Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace
Author Biographies (alphabetical order - click on letter)
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MAUREEN E. NERLI
A native San Franciscan, I attended University of San Francisco, Stanford (postgraduate work in broadcasting), San Francisco State, the Maine Film Directors Workshop, and recently the Hollywood Film School.
I left a fulfilling job as musical director of KFRC-AM, a leading San Francisco radio station, for the job of a lifetime—associate director of the Tan Son Nhut USO Club in Saigon, which lasted eighteen months. After Vietnam, I country-jumped to the USO Club at Utapao, Thailand, and from there I was lured and hired as a Department of the Army Civilian with U.S. Army Special Services, serving in South Korea and Fort Ord, California.
With the Vietnam experience behind me, I set out to right a wrong. I became an activist for the civilian women who served in the Vietnam conflict. I’ve told my story (and their stories as well!) in the following books: A Piece of My Heart: Stories of 26 American Women Who Served in Vietnam; Reflections Between the Lines; Visions of War, Dreams of Peace; and Valiant Women of the Vietnam War. I consulted in the theatrical production of A Piece of My Heart and was featured in Diversion: Vietnam, an award-winning documentary short about USO and American Red Cross volunteers in Vietnam. I also consulted on the ABC-TV series China Beach, which was based in part on A Piece of My Heart. I was also asked by Diane Evans, Director of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, to write a story about the USO for the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Dedication book. And I served a four-year hitch as president of the San Francisco Unit of Women's Overseas Service League.
I am founder of the first memorial in the nation to honor the civilian women: The Civilian Women Volunteers All Wars Memorial Highway, in San Mateo, California. I realized this dream after three years of hard work, speaking to the California State Assembly and Senate for approval and raising the private money for this nongovernment project, and I received a commendation for my work on this from Congressman Tom Lantos.
I believe that once a broadcaster, always a broadcaster. So I was deeply honored to be nominated and accepted into the San Francisco Bay Area Broadcast Legends organization. I still feel obligated to continue my activism for the civilian women who served in Vietnam. Whatever that course may be, I'm ready.
NGUYEN QUI DUC
As much as I would like to deal with other topics, I have continued to write, talk, and dream about wars. When I am not, I am thinking, dreaming, taking pride, and remaining upset over the fact that I was born in one country, and now live in another. You can’t undo the condition of exile. The moment I think I am done, I am right back to deciding where home is. Both Viet Nam and America are homes, but suffice it to say that the one book I have been working on, without hopes of ever finishing, is one tentatively called Home Is Where You Hang Yourself, True Confessions of an Accidental Californian. Now that I am returning to live in Viet Nam after thirty years in the United States, I think that life is full of strange accidents, and if you survive them, you accidentally meet your Buddha nature.