Doug Bradley

Doug Bradley is a Madison, Wisconsin-based Vietnam veteran who has written extensively about his Vietnam, and post-Vietnam, experiences. He was drafted into the U. S. Army in March 1970 and served as an information specialist (journalist) at the Army Hometown News Center in Kansas City, Missouri, and U. S. Army Republic of Vietnam (USARV) headquarters near Saigon. Following his discharge and tenure in graduate school, Doug relocated to Madison where he helped establish Vets House, a storefront, community-based service center for Vietnam era veterans.

In addition to writing a blog for PBS's Next Avenue website, Doug is the author of DEROS Vietnam: Dispatches from the Air-Conditioned Jungle (Warriors Publishing Group, 2012) and co-author with Dr. Craig Werner, UW-Madison Professor of Afro-American Studies, on We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War (University of Massachusetts Press, 2015). The two also co-teach a popular course at UW-Madison entitled “The Vietnam Era: Music, Media, and Mayhem.” 

Brian Bieniek

I joined the Army in 1990 after graduating from Coronado High School in Scottsdale, AZ. I spent my first 4 year enlistment with the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment stationed in Savannah, GA., and served with the Rangers in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. At the end of my enlistment, I joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard and attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where I graduated with a BA in Behavioral Science and Law. In 2005-2006, I served in northern Kuwait and southern Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the 2nd Battalion, 128th Infantry. Then again in 2009-2010, I served in Baghdad, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the 1st Squadron, 105th Cavalry. I currently serve as the Brigade Operations Sergeant with the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and reside in Madison, WI.

I mainly started writing after a lot of compliments from family and friends about the monthly emails I would send home from my deployments describing the daily excitement or boredom we were experiencing. When I came home from overseas, I linked up with the DWP folks and started taking a more serious look at my writing. Not only did it help me to put something historically and personally relevant on paper for others to read (and especially my children when they’re older), but it helped me to focus on thinking about and analyzing my observations and emotions from my time overseas. In addition, DWP motivated me to start looking at experimenting with other styles of writing besides straight, factual storytelling.

Tom Deits

Tom Deits, a former Madison Vet Center trauma counselor, is a founding member of the Deadly Writers Patrol. He is completing work on a novel, US 56465, about his tour of duty. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin.


Tom Helgeson

Tom Helgeson is an original member of the Deadly Writers Patrol. He served as an infantryman in Vietnam from 12/67-12/68 with the 11th Light Infantry Brigade of the Americal Division. Tom is a retired disability examiner who currently lives in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, with Kris, his wife of 43 years. Tom, once again, dons a uniform and shoulders a rifle as a member of the American Legion Firing Squad performing military rites at veterans' funerals in his hometown of Independence, Wisconsin.

Rick Larson

Rick Larson

Rick Larson was a hospital corpsman aboard the USS Repose off the coast of South Vietnam from 1968-1969. Upon his return to the U.S., he went to school using the GI Bill and joined Vets for Peace to try to stop the war. He earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism from UW-Madison and spent his career creating informational programs for a credit union insurance company. He is married and has two children. In 2005, he retired and now spends his time writing and performing with the Vets on Frets musical group.

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Bruce Meredith

Bruce Meredith grew up in St. Louis. During high school he ushered at Sportsman's Park, where he watched Stan Musial play his last game. In 1969, he was studying law and sociology at the University of Wisconsin when the Army tracked him down and dispatched him to Fort Leonard Wood, and then to Fort Sill. A year later he was sent to Vietnam. Bruce was trained in Fire Direction Control, but spent most of his time as a law clerk near Ban Me Thuot, and then as a military intelligence clerk in Nha Trang.

After his service, Bruce completed law school. His first job was to work as a law clerk for the federal judge who presided over the trial of the Gainesville Eight, a group of Vietnam veterans who were indicted for – and subsequently acquitted of – plotting to disrupt the 1972 Republican National Convention. After his retirement, Bruce had the good fortune to join the Deadly Writers Patrol, who helped him understand that the Vietnam War also affected those who weren't involved in actual combat, and that these veterans also had stories they needed to tell.

Steve Piotrowski

I grew up in a rural area of central Wisconsin, graduating from Amherst High School (total enrollment 224, approximately). Three days after graduation, I joined the United States Army for two years, knowing that I could not afford college without working for a few years (which would result in me being drafted), or the aid of the G.I. Bill. My older brother had just returned from Vietnam a couple of months before and strongly advised against enlisting for any longer than required. He told me that if you like it, they will be happy to let you re-enlist; if you don’t, they won’t let you quit.

I went through basic at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, and Advanced Infantry Training at Ft. Lewis, Washington. I had volunteered for Airborne and found that jumping from planes was as big of a thrill as I expected. I, along with 13 others, was mistakenly sent to Ft. Lee, Virginia, instead of Vietnam after Jump School. It took the Army five months to straighten things out, and I arrived in Vietnam in February of 1969. I was assigned to Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Brigade, 173rd Airborne Infantry Brigade, (Separate). I served a year in the field with the “Herd,” primarily as a Radio Operator.

I came back home unwounded physically, but deeply changed. I attended the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, failing out after a couple of years of heavy partying. I eventually returned and graduated with honors in 1977. I became involved in the veterans’ anti-war movement, and eventually in a number of other veteran-related activities. Those volunteer activities lead to a career as a veteran’s advocate. Among other things, I served as State President of VVA when it was first formed, served as Chairman of the board and as Executive Director of “The Highground” veterans memorial, as Portage County Veterans Service Officer, and as the Veterans and Military Case worker for a US Senator. I always had an interest in writing, and joining with the Deadly Writers Patrol has helped that interest grow and flourish. I thank them for letting me be part of the Patrol.

