Jeff Sharlet was founding editor of Vietnam GI and a leader of the GI protest movement against the Vietnam War. A major chronicler of the Vietnam GI antiwar movement, David Cortright, wrote, “Vietnam GI, the most influential early paper, surfaced at the end of 1967, distributed to tens of thousands of GIs, many in Vietnam, closed down after the death of founder Jeff Sharlet in June, 1969."
Jeff Sharlet, 1942-1969
Sharlet and his antiwar work were eulogized throughout the country in the underground press. A long remembrance appeared in the magazine Liberation. A new GI underground paper, The Next Step, published in Heidelberg, West Germany, dedicated to him, while the definitive account of the ‘68 Presidio Mutiny 27, Fred Gardner’s The Unlawful Concert (1970), was dedicated to “Jeff Sharlet, founder of Vietnam GI, dead at 27.”
The most dramatic tribute to Jeff Sharlet and Vietnam GI, was the award-winning documentary, Sir! No Sir! (2005) on the Vietnam GI antiwar movement. Co-dedicated to Sharlet for, as director David Zeiger put it, "starting it all," film screened nationally and on Sundance Channel. To read more about Jeff Sharlet and Vietnam GI, see
New in 2012 was the annual 'Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award for Veterans', a $1,000 prize, with publication, for writing in any genre on any subject by U.S. military veterans or active duty personnel. It was hosted by The Iowa Review and judged by Robert Olen Butler, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his collection of short stories, A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain.
The winner of The Iowa Review 2012 Jeff Sharlet Memorial Prize for Veterans was Iraq War veteran Hugh Martin. An Ohio-born poet, Martin was awarded a prestigious Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. Martin’s work was selected from 265 contest entries in all genres.
Judge Robert Olen Butler noted that he was “keenly moved by the depth of feeling and high quality of writing by these veterans. Hugh Martin's poetry represents this body of work at its finest, evoking wartime's moment-to-moment experience with brilliantly observed clarity while illuminating its manifestation of our shared human condition with wisdom and compassion. The best of what I read was not, in its essence, the work of veterans; it was the work of artists."
Hugh Martin’s first book, The Stick Soldiers, recently won the A. Poulin Jr. First Book Prize from BOA Editions, and recent poems by him have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Crazyhorse, and The Kenyon Review.
Martin received a $1,000 prize, and his poems were published in The Iowa Review, spring issue of 2013.
The 2014 contest is now open and will be judged by former US Marine Anthony Swofford, best-selling author of Jarhead and, most recently, Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails. If you are a vet or on active duty and a writer, please consider submitting your work. If you have friends, family, co-workers, or students who are veterans or on active duty, please let them know about this contest that we believe is the first of its kind.
Please see http://iowareview.uiowa.edu/veteranswritingcontest for the contest rules and how to enter.
The purpose of this Web site is to support a book-length memoir on Jeff Sharlet underway by his brother Bob Sharlet. Bob has spoken with several dozens of people who knew Jeff from prep school, Army Language School, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indiana University, and Chicago (from where he launched Vietnam GI), but he hasn’t been able to locate the individuals listed on these pages, such as: Ralph W. Adams and Ken Yonowitz from Jeff’s Vietnam War tour; John Grove, Bob Grove, and Bob Johnson from his Indiana University Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) period; and Bob Brown, Dink McCarter, and Susan Rosenberg from the Chicago Vietnam GI days.
If they themselves (or anyone who might know their whereabouts) happen to alight on this site, Bob would very much appreciate hearing from them at:
11 Hampstead Place Apt. 306
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
On the next pages, a brief, telegraphic timeline follows Jeff Sharlet’s final decade, 1959-69, and puts in context the various individuals Bob hopes to locate to help complete Jeff’s story.