lobby.  By the time he was 13 KIST had given him a job filing records.  Although not on the payroll, he was at least on staff, and as familiarity grew, the on-air guys helped him obtain a 3rd Class FCC license which allowed him to work behind the microphone.  He then took weekend jobs as a junior in high school, at KVEN, Ventura and KACL, Santa Barbara, which led to a chance meeting with a visiting Army recruiter who suggested that Phil pay him a call after graduation, and that's exactly what Phil did.

With the draft looming, Phil received helpful advice from an authoritative source (with an authoritative voice).  Gary Owens, a Los Angeles deejay who also hosted a show heard worldwide on American Forces Radio and gained fame on NBC's Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, counseled Phil on AFVN.  This advice, coupled with the help of Phil's Army recruiter friend, allowed him to enlist 2 May 1969 with a 2-year commitment as a broadcast specialist (MOS 71R20) based on prior experience.  KMBY placed him on military leave, which meant he was eligible for re-hire at the end of his tour.  Then after Basic at Fort Ord he was sent directly to the post information office without the necessity of DINFOS training.  Part of his job at Fort Ord was to host a half hour Army promotional show which ran at 5AM on local radio.

He spent most of 1970 in Vietnam, first with the MACV Third Corps Information Office at Bien Hoa Air Base, and then at AFVN in Saigon.  At Bien Hoa Phil worked as a photographer, flying by helicopter on combat missions every other day.  In May 1970, US forces joined South Vietnamese (ARVN) troops operating inside Cambodia for limited actions in eliminating illegal communist strongholds.  Coverage by information office personnel was voluntary, and Phil was one of the volunteers.  When his Cambodian mission ended he returned to Bien Hoa where, with special permission, he worked weekends at AFVN.  So long as he paid for his own gasoline, Phil was permitted the use of an IO-assigned jeep to travel the 25-mile trip to and from Saigon.  Although the highway was in a government-controlled area, there were times when Phil had to dodge bullets from VC/NVA infiltrators posted along the road.  When the RVN tour of the Dawnbuster radio show host ended, Phil was formally transferred to AFVN and awarded the prestigious job.  The Dawnbuster show was made famous among American civilians by the popular Robin Williams movie "Good Morning, Vietnam!"  In order to host the early morning show, he was transported from his BEQ to the studio at 4:45 AM each day.  Prior to his return to CONUS in January 1970, Phil was awarded the Army Commendation Medal by Third Corps Information Office, and he also received a Bronze Star Medal for his participation in the Cambodian Incursion.

Back in California he rejoined KMBY in the position station management had held for him.  There was, however, an obvious permanent change.  Phil adopted an air name.  On air, he now called himself SCOTTY JOHNSON, a name he used throughout his career.  He worked mornings at KMBY for about six years, and then he returned to KIST, the Santa Barbara station where he had filed records a dozen years earlier.  While at KMBY he moonlighted at KRML in Carmel, California where he was able to watch the action as Clint Eastwood directed the 1971 thriller, "Play Misty for Me."  Then after KIST he worked in Seattle, where he also studied to earn his 1st Class FCC radio license, without which he would not be allowed to work at an AM directional station.  Also without a 1st Class certificate he could not even touch a transmitter.  The test was a demanding one and required literally months of study, but was necessary in order to become a true professional broadcaster.  (The FCC has since loosened its requirements to the point that only a generic "general" license is now issued.)  He later accepted radio jobs in Seattle, Portland, and San Diego, and with KRQQ in Tucson from 1982-87.  When radio jobs were scarce, he worked for a time as master control operator for KEYT-TV, Santa Barbara's ABC affiliate.

When he accepted a position with KKFR in Phoenix, he did not expect his move to Arizona to be a permanent one, but it was.  After Phoenix, he moved on to KHYT and KIIM, both in Tucson where he had lived in the 1980's.  Then, following two years at KMXZ, also in Tucson, he decided to retire, and that's where he stayed.

There have been health problems.  In June 2004, while he was working at KMXZ, Phil suffered a heart attack.  After somehow getting himself to the emergency room, he fell unconscious before he could tell the nurse what was wrong.  The duty nurse, however, was from the cardiac unit, and she recognized the symptoms.  Phil was shocked back to life five times, and a triple bypass saved his life.  Doctors told him his condition was due to Agent Orange, with which he had come into contact flying helicopters in Vietnam.  The chemical defoliant was also responsible for the surgical removal of his malignant prostate.  Additionally, he suffers from a spinal cord injury in the C4, C5, C6 area which causes intense pain in his right hand, and even worse pain in his left.  Doctors say the injury was probably caused by the vibration from his helicopter trips.  Surgery is not recommended due to the possibility of making the pain worse.  Phil reports he is in constant 24/7 pain, which makes for some really tough days and nights.

In retirement, Phil is an old movie fan, with an extensive collection of DVD's and blu-ray discs of feature films and old television shows.  The intensity of his interest is such that he can watch the same classic movies time and time again.  He also has an impressive music collection on vinyl and CD, and a professional stereo platform which he engineered himself primarily from cast-off broadcast station equipment.  He does occasional volunteer work, and usually makes himself available if a fill-in media job pops up.

Arthur Braxton Davis

Art Davis was born 1 March 1930 in a small rural gathering known as Wiccacanee, officially in northern North Carolina but literally straddling the Virginia state line.  The little community was populated by a few families engaged in agriculture, and Art and his younger sister Shelby grew up working on the family farm.

Art joined the Army and served in Korea prior to his two Vietnam tours, the second of which was with MACOI.  He arrived in February 1968, only days after the start of the Communists' Tet Offensive.  Art was a Master Sergeant and was assigned to AFVN's Detachment 3 in Pleiku as station manager.  Although Pleiku Air Base was attacked, US and Vietnamese defenders were able to repel the enemy without major losses, and AFVN managed to stay on the air.  Art completed his tour successfully and returned to CONUS 25 February 1969, having earned a Joint Service Commendation Medal.  His next duty station was with the US Army Recruiting Command (USARCOM) at Fort Knox.

Art was promoted to Sergeant Major before his retirement after 24 years, but his government service was not over.  For the next 13 years he served in a clerical Civil Service position at the Army Research and Technology Laboratory at Fort Eustis, Virginia.

Following his complete retirement, the Sergeant Major resided in the city of Smithfield, located in Virginia's Tidewater Area, until his death 25 May 2003 at the age of 73.  He was survived by his wife, Mildred, a son, four daughters, six grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and his sister Shelby.  Burial was in Hampton Veterans Memorial Gardens in Hampton, Virginia.  Wife Mildred passed away a year later . . . on the Fourth of July.

Quinton H. Dawson


Army SP5 Quint Dawson was in Vietnam from July 1966 to February 1968.  Originally assigned to AFVN's Detachment 1 at Qui Nhon, he was part of the technical crew that set up TV transmission.  In 1967 he transferred to the Saigon key station, where he decided to extend his tour.  Then, following leave time he was sent to Detachment 3 at Pleiku where he worked as on-air announcer and as switcher on the technical side.  (A switcher, also known as a "mixer," is the man who selects from multiple cameras the feed to be aired.)  His tour ended in the midst of the Tet attacks of early 1968.

Born 14 November 1944, Quint, 72 as of 2016, resides with wife Joanne in the town of Whately, Massachusetts.  Whately, a lovely small town, was incorporated in 1771.  Franklin County grew up around the community, and was offcially created by the Massachusetts legislature four decades later in 1811.  County governments in Massachusetts have little authority, and several counties have petitioned the legislature for disbanding.  Franklin County did so in 1997, and today exists in name only simply as a geographic entity.

Quint is a trustee of the local public library (an elected position) and has served as adjutant of his VFW post.  In 2015 he was guest speaker for the town's Memorial Day observance.  In recent years he has been associated with the historic Whately Inn, a magnificent colonial structure, and he has been employed by the town's recycling program.  He appears to be in semi-retirement as of this writing, although his activity in civic affairs is unabated.

Thomas Marshall Deaner

At right is the tower Tom Deaner erected at Detachment 5.  Its cloud-shrouded tip is 300 feet above the ground.

Tom Deaner was born in 1948 in Beckley, West Virginia.  His family later moved to Lynchburg, Virginia where Tom graduated from high school.  In 1966 he took a course at the Career Academy of Broadcasting in Atlanta.  The Career Academy, with campuses in major cities across the US and Canada, used state of the art equipment to teach students enough to get an entry level on-air job at a radio station.

With his high school and trade school diplomas in hand, Tom then enlisted in the Army, where, in November 1968, he was sent to AFVN Quang Tri as Technical Director.  Detachment 5 at Hue had been decimated by the NVA during Tet 1968, and Tom was one of the technicians whose job it was to rebuild the station in its new locale.  For Tom, it was a labor of love. ". . . the original Hue detachment personnel were never far from my mind," he would later write.  "At the time we had little information on the details of what had happened in Hue but did know that the NVA must have taken some satisfaction in knocking Det 5 off the air.  It may not have seemed like much, but getting the shot-up equipment running (and) putting up a temporary tower felt like a major victory."

The temporary tower Tom alludes to may have seemed like a major victory, but the tower that replaced it did, indeed, fit that description.  It seems the civilian contractors whose job it was to erect such an apparatus considered the project a bit too frought with danger, so Tom and a fellow GI volunteered to do it themselves.  Every day Tom, a SP5, and Marine Sergeant Tim Nichols climbed the tower and installed it, piece-by-piece, with hand tools.  The thing was 300 feet high.  You could hear harp music as you reached the top.

After Tom's discharge, he was employed first by Babcock and Wilcox Nuclear Operations Group, and then he began doing contract work with FEMA.  The FEMA job as an emergency preparedness consultant required travel, and Tom was frequently on the road for several weeks at a time.  He was on a FEMA job in California in September 2001, helping to evaluate an emergency exercise at the San Onofre nuclear plant, when the 9-1-1 attacks took place.  The exercise was, of course, cancelled to allow emergency personnel to prepare for further possible attacks.  All FEMA personnel left immediately, and the contractors were stranded.  Unable to get a flight, Tom rented a car and drove back home to Virginia.  "I'm glad I did," he wrote at the time.  "2,500 miles across America on I-40 made me feel much better about this country.  Many flags, a deep anger and resolve in those I met at rest stops and gas stations, and the most telling . . . polite behavior on the highway.  I've taken a good look at America in the past few days and can assure you this is an amazing country and it is unified."  Tom was a patriot.

But this serious-minded gentleman also enjoyed his leisure time.  A sportsman, he once boasted, "I've been a little out of touch because it's spawning season for the mighty striped bass.  I spend a few weeks every spring as a wildlife specialist for the Virginia Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries and this season has been pretty busy.  So far this year I've netted around 300 stripers with the females averaging 14 lbs.  Nice work if you can get it."

Thomas Marshall Deaner's life was taken by cancer 12 May 2007.  He was 59.

He was survived by his son, Sean, of Reading, Pennsylvania, and his brother and sister-in-law, Shelby and Carol, of Campbell County, Virginia.

Edward Arthur DeCola

At left, a nice post-retirement headshot of the Gunny, and at right, he is shown with Weather Girl Bobbie Oberhansly.  Merry Christmas!

Ed was born 23 December 1921 in a rural area about 12 miles north of Denver, Colorado.  He joined the Marine Corps while WWII was still raging, and he continued through Korea and Vietnam.  As an information specialist, he served mostly in public relations, working in the print media.  While stationed in San Diego Ed used a few days of accumulated leave to marry Miss Freda Potter 5 November 1960.  Freda was thus able to join Ed in his plum assignment a couple of years later when he was posted to Marine Corps Air Station Kaheohe Bay, Hawaii.  Here as a staff sergeant, he was named editor of the weekly base newspaper, and his talents were also utilized quite often as narrator or emcee at special events.

His Vietnam assignment came in 1966-67 as a Gunnery Sergeant when he was dispatched to AFVN in Saigon as a newswriter.  Although not on the air himself, his job was to gather newsworthy copy from various sources and prep it for delivery via radio and TV.

After Vietnam, Gunny and Mrs. DeCola took up residence in peaceful retirement in Clinton, Connecticut, a lovely city on the shore of the Long Island Sound.  This resort community was once the summer home of a man who ranks high on everyone's list of favorite authors . . . Dr. Seuss.

Freda passed away 26 October 2004, and Ed's health began to fail shortly thereafter.  In the years since Ed had left the rural area north of Denver which was his original stomping ground, a city had sprung up.  Northglenn, Colorado was a planned community erected by a real estate mogul, and had grown into a city of some 30,000 population.  Ed had relatives there, and with an excellent medical facility close by, he elected to travel to Northglenn for medical treatment.  It was here that he died 13 November 2012 at the age of 90.  Burial was in Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, Section 23, Site 394.

John Arthur Deering

Former POW Deering with his son, John Jr.

John Deering was born in Nashville, Tennessee 6 February 1943 and attended the University of Tennessee where he majored in radio-television management.  Entering the workforce, he was hired as operations manager at WMOC radio in Chattanooga.  In 1966 John enlisted in the Marine Corps with a specialty in radio-TV.  After 16 months at Camp Lejeune he was ordered to Vietnam 18 December 1967 where he was assigned to AFVN Saigon.  In January 1968 he was transferred to Hue as a corporal to become program director of the Detachment 5 TV station.

On the night of 4 February 1968 the station was attacked as a part of the TET Offensive, and after heavy fighting the detachment was overrun.  John was wounded in his foot and his hand, and was taken captive the day before his 25th birthday.  He would remain a POW for more than five years.

The arduous trip through the jungles to Hanoi took six months.  On arrival in Hanoi, John was held in various areas of Hoa Lo Prison, nicknamed The Hanoi Hilton.  At this infamous facility in downtown Hanoi, he was subjected to regular sessions of kneeling torture, rope torture and beatings, and he was held in solitary confinement for two years.  John was later asked how he was able to survive two years in solitary.  His answer was, "My faith in God played an important role here.  I never prayed for a miracle, just a little hint as to how I could overcome my difficulties.  My prayers were answered and believe me the Lord worked wonders . . . ."  He went on to explain that he kept his mind occupied by mentally constructing, equipping, staffing, and managing the perfect radio station.  The project worked, he insisted, for although it became something of an obsession, the exercise probably preserved his sanity.

When the POWs were released 5 March 1973, John came home to Tennessee.  He retired from the Marine Corps later that year as a staff sergeant.  Among the decorations awarded him by his Country were the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart.  Although he never built the radio station he had so carefully planned, he became a productive citizen of Millersville, Tennessee where he was engaged in the business of building custom automobiles.

John died unexpectedly at the age of 64 of a massive heart attack 8 October 2007, survived by his wife, Shirley, son John Jr., and daughter Angela.  He had been scheduled to be the keynote speaker for the 25th Anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC the following month.  He was laid to rest at the Middle Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery in Nashville.

John Darryl DeGroot


Michigan native John DeGroot is a 1964 graduate of North Farmington Hills High School, and a 1968 graduate of Michigan State University.  With the Vietnam War in full swing, he enrolled in ROTC, and along with his BA he was awarded a Signal Corps commission in the US Army.  A year later as a 1LT he was posted to Vietnam, where he was assigned to AFVN.  In an e-mail to the MACOI Website, he described his RVN tour thusly:  "I was at Chu Lai and then Quang Tri.  I spent a few days at the Da Nang location, but had no permanent role there.  Later I was sent to Saigon to coordinate the programming for the network."  Beyond those words, he declined to detail his service but we know it was he who conducted the 1970 country-wide AFVN audience survey.  When he returned to CONUS 26 July 1970 he was awarded a Joint Service Commendation Medal and a Bronze Star.

John's hometown, Farmington Hills, is located about 20 miles northwest of downtown Detroit.  It's only a short hop to the waters of the Great Lakes, and that's where John spent a lot of time.  He became an accomplished sailor, and when he moved to south Florida he took his sailing skills with him.  He resides on the water at Punta Gorda, on Florida's west coast.

John is a yacht broker and over the years he has sold all kinds of sail, trawler, and power boats.  As of 2015 he has over 40 years sailing experience and more than 20 years as a broker.  Since being certified as a USCG sailboat captain, he has focused his efforts on locating and listing quality sailboats for his customers, and he also teaches sailboating to new owners.  He spends about six months of each year cruising with wife Lisa in his own 1985 Irwin 43 sailboat.  Lisa, who holds an MA in education, is a teacher in the local public school system.

Although it's admittedly a stretch, there is an unusual tie-in between John DeGroot and AFVN.  It seems actress Pam Dawber of Mork and Mindy TV fame was a 1968 graduate of North Farmington Hills High School, from which John graduated four years earlier.  Pam's Mork and Mindy co-star was Robin Williams, who starred in the 1988 movie Good Morning Vietnam, which was set at AFVN, where John had been assigned 18 years earlier.  Maybe it's not Robert Ripley material, but it's notable for our purposes.  Destiny is a curious thing.  Believe it . . . or not!

Acy Oliver DeLaughter, Jr.


Acy DeLaughter was born 3 July 1929 in Ponchatoula, Louisiana.  The stock market crash which ushered in the Great Depression occurred less than four months later.  The rural South was hit especially hard by plummeting economic conditions, and probably contributed to Acy's decision to enter the Navy a month before his 15th birthday.  Acy's son says his father admitted to enlisting under age, but says he refused to tell anyone how he got away with it.

His Navy enlistment in June 1944 coincided with the start of the Allies' campaign to take the island of Saipan in the Marianas.  One of Acy's first ports of call as a Navy seaman recruit was Saipan, after, of course, the island was in Allied hands.

He spent two years in the Navy before joining the Army, where he served until 1973.

In the Army, he was first assigned to Colorado, followed by a tour in Germany, three years at Fort Bliss, and a year in post-war Korea with AFKN.  During this time, he received timely promotions, and was a Sergeant First Class when he reported for a three year assignment as advisor to the Montana National Guard.  With a personnel MOS, Acy generally had headquarters assignments, and his RVN tour in 1970-71 was as Admin NCO with AFVN.  While in Saigon he suffered a shattered wrist, a non-combat injury which eventually resulted in a 60% disability rating.

Following his Vietnam assignment, Acy was promoted to Master Sergeant, and was assigned to Fort Myer as First Sergeant for one of the elite units which performed ceremonial duties in and around the Nation's Capital.  In 1973 he retired with nearly 30 years of military service and moved to Loveland, Colorado, just north of Denver.

Loveland was the hometown of Acy's wife, Rachel, whom he had married in 1949.  Over the years, his family grew to include daughter Connie and son Terry, three grandchildren and five great grandchildren.  Acy joined the VFW, the Retired Enlisted Association, and the DAV.  Cancer claimed Rachel in 2001 and Acy died five years later of heart failure at the age of 76.

Mortimer DeLeon-Morales

Sergeant DeLeon in closeup, and in a shot from the 1972 Presidential Election Returns broadcast

Originally from Gurabo, in eastern Puerto Rico, Mortimer DeLeon-Morales joined the Army in December 1962.  He had previously studied at the University of Puerto Rico, where he was a member of the school's ROTC program, and played saxophone in the ROTC Band.  Following Basic at Fort Jackson, he attended Quartermaster School at Fort Lee, Virginia.

His first assignment in 1963 was to the 35th Quartermaster Battalion in Stuttgart, and a year later he transferred to the 74th Quartermaster Detachment in the Canal Zone.  Here in Panama, however, the local AFRTS Southern Command Network (SCN) had an immediate need for a Spanish language news broadcaster, and in December 1964 Mortimer accepted the assignment.  He was soon editing his own newscasts for his spots on radio and television.  When he returned for a second tour a short time later as a SP5 his additional duties required him to carry the title of Acting First Sergeant.

It was with a promotion to Staff Sergeant (E6) that he reported for duty with AFVN in 1971.  In addition to regular newscasts, he also hosted a Spanish language music program, and when AFVN aired a network-style election returns marathon show in November 1972, Sergeant DeLeon was among the anchors.

DeLeon's pre-enlistment studies at the University of Puerto Rico had been in the field of Civil Engineering, and he left after ten years of military service with the intention of returning home to complete his degree and begin his chosen profession.

Diana J. Dell

At left, Diana hosts "USO Showtime" on AFVN, and at right, post-war, she works on a script.

Diana Dell was born in 1946 in East Vandergrift, Pennsylvania, where she grew up, and graduated from West Virginia University with a degree in journalism.  She worked as a journalist on a newspaper and also taught second and seventh grade classes.  In 1970, after her brother Kenny was killed in the Mekong Delta, she went to Vietnam as a civilian with USO.  There she was a program director in Cam Ranh Bay and director of public relations in Saigon, where she hosted "USO Showtime," a daily program on American Forces Vietnam Network (AFVN) radio.  In addition, she set up "Feed the Children" programs in orphanages, coordinated programs and publicity for the 14 centers in-country, and escorted USO shows and visiting celebrities around Vietnam--from the Delta to the DMZ.  Upon leaving Vietnam following the Easter Offensive in 1972, she worked in Europe for a year as publicity director at the Frankfurt USO and two years as a freelance writer and photographer in Athens and Madrid.  After owning an advertising agency in Massachusetts for 10 years, she taught Vietnam War history and journalism classes at Tampa College.  Diana divides her writing time between Boston and Clearwater, Florida.  She is the author of Memories Are Like Clouds, a childhood memoir set in the 1950s, and A Saigon Party and Other Vietnam War Stories.

On 20 August 2011 Diana was recipient of the Vietnam Veterans of America's President's Award for Excellence in the Arts.  The award was presented at the organization's 15th biennial National Convention in Reno, Nevada.

Allen C. Deming

Allen Deming, elder of the two sons of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Deming, was born 28 February 1915 and grew up on Long Island in the city of Huntington, New York.  At the time of his Army enlistment on 18 October 1941, he had completed a year of college, and listed his civilian occupation as "salesman."  He served in the European-African theater during WWII, and at War's end he was mustered out until his re-enlistment in 1951.  During the interim between wars he worked for a Los Angeles newspaper and for a public relations firm.  In his second enlistment, Deming upgraded to the officer ranks and eventually saw combat in Korea as a battalion commander.

As a Signal Corps officer. Deming was assigned to DOD, where he soon transitioned to Public Information. He was serving as PIO at Fort Huachuca in June 1960 when he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. Then following a tour in Frankfurt, West Germany he was named in 1965 as Executive Officer at the Western Regional PIO in Los Angeles. The following year he arrived in Saigon as Executive Officer of MACOI. At the end of this tour, Colonel Deming was awarded the Legion of Merit.

In 1968 Hollywood released a WWII movie titled The Devil's Brigade, starring William Holden, Cliff Robertson, and Vince Edwards, with a huge cast which reads like a directory of Hollywood's A-List at the time.  A name that rolls by in the credits is that of the film's technical advisor, Lt. Col. Allen C. Deming.

In retirement, the Colonel made his home in the Irvine, California area and he accepted a civilian job as executive director of the Orange County (California) Management Council for Merit Employment.  His office was in the Anaheim Chanber of Commerce Building.  The Colonel passed away 10 May 1990 at the age of 75.

James Arthur D'Entremont

At left, COL D'Entremont in retirement; at right, as a proud grandfather

Jim D'Entremont is the eldest of the five children of Mr. and Mrs. Jim D'Entremont Sr. of Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.  The senior Mr. D'Entremont was a WWII Navy veteran.  The family moved twice during Jim's youth, and he graduated from Walpole (Massachusetts) High School in 1958.  He was co-captain of the school's cross country track team, and was named Most Valuable Player.  He continued his track actvities at the US Air Force Academy, from which he emerged in 1962 as a 2LT.

Following training as a navigator at Vance AFB, Oklahoma and James Connally AFB at Waco, Texas, Jim was assigned to the Military Air Transport Service (MATS) at Travis AFB, where he flew transport missions around the world aboard C-135's and C-141's.  This was fortuitous because it was at Travis that he met Miss Lynn Rigge, who would become his wife three years later.  Lynn was a nursing student who was in training at the base hospital, and the couple married in March 1967, two months after her graduation from California State College at Chico.

Graduate school at Texas A&M was next for Jim, but before he and Lynn could leave Travis in 1968, son Jim III was born.  Daughter Nichole was born in November 1970 just before Jim earned his master's in computer sciences, and then five months later he left for assignment in Vietnam.  After an initial posting at Phan Rang Air Base, he was transferred to MACOI in Saigon as a briefing officer at the Public Information Division.  A captain at the time, Jim says he did not enjoy this assignment.  "The press was often antagonistic and always demanding more information than could be provided," he reports.  He was happy to return to the US in March 1972, with duty at Military Airlift Command at Scott AFB, Illinois, and a promotion to major.

Here he worked in information technology (IT), and his first assignment was to help build an automated command and control center for MAC.  The computer system he built was of course obsoleted in a few years, but it helped to set the ground rules for future development.  In 1977 he went to Strategic Air Command with duty in war plans programming and a promotion to lieutenant colonel.

The prestigious National War College at Fort McNair followed in 1980, and then he went to Air Force Systems Command, which was responsible for weapons research and development.  With promotion to colonel, he was named Chief Engineer for AWACS, the Airborne Early Warning and Control System.

Colonel D'Entremont then accepted what would become his final posting in the Air Force.  At Wright-Patterson AFB he was initially Director of Avionics Engineering and later he worked to develop an inertial navigation system which would replace the human navigator aboard many types of aircraft.  Since the Colonel's first Air Force job had been navigator, this "closing of the loop" had to be very satisfying.

Following his retirement in 1980, Colonel D'Entremont accepted civilian employment for a time.  Working first with McDonnell Aircraft for two years, he moved along to a five-year defense-oriented project in Dallas sponsored by the Department of Energy.  The Superconducting Super Collider was, however, eventually cancelled by Congress reportedly due to tremendous cost overruns.  His last civilian employment was in San Antonio with USAA, the financial services organization that specializes in military personnel and veterans.

Jim and Lynn then moved to a retirement village in the Dallas/Fort Worth vicinity.  Their two daughters live in the area, and they are able to spend time with their five grandchildren.  The two retirees enjoy cruises and their summer visits with their entire families on the Alabama Gulf Coast.  Free time is spent with volunteer work with their church.

Mildred L. "Millie" Dew

At left, Millie on the air at AFVN, and at right, she (third from left), and friend, Jeanne McCarthy (2nd from left), are pictured with Sandy Dennis and Geraldine Page, who were performing in "Agnes of God" at the Cape Playhouse on Cape Cod in Dennis, Massachusetts (1984).

Millie Dew, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Russell Eugene Dew, Sr. was born in the small town of Union City in west Tennessee, and attended elementary school a few miles away in Jackson.  Her father was then transferred west and her family spent time in Las Vegas, Socorro, New Mexico, and LaJunta, Colorado.  She graduated in 1956 from A&M Consolidated High School in College Station, Texas and then entered North Texas State College in Denton, Texas, where she earned degrees in Theater and Education.

Moving to Dallas, Texas, she taught English at North Dallas High School for two years, then took a job with the Department of Defense, assigned to Special Services in Germany, where she was employed as a recreation director in Wurzburg, Hanau, Glenhausen and Babenhausen.  Returning to Dallas, she taught English for one year at Hillcrest High School, then resumed her Special Services job for a 12-month tour in Vietnam at Bearcat, east of Saigon, and Tay Ninh, northwest of Saigon.

After transferring to the U.S.O. in DaNang, she moved to the Public Relations office in Saigon, where she did various "whatevers" before heading to the radio station, AFVN, for her daily radio program, U.S.O. Showtime.  On the air, she would play song requests and greet soldiers in the field by name.  She recalls playing many requests for "Proud Mary," among others.  In the evenings, she performed in plays with the Saigon Community Theater.

Returning home, Millie received a Master's degree in Special Education at the University of New Mexico, and taught in the areas of learning disabilities and gifted.  She also performed in local theater, and she studied acting with Sandy Dennis at the HB Studio in New York City.

In 1989, during Millie's time in New York, Sandy Dennis, near the end of her life, appeared in a film entitled "Parents."  The name of her character was "Millie Dew."  The MACOI Website asked the real Millie how this came about.  "Actually there's not much to the story," Millie replied.  She explained that the character was named Millie and that the director told Sandy they needed a last name.  "She told me that she had used my name. . . that she didn't think I would mind."  Sandy then asked, "You don't . . . do you?"  Millie, sitting at Sandy's kitchen table in Westport, Connecticut, didn't mind.

Currently retired, Millie says she enjoys traveling, reading, films, and, in her own words, "doing nothing."

Kathleen Sue Deweese

Kathy is shown on the job at AFVN in 1965, then in 1973 on the Iditarod Trail (third from left), and in a parting shot she is pictured as a university professor.

From January 1964 to January 1965, Kathy Deweese, an American civilian college girl, lived in Saigon, and for most of that year she served American Forces Radio - Saigon (AFRS) as a volunteer in the news room.  Each day she pulled copy off the wire service printers and re-wrote the material so that it was suitable for the broadcasters to read on-air.  Her father was in Vietnam as part of a professional teacher instruction program sponsored by Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.  Dr. Harold Deweese was a professor at the university, and was in-country from 1964 to 1967.  Prior to 1965 American civilians and senior military personnel were allowed to bring family members along on accompanied tours, and the professor considered this an excellent way to enhance Kathy's education.  She had completed her junior year at SIU, where she was studying education with a concentration in French, and she found conversing with Vietnamese civilians, many of whom spoke French quite well, an excellent way of polishing her language skills.

She returned to the US at the beginning of 1965 and resumed not only her senior year at SIU, but she also resumed a budding relationship with one Tharon Earl O'dell, a senior Forestry major at SIU.  Her mother and younger sister soon followed Kathy back home, and five days before Christmas 1965 Kathy and Tharon were married.  The newlyweds then moved to Oregon, where Kathy taught and started graduate school and Tharon began his Forestry career.  Kathy earned her Ph.D at the University of Oregon, and before the marriage dissolved, she and Tharon became parents of a son.

In August 1981 Kathy moved to Anchorage, where she became an education professor at the University of Alaska.  Now known as Dr. Kate O'dell, she served as president of the Alaska Council of Teachers of English in 1990-92 and 1994-95, and she served as a committee member for the Council's national board.  She has also served as Team Leader for the Anchorage Wellbeing in Secondary Education (WISE) Project, and she was national leader for the Teaching Excellence Special Interest Group of the College Reading and Learning Association.  She retired from full-time teaching in 2012 and was awarded the title Professor Emerita.

James Vincent DiBernardo


James DiBernardo was born 18 October 1934 in Fulton, New York, a small city north of Syracuse and close enough to Lake Ontario to receive 100 inches of lake effect snow each year.  After his 1952 graduation from Fulton County High School he enlisted in the Marines.  By 1960, he had been promoted to sergeant and was assigned to Kaeohe Bay (Hawaii) Marine Air Station with duty as staff writer for the base newspaper.  In his spare time he moonlighted as chef at the Kaneohe Yacht Club, reflecting his lifelong passion as a gourmet cook.

Following his graduation from DINFOS at Fort Slocum, New York, he was assigned to the school as an instructor, later moving with with the school to Fort Benjamin Harrison.  Following his commissioning to 2LT, he was assigned as assistant information officer at El Toro Marine Air Station.  Then in 1967, as a 1LT, he began a tour in Vietnam.

As OIC of AFVN's Detachment 5 in Hue, the lieutenant was to supervise the installation of a TV studio at the northern detachment, and also to construct a Vietnamese television broadcast facility.  All was proceeding normally until Tet, 1968.

The coordinated enemy invasion began 31 January, and by 3 February the communists had destroyed Detachment 5 and Lt. DiBernardo was captured by the NVA.  After a 55-day march through the Vietnamese jungle, he would spend the next five years as a POW.

Released 5 March 1973 from the Hanoi Hilton with a promotion to Captain, DiBernardo went home to the family he had left behind, along with a pleasant addition.  Not only was he greeted by wife, Sharen, daughter Gail and sons Vincent and Tony, but also by a pair of 4-year old twin daughters, Joy and Susan, who had been born after his capture.

DiBernardo continued to serve the Marine Corps through a full 30-year retirement as a Major.  Among his honors and awards were the Bronze Star Medal, two Purple Hearts, two Navy Commendation Medals, and the Prisoner of War Medal.  He was also honored by the US Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association with election as its national president, and as recipient of the Donald L. Dickson Memorial Award, which is presented annually to the member judged to have contributed most to the organization.

