Jim Allingham on April 28, 2017
"As one of the former GI newscasters caught in the middle of the 1969-1970 AFVN Censorship controversy, I found Rick Fredericksen's book to be an enlightening, if not cathartic experience for me. For the last 47 years, I've often wondered if there was more to the story. Rick's brilliant research, combined with his personal recollections of that era, have given me the most complete account to date. Rick was already a "veteran" AFVN newscaster when I arrived in July, 1969 and he was the first to greet me and "show me the ropes" of the AFVN News operation. He was a dedicated, hard-working, talented military journalist who won my personal respect and admiration from our first handshake. Rick's book should be a "must-read" for all aspiring military journalists and broadcasters. The myriad detail that Rick provides does not clutter his incredibly smooth writing style. In fact, it documents the history of AFVN and that era with a fresh, but compelling read. Thanks, Rick. Welcome home!"
SP5 Jim Allingham
Saigon & Hon Tre Island
Fascinating! I could not put this down and finished in 1 day! It brings back memories of and era forgotten but should not be. The writing style keeps you attention and is more story telling than a mere list of historical facts. Job well done from a fellow Marine! Joe F.
Monday, April 24, 2017
Sunday, April 16, 2017
Key broadcasters and other media individuals (150+), in order of their appearance:
Paul Rhoades, Russ Van Dyke, Bob Sevey, Derek Williams, Rick Lewis, Michele McNabb, Vinh Ve, Shelly Blunt, Ron Turner, James DiBernardo, John Deering, Tom Young, Don Gouin, Harry Ettmueller, Courtney Niles, John Anderson, Steve Stroub, John Bagwell, Jack Laurence, Robert Schakne, Murray Fromson, Don Webster, Duong Va Ri, Walter Cronkite, Michael Herr, Al Gore, Walter Mondale, Steve Kroft, Mai Phuong, John Chancellor, Clarence Page, Gene Siskel, Earl Woods, David Kieffer, Mike Maxwell, Bob Andreson, Lee Hansen, Steve Sevits, Jerry Masini, Craig Prosser, Harry Simons, Paul Bottoms, Casey Kasem, Wolfman Jack, Chickenman, Adrian Cronauer, Robin Williams, Pat Sajak, Merv Griffen, Richard Bednar, Gary W. Gears, John Steinbeck, Thomas Steinbeck, Hugh Morgan, Carl Hudgins, Robert Stricklin, William Wilson, Randall Moody, Toney Brooks, Ray Nash, Bob Lawrence, Bobbie Keith, Paul Baldridge, Janie and George Lewis, Al Dawson, Jim Russell, Tony Sargent, Kenley Jones, Gary Bel, Richard Threlkeld, Gary Shepard, Joe Moore, Michael Goucher, Nick Paladino, James Adams, Huntley-Brinkley, James Campbell, Ray Profeta, Peter Berlin, Bruce Beebe, Tom Sinkovitz, Norman Schwarzkopf, Ron Hesketh, Hanoi Hannah, Ed Wood, Eric Sevareid, Paul Harvey, Parker Lane, Bob MacArthur, Greg Cooke, Ron Bartlett, Jim Allingham, Rep. John Moss, Lynn Packer, Jack Anderson, John Broger, William R. Frye, S.L.A. Marshall, Robert Sanders, C.W. Lane, Richard Fitzpatrick, Lee W. Hauser, Mike Jackson, Dennis Woytek, Aunt Sara, Wayne Cannon, Jim Sandt, Robert Morecook, Keyes Beech, Brian Ellis, David Henderson, Richard Warner, Eric Cavalerio, Joel Bernstein, Dan Rather, Larry Doyle, Graham Greene, Tran Duc Suu, Linda Mason, Pham Dinh Long, Le Van Anh, Beth Bressan, Mai Phuong, Rob Dillard, Edward R. Murrow, Neal Davis, Bill Latch, Luis Beltran, Narong Srivoraphak and Uthai, Andy Williams, Gabby Tabunar, Ed Bradley, John Hamlin, Don Hewitt, Haing Ngor, Dith Pran, Charles Kuralt, Sydney Schanberg, Hidenobu Okamoto, Bob Simon, Nate Thayer, Dave McKaige, Art Key, Wanna Chukul, Connie Chung.
