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  • The VVA Veteran: On The Edge of Change Vietnam Veterans Take Their Place At WIMSA
    Aug sept oct Nov DeC 2007 Jan Feb MAR APR MAY JUNE july aug SEPT OCT Nov DeC 2006 July Aug SEPT OCT nov dec On The Edge of Change Vietnam Veterans Take Their Place At WIMSA BY MARSHA FOUR I humbly give voice to over a quarter million of my sisters who served in the military during the Vietnam Era at home around the globe and in Vietnam No matter where we were sent all of us were invaluable ingredients contributing to the American military effort worldwide And it depended on us Admittedly or not you know it always has Vietnam Over eight thousand of us were there Most of us were nurses working in Field Evac and Surgical Hospitals from the Delta to the DMZ But nearly a thousand of us weren t nurses Not to be forgotten we were specialized dependable and capable troops working in a variety of fields including logistics administration security and intelligence Our military roles were expanding We were teetering on the edge of major change We could feel it and we could taste it We served at a time when our nation faced formidable challenges upheavals and unrest fueled in part by our Vietnam involvement and the antiwar turmoil that were painfully dividing the nation Factor into this the human and civil rights movements And let s not forget women s rights We were shaped by this period in history This was our time to take center stage Driven by a cultural revolution and the changing social climate many of us found ourselves both inside the military and as veterans working hard to advance fair and just treatment care benefits and equity for our sisters Just as we had traveled to this point because of so many who came before us we

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1207/wimsa.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: Agent Orange & Birth Defects
    other known causes in the children of female veterans The Australian Department of Veterans Affairs without acknowledging a link to Agent Orange exposure provides treatment to the children of Vietnam veterans with spina bifida cleft lip or palate acute myeloid leukemia and adrenal gland cancer Other studies offer evidence that many more birth defects may be associated with dioxin contaminated herbicide exposure in Vietnam In 1990 an independent scientific review of the literature was sponsored by Vietnam Veterans of America the American Legion and the National Veterans Legal Services Project Seven prominent independent scientists and physicians on this Agent Orange Scientific Task Force concluded that elevated incidences of birth defects in the children of Vietnam veterans were found in several studies These included spina bifida oral clefts cardiovascular defects hip dislocations and malformations of the urinary tract In addition defects of the digestive tract and other neoplasms such as neuroblastoma also were higher in Vietnam veterans children Aschengrau and Monson of the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a study published in 1990 in the American Journal of Public Health on paternal military service and the risk of late pregnancy outcomes The scientists reported that Vietnam veterans risk of fathering an infant with one or more major malformations was increased at a statistically significant level The Air Force Ranch Hand study of Vietnam veterans involved in herbicide spraying has been analyzed several times for adverse reproductive outcomes A 1995 analysis found modest but significant increases in spontaneous abortion defects of the circulatory system and heart all anomalies major birth defects and some developmental delays in the Ranch Hand veterans children There also was an increase in spina bifida in the children of Ranch Hand veterans with high dioxin levels More recent studies have found additional evidence of increases in birth defects in the children of both male and female veterans Researchers at the University of Texas the University of Queensland and the University of Sydney collaborated on a meta analysis a review of the combined data from many studies of Agent Orange and birth defects in the International Journal of Epidemiology They identified all studies from 1966 2002 that had examined an association between Agent Orange or dioxin and birth defects The study authors identified 22 studies including thirteen Vietnamese and nine non Vietnamese studies Their review indicated that parental exposure to Agent Orange was associated with an increased risk in birth defects The association increased with greater degrees of exposure rated on intensity and duration of exposure Although other researchers have pointed out weaknesses in the studies of birth defects from Vietnam the birth defect association with Agent Orange exposure was statistically significant even when the Vietnamese studies were excluded Genetic damage in New Zealand Vietnam War veterans was investigated in a study published this year in Cytogenetic Genome Research by researchers from the Institute of Molecular Biosciences at Massey University in New Zealand A significantly higher frequency of genetic damage was found among New Zealand Vietnam War veterans

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1207/agent_orange_feature.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: A Great Day for Vietnam Veterans
