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Saigon / OIC, Da Nang 1970-71
A good story about how Chuck was able to get assigned to AFVN.
[The story is part of a longer discussion on censorship.]
This was taken in July at the Toronto Zoo, where my little bride Nancy and her 11-year-old grandson [he took the picture]
took turns pushing me around the zoo in a wheelchair. I have a really bad back that I can't wait to get back to Florida
from Ohio in November to have Mayo Clinic Jacksonville take a look at, and hopefully preserve my ability to walk.
FYI, Nancy [who also has a bad back] and I were high school classmates whose 50th reunion in Sept. 2011
served to bring us together. We were married 7/7/12.
From: Chuck Adams
Sent: October 14, 2013
Subject: Major Story about AFVN News Controversy Talk about memories.
The main thing this story reminds me of is how and why I'm likely still here today.
If it hadn't been for Bob Lawrence, I might not have been. When I landed at Cam Ranh Bay in May 1970, I had a letter from LTC Jim Adams [no relation] saying I had an assignment with AFVN. That had been set up through and with my commanding officer at AFNE, LTC Art Jones. But getting that assignment was easier said than done, since where I was under USARV, and AFVN was under MACV. So when I presented my letter, I was, in essence, told it meant nothing. Talk about a sinking feeling. Next thing I knew, I was under orders for the Americal Division, and on my way to Chu Lai. It wasn't until much later that the Americal was made [in-]famous, courtesy of Lt. William Calley.
It was at Chu Lai that I, a first lieutenant and Signal Corps officer, went for a job interview. As I sat in a Signal Corps company commander's outer office, waiting for said interview, there was a delay. So I asked the first sergeant if I could use his phone, with which I called AFVN headquarters. I got through on the first try, something I later learned was virtually impossible. As soon as I reached Col. Adams, I shared my plight. He put me in immediate touch with his personnel chief, Army Capt. Hugh Hastings, who told me my problem [USARV via-a-vis MACV] was something I already knew. But Hastings added there was an AFVN detachment in Chu Lai commanded by Army Capt. Bruce Beebe, who I had known in Germany. Once I had that number, I called for Bruce, again getting through on the first try. Talk about luck.
When I told Bruce what was happening, he said to get out of there immediately. He then picked me up and took me to officer personnel, where, upon presentation of my letter, my orders were changed from the Americal Division to AFVN Saigon.
Rick Ferdericksen's story introduces Bruce Beebe, but doesn't say what happened to him after the cry of "censorship" hit the AFVN airwaves. My understanding long has been that Bruce was made a "fall guy" and was transferred to AFVN Chu Lai. That, for me, was a very good thing.
I spent my May '70-May '71 tour as first OIC of AFVN Da Nang and then as Chief of News/News Director, based in Saigon. And I have Bob Lawrence to thank for being able to say, when asked what I did in Vietnam, that I spent half my tour in a TV series ["China Beach," starring Dana Delaney and Marg Helgenberger] based in Da Nang and the other half in a movie ["Good Morning Vietnam" with Robin Williams...and Adrian Cronauer].
Upon completion of Infantry OCS, I was commissioned a Signal Corps officer at the Infantry School, Fort Benning, Columbus, Ga. June 3, 1968. From there, I went to the Signal School at Fort Gordon, Augusta, Ga. And one afternoon, with some free time, I went over to officer personnel to see what sort of assignment I might get if I were to give "Uncle" an extra year. When they came back with the American Forces Network Europe [AFNE], I, a Radio-TV Speech undergrad with a masters in Broadcast Journalism from The Ohio State University, said, "You got me."
Upon completion of my year in Vietnam, I separated from active duty in May 1971 at the Oakland Army Depot. I then embarked on a "checkered career" with a wire service [AP], network television [NBC] and as a pro sports PR guy [soccer/New York Cosmos and North American Soccer League; baseball/Baseball Commissioner's Office and Chicago White Sox; and golf/PGA Tour], before wrapping up at a "mom and pop" newspaper in Jacksonville Beach, Fla., the "Beaches Leader."
If Bruce Beebe hadn't been in Chu Lai when I was about to become a Signal Corps officer with the Americal Division, Lord only knows where, or even if, I'd be today.
So thank you, Bob Lawrence.