Jack Estes (shown at right at age 19 in Vietnam), a decorated war hero, is the author of an award-winning screenplay that has now been turned into a new book, A Soldier’s Son. It is the follow-up to his critically-acclaimed memoir, A Field of Innocence, which recounts his experiences in Vietnam.
His articles and essays have appeared in Newsweek, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, LA Times, San Diego Tribune, The Oregonian, and many publications.
A Soldier’s Son took first place in the 2006 Filmmakers International Screen Writing Contest. It also took first place at Williamette Writers Conference and placed in the Top 10 at Script Shark. He also won a Fellowship at Squaw Valley Writers Conference.
Estes is a United States Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam in 1968-1969, the bloodiest years of the long war. He was wounded and decorated for his heroism.
In his tour of duty with the 3rd Marine Division he was stationed close to the DMZ, Quang Tri and Con Thien. Subsequently, with the Second Combined Action Group, he was part of squad of 10 Marines who lived with villagers, protecting them and acting in liaison with the Vietnamese militia.
After the war, he returned home at age 19. His child was born while he was in Vietnam and upon several months of his homecoming, his wife divorced him. Estes, who suffers from PTSD, launched Fallen Warriors Foundation, honoring the sacrifices of American soldiers and helping to heal the pain of war. Over the past two decades, Fallen Warriors Foundation has delivered hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical and educational goods to the poorest of the poor, in tiny Vietnam villages. He said the purpose of his organization is to “carry humanitarian goods instead of a machine gun.”
He returned, with his second wife, to Vietnam in the early 1990s. He would visit several times. One year he took doctors and nurses to Vietnam to provide care for the poorest of the poor. Another year he led a group of disabled veterans back to where they once fought. He also tracked down a villager whom he credits with saving his life.
Estes, who recently retired as a regional manager for a national commercial real estate firm, attended Portland State and Southern Illinois University. He became a National Collegiate Speech Champion, talking about war and the mental and physical damage it does to soldiers and their families.He has a wife and two grown children. Estes resides in Lake Oswego, Oregon.