John Musgrave

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John David Musgrave (born 1948) is an American Vietnam veteran, poet, counselor, and veterans' affairs advocate.


Musgrave was born in Independence, Missouri in 1948, and graduated from Van Horn High School in Independence in 1966. He enlisted with the Marine Corps just after graduating from high school. He was a member of the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines. He served in Vietnam for 11 months and seventeen days before being permanently disabled by his third wound at the battle of Con Thien in November 1967. He was medically retired as a corporal in 1969.[1]

He studied at Baker University. He was a member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War. He acts with the Theatre of War Project.[2] He was interviewed extensively for the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick documentary The Vietnam War.[3] He appeared with David Longhurst at the Watkins Museum of History for a panel about the war.[4] Musgrave raised money for the Vietnam War Memorial at the University of Kansas and he served on the committee that helped see the Memorial be completed.[5][6]

He was the model for the "Citizen-Soldier" granite sculpture at the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri.

A married father of two grown sons, Musgrave currently lives with his wife in Kansas.


  • The Vietnam Years: 1000 Questions and Answers (1986) (with Micheal Clodfelter)
  • On Snipers, Laughter and Death: Vietnam Poems (1992)
  • Under a Flare-Lit Sky: Vietnam Poems (1996)
  • Notes to the Man who Shot Me: Vietnam War Poems. Coal City review. University of Kansas, English Department. 2003. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  • The Education of Corporal John Musgrave (2021) [7]


  1. ^ Vietnam Veterans Home Page
  2. ^ "John Musgrave Plays a Key Part in Ken Burns' and Lynn Novick's Vietnam War Series". Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  3. ^ "Ken Burns says it was 'most fortuitous' he found KC-area vet for 'The Vietnam War'". Kansas City Star. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  4. ^ @courtbierman, Courtney Bierman |. "2 former Marines discuss service in Vietnam War, Lawrence's anti-war sentiment". The University Daily Kansan. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  5. ^ Tim Carpenter, "2017 Distinguished Kansan: Marine Corps vet John Musgrave uses poetry as therapy," The Topeka Capital-Journal online, December 30, 2017, at .
  6. ^ Deborah C. Kidwell, ""Lest We Forget": Building the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the University of Kansas," Kansas History online, (Autumn 2007), Volume 30, pages 185, 189-90, at .
  7. ^ Musgrave, John. The Education of Corporal John Musgrave. Knopf, New York.

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