Jan F. Anderson

US Army

Jan F. Anderson was drafted in 1968 after graduating from Alma College. The Army trained him as an infantryman and sent him to Vietnam, where he eventually persuaded his First Sergeant he would be more valuable as a correspondent for the 25th Division Tropic Lightning newspaper.

"Back in The World," that experience helped him land a job as a publication editor for Wisconsin teacher union members. In Madison, he joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Later, he moved to California to be a communications consultant for the teacher's union in California. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin, where he enjoys laying out The Deadly Writers Patrol using Adobe InDesign.

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Doug Bradley

US Army

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.” 

 
 
 
 

Tom Deits

US Army

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.

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Tom Helgeson

US Army

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

US Navy

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

US Army

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

US Army

Raised in rural central Wisconsin, I graduated from a small high school in 1968 (enrollment-224).  Three days later became a member of the United States Army (two year as a volunteer rather than a two-year draftee).  I couldn’t afford college without the G.I. Bill. My brother returned from Vietnam a couple of months before I enlisted and advised against enlisting for any longer than required, saying, “If you like it, they will be happy to let you re-enlist; if you don’t, they won’t let you quit.”

Basic was at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky where I volunteered for jump school, with Advanced Infantry Training at Ft. Lewis, Washington. Airborne school at Benning was a thrill. Afterwards, it took the Army five months to straighten out mistaken orders to Ft. Lee, Va.  I was sent to the 173rd Airborne Infantry Brigade, (Separate) in February 1969. I spent my year in the bush of II Corps with the “Herd,” primarily as the company radio operator.

Back home unwounded physically, but deeply affected by my Vietnam experience, I enrolled at WSU-Stevens Point, where a couple of years of heavy partying led to my dropping out before graduating in 1977. I became involved with the veterans’ anti-war movement while in school. That involvement led to additional work with veterans as the State President of VVA, Executive Director of “The Highground” veteran’s memorial, County Veterans Service Officer and finally as the Veterans 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.  My wife Lynne, has put up with me for over forty years, and I am deeply grateful for her support.

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William Schuth

US Marine Corps

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, studying civil-military relations, particularly military & veteran culture; war & society; and veterans, class, & public policy. He now serves UW-Madison undergraduates as an academic advisor. 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 Department of 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 RevivalA 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. 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.

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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.

Brian Bieniek

Brian Bieniek joined the Army in 1990 after graduating from Coronado High School in Scottsdale, AZ. He spent his first four year enlistment with the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, and served with the Rangers in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. At the end of his enlistment he joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard and attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where he graduated with a B.A. in Behavioral Science and Law. In 2005-2006, Brian served in northern Kuwait and southern Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the 2nd Battalion, 128th Infantry. In 2009-2010, he served in Baghdad, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the 1st Squadron, 105th Cavalry. He currently serves as the Chief Operations Supervisor with the 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade and resides in Madison, WI.

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

J.C. DUESLER

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

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. He 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 PHOTOS

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 "DOC" SHERPE

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

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.

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Dan Antolec

Glenn Clark

Bob Cook

SUSAN KNOEDEL

Dennis Tierney

Rich Wangard