NJ Vietnam vet turns personal war diary into a book

McGinnis not only used it, including some incredible photos, but he’s turned it into a tool to gain perspective on life whenever needed.

News 12 Staff

Nov 11, 2022, 12:13 PM

Updated 522 days ago

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Many people keep a diary — but not many are like 77-year-old Vietnam War vet James McGinnis’ during his tour of duty.
McGinnis’ diary is now a book, “Romeo 1-1,” which is named after a radio call sign he had in Vietnam, where he was deployed in the Reconnaissance Delta Company, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment from July 1966 through July 1967.
"A buddy of mine gave me this diary, his name is Dennis Buttacavoli, before I deployed and he said take this with you and record everything that you experience from day one until you come home,” said McGinnis.
McGinnis not only used it, including some incredible photos, but he’s turned it into a tool to gain perspective on life whenever needed.
“When I come to a difficult day, I go back to that day in 1966, 1967 and really see how tough of a day it really is and what it was,” he said. “And that's my perspective and that's how I started the book."
McGinnis said putting the book together was emotional and difficult at times. 
“When I was checking to make sure everything was spelled correctly and everything … I would go back to that date and see exactly where I was during that time period,” he said. “When you have an experience like that especially a combat situation where your life is on the line, you remember it so vividly."
These days, McGinnis gives tours at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial Museum and Education Center in Holmdel.
“Romeo 1-1” is available on Amazon.


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