From:  Forest Brandt

   Dated:  April 22, 2017

Subject:  Start in Broadcasting

It all started in a small 5,000 watt station in… No, wait a minute; that’s Ted Knight.... 
I started out in high school debate.  Every Saturday from the middle of October to the middle of March, we would take off and travel to another high school to compete in tournaments with teams from all over the state.  This is where I learned the importance of the five paragraph essay answer - state a problem, support it with evidence, suggest an answer, support it with evidence, look at other possible solutions and support and detract from them, summarize.  Then you had to react to the other team - attack their evidence or their sources with more evidence - go deeper into your own answer with sources and evidence- back and forth through four or five rounds.  It was exhausting, but I gained confidence, learned so much about how to argue a case and how to research a topic.  These are the skills that got me through college. 
While at Ohio State I continued to debate. did news round ups for WOSU, worked at a CBS affiliate as part time booth announcer, floor director, gopher, acted in plays, worked on stage crew and completed my degree in speech and theater. 
At. Ft. Lewis the director of post logistics saw my vita and “hired" me, along with Gary Gears and the post photographer, to put together a slide show (read Dog and Pony show) he could take around to explain the role of his command.  Unfortunately that job ended as soon as the show was put together and I was back in the role of transporter. 
Soon after I arrived in Vietnam I heard Gears great chops on AFVN and wrote him a letter, “How do I get out of this shit hole (The HQs of First Signal Brigade) and down to AFVN?”  Gears had no idea, but the warrant officer who worked for me (now there’s a joke) knew LTC Franklin, the PIO for USARV and introduced me.  Within two days Franklin had a slot for me with the PIO at 1st ID. Two weeks and a command level pissing contest later, I was out of Long Bihn and in a tent in Lai Khe.  I was paired up with Bill Johansen, an Indian U. grad in communications, who asked me to get his IU com school buddy, Wayne Yeager, out of the field.  In no time we had a trio going and I was sent down to meet with the boss, Commander Nash (?), and try and wrangle air time for the division.  Another command level pissing contest ensued and our show and one for the First Cav began to air in early December. For the next nine months we enjoyed a weekly jaunt to Saigon (and real hot water showers) in one of the best jobs I have ever held.  I later did PIO work for the 83rd ARCOM and for Gov. John Gilligan of Ohio and then I went into teaching.  Late in my army career my speech skills got me appointed to be the briefing officer for the logistics/transportation office at Army Material Command during Desert shield and Desert Storm.  It’s all been fun and I owe a great debt to Miss Leah Funck (RIP) speech and debate coach extraordinaire. 
Forrest


AFVN Group Conversations

    From:  Craig Prosser

   Dated:  April 23, 2017

Subject:  Start in Broadcasting

My high school principal handed me a microphone for the first time, appointing me PA announcer for the school's football and basketball games.  Later at Ohio State I made the staff of the student radio station and got my feet wet in play by play sports.  Relegated to doing the freshman-JV basketball games my first year, I practiced my craft calling the action of fellow freshmen Jerry Lucas, John Havlicek, Mel Nowell and Bob Knight, who would form the nucleus of the team that would win the NCAA championship the following year. 
Of course there's no pay for student radio, but we did get one class credit per quarter for regular work on the station.  My first break leading to a paid job came from the mother of a high school classmate who was the office manager for the NBC-TV affiliate in Columbus.  She called and tipped me to an opening on the floor crew and set me up with an appointment with the production manager who hired me.  That was at the start of my junior year at OSU and I stayed till graduation.  Greatest memory: Working with an NBC crew in New Concord, OH, covering a homecoming parade for Astronaut John Glenn after his orbital flight in 1962. 
That event and floor directing the local news helped steer me away from my hopes of broadcasting sports and turned me on to a goal of becoming a news reporter.  I achieved it thanks to a stint at the Army Information School at Ft. Slocum, NY, and the good fortune of being assigned to AFRS in Saigon after graduation.  There station manager Chief Journalist Bryant Arbuckle wasted no time putting me on the night shift by myself and telling me to start banging out the copy and reading it on the air.  Later I was switched to the sign-on "Dawnbuster" shift and stayed on it until my 13 month tour ended. 
My final duty station was at the PIO at Ft. Leavenworth, KS, where in between writing press releases and doing hometown interviews I developed some pretty good contacts with area TV stations.  As a result I started to work as a reporter-photographer at a station in St. Joseph, MO, one week after leaving the Army.   Later, my career took me to Des Moines and then Sacramento.   I stayed in news 40 years working as a reporter, anchor and sportscaster. I retired in 2005. 
Craig Prosser


