MATT FRANJOLA, FAMED WAR CORRESPONDENT
By MAJ GLENN MacDONALD
© 2015 MilitaryCorruption.com
"And the tear that we shed,
He was unfailingly kind in a sometimes cut-throat profession.
Matt Franjola, AKA "Captain America," peacefully passed on to his eternal rest Thursday morning, New Years Day. He was 72.
Thankfully, in his final hours, many of us former war correspondents got to tell Matt how much we loved and admired him, as his daughter Claire held her cellphone to his ear.
Franjola, survivor or two liver transplants and many dangers covering wars in Vietnam and Cambodia, lay in his hospital bed in Connecticut, laboredly breathing his last as he bravely met his final deadline.
"Glenn. You should have seen it. His eyes popped open the moment he heard your voice and a smile spread across his face," Claire said.
ARNETT SAYS HIS "GOOD-BYE"
One by one, those of us who had been privileged to have known and worked with "The Franj," said our farewells. Among them was the greatest living war correspondent of them all, Peter Arnett.
"Matt Franjola's coverage of Vietnam and Cambodia, in the later years of those wars, showed great courage and skill, winning him lasting respect from his colleagues," Arnett told MilitaryCorruption.com via telephone from Los Angeles.
"Especially, Matt's work reporting the fall of Saigon in April of 1975 for the Associated Press, was his finest."
From New York, Dan Cameron-Rodill, who, with Eric Cavaliero, held down the CBS NEWS Bureau in Saigon once the Communists occupied the city after the American evacuation of the South Vietnamese capital, had this to say:
"Matt was a class act. He was genuine and a gentleman at all times. I never heard a bad word about him. He certainly was kind to me. How many people know that just before Saigon fell, Matt saved Ed Bradley's life when an angry ARVN officer drew a bead on him with his .45 in Lam Son Square, and Matt deflected the shot by slinging a camera bag at the crazed gunman?"
CONVERSATION ON A TRAIN
In the many years since the war ended, Matt and I were able to attend a number of correspondent reunions - in New York, a very memorable one in 1995 in Washington (actually Alexandria, Va., across from the Potomac), and two in Vietnam: 2005 and again in 2010.
At the time of the 1995 get-together, I was on the job as a UPI correspondent filing for both the wire and UPI Radio.
Matt and I happened to be together riding the train back home from Union Station in D.C. We spent the trip up to New York talking about the old days and many of our colleagues that no longer were among us.
I recall telling Matt of how I survived the 1968 Tet Offensive when I was a U.S. Army combat correspondent. "Why am I alive and so many other good people - (meaning our "bao chi" colleagues) - dead?"
Sitting across from me on the train, Matt didn't miss a beat.
With his usual quick wit and sharp perception, he immediately responded: "That's easy," he smiled. "I know why." Leaning forward and looking me straight in the eyes he slowly said: "To bear witness."
Well dear reader, may I "bear witness" here and now that Matt Franjola, war correspondent par excellence, has passed from this earth and is now at peace. But he lives on in our hearts and memory. He will never be forgotten.
|"THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES" - A DEAR FRIEND
DIES AND THE END SUDDENLY COMES IN SIGHT
GEORGE ESPER, BELOVED ASSOCIATED PRESS
WAR CORRESPONDENT IN VIETNAM, SLIPS AWAY
IN HIS SLEEP - MOST GENEROUS AND RESPECTED
NEWSMAN IN SAIGON PRESS CORPS - REST IN
PEACE - YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN
|FAMED VIETNAM COMBAT PHOTOGRAPHER
HUGH VAN ES DIES IN HONG KONG - TOOK "LAST
CHOPPER OUT OF SAIGON" PIX AS COMMUNIST
FORCES ENTERED THE CITY - WAS BELOVED
COLLEAGUE TO ALL WHO KNEW HIM - ANOTHER
"LEAF" FALLS FROM THE TREE - GOD BLESS
"ANNIE" HIS WIFE - WITH HIM FOR FORTY YEARS
|WE LOSE A FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE
ANN MARIANO McKAY PASSES AWAY- "OVERSEAS
WEEKLY" EDITOR IN VIETNAM - INSPIRATION FOR
MILITARYCORRUPTION.COM - IDEA FOR TRUTH -
TELLING, MILITARY-ORIENTED WEB SITE, WITH
TOUGH INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM CAME FROM
OUR FRIENDSHIP AND ADMIRATION FOR ANN
ANOTHER LEAF FALLS FROM THE TREE - ANN WILL
NOT BE FORGOTTEN BUT LIVE ON IN OUR MEMORY
AS THE COURAGEOUS JOURNALIST SHE WAS