After retirement he went back to school to earn a business degree from San Diego's National University prior to founding an insurance agency in Temecula, California, where he worked for the rest of his life.

His life ended in November 2009 at the age of 75.  His wife and four of his five children survived him.  (Oldest daughter Gail had predeceased him five weeks earlier.)  He also left seven grandchildren.

Major DiBernardo was laid to rest in the Riverside (California) National Cemetery.

Robert J. Dillon

Robert almost missed the fun.  He arrived at AFVN's Da Nang broadcast studios in December 1972, and as he soon learned, he would be the last of the US troops to report to that Detachment or, as a matter of fact, to any other.  History was in the making as a ceasefire agreement was signed in January.  This meant a very brief tour with Robert climbing aboard the heralded "Freedom Bird" no later than 15 March 1973.  His job at Da Nang would be to puff out the candle and put the cat out.

The SP4 26T20 TV equipment technician had departed CONUS with orders requiring him to be on the ground for 12 months.  He had expected to use each of those months in service to the troops who remained scattered about central RVN.  By running the board, as was his specialty, he planned to make certain the guys in the field would be informed and entertained as per SOP.  Instead, however, he was given the honor of pulling the plug and packing up all the broadcast gear which had accumulated over the six-year life of the station.

Forty-five years later, we found Robert in a small community in central Pennsylvania.  He and wife Amy, along with about 1,998 other human souls, reside in Martinsburg, a population center inside a fertile valley known as Morrison's Cove.  Perfect for agriculture and renowned for its sheer beauty, the cove extends 40 miles through the Allegheny Mountains, fed by the Yellow Creek and the Juniata River.  Interstate 99 is five miles to the west as the crow flies, and the city of Altoona is 20 miles away.  Robert, born 16 September 1951, is employed as maintenance director at The Village of Morrison's Cove, a retirement community founded in 1903 and nestled on a lovely 100-acre wooded campus.

Robert and Amy today reside in a sort of Eden, and we at the MACOI Website congratulate Robert on his safe return from his four-month war.

Roger Dimick

Roger was an eager volunteer at AFVN's Detachment 6 at Tuy Hoa. Although he was assigned to the 31st USAF Dispensary at Tuy Hoa Air Base as a medic, he had broadcasting in his blood and staffing at AFVN was sometimes stretched thin.  He was called upon several times during off-duty hours when regular staff was not available to anchor the 10PM newscast, and he occasionally volunteered for other duties as well.  He had joined the transient "staff" as a deejay at FM Tuy Hoa, which was an unofficial "pirate" radio station transmitting locally on 106.9 FM.

Roger, born 2 May 1947 in Richardson, Texas, about 15 miles north of Dallas, was a 1964 graduate of Richardson High School.  He began a radio career at McKinney, Texas, 20 miles north of Richardson, but left less than a year later to enlist in the Air Force, and by the time of his August 1968 Vietnam assignment he had attained the rank of Staff Sergeant (E5).

Following his discharge from the military he registered as a part-time student at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, while working at KCAW in Port Arthur.  He also worked as News Director at KLVI-AM and KAYC-FM, both in Beaumont.  He received his BS in Accounting in 1976, and then returned later for a second BS, this time in Economics, and he also earned an MS.  Then after achieving certification as a CPA he worked for an accounting firm for four years before starting a CPA business himself in 1980.

In 1985 he retired from accounting and began a teaching career at Lamar Institute of Technology.  At that time an affiliate of Lamar University, the Institute became independent in 1995.  He continued to teach accounting, economics, computer programming, and business courses at the school until 2006 when he went into semi-retirement and worked in Customer Service for Continental Airlines, with for a brief time a side job at United Airlines.  During his teaching career, Roger kept his finger on the pulse of broadcasting by co-hosting a twice-monthly trivia show on KLVI radio from 1992 until 2007.  Then in 2009, Roger took yet another part-time job as a student advisor at Cy-Fair College, which is located in Cypress and Fairbanks, two unincorporated communities in the Houston surburbs.  He resides in Houston.

Richard Harry Dinsmore ("Rich Randall")

In April 1975 Rich hosts Wolfman Jack in a studio visit, and then in 2004 he spins the oldies, and finally back in uniform as a reservist

Rich Dinsmore, born 28 August 1947, was the eldest of the three children of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Ellsworth Dinsmore of Minneapolis, Minnesota.  He joined the Army immediately following his graduation from Marshall High School, and a lifelong radio career began when he assigned to AFRTS.  He served as a deejay with AFKN in 1965-66, and then was sent TDY to Saigon as a PFC in early 1965.  He was part of the crew assigned to put AFRS back on the air after it had been destroyed in a Christmas Eve 1964 enemy attack.

Returning to the US following his discharge, he quickly found a job at KYSN in Colorado Springs and began using the airname "Rich Randall."  This was followed by gigs in increasingly larger markets in Denver, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, and then in Washington, DC where we worked with the Mutual Broadcast System.

In 1974 he moved to WROV in Roanoke, Virginia.  His popularity there led him to WLVA in Lynchburg where he teamed up with news anchor Al Augustine in the market's top-rated show "Rich-n-Al in the Morning."  With a phenomenal 33 share in the Arbitron rating, he won Billboard's Broadcaster of the Year Award in 1977.

He stayed in Lynchburg for 20 years before moving on to a nearly-ten year stint at WSKZ in Chattanooga, where he served as local co-host and market producer of the syndicated John Boy and Billy Show.  Leaving daily broadcasting, he went into semi-retirement while continuing a limited schedule producing individual radio shows, marketing, advertising, and consulting.  In 2006 he took another step toward full retirement by starting an electronic news service in nearby Cleveland, Tennessee.

Rich's military service continued beyond his active duty years.  He later served in the Army Reserve, the Tennessee National Guard and the Tennessee State Guard.  He retired as a CW2 public information officer, and moved to Newport, Rhode Island where he passed away 15 September 2014.  He was survived by a daughter and four sons, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Thomas Eugene Dodson

Tom Dodson began his radio career while still in high school in Lawton, Oklahoma.  His formal training at the Columbia School of Broadcasting was supplemented by OJT with a pair of friendly deejays at a local radio station.  Following graduation from Lawton High School in 1968, Tom joined the Air Force.

After an initial assignment to Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque, Tom was sent to Ching Chuan Kang Air Base in the Republic of China (ROC) with duty at American Forces Network Taiwan (AFNT).  Although he was never assigned to AFVN, Tom was sent to the Saigon station TDY three times in 1971-72, where he handled the midnight-to-3 show using the air name of Mark Richards.

Finishing his Air Force obligation at Clark Air Base in 1972-74, Tom returned to Lawton where he enrolled part-time at Cameron University.  He joined the Army Reserve and took a civil service job while attending classes.  After earning his undergraduate degree he enrolled in graduate school at George Washington University, and eventually earned a J.D. in Veterans' Law, and a Ph.D. in Business Administration.

Tom is a member of the Oklahoma American Legion and AMVETS.  In his spare time he volunteers to assist other vets in their dealings with the Department of Veterans Affairs.  He is also past president of the Southwest Songwriters Association.

Tom has three grown children -- a daughter and two sons and is especially proud of his grandsons.  He continues to reside in Lawton.

Editor's Update:  Dr. Tom Dodson unexpectedly passed away 5 August 2014 at the age of 65.  He was buried in Fort Sill National Cemetery.

Daniel C. Doherty

A somewhat faded headshot from Dan's early career is followed by a later candid snapshot

Dan Doherty, AFVN news director, was a Marine Master Gunnery Sergeant who served three tours in Vietnam.  His final tour ended 10 December 1970 with the awarding of the Joint Service Commendation Medal, and he retired upon his return to CONUS.  He later joined a civilian news organization and returned to Saigon one last time.  As a footnote, he had the pleasure of stopping off in Hawaii on this civilian Vietnam trip for a brief visit with his son, Dan Jr., who was at his duty station having followed his dad into the Marines.

During his years of retirement in northern California, Dan was a participant in activities related to the US Marines, and reportedly loved San Francisco's Marine Corps Ball, held annually to commemorate the founding of the Continental Marines on 10 November 1775.  He was often found sailing on the Mare Island Strait which separated Mare Island from the California mainland in San Pablo Bay.

The Master Gunny died 1 July 1996.  Two of his sons had predeceased him, and he was survived, in addition to the aforementioned Dan Jr., by son Kevin of Washington State, and son Anthony and daughter Bridget, both of California.

The Website has been unable to determine his cause of death or the location of his burial.

Michael A. Donio

Mike Donio, a Pennsylvania native, attended York College in York, Pennsylvania for two years, majoring in Business.  While there, he worked in commercial radio and television and was a member of the Advertising Club and the Journalism Club.  He transferred to Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia in 1966 and graduated with a BS in Marketing in 1968.  While at Marshall, he again worked in commercial broadcasting, both as an on-air personality and as an intern on the sales staff.  Extra-curriculars included Alpha Kappa Psi business and social fraternity and Director of Special Programs for WMUL-FM, the campus radio station.

Following graduation, Mike entered the US Army and served a tour in Vietnam in 1970-71.  Assigned first to Long Binh, he served as a public affairs officer with the Saigon Support Command.  In 1971 he transferred to AFVN as news officer at the Saigon key station.  He modestly reports little activity during his months at AFVN because "things were beginning to wind down."

When he returned to civilian life back in the USA, Mike turned his attention from the fields of business and broadcasting to healthcare.  He enrolled in graduate school at Penn State, where in 1976 he earned a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree in Healthcare Administration and Planning.  His education included administrative residency in the Ambulatory Services Center at Harrisburg (Pennsylvania) Hospital, where he learned to direct the daily activities of the emergency unit, outpatient clinics and pre-admission lab.

He then began a career as a medical advocate in the public policy industry, working first as Director of Projects at the People's Medical Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating consumers about health issues.  He later moved on to a position as Program Manager at the Lehigh Valley (Pennsylvania) Business Coaltion on Health Care.  The objective of this organization was to minimize the financial burden on employers seeking to provide adequate medical care for their personnel.

After two decades in the industry, Mike in 2003 was named Director of Marketing and Consumer Affairs for the Institute for Safe Medication Practices.  This non-profit organization seeks to educate the healthcare community and consumers regarding medication error prevention.  The ISMP works with the pharmaceutical industry to make medications safer and to simplify dosage instructions and packaging.

Additionally, Mike is author or co-author of many consumer healthcare publications.  Among these are Medicare Made Easy with a publication date of 1999, and Long-Term Care and its Alternatives, published in1996.  As of 2010, both books, and others, are available in paperback through Amazon and other sources.

Mike resides in the Allentown, Pennsylvania suburb of Wescosville.

Dennis Richard Dormody

As a Private at Basic Training, Denny appears a bit underdressed; then as a civilian a few years later, he's a bit overdressed. The final snapshot shows Denny in a pose with '70's musical icon Tiny Tim.

Denny Dormody, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Donald J. Dormody of Lakewood, Ohio, was born 30 April 1946.  He graduated in 1964 from St. Edward High School, where he was admittedly the class clown.  The city is a Cleveland suburb and is situated on the shore of Lake Erie.  Upon receiving his diploma, he enrolled at Ohio University, where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1968.  He then answered the call and entered basic training at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.  By the time he arrived in Saigon for his 361-day tour with AFVN where he hosted a Country Music show on AM radio, he was well-prepared.  He returned to the US 11 January 1972, having earned the Joint Service Commendation Medal.

Back in Cleveland he found a radio gig playing Country music at WELW-FM, and later worked down-under in Australia, where he produced radio and TV commercials.  Then, returning to the USA, he located in Los Angeles where he hoped for a career on the silver screen.  Although he has not yet become a leading man, he has appeared in more than a hundred movies, and a large number of TV shows.  He also writes screenplays, and when no studio jobs are available, he transforms into a professional telemarketer.

While in married life, Denny became father to Diane, who died young, and Michael, who earned a master's degree in Physics from the University of California-Santa Cruz.  Denny and wife Kathleen later parted company, and today Denny makes his home in Glendale, California.  He is the author of two humorous semi-autobiographies. Riding the Hollywood Glacier was published in 2005 and Riding the Hollywood Glacier 2 was published in 2011.  The books are geared toward persons who want to work behind the scenes and as oft-employed extras in Hollywood.

Donald Hawkes Dornberg

1) While the WDVH mascot naps, Don does his newscast; 2) Next Don on duty at the WGST newsdesk; and 3) at Metro Source News

Don Dornberg was born 21 February 1944, the son of Mr. and Mrs. David C. Dornberg of suburban Minneapolis/St. Paul.  A 1962 graduate of Mahtomedi High School, he enlisted in the Army and was sent as a SP5 to Vietnam in 1967-68.  At AFVN's Detachment 3 at Pleiku, Don filled a radio deejay slot with occasional fill-in jobs on the TV news desk.

Back in civilian life, Don worked in Minnesota for a time before leaving for the warmer climes of the South.  It was during a brief time as news director at WDVH in Gainesville, Florida that Don earned a nickname among station personnel.  One of the on-air personalities brought a pet Weimaraner to the station every day, and Don would occasionally raise the dog on its hind feet and do a few dance steps.  Someone mentioned the resemblance to a dancing skit performed with a man in a bear suit on the Captain Kangaroo TV show, and the name Don "Dancin' Bear" Dornberg stuck.

Then in 1978, Don transferred to Atlanta's WGST, an all-news station which was soon to broadcast on 50,000 daytime watts.  As Assistant News Director, Don stayed with the station 19 years until a format change in 1997 prompted him to move to WSB.  During his two-decade Atlanta radio career, Don's team won two Excellence in Journalism awards -- one for Deadline Reporting and one for Sports Reporting.

At about the turn of the century, Don signed on as a correspondent with Metro Source News, a private news service company which provides text and audio nationwide to some 800 affiliates.  As of this writing in 2012, Don is currently general manager of the organization and lives happily in an Atlanta suburb.

Sturges Dorrance

1LT Dorrance in 1965 at AFVN and in 2006 with Pam in retirement

I was AOIC AFRS Saigon from June of 1964 to June of 1965, responsible for the daily operation of the station.  I had graduated from Dartmouth College a year earlier with a BA in English, an ROTC commission and a stint as manager of the student run radio station, WDCR.  I had spent the year following graduation as a writer/producer at WMCA Radio in New York City.

The year in Vietnam was a major growing up experience for a very young second lieutenant working with a fine group of people.  We had almost daily events:  Coups and attempted coups, student riots, bombing of the US Embassy, the Gulf of Tonkin incident, and most of all for us, the bombing of AFRS and the Brink Hotel on Christmas Eve 1964.

I was in the main studio at about five to six Christmas Eve when the building shook, the lights went out and ceiling tiles dropped.  Glass shattered in buildings for blocks around but amazingly not the control room glass.  The board operator and I were dazed at first but then remembered we had sort of an operations plan for this situation.  It involved reactivating the station signal from our transmitter site at Phu To on the outskirts of Saigon.

I picked up one of the 45's positioned throughout the station, emerged from a hole in the Brink compound wall, and commandeered a US soldier in a passing jeep.  He drove me to Phu To where I was able to get into the AFRS transmitter shack, tap into our transmission line and announce we were back on the air about an hour after we had gone dark.  I remember also there was a tape I played for several hours.

Because the AFRS transmission line went through the studios of Radio Saigon I felt we could set up temporary studio facilities there.  I was able to call Nguyen Linh, the Director of Radio Saigon and a man who had become a friend, about temporary facilities.  He agreed and made the arrangements.  AFRS staff arrived and we broadcast from Radio Saigon late Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

Senior military in Vietnam did not want AFRS to broadcast from Vietnamese facilities for an extended period and pressured us to return to the Brink as soon as possible.  We did this Christmas night but with numerous on air gaps for the next weeks due to equipment failures.  Rebuilding AFRS at the Brink took about two months with help from FEN in Japan, and which happily offered me a TDY to Tokyo.

Through my year at AFRS we moved the station away from traditional AFRTS programming toward rock and country.  We went 24 hours daily, and our signal was retransmitted through the Army Comm System as far away as Honolulu.  Though AFRS Saigon was rebroadcast on a series of detachment 50 watt transmitters throughout Vietnam there were many holes in our coverage.  We were able to scrounge a shortwave transmitter in an attempt to fill in the holes.

Because we had complaints from Saigon brass about our new rock and country format we liberated a low power FM transmitter and studio package from a USOM warehouse in exchange for many cases of audio tape we had liberated from another warehouse.  This became AFRS FM and was operated by a Vietnamese engineer each evening.  Biggest night for AFRS FM was when the engineer mistakenly played the flip side of an AFRTS ET with "The Teddy Bears' Picnic."  You'll recall the line, "if you go out in the woods today you better not be surprised." That brought out swords from the brass.

We also expanded news broadcasts but had continuous problems with military censorship of local in- country stories which decreed a standard turmoil message:  "There is a civil disturbance in the streets of Saigon and all American personnel are advised to remain indoors."  I spent many sessions with senior MACOI staff trying to expand what we could release and succeeded some of the time.  Our stateside news came via teletype and actualities via two shortwave receivers which needed to be tuned in synch to catch rising and falling signals.

When my tour ended in June 1965 my wife, Pam, our daughter Elizabeth and I spent my remaining year in the army at Fort Bragg's Kennedy Center teaching psyops and writing peacetime resumes.  In 1966 we moved from New York City to Seattle where I joined King Broadcasting and remained until 1989 in a variety of sales and management positions, ending as General Manager of the NBC affiliate in Seattle, KING5, from 1981 to 1989.

After retiring from King I was asked by USIA and USAID to consult a number of start up independent televison stations in Russia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Ukraine and the Caucasus.  Many adventures.  I also served on several non profit boards in the Seattle area in broadcast, the arts and education.  Pam and I now live on the Washington Coast just north of the Columbia River.

Recently we were able to reconnect with a former AFRS friend from that year in Saigon, Bob Newman and his wife, Vivian.  Our conversation with them reminded me what an extraordinary time we all had in Saigon and encouraged me to check the MACOI website for other friends from that year, hoping we may be able to reconnect.

Sadly, Mrs. Pamela Winters Dorrance, Sturges' wife of 58 years, passed away 2 June 2021 from complications of surgery.  Together with Sturges, Pam had raised four daughters and six grandchildren.

Douglas Kay Dotson

A recent snapshot is followed by a photo of the actual AFVN ON AIR sign which was liberated at war's end and is displayed on Doug's den wall.

Doug Dotson is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Hubert Dotson of Federal Way, Washington.  He is a 1969 graduate of Federal Way High School.  He later earned a BS from Central Washington University.

In 1971 he joined the Army and took Basic at Fort Lewis.  Federal Way is on the northern outskirts of Tacoma, and Fort Lewis is only a few miles south of Tacoma, so for Doug, Basic was an easy crosstown jog.  Shortly after completing AIT, however, he found himself halfway around the world.  In 1972-73, as a SP4, Doug served as a cameraman for AFVN-TV in Saigon.  His return to CONUS in March 1973 was on the last day US troops were allowed in Vietnam.  In July 2011 Doug confessed to the AFVN blog moderated by Dr. Bob Morecook of Houston that he had committed burglary in the final days of AFVN.  Hanging on his den wall at home today is the "On Air" light from the studio hallway which formerly reminded AFVN visitors and personnel that the area was a quiet zone.  The photo above was given to the MACOI Website by MAJ Dotson 31 January 2018.

Doug is one of those enlisted guys who achieved the Supreme Makeover.  He dropped from the duty roster of the US Army and emerged on the Air Force rolls as a commissioned officer.  By the early 1980's he was serving as a First Lieutenant at Yokota Air Base, Japan, and his retirement a few years later was as a Major.

Today Doug and wife Debra reside in the up-all-night city of Las Vegas.  Their home on Sunrise Mountain, just off Hollywood Boulevard, is in the Paradise Vista subdivision.  Doug is the father of one daughter.  A licensed pilot, he owns a Beechcraft Bonanza, and when he's not flying, he can be found working on his antique car collection.  He restores the antiques himself, and boasts that "when I complete a car it is better than when it came down the factory assembly line."  In 2007, he testified before the Transportation Committee of the Nevada State Assembly in favor of cheaper license plates for collector cars.

Ralph J. Dowling


Ralph Dowling, eldest of the four children of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Dowling of Dalhart, Texas was born in 1936.  The town of Dalhart was located in the extreme northern panhandle, about 40 miles north of Amarillo.  As soon as he could get there following his 1954 graduation from Dalhart High School, Ralph visited the Marine recruiting office.

His Marine career included two tours in Vietnam.  The first, in 1965-66, was split between the 3rd Battalion, Third Marine Regiment, and 1st Battalion, Ninth Marines.  In his return tour as a Staff Sergeant in 1968-69, however, he served as assistant chief engineer for AFVN's Detachment 5 at Quang Tri.  On his return to CONUS his work in keeping the station on the air was recognized with a Joint Service Commendation Medal.  By the time he retired from the Corps in 1974, he had attained the rank of Gunnery Sergeant and had earned nine medals.  During his 20 years of service he had worked as a radio repairman, electronic engineer, and electronic instructor, and had normally been assigned responsibility for operation and maintenance of all radio equipment, generators, and telephone equipment for each unit with which he served.

His first civilian job following retirement from the Corps was in the test department of Hughes Aircraft, where he worked as lead technician and shift supervisor.  He also attended classes at California State University at San Marcos, graduating in 1978 with an associates' degree in electronic engineering.  In 1979 Ralph worked in the engineering design department of Shugart Industries, as a part of the team that redesigned a new type floppy drive and a new thin film hard drive.

In 1983 he began a 17-year career with Octel Communications Corporation as an electronic technician, and later as a manufacturing engineer.  Octel was eventually acquired by Lucent Technologies, and several departments were sold off to other companies.  The business communications unit was spun off to Avaya, and Ralph remained with that company for a time before moving back to Lucent.  Then when his division was sold to Sanmina, Ralph elected retirement.

Ralph and wife Sharon now make their home in Reno, Nevada.  They bought a new house on an acre of land in 2000, and Ralph describes his pastimes as investing, woodwork, landscaping, and gardening.

Richard T. "Dick" Downes, Jr.

Dick as a Soldier, AFVN Deejay, and Laid-Back Florida Executive

Dick Downes left his mark on Vietnam, and in return Vietnam left its mark on him.  Here's how Dick explains his assignment to AFVN:  "I got to 'Nam in late '68.  Worked out of Cam Ranh Bay as an Information Specialist for a year, made E-5, then was approached to extend my tour.  They'd give me a 30-day leave including airfare, plus an early out.  I asked to audition for AFVN as part of the deal - they said no problem, but if I failed the audition, it was back to the IO (Information Office), which wasn't that bad.  Then I asked the personnel guy what the point of no return is.  Huh?  Where would I have to select for my leave where I go there by flying east, come back from the west (in other words, around the world)?  So the light bulb goes off and he looks it up and says, 'Copenhagen.'  So that's where I wanted to go on leave.  Sure enough I made several stops on the way and after a month of training in Saigon, got the morning show in Danang.  I left on June 15th 1970."

Thus began a distinguished career in radio.  Upon his discharge from the Army, Dick began a 15-year stint, working his way upward from deejay to general manager in such markets as Providence, RI, Fall River, MA, Brunswick, GA, Jacksonville, FL, Nashville, TN, Little Rock, AR, Des Moines, IA, St. Louis, MO, Birmingham, AL, and Mobile, AL.

In 1985, Dick was lured away by Drake-Chenault Enterprises, a Los Angeles company which specialized in the automation of FM stations.  Breakthroughs in computerization had led to a system allowing a radio station to transmit for hours without human interaction, thus saving money and increasing profits for the station owner.  Dick was hired as vice president and general sales manager.  This allowed him a glimpse of life away from the microphone, and it set well with him.  Soon he moved over to a sales job at "Radio and Records Magazine," a trade journal published in the Los Angeles area.

After four years in L.A., Dick was offered a job with a radio firm in West Palm Beach, Florida as senior vice president/general sales manager.  Then in 1992, Dick made the decision to capitalize on a lifetime of broadcasting, publishing and promotion management experience.  He founded his own company, CPM (Custom Publishing and Marketing) Group, Inc., and by 1995 combined revenues had exceeded the million-dollar mark.

Gradually CPM expanded its offerings to include custom publications for media operations, along with website design, direct mail advertising, audience/customer analysis, and cassette and CD duplication.  Today, CPM has broadened its service to include print and electronic design for all categories of businesses.

Dick has a daughter and four grandchildren, and makes his home in south Florida.

Robert Gordon Dunkin

Born 29 May 1926 to Mr. and Mrs. Robert J. Dunkin of Erie, Pennsylvania, Robert worked as an engineer for radio and television stations in the Philadelphia area.  Then, under contract with RCA Service Company, he worked various locations as a broadcast field engineer.  This job took him to AFVN for 18 months beginning in January 1968, just in time to observe the Tet Offensive first-hand.  He traveled the country extensively, and worked for a time at nearly all of AFVN's installations.  When this job ended, he stayed in Vietnam for an additional year under an NBC International contract to maintain the Vietnamese government's television facility at Can Tho.

After returning stateside, Robert located in the Dallas, Texas area where he marketed Ultrasonic Flow (ULF) Transmitters to the Navy for the Continental Electronics Corporation.  He attended Texas A&M to enhance his skill in electronics and software.  His entire career was spent in the field of radio and TV broadcasting.

Robert passed away 31 March 2012 at the age of 85.  He was survived by wife Tuyet Anh, and four sons.

Timothy Allen Eatman


Air Force Sergeant Tim Eatman's job at AFVN was to direct the nightly news.  His roommate, Bruce Blackburn, was the anchor for both the 1800 hours (6PM) and 2200 hours (10PM) newscasts.  He returned to the USA 5 September 1971 wearing a Joint Service Commendation Medal.

Tim was an academic.  The 1965 graduate of Texas High School in Texarkana had already developed study habits that would serve him throughout his life.  Only a scant two years after leaving Saigon, Tim earned a Master of Arts in Communication from Baylor University.  He would eventually earn a Ph.D in 2008 from the University of North Texas.  Along the way he worked in sales and marketing for a number of years and then for ten years owned and operated Eatman Marketing.  He taught at both the Houston and Dallas campuses of Remington College before serving as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Art Institute of Fort Worth.

As of 2016 Tim is living in semi-retirement in Fort Worth, where he busies himself entertaining senior citizens and shut-ins at retirement centers, hospitals, churches, and prisons.  Using the persona "Dr. Sunshine," he performs his own compositions with piano and guitar, and speaks on issues important to his audience.  Somehow, in his spare time, he also draws cartoons, writes magazine articles, and publishes a newsletter.

Bruce Raymond Eaton

Future Army Colonel Bruce Eaton was a native of Troy, New York, which is only about ten miles from the state capital, Albany. Troy, incidentally, is also the hometown of Samuel Wilson, the inspiration for "Uncle Sam," today's red/white/blue-attired personification of the USA.  Bruce was a standout student at Troy's Lansingburgh High School, where he was magna cum laudeat his graduation, and also excelled in extra-curriculars.  He served as president of the school's Drama Club, stage manager of the senior play, Treasurer of the Athletics Council, Photography Editor of both the yearbook and the student newspaper, member of the varsity football squad and of its Varsity Club, Manager and Scorekeeper of the basketball team, and Scorekeeper of the track team.  He was honored by the city's Rotary Club as Student of the Month in May 1961.

Four years later he earned a BS from Syracuse University in Communication with a concentration in radio/TV, and an ROTC commission in the US Army.  His ROTC studies qualified him as Distinguished Military Graduate.  Prior to entering his Army career, however, he embarked on a tour of Europe, which he was awarded in recognition of his scholastic record at Syracuse.  He was part of a 25-member delegation who visited England, France, Italy, Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands to observe and analyze the European outlook on TV, radio, feature films, theater, and the advertising industry.  He then entered active duty, and was assigned to the Signal Corps.

After serving for a year at the Pictorial/Audio Recording Office of the Army's Signal Support Unit at Fort Myer, Virginia, he transferred as a First Lieutenant in May 1967 to Vietnam where he was posted as OIC of AFVN's Detachment 4 at Nha Trang.  (A promotion to Captain occurred in April 1968.)  The detachment had been active for only two months, and installation of equipment allowing TV transmission was in progress.  His tour was complicated by the Tet invasion of early 1968 while the installation and upgrading of equipment continued, and the Captain elected to extend for an additional six months in order to complete the mission to his satisfaction.  He returned to the USA in November 1968 with an assignment to the Signal Corps Officer Career Course at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, from which he emerged with a promotion to Major.

As a career Signal Corps officer, Major Eaton continued his affilation with AFRTS, and later served, as a Lieutenant Colonel, as Deputy Director of the American Forces West HQ in Los Angeles and later, as a Colonel, as Commander of American Forces Network Europe.  The Colonel retired following his three-year tour as Director of the Army Broadcasting Service, and resides in the Albany, New York vicinity.

James Sylvester "Jim" Eaves

Jim Eaves, a San Francisco native born 28 November 1932, was a career public affairs officer who came to Saigon as a Lt. Commander in 1968 as OIC of AFVN Radio.  A colleague described him physically as a "tall, slender (man with) thinning hair (who) carried himself with an air of assurance and confidence."  He was, the colleague continued, "a hard worker, bright, liked by subordinates, and trusted by his two superiors; (a man with an) unflappable personality and calm demeanor."  At the age of 35, he was approaching middle age and the mid-point of a distinguished Naval career.

He worked a number of public affairs positions after Vietnam, first as Deputy PAO for CINCPACFLT at Pearl Harbor, and then during 1970-74 as PAO for Commander, Naval Forces Japan.  A Pentagon assignment was followed by duty at the American Embassy in London, then in 1983-84 he was back at the Pentagon with the DOD Publications Review Board.  His final assignment was Director of the American Forces Information Service, after which he retired as a Captain in1986 with 31 years of credited service to his country.

He and wife, Lanelle, moved to Houston, Texas in order to be close to their daughter and grandchildren.  Lanelle, a native of Brunswick, Georgia, was the third woman to earn a law degree at Mercer University's Walter F. George School of Law in Macon, Georgia.  She was a founding editor of the Mercer Law Review, and upon her return to Brunswick she became the city's first female attorney.  After her marriage, Mrs. Eaves resigned her practice.

In Houston, Captain Eaves continued his public affairs career with a civilian position as Media Relations Director for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.  The Department had assumed control of the financially troubled San Jacinto Battleground State Park three years earlier, and Captain Eaves' primary assignment was to head a committee to raise funds for the restoration of the Park's premier exhibit -- the WWI Battleship USS Texas (BB35).  The renovation, budgeted at $13.4 million, took more than two years, with the ship closed for a year.  When it reopened, the Texas floated with the tide for the first time since leaks in the deteriorated hull had lowered it to the channel bottom in 1948.

In the early 1990's, Captain Eaves was diagnosed with cancer.  Although slowed somewhat, the Captain continued to actively serve the Parks and Wildlife Department, and in 1992 he was named chief of the San Jacinto Battleground complex.  At the age of 61, the Captain died 4 September 1994.  Memorial services were held aboard the Texas, and the Captain was interred in Section G2, Site 1039 at Houston National Cemetery.

Mrs. Eaves passed away 9 February 2003.  Captain and Mrs. Eaves were survived by daughter Kathryn van der Pol, and granddaughters Laura, Elizabeth, and Virginia.

Stephen Orville Edwards

A photo of the future Colonel as a West Point cadet is followed by four snapshots from his Saigon days

Steve Edwards, youngest of the five children of Dr. and Mrs. Orville Logan Edwards, was born 12 July 1924 in the town of Roodhouse, in western Illinois.  Dr. Edwards was a veteran of the Army Medical Corps.  Never a large town, the population of Roodhouse topped out at just under 3,000 per the 1920 census.

Following his 1942 high school graduation, Steve entered the University of Illinois, but the following year his excellence in high school scholastics and athletics were recognized with an appointment to the US Military Academy.  He literally thrived at West Point, where in addition to an admirable academic record, he joined the track, basketball, and, most notably, football teams.  It was the heyday for Army football as both the 1944 and 1945 squads reigned as consensus National Champions.