    From:  Rick Fredricksen

   Dated:  April 26, 2017

Subject:  Start in Broadcasting

Scott, now THAT is a round about way to get to AFVN.  Never heard a recruiter story like that.  By the way, I exchanged messages with Count Malaria this week and he mentioned you as well . One final point, my new book has several mentions of DINFOS and the early days of AFVN.  Lots of memories.  Find a link directly under my name.

Cheers, 
Rick

    From:  Rick Fredericksen

   Dated:  April 22, 2017

Subject:  Start in Broadcasting

Not to mention fraging and other murders.

Rick


    From:  John Workman

   Dated:  April 23, 2017

Subject:  Start in Broadcasting

I went straight  from Huntsville, Alabama to AFVN Oct 1969. my MOS was 26T20 TV equipment .  I remember coming in country and spending what seemed like forever doing various things at processing camp but after I got latrine duty, saw bus that said MACV HQ which my orders said I was to report to for duty with AFVN.  So I grabbed my stuff n jumped on.  Arrived MACV and the clerk was amazed how fast I got there as usually took longer . Guess they never missed me at the processing center. 
Please forgive fat finger typos.


Start in Broadcasting

April 2017

    From:  Jim White

   Dated:  April 22, 2017

Subject:  Start in Broadcasting (?)

First off, regarding Rick Fredericksen's comment about how many people came to AFVN from other units in Vietnam.  I am not at all the least surprised.  As Admin NCO, I was their first hurdle,  Normally, I wasn't that much of a hurdle but would take anyone who walked in looking for a job back to the Broadcasting Section and let them decide.  Don't really remember how often it happened, but it seems like it was at least two or three times a month.   Anyone, anywhere in Vietnam who had a background and/or interest in broadcasting and who could find a way to get to Saigon looked us up.  I think we rejected far more than we ever accepted but I didn't keep any statistics. 
Now, on to the main subject:  How I got my [non] start in broadcasting.  Perhaps because I had received a masters degree in Audio-visual Education in Japan in 1965, I was told by the "AFVN powers that be," that I should prepare a "safe driving class" for video taping and use at AFVN.  I knew that I was not "telegenic" or even "audio-genic" but I agreed to do my best. 
Must admit it was a topic somewhat close to my heart because among a number of people I had known who had gone to Vietnam and didn't come back, the only one with whom I was really friends with was a SGT Yamashita..  He had been assigned at US Forces Japan with me in the early 1960's.  He was a Japanese-American from Hawaii and while at USFJ he had married a Japanese girl and later on they had a baby.  In 1965 I transferred from USFJ to Fort Belvoir, VA and in a few months later SGT Yamashita transferred from Japan to Vietnam.  He was there barely three weeks when he was killed in Saigon in a auto accident.  I must admit, that hurt!  
I got some black and white positive film so I could take some slides to use as visuals and started writing a script for what I think was to be a 10-minute spot.  Within a few days I had my script ready and gave it to CPT Hastings for approval.  He undoubtedly showed it to others but I'm not sure.  Whatever, it was approved.  Then, a few days later the script disappeared from my desk.  I am not sure who tried to sabotage me but I do have a good idea.  That meant I had to write the script again from memory.  It was videotaped on November 24th, 1970.  I thought that it had come out fairly well--but then who was I to judge? 
I didn't watch very much AFVN TV.  The music was not of my era and since I had never seen most ot the shows in the states, I had no desire to start watching them in Vietnam.  Therefore, I don't know if my [admittedly feeble] talents ever went on air or not.  Hopefully, they didn't see the light of day and the tape was very quickly reused.  Perhaps, some one took mercy on me and s--t canned the whole thing before it ever saw the light of day.
And, that, Dear Friends, is why I never went into broadcasting after i retired. 
Somewhat related to this, is that a few months ago I was talking with a woman at the help desk with the company that I use to make our website, and, during our conversation, I told her a little bit about AFVN.  Her comment, was "I can understand why you would be assigned there, you have such a good 'announcer's voice.'"  I didn't bother to tell her that most of my voice training had come from  giving close-order drill on the parade ground. 
Your "slaving away and getting nowhere" Webmaster,
Jim W


