To Whom It May Concern,
I am inquiring into the possibility of speaking with a Navy Corpsman who served with a patrol in Vietnam . I am currently learning more about the experiences of a group that was in harm's way to a great degree, but about which there is little written. I fully respect any Sailor, Marine, Soldier, or Airman's privacy, but think there is a story to be told. I am currently writing a novel about a young person who is drafted and serves during the war in 1970. As an aside, I just finished Karl Marlante's Matterhorn , and even more so respect that even fiction has to be "told right."
My background is this: I am a 62 year old physician, who is currently the medical director for my state's drug and alcohol treatment administration. One mission is to be prepared for the current and future veterans who need an array of services and support. My training is in psychiatry and addiction medicine. Although I did not serve in any branch of military service, my family comes from a proud tradition in the Marines. My father, John B. Cohen, had retired as a Major in the Marine Reserves, after serving as a Lieutenant and Captain in the Pacific Theater in WWII, especially at Roi Namur, Saipan and Tinian. He was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for rescuing several sailors who was swept over in the Kwajelein Reef. He also related to me some stories about the day-to-day courage of his men in battle, including the Naval Corpsmen.
I am, however, making this request as a private citizen, not connected to my governmental service. The novel I am currently revising spans the lifetime of one person from early childhood through his being in Vietnam . It is not intended to focus on the right or wrong of war or of the Vietnam War in general, but the experience taken from the viewpoint of a young man who eventually became a corpsman: what he learned in preparatory training, what he carried with him into battle, how he kept watch over the health and safety of the patrol, and how he interacted with the staff, patrol officers, and combat marines.
I thank you for your consideration. If I can gain permission, I would anticipate being oriented to the process for interviewing, having already read through the relevant portions of your public relations manual.
Peter R. Cohen MD
14403 Butternut Court
Rockville , Maryland MD
Home (after 5 pm): 301-871-8947
Mobile Phone (personal): 240-432-5019