Joe got through his 12-month tour and came back to the States in April ‘68. He hooked up again with Jeff Sharlet in Chicago where Joe’s wife Suzan was teaching. The two ex-Vietnam GIs had previously met at Indiana University before Joe was drafted. Jeff had done his war earlier and was finishing up his degree work before moving on to grad school at University of Chicago. A year later, he decided grad school could wait, there was a senseless war raging that had to be opposed.
By the end of ’67, Jeff was ready to launch the first GI-led antiwar paper for GIs, at least the many he was aware of who had growing doubts about the wisdom of the US mission in Vietnam. The first issue of Vietnam GI (VGI) bore the date January 1968. It would soon find an enthusiastic readership among GIs in Nam and those in stateside camps, men who survived their tours there or were waiting to deploy.
Jeff realized he needed photos of the war, not just to break up the text, but to put a face on the conflict. Fortuitously, Joe Carey came along and got back in touch. Co-opted into the editorial collective, Joe provided VGI with many of his ‘unsuitable’ photos from the field, including one of a so-called Viet Cong (VC) suspect – more likely just a poor peasant caught in the middle between the American steamroller and the guerrillas formally known as the People’s Liberation Army. The man was pinned to the ground, an officer questioning him with a knife in hand: