About John Musgrave
John was born in 1948 in Independence, Missouri—a suburb of Kansas City--graduating from Van Horn High School in 1966. After high school he enlisted in the Marine Corps, ultimately becoming a member of the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines. John served in Vietnam for 11 months before being permanently disabled by his third wound at the battle of Con Thien in November 1967. He was medically retired as a corporal in 1969.
After returning to the states, John studied at Baker University in Baldwin City, KS, where he struggled with PTSD and suicidal tendencies. Eventually he joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War, participating in protests in Washington, DC and elsewhere around the country. After years of struggle, depression, and heart-searching, he learned to cope with his PTSD, though as with most veterans, that would remain a lifelong process. He has worked extensively with other veterans in suicide-prevention programs such as the National Veteran's Wellness and Healing Center, and the U.S. Army's Worldwide Stand-Down for Suicide Awareness. In recent years he has been particularly focused on post--9/11 vets.
John has spoken to enormous audiences at over 100 venues, including the Marine Corps Command Staff in Quantico, VA; at Johnson & Johnson’s Suicide Prevention Campaign for Veterans in New Brunswick, NJ; and the Command Element of the 1st Infantry Division on PTSD at Fort Riley, KS. His speeches are broadly praised for their candor, insight, and wisdom. If you’d like learn about hiring him for your organization, please send a message via the email form below. You’ll receive a breakdown of his fees, references, and everything else you need to know. John looks forward to hearing from you.
John's Latest Projects
The Vietnam War is a documentary series directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, narrated by Peter Coyote. It premiered on PBS and is available on Netflix. John serves as a commentator on most episodes.
Notes to the Man Who Shot Me: Vietnam War Poems
An award-winning selection of poems that boldly, and candidly, puts the reader in the boots of a nineteen-year-old infantryman in 1967 Vietnam--and does so with eloquence.
The Education of Corporal John Musgrave
Spring of 2021, Knopf Doubleday
A compelling, and at times visceral, account of John's service in Vietnam, his wounding in three separate firefights--the last of which was nearly mortal--his very difficult return home, and his resolute actions to save not just his own life, but to help other veterans save theirs as well.