“The cameramen were the real heroes of the Vietnam War coverage!”
Sam Donaldson, White House Reporter
“I like to tell people about the bravest man I ever met…a Japanese cameraman who didn’t even come up to my shoulder but I never saw him back away or even flinch when the shooting started.”
Roger Peterson, ABC News Correspondent
“Tony Hirashiki is an essential piece of the foundation on which ABC was built.”
David Westin, Former President of ABC News
On the Frontlines of the Television War is the story of Yasutusune “Tony” Hirashiki’s ten years in Vietnam – beginning when he arrived in 1966 as a young freelancer with a 16mm camera but without a job or the slightest grasp of English and ending in the hectic fall of Saigon in 1975 when he was literally thrown on one of the last flights out.
His memoir has all the exciting tales of peril, hardship, and close calls as the best of battle memoirs but it is primarily a story of very real and yet remarkable people: the soldiers who fought, bled, and died, and the reporters and photographers who went right to the frontlines to record their stories and memorialize their sacrifice.
Ted Koppel, in his introduction, writes:
“I am more than a little embarrassed to discover that Tony’s impression of Vietnam, the war and the people he worked with were infinitely more sophisticated than my own. Tony Hirashiki, it turns out, has also been a canny, if gentle observer of a generation of American television journalists. While cataloging and gently tweaking our failing and exaggerating our virtues, Tony has produced a memoir of Vietnam unlike anything previously written.”
Author Yasutsune “Tony” Hirashiki was an ABC News cameraman from 1966 to 2006. In those four decades he became legendary, consistently known as the best cameraman in the company and certainly the guy you wanted next to you if you were walking into danger. During his time in Vietnam, he was present at virtually every major event. Since then he has worked in danger zones around the world.