Upon his 1946 West Point commissioning as a 2LT, Steve reported to Fort Knox for Armor training, which was followed by a European assignment.  Then in 1950 he was dispatched to wartime Korea as a platoon leader in the 64th Tank Battalion.  On his return to CONUS as a Captain, he reported to his alma mater, West Point, as an instructor, and it was here that, on 23 June 1953, he married Miss Mary Clare Watlington, daughter of BG (later MG) Thomas Morgan Watlington, who at the time was serving as Assistant Commandant of the Artillery School at Fort Sill.

Steve's next assignment was to Fort Knox with a tank unit which soon relocated to Germany.  This was followed in 1959 by Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, where he remained as a faculty member after graduation.  The Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Virginia was next and in 1964 he began a tour at 8th Army HQ in Korea.  Then, following his promotion to Lieutenant Colonel and service as battalion commander of a Fort Hood tank unit, he began a tour at the Pentagon.  This led to a change of pace with an assignment to the student detachment at The Ohio State University, where he earned his MS in Journalism in 1970.

His orders to Vietnam were dated 27 August 1970, and he arrived in Saigon a month later.  At MACOI, he was tasked to act as information officer for an unusual project.  On 30 April 1971, the Saigon government confirmed that the rulers of North Vietnam had agreed to accept an offer it had made the previous January to release 570 NVA prisoners of war.  These POWs were sick and/or injured, and the gesture was based on humanitarian concerns.  It was hoped by the RVN and the US that the North would reciprocate, but this was not a part of the offer.  The North then stipulated that the release take place at sea on 4 June 1971, and this was accepted by the US and RVN.  By the time the International Red Cross interviewed and examined the POWs, their number had swelled to 660.  The IRC, however, was shocked to learn that only 13 of the prisoners were willing to accept release, and this number was firm because the Geneva accords prohibit repatriation of prisoners against their will.  The 13 men boarded the USS Upshur, a troop transfer vessel, and the ship sailed along with two escort ships to the rendezvous point in the South China Sea, but the North Vietnamese suddenly refused to accept the prisoners.

The work performed by LTC Edwards was recognized by an award of the Legion of Merit.  He had directly assisted approximately 90 press and media representatives, and had arranged transportation and room and board, along with teletype and transmission facilities for copy and photographs expected to be generated by the assembled reporters.  By an odd happenstance, LTC Edwards' promotion to full Colonel was effective the same day the failed mission ended -- 4 June 1971.

COL Edwards returned to CONUS 15 August 1971, and reported to the Pentagon for a three-year Department of Defense tour.  His final year of Army service was with the Jobs for Veterans program which was run by the National Association of Businessmen.  President Nixon had called upon the civilian organization in 1972 to help provide employment for returning Vietnam-era veterans.  The stand-down inVietnam had put a large number of veterans in job lines, and Vietnam vet unemployment had reached 8.2%, as compared to 6% for the nation as a whole.  The NAB recruited some 20,000 companies to participate in the program.  COL Edwards worked with the NAB until his retirement in 1976 with over 30 years of military service.

The Colonel and Mary Clare chose Williamsburg, Virginia as their retirement home, and Steve joined Crestar Bank as Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager.  Crestar, which subsequently merged with the larger Suntrust Bank, was at the time a regional institution operating in Virginia and Maryland.  After his retirement from his second career, the family moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

On 2 December 1997 Colonel Edwards lost a battle with cancer.  Burial was in the West Point Cemetery.  He was survived by daughter Margaret, three sons, Stephen Jr., Timothy, and John, and by three grandchildren.  Mrs. Mary Clare Edwards lived on until 2014.  She was buried alongside the Colonel at West Point.

John Lloyd Egan, Jr.

John Egan as a college student; in a promo photo as "Lost John;" and demonstrating that he could still fit into his old Army uniform

John Egan was born 12 Dec 1944 at Fort Sam Houston's Brooke Army Hospital.  His father, Lt. Col. John Lloyd Egan, was recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, having served in both WWII and Korea.  The family also included John's three brothers and two sisters.  As a member of a military family, John as a boy lived in ten states.

In high school and college, John was active in drama presentations.  There, he learned both sides of the curtain.  He acted, as well as learned the technical elements, such as set construction and design, lighting, and sound.  He graduated from Davis High School in Kaysville, Utah in 1962, and following his military service, he earned an A.A. degree from the College of Eastern Utah in 1982.  He also attended Southern Utah University from 1987 to 1990, where he majored in Theatre Arts, with a minor in computers.

After high school, John enlisted in the Army, where he served for eight-and-a-half years as a Broadcast Specialist (MOS 71R20).  His overseas assignments included Korea, Vietnam, and Germany.

Serving at American Forces Korea Network's "Radio Bayonet" in 1964-65, he hosted the popular "Folk Scenes" show, and received a promotion from PFC to SP4.  He also served as a deejay for AFKN's "Radio Kilroy," located at Taegu, further south.

His AFVN assignment came in 1967, when as a SP5 he hosted the "1605 to Nashville" show from Saigon, and also a program featuring Broadway and Hollywood showtunes.  He later spent several months west of Saigon in An Giang Province as an advisor, training RVN troops in his craft.

Among his military awards are the National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Viet Nam Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Viet Nam Campaign Medal, and the Republic Of Viet Nam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation.

Following his honorable discharge 31 July 1972, John began a career as a radio announcer that carried him to such locations as California, Utah, Nashville, and Washington, DC, and he also volunteered with a local public radio station.

In semi-retirement in Everett, Washington, he became known as "Lost John"and gained fame as a Karaoke star and part-time deejay, mostly in the Country/Western genre.  He also assisted backstage with local theater presentations.

His active retirement was brief, however.  John was diagnosed with cancer, and he moved to Sun City, California under hospice care.  He passed away 11 November 2009, Veterans' Day, survived by two sons, John III and Curtis (his third son, Fred, having predeceased him), and five grandchildren:  Curtis, Elizabeth, Fred, Colin, and Murray.

Owen Edward "Ed" Egan

Ed Egan in 2011

Ed Egan began life 24 February 1936 in New Hampton, Iowa in a family with three brothers and a sister.  His father soon moved, however, to Washington State with a job at Puget Sound Shipyard.  Ed always considered Bremerton, Washington to be his home town.  By the time of Ed's high school graduation his mother had also begun work at the shipyard.  Ed, however, found employment about 30 miles east in Seattle with Boeing, and he enlisted in the Naval Reserve, beginning what would become a military career two years later.  In an unusual turn of events, however, he was influenced by a friend who convinced him that the Air Force would be "more fun."  Apparently, the friend was right because Ed would stay in the Air Force 20 years.

Following basic, Ed was trained in Ground-to-Air Radio at Scott AFB, Illinois, thus beginning a career in the burgeoning field of electronics.  His RVN posting would come in 1968 as a Staff Sergeant (E5).  He arrived first in Saigon, assigned to AFVN in July, but three months later he relocated to Detachment 6 at Tuy Hoa as engineer in charge of maintaining the TV broadcast equipment.  Six months into his tour, Ed scheduled R&R in Hawaii, and he was met in Honolulu by his wife of 11 years, Barbara Ellen.  When his tour was completed, Ed was awarded a Joint Service Commendation Medal.

Back in the USA, he served variously in Alabama, California, and Oklahoma, as well as tours at NORAD in Labrador, Newfoundland, and Wheelus Air Base in Tripoli, Libya.  On 1 June 1976 Ed retired.

As a civilian, he worked for Sperry Rand and later took a Civil Service position.  He would earn two AA degrees at Glendale (Arizona) Community College, and would retire in Glendale and later in Phoenix.  As a result of his service in Vietnam, he was treated by VA for effects of his exposure to Agent Orange.

Ed was an active life member of the VFW, and was admitted to its honorary subsidiary, the Military Order of the Cootie (MOC).  Although the name may sound a bit unusual, membership in the MOC is truly an honor.  The Cooties work with disabled veterans in retirement facilities and VA hospitals.  The term Cootie refers to the lice which infested the scalps of WWI Doughboys overseas.  The infestation of cooties was so serious that their weight was frivolously credited with keeping the soldiers' heads down in the trenches.  Membership in the MOC is in recognition of outstanding service to the VFW and its programs.

On 6 April 2015, at the age of 79, Ed passed away.  In addition to wife Barbara Ellen, Ed was survived by daughter Patricia, son Owen, Jr., six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.  Burial was in Section 55, Site 3049 of the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, in Phoenix.

Richard E. "Dick" Ellis

Saigon Dick at the Weather Map, and interviewing Gilligan and Moses before his return to civilian life at WRAL

Dick Ellis is a native of Wilson, NC where he began his broadcasting career at age 15.  While working at WITN-TV in Washington, NC as the youngest TV weatherman in the country, and also a kid show clown, he was drafted into the Army in November 1966.  He served as TV Editor in the 18th Airborne/Ft. Bragg Headquarters until sent to Vietnam.  Arriving July 4th, 1967 with orders for AFVN-TV, Saigon Dick worked the all-night FM shift for a couple of weeks until kicked off the air for taking requests.  He was assigned to the TV side where he wrote, produced and voiced for radio and TV.  He was creator and anchor of "Insight," an information show once a week, and also anchored "In Town Tonight," a Johnny Carson format in which he interviewed VIP's and movie stars who dropped by the station while visiting the troops.  He later wrote, produced and co-anchored "Let's Speak Vietnamese" with Mai-Lon from Vietnam Radio.

But Dick's main job was TV weather producer.  He prepared the weather set each evening for both of the weather girls named Bobbie, first Oberhansly and then Keith, and produced their shows in the 6PM news.  When a weather personality was unable to get to Hong Tap Tu Street, Dick filled in as on-the-air weatherman.  He also did weekend weather.  Ellis managed network weather by traveling to each AFVN detachment that had a studio and helping develop a weather set.  He also called weather info and R&R info up country to each detachment every afternoon on the side band short wave owned by engineering.

Following Tet of 1968, Ellis was dispatched by Network Chief Producer Cal Lamartiniere to the boonies, regularly flying with Spookies, FAC's, Dust-Off's, and on one leaflet drop mission.  He also gathered news and interviews with the Vietnamese Navy, Marine Kit Carson Scouts, 25th Infantry Division, and Green Berets in a Montagnard Village near Pleiku.  In July of '68, Ellis was hit in the leg by an AK-47 fragment while riding as LOH helicopter door gunner with the 9th Infantry Division near the delta town of Dong Tam.  He was credited with 7 kills and 3 sunken Sampans during the day-long mission.  Ellis left AFVN-TV as an Army Specialist 5 with an MOS of 71R-20 (radio television broadcaster).

Returning home to North Carolina, he was hired by veteran broadcasting executive Jesse Helms as a newsman for WRAL-TV in Raleigh.  In 1973 he served in state government as Public Information Director for the state Archives and History Department.  In 1975 he was appointed by the governor to serve as North Carolina's Bicentennial Director.  He later owned his own advertising company and served as Press Secretary for the NC Republican Party, and worked for numerous political campaigns and for a North Carolina Congressman in Washington.

In 1981 he was invited back to Washington by the Reagan administration to serve as a presidential appointee at the Department of Defense.  His first job was Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower, Reserve Affairs and Logistics.  He later became Executive Director of the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves.  During the last two years of the Reagan tour he was asked by the White House to open the Office of Veterans' Affairs at the US Small Business Administration.  Ellis is currently Public Information Officer for the NC Administrative Office of the Courts, and lives in Raleigh, NC.

Brief addendum:  On 15 February 2010 Dick posted a brief message on the AFVN blog: "I am officially retired y'all!"  Numerous congratulatory notes followed.

Donald E. "Don" Ellzey


I am a native of Ponchatoula, Louisiana, home of the late Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient, Mike Clausen, who I knew through my newspaper work (just throwing this in as touching on Vietnam).  (Webmaster's Note: PFC Raymond Michael "Mike" Clausen, Jr. was the only enlisted Air Wing Marine to receive the MOH in Vietnam.  On 31 Jan 1970, as crew chief aboard a CH46D Sea Knight Marine helicopter, he disobeyed orders from his pilot to stay put, and leaped into an active minefield to save elements of a Marine platoon pinned down by heavy enemy fire.  He made six separate trips through the minefield and personally carried 11 wounded Marines to safety and retrieved one dead comrade.)

My father was a strawberry farmer, though he died when I was very young.  I was reared in a rural environment, raising cattle and horses.  I graduated from Ponchatoula High School in 1963, and enrolled at LSU, where I majored in vocational agriculture with the intention of teaching.  I graduated in January 1968, and took a job teaching science and biology at Lutcher High School, Lutcher, Louisiana.  I received my draft notice in March 1968.  Although I was eligible for a deferment, I realized that teaching was not the career I thought it would be, so I reported for basic at Fort Polk, La. in June, 1968.

I completed Basic and then AIT at Fort Polk about October, 1968.  From there I was assigned to Fort Bliss, Texas about November 1968.  I was a clerk at Fort Bliss (as I recall in G-1) for almost a year before receiving orders for Nam.  I arrived in Nam in December, 1969, and was assigned to MACOI in the Command Information Division as a reporter/photographer with the MACV Observer.  While there I was promoted to SP5.  I re-upped for four months in June, 1970, and returned Stateside in October, 1970.

I was discharged in October 1970, returned home, and took a position with the State of Louisiana Social Services Department.  I stayed a year and then took a position as editor of the Jennings, Louisiana Daily News.  Then I went to the Lake Charles, Louisiana Daily Star, where I covered education and my hometown of Ponchatoula.  I still hold both positions, which as you see keeps me busy.  I'm up at 2:30AM, and sometimes don't get to bed until 9 or 10PM or later.  But I love it, always something different and I meet some great people.

I am single, rode only a motorcycle for 36 years, traveled the country on vacations and took the time to see this beautiful land, staying at campgrounds, meeting fantastic people.  I was hit by a drunk driver Christmas Eve 2005, and my leg was broken in three places.  Then I developed blood clots in the lungs and main artery and nearly didn't make it.  Decided to give up the motorcycles and am now on my second Jeep Wrangler, which I dearly love.  I eschew much of the modern stuff, like computers except at work.  Probably wouldn't have electricity, but it comes in handy occasionally.

Ronald J. Engelman


Ron Engelman, a native of Denver, was born in 1938.  Following his high school graduation in 1957, he attended Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, Colorado.  It was here that he found his first radio job.  Starting at KGEK, he began a radio career that would last more than 40 years.

Even in the Army, Ron was a broadcaster.  He arrived in Vietnam in 1965, and was assigned to AFRS, Armed Forces Radio Saigon.  He was quartered directly across the street from the Brink studio which housed the station.  His roommates in the Ambassador BEQ were Bill Altman of the news department and Don Busser of the Dawnbuster show.  This fortuitous assignment, although brief, proved to have extreme consequences almost 40 years later.

Ron's civilian radio career took off after the Army, and he quickly moved into major markets, where he served as news anchor or news director.  Jobs included Boise, Phoenix, Denver, and Dallas.  But in addition to a nose for news and gift of gab Ron possessed a keen sense of humor.  He teamed up with a partner and began to do entertainment radio, spinning platters, swapping jokes and performing skits.  They perfected their routines and moved through Portland and Houston before settling in at KRTH, Los Angeles, where they were immensely popular.  In 1983 they tried their hand at TV writing, but soon joined WFLA in Tampa and then, in 1986, KMEL in San Francisco.  In the Bay Area, Ron was hospitalized with heart problems.  He had two open heart surgeries, including an aorta bypass.

In 1990, after splitting from his broadcast partner, Ron went to WZOU in Boston, but soon returned to San Francisco, this time at KSOL.  In 1993 Ron went to KGBS in Dallas.  The station had just lost its Rush Limbaugh contract to a rival station, and Ron was chosen to fill his slot with a talk show.  Although the Limbaugh competition was an obvious problem, Ron soon earned a loyal audience.

It was just about this time, however, that the Branch Davidians armed their compound in Waco and began a defiant altercation with Janet Reno's Justice Department.  It soon came to Ron's attention that the Davidians trusted him and were listening to his show.  He actually conducted on-air interviews with two members of the cult and convinced both to surrender.  He was convinced he could negotiate with David Koresh, the leader of the group, but his requests were denied by DOJ.  Many area residents suggested that the resulting firestorm, which claimed 76 lives, would not have occurred if Ron had been allowed to visit the compound.

Ron resigned from his Dallas show the following year and bought property in New Mexico.  He lived there in semi-retirement with occasional radio gigs until 1999 when he joined the Talk Radio Network, which broadcast out of Wichita Falls, Texas.  His show, "Engelman Overnight," was heard nationwide on 165 affiliate stations.  After six years, he returned to New Mexico with a limited work schedule performing fill-in work at Albuquerque's KKOB.

It was 2004 that Ron received the payoff for his service to his Country in Vietnam.  Ron was diagnosed with lung cancer, and he recalled his exposure to Agent Orange as being the obvious cause.  He had half of his left lung removed. and, following three months of chemo, he was given three to five years to live.  His condition worsened, and in 2006 Ron moved to the hill country of south-central Texas in order to breathe easier. He died 29 August 2007 while under the care of a New Braunfels, Texas hospice.  He was 68.

Darrell Wayne "Butch" Engwell

Formal pose in 1986; with wife Helen, daughter Tamra, and son Darrel in 1984; and 5th from left as Director of Naval Air Training Command Choir 1967.

Commander Engwell was born in Hazel, South Dakota.  He attended Northern State College of South Dakota and graduated in May 1962 with a BS Degree in Music Education.

He attended the US Navy School of Pre-Flight in Pensacola, Florida and was commissioned an Ensign on 7 December 1962.  He completed advanced training in Corpus Christi, Texas and received his wings on 15 Jun 1963.

His first tour of duty was with Airborne Early Warning Barrier Squadron Pacific at Barber's Point, Hawaii.  He was then assigned to the Naval Air Station in Beeville, Texas as an Instrument Flight Instructor.  In April 1966, he was selected as director of the nationally famous Naval Air Training Command Choir in Pensacola, Florida.  In May of 1968, Commander Engwell was assigned to Attack Squadron Four Two (VA-42) as an A-6 Replacement Bombardier/Navigator.  The following October, he reported to Attack Squadron Eight Five (VA-85) as Bombardier/Navigator.  VA-85 onboard USS CONSTELLATION (CVA-64) conducted air strikes against the North Vietnamese.

In November 1970, Commander Engwell reported to the Staff of Commander Fleet Air Alameda (COMFAIR Alameda) as Public Affairs Officer.  In May 1972, he was temporarily assigned to Commander US Military Assistance Command, Vietnam where he served as a MACOI command briefer.  In August 1973, he reported to Attack Squadron One Two Eight (VA-128) at Whidbey Island Washington for refresher training.  He was then assigned to Attack Squadron Nine Five (VA-95) as Operations Officer.  While in VA-95 onboard USS CORAL SEA (CVA-43), he participated in the evacuation of Cambodia and Saigon.  He also conducted air strikes against Ream Field, Cambodia in support of USS MAYAGUEZ recovery.  He reported to Commander Medium Attack/Tactical Electronic Warfare Wing Pacific, as Bombardier/Navigator Training Officer in August of 1976.  In September of 1978, he was assigned to USS ENTERPRISE (CVAN-65) as Strike Operations Officer.

Commander Engwell reported to Commander, Navy Recruiting Area SEVEN as Chief Staff Officer in September 1980.  He was then selected for and assumed command of Navy Recruiting District, Dallas, on 7 March 1981.

In August 1984 Commander Engwell reported to the Naval Weapons Evaluation Facility as Executive Officer. He retired on 30 June 1989.

His personal decorations include The Meritorious Service Medal, nine Strike/Flight Air Medals, The Joint Service Commendation, four Navy Commendation Medals (two with Combat "V") and the Navy Achievement Medal.

Commander Engwell and his wife Helen reside in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Richard John "Rick" Erickson

Rick Erickson served 21 years as an Army broadcast specialist, including 11 years on active duty.  His Vietnam tour was served as a SP4 in both Saigon and Danang, where he did the on-air television news for AFVN in 1971-72.  In his later career he served for a time as a recruiter, and he was named senior announcer for the Army's Washington, DC ceremonial unit, The Old Guard, during the nation's bicentennial celebration.

After his retirement from active duty, Rick was recalled several times, most notably to serve in Desert Storm and in Bosnia.  He finally reentered civilian life, having achieved the rank of SFC, and he returned to his native Boston.

Joining Post 156 of the American Legion, he put his musical talent to work by playing drums in the unit's marching band.  The Waltham American Legion Band played not just locally, but nationally and internationally.  In 1990 Rick and the band traveled to Russia, where they performed in Red Square during the Soviet Union's May Day parade.  They became the first foreign group ever to participate in this Soviet institution, and their presence contributed to the lessening of tensions between the world's superpowers and helped to end the Cold War.

For a time in his retired years, Rick moved to the Orlando area and took a job with the Universal Studios theme park, but he soon returned home to the Boston area.  As a resident of Watertown, he rarely misses a performance of the Waltham American Legion Band.

David R. Esch

David is shown in uniform in Saigon, then in an AFVN interview with visiting AFRTS-Los Angeles deejay and Hollywood starlet Chris Noel, and finally as a middle-aged civilian.

David Esch, eldest of the five children of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Esch, was a native of Fowlerville, Michigan, a particularly lovely example of small-town America not far from Lansing.  If you've heard of Fowlerville, it's probably because Detroit Tigers 2nd Baseman Charles Gehringer, a member of baseball's Hall of Fame, was born there.  David entered the Army following his 1966 graduation from Fowlerville High School.  He later studied at Wayne State University.

Assigned to AFVN during 1968-69 after serving briefly at Phu Bai with the 82nd Airborne, Dave was on-air as a SP5 at network headquarters in Saigon.  He remained in broadcasting for the next three decades.

Among his civilian radio jobs were WCAR, Detroit, KKGF, Great Falls, Montana, WFUN, Miami, WZUU, Milwaukee, and KBIG, Los Angeles before he settled in Chicago in 1987.  Here he worked at WNUA, WYTZ, WPNT and WMVP through 1998, when he became self-employed in the advertising/audio production/voice-over industry.

In the 1980's David had branched out from his radio jobs, working for a major California advertising agency which produced national radio and TV commercials, but after six years he returned to his "roots" in radio.  In Chicago, however, while working full time at WPNT he began free-lancing as announcer for television's syndicated Jenny Jones Show.  The job lasted 11 years.  This led to a gig with George Lucas as the voice of Indiana Jones and Han Solo for a LucasArts videogame series.

David later graduated into full-time self-employment doing voice-over and audio production work.  He lived with wife Christine in the Goose Island area of downtown Chicago until he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  Following a move to Orange County, California in 2014, he passed away 2 April 2015 at the age of 67.

Harry Lawrence Ettmueller


Sergeant Ettmueller was born in the Atlantic City suburb of Pleasantville, New Jersey in 1944 and entered the service of his Country 7 January 1963.  Initially assigned to Fort Meade, he served as an artillery plotter with the 35th and 17th Artillery Brigades.  He then attended the Army's Signal School at Fort Monmouth where he trained in Crypto Repair and Television Repair.  This led to an assignment as chief television engineer at American Forces Korea Network at Pusan in July 1965.  From June to November 1966, Sergeant Ettmueller was assigned temporary duty in Vietnam to train ARVN personnel to maintain and repair TV equipment, then after returning to AFKN he was subsequently assigned to 1st Signal Brigade in Vietnam in late December 1966.  Following leave in CONUS, Sergeant Ettmueller was reassigned to AFVN in March 1967 as part of the engineering crew at AFVN Headquarters.  He then was sent to Hue where he and the crew were instrumental in establishing television in northern I Corp.  The AFVN crew was assigned to build the Vietnamese TV station in Hue while still broadcasting American TV.  They also provided support for THVN TV.

Hue became a central point in the surprise attacks of Tet 1968, and on 5 February Detachment 5 was overrun by the NVA after five days of battle.  Although the small contingent of broadcast personnel bravely defended the station, their ammunition eventually ran out and Sergeant Ettmueller, wounded by grenades and a gunshot, was taken prisoner on 5 February 1968.  As a POW he was taken to North Vietnam where he endured unspeakable brutality that lasted 1,857 days.  He later said the 5-year ordeal was like "living in a vacuum," and described his "tremendous joy" in the closing days of the war as he heard the roar of American B-52's flying over Hanoi.  He said he would not give a second thought to doing it over again if necessary.  Despite his physical injuries, his spirit was unbroken.

Sergeant Ettmueller was released 5 March 1973 during Operation Homecoming, and following hospitalization to recover from his injuries, he was trained as an Army Clinical Specialist.  He then served with the 41st Combat Support Hospital at Fort Sam Houston, Texas from November 1975 to June 1976, and as an instructor at the Academy of Health Sciences, also at Fort Sam Houston, from June 1976 until he left active duty as a Sergeant First Class on 5 July 1977.

Sergeant Ettmueller is an inductee of the US Army Public Affairs Hall of Fame.  Among his awards and decorations are the Silver Star, the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf cluster, the POW medal, Army Presidential Unit Citation, Army Meritorious Unit citation (2 awards), and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry w/Palm unit award.

SFC Ettmueller passed away 15 March 2020.  Although few details have been provided to the MACOI Website, it is understood that he died of a heart attack.  Burial will be at Arlington, after which further information may be forthcoming.

Ernst Winfried Eulenstein

Army Staff Sergeant Ernst Eulenstein served as engineer for AFVN's Detachment 1 at Qui Nhon in 1969.  Three years earlier he had married Miss Carol Elizabeth Dabney, and before her death 14 September 2013, the two would celebrate their 47th wedding anniversary.

Ernst was not the only family member with a military background.  Carol was an Army veteran; daughter Ellena married a US Coast Guard officer; and son Erni was a US Air Force officer.  The family's home in Frederick, Maryland was less than five miles from Fort Detrick, home of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC).

Frederick, Maryland is an historic town of about 65,000 population located in the northern part of the state about 20 miles south of the Pennsylvania state line.  It's only 50 miles to either Baltimore or Washington, DC.  It is an old historic town, founded in 1745.  Both Barbara Frietchie ("'Shoot, if you must, this old gray head, But spare your country's flag,' she said.") and Francis Scott Key are buried there.

It's interesting to note that both of Ernst's offspring are direct descendants (through Carol) of Elizabeth Washington Lewis, sister of the fellow who hacked down a cherry tree.  Ernst Eulenstein is about as American as a man can get.

Lloyd Eugene Eyre, Jr.

SFC Eyre on the job in Frankfurt and SGM Eyre conducting an awards ceremony at AFVN

Los Angeles native Lloyd Eyre, Jr. was born 4 June 1927.  The senior Mr. Eyre was a former Army NCO with service in WWI, and it seems that Lloyd Jr. considered it fitting and proper that he would sign up, too.  He enlisted 21 November 1945, five months after his 18th birthday.

The Army recognized Lloyd's natural talents and assigned him to broadcasting.  The value of American Forces Radio had been demonstrated in WWII, and men like Lloyd were needed for morale purposes.  Lloyd enjoyed the work and decided to make the Army his career.  Eighteen years into his service, while he was assigned to American Forces Network in Frankfurt, Germany, SFC Eyre was hosting his very popular "Music in the Air" radio show when a bulletin crossed the wire that "three shots were fired at President Kennedy's motorcade today in downtown Dallas."  Sergeant Eyre holds the historic distinction of yielding his air time to the news department so details of a Presidential assassination could be delivered to the troops.

Six years later in 1969 the newly promoted sergeant major was assigned to American Forces Vietnam Network.  As senior enlisted man at AFVN, he was also NCOIC of the Saigon station, where he led by example and stressed punctuality and proper grooming.  He carried these values through the remaining years of his career, including his final overseas assignment at Southern Command Network in Panama.  Here, with the manpower shortage caused by Vietnam, the Sergeant Major anchored TV news on weekends and pulled an occasional on-air entertainment shift.

Upon his retirement and return to California, Eyre started life anew.  He and wife Miyoko divorced, and Eyre shared a residence in Monterey with his son and daughter-in-law, Christopher and Julie.  Christopher, who had earned degrees in Biological and Computer Science at UC-Irvine, was employed as a software developer for companies such as Quest Software, Telelogic, Continuus Software, and Panasonic Avionics.  The old soldier passed away 25 September 2004.

Wilbur "Will" Fair

Will Fair was born 31 December 1930 on a farm in Oakland, Texas, an unincorporated community about halfway between Houston and San Antonio.  He was the son of Rev. Thurman Edwin Fair, an African Methodist Episcopal minister, and his wife Mrs. Jessie Jewel Fair.  Will's family included five brothers and two sisters.  Will and his twin brother, Wilton, sang in the church choir.

In 1951 Will and Wilton both joined the Army where they served in the same unit in Korea.  Although Wilton departed the Army after Korea, Will reenlisted.  The reenlistment brought him to Fort Slocum, New York where he was trained at the Armed Forces Information School, the predecessor of DINFOS. He served his Army career in AFRTS.

In 1969, as a Sergeant First Class, Will arrived in Quang Tri with an assignment at AFVN's Detachment 5.  The detachment was newly arrived in Quang Tri after the station was destroyed and the crew wiped out during the 1968 Tet attack at Hue.  Nightly rocket attacks were the norm at this stage of the war, and the single daytime attack during Will's tour was thwarted with assistance from a Cobra gunship.  Will was armed as he pulled two daily on-air assignments.  He hosted a morning Country/Western show and an afternoon Soul show.

Shortly after his return to CONUS, he was eligible for his 20-year retirement.  He went home to Texas as a civilian and began a 27-year career as a mailman in Dallas.  Then following his USPS retirement in 1998, he realized he was not the kind of man who could sit quietly at home, so he decided to begin a project which would benefit not only himself, but other people as well.  Harking back to his youth as a church choirmember and his military career as a deejay, and taking into account his robust singing voice, Will was inspired to become an entertainer.

He traveled to nursing homes and retirement facilities in the Dallas area and began to perform one-man shows for appreciative audiences.  Occasionally twin brother Wilton, whose post Korea career had been in law enforcement, joined him in singing Country and patriotic songs.  Will bought several western-wear outfits and adopted a stage name.  As "Buffalo Will" he continued on the senior citizen circuit for another decade.

His wife, Joy LaVerne, whom he had married just after returning from Korea, died in 1994, but his two daughters live close by in the Dallas area.  In January 2001 Will was profiled in the lead article in Texas Living Magazine, published by the Dallas Morning News.  Titled "Buffalo Will Fair Brings Cheer to Nursing Homes with his Music," the article dealt with his military and civilian careers, his life in general, and his volunteer work.  Will lives in the city of Garland, Texas, a Dallas suburb.

James M. Farrell

Jim Farrell as a high school student, a First Lieutenant in Saigon, and finally back home in Chicago

Jim Farrell was born in 1944, the third of the five children of Mr. and Mrs. Francis Farrell of Chicago.  The senior Farrells were first-generation Americans, Jim's father, a policeman, having immigrated from Ireland and his mother from Croatia.  All five Farrell children were products of the Catholic school system.  Upon his high school graduation in 1961, Jim enrolled at St. Mary's College in Minnesota.  After one year he transferred to Loyola University back home in Chicago, but soon after, he dropped out.  For a short time he worked on a delivery truck and as a bartender at a lounge his father owned.  It wasn't long before the draft board took notice.

During the testing phase of Basic Training at Fort Campbell, Jim qualified for OCS, and after extending his time of service, he went to AIT at Fort Bragg before being sent to Fort Benning for training as an infantry officer.

In Vietnam he was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division where he served as a platoon leader in constant battle with seasoned NVA regulars.  After seven months in the field and a Bronze Star Medal, Jim was transferred to Nha Trang, where the First Lieutenant served as OIC of AFVN's Detachment 4.  While at Fort Bragg, Jim had been trained sufficiently to receive a secondary area of concentration as a Broadcast Officer.  He was at AFVN from April to September 1969.