    and South Korea some 600 former ARVN along with a large number of other veterans groups and unit associations The parade was an at times exuberant and at other times sober march to remember those who perished in the Vietnam War as well as those who served and came home to an American society that turned its collective back on Vietnam veterans We all know there were no parades for Vietnam veterans when we came home VVA President John Rowan said That situation has changed This parade is the welcome home that far too many of the nine million plus men and women who served on active duty during this era never had Today is a day when we celebrate our homecoming and offer our respect and blessings for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the Vietnam War Following a breakfast sponsored by Commerce Bank and inspiring opening ceremonies the parade stepped off at 11 15 from the National Mall at 7th Street led by the Washington D C Metropolitan Police Motorcycle Unit which rolled down Constitution Avenue slowly in vee formation Then came a flotilla of motorcyclists under the Rolling Thunder Banner and the marchers led by the VVA float featuring the national officers Board of Directors and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund board Also on board parade grand marshal Jan Scruggs the former infantryman who conceived of The Wall and led the effort to have it built The marchers motorcyclists floats and assorted motorized vehicles including Vietnam War era Jeeps and deuce and a halfs Humvees and the smartly decked out Chattanooga Tennessee Chapter 203 bus made their way west along Constitution Avenue on a cool cloudy day They soaked in cheers and welcome homes shouted by well wishers who lined the wide boulevard and filled the bleachers next to the reviewing stand in front of the IRS Building between 11th and 12th Streets The two and a half hour parade ended at 18th Street and many veterans went on to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial where a reading of the names had been going on since Wednesday and the World War II Memorial Many attended the VVA sponsored concert at the Sylvan Theater on the grounds of the Washington Monument The concert which went on till late afternoon featured the Kingston Trio Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad and the Ding a Lings and Golddiggers from the old Dean Martin TV Show VVA members from as far away as Alaska came to Washington for the parade and associated Veterans Day events that weekend More than two dozen VVA members made the trek from Alaska more than a hundred Vietnam veterans came east from the Navajo nation in New Mexico It s a parade I didn t get 37 years ago said VVA member Dave Neudecker of Chapter 55 from Newark Ohio He joined fellow Double Nickel chapter members on the seven hour trip to Washington and proudly drove down Constitution Avenue in a World War II

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1207/parade.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: Vietnamization: Success or Failure?
    biggest increase in ARVN infantry forces during the period of Vietnamization came when the number of Ranger battalions more than doubled starting in 1970 to 25 units But this was not really a South Vietnamese force increase Rather the RVNAF took over the Civilian Irregular Defense Groups which the Americans had created and transformed them into Rangers The units were composed of Montagnards treated shabbily by the Saigon government for decades In fact Montagnard political groups opposed to the South Vietnamese government fled to Cambodia and took up arms at exactly the point the ARVN started up these Ranger battalions The Montagnards played a key role in defending the Central Highlands during the Easter Offensive They were fighting for their homes Anywhere else they would have been useless a perfect illustration of the territoriality problem with Saigon s armed forces The biggest increases in the ARVN were in the specialized branches The years of Vietnamization witnessed a large expansion of ARVN artillery and armored forces The artillery improvements were the most extensive Except for the Airborne and Marines the South Vietnamese standard had been two artillery battalions per division The elite troops because they tended to be dispersed in operating areas had just one artillery battalion each By mid 1969 both elite divisions had been brought to the two battalion standard while half the ARVN infantry divisions fielded three By 1972 all the infantry formations had three light plus a medium battalion while the elite divisions met the three battalion organization At that point the South Vietnamese Army had 1 202 guns Independent artillery units used by the military regions and high command also were greatly increased by 150 percent in 105mm and 100 percent in 155mm battalions in mid 1969 That added up to a lot of new units ten 105mm and six 155mm formations were added to the army in just one year That same year there were many revisions made in the overall plans for RVNAF modernization For artillery this amounted to adding another pair of 105mm battalions plus one equipped with 155mm howitzers Two battalions of 175mm guns were approved but not actually formed until 1971 The heavy gun force later was doubled The United States delivered 790 new 105mm howitzers to South Vietnam during 1969 meeting all requirements of the revised plans but faltered badly on 155mm weapons managing to supply just 294 of the 701 field pieces required But having a large number of guns did not necessarily equate to having an effective artillery force For example at the time of the Cambodian invasion only half the battery positions of the ARVN III Corps had been surveyed while 12 percent of its guns never had been calibrated Even after the creation of all the new units the need to support pacification and the local forces drained away capabilities A dedicated effort in the Central Highlands in 1969 to train CIDG personnel to man gun sections at Special Forces camps and have them coordinate with larger artillery units showed the way Eventually there came a decision to form 176 artillery platoons of two guns each to be placed within the districts and dedicated to local defense The first hundred were created during 1970 though only half had been deployed by the end of the year Training the ARVN artillerymen and servicing the guns brought huge headaches Expansion diluted the pool of skilled technicians and officers The South Vietnamese artillery school at Duc My near Nha Trang had planned to train 1 715 new personnel in 1970 but actually enrolled 2 327 The press of service demands also diluted the training American