    From:  Robert Morecook

   Dated:  April 23, 2017

Subject:  Start in Broadcasting

Legend says Sajak [then Sadjak] was a finance clerk at Long Binh.

Bob M


    From:  Frank Rogers

   Dated:  April 23, 2017

Subject:  Start in Broadcasting

I guess I was sort of indirectly direct sent from FEN to AFVN with a stop at Ft Bragg Military Advisor School.  I guess they thought I’d meed orders to the states to get my family there but they went to Philippines instead.  My wife came over to Saigon for two weeks.   A memorable part of her visit was the Vietnamese “inspector” at Saigon airport stealing - er "confiscating contraband "- candies and other goodies she had bought for our kids and relatives from her baggage, and that was on the way out. 
Frank


    From:  Rick Frdericksen

   Dated:  April 22, 2017

Subject:  Start in Broadcasting

I'm surprised how many guys worked there way into AFVN from other units in Vietnam, like you did Forrest.  Those of you who created your own door into the station went the extra mile.  I imagine that kind of determination helped you for the rest of our life. 
Rick Fredericksen

[NB: Forest Brandt  was not assigned to AFVN but was with the 1st Inf. Div. PIO and ran a small station,  

See KLIK for more information.  Webmaster]


    From:  Rick Frdericksen

   Dated:  April 22, 2017

Subject:  Start in Broadcasting 

I seem to recall Pat Sajak was a clerk before working his way into AFVN. 
Rick 

    From:  Jim White

   Dated:  April 23, 2017

Subject:  Start in Broadcasting

Bob, 
Just as I told Rick-- 
Rick,  Go to AFVNVets / Photos & Stories / Pat Sajak and read all about i!  I don't think it is legend. 
Jim W


    From:  Rick Frdericksen

   Dated:  April 20, 2017

Subject:  Start in Broadcasting

I'm enjoying everyone's "how it all began" stories.  It raises a couple thoughts.  I was still an active journalist until a few months ago, and felt that our generation was the last of the golden age of journalism.  There are fewer foreign correspondents . I was never replaced as Bangkok Bureau Chief, and that was 22 years ago.  It's become freelancers and stringers or no coverage.  The job I loved does not exist any more.  The breaks we had were kind of OJT...today, universities are probably the biggest training ground.  However, yesterday, the Iowa National Guard posted a job opening for an all-around journalist (writing news releases, etc.) That's how I started and that opportunity is still there. 
Rick Fredericksen​


    From:  Frank Rogers

   Dated:  April 20, 2017

Subject:  Start in Broadcasting

Group,

I was in senior year high school and on the school newspaper.  I gave our teacher adviser my idea to have the local 1K radio station broadcast some of our school news.  She told me to go to the station to inquire about it.  The manager listened and said good idea, “You’re going to do it, aren’t you.”   Shocked, I said “yes.”  and In less than a month the manager offered me the job of weekday afternoons and Saturday and Sunday all day.  Since I had enough credits, the school principal let me rearrange my classes to have afternoons free.  I did everything from sweeping to writing commercials, DJ-ing and news.  Fantastic experience for a kid.  I joined the Navy with plans to get ET school so I could be a station engineer, too, but didn’t get it.  After the Navy, I switched to Army and was sent to Korea where I began my military broadcasting career at AFKN. 
Frank