At the end of his RVN tour, Jim completed his term of service at Fort Devens, Massachusetts.  Then he returned to Chicago, working with IBM.  He first worked in hardware, then transferred to software, and IBM's business was booming.  He was with the company for 23 years before his job gradually was phased out.  His job loss coincided with the death of his father at the age of 85 in 1993, and Jim dedicated himself to caring for his ailing mother.  She passed away in 2004 at the age of 90.

Jim was elected to his high school Hall of Fame in 2000, and he became director of the school's alumni association.  In 2003 he was named the school's Alumni Man of the Year.

Brian Everett Faulkner


American Forces Radio Saigon was less than a year old when Brian arrived in June 1963.  The 20-year old soldier quickly became a popular radio personality, delivering newscasts and playing the same hits stateside listeners heard on their hometown stations.  Following his return to the USA in late June 1964, he resumed a radio career in the Piedmont area of North Carolina.  He worked in broadcast news while occasionally manning the cameras for allied TV news operations.  He earned a degree from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and a decade later he segued into advertising, which led to a career in public relations.

Starting in 1974 Brian began a consulting service to aid business leaders on their oral and written presentations, and the most efficient use of language in promoting their products.  It soon grew into an enterprise that attracted A-list clients, and he eventually began to film and script video presentations.

As of the second decade of the 21st Century, Brian has eased back a bit on his consulting schedule, and has moved into writing and narrating documentary films, mostly for public television.  He and wife Kay reside in a small town 12 miles west of Winston-Salem, North Carolina (and about 35 miles south of Mount Airy, the model for the fictional TV town of Mayberry), and Brian works closely with North Carolina public TV.

As scriptwriter and frequent narrator of "Our State," a weekly public television documentary series, Brian has received three Emmy awards.  The program, which showcases the history, culture, and personalities of North Carolina, completed its twelfth season on the air in 2016.

David Keith Fechter

Dave Fechter was born 23 September 1950, the middle of the three sons of Mr. and Mrs. Regis Fechter of Munhall, Pennsylvania.  Munhall was a Pittsburgh suburb of nearly 17,000 population located on the bank of the Monongahela River about 25 miles from the West Virginia state line.  Its main industry for many years was the Homestead Steel Works, which in 1901 had been sold by Andrew Carnegie to US Steel.  The factory would remain the area's largest employer for almost 90 years before it ceased operation in 1986.  Mr. Carnegie built and furnished the city's public library, which is still in use today.  It is interesting to note that former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, who served as the first US Secretary of Homeland Security, was born in Munhall in 1945.

Dave graduated from Munhall High School in 1968 and the following year he enlisted in the Air Force, where he was trained in electronics.  Three years later, with the rank of Senior Airman, Dave was assigned to AFVN's engineering staff at Detachment 3 in Da Nang.  The terms of the 1973 cease-fire agreement required American troops to leave RVN by March, and because Dave was one of the last to leave, a part of his job was to disassemble the broadcast equipment.  The plan was to save as much of the hardware as possible for shipment to other broadcast elements and to render unusable any that had to be left behind.  When this hurried but orderly labor was ended Dave returned to CONUS and was rewarded with an honorable discharge.

Not being quite ready to resume "normal" activity, Dave decided to stay in southern California.  He lived in the Riverside area and found employment with the California Department of Forestry as a fire-apparatus engineer, a job in which he was able to put to use his Air Force technical training.  The mission of the state forestry department is to protect more than 31 million acres of privately-owned wildlands, and this required Dave to also be an actively-involved fireman.  This he took seriously, and as proof that he enjoyed this part of his job he signed on with both the Riverside and Orange County Fire Departments as a volunteer fireman.  Somehow, during this period Dave found time for romance, and in 1975 at the age of 24 he married Jan Starr.  The marriage did not, however, pass the test of time and in 1983 Dave returned to his Pennsylvania roots.

Back in Munhall, Dave was employed as an electrician for several companies until 2002 when he moved 85 miles south to the small town of Meyersdale, Pennsylvania.  Here he found work with Clapper Industries, a locally-owned manufacturer of laminated furniture products.  The main purpose of moving to Meyersdale, however, was to enjoy nature.  Dave had long preferred the great outdoors, and the rural setting of this little community was exactly what he wished for.  His love for fishing would definitely be satisfied by the close proximity of the Casselman River which flows nearby.  And perhaps not coincidentally, Shanksville, Pennsylvania lies 20 miles to the north, and the portion of US 219 which passes through the outskirts of Meyersdale has been renamed Flight 93 Memorial Highway.  For a patriotic veteran, that completes the perfect neighborhood.

Then on 11 April 2009 Dave's life came to an abrupt end.  His death at the young age of 58 was unexpected.  He was survived by his two brothers, three nieces, a grand-niece, and three grand-nephews.  Burial was in the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies, in the town of Cecil, Pennsylvania.

Thomas W. Firchow

Two photos of Tom at AFVN are followed by a pair of photos as a civilian

Tom was born 24 November 1946, the son of Mr. and Mrs. William Roy Firchow, Jr. of Kenosha, Wisconsin.  After his 1964 graduation from Mary D. Bradford High School, he joined the Army, and as a SP5 spent 1968-69 in Saigon as an engineer with AFVN.  It was the beginning of a career that would survive his transition back to civilian life in his native southeastern Wisconsin.  With a degree from the Milwaukee Area Technical College, his career as an audio engineer with Milwaukee Public Television would not end until 2005.  Over the years his excellence in his profession was recognized a number of times.  Not only was he nominated for an Emmy, but he received the Gabriel Award from the Catholic Academy for Communication Arts Professionals, and he was awarded the Golden Gavel by the State Bar of Wisconsin.

Tom and Joyce, his wife since 27 December 1969, resided in Racine, a city of slightly less than 100,000 population about 30 miles south of Milwaukee.  The city is situated on the banks of Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Root River.

Joyce enjoyed a 14-year career in the Racine Unified School District before joining the Prairie School, a widely respected college-prep day school, as an ESL teacher.  Sadly, she predeceased Tom in 2008.  Tom passed away 26 April 2015 at the age of 68.  He was survived by two sons and two grandchildren.  Burial was in Holy Cross Cemetery, Caledonia, Wisconsin.

Thomas W. Fisher

Tom Fisher served two tours at AFVN.  In 1966 he was first assigned as a part of the Project Jenny crew that broadcast television programming from high flying US Navy NC-121J Super Constellations, but he was soon reassigned as an AFVN broadcaster at the old Brink Hotel studios.  He handled the sports segment of the 6PM newscast, and also had a deejay shift from 9 to midnight.  He finished his tour helping to build the ground radio station on Monkey Mountain.

His second AFVN tour, which began in October 1971, was at the Saigon TV station.  He later transferred to Qui Nhon as that station's NCOIC.

Between his Vietnam tours, Tom was assigned in 1969-70 to the American Forces Network in West Berlin.  He returned to the station in the divided city twice more.  Following a promotion, he served from 1974 to 1976 as a Staff Sergeant, and then returned from 1982 to 1984, during which time he was advanced in rank to Sergeant Major.

Upon his return to CONUS, the Sergeant Major retired in 1984.  He then worked for twelve years doing media-related jobs as a civilian.  He first traveled to Saudi Arabia with the Vinnell Corporation, and then in 1987 he joined the Army's Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Chaffe, Arkansas, later moving with the JRTC to Fort Polk, Louisiana, where he retired in 1997.

It was at this time that Tom started upon an adventure that most of us only dream of.  Tom and wife Jordan bought a sailboat and spent several years exploring the Caribbean.  Finding this new lifestyle to their liking, the Fishers moved upward in 2004 to a custom-built 42-foot Manta Catamaran, and for their sea trial they made their sixth visit to the Bahamas.  Their next excursion was a lengthy, carefree trip up the Atlantic Coast as far as Nova Scotia.  Although they have maintained a membership in the Port Arthur (Texas) Yacht Club, they refer to Green Cove Springs, Florida as home.  They stop in occasionally to pick up mail, but most written communications are by e-mail.

Occasional updates on the Fishers' travels may be found in Telltales Magazine, a Kemah, Texas monthly boating journal to which Tom contributes articles from time to time.

Stanleigh King Fisk

Captain and Mrs. Fisk in 1964; Lieutenant Colonel Fisk a little later; and finally as a carefree retiree

Stan Fisk was born 2 August 1925 in Cleveland, Ohio.  He enlisted in the Navy out of high school and served with the Seabees in the South Pacific in WWII.  After the war he used ths GI Bill to attend Bowling Green State University, where he was a founding member of the university's theater group, known as the Huron Playhouse.  He was later cast in lead roles in at least three stage plays before his 1951 graduation.

With the Korean War now raging, Stan rejoined the military, this time as a commissioned officer serving with the 101st Airborne Division, and then with the Ohio National Guard.  In 1960 he was recalled for duty with the newly activated 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), and 1962 found him in Laos.  A year later he was a company commander with the 1st Battalion, 33rd Armored Regiment in Germany, and in 1966 as a major he was at JUSMAGTHAI, the Joint US Military Advisory Group in Bangkok.

It was in 1968 that he moved into the field of public affairs wtih the Office of the Chief of Information at the the Pentagon.  His interaction with the press turned out to be a precursor for his next assignment in Saigon as briefing officer at MACOI's Public Information Division.  Here he delivered battlefield reports to journalists from over the world at the daily gatherings derisively referred to by those journalists as "the Five O'Clock Follies."  He returned to the US 13 May 1971, having been awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal and the Bronze Star.

His next posting, which turned out to be his last, was at the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado.  Now a lieutenant colonel, Fisk assumed command of the Fort Carson Public Affairs and Information Office, where the emphasis was on community relations rather than troop movements and casualty figures.  He then elected to retire with 24 years of credited service.

The Colonel and wife Trudy, the former Miss Gertrude O'Donnell of Cleveland, enjoyed retirement and eventually migrated to the city of Sierra Vista, Arizona.  Their home was only ten miles from the main gate of Fort Huachuca, and it was in close proximity to a golf club which was frequently visited by Stan and Trudy.

On 19 December 2013 Colonel Fisk passed away.  In addition to Trudy, his wife of 61 years, he was survived by two daughters, two sons, and six grandchildren.

Jere King Forbus

1)Cadet Forbus at West Point; 2)Major Forbus conducting a Saigon press conference, and 3)announcing the end of hostilities 28 January 1973, and 4)retired LTC Forbus a few years later

After growing up in a meaningless environment in rural Mississippi, life began anew for me on 3 July 1956 as I entered the United States Military Academy.  All my memories, my modus operandi, my approach to life in general are all buried in my military experiences.  Nothing before West Point counts, and everything after retirement owes allegiance to learning in the Army.

Even so, three prominent peaks dominate the entire horizon.  All else stand as either bedrock or fallout from those peaks.

First was the Vietnam experience of '66 and '67 in the 173rd Airborne Brigade in which I was the aide to the commanding general.  This tour followed the early assignment to the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii; a year as aide to the CG, US Army Japan, in Tokyo; two years at Fort Benning building what would be the 1st Cavalry Division; and lastly the Advanced Artillery Course, which I attended as an Infantryman.  Central to all this was the elementary function of communication, either in the form of conveying information or gathering knowledge of the how and what of actions to be taken.

Two years' graduate school at the University of Massachusetts and three years teaching English at West Point filled the interim prior to the next Vietnam tour in which I was a press spokesman for the U.S. mission to Vietnam.  The duty was exhilarating in that daily my teammate, Gil Whiteman, and I briefed the international press corps about SE Asia from the stage in Saigon.

That year in Saigon was the most memorable year of my life from several perspectives.  For me, the preparation to help the press cover the war involved so much knowledge in so many fields.  The learning curve was the steepest in a lifetime filled with steep learning curves.  Never before had I interacted with such an interesting and diverse group as was posed by our audience, the international press corps in Saigon.  I categorize them as "interesting"--not gifted--because their whole stock-in-trade was curiosity.  I benefit enormously by being involved with people who are intellectually curious.

And, to boot, that press spokesman business was a heady operation.  In retrospect, I see it as a high honor to have been the spokesman for the United States to the second largest press corps in the world.  Ultimately I experienced the dubious distinction of announcing to the world the end of the Vietnam War . . . well, our part in it.  It was now clear that my destiny lay in words, be it English literature or a debate with a journalist.

After a year at Leavenworth and two years of teaching in the Infantry School came the third peak--to West Point as Director of Public Affairs for, coincidentally, the first four years of "Women at West Point."  Defending our alma mater on that issue and promoting it on countless others to the Academy's many publics made for an exciting four years.  The battle with the press and many other publics over the issue of educating women in the U.S. Military Academy was a lot like jousting with the press in Saigon.

In final argument, it was fun being a spin doctor.

In retirement, I have operated a public relations counsel business and taught English courses, but mainly I play golf.  As Shakespeare's plays required no particular stage nor even props because it was all about the characters and the ideas they represented, so it was with my last fifty years.  It wasn't where I was, or what I was doing.  It was all about the wonderful characters I met along the way.

A brief note from the editor:  Colonel Forbus, a "wonderful character" himself, lost a battle with throat cancer 22 November 2016, 26 days shy of his 80th birthday.  Fittingly, he was interred at the United States Military Academy Post Cemetery, where he lies in Columbarium Wall 1B, Column 8, Niche 3.

Thomas A. Fowlston


When Tom enlisted in the Army, he had a year of radio in his resume.  Sent to DINFOS, he aced the course, scoring in the top 2% of all graduates.  His Vietnam tour as a Broadcast Specialist in 1972-73 included disc jockey duty as well as time on the news desk.  Tom holds the distinction of delivering the final newscast before AFVN became defunct.  After his Vietnam assignment, Tom became an instructor at DINFOS, and ended his military career as a SP5.  He is a Life Member of the DINFOS Alumni Association.

As a civilian in 1974 he accepted a traveling job as National Meetings Coordinator and Operations Manager for Bauer Audio Video in Dallas.  For the next eight years, his job was to produce sound, video, and lighting for exhibits in virtually every major convention center and hotel on the North American continent.  In 1982 he took a job as Sales Manager for Crossroads Audio, with little to no overnight travel.  He handled equipment sales, and he also served as project manager for sound and lighting installations.

Three years later, he left Crossroads and formed AV Pro, Inc., where he became company president.  With a catchy slogan, which may have been inspired by his Army experience ("There's the right way, the wrong way, and the AV Pro way"), Tom began to put to good use his vast experience in electronics, communication, and systems design.  His company specializes in the sale and installation of sound, lighting, and projection systems.

In 1988 Tom was called upon to bid on a sound system for the high school in the Dallas suburb of Duncanville, Texas, and he found himself dealing with the Director of the Drama Department, a young lady named Amy Jackson.  Tom was apparently a very good salesman -- a very, very good salesman, because on 27 June 1990 he and Amy were married.  She soon left the teaching profession and became AV Pro's Vice President and Sales Manager.

Tom and Amy today live in Duncanville and among their outside activities is a membership in the Lone Star Region, Texas Vintage Chevrolet Club of America.  They own a beautifully restored 1956 Chevy.

Donald F. Fox


Don Fox is a native of Hollidaysburg, a small Pennsylvania town just south of Altoona, and about an hour's drive from State College.  Hedda Hopper lived there until she was 3, and the company that makes and markets the Slinky is headquartered there.  Don was the second of six children.  By the time he was a teenager, he had decided on a career in broadcasting.  He began on WFBG in Altoona is 1963, and then moved to the cross-town rival, WVAM before going to WTRN in Tyrone and then to WILK in Wilkes-Barre.

After enlisting in the Army, Don continued his part-time radio career while stationed at Fort Gordon, Georgia with after-hours shifts at two local radio stations.  With this experience, he was assigned in 1966-67 as Chief Announcer at AFVN.  In Saigon he hosted the Dawnbuster show where he uttered the now famous phrase, "Gooooooooooooood Morning, Vietnam!"  He was also the first Dawnbuster host to broadcast from the brand-new AFVN studio, when it relocated in January 1967 from the Brink BOQ to 9 Hung Thap Tu.  At transition time, Don broadcast the first hour of his show from the old studio, then during the 10-minute break for the 7 AM news he was driven at break-neck speed to the new studio where he resumed the broadcast.

During his off-time at AFVN, Don roamed about the beautiful old city of Saigon and the nearby rural villages, and he packed his camera.  It was at this time that he developed a life-long passion for photography.  Eventually photography would become his livelihood, but there would be a long period of incubation.

Back in the USA as a civilian in 1968, Don returned to Altoona's WFBG, and then it was on to various New York stations and a lucrative career in broadcast journalism.  He attended college and earned degrees in History and Philosophy, and then earned.a Master's degree in English.  This led him to a 25-year career as an award-winning teacher in an upscale suburban high school.  But as rewarding as Don found teaching to be, the camera lens beckoned, and in 2002 he retired as a professional educator and became a professional photographer.

In addition to selling and showing his prints, he frequently accepts invitations to speak.  He addresses civic, educational, and art audiences, and has an especially effective presentation on the Vietnam War which he loves to deliver to high school and college audiences.  He also has a traveling exhibit titled, Face to Face: Images from a Different War, which displays more than three dozen digitally remastered photos from his days in Vietnam.

Don is a member of the board of directors of the Ontario County (New York) Arts Council, and lives in Canandaigua, NY with his wife Bonnie.  Canandaigua is in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, and is located about half an hour down US 20 from Seneca Falls.  If Seneca Falls sounds familiar, it is probably because it served as Frank Capra's inspiration for the village of Bedford Falls, locale of everyone's favorite movie, "It's a Wonderful Life."

"It's a Wonderful Life" would be a heckuva great title if Don should ever decide to write his autobiography.

Alan Wallace Frank

Al Frank in a snapshot (courtesy of CPT Charles B. Adams) at AFVN and later as a civilian broadcast executive

Alan Frank is a native of Pittsburgh.  While attending Duquesne University he worked part-time at local public television station WQED.  After earning his BA in Journalism, he proceeded to graduate school at Syracuse, earning a Master's in Broadcasting in 1970.  For a short time before he joined the Army, he produced Pittsburgh Pirates baseball games for KDKA.

Frank's Army service includes a Vietnam tour in 1970-71 as a first lieutenant.  Frank produced war documentaries and worked on the 1970 Bob Hope Christmas Special.  He also served briefly as AFVN station OIC.

Following his military service, Frank took a position as producer for Group W (formerly Westinghouse Broadcasting Co.), where he soon earned a promotion to executive producer at San Francisco's KPIX in 1972.  Then in 1974-75 he was program manager at WBZ in Boston, and in 1975-78 he held a similar position at WJZ, Baltimore.  In 1979 he was sent to WDIV-TV in Detroit as program manager, and was quickly promoted to vice president for programming and audience development.  In 1988 he was again promoted, this time to VP and General Manager, and in this capacity he was credited with remaking the station into one of NBC's most powerful affiliates.

With new ownership at WDIV, Frank became an employee of the broadcasting subsidiary of the Washington Post, which owned six stations in major markets.  Mr. Frank was named CEO of the company, then called Post-Newsweek Stations, in 2000 and the company was headquartered in Detroit.

Among his honors have been election to the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame; being named the 2005 "Broadcaster of the Year" by Broadcasting and Cable Magazine; and induction into the Caring Athletes' Team for Children (CATCH) Hall of Fame, a charitable organization for which he and Edsel Ford II serve as Co-Chairmen Emeritus.

Mr. Frank has served on the Board of Directors of the Henry Ford Health System, Detroit's Children's Hospital, the Detroit Zoological Society, Camp Make a Dream, the Metropolitan Detroit Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV) and the Associated Press.  He also has served on the boards of two "new media" companies, iBlast and Internet Broadcast Systems (IBS).

He has served as chairman of the board of several additional organizations, including the Television Bureau of Advertising, the Television Board of the National Association of Broadcasters, the National Affiliated Stations Alliance, the Television Operators Caucus (TOC), and the Board of Governors of the ABC Affiliates Association.

Mr. Frank and his wife Ann reside in suburban Detroit.  They are the parents of three adult sons.

Rick Fredericksen

1) Rick on his last day at AFVN, 2) October 2012 holding his official Marine Basic photograph, 3) visiting with Dr. Haing Somnang Ngor of "Killing Fields" fame, and 4) on the set of "Good Morning, Vietnam"

It's remarkable how one year in Vietnam could so profoundly shape the following 40+ years in one man's life.  Many of us were teenagers when we learned a craft, met our responsibilities, dealt with loneliness, coped with death, and also had a blast, all at the same time.  For this young Marine it happened from March of '69 to March of '70 while working for AFVN, first in Saigon and then Hon Tre Island.  My broadcast training at DINFOS gave me a jump-start in the newsroom, and the skills I learned at AFVN blossomed into a career that continues yet today.  My first civilian job after Vietnam was at my hometown CBS affiliate in Des Moines, Iowa, where I anchored and reported local news on radio and TV.  After 12 years, I started to miss Asia, and was able to land a TV job at the CBS affiliate KGMB in Honolulu, where I worked for 3 years and became an expert at covering volcanic eruptions.  But Hawaii was only half way back to Southeast Asia.  During a vacation to Thailand I'd heard about an opening at the CBS Bureau, applied for the job, and several months later was named the CBS News Bureau Chief in Bangkok.  For the next 10 years, I covered news across the region, from Pakistan and India to Japan and Cambodia.  I was there for the fall of Ferdinand Marcos in Manila, the Olympics in Seoul, the funeral of Emporer Hirohito, the Tiananmen Square democracy protest, typhoons, earthquakes and coups.  But the assignments I treasured most were the dozens of trips back to post-war Vietnam.  For the first time, I saw Hanoi and a country unified.  I visited my old room at the Plaza Hotel and met a pharmacy student who lived there.  I got to prowl around the abandoned U.S. Embassy and drove by the old AFVN compound.  I've slept in the beautiful Rex and Continental hotels and strolled down Tu Do Street, absent the GIs and "Go Go" bars.  Saigon looked exactly the same as it did in 1969.  But that was 16 years ago, when I returned home to work for public radio in 1995.  Today, I live in Des Moines with my wife and report for Iowa Public Radio, where my focus is on expanded features and historic audio.  I am also writing my memoirs, which includes a colorful chapter recounting my turbulent tour in Vietnam.  Former AFVN colleagues might be surprised at my reflections on that bygone era.  The intervening years have settled me down and I now look back nostalgically at those 12 months with the wisdom of an elder, longing to be a teenager in old Saigon one more time.  It would be a great place for a reunion.  Hello everyone, and thanks, MACOI, for the memories.  (Written in the summer of 2011)

Editor's Note:  Rick's 2017 e-book, "Broadcasters: Untold Chaos," is a valuable must-read. The 200 pages include details from Rick's 50 years in broadcasting, with previously untold accounts of AFVN and life in wartime Saigon.  It's available at all the regular e-book outlets.  A number of AFVN's colorful personalities are covered.  Rick's 2012 e-book is still available at major e-book stores.  "After the Hanoi Hilton: An Accounting," is his historical chronicle of the search for POWs and MIAs and his contention that the issue helped the US win the postwar.

Robert E. French


Robert French was born 8 September 1930 in Concordia, Kansas, the son of Mr. And Mrs. Ted French.  He grew up on his father's farm northeast of Jamestown, Kansas.  Joining the Navy after high school in 1949, he served two tours off the coast of Korea aboard the USS Bataan - - CVL 29.  He also served a tour aboard the USS Norton Sound prior to his return to civilian status.  Then after earning Merchant Seaman certification in Seattle, he worked for a time with a US Coast and Geodetic Survey team in Alaskan waters.

In 1953 he reentered the military service, this time with the Marine Corps.  His assignments included 29 Palms, Camp Pendleton, and Kaneohe, Hawaii.  When that enlistment was up in 1957, he tried the Air Force, where he served stateside at Richards-Gebaur AFB, Missouri and Fort McArthur, California, and overseas assignments in Laos and the Philippines.

After joining a Marine reserve unit in 1962 Robert was employed by Pacific Bell Telephone Company.  Then in 1965 he resigned his civilian job and requested active duty, where he soon began the first of his three Vietnam tours with service as a platoon sergeant in and around the DMZ.  His second RVN tour included areas of operation around Phu Bai and Danang.  He was wounded in July 1967 during Operation Beacon Torch, resulting in a partial hearing loss.

It was in his third Vietnam tour that he enjoyed a much calmer assignment at AFVN.  As NCOIC of Engineering at Saigon he supervised installation of a microwave link to Can Tho, and he installed an FM remote transmitter near Quang Tri with capability to broadcast to the 101st Airborne Division at Camp Eagle.  He rotated to CONUS in the spring of 1971, describing his third tour as "a big wild liberty."  Compared to his prior combat tours, duty in Saigon, Monkey Mountain, and the Delta had been a walk in the park.

Robert retired from the Corps as a master sergeant in 1976 while attached to Marine HQ in Washington, DC.  He had a total of 24 years of service to his country.  Robert and wife Martha returned to Kansas, making their home in Salina, where Robert enrolled for classes at Kansas Technical Institute, graduating in 1980.  This led to a four-year job for Boeing at their Antenna Test Range, and then in 1984 he began a home business building and selling amateur radio equipment across the midwest.  He was a member of the Masonic Lodge, Khe Sanh Veterans Association, USS Bataan Association, and the National Rifle Association.

On 28 January 2007, Master Sergeant French died.  In addition to wife Martha, the old Marine was survived by three children, 14 grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.

Benny H. Frick

I was born in the little town of Faith, North Carolina (population about 650) on Veterans Day 1933.  After leaving high school I worked in the cotton mill in Kannapolis, North Carolina for two years.  Determining not to make a career of that endeavor, I volunteered for the draft and was sent to Fort Gordon, Georgia for Basic Training and schooling.  Upon completion of the Pole Lineman's Course I was sent to survey the hills of Korea as a lineman assigned to the 51st Signal Battalion.  Climbing poles that were six or seven inches in diameter with "Mickey Mouse Boots" in a foot of snow was quite a daunting task to say the least.

Completing that tour, it was back to Fort Gordon to attend the Telephone Installer Repair Course.  After completion of the course and never having been north of the Mason Dixon Line, this "country boy" was out of his element when sent to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey.  It turned out to be quite helpful in relieving me of some of that Southern Drawl.  While assigned to the 585th Signal Company I was privileged to have had the opportunity to work at the Signal Corps Labs, building equipment for the upcoming Operation King Cole in Louisiana.  Wow!  I could have used some of that Southern Drawl down there.

Next it was off to a MAAG (Military Assistance Advisory Group) assignment to Formosa (Taiwan).  Although the weather was very nice, there wasn't much one could do after duty hours as the country had not yet been industrialized.  All eating establishments were off limits.  There were very few cars but lots of Pedicabs.  I suspect it is totally different today.

Leaving all my "Chinese Speaking" friends behind it was back to Fort Monmouth to attend Television School -- a six-month long course that gave me only enough knowledge to be dangerous.  However, it provided an excellent career opportunity.  Just as I was getting used to being north of the Mason Dixon Line again, Fort Huachuca, Arizona came calling.  The desert was something very different than I had experienced previously, not to mention rattle snakes, centipedes and scorpions, etc.  Installing and maintaining a CATV (Community Antenna TV) system was something that was not taught in school.  However, with good men to work with I soon gained knowledge that would prove to be beneficial later.

After completing the tour at Fort Huachuca, it was time to move again.  This time it was 'way south of the border to a place they called "The Panama Canal Zone."  There I became NCOIC of the CFN (Caribbean Forces Network) Radio/TV transmitter site at Fort Davis.  During that tour the call letters were changed to SCN (Southern Command Network).  The Fort Davis station supplied radio and television signals to the Atlantic side of the Isthmus.

Next was the shock of my life up to that point; I was assigned to the Army Pictorial Center in the middle of the Big Apple (New York City).  The old Paramount Studios in Long Island City, where most notably many training films were made (including "The Big Picture"), was my first experience with studio work.  By that time I had progressed in rank to the grade of E-7.  It was there that I had the opportunity to apply and be accepted for a Warrant Officer appointment.  That appointment necessitated a reassignment to Fort Monmouth, as the Maintenance Officer for WFM-TV (Fort Monmouth's Closed Circuit TV System).  The tour there was quite short as DA (Department of the Army) told me that my service was needed elsewhere, to the resort city of Saigon, and saying "No thanks" was not an option.  So in 1969 I arrived at AFVN (American Forces Vietnam Network) as a CW2 to become the Deputy Director of Engineering for the network.  There, five other men and I were school trained and installed the first fully automated FM (Frequency Modulated) radio systems to be installed in a field situation.  One system was installed in Saigon and the other in Danang.

After surviving the hot humid weather in Vietnam I was then sent to the opposite end of the weather spectrum---Tobyhana Army Depot in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.  There I served as the Maintenance/Supply Officer for the Mobile TV Detachment.  Six months later the unit stood down.  As Supply Officer I was the last one to leave, so I turned out the lights and headed to Fort Gordon to become the Chief Engineer of WFG-TV (Fort Gordon's Closed Circuit TV System).  Training programs were produced in the studios at WFG-TV and transmitted on four CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) systems that ran throughout the Signal School.

Next came my second trip to the bustling city of Seoul, Korea.  It was much different than the first time I visited there.  I became the Maintenance Officer for AFKN (American Forces Korea Network).  AFKN is very much like AFVN in that it had a main station with several outlying detachments.

Back to Fort Gordon to attend the Advanced Warrant Officer Course to be followed by the Basic Maintenance Course was the next move.  After finishing these courses I was kept on as an instructor in the Officers Department to teach Maintenance Management to Commissioned, Warrant, and Foreign officers.  After a year in this job, I was selected to attend the Senior Warrant Officers Course at Fort Rucker, Alabama with further assignment to the then Panama Canal Zone.  This tour would be the envy of one's career.  I was assigned to USACC (United States Army Communications Command) as the COR (Contracting Officers Representative) for the Radio Contracts which required me to travel throughout Central and South America twice yearly to repair HF (High Frequency) and Mobile Radio equipment for the Military Groups and Embassies.  Needless to say my geographic knowledge greatly improved.  It was during this tour that I was promoted to the grade of Chief Warrant Officer Four.

Too soon came the time for the final move back to the states and yes, Fort Gordon.  I spent the last four years of my 30 plus years in the Army as the COR for the newly established Pan Am maintenance contracts.  On 31 July1984 I hung up my spurs and departed the Army to become a "Gentleman Farmer."  That lasted for only a few years, as my desire to return to electronics repair was overwhelming.  For the next 17 years I repaired electronic equipment for a local repair shop.  As an avocation, after retirement I played Mandolin for several Bluegrass Bands for the better part of twenty years.  Now fully retired, my wife, J.J., and I make our home in Thomson, Georgia.  Thomson is about 30 miles west of Fort Gordon (Augusta), and as they say in the South, if you are in our neighborhood stop in to say hello and we will share a glass of SWEET ICE TEA with you.

Donald E. Frischmann

At left, a headshot of Don; at right, with Patricia

Air Force Captain Don Frischmann served as OIC of AFVN's Detachment 6 at Tuy Hoa in 1969.  Upon his return to civilian life in 1970, he joined IBM, where he served in a series of management and executive positions until his departure 29 years later as vice president for communications in the Sales and Distribution division.  He then joined Symantec, a major player in the Internet security industry, as vice president for Worldwide Communications and Brand Management.  In June 2004 he was selected to represent Symantec in a Congressional hearing looking into the challenges to Internet security in the home and in small businesses.

He left Symantec in 2007 to accept an executive position with Rubicon Consulting, a privately held California corporation, where his clients include Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Handmark, Hitachi Data Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Logitech, Nokia, and Symantec.

Today, Don and wife Patricia, a public relations professional, reside in the San Francisco Bay area.

Howard Wayne Fuller


Air Force Tech Sergeant Howard Fuller served AFVN's Detachment 6, Tuy Hoa as program director in 1968, and in 1969 following his 1 March 1969 promotion to Master Sergeant he was named NCOIC.  The station had begun its operation in May 1967, and only two years later in June 1971, the detachment was shut down.

