Veterans Across America

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Veterans Across America

Vietnam Memoir, Loon.

Dr. Healey's story about Jack.

I am enormously proud to report that my old and dear friend, Jack McLean, is a published author, as his extraordinary book about his epic journey—fromAndover to Vietnam to Harvard—is being published by Random House.  The book is titled Loon: A Marine’s Story, a reference to the Battle for LZ Loon, which happened outside of Khe Sanh, Vietnam during three days in June 1968 that, as Jack says, “will never be forgotten.”  I am proud to say that I was Jack’s classmate at both Andover and Harvard. I’ll let Jack tell his riveting story.

“Five years ago, I set out to become a writer. I was unemployed, recently married, and struggling with the dormant torment of my Marine Corps service inVietnam. My writing career began with the transcription of the 102 letters home written during my two year enlistment. The letters began to morph into a book and I dared to dream that I could be a writer. Slowly, I became consumed – some might say possessed – by the book, which I wanted published both for my own validation and that of my fallen brothers in arms. I lost a job. A month later, my marriage ended. She said "I never want to hear the word 'Vietnam’ again." Broke and now homeless, I accepted the generous invitation of two friends to live over their garage in North Carolina. My family, friends, and Marine Corps brothers believed in me and provided the enormous positive strength I required to complete the book. Over time I had acquired the services of a brilliant editor and a top New York literary agent. Three months ago, I delivered the finished product to my agent. Last week, thanks to her efforts, we learned that Random House will publish the book in May, 2009.

“The big day dawned at the legendary Algonquin Hotel, home to visiting authors for nearly a century. I'd stayed there before - with hope that some of the fairy dust would rub off on me. I met my agent at her 62 Bleecker Street office. (As it happens, she has also been the agent for our Andover classmate Jim Kunen.) I later met my publisher at Random House. He took me through the office and introduced the individuals who had acquired Loon. It was a dream. Among the players was the head of publicity. We talked about Terri Gross, Oprah, and Imus. We talked about a book tour. He said I needn't be concerned about going to (for example) Cedar Rapids, Iowa. They no longer invested in whistle-stops for turnouts that drew less than 10 people.

I begged to differ.  My comrade-in-arms Wayne Wood is from Cedar Rapids. Woody was the most severely wounded survivor of the Battle for LZ Loon. He received the Last Rites of the Catholic Church three times and survived. He returned to Cedar Rapids to marry Jan, his high school sweetheart. They now have children and grandchildren. Cedar Rapids? I'd begin in Cedar Rapids.

My other fallen comrades?  Woody Carbaugh was from Thurmont, Maryland; Joe Klein from Highland Park, New Jersey; Cliff Eaton from Cortland, New York; Jim Barbour from New Rochelle, New York; George King, from Clatskanie, Ohio; Tom Morrissey from Dover, New Hampshire. They all were killed during those three horrific days in June 1968, and were joined by several dozen others. Thanks to my agent, Random House, and many supportive friends - I am proud to be able to tell the world about the Charlie Company Marines of LZ Loon.”  Great work, Jack.  We can’t wait to read the book.

By the way, Jack has been blogging on a regular basis for some time now.  Catch what he has to say at:

 More reviews... © Jack Mclean 2013