Jack Hood Vaughn served as director of the Peace Corps, ambassador to Panama and Colombia, and Assistant Secretary of State during the sixties. Jack had a front-row seat for some of the most dramatic international events of the later half of the twentieth century, including the US intervention in the Dominican Republic, the Iranian revolution, and the reign of Panamanian dictators Omar Torrijos and Manuel Noriega. Jack survived multiple plane crashes, muggings, and assassination attempts.
Jane Vaughn Constantineau is Jack Hood Vaughn’s daughter. A graduate of Williams College and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern, she lives with her family in San Diego.
Jane Constantineau presents Kill The Gringo: The Life of Jack Hood Vaughn
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"Before there was Indiana Jones there was Jack Vaughn, the fearless Peace Corps executive plunging into some of the most dangerous territory on earth to spread the story of American values. Jack's life story is at once inspirational and terrifying, such a compelling combination for this modest man who looked like a country doctor and lived like a poster for a Harrison Ford movie."
―Tom Brokaw, Journalist and author of A Lucky Life Interrupted
Kill the Gringo is the wide-ranging, action-packed memoir of Jack Hood Vaughn, whose career in diplomacy, social advocacy, and conservation spanned more than twenty-five jobs and eleven countries.
A professional boxer during his college years, Jack joined the Marines in 1941, fighting in the battles of Guam and Okinawa during World War II. His rapport with people and facility with language led to a speedy rise in international development in Latin America and Africa, where he drew the attention of Vice President Lyndon Johnson during his visit to Senegal in 1961. Three years later, President Johnson appointed Jack ambassador to Panama when violent anti-American riots there led to a severing of diplomatic ties.
As the second director of the Peace Corps, Jack presided over the largest number of volunteers in the organization’s history and the delicate handling of anti-Vietnam fervor among its ranks. After his foreign service career, Jack led the National Urban Coalition and Planned Parenthood during the turbulent late 60’s and early 70’s. A rural development job in Iran ended dramatically with the 1978 revolution, and Jack turned his focus to the environment, advising the Nature Conservancy and founding Conservation International in 1987. Told with Jacks’ humor and humility, his stories reveal an astonishingly varied, lively and distinguished career that lasted 50 years and earned him the nickname Peasant Ambassador.