On Wednesday, May 21, 1997, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., on the campus of Green River Community College in Auburn, Washington, Communications instructor David A. Willson conducted a Viet Nam War Writers' Symposium dedicated to Gustav Hasford. In attendance were the 40 or so members of his class "The Viet Nam War and the Media," plus invited guests, including Gus's fellow Snuffies, Steve Bernston and Earl Gerheim. The symposium began with a dedication to Gus. His short story "Is That You, John Wayne? Is This Me?" was read, and the scene it became in Full Metal Jacket was viewed. Discussion followed. Bernston and Gerheim screened a documentary on Hue City titled "Bloody Tet" as well as several slides of Gus. They talked extensively about Gus, his life and work. The following are excerpts from that symposium. Special thanks goes to David Willson for providing this material.
the transcript of the symposium,
complete with images and audio clips
Willson served with the Army in Viet Nam, 1966-67. He is
the author of REMF Diary: A Novel of the Vietnam War and The
REMF Returns, very funny, very ironic novels of the Vietnam War, both
published by Black Heron Press, as well as In the Army Now: A Novel
of War and Love, Vietnam War Literature: An Annotated Bibliography of Imaginative
Works About Americans Fighting in Vietnam and various contributions
to the Vietnam Generation Journal. He received a bachelor's degree
in English and master's in Librarianship from the University of Washington,
Seattle. Currently he serves as Communications Instructor and Archivist
of the Joe Hooper Viet Nam War Literature Collection at Green River Community
College in Auburn, Washington. His current research involves gold
mining, vigilantes, Indians, and Calamity Jane in Virginia City, Montana
circa 1863. He enjoys listening to the blues, especially Fred McDowell.
Vietnam War Generation Journal
Green River Community College Homepage
Considered the most highly educated mailman
in Spokane, Washington, Earl
Gerheim enjoyed a 23-year journalism career before finally making
a major career change that sees him now fighting off angry dogs instead
of angry coaches.
He has worked for The Associated Press and three newspapers, covering everything from world title fights, the Rose Bowl, hockey playoffs, politics and travel. The high point, however, was his time as a Marine combat correspondent in Vietnam from 1967-68.
"Hundreds of people like myself have interviewed and written about Muhammad Ali and Wayne Gretzky. But the Marine grunts and Navy corpsmen who bore the brunt of the war had a handful of guys like me to tell their stories. Now, 32 years later I am stilll in touch with many of them who want reprints of pieces I did on them,'' he said. "I spent most of my time since the Marine Corps covering sports. I reached a point where I got tired of coaches getting in my face about something I wrote about their half-literate jocks. "
Gerheim holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Pacific Lutheran University and bachelor's and master's degrees in history from Eastern Washington University. He has numerous regional and local journalism awards and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Ernie Pyle Award for general reporting in 1978. He received a Navy Commendation Medal with Combat "V" and two Purple Hearts for his service in Vietnam.
Audio files from the symposium
have also been added
to the following pages in the Photo Album:
There It Is
A Gung-Ho Bunch
Comes and Goes, and Ends
Back To The Land
Enjoying the Adventure
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