Dave Rabbit Reappears

The Vietnam-era GI pirate station Radio First Termer has long been a legend. DJ “Dave Rabbit” and friends played rock music and talked openly about sex, drugs, and the f*cked up nature of the U.S. military’s presence in-country. Scant audio evidence of the station has survived, and the last few decades have seen lots of speculation over whether the station and its personalities actually existed.
That speculation can now be laid to rest. A shortwave pirate sent me this PDF of a document reportedly written by Dave Rabbit himself. In it he gives details about how the station was put together (from military-grade broadcast gear courtesy of the U.S. Air Force’s “Midnight Supply”); where it broadcast from (the back room of a whorehouse in Saigon); and how long it remained on the air (a short three weeks).
Rabbit first felt the performance bug while playing in a high school band, and got into radio while helping out with a military broadcast during his first tour in Vietnam. But the desire to go pirate seemed to be explicitly political:
[W]e listened to the bullshit that was constantly cranking out on AFVN. Stars & Stripes was no better. I remember receiving some newspapers from my Mom and comparing them to what we were being told in the Stars & Stripes. That is when…I really started understanding what bullshit was being poured over our families and friends back home, but more importantly, the guys who were putting their lives on the line every day and not realizing that we were never going to be able to win the war in Vietnam. The politicians and their buddies, who were cranking out weapons and ammo out the kazoo, were making sure of that. Winning was not profitable.
Interestingly, to announce Radio First Termer’s inaugural broadcast, friendly techs hijacked the “official” AFVN signal to encourage people to tune in.
Dave Rabbit is now 57 years old, happily married with four kids, self-employed, and an avid scuba diver. Another site has acquired several photos of Rabbit in Vietnam, and he’s been interviewed for a documentary about GI resistance to the war, which will be released on DVD this spring.