Journalist Nancy E. Lynch, author of the award-winning social history “Vietnam Mailbag, Voices From the War: 1968-1972,” and Vietnam veteran Rick Lovekin will join forces for a program at 6 p.m. on July 25 at the CHEER Coastal Leisure Center. Their presentation, designed as a salute to all Vietnam veterans, is sponsored by the CHEER Center, at 30637 Cedar Neck Road in Ocean View.
Lynch, who lives in Bethel, will read selected correspondence from servicemen featured in her book, based on the nearly 1,000 letters and hundreds of pictures her popular column “Nancy’s Vietnam Mailbag” received for five years from U.S. troops on the front lines during the undeclared and polarizing war.
In her final column, in December 1972, she promised “her guys” she would someday put all their war letters and pictures in a book to honor them. The 2008 Veterans Day release of her 456-page social history fulfilled her pledge. The book earned a gold medal from Independent Publisher in 2009 for Best Non-Fiction in the Mid-Atlantic.
Lovekin, who had a medical disability and could have avoided service in Vietnam, chose instead to enlist in the Army and spent a year in combat as a door gunner on a Huey helicopter and later as crew chief on a Cobra chopper. He was based in Bien Hoa and Vung Tau with the 147th Helicopter Company.
He wrote frequently to Lynch during his 1969-1970 tour, always signing his letters, “Your Man in Nam.” He will share some of his combat experiences, as well as slides of images from Vietnam enhanced with 1960s music. Now retired, Lovekin, formerly of New Castle County, lives in North East, Md.
Lynch and Lovekin will be available for questions after their program and to autograph copies of Vietnam Mailbag at $40. A DVD based on the book will also be on sale for $10.