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Updated: Jun 14

Joe Campolo Jr., a USAF Vietnam War Veteran with two children and two grandchildren, is a lifetime member of the VFW and a member of the American Legion. He has used his experiences to write a trilogy of books based on his experiences. I interviewed him for Red Engine Press.


What research did you do to write your books?

I researched black market activity in Vietnam through libraries, the internet and Veteran interviews.


Where did the character oF the Kansas NCO come from? The character of the Kansas NCO was based on an NCO I became acquainted with during my time in Vietnam. He was a real operator.


Who did your editing and book covers?

 Dwight Zimmerman edited The Kansas NCO, the 1st book in the trilogy, Joyce Faulkner and her Red Engine Press associate edited Back to the World, the 2nd book in the trilogy. The 3rd book in the trilogy, Three Wars, was edited by Betsy Beard.


The book covers on all three books were a collaboration between me and Red Engine Press.

What are you writing now?

I am not currently working on a book. I have stayed busy writing articles for my blog on


Was drug use as bad as portrayed in The Kansas NCO?

Unfortunately, many GIs in Vietnam were users and, in some cases, heavily addicted to various drugs, as well as alcohol. And the sad thing is, many of the drugs made their way into the hands of the GIs through the CIA, who funded their operations in Laos as well as Vietnam, by facilitating the drug trade in the Golden Triangle.


Where do you do your writing?

I most often write from the tabletop computer in the computer room of our condo. I find that my early morning walk help gather my thoughts for my writing.


When you aren’t writing, what do you enjoy doing?

In addition to writing, I like to fish. I also enjoy traveling.


What made you write these books?

My experiences during the Vietnam War weighed on my mind for many years, and still do. So, I thought I'd write about them. The experience of doing that has been good for me. Being a writer has opened up a whole new world.


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