The Cavalair

The Cavalair was the First Cavalry Division’s weekly newspaper in Vietnam. Its stories and photographs of front line and rear units were produced by an intrepid staff of roving Army reporters. A morale builder, the paper effectively sugar coated the war, pumping out a steady stream of upbeat combat and human interest stories. The Cavalair handily downplayed US losses and civilian upheaval, while applauding First Cav combat troops, body counts, and the good life in the rear. Even so, for grunts and remfs a good read in a bad war was much appreciated.

Courtesy of the Texas Tech Vietnam Virtual Archive and its J.D. Coleman Collection, below are the available issues of The Cavalair covering most of Medic’s tour of November 1969 to November 1970.

Additionally, Medic highly recommends Conrad Leighton’s War Stories: A GI Reporter in Vietnam, 1970-1971. The book is composed of Leighton’s stories for the Cavalair, Stars and Stripes, and his letters home. The brisk one and two page entries showcase Leighton’s mature voice, narrative style and inquisitive eye. To find stories, he volunteered on patrol with Echo 1-7 Cav; hitched rides to remote fire bases; interviewed a litany of grunts, arty crews, officers, casualties, lifers—-by great coincidence Leighton interviewed Medic’s replacement, Harvey Stringer. Leighton’s stories on the small joys and daily miseries of grunts in the field, the obscene luxuries available to remfs in the rear, make great reading. A dozen of his excellent photos accompany the text.

As well, Medic highly recommends Marine war correspondent Gustav Hasford’s The Short Timer’s, better known to movie goer’s as Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket. Out of print and costly, a good library might have it.





Obit: J.D. Colemean

Gustav Hasford