He Reported From The Trenches From World War II To Vietnam


If the ebook (and 1943 film) title “Guadalcanal Diary” rings a bell, odds are that you’ve got heard of the journalist Richard Tregaskis, who wrote the ebook. In that bestseller, Tregaskis advised the story of the World Conflict II battle as a battle correspondent who was within the thick of the motion with U.S. Marines through the first few weeks of August and September 1942. The New York Instances known as the ebook “one of many literary occasions of its time.”

Odds are also that you simply didn’t know Tregaskis lined the wars in Korea and Vietnam and in 1963 printed the award-winning Vietnam Diary, a private account providing a slice of a really totally different battle.

In Richard Tregaskis: Reporting Below Fireplace from Guadalcanal to Vietnam, biographer Ray E. Boomhower offers a revealing, in-depth image of his topic’s life. Boomhower takes the reader into the trenches with Tregaskis as he chronicles the journalist’s brave, award-winning protection for the Worldwide Information Service in each the Pacific and European theaters of World Conflict II. Boomhower, a senior editor on the Indiana Historic Society Press, additionally features a detailed account of Tregaskis’ lesser-known experiences protecting the Vietnam Conflict.

The gangly, bespectacled, 6-foot-5-inch Harvard-educated reporter grew up through the Melancholy in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Tregaskis developed his model of customized journalism as a newly minted battle correspondent, relying closely on the each day dairies he saved as he enmeshed himself into the lives of the Marines on Guadalcanal. He went on to spend numerous hours with American troops in Europe, the place he suffered a severe head wound close to Cassino, Italy, and later in Korea and Vietnam.

Tregaskis continued to apply his type of private journalism when he arrived in Vietnam in October 1962 through the quickly increasing U.S. advisory effort. For the following three months he once more put himself in peril, hooked up to Marine, Military and Particular Forces models as a result of—as he put it—the “most dramatic and thrilling tales in battle are discovered the place the motion is.”

He held the then broadly accepted view in America that it was mandatory for the U.S. to assist cease communism in Southeast Asia earlier than it unfold all through the world. Tregaskis additionally believed his reporting ought to help U.S. coverage and shine a optimistic mild on the troops doing the preventing.

That put him at odds with the youthful era of battle correspondents in Vietnam within the early Nineteen Sixties, primarily David Halberstam of The New York Instances, Malcolm Browne of The Related Press and Neil Sheehan of United Press Worldwide. Like Tregaskis, they got here to Vietnam believing the U.S. had an obligation to cease communism there and definitely supported American troops. (Browne and Sheehan have been each U.S. Military veterans.) But additionally they believed, in Boomhower’s phrases, that it was their job “and the accountability of different journalists in Vietnam to report on the information, optimistic or adverse” and that “mentioning errors in how the battle was being run was serving to the troops within the subject.”

Tregaskis by no means wavered from his hawkishness and perception that adverse reporting on the battle was a disservice to navy personnel in hurt’s manner. Tregaskis held that view to his dying day, Aug. 15, 1973, when he suffered a coronary heart assault and drowned close to his residence within the waters simply off Ala Moana Seashore in Oahu, Hawaii. He was 56 years previous.

Richard Tregaskis

Reporting Below Fireplace from Guadalcanal to Vietnam
by Ray Boomhower, Excessive Street Books, 2021

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