Women in Wartime: “LZ” Nancy Lynch
By Nancy Lynch
During the frenzy of the Vietnam War at home and abroad in the spring of 1968, Nancy E. Lynch, a young journalist with the News Journal in Wilmington, Del. offered troops on the front lines an opportunity to let those at home know what was really going on in the combat zone. “Write about anything, from the war to the weather,” she encouraged them. “We at home want to hear from you.” She became their cheerleader.
Thus began the remarkable five-year run of Nancy’s Vietnam Mailbag, believed to be the only war correspondence column of its kind in the country. In her final column in December 1972, Lynch promised “her guys” she would some day put all their letters (nearly 1,000) and pictures (hundreds) in a book to honor them and all Vietnam veterans.
Vietnam Mailbag, Voices From the War: 1968-1972, a 456-page volume of primary source material from the Vietnam War, fulfills her pledge and in 2009 received the first place gold medal from Independent Publisher for Best Non-Fiction in the Mid-Atlantic.
Although her mission of compiling and publishing the book has been accomplished, the journey continues for Lynch, who received a war letter informing her Landing Zone Nancy in Vietnam was named for her. Today, she reads those timeless war letters up and down the East Coast at historical societies, libraries, anywhere she can increase awareness of the service and sacrifices of our Vietnam veterans.