About Me

don-westenahverAs a boy I planned to become a Catholic priest, but I dropped out of the seminary because I didn’t want someone else controlling my life. Making the same mistake a second time, I enlisted in the Marine Corps. The Marines trained me to be a Vietnamese interpreter, so I expected to be assigned to a glamorous intelligence unit. When I landed in Vietnam in April 1967 the USMC assigned me to an infantry company near the DMZ. They didn’t need an interpreter and gave me a rifle and a radio to haul through the jungle. I was quickly promoted to sergeant because the more senior radiomen kept getting shot.

Back in the USA I finished college and became a finance executive in the oil industry, traveling frequently to Asia, Europe, Latin America and Africa. The travels expanded my view of the world and made me appreciate other cultural values. Paradoxically I also learned to appreciate the United States more. It is the best country on earth, but there are things we can learn from others. After the oil business I moved to Nissan’s national headquarters, where I remained until retirement.

I have been married to my wife Ellie for over 40 years. We live in Southern California and have two grown daughters and two grandchildren. We are retired and spend much of our time assisting four different charities. We also love traveling, reading, golfing, and of course hanging out with the grandkids. I am a member of the Southern California Writers Association and the Military Writers Society of America.