Tuy Hoa Air Base had become operational in late 1966 and three tactical fighter squadrons were transferred to the base in 1967.  Two years later Air National Guard squadrons from New Mexico and New York were federalized to supplement the base firepower.  Further strengthening came in 1969, but in October 1970 the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing, which had arrived in December 1966, was redeployed to Homestead AFB, Florida.  Then in quick succession, a month later the base was renamed Tuy Hoa Army Airfield and in January 1971 ownership was transferred to the Republic of Vietnam.  The demise of Detachment 6 was due to US troop strength under the Nixon Vietnamization program which made the broadcasts unnecessary.

Master Sergeant Fuller returned to CONUS 20 August 1969, having been awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  His next assignment was to Sheppard AFB at Wichita Falls, Texas.  Then following retirement he and wife Claire took up residence at Anderson Island, Washington.  The island is the southernmost of the small islets in Puget Sound, and is accessible only by boat.  Its permanent population is around 1,000.

The Sergeant passed away 15 May 1990 at the age of 58.  In addition to wife Leona Claire, a retired teacher, he was survived by two sons, Michael and Kenneth.  Burial was in Mountain View Cemetery, Connell, Washington.

Gayle Lester "Les" Gage

Les Gage, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Gage of Russell, Pennsylvania, was born 6 June 1941.  His family included three older brothers and a younger sister.  After graduating from Eisenhower High School in 1959, Les began an Army career which would last more than 20 years.

While assigned as a communications engineer as an SFC at the US Military Academy at West Point in July 1967, Les married Miss Linda Lamont.  Their firstborn child, a daughter, was born in December 1968, six months prior to his Vietnam assignment.  Arriving in Saigon in May, his extensive background in electronics earned him a position on the quick-response headquarters team whose job was to travel to any AFVN detachment with a technical problem.  While in-country, Sergeant Gage was awarded both the Joint Service Commendation Medal and the Bronze Star Medal.

After his retirement in 1980 as a Master Sergeant, Les accepted a Civil Service position at two VA hospitals in the West Point area.  Then in 1995 at the age of 54, Les and Linda began their retirement in Redwood, an unincorporated community in upstate New York five miles from the Canadian border.

Having been involved with the Freemasons since his days at West Point, Les was elected an officer in the Grand Lodge of New York.  He was also active in hunting, fishing, boating, four-wheeling, snowmobiling, and carpentry, and he was a regular volunteer at his Methodist Church.

Unfortunately, his time as a retiree was cut short by disease.  Following a lengthy illness, Les passed away 3 January 2005 at the age of 63.  Wife Linda, daughter Kimberly, son Sean, and a grandson survived him.  He was interred with full military honors at Barnes Settlement Cemetery, Alexandria Bay, New York.

David Edward Gale

At left, Dave gets a medal from LTC Nash in 1969; at right, Dave today

Born in 1945, Dave Gale is a native Michigander, the eldest of the six children of Mr. and Mrs. Harrison Gale.  Drafted shortly after earning his BS in Broadcast Engineering, Dave was sent to Vietnam in mid-1968, assigned to the Da Nang Signal Battalion.  He was immediately reassigned to Saigon, however, as an engineer at AFVN, where he worked mostly on studio equipment and the FM transmitter.  In addition to his regular duties he was the man who sent tapes of the daily press briefings to AFRTS in Washington, DC.

His career in broadcasting continued into civilian life.  Back at home in Michigan he first settled in Flint, and later Grand Rapids, where he helped build several radio stations across the state.  He later upgraded several stations, including a Class A station in Muskegon where he devised a system allowing him to remotely control two transmitters and nine towers from the Grand Rapids base.  For a time he was employed by Audio Broadcast Group, a supplier of products and systems for broadcast and recording markets.  The company, however, was sold in 1999, and David went to work as a broadcast engineer for Cornerstone University.  This institution has undergraduate and graduate programs, and operates two seminaries and three radio stations.  Cornerstone University Radio consists of WCSG, which broadcasts inspirational programming and music in Grand Rapids, WAYG, with a Christian Contemporary format in Grand Rapids, and WAYK, which programs a similar format in Kalamazoo.  In March 2012 Dave was honored by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters with its most prestigious engineering award, the Carl E. Lee Engineering Excellence Award.

David and wife Kathryn made their home in Jenison, an unincorporated suburb of Grand Rapids.  Their family consisted of four children and six grandchildren.  In the 1990's, however, Mrs. Gale was diagnosed with Huntington's Disease, and she entered a nursing facility in 1997.  She passed away 6 December 2011.  David and Kathryn had been married for 45 years.

Allan William Galfund

Al Galfund, a Jewish kid from New York City, was in his middle twenties when he entered the Army in 1943.  His dreams of flying were dashed when the Army suspended his class of flight school in order to fill an immediate need for infantrymen.  Al was sent to Europe, where he participated in the Battle of the Bulge.  The young lieutenant was assigned to the 1st Battalion of the 309th Infantry Regiment, 78th Infantry Division, a battalion which received a Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation for its pivotal role in gaining control of the Roer River dams.  After VE Day, he remained in Germany as a part of the Occupation Forces.

Galfund was called to service again in Korea, and this second time of intense combat seems to have induced thoughts of a philosophical nature which had not been expressed before.  "It sure makes you sweat," he later wrote, "when you feel that it may be over any day . . . ."  Of course, life did not end for Galfund in Korea, although on 1 October 1951 he sustained injuries which the Army classified as "SIA," an acronym meaning "seriously injured in action."  He came back home to a much more pleasurable assignment at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey as a company commander.  It was probably here that he decided to become a career military officer.

The then-captain was next sent to the Army Pictorial Center at Long Island, New York to produce military training films, and it was following this assignment that Major Galfund became an information officer, the area in which he spent the remainder of his career.  His first public affairs assignment was at the US Army Port of Embarkation at Bremerhaven, West Germany where for a time in 1958 there was a press feeding frenzy as a young Army draftee named Elvis Presley arrived for processing for his overseas assignment.  Some 2,000 screaming fans greeted Elvis' troop ship as it docked at Bremerhaven 1 October 1958, and Major Galfund was kept busy for about two weeks before PFC Presley left for his permanent duty station at Friedburg with the Third Armored Division.

In 1963-64 Major Galfund was assigned to Vietnam as a briefing officer for MACV.  At this time the Saigon press contingent numbered approximately 40, and the briefings were conducted somewhat informally at the information office's downtown location prior to MACV's move to Tan Son Nhut.  He also served as escort officer for the April 1964 Vietnam visit by then-Army Chief of Staff General Earle G. Wheeler.

Other high profile PAO assignments ably handled by Major Galfund included the New York portion of the funeral of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, and the funeral of President Herbert Hoover in 1964.

After a 24-year Army career, Lieutenant Colonel Galfund retired in 1967.  Among his military awards were the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and three Army Commendation medals.  He immediately began working for the Communications Satellite Corp. in Washington, DC as director of public relations, retiring from this civilian job in 1985, and finally retiring for good to Chevy Chase, Maryland.

LTC Galfund died in July 2009 at the age of 93.  Survivors included Barbara, his wife of 56 years, two children and a granddaughter.

Samuel Chaffin Galloway, Jr.

Tennessee native Sam Galloway's first job after high school was the Army.  His MACOI connection was in 1966-67 with AFVN's Detachment 6 at Tuy Hoa.  Tuy Hoa Air Base was constructed by a private contractor over a five-month period in 1966 and AFVN began operations from a portable van.  Sam, a SP4, aided in the installation and maintenance of the broadcast facilities during the station's first year of operation.

Published data claim that Sam was born 26 November 1945 in Detroit, Michigan.  The MACOI Website, however, distrusts this material.  We can find no verification that Sam's parents were away from Tennessee at the time of Sam's birth, and believe there was confusion with a man whose name was spelled "Gallaway."  We think Sam and his 5-years-younger sister Susie were both born in Tennessee.  Both of Sam's parents are buried in the Galloway Cemetery in Burrville, Tennessee.

Sam's family resided in the sparsely populated community of Oneida, Tennessee and operated the Oneida Inn, a popular lodging spot for visitors to the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.  Managed by the National Park Service, Big South Fork encompassed 125,000 acres along the banks of the Cumberland River.  Upon Sam's return to civilian status, he enrolled at the University of Kentucky, and earned a Bachelor of General Studies Degree.  Hired by the State of Kentucky, Sam's career was spent with the Department of Children and Family Services.

Sam and his wife, the former Deborah Lynn Tucker, made their home in Bronston, Kentucky, on the banks of Lake Cumberland, home to the Lake Cumberland State Resort Park, a popular tourist destination only about 40 miles north of Oneida, Tennessee.  It was here on 21 November 2015, five days shy of his 70th birthday, that Sam died.  Burial was in Mill Springs National Cemetery in Nancy, Kentucky, 21 miles northwest of Bronston.

Merritt Gerald Garner

1) Colonel Merritt G. Garner; 2) Captain Garner in WWII; 3) a special day; 4) the Garner family; and 5) at MACOI

"Gerry" Garner was born in Shreveport, Louisiana 27 February 1922.  His family moved to Arkansas when Gerry was six.  His brother James Gayle was born in 1930.  Gerry graduated from high school in 1940 and found employment in Shreveport as a diesel mechanic for Trailways Bus Company.  An industrious young man, he took night classes at Centenary College in Shreveport, and also took flying lessons on Sunday afternoons.

Then came Pearl Harbor.  At the age of 20 Gerry enlisted in the Army Air Corps, and his flying experience quickly qualified him for Army flight training as a "Flying Cadet."  At Brooks Army Air Field he won his wings and a commission as 2LT 16 February 1943, 11 days before his 21st birthday.

He served first as pilot on a B-25 on submarine patrol duty in the Atlantic, then as Operations Officer with a P-38 photo reconnaissance squadron before being sent to England with a promotion to 1LT in March 1944.  Two months later he was a Captain, flying recon missions in preparation for, and during, the Normandy Invasion.  In late August he assumed command of the 31st Photo Recon Squadron at the age of 22, thus becoming the youngest squadron commander in the European Theater of Operations.  He was promoted to Major in October 1944.

At war's end he returned to US shores, having flown 100 combat missions.  Stationed once again at Brooks AAF, he took a brief leave and married Miss Katherine Faulkner 6 October 1945 -- her 19th birthday.  After Brooks, in early 1947, he and Katherine went to Langley Field, Virginia where the Major became CO of the Air Force's first jet photo recon squadron.  Shortly after his arrival, his son, Gerald Price Garner, was born.

In 1948 Major Garner was named CO of Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Georgia; then in 1949 he was assigned duty in England at an RAF base.  This was followed in February 1951 by a promotion to Lieutenant Colonel (one week before his 29th birthday) and a transfer to Eglin AFB Proving Ground, Florida as a test pilot and commander of the fighter test squadron.  Three weeks after his arrival, daughter Christa Ann Garner was born.  Also while at Eglin, Colonel Garner was honored to give Charles A. Lindberg his first ride in a jet aircraft.

In 1952 Lieutenant Colonel Garner was selected to represent his country in a highly coveted diplomatic assignment behind the Iron Curtain.  After intelligence training at Fort Holabird, Maryland and language school in Washington, DC Col. Garner reported to the US Embassy in Warsaw, Poland as US Air Attache.  This was a time of Cold War tensions and the Colonel's job required not just diplomacy, but cloak-and-dagger skills as well.

Following his three years in Poland, the Colonel attended the Armed Forces Staff College in 1955, and then was assigned to the intelligence section of the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon.  But it was his next assignment back at Eglin AFB that pleasantly changed the direction of his Air Force career.

In 1959 he was named Director of Public Affairs at the sprawling Florida Panhandle base, and then three years later he reported to Kadena AFB in Okinawa as Chief of Public Affairs for the 313th Air Division, a unit of the Military Airlift Command, and in 1965 he was named Director of Information for the entire Military Airlift Command at Scott AFB, Illinois.  It was at this time that he was promoted to full Colonel (0-6).

MACV was his next duty station, as in the Spring of 1968 COL Garner was named Chief of MACOI's Public Information Division, replacing COL Jack Giannini.  COL Garner immediately effected a policy change to improve the quality of the MACV daily press briefings.  After consulting with BG Sidle, the Chief of Information, and with GEN Abrams he directed that the daily OI briefings would be the only scheduled in-country meetings between the US command and the press.  Prior to that time, units had been allowed to brief the press as they saw fit with little control over the content and frequency.  The Colonel was also able to negotiate the cooperation of the Saigon Government, and the daily briefings were then recorded in their entirety and transmitted back to the Pentagon, White House, State Department, and various military intelligence agencies in Washington.

After Vietnam, COL Garner returned to the Pentagon for a final tour before retiring.  31 March 1970 was his final day in uniform, and he departed with a nomination to BG pending.

Among his military decorations are the Legion of Merit with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with 8 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Presidential Unit Citation, the American Campaign Ribbon, The European Service Medal with 6 Battle Stars, the Army of Occupation Ribbon, the National Defense Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the Antarctic Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with Silver Oak Leaf Cluster, the Expert Marksman Badge, the French Croix de Guerre with Gold Star, the United Nations Service Medal, and the US Department of Defense Badge.

Following retirement he lived at various times in Florida, South and North Carolina and Colorado, with employment in the banking industry, and in a real estate conglomerate, before becoming a corporate officer with Waste Management, Inc.  The Colonel and Mrs. Garner finally retired to Sarasota, Florida.

On 4 March 2014, Colonel Garner passed away at the age of 92.  He was survived by Katherine, his wife of 68 years, his aforementioned son and daughter, four grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.  Burial was in Georgia National Cemetery in Canton, Georgia.

Kenneth Alden Gasch

Marine Sergeant Ken Gasch, a native of Dallas, Texas, was an AFVN engineer who maintained the Saigon transmitter (FM and TV) from March to November 1970.  He then relocated to the AM transmitter at Cat Lo, near Vung Tau on the South China Sea.  Interestingly, given perfect weather conditions, this transmitter could be unbelievably efficient.  There were reports of transmissions from the Cat Lo facility being heard as far away as Australia, and one reported reception in California.  Ken rotated back to the USA in March 1971.

After a 20-year Marine Corps career Ken retired as a Gunnery Sergeant in 1979, and he and wife Betty returned to Dallas.  They celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary 27 December 2011.

Ken enjoys repairing/rebuilding old automobiles, an occasional watercraft, and nearly anything else mechanical.  His home in the Lakewood section, northeast of downtown, is just blocks from White Rock Lake, a thousand-acre reservoir surrounded by White Rock Park, which offers nature trails and bike paths.  Also in close proximity is the golf course at Lakewood Country Club.

The Gasches have three adult children and six grandchildren.

Thomas William Gavey

At left, a snapshot of then-Lt.Col. Gavey at MACOI; and at right in 1985 he is shown filming a segment with a sailor aboard the USS John F. Kennedy

Thomas William Gavey, youngest of the three sons of Mr. and Mrs. Warren Johnston Gavey, was born in September 1920 in New York City.  His father, a civil engineer attached to the oil industry, moved to California where the family settled in Walnut Creek, a small town about 20 miles east-northeast of Oakland.  Young Thomas graduated from Mount Diablo High School in Walnut Creek, and then enrolled in Stockton (California) Junior College, about 50 miles to the east.  His BFA was earned in May 1942 from the University of Southern California's film school, and he was also awarded an ROTC commission as a 2LT in the Army Air Corps.  This website was unable to find records of his participation in WWII, although he likely was assigned to the Army Air Force 1st Motion Picture Unit in Hollywood, which produced military training and propaganda films.  He returned to USC to earn his Master's of Cinematography in 1948 with a thesis entitled "A Survey of the Factors Affecting Color Rendition of Bipack Two-Color Processes."

Also in 1948 he chanced to meet a young woman named Dorothy Barenfeld, herself a WWII Marine veteran.  Miss Barenfeld, a New York native, was the daughter of Russian immigrants, and had arrived in Los Angeles as a movie studio costumer and apprentice to famed costume designer Edith Head.  The couple were married 12 July 1951 at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and the marriage would last 34 years until Thomas' death in 1986 at the age of 65.

His Air Force career as a cinematographer would carry him to MACOI in 1969 as a Lieutenant Colonel with an assignment to the Public Information Division.  He retuned to the US 24 June 1970, having earned a Joint Service Commendation Medal.  He retired from the Air Force as a full Colonel and accepted a civil service position at the Pentagon as a motion picture producer and director with the Navy and the Department of Justice.

As a civilian with employment in the Nation's capital, the Colonel and Mrs. Gavey purchased an historic home in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia in 1974 and began a restoration project which would last until his death.  The 3-story, 9 room house located at 227 Fairfax Street was situated only 3 blocks from the banks of the Potomac.  During the restoration process, the home was a popular feature in Virginia home and garden tours.

The Colonel died 11 August 1986, and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, California.  Mrs. Gavey lived in Alexandria until her death 13 October 2008 at the age of 90.  She was buried beside her husband.

Gary Wallace Gears

Two pics of SP4 Gears at AFVN; a Civilian Deejay; a Station Promo Card, and a Blowup of the Promo Picture

Gary Gears was a native of St. Louis Park, Minnesota, a small town on the southwest edge of the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area.  His father, Wallace Ellworth Gears, was a Navy veteran of WWII.  Gary showed an early interest in radio, and at age 14 began to hang around local station KRSI, where a deejay pal occasionally put him on the air.  At St. Louis Park Senior High School, Gary was a member of the football team, president of the glee club, and an active drama club member.  "Big G," as he was nicknamed due to his rich baritone voice, graduated in 1964, and moved along to a deejay job at KOIL radio in Omaha, only to be caught in the draft in 1967.

He spent 12 months in 1968-69 in Saigon with AFVN, where he became one of the "Gooooooooood Morning, Vietnam" guys who hosted the popular Dawn Buster show.  When he departed Saigon as a Specialist Four, he was a seasoned disc jockey ready for the major civilian markets.

His first job after AFVN was at Pittsburgh's KQV, but he soon moved to Chicago where he would spend the major part of his broadcast career.  He landed at WCFL in late 1970, and then moved on to WLS in 1971, first on the 1 to 5 AM overnight shift before being reassigned 9 - noon.  In 1972 he moved to WDAI with the 3 to 6 PM drive time show.  For a brief time he relocated to WGCL in Cleveland, and he even had a brief flirtation with CHUM in Toronto, but he was soon back "home" in Chicago with WIND, WJJD, WKQX, and WMAQ.  During this period Gary's wife worked as a deejay for WSDM, a quirky station owned by the Chess family, who also ran Chess, Checker, and Cadet Records.  The station's format was light jazz and instrumental music spun by a staff of female announcers.  In promos the station billed its format as "jazzed up rock," and called itself "the station with the girls."

Gary gradually moved into a lucrative career doing voice-over work.  He quickly became the off-camera voice of the WLS-TV news department, and he also did promotional announcements and station identifiers.  Drifting into the international field, he did prerecorded announcements for the BBC, Radio Luxembourg, and for stations in Ireland and Italy.  Then, and somewhat surprisingly during the height of the Cold War, Gary, an Army veteran, recorded announcements for Radio Moscow in both English and Russian.  He earned his keep, however, contracting with major companies doing commercial spots.  During the 1970's and 80's he voiced national commercials for Sears Auto Centers, Dial soap, Cheer laundry detergent, the ABC television network, and he voiced the baritone Ho-Ho-Hoes of the Jolly Green Giant.

Physically, Gary had packed on a few extra pounds over the years -- so much so, in fact, that when he was referred to as "the Big G," the reference was not always to his powerful voice.  A friend suggested that Gary looked and sounded like Chicago Bears linebacker Dick Butkus.  This may not have been accepted well by Gary, who was a lifelong fan of the Minnesota Vikings.

Even with the excess pounds, it was shocking that his life ended on 17 February 1991.  He died suddenly at his home in the Chicago neighborhood of Lincoln Park.  He was only 46.

Gary was survived by both parents, two brothers, and his wife, Lynda, a Chicago real estate agent.

Ronald F. Geiman

A photo of Ron at MACOI is followed by two a little later as a civilian

Ron Geiman was born 26 August 1951, the elder of the two sons of Mr. and Mrs. Greuze Geiman of Penbrook, Pennsylvania.  The senior Mr. Geiman was an Army veteran of WWII.  Penbrook is a small town on the outskirts of Harrisburg, and was located only 15 miles downwind from Hershey -- close enough that Ron needed only a sniff to verify a new batch of sweets was ready to be trucked to the nation's supermarkets.  After high school he received his draft notice, but signed up for an extra year in order to choose his MOS.  This was fortunate because he would celebrate his 20th birthday in Vietnam's combat zone.

In Saigon, having been trained as a public affairs specialist, Ron was assigned to MACOI's Command Information Division.  Here he did field camera work, conducted troop interviews for hometown news articles, and helped with layout of the MACV Observer, the official weekly troop newspaper.  That he did an excellent job is beyond dispute.  When he returned to CONUS 17 August 1972 he was wearing both the Joint Service Commendation Medal and the Bronze Star Medal.  Then after fulfilling his three-year obligation, Ron stayed in the profession he had learned so well -- he became a journalist.  While taking classes at the University of Wisconsin's Milwaukee campus, and managing a bar part-time, he wrote for local newspapers.  Then in 1984 he founded his own publication which he called the "In-Step."  Starting as an entertainment journal, it gradually developed into a niche advocacy weekly.  He served as editor and publisher for 11 years, and eventually had a press run of 11,000 copies.  "I couldn't ask for a better job," Ron said on the occasion of his tenth anniversary.  He went on to describe his life as "being my own boss and at the same time doing something valuable fo my community."   Conventional wisdom, however, dictates that nothing lasts forever, and Ron's dream job ended when his health took a downturn.  He was forced to sell his journal in 1995.

Ron continued to write for area publications as his health allowed, but he died 11 May 2004 at the age of 52.  He was survived by his mother, Mrs. Lucia Geiman and his brother, Rick, both of Penbrook.

Harvey Jay Geminder

In Vietnam, Harvey enjoys a visit with Gypsy Rose Lee, followed by a 1982 civilian photo

Harvey Geminder, a 1962 graduate of Mountain High School in West Orange, New Jersey, was attending classes at Rutgers while working part time as a sound engineer for NBC Radio.  Then, in December 1966 he was invited to a pre-induction physical, which he passed.  Rather than await the inevitable, Harvey enlisted for three years and requested duty with AFRTS.  His duty with AFVN in Saigon began in June 1968, when he was 24 years old.

His Vietnam duty as technician and audio mixer was very similar to his previous work at NBC.  With time out for brief excursions to do repair work at northern detachments, his tour was served in Saigon.  Among his favorite memories were his visit to the beaches of the South China Sea while working at Detachment 4 on Hon Tre Island, and his several visits with Hollywood personalities such as burlesque queen Gypsy Rose Lee.

Returning home in 1969 with the rank of SP5, and having been awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Harvey resumed college classes, this time at the Newark College of Engineering (now known as the New Jersey Institute of Technology), where he earned his engineering degree.

As a professional engineer, his civilian career carried him to the west coast with a supervisory position at Librascope, a Navy contractor located in Glendale, California.

As of 2010 Harvey and wife Lynne, an attorney, reside in Moorpark.  They are the parents of three grown sons.

Costas Gianaros ("Dino" or "Gus")


Costas Gianaros was born 23 July 1942 in New York City Hospital, Manhattan.  He attended PS122 grade school, Long Island City High School, and completed three years Civil Air Patrol training through age 17.  At that time he stopped school and enlisted in the United States Air Force.

Following abbreviated basic training at Lackland AFB, Texas, Airman Second Class Gianaros was assigned to Keesler AFB, Mississippi for one year of communications equipment repair training.  Upon graduation, he held the equivalent of a degree from the finest US colleges in the electronic engineering field.

In September 1960 he transferred to the 649th Radar Squadron at Bedford, Virginia.  There, Airman First Class Gianaros maintained and repaired ground/air transmitters/receivers and digital ground/air missile battery equipment, along with height and search radar systems.

Next came an assignment to Headquarters, United Kingdom Communications Region, London, England.  He provided support for keeping all air navigational aids squadrons operating at peak efficiency in England, France, and other areas.

Following that was a four-year assignment to the 5th Mobile Communications Group at Warner Robins AFB, Georgia.  There Staff Sergeant Gianaros maintained microwave radio, HF radio, communications center and multiplex equipment in the TRANSCOM (transportable long haul five van communications system).  This system could be flown anywhere in the world in a matter of hours, providing complete "soup-to-nuts" communications equal to that of a permanent air force base.

In October 1968 Staff Sergeant Gianaros reported to AFVN in Saigon for training before assignment to AFVN's Detachment 2 at Da Nang as Chief Engineer for both TV and AM/FM radio.  There, Technical Sergeant Gianaros and five other men were TDY school trained in the first fully automated FM radio systems to be installed in a field situation.  They assisted in installation of one system in Saigon and the other in Da Nang.

In September 1969, he was assigned to the Air Defense Command's 26th Air Division control center where he oversaw and tested all ground to air systems that contributed to the air defense of the entire west coast of the USA.

This was followed by assignment to the 2140-11 Communications Detachment, Mt. Parnis, Greece.  There for eight years Master Sergeant Gianaros rose to the position of Maintenance Superintendent.  The site provided tropospheric scatter, microwave, ground to air muliplex equipment support to NATO elements throughout Europe.

Master Sergeant Gianaros retired in September 1979, after a 20-year career in the Air Force.  With residence in Tarpon Springs, Florida he began 25 years of employement with Astra Products, an electronics manufacturing and serivce company located 10 miles to the southwest.  Finally in full retirement, he and wife Aglaia lived a peaceful life in the beautiful city of Tarpon Springs until his death at the age of 78 3 August 2020.

In addition to wife Agalaia the Master Sergeant was survived by two daughters, eight grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.  He was predeceased only three months earlier by son John, a medivac pilot.

Jack Lloyd Giannini

Young LT Giannini checks the duty board for WWII flight assignment; followed by a pair of mid-career shots; then a retired Colonel at his leisure

Following high school in his home town of Evansville, Indiana, young Jack Giannini set his sights on a law degree.  He first enrolled at LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but transferred to the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia with a football scholarship.  He played under head coach Carl Voyles in the 1939 (6-2-1) season, losing only to Navy and Virginia, and tying Virginia Tech, and in 1940 (also 6-2-1), losing to NC State and Navy, and tying VMI.

Jack entered the Air Force 7 November 1941, 30 days before Pearl Harbor.  During his WWII service, he logged over 5700 hours of flight time in some 22 different types of aircraft, and was credited with 97 combat missions.  He received two Legion of Merit awards, the Air Medal with five clusters, Bronze Star, and various theater of operations citations.

Following the War, Jack resumed the career path he had originally planned.  He entered Vanderbilt University School of Law in Nashville, Tennessee, where he graduated in 1948.

In the ensuing years he served as a staff advisor to the commanding generals of Tactical Air Command, Military Airlift Command, and the Military Assistance Advisory Group, Vietnam.  In 1967-68, LTC Giannini returned to Vietnam as Chief of the Public Information Division at MACOI.  "In that year," as he described it, "I was responsible for the release of military information to the 400-odd members of the press corps there . . . a very interesting experience."

Following a final assignment as public affairs officer at Scott Air Force Base, near Belleville, Illinois, Giannini retired from the Air Force as a full Colonel.  During his 30 years of service, he had seen duty in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, India, Burma, China, Vietnam, Philippines, Japan, France, Germany, England, Spain, Turkey, and Greece.  "In thirty years in the military I have touched the ground in most nations in the western world," he would later write.  "My only entry behind the iron curtain was a quick stop in Rumania."

Finally, a few years later than he had originally planned, COL Giannini settled into a law practice at Belleville, Illinois.  This second career lasted 27 years.

In retirement, Giannini became a gifted and prolific writer.  In addition to his three published books, all dealing with his experiences in the military and legal professions, the Colonel wrote articles for military journals and magazines.  He also became known as a philanthropist, making sizeable gifts to schools and libraries, mainly in support of books, computer labs, and band programs.  He contributed generously to the local council of the Boy Scouts of America, and he established a scholarship at Southwestern Illinois College in honor of his deceased son, Roger.

The retired colonel-attorney-author-philanthropist died in 2009 at the age of 90, survived by his wife, Marguerite, and a step-daughter.  His first wife, Mary Ellen, had predeceased him.

William R. "Bill" Gideon


Bill Gideon, a native of Phoenix, Arizona, was at AFVN from March 1970 to March 1971.  He served first at Saigon Key Station, primarily doing radio news with additional assignment to record MACOI's daily press briefings at JUSPAO.  After a few months in Saigon, however, he was reassigned as Program Director for Detachment Three in Pleiku in the Central Highlands.  Here, he did the TV news from a trailer in back of the main building.  The transmitters were also in the trailers, and when it rained, they would trip off.  Staying on the air was haphazard, at best.

Under station commander Bruce Wahl a major renovation was soon underway, and the station was painted and cleaned inside and out.  Part of the inside redo included a new TV studio, which meant Bill no longer broadcast from the cramped trailer.  Materials were procured by the most efficient means, sometimes requisitioned through official channels and sometimes scavenged.  The staff soundproofed the news set walls with egg cartons from the mess hall.

Bill returned to Saigon in December as Senior News Editor, and once again his collateral duties included covering the JUSPAO briefings.  Then, three months later he rotated to the American Forces Caribbean Network in Puerto Rico.  His Navy career would continue until his retirement in 1990.

During his Navy career, Bill went from E-1 to E-9, and was promoted to CWO4, retiring as an LDO (this refers to the Navy's Limited Duty Officer Program) Lieutenant Commander.  He then returned to graduate school to finish his Ph.D, and began a teaching career at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.

As Associate Director of Instructional Development at ODU's Site Operations and Military Distance Learning Center, Bill primarily teaches other faculty members how to adapt their materials for distance delivery, in other words how to teach on television.  Old Dominion delivers nearly 400 courses annually to locations around the globe, which makes this operation (according to December 2000 statistics) the largest televised interactive distance education program in the United States.

Bill and Carol Gideon make their home in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Kenneth R. Gilder


Ken Gilder was born 10 July 1944 into a military family at Fort Jay, on Governors Island, New York.  He thus claims the rare distinction of being born in New York County, but not in Manhattan.  His father was sent to Japan in 1947, and Ken and his mother joined him a few months later.  A March 1950 reassignment brought the family to Seattle at Fort Lawton, where Ken attended school at Lawton Elementary through the fifth grade.  Then in June 1955 the Gilders moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, where Ken graduated from high school in the Class of 1962.

His first AFRTS assignment was in 1964-65 at Korea's AFKN Radio Gypsy, at Camp Kaiser.  He was serving at AFNE in Frankfurt and Bremerhaven, Germany prior to his reassignment in August 1967 to AFVN in Saigon.  In December he transferred to AFVN's Detachment 1 at Qui Nhon, where he remained until August 1968.  At one time or another, Ken performed every job that could be done at AFVN except engineering and administration.  He worked behind the scenes running the board, which was not easy due to the somewhat primitive equipment.  When one of the telecine projectors would go down, which was not a rarity, he would have to quickly throw up a station ID in the middle of a program while taking down the used reel and putting up a new one.  But . . . he enjoyed his on-air duties doing the TV news and sports.

Other AFRTS assignments included a 1971-72 tour at Fort Clayton, Canal Zone and AFTN at Korat RTAFB in 1974-75 where he handled the overnight news broadcasts.  Ken then left active duty and retired back to beautiful St. Petersburg, Florida, where he earned a degree and joined a reserve Public Affairs Detachment in Tampa.  Here he spent three two-week tours at the Pentagon, one with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, and two with the Office of the Army's Chief of Public Affairs.  Additional short tours with the Reserve included two assignments to Alaska, one to Fort Campbell, and two lengthier tours in Pennsylvania -- 3 months at New Cumberland Army Depot and 4 months at Fort Indiantown Gap.  He spent a total of 24 years in the Army.

In the 1980's, Ken discovered the sport of Paintball, and it became a fun hobby which earned him national notoriety.  He used his journalistic skills to publicize the games in local and national publications.  He even earned a nickname which followed him wherever he went.  He had begun wearing sunglasses beneath his paintball goggles, and quickly acquired the name "Hollywood," and it is by that name that he is known in the sport.  His double bypass heart surgery in 1990 slowed him down only a bit.  He was soon back on the paintball circuit, and writing for "Paintcheck," "Paintball Sports," and "Paintball News," just a few of the publications who regularly seek out his reportage.  By the way, in case you're wondering, it was Daisy Outdoor Products, the manufacturers of the Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle (Don't shoot your eye out!) who produced the first commercial paintball guns, and they based their product on the paintgun used to mark trees in the forestry industry.

