Bio

 
 


Retired from the Senior Executive Service at the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C., I served for twelve years as Deputy Chief Counsel at the Federal Transit Administration and, for the preceding fifteen years, as Assistant Chief Counsel for Safety at the Federal Railroad Administration. I graduated from Princeton University in 1967 and Georgetown University Law Center in 1974. I had another career as a high school and college wrestler. 


My four years of military service were punctuated by a year (1969) as an Army photographer in the Vietnam War, when I led a team responsible for documenting photographically everything the U.S. Army was doing medically throughout South Vietnam during the war, using 16mm Arriflex film cameras and 35mm Nikon still cameras. Often working with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research's Medical Research Team in Vietnam, we traveled throughout the country by jeeps, helicopters, and C-130's. Since my boss, Hal Dixon, was located in Washington, D.C., I had unusual, perhaps unique, freedom as a lieutenant to plan, direct, and conduct our activities.


In Army field and evacuation hospitals, such as the 12th Evacuation Hospital at Cu Chi, the 17th Field Hospital at Qui Nhon, and the 91st Evacuation Hospital at Chu Lai, we filmed surgical procedures on wounded soldiers just after they were delivered by medevac helicopters from the battlefield. The injuries were often so severe that these cases would rarely, if ever, be seen in a Stateside hospital; thus, we were capitalizing on a horrible opportunity. By filming the sometimes necessarily creative techniques of the Army surgeons, we were able to provide the raw material needed to develop graphic and detailed training materials for surgeons, OR nurses, and other medical personnel and so contribute to saving future lives. My poem "The Operating Room," as well as others, derives from this experience.


We also filmed a wide variety of field activities, for example, in leper colonies where Army medical personnel provided medical care, in the Mekong Delta where infantry soldiers developed unusual dermatological conditions as they trudged through rice paddies for days at a time, in camps on the Cambodian border where Army Special Forces provided medical care to indigenous peoples.


The life and death and maiming of war are ever with me

from places like DaNang on the coast, Phu Bai near the border with North Vietnam, and My Tho in the Deltabut remain interwoven with memories of bar girls on Tu Do Street and the "Saigon Tea" we bought them, one after another; visits to small, pastoral villages where residents swept out the dirt floors of their tenuous homes each day; the open markets redolent with nuoc mam and live chickens, ducks, and dogs; of the mystery dish, Meat Seven Ways, offered in cafes; dinners on the rooftop of the Rex Hotel; the clay courts at the Saigon Tennis Club; Dragon Lau's restaurant in Cholon; French onion soup; a few days in the Mekong Delta aboard the Navy ships of my college roommates, then-Ensigns Gordie Keen and Bruce Wallace; the enveloping noise: the small, whining engines of the cyclos, the bombs, the airplanes and choppers; my Thai-Chinese girl friend Kim; graceful Vietnamese women in flowing, silk ao dais, twirling colorful umbrellas as they promenaded side by side along the Perfume River in Hue just a year after the devastation wrought there by the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong during Tet in 1968; sharing those days in Hue, and the adventures of getting there and back, with my college classmate Frank Upham, an inquiring civilian on the loose in Vietnam; and my eager and professional photographers, Steve Lake and Jim Kirkham, as well as Gil and Sgt. Estes and the others. As for most war veterans, this formative experience as a 23-year old lieutenant took root deep in my own psychology and now intensifies my response to the questionable exercise of our country’s military power.


Lois and I have lived for many years in Silver Spring, Maryland. We have three children and five grandchildren. Jeremy and his family (Melanie, Lynsey, and Douglas) live in Charleston, South Carolina, where he is an endocrinologist and Melanie an internal medicine nurse practitioner. Becky and her family (Pete, John, Jake, and Maria) live in Olney, Maryland, just 15 minutes away. A dietitian, Becky is now a stay-at-home mom, as well as hospice volunteer, while Pete markets software systems to nursing homes. Danny is a teaching tennis pro in the Washington, D.C., area, as well as the ninth-ranked court tennis player in the country, as well as newly affianced to Cari Zimmerman of New York, who works in D.C. as Marketing Manager of the Water Environment Federation.