Vietnam War photographer returns to area for presentation, healing sessions.

March 11, 2015
John Hosier, Jr. speaks during the Traveling Wall project in Ludington last year.

John Hosier, Jr. speaks during the Traveling Wall project in Ludington last year.

VICTORY TWP. (Mason Co.) — Vietnam veteran and photographer John Hosier, Jr. will be returning to the Ludington area on Thursday, March 19 and Friday, March 20, to talk about his experiences during the war.

Hosier’s photography exhibit, “Through the Eyes” was on display last August during the Mason County Allied Veterans Traveling Wall Project at Ludington City Park.

John will hold a presentation on Thursday, March 19 from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at West Shore Community College’s Center Stage Theater.

“Those of us who met with John when he was here in August were moved by his exhibit and by his stories,” said Dr. Rick Plummer, West Shore Community College director of performing arts and also a Vietnam veteran. “He’ll tell you that his exhibit “’Through the Eyes’ and his presentations on the Vietnam War are products of his working through his post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), what Agent Orange has done to his body, his anger, his rage. I am not ashamed to tell you that I sat with tears in my eyes as John recounted story after story about the heroic young men he encountered during his tours.  I know I wasn’t alone when my heart broke into a thousand pieces just listening to him.”

John and his wife, Mary, will also be conducting healing sessions with area veterans and their spouses and family members Thursday and Friday evenings of that week.

John was in Vietnam in 1967, 1968, 1971, 1972 and 1973 in an Army career that eventually spanned 20 years. “I was a paratrooper in a long range recon platoon with the Airborne Rangers,” John said. “That is what I initially went to Vietnam for. I got shot up. Woke up on a hospital ship. They made me a clerk and I hated it. I wanted to go back out in the field to do some payback. When you’re trained to be a warrior, you’re trained to fight, you’re a paratrooper, a pathfinder, you’re the best at what you do; even with my injuries I belonged back out there with the men. 

“I didn’t want to sit behind a desk. I bitched all the time about it and finally I so upset my First Sergeant that he came in one morning and handed me a camera,” the four-time Purple Heart recipient said. “He handed it to me and said, ‘Go!’ I did that for about 10 months. A photographer is not considered combat duty, even if your are a combat photographer. I experienced more as a combat photographer than I did as a combatant.”

For decades the photos, John took during the Vietnam War in the late 1960s and early 70s were only seen by family members. In 1999 at the urging of his daughter, he displayed several photos for classmates at her school.  The exhibit which started with just enough items to cover one table now fills an entire tent with over 300 photographs and dozens of displays that feature American and Vietnamese weapons and memorabilia.  John travels the country with his extensive exhibition and also appears onstage in special presentations nation-wide.

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