William Schuth

After completing culinary school in 2002, Driftless Area native William Schuth put down his chef’s knife, hung up his toque, and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Despite a staunchly Minnesotan perspective on climate & weather, during his time training at Twentynine Palms, California, William discovered his fascination with (not quite bordering on love for) the desert Southwest. William was assigned to Headquarters Battery, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marines aboard Camp Pendleton, California. In February 2004 he was attached to Echo Battery 2/11 for a deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II. While in Iraq, Echo Battery was employed by Regimental Combat Team 7 as an counter-battery fire artillery unit, a provisional rifle company, and an international border security force in several areas around Al-Anbar, including Camp MEK/Fallujah, Haditha Dam, Al-Asad Airbase, Camp Korean Village, FOB Trebil, and FOB Waleed.

William left the Marine Corps after his enlistment to continue his education, completing a BA in History and a certificate in Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. William returned to UW-Madison as a graduate student. He served as a teaching assistant from 2010-2013, including four iterations of Craig Werner & Doug Bradley's "The Vietnam Era: Music, Media, and Mayhem." He now serves UW-Madison undergraduates as an academic advisor. He maintains a strong practical & professional interest in civil-military relations, particularly military & veteran culture; war & society; and veterans, class, & public policy. He is a lifetime member of Disabled American Veterans. William joined the Deadly Writers Patrol in 2010 and is working on two collections of poetry, including Twelfth General Order and another, as-yet-untitled collection.

Craig Werner

Craig Werner is a member of the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he teaches Vietnam-related classes in the Departments of English and Afro-American Studies and the Integrated Liberal Studies program, which offers the class “The Vietnam Era: Music, Media, and Mayhem.” A native of Colorado Springs, he played with the rock and roll band Armageddon which performed frequently for soldiers stationed at Fort Carson. A member of the Nominating Committee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he is the author of numerous books including Up Around the Bend: An Oral History of Creedence Clearwater Revival; A Change Is Gonna Come: Music, Race & the Soul of America; and Higher Ground: Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield and the Rise & Fall of American Soul. After joining the Deadly Writers Patrol in 2004, he began work on a novel, This Land, five chapters of which have been published in The Deadly Writers Patrol journal. Craig and co-author Doug Bradley's book We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War was published by University of Massachusetts Press in 2015.

Emeritus Members

William A. Baker

William A. Baker, Jr. enlisted in the Marines after graduating from Mineral Point High School. After boot camp and Infantry Training Regiment he was sent to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina for electrician training, then to advanced electrical school. After combat training at Camp Pendleton, California for a month he was stationed at the Marine Corps Air Base Station in Chu Lai, Vietnam until October 1968.


Jean Cheney Duesler was a member of the Deadly Writers Patrol. For twenty-five years she was a Clinical Nursing Instructor in Madison, until her retirement in 1986, and she helped develop the Associate Degree in Nursing at Madison Area Technical College. Jean published The Other Side, a collection of short stories, under her pen name, Cheney Duesler. From 1998-2006, Paul and Jean's home on Arboretum Drive in Madison was Base Camp for the Deadly Writers Patrol. She moved to Prospect, Connecticut following a heart attack in 2006. Jean died on 26 December 2009.


Paul Duesler was a member of the Deadly Writers Patrol. Paul was a World War II Navy veteran, an artist, architectural draftsman, a husband, father, and grandfather. From 1998-2006, the home Paul designed on Arboretum Drive in Madison was Base Camp for the Deadly Writers Patrol. He left this world on 27 August 1999 at his home with his wife, Jean, and his two trusty dogs by his side. He was seventy-five years and twenty-seven days young.

Dennis McQuade

Dennis McQuade was drafted into the US Army's 4th Infantry Division in December 1965. Her trained for nine months with a 4.2 Mortar Platoon at Ft. Lewis, Washington. In September 1966 Dennis' unit was sent to Vietnam on the USNS General Walker. Dennis spent seven months with the 4th Division until he was transferred to the 9th Infantry Divison, where he was a member of a M60 machine gun squad.

When Dennis returned home to Madison, Wisconsin, in September 1967 he became an active member of Veterans for Peace in Vietnam and Vietnam Veterans Against the War. He eventually received both a BA and MSW in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He worked thirty-one years at Dane County Development of Human Services as a Social Worker in the areas of Elder Abuse, Child Welfare, and Neighborhood Social Work until he retired in 2011.


Lisa, a teacher and freelance writer, was a longtime member of the Deadly Writers Patrol. She was born in New York and has taught Vietnam-related classes at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She currently lives in Arlington, Virginia.


Howard was a founding member of the Deadly Writers Patrol. He served as a medic with the 4th Infantry Division in Vietnam in 1966-67. His weekly column, “Across the Fence,” was published in numerous newspapers in Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin and were collected into eight books. Howard was an original board member of The Highground Veterans Memorial Park, the largest veterans memorial in Wisconsin. A commercial artist and writer, Doc handled the layout and graphics duties and served as the original publisher of The Deadly Writers Patrol from 2006-2009. Howard died on 15 November 2016.


Quent Verdier was a member of the Deadly Writers Patrol for four years. Quent was born in Michigan, was married for forty-nine years, was a father, a grandfather, and a veteran of World War II. Quent worked for the government in the AID program for many years and was assigned to Vietnam in the early days before the troop buildup began. He later moved to Madison, where he owned an employment agency business. Quent died on 5 February 2004.