“Healing Through Story” TEAM:
- Larry Chambers – Co-Producer
- Mary “Sequoia” Hamilton – Co-Producer
- Authors & Readers:
- Jan Christian, author of Leave No Brother Behind: A Sister’s War Memoir
Larry Chambers: Co-Producer & Featured Artist
Larry Chambers makes his living as a writer and is a national award-winning artist. He has written 50+ books, most recently “Surviving the Storm” (McGraw Hill, 2007). His two books about Vietnam, “Recondo-LRRPs in The 101st Airborne” (1992, revised and reissued in 2004), and “Death in the A Shau Valley,” 1998) have sold more than 250,000 copies. He wrote the script “Recondo: Deadliest School on Earth,” based on his book for a History Channel special in 2001.
Chambers served in Vietnam from 1968-69 as an Army Ranger sergeant with Company F, 58th Inf LRP and Company L, 75th Rangers, 101st Airborne Division (“Merrill’s Marauders’), one of the thirteen LRRP (long-range reconnaissance patrol) companies in Vietnam.
“It wasn’t until I was plopped down in the jungles of South Vietnam that I moved to ‘the head of the class.’ Distractibility, risk taking and impulsiveness — liabilities in grammer and high school — became survival traits in combat. I would noticed things others overlooked, a blade of grass bent in the wrong direction or VC snot dripping from a tree leaf. Without being able to explain why, I’d knew when things were about to happen.”
Chambers’ decorations include the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Bronze Star with (V) for valor and one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Medal with (V) for valor and one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Commendation Medal, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Parachute Badge, Recondo School Tab, 75th Airborne Ranger Tab, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Civil Actions Medal and the Vietnam Gallantry Cross.
Chambers’ passion is helping fellow veterans receive their VA benefits and has dedicated himself to helping young veterans overcome obstacles they face upon return to civilian life. Chambers offer a range of services for these veterans including courses, consultation, books, tools and online articles (including “Yes, That Changed My Life.“)
Mary “Sequoia” Hamilton: Co-Producer
Named after the inventer of the Cherokee written language, Sequoia is the daughter of Clarance A. “Sam” Hamilton, the youngest US Navy Master Chief in the history of the US Navy (the highest level of enlisted service in the U.S. Navy, constituting the top 1% of the enlisted members of the maritime. The rank of Master Chief requires time in service, superior evaluation scores, and selection by a board of Master Chiefs.)
Sequoia was born in Maryland when her father was stationed in Annapolis teaching at the Naval Academy and moved to the Ojai area when she was 2 years old while her father was stationed at Point Mugu – the U.S. Naval Air Missile Test Center now called the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD), the largest and most heavily instrumented air / sea range in the United States.
Hearing only of a few stories of her Dad’s travels (which inspired her own first visit to China in the 1980′s and subsequent world travels), seeing a dish full of his metals and even after asking family members about his military service, Sequoia is still attempting to piece together her father’s long, illustrious career which ranged from 1947 – 1976 and from the ages of 17 thru 46 years old. Her father retired from both the US Navy and Civil Service. When he died he left no written account of his career or life except a few legal documents, photographs and miscellaneous notes.
Everyone in Sequoia’s family has been employed by the government, except for her mother (who was a military wife and artist.) Those who served in the Military, besides her father, include her sister Sammie Lisa Hamilton Burt (US Army Medical Technician) married to Tom Burt (retired US Army Drill Sergeant) and her brothers Gary D. Hamilton (US Navy SEAL, UDT 12, BUD/S Class 89) married to Terri Farmer Hamilton (whose father serveed in WWII and Korean War, and was a POW) and Mark Hamilton (US Army Paratroopers, 82nd Airbourne) and step-brother “Howie” Chandler, a retired US Air Force four-star general (who has his own wikipedia page, which Hamilton believes all Veterans should have, not just high-ranking brass.)
Sequoia is a writer, artist and founder of both the Ojai Writers Conference and the monthlong Ojai Summer Writers Workshops (June 1-30, 2012.) She is also the co-founder of the 9-day community literary festival Ojai WordFest, held annually in March. In addition, for the past 10+ years Sequoia has been leading trips around the world—Sing Sings in Papua New Guinea, Treks in the Himalayas, Writing Retreats in both Paris and Florence—and even a summer of being “paid in sunsets” as a Park Ranger in one of the most majestic places on Earth: Yosemite National Park. (Her one and only government job, working for the National Parks system.) She currently leads the Paris Writers Retreat, Florence Writers Retreat and Asia Writing Adventure.
Before becoming a full-time entrepreneur and writer, Sequoia was the Director of International Special Events for the most successful charity in the history of the United States, Habitat for Humanity, spearheaded the Creative Department for Kinko’s World Headquarters (including being the team leader of 50+ employees to launch Kinko’s website and with flair – during a Super Bowl commercial) and was a Producer on an Emmy award-winning PBS film and with cable television show.
She is also a former publisher and editor-in-chief for a national, upscale travel publication and her stories have also appeared in national media including Forbes, CNN, MTV, Good Morning America, and Los Angeles Times. She was featured in an Apple promotion and on Home and Garden Television (HGTV).
Authors & Readers:
Jan Christian, author of Leave No Brother Behind: A Sister’s War Memoir.
On April 11, 1969, 2nd Lt. Robert M. Christian, Jr. was killed in Vietnam. In 2005, an unexpected email connected his sister to others still haunted by that day. Together they learned that going back can change the way we go forward.
Over 200,000 U.S. families had members killed, wounded or lost in the war. Over 2.5 million U.S. military personnel served in Vietnam and came back forever changed. Jan’s experiences of the last few years have convinced her that the Vietnam War is still, as several Marines put it, “a raw wound” for many Americans. It is a raw wound for those who went and for those who stayed behind, for those who supported the war and for those who protested it. The book, she says, “aims to be part of the healing.”
Along the way, Christian learned of a son named after her brother and her brother’s last words. She made contact not only with other Marines, but with a former North Vietnamese Army soldier and the sister of the other Marine killed that day.
“This journey has taken me to Marine Corps reunions, to a rice paddy in Vietnam, to my childhood home and into the recesses of my memory and my heart to look with new eyes at my brother, his death, and the ways his life and death shaped my life’s work and world view. | The Marine Corps motto is Semper Fidelis: Always Faithful. Along the way, I learned new lessons about faithfulness, about the healing that can come when we seek opening instead of closure, and about the sacrifices that peace — no less than war — requires. I learned what it really means to leave no brother behind.” - Jan Christian
About Jan Christian
After working for years in Arizona’s justice and social services systems and teaching public policy at Arizona State University, the author became ordained as a Unitarian Universalist minister and serves a congregation in Ventura, California. She holds an undergraduate degree in American History and a Master of Counseling degree from Arizona State University and a Master of Divinity degree from the Pacific School of Religion. For more information about Leave No Brother Behind: A Sister’s War Memoir, visit www.sistersmemoir.com or contact Jan Christian at 805.653.0134 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.