Edward Wesley Gleisberg, Jr.

CMS Gleisberg is shown examining his orders and then steadying the ladder as AFVN signage is removed in the 1973 shutdown.

"I had the dubious honor," Ed Gleisberg wrote, "of being in the Army of the US at the end of WWII . . . in Korea at the end of the action there . . . and in VN at the end."

His family confirms that he "probably" misinformed the Army Air Corps in regard to his age when he joined a reserve unit in 1945.  Ed was born in November 1929, and was a 1946 graduate of Vineland (New Jersey) High School.  His first enlistment occurred prior to his 16th birthday.  After converting to active duty, he was, indeed, in Korea when the war ended in 1953.  Likewise, he departed Vietnam at the end of March 1973 aboard "the last official aircraft," as he describes it.  That's a unique story worthy of a salute from Robert Ripley.

Among other duty stations were tours in France, Greece, Germany, and in Greenland, where he was stationed 60 miles north of the Arctic Circle at Sondrestrom AFB.  He also saw stateside duty at Montauk Air Station, New York, Hamilton AFB near San Francisco, and Edwards AFB, California.  RVN and Offutt AFB, Nebraska were his two final assignments before his retirement from the military.

In Vietnam in 1972-73, as an Air Force Chief Master Sergeant (E9), he was Chief Engineer of the AFVN network.  From his permanent post in Saigon, he regularly toured all detachments and antenna sites.  Once while performing his duties in Can Tho, he learned of a POW camp run by the ARVN, and he became one of the very few Westerners ever to (albeit unofficially) visit a prison camp holding NVA and VC detainees.

Upon his return from Vietnam, he was offered the post of Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force.  He turned down the honor, however, and accepted a position at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, from which he retired three years later.

He then began a Civil Service career working for DOD as Deputy Director of the Strategic Connectivity Divison of the US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) at Offutt AFB.  Among the projects he worked on was the development of GPS, the Global Positioning System.  His phase of the project involved the creation of logistical support of design and development for maintenance of the ground stations.  He retired to neighboring Bellevue, Nebraska as a Grade 13 in 1995, credited with 48 total years of government service.

Four years later in 1999, wife Betty passed away at the age of 67.  Ed, himself, remained vibrant for several more years, until he developed a severe bacterial infection of the inner surface of the heart.  When antibiotics failed, doctors attempted an emergency replacement of his aortic valve.  This, too, failed and CMSgt Edward W. Gleisberg, Jr. quietly passed away at the age of 77 on 6 April 2007, surrounded by children and grandchildren.

His family proudly displays the Chief's medals, plaques, and certificates from his duty stations across the world, and his grave is marked, "Bronze Star Recipient."

Winfield James "Jim" Gordon

Chief Gordon at AFVN, and a little later as a civilian at KFMB

Jim Gordon was AFVN's program director and night shift supervisor in 1967-68.  A native of New Jersey, Chief Gordon had made his career in Naval Public Affairs.  This was a critical period at AFVN, as it was during this time that the Tet attacks of 1968 occurred.  Chief Gordon was a part of the leadership team headed by LTC Ray Nash and LCDR James Wentz.  BG Winant Sidle was Chief of Information.

Following his Vietnam service, the Chief was assigned to the information office of the SEALAB III project.  SEALAB had begun in the early 1960's as an effort to gather scientific data on man's ability to function in isolation on the bottom of the sea.  Mercury Astronaut Scott Carpenter had taken leave from NASA to spend 28 days aboard SEALAB II in 1965, and the project was revived in 1968 with the goal of increasing the depth to more than 300 meters.  The mission failed, however, when SEALAB III proved unseaworthy at such depths.

When JOCS (that's a Senior Chief Journalist - E8) Jim Gordon's distinguished Navy career came to an end, he joined the reporting staff of KFMB-TV, the CBS affiliate in San Diego.  He was the first Black journalist hired at the station.  From all accounts he enjoyed his civilian job, but he never forgot his Navy roots.  He was quite popular with the Navy journalists stationed in the San Diego vicinity, and after retiring from the station he hosted an annual barbecue for them at his home during the 1980's and '90's.

Chief Gordon had a well developed sense of humor.  A friend tells the story of dropping by for a visit and, upon seeing the Chief sitting quietly in a rocking chair on the front porch, asked "Do you know who you look like?"  The Chief didn't miss a beat.  "Yeah," he called out.  "Uncle Remus."  They both nearly collapsed in laughter.

Jim lived in retirement in San Diego until 1 March 2002 when he passed away peacefully at his home at the age of 75.  Mount Hope Cemetery in the Paradise Hills section became his final resting place.

Frank P. Gottlieb

A pair of high school photographs, followed by an on-air shot at WAMO, and a recent photo (that's Gottlieb on the left)

Editor's Note:  Frank Gottlieb passed away 24 October 2017 following a short illness.  Interment was in Temple B'nai Israel Cemetery, McKeesport, Pennsylvania.

Frank Gottlieb was born 12 April 1945 in a small town in extreme western Pennsylvania. Midland, according to Pennsylvania statute, is not a town at all; it is classified as a borough.  At the age of 14, Frank got his start in radio by actually owning and operating a small unlicensed station commonly known as a bootleg station, or a pirate station, or in more polite terms, a micro-broadcaster.  His high school extra-curricular experience seemed geared toward a media career.  As a member of the Photography, Visual Aids, and Scholarship Clubs, he associated with fellow students with a common interest.  Upon graduation from Lincoln High School in 1964, he entered Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, only an hour's drive from Midland.  While a student he worked nights at Pittsburgh's WAMO, playing the hits as "Frank the Freak," while he interned at WTAE-TV.  He graduated in 1968 with a BA in Journalism/Communications.

Now it was time for the Army.  With a 71R20 broadcast specialist MOS, he wound up as a SP5 with the 16th Public Information Detachment at Long Binh.  While not officially tasked to AFVN, he frequently visited the Saigon station as a member of the broadcast crew which produced a weekly radio show about happenings at the Long Binh Army Post.  Long Binh at the time was home to about 50,000 men, and the overnight visits to Saigon were a welcome break from the routine at PID, where Frank covered, among other events, the 1970 Cambodian Incursion.

Back in Pittsburgh in 1970 after his service, Frank returned to WAMO, and also to WTAE-TV as a news producer.  He also worked for a time with KDKA-TV before moving to Columbus, Ohio with a job at WLWC in 1975.  He then worked as a producer at WCMH-TV until the Warner-Amex QUBE Cable System opened in Columbus in December 1977.  He joined the new company as a producer/salesman, and his later assessment of this job was that it was "like inventing TV all over again."  The company experimented with interactive television, including pay-per-view and movies on demand - - innovations which are commonplace today.  "The creativity and the technology," Frank claimed, "was literally 30 years ahead of its time."  Frank was the original producer of Columbus' morning lifestyle program, "Columbus Alive."

Returning to Pittsburgh in 1985, he took a job at KQV Radio, which had changed ten years earlier from a Top-40 station to an all-news format.  In 1993 he was named news director, and he stayed until his retirement in March 2012.  "After working weekends, overnights, days and elections since before the Nixon era," he said of his decision to retire, "it's time to step aside and allow the young folks to take over."

During his professional career, Frank had been the recipient of multiple Golden Quill Awards from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania.  The awards symbolize professional excellence in written, photographic, broadcast and online journalism.  Then upon the occasion of his retirement, the organization recognized his career achievements in the field of journalism with the presentation of the prestigious President's Award.

Frank is retired now, and living in Pittsburgh, although he continues to work with KQV on an occasional basis.

Michael R. Goucher

A pic of Mike as a new recruit is followed by a pair of photos of Mike at AFVN and a little later as a civilian in 2014 and 2019

Mike was at AFVN's Detachment 3 in Pleiku in 1967-68 and held a number of positions.  Besides serving as on-air TV newscaster, he was also news director and the morning deejay on the radio side.

Upon his return to the US, the Army sent him to Fort Irwin, California for the remaining six months of his enlistment.  As a SP5, he functioned as NCOIC of the Public Information Office.  He had lobbied to serve his final months at the US Army Pictorial Center in suburban New York City.  This would have put him back at home, since he had lived in and worked in New York City prior to his enlistment.  His job at Fort Irwin included editing the weekly post newspaper and recording "The Irwin Hour," a public affairs show broadcast each Sunday afternoon by KIOT in Barstow.  He also functioned as announcer for Fort Irwin's monthly awards ceremony.

Following his discharge, he returned in early 1969 to the job in New York which he had held before the Army.  WPIX-TV had a policy of holding positions for personnel who left the station for military service, and he resumed his job as assistant operations manager.  It was while he held this position that he met the lady who would become his wife.

After several years, he was approached to start a news operation at WNYC-TV.  This was a city-owned station, started in 1961 during the administration of Mayor Robert Wagner.  During his period of employment, which included the terms of Mayors John Lindsey and Abraham Beame, he found that "news" was defined by the current political views of City Hall.  When Mike ran news stories which clashed with the official point of view, the city cut his budget, and he soon left.

He found employment with Twentieth Century Fox as a projectionist, a post he has held for years.  Since this job required a union card, Mike joined the IATSE, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.  In 2005, he was elected president of the union's Local 306.

In 2012, Mike was diagnosed with cancer and retired from both positions to fight it.  He continues to live in Manhattan, New York City, where he has lived since shortly after his Army discharge in 1969 and the fight is ongoing as of September 2019.  From time to time he does small acting parts in TV shows and movies.

Donat Joseph "Don" Gouin


Don Gouin, a native of Central Falls, Rhode Island, enlisted in the Army in 1947.  Following radio operator training, he was initially assigned to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.  In 1952 he was reassigned to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, and the following year to Fort Wainwright, Alaska.  After serving as a Field Radio Repair instructor at Fort Gordon, Georgia, he received his first overseas assignment, to Pakistan, in March 1954.  In July 1955 he was sent to the Advanced Television School in Los Angeles.  He was then off to the Army Pictorial Center in New York City from March 1956 to March 1958.  His next overseas assignment was to Ethiopia, from June 1958 to February 1961.  He than returned to the Army Pictorial Center for ten months.  His next assignment was an uncharacteristically lengthy tour of five years duration at Fort Monmouth, and then came his third overseas assignment; this time to Vietnam.

By the time this senior NCO arrived in Saigon on Easter Sunday, 26 March 1967, he had been a soldier for nearly 20 years.  Initially sent to the American Forces Radio and Television Service in Saigon, he was transferred in May 1967 to Hue, where he served as Chief Engineer for the TV station.  Nine months later, as the Vietnamese began to joyfully celebrate Tet, their biggest national holiday, a life-changing event occurred for Sergeant First Class Gouin.

Here is the short and tame version of Don's story, told in his own words:  "I arrived in Saigon on Easter Sunday 1967.  I was sent to Hue (where) I was the Chief Engineer for the TV station.  During the TET Offensive, the area was overrun and our quarters were attacked.  I was taken prisoner February 5, 1968 and held in small camps along the way to North Vietnam.  I entered North Vietnam on Easter Sunday 1968 and arrived in the Hanoi area in August.  I was in two camps outside Hanoi until the day before Thanksgiving 1970 when they moved me to the'Hanoi Hilton;' I was kept there in the 'Vegas Compound' until my release on March 5, 1973."

He was held by our enemy as a POW for 1,856 days.  Following his release in Operation Homecoming 5 March 1973, he was hospitalized at Fort Knox, Kentucky to recover from his injuries and maltreatment.  He continued to serve at Fort Knox, assigned to the U.S. Army Armor School until his retirement from the Army on May 31, 1974 as a Master Sergeant.

His heroic actions in defending AFVN Detachment 5 earned Sergeant Gouin the Silver Star, our nation's third highest award for gallantry in action against an enemy.  "Keep your faith in God and your country," Sergeant Gouin said, "and nothing will be too difficult."

The Sergeant retired to Lima, Ohio.  He died there in 2009 from complications of cancer surgery.  He was survived by Alma, his wife of 51 years, a son, two daughters, and eight grandchildren.

John Edward "Ed" Grabowski

Born 25 May 1941 in the Bronx, New York, Ed and his younger brother grew up 20 miles north of the nation's capital in Rockville, Maryland.  Following his 1959 graduation from Rockville's Richard Montgomery High School, he earned a baccalaureate degree in 1963 at Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College) 40 miles north in the city of Westminster.  He would later earn a master's degree in 1972 from the University of Pittsburgh.

His Army career began in 1964, and he was commissioned a Signal Corps officer.  As a captain, he was assigned as OIC of AFVN's Detachment 3 in Pleiku, where he was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal and the Bronze Star Medal prior to his return to the US 17 October 1971.  He spent the next 12 years mostly in public affairs assignments, and retired in 1984 following a tour as public affairs officer at Fort Hood, Texas.

As a military retiree, he taught for nine years at Montgomery College, a community college in Rockville, and he enjoyed plying the waters of Chesapeake Bay at every opportunity.  He was a member of the Rockville Sail and Power Squadron and the Chesapeake Mainship Group.

His robust health continued in full retirement in Germantown until the onset of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (PTSD).  The disease would claim his life 14 January 2010 at the age of 68.  He was survived by his wife Jennifer, four children and four grandchildren.  Burial was in Section 54, Site 4899 of Arlington National Cemetery.  Jennifer lived on in Germantown until her death 11 September 2015.  She was laid to rest in Arlington next to Ed.

Janis Inman Grannemann

1 & 2) Jan visits troops in the field; 3) she scores EXPERT with an M-16; 4 & 5) a little later back home in California

Jan Grannemann (Jan Inman at thetime) volunteered for a tour in Vietnam in 1971-72.  She was one of the young USO women who voluntarily took on the huge job of bringing "a touch of home" to our guys in the rice paddies and on the jungle trails.

In Saigon in 1972 she hosted a weekday AFVN show from 1200 to 1300 hours.  "I played songs, read letters and did ads for the USO and the military," she recalls.  She also voiced PSAs and notices for AFVN-TV, and there were occasions during her field assignment at China Beach when she went far beyond the call of duty.  "On my day off, I flew to Saigon and did TV commercials for the military channel (AFVN Channel 11) about various things - - mostly rules and regs."

While assigned to Danang in July 1971, Jan began regular visits to the the 95th Evacuation Hospital at the base of Monkey Mountain.  Here, she would talk with the soldiers, help them write letters, and assist with normal chores they could not do for themselves.  "That was one of the hardest things that I did," she says.  "Those men really tug at my heart."  This energetic young lady did all she could to make life easier for all the guys, traveling extensively from the north to the south . . . anywhere . . . to improve the morale at remote firebases, as well as at major commands.  She hosted such star studded USO shows as Phyllis George's Miss America appearance at Danang, Bob Hope's Christmas Show at Freedom Hill, and Sammy Davis Jr. and folksinger Lynn Kellogg down south in the Delta.  Before returning to the USA in June 1972, she survived a rocket attack and Typhoon Hester, and she flew with the Navy's "Black Ponies" at Binh Thuy.

Today Jan and her husband, retired Army Colonel Rodney Grannemann, are the proprietors of JanRod Labs, a breeding kennel for Labrador Retrievers.  The Grannemanns reside literally on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, just south of San Francisco, and they are the parents of two adult daughters.

Larry W. Green

Two shots of Larry as a soldier in Saigon and then performing local theater in LaCrosse

Larry served two tours with AFVN.  He was in country from late August 1968 through early September 1970, in Saigon the entire time.  There was a good reason he volunteered for the second consecutive tour.  In exchange, the Army allowed him a six-month reduction in his enlistment.

In his first tour, Larry worked primarily in production, and for the first eight months he also covered the daily JUSPAO press briefings (the "Five O'Clock Follies"), where he says he "got to bump shoulders with all the national correspondents," and learned a lot about the news business which benefited him in his later broadcasting career.  A little later during the first tour, he took an evening on-air FM shift.  For his second tour, he was assigned on-air duties for radio and TV sports.

During his time in Saigon, Larry was billeted at the Ky Son and Plaza BEQ hotels, and it was at the Plaza that he practiced a skill which gained him a great deal of notoriety.  The Plaza facade included a ledge near the top which was about a foot wide.  After "an evening of imbibing," he says, Larry would walk the ledge.  Looking back, he admits the danger probably was not worth the pleasure of the adrenaline rush, but "it's amazing how much sense it made at the time."

But life in Saigon was not all work and play.  He also took a shift as a volunteer English teacher at a Saigon school.  Since he was allowed to wear civvies at these sessions, he had several walking suits made.  The tailor shop charged about forty dollars, and they were so comfortable that he had several of them shipped home.  After he left Vietnam, he took time for travel, and hitch-hiked through Europe and northern Africa before returning to the US and the responsibilities of earning a living.

Larry's radio career continued for 17 years, and he then spent 15 additional years in the public relations field, but at the age of 54, he retired.  He now travels extensively, having visited about 80 countries.  Other than that, he stays busy at home in LaCrosse, Wisconsin "just enjoying life . . . reading, writing and staying involved with a variety of volunteer and community activities."  Local theater is one of his community activities.  He performs on stage and, as shown above, occasionally, outdoors.

Ngoc Chu "Miss Chu" Green

1) Little Chu, 2) MACOI Miss Chu, 3) American Wife and Mother Chu (With Mason, Joe, and Colin), 4) Presentation of the Official MACOI Embosser in 2006, and 5) Christmas 2020 with Emily and Grayson

Chu was born in the village of Trung Lap (now in North Vietnam) just a few months after the end of WWII.  When she was nine years old, communism engulfed the northern half of her country, and her family was forced to flee to the South.  A few months after the family settled in the lovely coastal city of Nha Trang, her mother died.  She had suffered from a lengthy illness, but Chu's father said they had to make the journey to freedom because he did not want his family to live one day under communism.  Just prior to Chu's graduation from elementary school, her father was injured in a traffic accident, and he subsequently died.  Chu and her older sister lived with a cousin, and the extended family eventually moved to Saigon.

Following high school graduation, her sister was hired by US MAAG to work in personnel, thus enabling the two sisters to afford their own apartment.  While Chu was working to finish her high school diploma, she accompanied her sister to night English Language classes at Le Ba Cong school.  After high school, Chu was hired as a clerk typist at 4th Transportation Command on Bien Hoa Highway, during which time she continued English Language classes, this time at Zien Hong school, which specialized in spoken English, and she learned to use a typewriter by the process of OJT.  When a vacancy occurred at MACOI, Chu applied, and she was hired for the Public Information Division (PID).  She also transferred to a new school at this time, attending night classes at the Vietnamese-American Association (VAA).  She says her education in the English language was instrumental in helping her succeed on the job.  Shortly, she was assigned the title, "Clerk, News Editing," and her main job became preparation of the news releases for the daily press briefings, which the reporters at the time casually referred to as "the Five O'Clock Follies," even though the sessions were conducted at 4:30.

At war's end, she (legally) emigrated to the USA, where she married a recently ETSed American soldier she had met at MACV, and she became a resident of Mobile, Alabama.  She attended a refresher course (English for Foreign Students) at the University of South Alabama and thus considered herself prepared to be an American.  Her family soon included two boys, who competed in team sports and became Eagle Scouts.  One of her sons graduated from the University of South Alabama, and the other from Auburn University.  Chu's elder son, Mason, for a time, was employed as a Monorail pilot for Walt Disney World, and he is the designer/engineer of this website.  Her younger son, Colin, who served as a Navy Lieutenant aboard the USS Enterprise, was sailing home in September 2001 following a routine Med cruise when President Bush ordered his carrier to turn around.  He was thus aboard when the "Big E" attacked the Taliban in the opening volley of the War on Terror.  Chu, herself, worked for a department store for 21 years, retiring in 1999, and now, with boys grown and gone, she considers herself a happy housewife.  Her husband, Joe, retired from Ford Motor Credit Company in 2000.  Chu became a voting citizen in 1977, and she has been a thankful and loyal American ever since.  And . . . thanks to son Mason and daughter-in-law Kati, Chu has now become a two-time grandmother.  Emily came along 5 February 2011, and Grayson joined his sister 6 May 2014.  Chu now smiles broadly as she claims to have the prettiest and smartest granddaughter and the handsomest and smartest grandson in the Milky Way Galaxy.

While at MACOI, Chu did not fully realize the significance of what was going on around her.  It was long after she had become an American, during the Gulf War, and then the War on Terror, that she began to appreciate that she had played a minor role at a genuinely historic period in world history.  Although she had always admired the American military, she had now come to regard our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines with a near-reverence.  She is especially proud of having been a part of the group that built this website.

In 2006 Chu was presented, in her home in Mobile, with the Official MACOI Embossing Machine.  The presentation was made by LTC Jere Forbus on behalf of COL Robert L. Burke, the last Chief of Information.  The instrument was inscribed to Chu "with everlasting gratitude."  Chu accepted the gift with humility, saying she had always loved her job and tried to do it well.  She added that she considered herself fortunate to have worked for such a fine group of bosses, including COL Burke, LTC Rhees, LTC Castagnetto, SGT Sandt, and a list too long to include here.  When asked which she considered more meaningful -- this award or the weekly paychecks she received at MACOI, she did not answer.  She just smiled and held the embosser a little higher.

In May 2016 Chu, accompanied by her sister, made a return trip to her homeland.  The purpose of the visit was to meet for the first time a group of relatives she had only recently discovered.  She was also taken to the grave of her mother, which had been lovingly cared for by the relatives who stayed behind.

Charles Albert Greenaugh

In photo on the left, Sergeant Greenaugh surveys the damage to AFVN studio in 1968, and then right photo shows civilian Mr. Greenaugh as an Augusta businessman.

Born 6 August 1930, Charles Greenaugh was the middle of three brothers who grew up in Jersey City, New Jersey.  After enlisting in the Army during the Korean War he decided on a military career.  Wife Janie accompanied him overseas when allowed, and his three children were born in England, but his later CONUS assignment to Fort Gordon brought the family to Augusta, Georgia, and they fell in love with the city.  Augusta became their permanent home, and the children were still in high school when Sergeant Greenaugh received orders for Vietnam.  His 1967-68 tour in Saigon came at a particularly busy time which included the 1968 Tet invasion.  As Admin NCO for AFVN, he was a participant in the rebuilding of the station following the February bomb attack.  Amazingly, broadcasts were resumed after less than an hour, although permanent repairs required months of tedious labor.

Back at Fort Gordon when retirement finally seemed advisable, the energetic NCO who had earned the nickname "Big Daddy" founded an independent insurance business and named it Greenaugh Associates Big Daddy Insurance Agency.  Big Daddy handled a number of major insurors, and served his clients with auto, boat, and home owner policies, as well as life and long term care insurance.

Mrs. Janie Greenaugh died in 2002, and the Sergeant's daughter, Mrs. Alesia Johnson, passed away in 2012.  Son Darryl resided in a Baltimore suburb, and son Kevin, Ph.D lived in the Washington, DC area.  Sereant Greenaugh continued to operate his insurance agency well into the second decade of the 21st century.

It was on Veterans Day (11 November) 2020 that Sergeant First Class (Ret) Greenaugh rose to the next level.  He was 91 years old when his productive life was taken by cancer.  In addition to his two sons, Big Daddy was survived by a wonderful family consisting of four grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren.  Members of each of the succeeding generations participated in the funeral service.  Interment was in Mount Olive Memorial Gardens, Augusta, Georgia.

Gunar Grubaums

Gunar Grubaums, born 28 December 1940, was the son of Latvian immigrants.  He was a 1959 graduate of Broad Ripple High School in Indianapolis, which was also the high school alma mater of comedian David Letterman (1965) and Mrs. Marilyn Quayle, wife of our 44th vice president (1967).  A studious and athletic young man, Gunar lettered on his high school track team and was a member of the National Honor Society.

He went on to Indiana University at Bloomington, where he studied English and Radio/TV and was awarded BA and MS degrees.  At IU he was a member of the varsity volleyball team, Kappa Delta Rho fraternity, and the Singing Hoosiers, a popular vocal ensemble which, according to 2015 promotional material, has performed in 18 states and more than 26 countries in four continents.  He was also a dormitory counselor and his ROTC activities earned him a Distringuished Military Graduate award.

In recognition of his civilian education, Gunar's Signal Corps commission was supplemented by a secondary specialty in public affairs, and this carried him through the company-grade years of his Army career.  Upon his arrival in Vietnam in February 1971, he was assigned as a captain to AFVN, and the job of running the 1971 audience survey fell to him.  Previous audience surveys had been conducted in in 1968 and 1970 in order to learn what type of entertainment GI audiences in Vietnam wanted on radio and television.  The surveys were extensive, with written summaries sent to higher echelons in Saigon and Washington, and any changes found necessary were effected immediately.  Captain Grubaums rotated back to CONUS 15 February 1972, having been awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal and the Bronze Star.

His military career would last until 1990, when he retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel.  Then, back home in Indianapolis he and wife Eleanor began a career in real estate.  The "Grubaums Team," as they styled themselves, were part of one of Indiana's largest and most productive brokerage companies.  They specialized in all phases of the industry, including real estate investment and property management, and they were leaders in listings and sales.  Gunar, who had once been assigned as an instructor at DINFOS, the Defense Information School at Fort Benjamin Harrison, joined the DINFOS Alumni Association, and became an active member.

Gunar and Eleanor reside in the city of Zionsville, Indiana, about 20 miles northwest of Indianapolis.  They are the parents of three adult children.

Gary Lee Gunderson


Iowa native Gary Gunderson was the third of the three children born to Mr. and Mrs. Robert D. Gunderson.  He was educated at Mount San Antonio Junior College in suburban Los Angeles and at the University of Minnesota.  During his college career, Gary was a varsity wrestler and he was a member of MENSA.  In December 1963 he embarked on a career in the US Navy which would last nearly thirty years.  As a 1965 graduate of the Defense Information School (DINFOS), his Navy specialty would be public affairs, and his BA in Journalism and Asian Studies assured his value in the foreign service.

In 1972 Gary returned to DINFOS for further training in news editing and broadcast journalism.  This was followed in December 1972 by an assignment to AFVN in Saigon as a JO2 (E-5), where he served as News Director during the network's historic final four months of operation.  As he continued his Naval career, he was exposed to many different countries and cultures.  A pleasant tour in Hawaii was among his major assignments in the 1980's, and 1990 found him in Yokosuka, Japan where he assisted in the press briefings for one of his biggest stories, that being the June 1990 explosions aboard the USS Midway.  The resulting fire, which took ten hours to extinguish, killed three sailors and seriously injured eight more.

Following his retirement in 1993 as a Senior Chief Petty Officer (E-8), Gary and wife Aiko, the former Aiko Ishikawa, moved to the Lexington, Kentucky area where Gary accepted a position as Director with the English as a Second Language International (ESLI) Program.  ESLI is a part of the curriculum at seven American universities, and Gary worked closely with foreign educators and the US State Department to recruit qualified undergraduates and graduate students to US classes until his final retirement in 2013.  Gary and Aiko are the parents of a son and a daughter.

Harry Cramer Haas, Jr.

Cramer off-duty in Saigon, on the air at AFVN, and performing his "Good Morning, Vietnam!" yell

Cramer Haas, born 31 December 1943, was a native of Port Gibson, Mississippi, a small town on U.S. 61 in the southwestern part of the state about halfway between Natchez and Vicksburg.  He began his radio career in 1957 at a Vicksburg station when he was 14.

His Army service was primarily in Vietnam, where he spent an extended tour from 1965 to 1967.  As a SP4 he hosted the "Dawn Buster" show from Saigon, later made famous in the Robin Williams movie, "Good Morning, Vietnam!"

When he returned home he found a deejay job at KNOE in Monroe, Louisiana, about a hundred miles from Port Gibson.  In 1970 he relocated to WJDX in Jackson, Mississippi, where he stayed until his move to south Florida in 1973.

Arriving in the Miami area, he found an overnight deejay job at WHYI, a popular Top-40 FM station.  He quickly moved into the midday slot where he remained for ten years before briefly testing the waters in Washington, DC.  He soon returned to south Florida, however, making his home in Fort Lauderdale and working middays for WHQT out of its Hollywood, Florida studios.  He was hired away in 1986 by WPOW.

Known as "Cramer the Midday Man," it turned out that WPOW/Power 96 was his final job.  On 6 January 1990, Cramer died of a massive heart attack.  He was 46 years old.

Cramer was a 16-year veteran of Miami radio.  A fellow deejay called him a perfectionist, adding that it was not unusual for him to call station management when he heard something on the air he did not approve of.  "He just cared so much about the station," the deejay continued.  "You could never tell if he was having a bad day . . . .  He was always up."

Cramer was survived by his parents, Harry and Cornelia, his brother, Noel, and his sister, Rosemary Haas Lumpkin.  Burial was in Lot 7 of Section H, Wintergreen Cemetery in Port Gibson.

Willis James "Jim" Haas, Jr.

Three shots of Jim at Qui Nhon:  1) an informal pose at his BOQ, 2) at work in his office, and 3) treating Westy to a VIP tour of the TV station; then . . . a few years later, Jim is shown in leisurely(?) retirement

Born in West Reading, Pennsylvania in 1934, I became fascinated with the military as a child living through the historic development of World War II.  To say that war affected our young lives was an understatement.  Our small town was on the route from (at that time) Indiantown Gap Military Reservation, Pennsylvania to the ports of New York and Philadelphia, and many's the time we stood on the street corner watching nearly endless convoys of troops heading to the ports of embarkation.  We bought savings stamps, sold bonds, collected tin cans and other scrap metals, endured rationing, and every day in class we read about the progress of the war.

I enlisted in the Army Reserve in November 1952, while a student at Albright College in Reading, and shortly thereafter volunteered for two years active duty, which commenced in March 1953.  Following Infantry basic training, I was assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia where I spent the remainder of my active duty obligation, leaving as a Corporal.  I continued my higher education at the University of Pittsburgh, at the same time maintaining my active reserve status, during which time I attained the rank of Sergeant First Class.  I graduated from Pitt as a second lieutenant and distinguished military graduate, with orders to report to Fort Benning in March 1958.  Following the Basic Infantry and Airborne courses, I, with my new wife, Sandy, reported to the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington.  For most of my two years at that station I was a platoon leader and company executive officer in the 8th Infantry, until I was reassigned to Division Headquarters as Troop Information Officer.

In July 1960 I was reassigned to the 24th Infantry Division in Augsburg, Germany, shortly becoming the division Troop Information Officer under MG Edwin Walker.  Known for his outspoken disdain for the liberals in our government, he established the "Pro-Blue" program throughout the Division.  He was also a member of the John Birch Society, which ultimately cost him his command.  I was later assigned as the Division Public Affairs Officer.  During these assignments, I became friendly with MAJ Jim Adams, who was the commander of the American Forces Radio station in Munich.  His recommendation, and my willingness to extend my tour in Europe for a year, got me assigned to the American Forces Radio station in Poitiers, France.  This station was actually a small network consisting of the studio station and nine satellite stations scattered throughout southwestern France.  I remained in this assignment until July 1964.  By that time most of the satellite stations had closed and our military installations in France were ordered closed by President DeGaulle.

