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MICHAEL HERR

Regarding “A Man of Few Words,” by Paul Ciotti (April 15). Marines in Vietnam, for the most part, were ground grunts who fought their way in and fought their way out. Nevertheless, we did use helicopters for resupply and medical evacuations. Marines often eagerly awaited the supply of choppers for food, water and ammo. More than once, hungry Marines waited to unload food only to find that the C-rations had been bumped by a chubby-cheeked reporter who would bounce out of the chopper wearing starched utilities and a Stateside smile.

As soon as the kimchi hit the fan, the reporter would be gone on the first outward-bound helicopter. We had a saying: “There are three ways to get a helicopter ride: Be dead, be dying or be a reporter.”

Now we learn that reporter Michael Herr was reporting fiction. Herr admits, “A lot of ‘Dispatches’ is fiction. . . .” Too bad he couldn’t proclaim that 13 years ago when he published the book.

TIMOTHY S. LOWRY

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San Pedro


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