The collection consists of approximately 7 linear feet of textual records, photographs, slides, artifacts, books, audio interviews, music records, serials, maps, floppy disks, and posters documenting J. D. Coleman's service in Vietnam as a Public Information Officer with the 1st Calvary Division between 1965 and 1970. It also includes materials collected by Coleman during the course of his research for his books: Incursion: From America's Chokehold on the NVA Lifelines to the Sacking of the Cambodian Sanctuaries; Pleiku: The Dawn of Helicopter Warfare in Vietnam; and Wonju: The Gettysburg of the Korean War.
The collection has been arranged into three series: Projects, Personal Correspondence, and Reference.
Series 1 - Projects
The series consists of textual records used by Coleman in the process of his work on various projects. These include three military history books - Pleiku: The Dawn of Helicopter Warfare in Vietnam (1988), Incursion (1992), and Wonju: The Gettysburg of the Korean War (2000); television documentaries about the 1st Cavalry Division in Vietnam; and a novel entitled South Georgia Blues. It also documents assistance Coleman provided to others such as providing material for another's magazine article, helping a veteran with a VA claim, and helping to produce a music record by Bill Ellis.
Items of note include Coleman’s article proposing the establishment of a US Army Branch of Information which he submitted to the Department of the Army (including staff comments on the article and correspondence regarding the article); research materials for Incursion, Coleman’s book on the Cambodian incursion (interview transcripts, interviewee curriculum vita; unit histories of the 1st Battalion, 7th Calvary, the 2nd Battalion, 12th Calvary in Cambodia; source biographies; contact information); notes and correspondence pertaining to the Cambodian incursion research of Keith Nolan; selections of Coleman’s books, including chapter outlines; biographical sketches of sources for Coleman’s books (e.g. Major General Harry Kinnard, Lieutenant General Richard Knowles); a translation of the combat order for the ambush at Plei Me by the NVA 32nd regiment; lists of correspondents in Vietnam (including those who have visited the 1st Cavalry Division); reviews of Coleman’s books, Incursion and Pleiku; hand-drawn map showing northern III Corps and VC positions along Cambodian border; a photocopy of Major Ned Baxter Ennis’ thesis (Charlie Black: the Ernie Pyle of the Vietnam War); a critique of the Pleiku manuscript by St. Martin’s Press with ideas for revision; DINFOS Bibliography of Theses and Reports Related to Military Information Activities (Volume II, June 1972) with marginalia; FM 100-5 Operations (Headquarters, Department of the Army; May 5, 1986) with marginalia; list of correspondents and U.S. Military Information Officers in Vietnam, with contact information (October 25, 1965); list of news media representatives visiting 1st ACD from 1967-1969; transcript from Coleman’s final radio broadcast on KQTE Missoula; Coleman’s concept paper for Secrets of War Episode 22: Hidden in Plain Sight; and a business plan for Coleman's recording company First Team Productions.
Series 2 - Personal Correspondence
The series consists of personal correspondence that Coleman wrote to his wife (Madeline Coleman) and his mother, as well as some letters he received from his children (Darrell, Shelly, Roger, Kathy, Michele) while in Vietnam. The series also includes miscellaneous letters from various friends and family members, as well as some documents pertaining to Coleman's family history.
Series 3 - Reference
The series consists of Coleman's reference records in the areas of his military service, his education, and his career. It also includes personal mementos, awards, and artwork.
Items of note include Coleman’s 201 File (e.g. DD Form 96; DD Form 1172; DD Form 214); memos regarding Coleman’s promotion to a Reserve Commissioned Officer of the Army; Coleman’s call to active duty; Coleman’s record of assignments; Coleman’s enlistment forms; memos regarding Coleman’s application and acceptance into the Information Officer program; Coleman’s preliminary examination for the designation of candidates for the United States Military Academy; Coleman’s evaluation reports; certificates (The Legion of Merit (First Oak Leaf Cluster), 1972; The Legion of Merit, 1970; The Air Medal, 1966; The Legion of Merit (Second Oak Leaf Cluster), 1979; US army retirement certificate, 1979; certificate of appreciation to Madeline Coleman on her husband’s US army retirement; Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for Extraordinary Heroism); Coleman's high school transcript; military appointment and promotion documents (including Coleman's letter of appointment to the rank of Master Sergeant); certificate of achievement awarded to Madeline Coleman for her service as Volunteer Supervisor at the Fort McPherson Office of Army Community Service; Coleman’s Officer Evaluation Reports (July 1963 - June 1979); a photocopy of a scrapbook compiled by Dave Wolfe entitled One Year in Vietnam (featuring images of Coleman); and Coleman’s university transcripts.