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GI Press Preservation Project Launched
By John Arnold
In the Vietnam War era, anti-war members of the US military and their supporters found voice for their concerns in what eventually added up to hundreds of underground newspapers produced and circulated everywhere, inside the Pentagon itself, aboard ships at sea and on and around military bases around the world. With names such as Left Face, About Face, Harass the Brass, A Four-Year Bummer, The Fort Polk Puke, RITA, FTA, Marine Blues and Rough Draft they served as an organizing tool, a platform for discussion of issues the military chain of command should have cared about but didn't and a way of letting the rest of America know that opposition to the war was widespread in the armed forces.
These newspapers, largely overlooked by historians, had great impact at the time and are now in danger of being lost altogether. They were generally printed on cheap paper that will crumble to dust before too many more years pass.
To insure that this legacy and effort is not lost, a GI Press Preservation Project has been launched in Philadelphia, where several of the best collections of Vietnam-era GI newspapers are located. James Lewes, who worked on the GI Press part of the movie Sir! No Sir! is spearheading an effort to digitally copy all still-existing copies of Vietnam-era GI newspapers so that they will not be lost to history when the paper they are printed on crumbles and can be shared more widely and take their rightful place in the history of the Vietnam War and the GI Movement that opposed it.
Anyone with any Vietnam-era GI newspapers in their possession, or anyone with any questions about the project is encouraged to contact James Lewes at firstname.lastname@example.org. Financial support of the project is also needed and can be sent to:
Veterans For Peace-31
c/o Thompson Bradley
11 Price's Lane
Rose Valley, PA 19063-4214
noting that the donation is for the GI Press Project.
John Arnold enlisted in the Marines at age 17 in 1968, and ended up co-editing the second incarnation of the Marine Corps' first anti-war newspaper, Head On!. His collection of 70+ different GI newspapers now is in the Peace Collection of Swarthmore College's Library.