Was there ever a Dave Rabbit in Viet Nam?

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Gezal
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Was there ever a Dave Rabbit in Viet Nam?

Post by Gezal » Sun Apr 23, 2006 4:32 am

It's hard to choose a category for this one -- let's just go with history.

I first heard Dave Rabbit in 1983 0r '84. I was at a party hosted
by John, a fellow college student in Bozeman, Montana. There
were about fifteen people at the party mostly students in their
late-teens and early twenties. John had a knack for finding
obscure and interesting recordings and he described his latest
acquisition to us, a recording of a broadcast from an
underground radio station in Vietnam, circa 1971. He played the
tape, and although the sound quality was poor (the tape had
been duplicated countless times) the partygoers still found the
recording intriguing. One member of the group was a little older;
he had been in Viet Nam and remembered Dave Rabbit. He
claimed that the recording triggered a flashback and was acting
a bit strange when the tape started playing. He tried to "tune it in
better" on a radio that only he could see. I retained a memory of
that tape recording despite the drugs that I had in my system that
night.

Fast-forward to 1993, I was living in Phoenix, Arizona and
having coffee with a few of the guys that I worked with. We were
talking about various things and one of the guys talked about a
tape that he heard recently – a recording from a pirate radio
station in Vietnam hosted by one Dave Rabbit. I told him that I
had also heard a recording of that nature but several years
earlier. From the things that we were able to recall, the songs on
the tape, the things that Dave rabbit said, and the poor sound
quality we ascertained that we both hears a recording of the very
same broadcast. I wondered at the time if any recordings of
Dave Rabbit other than this one were preserved.

So some years later (just a couple of days ago) the old
memories of that tape popped into my mind as old memories
sometimes do. I was curious to see if there was any reference to
Dave Rabbit and his underground radio station on the internet.
There are plenty. I found one where you can hear excerpts from
Dave's broadcast:

http://www.ibiblio.org/jwsnyder/rft/rft.html

I noticed right away that these excerpts came from the very
same broadcast that I heard in Bozeman and discussed in
Phoenix. There are no internet references to any other recorded
broadcasts of Dave Rabbit. Here is what's strange – nobody
knows who Dave Rabbit is or was. William Snyder, the host of
the page that supplied that sound sample of Dave's radio
program, has contacted the Air Force in order to get information
about Dave Rabbit under the Freedom of Information Act. The Air
Force claims to have no information about Dave Rabbit. These
are the questions I have:

1. Is this an authentic recording of an underground radio station
in Saigon from 1971?
2. Why is it so difficult to pinpoint who Dave Rabbit really was?
a. There were several people involved in the creation of this
broadcast.
b. It was broadcast in FM stereo, which would require some fairly
sophisticated equipment.
3. How many people are there out there who can verify that this
program did exist?

Here is a page that makes several references to this tape:

http://members.aol.com/FoggVelvet/WOW1.html

I will excerpt the references – my question; can any of this
information be verified?

4. Dave Rabbit. All Dave Rabbit broadcast excerpts included
here are from Saigon c. 1971. All excerpts have been left
untitled.

6. Dave Rabbit. The cassette from which this material originates
was for sale via Rolling Stone magazine in the mid 70s. People
have sold unofficial copies of the recording throughout the years,
but this has never seen a legitimate release. How could it? No
one has been able to publicly identify who Dave Rabbit was.

8. Dave Rabbit. Numerous hypotheses exist as to the identity of
Dave Rabbit. Perhaps the most mainstream belief is that he
was a sergeant in the air force for one year and then stayed
longer in order to broadcast to the troops. While that story might
contain elements of an heroic myth, those were heroic times,
and that was an heroic location.

12. Dave Rabbit. Perhaps the most interesting speculation is
that Dave Rabbit was actually an agent of the Viet Cong posing
as an American to subvert troops, lower their morale and
weaken them by encouraging drug use. It is a fact that the US
employed a similar strategy, dropping for VC soldiers small
radios with red dots marked close to the frequency of a popular
Hanoi station. The soldier would then hopefully tune into the
station to hear US-trained impersonators of Hanoi radio
personalities.

17. Dave Rabbit. Some Vietnamese bars allowed GIs to
broadcast on homemade equipment with a small broadcasting
range, so as to draw more GIs in the bar. The Dave Rabbit
broadcast was considerably more sophisticated, with an
estimated broadcast range of 50 miles or greater. Those
involved apparently had professional training. The quality of the
broadcast has led to the speculation that the whole tape was an
elaborate hoax that might've been put together by people
working for the official Armed Forces Vietnam Network (AFVN).
Yes. This was considered a high-quality broadcast for pirate
radio. No doubt much of this quality has been lost in the taping,
although it must have been a direct feed because the tape has
no signs of reaction.

21. Dave Rabbit. The AFVN stations neither gave the GIs the
uncensored news they needed, nor the ""hard, acid rock"" they
craved. To boost morale, the AFVN broadcasts promised a
speedy end to the war, and censored any mention of Jane Fonda
or of protests back home. The alternative radio station in
Vietnam was probably more vital to the soldier than it was to the
civilian back home.

24. Dave Rabbit. Similarly, alternative newspapers thrived in
Vietnam, at least 215 of them, although many of them only lasted
one issue.

26. Dave Rabbit. Whatever the truth behind these broadcasts,
those who've been fans of his for over 30 years have only been
able to uncover one 3-hour broadcast, although some claim he
was broadcasting in 1970 as well as `71. Are other tapes MIA?
One wonders if the soldier who taped this ever made it home to
hear the tape.

33. Dave Rabbit. Gave Dave the last word here, since he's so
good at it.

I find #17 very interesting. This tape was made from a direct
feed? If this is true that could mean that it was never broadcast
over any radio at all. Could the whole thing be a hoax?

Any thoughts?

User avatar
Gezal
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Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2006 1:42 am

Post by Gezal » Sun Apr 23, 2006 5:19 am

:shock:

This is interesting, I posted that bit about Dave Rabbit here and it has been a while since I looked at the web site where Dave is featured.

As it turns out -- Dave is real!!! Or there is someone who claims to be Dave Rabbit who is real.

In either case, check this out if you are interested:


http://www.radiofirsttermer.com.vn/dave.html

There are pictures of Dave, the radio station, the prostitutes, and everything.

I never questioned it until I read about it on the internet and found out that Dave has never been located and no other recordings of his broadcast existed, then I suspected it was a hoax.

So it may be confirmed after all.

Now I still wonder if there are any more Dave Rabbit broadcasts preserved out there.

G