By David R. Frazier, editor
Excerpt from his book, “DRAFTED! Vietnam at war and at peace”
President Donald Trump’s advocacy for the drug Chloroquine brought back memories from 52 years ago for Frazier who was prescribed the “malaria pill” following his Vietnam service in the Army.
In July of 1968 while working at the Ypsilanti Press, I got a call from Art Chernicki, the UPI photo chief for Michigan. The White House had just announced President Lyndon Johnson was making a surprise visit to the American Legion Convention in Detroit. Could I cover his airport arrival?
Detroit Metro Airport was midway between Ypsilanti and Detroit, so the drive didn’t take more than half an hour. The field was divided in half with the civilian terminal on one side and the
Air National Guard hangars on the other side much like Gowen Field in Boise.
Soon I noticed a slender old guy wearing a white dinner jacket festooned with medals standing off to one side by himself. He looked like either a Navy captain or a chauffeur. Then it hit me. It was General William Westmoreland, my former top commander in Vietnam and now chief of staff of the U.S. Army.
It was a hot Michigan July day with huge thunder clouds billowing up in the distance. We were all killing time awaiting the arrival of Air Force One.
“Those clouds look almost like a monsoon don’t they,” I
remarked to the general for openers.
“Were you over there son?”
“Yessir. I got back a month before you did. I work for a local
paper and UPI now.”
About then the broadcast media boys recognized Westy and stuck microphones in his face.
“Gentlemen! Would you excuse us. This young man and I are talking,” he admonished. They backed off and we continued our idle chitchat. No doubt he was using me as an excuse to not talk to the media or take the spotlight off his boss, President Johnson. An unknown photographer made an extremely respectful and kind gesture when he silently walked up behind me and removed one of my cameras from my neck. He made several shots, including one (above) which made the rounds of the wire services
captioned, “Two Veterans discuss the war.” Little did they know the real conversation.
We talked a bit more about returning home, my old unit in Saigon, etc.
At that point he asked, “How long did it take you to get
“I wasn’t regular sir. I got drafted so I was U.S.” I explained referring to my service number prefix.
“No no. I mean REGULAR. I have had the trots ever since I got back and I can’t get regular,” he confided.
Responding way outside my pay grade, I advised the chief of staff of the Army to stop taking the malaria pills–CHLOROQUINE– we were all instructed to take every Monday for several months after returning from Vietnam.
“You think that will work?”
“Worked for me,” I said with a smile.
About then there was a stirring among those standing around the black presidential limousine as Air Force One taxied off the runway.
“Well, I have to greet the president. Nice chatting with you,” said the general as he strode away to stand at the foot of the portable stairs and offer a salute to the commander in chief.
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Aug 4, 2020, 11:28 pm
Very good story. Thank you.
Aug 5, 2020, 8:49 am
I have thoroughly enjoyed your shared memories. We often see the lighter side of some difficult times. Good time to remind readers of you book! https://www.amazon.com/Drafted-Vietnam-David-R-Frazier/dp/0945648227
Aug 5, 2020, 11:06 am
Nice touch, I too would be proud at helping make a General regular.
Aug 5, 2020, 11:32 am
Great story – thanks for sharing.
Aug 5, 2020, 12:34 pm
I would say the experiment is complete. It has been in general use for more than five decades. We don’t need a doctor or scientist. We don’t need a double blind research study. We can dispense with the political posturing. All we need is a guy with a green visor shade and a calculator. What is the infection rate, the severity rate, the death rate of those with said induced trots?
Aug 5, 2020, 4:02 pm
Great story, Fraz!
That might explain ol’ diarrhea-mouth’s problem. He thought those capsules were suppositories.
Aug 5, 2020, 8:46 pm
Good story and picture, Dave.
I had a kind of similar thing happen in Iraq. Robin Williams and assorted folks were at our base for a USO event.
We did not have the time to go, but we realized the C-17 used to transport them was parked near our building. We hopped in a truck and rode out to their jet.
I got a picture with Robin Williams. What I didn’t realize is that the Chairman of the JCS was with them until I turned around and saw Admiral Mullen right in front of me. I shook his hand and got a very cool coin from him.
Only in the military…
EDITOR NOTE–No doubt that event will stay with you for at least 50 years as well.
Aug 5, 2020, 8:58 pm
Awesome story and photo!
Aug 6, 2020, 4:42 pm
Great story, I just ordered the book and look forward to the read.
Aug 9, 2020, 11:28 pm
And HCQ WORKS as advertised….PERIOD!
Go find America’s Frontline Doctors summit video on Bitchute. It’s all you need to know.
Aug 10, 2020, 10:44 am
It would be nice if known false statements and implications, such as FA & Caeth, were not allowed here- particularly when it regards our public health.
Much like Facebook & Twitter, now, removing some lies by Liar Trump.
further proof, lupus patiences (regularly using HCQ) are still getting COVID.
btw, Trump is NOT advocating for the drug Chloroquine- he is advocating and stated he ingests hydroxychloroquine. Different things. Different applications.
EDITOR NOTE–Good point. Comments are only opinions of those who post them. Neither the GUARDIAN or readers are qualified to offer medical advice.
Aug 10, 2020, 2:41 pm
I take offense, Easterner. What’s the harm in a comparative analysis to show weather those who have ingested are affected at a different rate? No opinion, nothing false, nothing implied.
Aug 17, 2020, 11:47 am
Thank you for the great story!
Aug 17, 2020, 10:24 pm
Classy as always
Aug 19, 2020, 7:33 pm
Just saw this, great story Dave.
Sep 16, 2020, 9:52 am
Read your book and enjoyed it. Gave to my dad.
I have a request of readers. A dear friend briefly dated a guy who is embellishing his military service record so as to have more credibility with volunteer organizations. Considerable perks have been showered on him. Makes me sick. Can anyone tell me of a professional and credible Stolen Valor investigative organization operating in Idaho. Innocent until proven otherwise is very important.
EDITOR NOTE–Reader, glad you enjoyed the book and thanks for taking the time to get it. Hope Dad enjoys as well. Can’t help on stolen valor, but have run across some of those guys.