Friday, January 27, 2017
|Thai King Bhumibol (Rama IX) in 1985, honoring military veterans in Bangkok. He died Oct. 13, 2016.|
An American by birth, Thai King Rama IX was the longest-serving monarch
in the world when he died in 2016. Most Thais alive today were born under the
70-year-reign of King Bhumibol, Rama IX. He came into the world in
while his father was attending
in 1927. Thanks to this man, I met my wife through the royal family. Harvard
Most Westerners were introduced to the current Chakri Dynasty through the movie “The King and I,” where Yul Brynner portrayed Rama IV, King Mongkut, when
The 1956 film won Brynner an Oscar, and the actor became the international face
Monarchy, also winning two Tony Awards for the stage version.
Ironically, the movie was officially banned in
conservative Royal Household considered Brynner’s portrayal a little too
frivolous; including scenes of the King frolicking with his children’s English
tutor. Nonetheless, Brynner was popular in Thailand, where his death in 1985 saddened
the Thai nation, all the way to the Royal Palace. A couple months earlier Queen
Sirikit had seen one of Brynner’s last stage performances of “The King and I” on
I first saw Rama IX in 1985 (above photo), at a public appearance honoring Thai veterans. Living in
helps one understand the deep reverence for His Royal Highness, who has provided a calming
influence during times of natural disasters, political turmoil, and ordinary
hardship. The royal family has raised living standards for impoverished
citizens with programs to promote clean water and conservation, agricultural,
scientific and medical advances.
Through all his fame and admiration, he was always close to the people; one of his favorite things was jazz music. Rama IX was a saxophonist and used to broadcast radio jazz programs from the palace. In 1960 he was photographed in
York playing sax in a jazz quartet with Benny Goodman
on clarinet, Gene Krupa at the drums and Urbie Green with his trombone. He also
liked the simplicity of driving a car.
|The commemorative 70 baht note honors King Bhumibol, Rama IX.|
Rama IX’s son, and crown prince, would be heir to the throne. He was a fighter pilot in the Thai Air Force and occasionally made appearances representing the royal family. In 1987, a number of journalists based in
were invited to join him for an extraordinary overnight visit to an upcountry
royal palace. This was not considered a news event, but more of an opportunity
for a get-to-know meeting with the future king. I sent in my RSVP as the CBS
News representative and considered it a privilege.
Reporters gathered at the airport and clambered aboard a military aircraft for the short flight to Sakhon Nakhon. We would overnight at a guesthouse on the palace grounds, join the crown price for dinner and return the next day. The C-130 cargo plane was configured for passengers; with seats facing each other. As I strapped in, I noticed the media contingent included some fresh faces I was not familiar with, among them, a pretty, young reporter for Yomiuri Shimbun sitting across from me. The Japanese newspaper had a bureau in
Bangkok and Wanna was
their Thai reporter.
At the evening event, Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn made the Thai and international guests feel comfortable. Dinner was informal. The discussion steered clear of controversy; I did ask him about a recent incident when his aircraft blew a tire on landing and he shared the story. He had just flown over parts of
and observed the country’s worst drought in a decade. His father, Rama IX, had
initiated a royal project to turn a near-desert region into a greenbelt,
involving improved irrigation and deepening reservoirs.
I had glanced and smiled at Wanna a couple more times before we returned to
when a traditional courtship began. During this time, we covered some stories
together, including military coups, when the elder King Bhumibol ultimately
stepped in to end the chaos. All Thais respected the infallible voice of Rama
IX, who was viewed as above politics. He literally saved the country on multiple
It takes time for an outsider to fathom the inspiration and impact that King Bhumibol had on his nation for seven decades. During my 10 years of residence in
I saw it repeatedly; from the photos of the king in every household, to
audiences standing for the national anthem at movie theaters prior to every
His Majesty personally handed diplomas to graduating college students; Wanna has a photo of the very moment when she received her certificate upon graduation from
generations, the respect for the royal family has been passed down from parents
to children. There are severe laws that forbid defamation of
the royal family. Thammasat
That invitation to dinner with the crown prince turned out to be an auspicious moment; seven years later Wanna and I were married, cementing a personal link with
royal family. When the beloved Rama IX died last year, his son inherited
the throne and the crown prince who brought us together 30 years ago is now King Rama X.
Video of Thais singing Thai Royal Anthem
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
|Rick and Wanna with our hosts Staff Sergeant Tim Wehrli and his wife Kwan.|
|Flashback to a Bangkok ball in the early 1990s, with Vichien Prichanant, the CBS Bureau's fixer.|
|The symbolic "missing man" table setting honors all lost Marines.|
Sunday, October 9, 2016
|Seen in the Iowa Public Radio control room in Des Moines during my final hour on the job. (Photo by Clay Masters)|