July 07, 2003


Not every rich kid avoided military service in Vietnam. Brett Lunger, an heir to the du Pont fortune, trained as a Marine and was a member of a reconnaissance platoon in 1968. The story goes (according to an article I recently read, but canít locate) that while in Vietnam he rescued the heir to another gigantic US business -- the Chesterfield cigarette company.

Several years later, Princeton graduate Lunger raced in Formula One. His main sponsor? Chesterfield cigarettes. And he took part in at least one more rescue.

Posted by Tim Blair at July 7, 2003 03:08 PM

Thank you Tim for the mention of this oft misreported fact. Many of us rich kids served in Vietnam. OK, not rich but moderately well off. I too raced after the war. In spite of Ralph Nadar's warnings, I raced my Corvair© Monza thru the streets of Midland Texas at it's breakneck top speed of 42 mph!

II Field Force
Dak Pek, Vietnam '72

Posted by: wallace at July 7, 2003 at 04:20 PM

I think John Steinbeck son of the John Steinbeck did a couple of tours before becoming a journo.

Posted by: James Hamilton at July 7, 2003 at 06:52 PM

The irony of someone called "Lunger" saving the life of the heir to Chesterfield Tobacco is just too rich for a Monday morning...

Posted by: Kim du Toit at July 7, 2003 at 08:08 PM

Yes, John Steinbeck IV served in Vietnam -- with the Armed Forces Radio & Television Service. His brother Tom, too. Can't say they got shot at. They both came back later, John "working" for Dispatch News Service but never wrote much, mostly smoking dope, smack & groovin' on the Coconut Monk. Part of the old Tu Do Street Gang. Sean Flynn. Tim Page. Those guys. John & Tom both died later back in the u.s. alcohol poisoning or somethin' John did write a book. Someone stole my copy. Saigon...gone.

Posted by: Carl Robinson at July 8, 2003 at 12:35 AM

Sean Flynn, son of Errol, was a war photog in Vietnam; I think they found his remains in 1989 or so.

Posted by: tim at July 8, 2003 at 01:02 AM

I had the distinguished pleasure of flying out of Vienna on Lauda-Air - swank service.

Just playing a little six degrees of seperation I guess. The dog days of Summer are setting in early here in Phoenix.

Posted by: SzaffireBlue at July 8, 2003 at 09:52 AM

Yes, Sean Flynn, another old mate. He disappeared in Cambodia in 1970. Tim Page managed to track down the tale of his disappearance in '89. He & Dana Stone were kept alive for 18 months before khmer rouge knocked 'em off, typically with the back of a hoe. He was 4F and didn't serve in the military.

Posted by: Carl at July 8, 2003 at 11:14 AM