I returned to Fort Benning for the Infantry Officer Career course as the war in South Vietnam was heating up.  Following the nine-month course, I was assigned to Fort Gordon, Georgia as a basic training company commander.  This assignment lasted for a mere six months, when I volunteered for assignment to Vietnam, and received orders to MACOI in Saigon.  On arrival I was assigned to the Command Information Division as a project officer.  Among my various duties was project officer for a DOD-sponsored film entitled, "A Nation Builds Under Fire," the director of which was Harry Middleton, who later became a speech writer for President Lyndon Johnson, and several years later was named director of the LBJ Museum and Library in Austin, Texas.  After this project was completed I became a briefing officer for the Command Information portion of the briefing given to all incoming MACV personnel.  During one of these briefings I introduced myself to LTC DeForrest Ballou, who had arrived from DOD Headquarters to command the greatly expanding AFRTS-Vietnam.  I told him about my previous broadcast experience, and my desire to get back into that field.  This conversation led to my reassignment to AFRTS as Officer-in-Charge of the first ground based television station which was to be located in Qui Nhon, the equipment for which was due in-country shortly.  In the interim, I wrote the network Standard Operating Procedure, and gathered supplies, equipment and personnel.  On arrival in Qui Nhon, we found a large military van and a number of huge boxes containing the studio equipment and the antenna, all of which had to be hauled to the top of Vung Chua Mountain on a steep, winding dirt road.  I had to appeal to a local engineer battalion to borrow several of their bulldozers, as it quickly became apparent that the truck-tractors normally used for hauling such equipment couldn't cut the mustard.  Once atop the mountain, where we were co-located with an Army Signal site, we erected mountain tents as our temporary home, and set about assembling our TV station.  We were up and running in about three days, and our programming consisted of 16mm film programs and 35mm slides, all of which were shipped from Saigon.  The odds-on favorite programs with the troops (and maybe the VC, who also tuned in) was "Combat," a saga of World War II combat infantrymen shooting their way across France.  I commanded the station from its inception on 1 September to 28 November 1966, when I was reassigned back to AFRT headquarters in Saigon.  LTC Ballou informed me that I was to be a special projects and escort officer for Chris Noel, a starlet hired by AFRT as a disc jockey.  She would be coming to Vietnam for an orientation and publicity tour over the coming Christmas holidays, and I was to plan her itinerary, write spot commercials, and effect liaison with the units she'd be visiting.  On her arrival we immediately got busy and stayed that way until her departure for Korea on 27 December.  My tour in Vietnam ended in February 1967, and I returned to an assignment with the Army Command Information Unit, located in the Washington Navy Yard.  For the next year I was Officer-in-Charge of the radio section which produced the "Army Hour" and "Worldwide" programs.

My second Vietnam tour started with a short assignment to Fort Carson, Colorado as Public Affairs Officer for the 1st Infantry Brigade, 5th Mech Division, which was in training for deployment as the last major unit to be sent to Vietnam.  We arrived in country in July 1968 and stayed in that position for some six months, during which time I established an AFVN radio retransmission site with excess equipment I bummed from AFRT-VN.  Unfortunately the site lasted only a short time when it was inundated during a typhoon.  I was also instrumental in establishing a TV station using the equipment that had been in Hue during the Tet Offensive of 1968.  I was reassigned to MACV under the infusion program, and served the remainder of my tour as a senior Infantry battalion advisor in the 1st ARVN Division.

On return to CONUS I was assigned as post Public Affairs Officer at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, where I served for some three and a half years.

I also served as a civilian public affairs specialist with the Army Recruiting Command in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Military Traffic Management Command, Eastern Area in Bayonne, New Jersey; and in the Pentagon with the Office of the Chief, Army Reserve, retiring in 1988.

My wife and I currently live in Valencia, Pennsylvania.  Our daughter, Jillyn and two grandchildren live nearby.  Our son, Jamie, a retired CW5 Army Aviator, resides with his wife Deb and two daughters in Thatcher, Arizona, where he is chief pilot for a helicopter medical evacuation service.

Fred Richard Haber

Fred Haber was born on Valentine's Day 1940 to Mr. and Mrs. Moe Haber of Brooklyn, New York.  He had one older brother, Sumner Haber.  Both brothers made their careers in the Army; both served multiple tours in Vietnam, and at the time of their deaths, both brothers resided in Anchorage, Alaska.

Shortly after his enlistment, Fred was assigned to the 11th Air Assault Division at Fort Benning, Georgia.  The stateside mission of the unit during 1963-64 was to test the practicality of helicopter assault tactics, which were to become the mainstay of the American war in Vietnam.  Testing over, the unit was deactivated in 1965 and the personnel were transferred to the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), and subsequently deployed to An Khe, RVN.

Fred saw action in Vietnam during this 1965-66 tour and was awarded the Purple Heart.

Fred's second and third Vietnam tours were with AFVN.  His first return to RVN, in 1968, was to Detachment 7 at Chu Lai, where he helped engineer the setup of Channel 13, which began broadcast in March 1969.  Also in March 1969, Fred was promoted to Staff Sergeant.  Then in 1971, he began his third RVN tour, this time assigned to Detachment 1 at Qui Nhon.  With the American reduction in force, Detachment 1 shut down in February 1972, and Fred returned to the US.

Assigned to Fort Bliss in 1974, Fred divorced wife Leslie, whom he had married in 1965 as he was preparing for his first deployment to Vietnam.  The couple had one child.  A second marriage failed only a few months later, and in 1977 at the age of 37, Fred married a 19-year old bride.  This marriage also failed two years later.

By this time, the mid-1970's, Fred was at Fort Richardson, Alaska which would be his final Army assignment.  He retired to Anchorage, where he lived quietly for two decades.  He was only 56 when he died 24 March 1996.  Burial was at Fort Richardson National Cemetery in Plot J, Section 144.

William C. "Bill" Hacker

1) LTC Hacker, 2) COL Hacker, 3) COL Hacker at the MACOI Map Wall

Colonel Bill Hacker was born 23 August 1920 in Paragon, Indiana.  He graduated from the University of Indiana in 1944.  Shortly thereafter he joined the Army, where he spent the next 24 years.  He served in WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.  During his years in service he attended the University of Wisconsin graduate program.

He was an Intelligence/Liaison Officer during WWII and a company commander at the Pusan Perimeter during the Korean War.  In 1957 Bill served as a company commander at the Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning.

In Vietnam, Bill was first a company commander, and in his second tour (1966-67) he held a staff position as Chief of the Public Information Division at MACOI.  Following his Vietnam service, Bill accepted an assignment at DOD in Washington, DC.

He was the recipient of numerous decorations during his military career.  Among his awards are the Legion of Merit, Army Commendation Medal, American Campaign Medal, WWII Victory Medal, Army Occupation Medal, National Defense Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Korean Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Parachute Badge, Presidential Unit Citation, Meritorious Unit Citation, and Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation.  Listed among his military education credentials are Airborne School, and the Command and General Staff College.  He is a member of the Infantry Hall of Fame at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Following his retirement from the Army in 1968, Bill began a second career as Director of Economic Development for the State of Colorado, recruiting many companies such as Anheuser Busch, Alamosa Mushroom Farm, General Dynamics, Sperry Rand, and Target Distribution Center.  He assisted the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce in the establishment of a business and economic development network, and he is hailed as the man who saved Pueblo during that city's economic troubles during the 1980's.

After nearly 20 years with the State, Bill retired again, but then he was recruited by MCO Properties, where over the next two years he became a major force in developing Pueblo West, a modern planned community seven miles due west of the City of Pueblo.  He was awarded a Governor's Citation by then-Colorado Governor Richard Lamm.

Bill was an active Republican, and worked on many campaigns in state and local politics .He staunchly supported President George W. Bush in the 2000 campaign.  He was also a Mason, a member of the American Legion, and a member of the Colorado Springs Retired Officers Association.

Colonel Bill Hacker passed away in 2002 at the age of 81, survived by his wife, Ernestine, and four daughters and a son.

Kirk C. Haferkorn

Kirk, a native of Bellingham, Washington and a graduate of Meridian High School's Class of 1966, was eldest of the three children of Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Haferkorn.  The senior Mr. Haferkorn had served as a staff sergeant during WWII in the Army Air Corps.  Kirk was a SP5 in Television Engineering at AFVN Saigon from August 1971 to August 1972.  He worked the night shift, controlling levels on the TV cameras, cueing VTR's, and handling emergency situations as they cropped up.  During the 1972 Tet attacks he was assigned to an M60 crew in AFVN's Perimeter Defense Force, but, thankfully, he never had to fire the weapon.  He completed his Army enlistment at Fort Belvoir, Virginia working in a mobile TV production facility.

As a civilian he intended to return to Southeast Asia to work for the US government or one of its corporate contractors.  Kwajalein Atoll, in the Marshall Islands, was a stopping point in his flight, however, and that turned out to be as far as he got toward his goal.  The war ended and he was temporarily stranded, but he was there long enough to fall in love with the little island's tropical beauty and decided to stay.  Using his technical skills he became a hardware engineer and video data analyst on Optical Tracking Systems for a civilian contractor.  The contractors change every few years, with government contracts awarded to the lowest bidder.  The most recent contractors have been Raytheon and KRS, LLC (Kwajalein Range Services).

Since Kwaj was captured from the Japanese in 1944, the atoll has been used for military purposes by the U.S.  Unlike the nearby atolls of Bikini and Eniwetok, however, it was never used as a nuclear test site.  The Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Test Site is located there, as well as a major tracking station for surveillance of earth-orbiting satellites.

Kirk was attracted to Kwaj by the climate and the working environment.  Year-round temperatures in the paradise range from around 86 in the daytime to 76 at night, with constant tropical breezes.  Fishing is great there.  The local waters are filled with yellowfin, tuna, and marlin.  There are no privately owned automobiles on Kwaj.  Those who choose not to walk to their destinations use bicycles.  Due to the salty air, a bike will normally rust away in about two years, but the expense of a bicycle is a cheap price to pay for two years of transportation.  With no cars, the air quality is nearly perfect, and nightly stargazing is a popular hobby.  AFRTS is there, although it is run by contractors and is known locally as CPN or Central Pacific Network.  There is no local production; programming comes via satellite from Los Angeles.

Kirk's Gilligan lifestyle is genuinely dreamy, and he is fortunate to share it with wife Raci.  He's an expatriate with a purpose as he serves America's national security interests on the other side of the world.

David F. Haidle

A photo of David is followed by a snapshot of David and Helen

SP4 David Haidle was AFVN's artist/illustrator during 1967-68.  He departed Saigon just prior to the NVA attacks of Tet 1968, which began in February.  Although during his Army service, David used his natural talent to produce the visuals at AFVN, he returned after his military days, to his studies and earned a BFA in 1972 at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon.  He was a native of the Portland area, and later earned his Masters of Fine Art degree from Portland State University in 1984.  In all honesty, however, it must be noted that his art studies were not the first thing on his mind upon his return from Vietnam, for after just a few weeks back in the USA, 24 March 1968, David married Miss Helen Carolyn Beckman of Spokane, Washington.  The couple eventually became parents of four children.

After earning his BFA, David supported his family as a self-employed artist.  He was quite successful at selling his paintings and limited edition prints in galleries across Oregon, Washington, and California.  His largest and most impressive commission was decorating the rooftop restaurant at Tacoma's Sheraton Hotel, which he completed in 1984.

While David worked on canvas, wife Helen began a career as author of children's literature for major Christian publishers.  It was only natural that the two careers would merge, and they did in the mid-1990's as David become full-time illustrator for Helen's stories.  Then in 2005 the two collaborators founded their own publishing company, Seed Faith Books, LLC.

Seed Faith is today a major publisher in the childrens' Christian genre.  Several of their titles have been bestsellers, and they also publish teaching resources, including activity books, picture books, flash cards, lesson plans, and pamphlets geared toward churches and schools.  The company has won three C. S. Lewis Silver Awards, and three Christian Booksellers Association Silver Medallions.

Additionally, the Haidles busy themselves in leading workshops for Oregon Chistian Writers Conferences, and for home school conferences.  They have established a non-profit ministry called Heart Gifts, whose purpose is the distribution of teaching resources free of charge to needy individuals and organizations around the world.  They make their home in a Portland suburb.

Steven C. Hall

Steve at work in Pleiku; Receiving Bronze Star Medal; On the air at WFLA; "Bike Week" in Daytona; and a head shot

I was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio.  It was there that I took an interest in radio.  I used to stay awake late into the night listening to powerful stations hundreds of miles away.  It was magic.  I also liked to write, even though I really didn't know how to write.  I tried my hand at a neighborhood newsletter when I was about 12.  My interest in radio and writing helped me get through school to the point where I was ready for some on-the-job experience.

I attended a broadcasting school to learn as much as I could about the radio biz, but the Vietnam war was calling.  I had just graduated when I got my draft notice.  I decided I'd check out what broadcasting and writing opportunities were available in the military.  I took a test and was told I was qualified to be a military journalist and would be eligible to attend the Defense Information School (DINFOS) after my initial military training.  All the services would give me the same deal, so I joined the Army as it was only a three year enlistment.  After some real military training at Fort Benning, Georgia, I was sent to Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis.  COOL.  I had a Honda motorcycle and could ride back and forth from my hometown to Indy on weekends.

After DINFOS, I was sent to the U.S. Army Chemical Corps School at Fort McClellan, Alabama.  I held down the school's PIO gig since no officer was assigned.  I did hometown news releases on students at the school and wrote stories for the post newspaper.  Then in May 1969 I got the chance to sign up for a good assignment, so I jumped from Bama to a Military Assistance and Advisory Group slot . . . in Vietnam.  I went in through MACV HQ in Saigon.  I waited around for a week until I was hauled over to supply and outfitted with a .45 pistol, an M-16, a steel pot, and a flak jacket.  The Sarge said "Specialist, you're going up-country."

I was assigned as an Information Specialist at the Two Corps Public Information Office in Pleiku.  I did everything there from sending the daily report to Saigon (by an old fashioned ticker tape deal) to escorting the media on stories.  I was also a contributing writer and photographer for the MACOI-published MACV Observer, as well as for Stars and Stripes, the Army Reporter, the 1st Field Force paper and others I can't remember.

While at Two Corps, I also started a radio show on the AFVN station on Dragon Mountain called "Two Corps Reports."  It was fun driving from one side of Pleiku to the other and then up that rough mountain road.  I also got to do stories in exotic places like Ben Het and Dak To, and I came under fire once or twice.  We even had a stretch where no officer was assigned to the PIO, so I had to serve as Acting Information Officer.  I was awarded the Bronze Star and a promotion to SP5.

Leaving Vietnam in April 1970, it was off to Texas and the 3rd Corps and Fort Hood Public Information Office, where I served as NCOIC.  We put out the Armored Sentinel newspaper, recorded a weekly radio show for local stations, and we issued military news releases.  News media escort was also part of the gig as Fort Hood hosted one of the My Lai trials.

After the Army, I got a job at a little radio station in Dunnellon, Florida.  I did everything from a DJ show to news and local high school sports play-by-play.  I was Program Director at WTRS when the station was sold to the man who owned the local newspaper.  He offered me the chance to be a reporter at the Citrus County Chronicle and I jumped at it.  I got to do stories from the cop shop to local government and features.  I even got to shoot my own photos.

I had vacation at the paper and went back to Dayton and somehow got a gig in the news department at News/Talk WAVI.  I was a street reporter in the morning and the news anchor in the afternoon.  I eventually got to be News Director at WAVI, and ended my over-ten years as Program Director and a talk host.

Florida was calling again.  I was hired as a sportscaster by News/Talk 74, WKIS, in Orlando.  I did the morning sportscasts, some sports talk and was the play-by-play voice of the University of Central Florida football team.  We also had the Florida Radio News Network at the same operation, so I did sportscasts on the net.  I also served as host of the "FINA College Football Report."

Doing sports was big fun, but the News Director quit and I was promoted into that role.  I supervised a department of ten people and anchored the afternoon news block.  As the radio business goes, my General Manager landed the GM job at Newsradio 970 WFLA in Tampa, and I got hired shortly after as News Director.  I am still at WFLA and after over 20 years and 5 different owners, I am the Assistant News Director.  I supervise the News Department, make assignments and anchor mid-days.

Our company, Clear Channel, is one of the pioneers in the hub-and-spoke news concept, so we originate newscasts for the Florida News Net, covering Orlando, Sarasota, Tallahassee, Jacksonville and Melbourne from our Tampa newsroom.  We also do a full complement of 'casts for our 8-station Tampa cluster, including WFLA.

I don't have a lot of spare time, but when I do I'm on the Harley or with my family.

Michael Joseph Halloran

Mike Halloran doing the "Lightning 25" show on AFVN radio, and, more recently at home in Utah

It all started in the 1960's when I had completed my grade school, high school, Emerson college of two years, and Leland Powers School of Radio, Television, and Theater.  All schools were in the Boston area.  My first radio job was WIPS in Ticonderoga, New York.  In 1962, when on the air, I always had to say, "WIPS, in the shadow of the great stone fortress."  That fortress is Fort Ticonderoga by Lake Champlain.

I then moved on to Amsterdam, New York.  The radio station was Big Band and after six months I had to leave due to station financial problems.  The management could not make payroll.  I then landed an evening job on the air at a radio station in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

This was around 1964 and Elvis was getting real popular.  The format was easy listening.  I did news, weather, time checks, and talked about the artists between songs.  People started calling me to play Elvis.  No Elvis Presley music was allowed in the format.  I went out and bought Elvis albums myself and started mixing them into the format.

The station manager showed up one night while I was on the air and said, "Hand over all your Elvis records."  I gave them all to him and he proceeded to break every one of them in front of me.  He said you're fired and come get your paycheck in the morning.  I was without a job again.  I walked down the main street of Pittsfield and saw the army recruiting office.  I went in and told the Sergeant what happened.  He said I will put you in the Army and you can play Elvis on Armed Forces Radio.

I took basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey.  I went to Continental Army Command headquarters outside Washington, DC after that.  I was a broadcast specialist but did no broadcasting there.  I helped write a weekly newspaper about Generals, Colonels, and other high ranking officers on their careers before retiring.  I appealed to my Sergeant Major for broadcast specialist work.  I emphasized I am a broadcast specialist.  Then it happened!  The Sergeant Major said you are going to 6th Army Headquarters in San Francisco and interview movie stars and top entertainers.

So there was I in late 1966 to 1967 interviewing people like Tom Jones and other top celebrities.  The taped shows were interviews with the stars and their music for a half hour.  All the shows were taped and sent to 600 commercial radio stations in California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and Arizona.  Then one day my Sergeant Major said let's go down to Fisherman's Wharf for lunch.  After a great lunch he pulled out my orders for Vietnam.

I was set to do shows on a new 100 thousand watt FM radio station going on the air from Saigon.  In a week I was on my way to Saigon on a commercial jetliner filled with US Army troops.  When I landed and got off the plane, I spoke to an officer asking where I should go.  He responded your orders have you going to Armed Forces Vietnam Network, but you are needed in Cu Chi with the 25th Infantry Division.  The Sergeant said take this M-16 rifle and ammo and get on the truck.  Don't forget to lock and load because the convoy could be attacked on the way.

After arrival at the base I did news stories for the Lightning 25 newspaper as seen here."

I also did a show called Lightning 25 at AFVN in Saigon every Monday.  I went by Jeep 25 miles one way from Cu Chi to Saigon with myself and a driver.  Shots were fired at us many times but we never were hit and the show went on week after week.  At top is a picture of me in the studio doing a show.

In 1968 I finally got my orders to AFVN-FM in Saigon.  I then launched a program called The Golden Sound on the new FM station.  Creighton W. Abrams, General, USA, commanding officer, also presented an award to me on my service at AFVN on December 2nd, 1968.  In 1970 I was discharged from the Army in South Vietnam.  I asked to stay in Vietnam to cover the war.  General Abrams honored my special request with approval.  I was ordered to leave the country in 24 hours and could return as a civilian.

I went to Bangkok, Thailand and applied at the American Embassy for a Visa to fly back to Vietnam.  My visa and press credentials were approved by the South Vietnamese Embassy in Thailand.  I re-entered the country as a freelance journalist and covered the war for ABC News and other broadcast outlets on a freelance basis.  I even did stories for a French news agency, em>Agence France-Presse, that were translated into French.

In 1970 after my discharge from the Army I presented freedom talks to Vietnamese in Saigon at the Vietnamese-American Association.  One topic was "A Look At News Coverage By An American Reporter."  I also taught classes at Van Hannh University in Saigon.  This university consists of Buddhist students trying to find out about American culture.  In some classes there were more than a hundred students.  The demand for learning how Americans talk and act was high.

I also submitted analytical coverage of the war to Fairchild Broadcast News Service with headquarters in New York.  I was one of the first reporters in Cambodia when that war broke out, going behind American and South Vietnamese army lines to get stories.

Then you have the people I worked with in reporting the war, like Joe Fried, of the New York Daily News, a widely read correspondent covering the war along with other reporters.  I worked with many American correspondents too numerous to mention in this Vietnam journey.

I want to say thank you to all I worked with and will never forget the brave Vietnamese men and women that stood with me for freedom.  Dick Ellis, former Specialist 5, US Army, who produced programs and voiced news for radio and TV, had this to say about me doing my Lightning 25 show from Cu Chi to Saigon:  "There were always rumors that he wanted to trade one VC flag and two enemy rifles just for someone to get on his show."  Dick called me a great guy and indeed a talented newsman.

My journey after Vietnam took me to St. Petersburg, Florida and KLCY AM/FM and TV, where I did weather, radio, and TV News.  I then was called by the Vice President of Scripps-Howard newspapers, radio, and TV to work at WMC-TV, Channel 5 in Memphis, Tennessee as a news reporter around 1972.  I was married in 1975 in Memphis to my sweetheart in Vietnam, Claudine.  The wedding was covered by WMC Channel 5.

The journey then took me to sunny California as news director of KCIN-AM in Victorville.  I also worked at KIOT-AM, Barstow as news director and morning show personality.  Then in 1986, I got a call about possible ownership of KNAK-AM in Delta, Utah.  I put the deal together and family took off for Utah in August of 1986.  It was quite an experience!  One client paid his advertising bill by handing over a horse to me to settle his account.

Then in 1990 I received a call to look at KRPX-AM, 10 thousand watts, and KPRQ-FM, that were both located in Price, Utah, but were off the air.  A deal was made with the owners and I put both stations on the air in 1990.  Programming was Oldies on the AM and Classic Rock on the FM, and I was MIke in the Morning for 15 years doing a combo AM/FM show.  I was president of Halloran Broadcasting company for both Delta and Price locations.  All broadcast facilties were sold by the year 2003.

I packed up my CDs and headed to Salt Lake City with the family.  I got work as an account executive for stations in Salt Lake City until 2008.  Now at the present time Halloran Enterprises is producing a publication for restaurants in Utah called "Tabletop Tickles and Bits."  I live in Taylorsville, Utah and still miss radio.

Peter M. Halperin


Peter Halperin, born 1 February 1944, was the second of the two children of Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Lewis Halperin of Jersey City, New Jersey.  He earned a BS from the University of Houston in 1967 in the field of Communication Arts - TV Production.  While in college he had freelanced as a cameraman with NASA where he covered space shots, and his minor in Theater helped him keep busy by appearing in college plays.  His fraternity was Phi Epsilon Pi.

He found employment after graduation as a cameraman and associate producer at a local Houston TV station.  The following year, however, the draft caught up with him and the Army sent him to the JFK Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg as a TV director/producer.  Then in August 1968 he was ordered to Vietnam as a SP4, with a job as TV director/producer at AFVN -- first at Detachment 7 in Chu Lai, and then at Saigon.  Among his duties was production of a military talent show called Star Search.  (Army Reserve Colonel Ed McMahon's syndicated civilian stateside show with the same name and similar format came 15 years later.)

Back in the USA as a civilian in 1969, Peter found employment in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania as a writer/director/producer with Sperry Univac (later Unisys).  Then he worked for a time at WPIX-TV in New York City doing on-air promotions before moving to Mobil Oil as media production manager.  With the experience he had gained, he moved into the area of self-employment, founding ImageMakers International -- a full service video and film production company.  11 years later, ImageMakers evolved into Halperin Creative Communications with major clients including hospitals, charities, banks, and businesses.  The company produced a television series called "Birth Day," which was carried by the Discovery Channel and featured filmed stories of events surrounding the birth of babies.

This series evolved into a new project involving babies.  Peter founded a website called BabyMeTV, which featured an extensive library of professionally produced videos involving infants and their parents.  Peter described his 'site in this way:  " is for anyone who loves babies and wants to learn more about them.  Unlike traditional reality television, BabyMeTV is truly real. . . real parents, real babies, real life.  BabyMeTV provides an intimate look at the parenting experience from the parents' point of view."

Peter's wife, Mary, is also involved in the Internet project, but her permanent profession is interior design. With more than 25 years' experience in the profession, she now owns MLH Designs, and offers advice on commercial and residential projects.  The Halperins, who reside in the Philadelphia area, celebrated their 45th wedding anniverary 8 July 2013.  They are the parents of a son and a daughter, and they have two grandsons.

Leland J. "Lee" Hansen

Lee at AFVN; Performing his Ventriloquist Act; Working for Mel Blanc; Directing "Alien Worlds"; and more recently

One of AFVN's most popular and longest running radio shows was "Dawn Buster," which aired daily from 6 to 10 AM.  It was this show which served as the background for the popular 1987 film, "Good Morning, Vietnam."  Over the course of the War, nearly 25 talented deejays hosted the show.  Lee Hansen was the first.

Lee's radio career had begun at KCLX in Colfax, Washington while he was still attending high school in neighboring Tekoa.  Upon graduation he enlisted in the Army and, following radio operations school at Fort Gordon, Georgia, he was deployed to Vietnam with the 119th Aviation Company in Pleiku.  When Lee learned of the Armed Forces Radio Saigon (AFRS) startup operation, however, he requested a transfer, and wound up in the spring of 1963 as a founding staff member of the station which would eventually become AFVN.

The original AFRS broadcast facility was located on the upper floor of the Rex BOQ (Bachelor Officer Quarters), a converted hotel, but the studios were soon relocated to the Brink BOQ, another former hotel.  Lee was assigned as host of the first morning show -- he was the first Dawn Buster.

Shortly after his transfer to Saigon, Lee was called upon by his former CO in Pleiku to facilitate a special mission to entertain the troops on the occasion of the first anniversary of the 119th Aviation Company's arrival in Country.  With help from the USO, Lee was able to assemble a group of musicians along with their instruments, and he convinced the Air Force to authorize the use of a C-140 for transportation.  Lee, also a ventriloquist back home in Tekoa, had brought along his dummy which allowed him to accompany the troup with a comedy act and to serve as the show's MC.

In November of 1963 Lee witnessed the overthrow of the Diem government from the rooftop of the Rex, which was only a few blocks from the Presidential Palace.  Then, three weeks later, he and Bob Andresen reported the sad news of the Kennedy Assassination.  "We were so shaken by the wire story," Lee reports, "that we forgot to turn the transmitter on before breaking the news story, so we had to go back and do it again after we signed on the station."

His final assignment before his honorable discharge was at Fort Benning, Georgia, where he found the time to moonlight as morning deejay on WGBA radio in Columbus.  Shortly thereafter he began a series of jobs at Top 40 stations across the country, ending up at KUTE-FM in Los Angeles, where he was discovered by famous voice-actor and comedian Mel Blanc.

In 1970 he joined Mel Blanc Audio Media as Creative Director and Studio Operations Manager.  A year later, he was appointed Director of the Mel Blanc School of Voice and Commercials, which taught its students the principles of on-camera commercial acting, cartoon voices and radio and television voiceovers.

He joined Watermark Studios in 1973 as studio manager and producer/co-producer for several syndicated radio shows, including "American Top 40" with Casey Kasem, "Soundtrack of the 60's" with Gary Owens, "The Elvis Presley Story" with Wink Martindale, and "American Country Countdown" with Bob Kingsley.  While at Watermark, in 1977, he created, produced, and directed the popular dramatic science fiction radio series "Alien Worlds -- on the Threshold of the Unknown."  The show eventually aired on more than 1500 stations worldwide, and later was picked up by Sirius XM Satellite Radio.  For more information and to hear episodes, visit

He later served as CEO and President of GDE Productions, which offered film, video, and audio production design and development for radio and TV, with a concentration on the US space program and the aerospace industry.  More recently, he became CEO of Addlink, LLC, a Hollywood production company.

Lee resides in southern California's San Fernando Valley.

Chester Earl "Chet" Hanson

Chet Hanson, a native of Lovelock, Nevada, located 95 miles northeast of Reno, was born 18 March 1938, the only child of Mr. and Mrs. Chester A. Hanson.  Following his 1956 graduation from Pershing County High School, Chet was admitted to the Naval Academy, where he graduated with the Class of 1960.  His senior class yearbook describes him (unofficially) as having excelled in four fields:  "leadership, academics, sports, and social life, each of which he handled with utmost ease."  Upon graduation, he chose the Marine option.

Three years later, while assigned to the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twenty-nine Palms, California, then-Captain Hanson took leave to travel to Pensacola, Florida in order to marry Miss Evelyn Loretta ("Lyn") Santille, daughter of a career Naval officer assigned to Pensacola Naval Air Station.  The July 1963 wedding ceremony took place at the Naval Station's Lady of Loretto Roman Catholic chapel.

By the time of his 1971-72 MACOI assignment as a briefing officer in the Public Information Division, Hanson was a Major.  He rotated on a day-on, day-off cycle as chief spokesman for the US Command at the daily JUSPAO press conferences, where he fielded a wide variety of queries ranging from military engagements to the fate of America's POW's.  As testimony to the quality of his work at MACOI, the Major was awarded the Bronze Star Medal.  Then at War's end, during Operation Homecoming, Hanson received a truly unique assignment.  He was sent to Hong Kong to welcome the last two American POW's held in Communist China and to escort them back to freedom.  Air Force Colonel Phillip Smith (a captain at the time of his capture in September 1965) and Navy Commander Robert Flynn (a lieutenant captured in August 1967) joined the other heroic POW's at Clark Air Base, Philippines.

Following retirement from the Corps, Colonel Hanson owned and operated "The Old Book Company" of McLean, Virginia while living in the Washington, DC area.  (The word "old" refers to previously read and rare books; the store itself dated back only to 1993.)  Then in 2009 the Hansons moved to Huntersville, North Carolina, in the Charlotte area, where they plan to live in permanent, quiet, and well-earned retirement.

William Pattyres "Bill" Hardy

Bill Hardy was born in 1944 in Farmington, Maine.  Following his 1962 high school graduation from Wilton Academy, he entered Colby College in Waterville, Maine.  He left Colby, however, for a hitch in the Air Force, where he served as an AFRTS news writer and producer.  During his Vietnam tour in 1967-68, Bill was assigned as a TV writer/producer at both the Saigon network headquarters and Detachment 6 at Tuy Hoa.

After his honorable discharge, Bill returned to Colby, where he completed his A.B. degree in Government in 1970.  While in college he worked part time as a news producer for a Boston television station.  He then entered law school at the University of Maine where, in his senior year, he was named Managing Editor of the Maine Law Review.  In 1973 he earmed his J.D. and was admitted to the bar.

He began his legal career specializing in workers compensation, but later moved into personal injury law.  The law firm he founded eventually served most of southern Maine, with offices in Portland, Bangor, Lewiston and Auburn.  During a three-and-a-half decade legal career, Bill served in various capacities in the Maine Bar Association and the Maine Trial Lawyers Association.

In retirement, Bill and wife Lona, a licensed clinical social worker, relocated to Napa, California, where he immediately became active in community affairs and was elected to membership on the Board of the Napa Valley College Foundation.  He remains a partner in his Maine law firm, and has retained his membership in the Bar Association, but he spends much of his spare time pursuing his interest in landscape and figure painting.

Michael John Harland

Mike Harland started on radio while still a student at Edmond (Oklahoma) Memorial High School.  After graduation in 1966, he deejayed a couple more years and then joined the Marines.

Assigned first to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at San Diego, he was sent to Vietnam in 1969.  With five years of radio experience, Mike was assigned as a Radio and Television Combat Correspondent for six months before being sent to AFVN to finish his tour.  At AFVN, he did the 10 PM news and deejayed in the mornings.

After his discharge, Mike returned to Edmond where he opened an ad agency called Mike Munday Advertising.  Munday was the air name he had assumed on local radio because he found that his listeners could not remember his real last name.

Mike stays busy making radio and TV commercials in and around Oklahoma City, where he owns one of the most recognizable faces in the area.  Among his clients are car dealers, grocery chains, appliance stores, electronics outlets, and a furniture chain.  He remains a member of the US Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association.