    From:  Mike Miller

   Dated:  April 21, 2017

Subject:  Start in Broadcasting

I started my career in high school.  I was part of a youth group that took over the Sunday service at our church once a month.  When it became my turn to give the sermon, I liked it so much that I told my father I wanted to be a radio preacher.   "No you don't", he said. "You just want to talk.  Go into radio." 
I did.  I started as a weekend warrior on the local rock station in Santa Fe.  I was so bad that the Program Director fired me just before the second shift.  He had hired me as a favor to my father.  I went down to New Mexico State University in Las Cruces which at the time had one of the best broadcast departments in the Country.  The rest is history.  Now, I make movies, both narrative and documentary and act in Film & TV.

Mike Miller


    From:  Rick Fredericksen

   Dated:  April 23, 2017

Subject:  Start in Broadcasting

Jeez. Am I the only one who got orders directly for AFVN?


    From:  Scott Manning

   Dated:  April 26, 2017

Subject:  Start in Broadcasting

My long, strange trip to AFVN began in the fall of 1966 when I enlisted in the Army for a three-year hitch which guaranteed you a choice of training.  My choice: DINFOS. 
At the end of basic I was shocked to find that I had orders for advanced infantry training at Fort Lewis, WA.  After having it explained to me that refusing to go was not an option, I made the trip from Fort Jackson across the country to Fort Lewis.  Not much sympathy for my plight there, but my mother kept on the recruiter back in Chicago.  It turned out that a desperate OCS recruiter had forged signatures on applications to meet his quota . I went thru half of AIT before I got orders for Ft. Benjamin Harrison. 
After completing the journalism and broadcast courses at DINFOS,  I was shocked again to find that ALL of the Army members of my graduating class were being sent to the 4th Psychological Operations Battalion in Vietnam.  Still not sure why. 
After two weeks with Special Forces instructors at Fort Bragg, we were off to the war.  In Saigon, some of us were sent upcountry while some, including me, stayed at headquarters.  Most of us ended up in clerk positions.  I was assigned to PIO chores while a friend of mine ended up in the motor pool.  Soon after arriving I went to AFVN to introduce myself and volunteer to do production on spots for malaria pills, etc. 
After a year with PSYOPS I took advantage of the standing offer to get the assignment of your choice if you'd stay in Vietnam another year. The deal also included a month home before the second tour.  I took that trip and afterward, almost two years after I'd signed the enlistment papers, I made it to AFVN in August 1968.

    From:  Rick Frdericksen

   Dated:  April 22, 2017

Subject:  Start in Broadcasting (?)

Jim, I wish there was a copy of your "how to drive " production.  Like your friend's fatal crash, it is amazing how many people in war zones die in accidents, not just on the road.  I wonder how many names on the Vietnam Wall were the result accidents.  I believe one of our own men for AFVN was killed in a helicopter crash.  I actually liked driving in Saigon, mostly from the station to the Plaza.  Lucky they drive on the right side.  I don't recall any serious crashes in Saigon while I was there, but damn, those motorized cyclos were concussions just waiting to happen. 
Rick


    From:  Michael Miller

   Dated:  April 23, 2017

Subject:  Start in Broadcasting

I didn't mention that I was a clerk in the G-2 office under Col. Krebs.  I wrote my own orders and he signed them.  It might be interesting to see how many guys were direct assignments. 
Mike


    From:  Frank Rogers

   Dated:  April 23, 2017

Subject:  Start in Broadcasting

I guess I was sort of indirectly direct sent from FEN to AFVN with a stop at Ft Bragg Military Advisor School.  I guess they thought I’d meed orders to the states to get my family there but they went to Philippines instead.  My wife came over to Saigon for two weeks.   A memorable part of her visit was the Vietnamese “inspector” at Saigon airport stealing - er "confiscating contraband "- candies and other goodies she had bought for our kids and relatives from her baggage, and that was on the way out. 
Frank


