When I met Corporal Rick Fredericksen at the American Forces Vietnam Network Saigon station in 1969, he was possibly the youngest, least experienced reporter in the pack. But we were all being asked not to report the news so much as to present it. Rick had recently completed military journalism school, aka DINFOS at 18 while his colleagues came to their jobs from a variety of civilian broadcast and educational experiences. But it was Fredericksen who stayed in Southeast Asia and grew wise. He accumulated contacts, information, and skills that focused his reporting on the events in and around the area for 25 years, leaving as the CBS News bureau chief in Bangkok in 1995.
In the news room in Saigon, Vietnam in 1969, the biggest local story was progress of the American war effort and about the coming redeployment of many of the one half million troops stationed in Southeast Asia while the rest of the world watched America land a man on the moon. Rick Fredericksen was there to see the censorship story develop, the making of the movie "Good Morning, Vietnam", the secret war in Cambodia, POW negotiations, effects of the defoliant Agent Orange, and the fall of music icon Michael Jackson on tour in Thailand. This is the consummate “story behind the news”, Rick telling his own story and that of others in Southeast Asia. His pack rat collection of notes, clips, and memories provide the authoritative documentation for the events he describes.
It is a story that begins and ends with his own Iowa values and roots. He recently concluded a career capper back home at Iowa Public Radio but continues to write for electronic media and Vietnam Magazine.