AN UNPRECEDENTED HONOR - COMMUNIST
VIETNAM MAKES OFFICIAL STATEMENT ON DEATH
OF BELOVED ASSOCIATED PRESS WAR
CORRESPONDENT GEORGE ESPER - SAYS AP
NEWSMAN "A KIND AND CARING GENTLEMAN"
WE JOURNALISTS WHO WERE PRIVILEGED TO
HAVE KNOWN AND WORKED WITH ESPER
KNEW HE WAS POLITICALLY UNBIASED - LIVED
HIS LIFE AS TESTIMONY TO KINDNESS AND
DECENCY - HE WAS TRULY "ONE-OF-A-KIND"
© 2012 MilitaryCorruption.com
For some ten years, George Esper enabled The Associated Press to score scoop after scoop in the intensive battle for news coverage supremacy between AP and United Press International, as well as other wire services and news organizations in Vietnam.
The hallmark of the AP war correspondent was his even-handed, fair reportage. While some of the "mainstream media" wore their leftist bias on their sleeve, Esper was a consummate professional. A onetime Air Force captain, George loved America and would never do or say anything to undermine national security. He always told the truth and let his readers decide what was what.
A friend to all, and outstanding mentor to young journalists over the years, George was known for his kindness and decency.
He was a competitive reporter, but he never played dirty or engaged in methods that would bring shame upon his profession.
Perhaps that is why, in a truly unprecedented action, the Communist government in Vietnam issued an official statement upon the recent death of this outstanding "bao chi."
From his sick bed in Maine, our editor-in-chief, MAJ Glenn MacDonald, USAR (Ret), sent in his thoughts on the unusual honor for a onetime "enemy" correspondent.
By GLENN MacDONALD
In a letter delivered to AP's Hanoi Bureau, (an office once headed by Esper in the mid-1990's), George was remembered as a "kind and caring friend." The missive went on to praise Esper's "tenacity and professionalism."
George was gentle, but he also was brave. He didn't always stay in Saigon, like some journalists during the war. We'd see him at fire bases in the boonies, the Danang Press Club, up at Khe Sanh and Lang Vei, or at any place in Vietnam where news was breaking.
He married a Vietnamese woman and fathered three children. I had many conversations with him since I was a very young Army combat correspondent in Vietnam. The killing and destruction all around us greatly affected Esper.
George was a soft touch for hoards of homeless children who hung around the hotels selling peanuts. He also was always there with a couple bucks for fellow correspondents short on cash, from Saigon to Phnom Penh and all points in between. I know, since George bailed me out once, by the pool behind the old Hotel Phnom in Cambodia
MilitaryCorruption.com thanks the Vietnam officials in Hanoi who, like us, saw George as a good and decent man who told the truth and tried to make this world a better place.