Man writes book about cousin killed in Viet­nam

Down­ing­town na­tive writes book about cousin killed in Viet­nam

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Adam Farence afarence@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @afarence on Twit­ter

A Down­ing­town na­tive, who wrote a book about the death of his cousin in Viet­nam, will host a book sign­ing.

“It was very sat­is­fy­ing to fi­nally com­plete it. The rea­son I did this story, the rea­son it took me 20 years to do it, was so his sac­ri­fice would be re­mem­bered.” — David Ven­ditta

MALVERN >> A Down­ing­town na­tive, who penned his own book about the death of his cousin in Viet­nam, will host a book sign­ing Satur­day at the Malvern Pub­lic Li­brary from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

David Ven­ditta, a re­tired jour­nal­ist, wrote “Tragedy at Chu Lai” af­ter hear­ing a story about the death of his cousin, Nicky Ven­ditti. Al­though from the same fam­ily, their last name is spelled slightly dif­fer­ent.

The book, he said, took him ap­prox­i­mately 20 years to fin­ish.

“It was very sat­is­fy­ing to fi­nally com­plete it. The rea­son I did this story, the rea­son it took me 20 years to do it, was so his sac­ri­fice would be re­mem­bered,” David said.

Ven­ditti, ac­cord­ing to David, grew up in the Malvern area, at­tended Great Val­ley High School, and joined the United States Army to be­come a heli­copter pi­lot.

Ac­cord­ing to David, his cousin was se­verely injured when an Army in­struc­tor threw a live grenade in a class­room at Chu Lai, think­ing it was a dummy. The in­ci­dent, ac­cord­ing to David, oc­curred July 10, 1969. His cousin died sev­eral days later.

In “Tragedy at Chu Lai,” David ex­plores the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing his cousin’s death, ques­tion­ing what he de­ter­mined to be a lapse in the his­tor­i­cal record about the in­ci­dent, cit­ing a lack in

doc­u­men­ta­tion and in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the United States mil­i­tary.

David said he hardly knew his cousin. He said Ven­ditti grew up in Malvern while he grew up and Down­ing­town. Ven­ditti was five years older than David and has lit­tle mem­ory of his older cousin, save for a brief con­ver­sa­tion at a large fam­ily pic­nic.

“A good deal of the story,” David said, “is get­ting to know the cousin I hardly knew.”

Gary Noller, ed­i­tor-inchief of the Amer­i­cal Jour­nal, a pub­li­ca­tion ded­i­cated to pre­serv­ing the his­tory of the 23rd In­fantry Divi­sion of the United States Army, wrote a pos­i­tive re­view of the book.

“He (David) did an ex­cel­lent job for his cousin Nicky,” Noller wrote in his re­view.

The 23rd In­fantry Divi­sion

“A good deal of the story is get­ting to know the cousin I hardly knew.”

is com­monly known as the Amer­i­cal Divi­sion. Noller sum­ma­rized the ef­fort David went through in or­der to re­search his book, and stated that his ex­pe­ri­ence as a jour­nal­ist “gave him in­ves­tiga­tive skills he put to good use.”

David grad­u­ated from In­di­ana Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia in 1976, and worked at var­i­ous publi­ca­tions in­clud­ing the The Daily In­tel­li­gencer in Bucks County and The Morn­ing Call in Allentown.

To con­tact Daily Lo­cal News staff writer Adam Farence, email afarence@dailylocal.com, or call 610235-2647.

— David Ven­ditta

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