Henry Howard "Hal" Harlan

Hal Harlan was born 19 May 1923, youngest of the three children of Mr. and Mrs. Murray V. Harlan of Kinston, North Carolina.  Although his brother, older by three years, had joined the Marine Corps, Hal enlisted in the US Army Air Corps 21 January 1943.  Following his initial assignment to Laughlin Army Air Field at Del Rio, Texas, Hal was sent in 1945 to Yuma Army Air Field, Arizona.  His heart, however, or at least a significant part of it, had remained in Del Rio, and it was in August 1945 that his engagement to Miss Tanella Wyvonne "Teak" Leech of Del Rio was announced by her parents.  The wedding took place a year later in the base chapel at Yuma.

Teak accompanied Hal to all his assignments, domestic and overseas, with the exception of his unaccompanied Vietnam tour.  In 1969-70 Hal served in Saigon as OIC of the AFVN network.  Prior to his 13 August 1970 return to CONUS he was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal and the Bronze Star Medal.  Among other duty stations were Chief of the AFRTS Far East Network in Tokyo, and Chief of the Radio and TV branch of the Air Force Office of Information.  He also served tours in Korea and Turkey.  He retired in 1971 as a youthful 47-year old lieutenant colonel with 27 years of active duty.

Hal and Teak settled in Naples, Florida, where they joined the Golden Gate Country Club and began their joint pursuit of a Hole-in-One .  It was not to be, however.  Two years later, 18 January 1973, at the age of 49, Hal unexpectedly passed away.  He was survived, in addition to Teak, by three daughters and a son.  Burial was in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 12, Site 8545-9.

Russell Francis Harney

Captain Harney as a young lieutenant is followed by a later portrait.

Russ Harney, a native of Worcester, Massachusetts, was born in 1931.  He attended the prestigious Admiral Farragut Academy in Toms River, New Jersey, a prep school designated by the Navy as a Naval Honors School.  This gave him advanced standing for appointment to the US Naval Academy, from which he graduated with the Class of 1953.

His first assignment was as an Unrestricted Line Officer aboard the USS Muliphen (AKA-61), an Andromeda-Class attack cargo ship.  It was initially due to poor eyesight that he transferred to public affairs duty, serving over the next several years in Boston, Guam, and Charleston before earning a master's degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin in 1967.

As a Commander, Harney was then assigned to the Public Information Division of MACOI, where he conducted daily briefings for the Saigon press corps.  His 1967-68 tour came at a particularly frantic time, as it included the Tet Offensive of February 1968.  Recalling the busy pace many years later, he claimed, probably without exaggeration, "it would take me two years to tell you about those 365 days."

Following Vietnam, Commander Harney was given public affairs assignments in London, the Pentagon and Stuttgart.  Then, as a Navy Captain, he was named director of public affairs at Charleston Naval Base, where in 1978 he opted for retirement.  Charleston, South Carolina would remain his home for the rest of his life.

The Captain's awards and decorations included the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon with star device, Navy Occupation Medal, National Defense Service Medal with star device, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Gallantry Cross, and Civil Actions Medal (the last two are medals awarded by the Republic of Vietnam.)

Following his Navy retirement, Captain Harney entered the civilian workforce as Director of Information Services for the Charleston County School District.  Then in 1980 he became editorial writer for the Charleston Evening Post, and a year later associate editor of the Charleston News and Courier.

Among his numerous civic activities were the Navy League, Retired Officers Association, National Schools Public Relations Association, US Naval Academy Alumni Association, Charleston Country Club, American Lung Association, and the Charleston Rotary Club.  Golf was his hobby, and it may have come naturally to him. His cousin, Paul Harney, played in PGA tournaments from 1955 to 1973.

It was 1984 when his health took a downturn, and he was diagnosed with lymphoma.  Following a two-year battle with the disease, Captain Harney died in March 1986 at the young age of 54.  He was survived by his wife, Catherine, four sons, his mother, two sisters, and seven grandchildren.  He was buried at sea.

Dennis Leon Harper

1) and 2) Dennis Planning and Executing the set for 1972 election returns; 3) A little later he poses with a Prize from Lake Jacksonville, and 4) he then proudly poses with his bride, Peggy

Born 24 September 1939, Dennis Harper became a Sailor in 1957, and he did not leave the Navy until 1988.  When he did, it was only to go to work for the Air Force.  For the fifteen years following his Navy retirement, Chief Harper was a civilian employee of the Air Intelligence Agency.  He retired from 46 years of government service in March 2003.

A talented artist, Dennis served as AFVN's graphic arts guy in 1972-73.  Among his significant contributions was his set decoration for the 1972 telecast of the American Presidential election.  AFVN produced an election returns show which rivaled the stateside alphabet networks in the quality of its presentation.  Dennis made a number of drawings for the show, including large representations of President Nixon and Senator McGovern, and he painted the set to appeal to the troops in the field whose future lay in the balance.

Dennis' Vietnam interlude came at the midpoint of his Naval career.  He would spend another 15 years visiting various ports of call before lending his services to the Air Force.  When he ended his military career at Lackland Air Force Base, he decided to retire in Texas.

Although Lake Jacksonville, in east Texas near the city of Tyler, was a far cry from the vast ranges of the seven seas with which he had become so familiar, it had 1,325 acres of navigable water, and it would provide amusement for an experienced fisherman like Dennis.

The lake was man-made, dug in 1957, the same year Dennis became a young recruit.  And there was another personal connection.  Dennis had grandchildren in Houston, just a few hours' drive down I-45.

The city of Jacksonville was only three miles from the lake.  With a population of around 15,000, it offered everything Dennis and wife Peggy would need in retirement.  The Chamber of Commerce proudly proclaimed the city to be the "Tomato Capital of the World," and the Tomato Fest was held there every June.  The city had been founded in 1847, and was named for two of its early settlers -- Jackson Smith, the blacksmith, and Dr. William Jackson, the first M.D.  There are only two private junior colleges in the entire state of Texas, and both are located in Jacksonville.  And to top it off, Jacksonville does, indeed, have a Wal-Mart.  Perfect.

(Editor's Sad Update:  Perfection, however, seldom lasts forever.  Dennis passed away 16 May 2020 at the age of 80.  He was survived by Peggy, his wife of 25 years, and by two sons and two daughters.)

Emanuel Floyd "Manny" Harper

Manny was a busy, hands-on administrator.

Manny was born 5 February 1931, and he joined the Army out of high school just in time for Korea.  "I was one of the old timers," he said, "who served in Korea as a member of a special warfare team from 1950 to 1952.  I was one of the airborne troopers who was wounded twice, but made it through it all and came out in one piece."  Manny may have been technically correct, but it must have taken a major effort to ignore the steel plate he carried in his head for the rest of his life.

He went on to serve two tours in Vietnam.  The first was with JUSPAO, as, he explained, "chief of an information liaison team, then headquartered in the American Embassy, Saigon.  My team traveled throughout the country by air, land, river, and any other means available.  There were many close calls."

His second tour in Vietnam was a bit quieter, but with a new set of responsibilities appropriate for a senior noncom.  By this time the war was winding down and Manny was a Master Sergeant.  He spent 1972-73 as News Director and NCOIC of AFVN.  Because the American music scene had drastically changed over the last several years, one of his functions was to carefully monitor the playlist.  Manny took this job seriously and worked to make sure AFVN's programming reflected American values.  "When the music came in," said Manny, "we'd look at it, and if the message was 'war stinks,' well we already knew that.  So we weren't going to play it on the radio.  You had to keep it positive," he continued.  "People were dying over there."

After Vietnam, and a promotion to the highest rank an NCO may achieve, Manny assumed the prestigious post of Sergeant Major of the Defense Information School, where he bore major responsibility for the training of public affairs officers and enlisted personnel of all branches of service.

The Sergeant Major retired to Indianapolis after 27 years of service in the U.S. Army.  He died 16 May 2007 at the age of 76, survived by his wife of 50 years, Evelyn, 2 sons, four grandsons, a great-grandson, a brother and two sisters.

Jeffery Odell Hassell

Jeff was born 15 June 1948 in Richmond, California, 25 miles north of San Francisco.  The family, which included an older sister, soon relocated to the somewhat rural community of Quincy, about 200 miles to the north in the Sierra Madre Mountains.  Jeff enlisted in the Army shortly after his 1966 graduation from Quincy Junior-Senior High School.

Following training in the Army electronics school, at that time located at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, he was assigned to Fort Gordon, Georgia as an instructor.  His Vietnam assignment came in 1968, when he was sent as a SP5 to AFVN's Detachment 1 in Qui Nhon as a radio and TV equipment engineer.

He returned to civilian status following Vietnam, and moved to Sacramento the following year.  Tragically, however, his life was cut short at the age of 23.  Jeff died 28 April 1971 from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.  He was survived by his older sister and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Hardy Hassell.  Burial was in East Lawn Cemetery in Quincy.

Hugh Warren Hastings


Born in 1939, Hugh was the eldest of the four children of Mr. and Mrs. Morgan Wilcox Hastings of Hartford, Connecticut.  A daughter was born to the family in 1942, just before Mr. Hastings' military service in WWII.  After the war, in 1946 they relocated to a family-owned farm in the community of Morrill, Maine.  The second daughter arrived the following year, and Hugh's younger brother was born in 1950.  Then in 1952, they moved eight miles east to the somewhat larger town of Belfast.  It was here that Hugh became an honor graduate of Crosby High School in 1957.

Hugh enlisted in the Army in 1958, and while stationed in Heidelberg, West Germany in 1969 he chanced to meet Miss Mary Scott "Molly" Mastick, the daughter of an American Lieutenant Commander.  The two would marry in June 1963 after Hugh's discharge.

Back in the USA, Hugh entered the University of Maine as an ROTC cadet, and in 1965 was honored as a distinguished military graduate.  His Army career, which would end in 1984, included two tours in Vietnam.  It was on his second tour in RVN, which began 18 October 1970, that, as a captain, he was named executive officer of AFVN in Saigon.  Among his other overseas assignments was a pleasant accompanied tour in Izmir, Turkey.  During his service Hugh was awarded a variety of medals including the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Vietnam Gallantry Cross, the Good Conduct Medal, and two awards of the Bronze Star.

In retirement, he worked as a commercial building manager in the Washington, D.C. area and resided about 30 miles north of D.C. in Hanover, Maryland.  Shortly after Molly, his wife of 39 years, died in 2003, he returned to Maine where he resided in the city of Hampden, about six miles south of Bangor.  He read constantly, his main interests being the Civil War and the history of the immediate area around Bangor.  When not absorbed in a good book he could be found either with his radio tuned to a Boston Red Sox game or with his son-in-law in a favorite fishing spot; sometimes both.

As his health began to fail, he was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease, and in 2007 he was forced to begin dialysis.  Additionally he suffered from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.  On 21 November 2012, at the age of 73, he lost his battle with the two debilitating illnesses.  He was survived by his three children, seven grandchildren, a great-grandson, and by his mother, who died three years later at the age of 97.

Strather William "Bill" Hawkins


LTC Hawkins served as Chief of the Plans Division at MACOI in 1968-69.  He retired from the military in 1975 with more than 30 years of service during WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.

The Colonel, a native of Kentucky, was born 30 December 1924.  Following high school graduation, he married Miss Edna Mae Burden in 1943 and joined the Navy, where he served as Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Petty Officer through the end of the war.  With a later switch to the Army, he made the military his career.  By 1958 he was assigned, as an Army Captain, to Mississippi State University at Starkville as ROTC instructor before being assigned to public affairs duty for the remainder of his career.  Among his later assignments were Deputy Public Affairs Officer of First Army HQ at Fort Sam Houston and press officer in Independence, Missouri and Austin, Texas following the deaths of Presidents Truman and Johnson.  In 1974-75 he served as President of the Armed Forces Information Council of San Antonio.

Among his military awards were the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, two awards of the Joint Service Commendation Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal.  Upon his retirement, Colonel Hawkins returned to Kentucky, where he and Mrs. Hawkins resided in the town of Beaver Dam.  A prominent civic leader, the Colonel served on the board of the Green River Area Development District, a regional planning agency encompassing the Kentucky counties of Ohio, Davies, Hancock, Henderson, McLean, Union, and Webster.  The purpose of the organization was to recruit industry to the area and to train employees to enter the work force.

Colonel Hawkins died 8 December 1989, three weeks prior to his 65th birthday. Laid to rest in the cemetery adjoining the Pond Run Baptist Church in Beaver Dam, the Colonel was survived by Mrs. Hawkins and son William Thomas "Tommy" Hawkins.

Roy Kenneth Heitman

Roy is shown at the AFRS studio in Saigon, and then with a co-worker at Walt Disney World (that's Roy on the right).

Roy Heitman was born 26 March 1936, second of the three children of Mr. and Mrs. George A. Heitman of Lawrenceburg, Indiana, a city located just inside the Indiana state line, about 30 miles west of Cincinnati, Ohio.  He was a 1954 graduate of Lawrenceburg High School.

Roy's Vietnam service came in 1964-65 as news director for the American Forces Radio Service in Saigon.  He served as a USAF Airman First Class in the early days of AFRS, the precursor of AFVN.  Following his return to CONUS he joined the civil service system as a civilian public affairs officer.  Among his assignments were USAF Electronic Systems Division at Hanscom AFB, Massachusetts, Phillips Laboratory at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, and NAS Patuxent River, Maryland.  Then in retirement, Roy moved to the Orlando, Florida area where he was an employee of Walt Disney World.

In May 2011 he moved 40 miles south of Orlando to a retirement home in Pinewood Country Estates, Davenport, Florida.  Here he and wife, Carmen, a retired arts and crafts dealer, share a lovely lakeside home.

Everett Duane "Ed" Hemnes


Ed Hemnes was born 31 March 1935 in Vermillion, South Dakota.  The Dakotas were heavily settled by Norwegian immigrants in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and Ed was a descendant of those hardy Europeans.  Census data indicate that even today 17 percent of the white (non-American Indian) population of South Dakota is of Norwegian descent.

Ed's father, Carl, was a locomotive engineer for the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad.  The family moved to Sioux City, Iowa a few years after Ed was born.

Joining the Air Force in 1954 at the age of 19, Ed entered the field of radio broadcasting, and over the ensuing years he traveled to public affairs assignments both Stateside and overseas.  In 1968, as a staff sergeant, he was assigned to Vietnam, where he served at AFVN's Detachment 4 in Nha Trang.

He finished his 21-year military career in 1975 and retired to Texas, where he eventually ended up in the small east-central town of Joshua.  Here he was self-employed in the technical field until his health declined.  Ed passed away 1 June 2011 at the age of 76.  He was predeceased by his wife, Diane, and one son.  Among his survivors were two sons, a daughter, eight grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter.

Philip W. Henry


I am a Vietnam Veteran, a college graduate of the Vietnam Era, and a professional journalist.  That should establish either some kind of credibility or culpability.  The Vietnam War began when I was 17 years old, and ended when I was 30.  That means my generation of draft-aged males lived with the reality of War throughout their adolescence.  I went to college in the 1960s and, like most of my classmates, lived under the shadow of Vietnam for my entire college career.  Flunk out, you get drafted. That happened to a friend of mine at Yale.  He partied too heartily and ended up as a grunt in the Mekong Delta.  As the War escalated, so did the dissent and the polarization of the country.

In 1968, the following events occurred:

            *  The Tet Offensive;
            *  The Democratic National Convention in Chicago with the arrest of the Chicago Seven;
            *  The Mexico City Olympics black power protests;
            *  The assassinations of Martin Luther King and RFK;
            *  Student demonstrations at Berkeley, Columbia, and Paris;
            *  And the increase in the Force Level in Vietnam to 500,000.

That makes 1968 the most significant year in my life.  That was also the year after I graduated from College, and, lacking plans for graduate school, enlisted in the Army (not out of patriotism but pragmatism:  I made a deal with the devil; I'd volunteer for three years as a Broadcast Specialist, and the Army would keep me out of The Killing Zone.)  When I got to Saigon, I worked for Armed Forces Radio and TV, reading news they wanted me to read (like Robin Williams' character Adrian Cronauer in "Good Morning Vietnam").

I had graduated by the time the inmates took over the asylum (Columbia University was closed down by a student takeover in April, 1968), but college friends who were still there were totally disgusted.  Some of them joined the military for the same reasons I did:  personal development and professional curiosity.  For me, the three years I spent in the military and the one year I spent in Vietnam were the most crucial in my life.

The assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy within a few months of each other were devastating.  I was in Indiana at the time.  Bobby Kennedy heard of the King Assassination while campaigning in the Indiana Primary.  He gave a speech which compared King's assassination with his brother John's.  His calming presence was credited with preventing racial riots in Indianapolis when other cities burned.  Three months later Kennedy was dead in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.  I sometimes wonder how history would have changed if he had been elected president instead of being assassinated.

After basic training and Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at Ft. Benjamin Harrison, I spent time at the same facility handling Public Relations for the Army Adjutant General School (Secretary's school and computer training).  It was boring work, but safe.  Nice, elm-tree shaded "campus" with a golf course and no marching GI's and shouting drill sergeants. I didn't even have a weapon.

The year in Vietnam was surreal.  It reminds me of the Mel Gibson movie, "The Year of Living Dangerously."  I was assigned to Armed Forces Radio and TV, Vietnam (AFVN).  I prepared and delivered radio and TV newscasts under the watchful supervision of officers whose job it was to assure that the troops received "favorable" news without the Stateside Press Corps' slant.  I used to go to the daily news briefings conducted by the MACOI briefers.  The Civilian Press called them the 5 O'Clock Follies.

Again, I had no real contact with the military.  I lived in air-conditioned barracks, ate at a chow hall, worked a ten-hour day, and got to go to Australia for five days on R&R.  The work was routine, the days predictable, the danger minimal.  Buddies and I drank at the bar at the Caravelle Hotel in Saigon (it appeared in the Michael Caine movie "The Quiet American" as the scene of the car bombing).  The war seemed distant and surreal -- a tableau of tracers and explosions in the night sky, the churning of helicopters and the smell of burning garbage and human waste.

The important point is that I made some good friends, friends I keep to this day.  The military has a way of creating bonds that civilian life never does.  I found out things about life and myself that I would never have found out in civilian existence.  Some of them I wish I hadn't.

I spent 35 years covering state politics in Indiana and Connecticut, national politics in Washington, DC during Watergate, spent countless hours in state and federal courthouses covering trials, worked too many nights and weekends to remember them all, and soothed my nerves with copious amounts of beer and vodka until my liver rebelled.

I'm out of the broadcast news business now.  I call it a business because it has become one -- the profit motive governs everything from the appearance of anchors on TV newscasts to the editorial policy of national newspapers.  We have lost part of our national identity, the regional and local interest that makes America so . . . well, interesting.  A radio station in Texas sounds like one in Indiana.  It used to be you could travel across the Country and tell what part you were in by the accents on the radio.  Now they all sound like Ryan Seacrest.  All our downtowns look alike (mostly deserted at night except for gangbangers).  We have eliminated Mom and Pop stores in favor of WalMart, and neighborhood bankers for Bank of America.  All food tastes the same . . . McFood is McFood.  Literacy and civility are dead.  Civilization as we knew it is over.

I got out in 1971 and after some waffling and seventies hippiness, came back to the fold and worked in News at WTIC in Hartford, Connecticut until the sale in '74, when I elected to go to WFSB-TV where I produced newscasts.  That didn't work out, so I went back to Indianapolis to WIBC-AM 1070 Radio, a powerhouse full-service station.  I covered Courts, crime, and politics (sometimes interchangeably) for fourteen years.  I left in 1991 when they were sold (again).

I changed gears and got into the hotel business as a marketing and catering rep for a while.  Later I freelanced at lobbying and PR.  I was involved in a serious pedestrian/car accident (as the pedestrian) in 2000 and became disabled.  I am currently living in a retirement home in Rialto, California, where I am being treated at the nearby Loma Linda VA Hospital for prostate cancer.

I really felt I needed to add some last thoughts to my MACOI profile.  First, the incredible sense of community and belonging that comes from a shared experience like Vietnam.  Despite our diverse backgrounds, eclectic lifestyles, and age differences, we are in fact a strong and vital group.  Some of us were draftees, some volunteers, some "volunteers," and others career military personnel.  I don't judge anyone for what they did in the 'sixties and 'seventies, as long as it was from principle.  Nor do I take a moral position on the management of information during wartime.  There are legitimate military reasons for restricting the flow in information during conflict.  Thank you for the opportunity to be of service, and for the privilege of working with you all.

Louis Landon "Lou" Herzog

Lou Herzog was born 18 August 1932, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Sidney James Herzog of Galveston, Texas.  The family also included an older sister.

Following high school and just as war was breaking out in Korea, Lou enlisted in the Navy.  After winning his wings as a Naval aviator, he decided to make the Navy his career.  Twenty-nine years later he would retire as a Captain.

In April 1966, as a lieutenant commander, he was assigned to MACV, where he served as a briefing officer in the Public Information Division of MACOI.  In January 1967, he provided a first-person briefing for the Saigon press contingent, reporting his personal experience watching the firebombing of a large VC contingent as he hovered nearby in a helicopter.  His dramatic presentation included a description of how the firebombs split into smaller magnesium "bomblets" that sparked fire and thick smoke which he said "looked like forest fires I've seen in California."  He concluded that "there will be few, if any, Viet Cong left there for a while."

In retirement in a Washington, DC suburb, Lou and wife Patricia became leaders in the MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) campaign following the death of their eldest daughter in 1982.

Susan Herzog was a high school senior when her car was rammed head-on by a drunk driver.  The next ten years of the lives of Lou and Patty were devoted to their effort to get inebriates out of the drivers' seats.  Unbelievably, in 1987, Susan's younger sister Deborah was also struck by a drunk driver.  She suffered grievous injuries, but survived with permanent scars only to lose her life twenty years later to cancer.

Captain Herzog's father passed away in 1968 while living in New Orleans, and his mother died of cancer in 1993.  His sister died in 2004 from injuries she received in an automobile accident.

Lou and Patty reside today in Bluffton, South Carolina, which is located in the extreme southern part of the state adjoining the resort town of Hilton Head.  Daughter Elizabeth resides in a Charlotte suburb in North Carolina.

Ronald A. Hesketh, Sr.

Ron Hesketh: 1) early days; 2) on-the-air; 3) Joyce and Ron in retirement; and 4) with Flag at MH Park entrance

Ron Hesketh was assigned to MACV Headquarters in 1964 with an MOS of 34C2, which equated to computer equipment hardware technician.  He soon found he had a little spare time on his hands so he visited the AFRS studio and volunteered for weekend work.  He easily passed muster and was soon doing the Saturday and Sunday radio news broadcasts.  He later took over the 6-10 PM entertainment slot as host of the "Diamonds in the Mist" show.

As a SP5, Ron was a radio personality in Saigon from October 1964 to August 1965.  Although this was early in the war, Saigon was far from a peaceful city.  Ron was never a battlefield participant, but he did have a couple of close scrapes.  In December 1964, Bob Hope brought his USO Christmas Show to Saigon for the first time, and communist terrorists used the occasion to blow up the Brink BOQ, which housed not only the suite in which Mr. Hope planned to stay, but also the AFRS studio.  Ron was scheduled to be on the air that evening, but he had been sent to Camp Zama, Japan to attend classes on new electronics equipment.  The station was demolished, and the OIC was Medivaced out due to his injuries.  Ron had figuratively dodged his first bullet.  The next bullet came a little closer.  On the evening of 25 June 1965, Ron was on his way to the My Canh Restaurant, located aboard a large boat on the Saigon River.  It was a nice place, frequented by Americans, along with stylish Vietnamese families, and Ron had chosen that venue to celebrate his 25th birthday.  A pair of bombs went off just prior to Ron's arrival, and he became a first-hand witness to the horrible carnage.  44 persons were killed, and over 100 were wounded.  The casualties included at least a dozen Americans, of which five were servicemen.

Ron stayed in the Army for 9 years, and then began a lengthy civilian career as a computer hardware specialist and trainer.  His last job was as IT Supervisor with Gibson Guitars in Nashville, Tennessee.  He had married Joyce on 4 June 1960, and two children came along during his military career, with a third arriving on the Fourth of July, 1969.  Joyce worked until 2004, and then the Heskeths retired to Florida.

They bought a mobile home, and later became joint managers of the mobile home park in which they resided.  In 2009, Ron received a commendation from the Sons of the American Revolution for his display of the Flag at the park entrance.  Ron was blessed with a rich baritone, and he had begun to perform publicly in his teens.  He continued to sing in church choirs and men's groups through his Army years and into retirement.  He is today a member of the Barbershop Harmony Society, and he sings for local groups in the "Sunshine Sound," an acapella 4-part harmony group.

Lucius Gordon Hill, Jr.

At left, COL Hill at MACOI, and at right, MG Hill at the Pentagon

Major General Gordon Hill was born 15 September 1992 in Orangeburg, South Carolina.  After Pearl Harbor, he dropped out of classes at the University of South Carolina in early1942 in order to enlist in the Army.  Following graduation from Officer Candidate School, the new Lieutenant began his military career as an artillery officer assigned to coastal security on the US mainland.  This was the start of a distinguished military career which would last for 38 years.

When the Korean War broke out, Hill, by this time a Major, served as executive officer for an artillery battalion on the Korean peninsula.

After Korea Major Hill was assigned to the University of Wisconsin for completion of his Journalism degree and graduate study in public relations.  His first public affairs assignment in the Pentagon followed.  He then attended the Command and General Staff College, and stayed on after graduation as an instructor.

Overseas assignments followed, as the Lieutenant Colonel commanded the 2nd Battalion, 92nd Artillery in West Germany, and then in 1968, Hill, now a Colonel, commanded an artillery battalion in Vietnam, but before his tour ended he was reassigned to become Chief of Information at MACV Headquarters.

After Vietnam he was promoted to General Officer with service as Army PA Chief in Europe, then as press spokesman for the Army at the Pentagon, and later for the Department of Defense.  A three-year tour as Commandant of the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia followed, after which the Major General elected to retire in 1980.

He made his home in the Washington, DC suburb of Burke, Virginia, remaining engaged and active until his sudden death 18 May 1990 of cardiac arrest.  He was 67 years old.

The General was survived by his wife, Helen, a son and two daughters, his mother, two brothers, a sister, and seven grandchildren.  In 2004, the General was posthumously elected to the US Army Public Affairs Hall of Fame.

Frank J. Holler

Frank (left) poses with Dick Downes on the AFVN TV news set; Frank as a WPOP deejay; and a later snapshot

". . . from December of '69 through the summer of '70, Dick Downes and I dominated the radio side of Detachment 2, AFVN, Danang."--Frank Holler, 2009

Frank, the elder of the two children of Mr. and Mrs. Frank C. Holler, was born 16 October 1948.  The senior Mr. Holler was a WWII Navy veteran and a Pearl Harbor survivor.

Frank was a professional deejay when he joined the Navy in June 1969.  A native of Hartford, Connecticut, as a boy he lived just a few blocks from the WDRC studio, and he began to hang around after office hours so he could watch the night deejays perform.  He also found friendly deejays at DRC's crosstown rival, WPOP, and enjoyed visting there as well.  His mind was thus set, career-wise, at an early age.

In 1964, a popular Hartford radio personality, Dick Robinson, founded the Connecticut School of Broadcasting, and in 1965 Frank enrolled in the inaugural class.  It was a 16-week course, and the tuition was $160.  It was quality training, and in future years, the CSB would grow to have campuses in 11 cities across America and would claim thousands of alumni in all branches of broadcasting.

His first job was as assistant music director at WPOP, but this eventually escalated into a job as host of the weekend airshifts.  It was here that the draft board began to notice Frank, and he decided to enlist in the Navy.  In 1969-70, Frank was broadcasting on AFVN's 850 AM, Da Nang, and he also did fill-in news and sports on Channel 11.

WPOP's general manager and program director were both ex-Marines who made it station policy to hold jobs for employees who left to serve in the military.  When Frank returned to civilian life he was rehired and began hosting the 7 to midnight shift.  In 1972 he moved along to WLW Cincinnati, and in the ensuing years he worked in such major markets as Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, Boston, and Philadelphia before returning home to Hartford in 1985 at WDRC, where he first handled the weekend night shifts, and then the afternoon drive-time.

Leaving Hartford again, he worked in St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Springfield, Massachusetts, but after three years he came back home to WDRC, this time as Program Director.  Although in his wilder on-air days, he was known as Frank "Shoutin'" Holler, Frank is quieter now. He continues to live in suburban Hartford, where as often as he has left, he has always come back.

UPDATE:  On 15 October 2015, Frank unexpectedly passed away at home.  Burial was at Rose Hill Memorial Park, Rocky Hill, Connecticut.

Donna Lou Hollowell (Murray)

A snapshot of Donna in uniform is followed by a couple of shots at the AFVN weatherboard.

In Vietnam days, lady Army members were WACs, lady Navy members were WAVEs, and lady Air Force members were WAFs, but there was no cute acronym for lady Marines.  They were designated simply as WM's.  Donna Hollowell was a WM.  An Indiana native, she was born on the Fourth of July 1943.  She joined the Corps in May 1965, and in January 1970, as a staff sergeant, she became one of the six enlisted WMs at MACV.  Her assignment was Marine Personnel, and she did her job well, but in the evenings she did not prop up her feet and relax with a good book at the Medford BEQ.  Instead, she volunteered to provide a service to her fellow troops from the Delta to the DMZ.  Donna became AFVN's 1970 TV weather girl, and her broadcasts were a hit with the guys in the field.  When her 13-month tour was over, she returned to the USA on 1 March 1971 with an Army Commendation Medal and a Joint Service Commendation Medal

Donna's Marine career lasted almost 26 years, until February 1991, and she retired as a Master Sergeant.  She lived in a suburb of Washington, DC for a little less than seven years, and she died 10 October 1998.  She was buried back home in Indiana, in Rising Sun Cemetery, in the city of Rising Sun.

The Website was not able to locate information on her family.  We know nothing about the man she married, Mr. Murray, and though we believe she was the mother of two, we have no information on the children.  If anyone can answer these questions, we'd truly like to know.

John Andrew "Jack" Holsomback

Jack Holsomback, shown at left, is joined by Hollywood starlet and popular AFRTS deejay Chris Noel at right

Jack Holsomback, a native of Vicksburg, Mississippi, and a 1955 graduate of Carr Central High School, was a Marine.  After earning a Radio/TV MOS, and with several years' experience in the Corps, he was sent to Saigon in 1966 with an assignment to build a TV station.

Arriving in April, and assigned to MACV, he and his crew built AFVN's first TV station from the ground up.  Limited television broadcasts had begun in Vietnam two years earlier when three C-121 Super Constellation aircraft were fitted with transmitters.  These planes were flown high over parts of Vietnam, beaming news and entertainment to the troops below, but the system was primitive and unreliable.  Jack's crew poured the concrete and pulled conduit, built the walls, put up a roof, and erected an antenna.  Soon a state-of-the-art facility was up and running at 9 Hong Thap Tu in Saigon.

Jack was then ordered to go up north to Da Nang, where he built the first TV station there as well.  This facility lacked the permanence of the key station in Saigon.  Its transmitter and small broadcast booth were housed in a van located adjacent to the antenna.  But when the job was finished, AFVN's Detachment 2 on Monkey Mountain was the first of the detachments to transmit television signals.

Jack stayed on as news director and on camera newsman.  News was gathered from whatever sources might be available.  The Detachment did not have teletype facilities, so the crew monitored VOA and other shortwave broadcasts, and a daily run was made to the Combat Information Bureau, the Marines' clearing house for news gatherers in the Da Nang vicinity.  When these sources failed to deliver enough info to fill the three daily newscasts, Jack would sometimes read the news from Stars and Stripes, and viewers could occasionally see him turning the pages of the newspaper on the air.  "We did what we could," Jack explained.

He rotated to his next assignment in July 1967, but in 1971 he was sent back to Detachment Two once again.  In the intervening years the facilities had been improved, and even the living conditions were better.  Barracks had replaced tents as living quarters for the troops, and equipment had been modernized.  "Wow! What a change!," Jack exclaimed.  This time he was assigned as news and sports director, and was once again the principal on-air reporter.

AFVN and the single station run by the government of Vietnam were the only broadcast serv