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New Book Shares Stories of the American Forces Vietnam Network

AFVN broadcast to the U.S. military during the Vietnam War

A newly-released book titled “Hot Mics and TV Lights: The American Forces Vietnam Network” tells the story of the military broadcast network that served U.S. service personnel during the Vietnam War.

At the height of American involvement in the war, Armed Forces Vietnam Network served more than 500,000 fighting men and women at one time — first with radio, then with a number of television stations.

The author, military journalist Marc Phillip Yablonka, said much of what has previously been written about the American Forces Vietnam Network “has been overstated and far from comprehensive, including the most famous work: the movie ‘Good Morning, Vietnam.'”

Hot Mics and TV Lights shares the perspective of 37 individuals who served with AFVN over the course of the war.

“Although many of the stories are humorous, AFVN suffered significant casualties,” wrote Yablonka. “Five broadcasters were taken prisoner, and at least one radio announcer earned a Purple Heart while on air. But typical war stories do not dominate this book.”

Instead, Yablonka said readers will hear the memories of “Bobbie the Weathergirl,” Vietnam’s biggest TV celebrity, and Wheel of Fortune game show host Pat Sajak when he was an AFVN deejay.

Yablonka said Hot Mics and TV Lights gives readers a broad sense of what those serving with the network experienced.

“[It’s] not just another book about the Vietnam War, but rather the chronicle of a storied broadcast network and its personnel who did their jobs as a costly war was being waged, often just outside their studio doors.”

Hot Mics and TV Lights can be purchased on Amazon.

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