Megahertz And Methodism: A Vietnam Vet On Ministry, Ham Radios, And Lifelong Service

Joseph L. Lynch


Joe Lynch grew up in California with his brother and sister. Due to an unstable family life, he often had the responsibility of taking care of his younger siblings. At an early age, he developed an enduring fascination with Amateur Radio (Ham Radio). After high school, he went to work for the U.S. Navy as an Apprentice Electronic Mechanic, but, in spite of his government job, he was drafted a year later. He extended his term of service in order to get sent to an Army school, becoming a 31M20, a Radio Relay Carrier Attendant, which that suited his love for radio. Immediately after graduating from Advanced Infantry Training, he was sent to Vietnam and assigned to the 125th Signal Battalion in the 25th Infantry Division. During his tour, he rotated from Fire Support Bases (FSB) to Cu Chi, the Division Headquarters. Initially, he was responsible for maintaining the radios on the FSB, and later he extended his tour on the condition that he be reassigned to the MARS (Military Affiliated Radio System) station. As the NCOIC at the MARS station, he was responsible for patching Soldiers through on MWR (Morale Welfare & Recreation) calls home. When his tour ended, he left the service and resumed his job with the Navy. Years later he was called to attend seminary, and became a Methodist Minister. Currently, Dr. Lynch is the Director of Religious Education for the Catholic Parish at West Point. In this interview, he talks about his childhood, his military experiences, wrestling with PTSD (including an attempted suicide), and his faith journey. He describes operating the MARS station, and helping to coordinate Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) as a leader of a national amateur radio organization in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995. Finally, he explains his decision to attend seminary, talks about how he and his wife Carol were drawn to the ministry, and discusses his mission trips to Cuba.


conflicts Vietnam War
topics Faith and Religion Leadership Life After Military Morale PTSD Returning from War West Point History
interviewer Dave Siry
date 7 February 2017


name Joseph L. Lynch
institution Perkins School of Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary
service Signal Corps
unit 125th Signal Battalion, 25th Infantry Division
specialty 31M20 Radio Relay Carrier Attendant
service dates 1966 1969