    From:  Forest Brandt

   Dated:  April 22, 2017

Subject:  Start in Broadcasting

Rick, yep. I had no more reported to the First Signal when I was appointed to do the - damn, can’t remember the name - a report that determined if the death was duty related - Ah - Line of Duty investigation -  the first was a kid who had just got off the night shift and stopped to watch them winch an APC off of an LST. the cable snapped and though the kid was standing a good thirty yards away, it wiped back and decapitated him.  The next was a 19-year-old who fell in love with a boom-boom girl and rented an apartment for her.  He came home too soon and found her with another soldier.  He went back to his quarters - the Key Sahn maybe? - and shot himself in the gut with a 45. 
Engineers from the First ID had made a teeter totter and swing set for the kids in a nearby orphanage. They tried to to lift it out of the base camp with a rescue cable from a Huey.  The two items began to spin, the cable snapped and whipped back to the rear rotor.  When the rotor went out the Huey began to spin, crashed to the ground. All on the Huey were killed as well as two men on the ground crew. 
That’s ten cases I know about.

    From:  Steve Sevits

   Dated:  April 22, 2017

Subject:  Start in Broadcasting

At around 19 or 20 while at college in Southern Georgia around 1957, I had delusions of grandeur and asked the manager of the local kilowatt day-timer for a job.  To my surprise I got it.  I did rip ‘n’ read news, played records, engineered a preacher’s live show, and played successive 30 minute reel-to-reel “back to God” programs on our single Magnacorder.  The first program would rewind while I read a live spot, and threaded the second while reading the second spot. 
Recognizing my lack of knowledge in both music and sports I gravitated towards news, nobody in the early 60s wanted to do news.  Working for an NBC affiliate I scored a coup, during the 1960 Presidential campaign, cornering VP Nixon in a TV studio hallway.  Like the dog which finally caught the car, I didn’t know what to do.  Recognizing my inexperience Nixon spent about three minutes interviewing himself.  The interview made a hit with network people in NY and made me look like a hero. 
Later when in the Army the guys at NBC network in NY suggested if I could get transferred from Okinawa to Tokyo they would put me on staff part time at the Tokyo bureau.  It never happened.  Instead I did news in Saigon.  After AFRS Saigon I went back to Okinawa where I did TV both and occasionally TV weather.  Following the Army I went back into commercial radio in the states. 
Lacking talent I quit radio and did far better selling used cars. 
Steve Sevits


    From:  Jim Alllingham

   Dated:  April 23, 2017

Subject:  Start in Broadcasting

Hi Rick, 
I was a SP5 with a 71R MOS at 5th Army Headquarters, Fort Sheridan, Illinois, and also got direct orders to AFVN. 
Jim Allingham


    From:  Doug Jennings

   Dated:  April 22, 2017

Subject:  Start in Broadcasting

I was originally assigned to the Engineer Command at Long Binh as a clerk typist in the projects department in 1970.   I'd had enough with the typewriter and applied for a transfer to AFVN.   At that time I had three years on-air experience and had attended Brown Institute in Minneapolis.  The file started out with about three sheetsof paper in it.  By the time the file had gone through the Engineer Command, USARV, MACV, AFVN and back again, it was about 4 inches thick.  My Colonel walked out of his office and asked me "Is what you want to do?", I answered "Yes, Sir".  He signed off and I left for Saigon shortly thereafter. 
Prior to AFVN, I had worked at KLEX, Lexington, Missouri, KCSR, Chadron, Nebraska, KLMS, Lincoln, Nebraska and KANO, Anoka, Minnesota.  Different small markets, different formats, and sometimes 7 days a week.  Wrapped it up in 2009 after a decade-long run at KNCY/AM-FM, in Nebraska City, Nebraska. 
Doug Jennings


    From:  Bob Morecook

   Dated:  April 23, 2017

Subject:  Start in Broadcasting

I had orders for Vietnam and had the 71R MOS already out of DINFOS.  I head heard about AFVN from returning vets and wrote the CO and included a resume along with two letters of recommendation [from print journalist PAOs] ...really.  He wrote back and said when you get to Camp Alpha give us a phone call and you can audition.  Voila!  I made it.  What a great bunch of people and what a great job  It was one of the highlights of my life.