Thursday, March 26, 2015


If you read “Drafted:  Vietnam at War and Peace” you will learn about a friend and coworker at the Idaho Statesman who turned lemons into lemonade while serving in the US Army in Saigon starting in May 1967 as a clerk.
David R. Frazier soon advanced from that lowly position into a sergeant and public information officer using photojournalist skills he learned at UPI.  He schmoozed generals and politicians with the greatest of ease.  The Tet Offensive was but an annoying sidebar to Frazier who wrote and edited a publication for the Armed Services in Vietnam.  He parlayed a dicey situation into a tropical beach party, almost.
In Vietnam, Frazier quickly concluded that the usual military confusion and stupidity could work to his advantage.  Through skillful maneuvering and luck he found a sweet spot where he was making money on the side by selling “hometown news” to newspapers in his native Michigan and not dodging bullets and land mines.  In Vietnam, he was an Einstein amongst countless Gomers.  This is not “Catch 22” or “Mash” but you get the idea.

By pushing yourself to the limits, you could earn “density points” in Vietnam, Frazier would say on the Idaho mountain fishing trips we took shortly after he was discharged from the Army.  He earned his density points but I had to read the book to find out what he did in the war.  While he was in Vietnam, I had completed active duty four years earlier with the Coast Guard Reserve and was a local government reporter for The Statesman.