John Del Vecchio attended Lafayette College in the late 1960s, a time when tensions over U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War was high. Anti-war protests emerged all around him and popular media figures constantly spoke of the war in negative terms. He even had professors who refused to teach in protest of the war. Yet, Del Vecchio remained skeptical about how bad things really were in Vietnam. On Nov. 4, 1969, he got his chance to see the Vietnam War for himself.
In this episode of Borne the Battle, Del Vecchio shares how he went from being a combat correspondent to a very accomplished author. Some of the topics covered include:
- His experience training at The Defense Information School.
- The hurdles he had to go through to get his orders changed and be sent to Vietnam.
- His unique experience serving as a combat correspondent with the 101st Airborne Division.
- The act of heroism that earned him a Bronze Star Medal with a “V”.
- His experiences after returning from Vietnam.
- How he got his first book published and what he thinks today’s aspiring authors need to do to find success.
Having experienced the Vietnam War firsthand, Del Vecchio has prioritized what he calls “setting the Vietnam War’s record straight.” In 1972, Del Vecchio began writing his first book, “13th Valley,” hoping to leave a factual account of the Vietnam War available for future historians and Veterans. The last thing he expected was to write one of the best books on the Vietnam War and to receive acclaim from Vietnam Veterans around the world.
When not fighting against Vietnam War misinformation, Del Vecchio likes to be one with nature. He is an avid hiker who enjoys discussing contemporary American culture alongside stunning photos of nature on his blog.
With a life full of unique and diverse experiences, Del Vecchio’s interview has something interesting for listeners from any walk of life.
Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:
- Army Veteran Marie Rossi
- Borne the Battle Ep. 170: Dale Dye
- Borne the Battle Ep. 203: Erik Schlimmer, Serial Hiker
- Vietnam Veterans for Factual History, the nonprofit Del Vecchio works with to combat Vietnam War misinformation
Calvin Wong is an intern with VA’s Digital Media Engagement team. He studies History as an undergraduate at the University of California, Davis.