training programs imported from Fort Sill were pared back to essential elements Much technical education would have to be done by American mobile teams roaming the ARVN bases and by temporarily assigning Vietnamese artillerymen to American units to garner specialized knowledge The South Vietnamese Armor Command and school were located at Thu Duc north of Saigon The corps began with armored cavalry units formed in the 1950s equipped with a mix of light tanks and armored personnel carriers A squadron was attached to each ARVN corps and one stayed in the Saigon region In 1962 the ARVN had added pure tank squadrons for the first time and by 1966 had six armored cavalry squadrons Elements of these units later were incorporated into the ARVN s infantry divisions and five additional squadrons activated in 1968 69 Vietnamization added an additional five squadrons In 1969 reorganization created two actual armored brigades grouping tanks squadrons with some of the armored cavalry One brigade was assigned to the critical I Corps area the other to the Mekong Delta In Laos in 1971 ARVN armor encountered Soviet supplied T 54 tanks in North Vietnamese hands for the first time Those vehicles outclassed the American M 41s which at the time were the best the ARVN had After Lam Son 719 the ARVN added its 20th Tank Regiment equipped with the M 48 That unit had just taken the field when the Easter Offensive began Its intervention near Quang Tri in April blocked the North Vietnamese from crossing a key river a crucial development in preventing them from capturing Hue In general the Easter Offensive pointed up important weaknesses in the ARVN force structure That plus the cease fire led to a fresh round of force building The artillery added two 175mm gun battalions the armored corps two M 48 tank regiments The Marines added another brigade of three battalions The Vietnamese Air Force and Navy were greatly strengthened and the Air Force transitioned to an almost all jet force with a considerably augmented complement of helicopters and gunships The South Vietnamese reached their force of about 1 1 million at this time THE PROBLEM OF LEADERSHIP All these troops required leaders The problems in that arena were intractable In 1969 half of all ARVN battalions were commanded by men up to two grades below the stipulated rank This was

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1207/vietnamization.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: Honey Sue Caught Between The VA And A Hard Place
    Neslers have multiple letters and statements from doctors and dentists saying just that But they found the VA difficult to deal with sometimes encountering rude or abrupt employees Then there are the confusing or contradictory regulations And the interminable delays The dental crowns ultimately were approved by the VA but about a year later Honey Sue developed an abscess under one of the crowns that invaded her jaw and led to recommendations for surgery We again had the letters from the doctors and the dentists and every one of them agreed that the condition was a result of spina bifida Nesler said They agreed that she ground her teeth down due to seizures related to spina bifida and her condition with the invasive infection was therefore directly related One doctor made it clear If Honey Sue did not have intervention soon she would risk major reconstructive jaw surgery and might even lose portions of her jaw bone and cheek But the VA resisted It took six months to get VA coverage for a procedure that every doctor and dentist involved in the case agreed was absolutely necessary and was a direct result of spina bifida A VA spokesperson however suggested the Nesler s predicament is not typical Glenn A Johnson Chief of Communications for the VA s Health Administration Center in Denver home to the VA Spina Bifida Health Care Program says that the agency has not noted any difficulties in administering its AO spina bifida benefits program There is an application process in which the parent of the afflicted child must prove that he or she was indeed serving in Vietnam at any time between early 1962 and May 1975 Johnson said Once the child is registered as a beneficiary health care is readily available In fact the beneficiaries of either program have the complete freedom to see any health care provider they wish and simply submit the bill for their treatment to the VA s Health Administration Center in Denver for payment However Honey Sue s problems result not from difficulties in being accepted into the VA Spina Bifida Health Care Program rather from accessing care The core problem is that she must reprove her status each time she needs care said Nesler BAttling the system Ron and Suzanne Nesler maintain that their experience has been very different It s not just the VA Nesler said We ve battled Medicaid too Here in Indiana where we live we had to hire an attorney and pay 2 000 out of pocket to force the State Medicaid administration to recognize Honey Sue s illness and approve her for coverage A large problem is that most people even doctors and healthcare administrators are not very familiar with spina bifida Glenn Johnson agrees that problems at the VA also might arise out of lack of knowledge In many cases Johnson said veterans service officers have only a partial knowledge of these programs and may unintentionally mislead or misinform potential beneficiaries about the application process and benefits This can cause long delays or even the erroneous denial of benefits This Johnson implied may be what happened in the case of Honey Sue Newby But all that Ron and Suzanne Nesler know is that their attempts to care for Honey Sue have been uphill battles requiring extraordinary commitment and a fierce focus on getting the right thing done I really think the congressmen who voted for this legislation believe they have provided health care for the Level III AO affected children of veterans Ron Nesler said But the fact is that the health care is all but inaccessible Honey Sue has been officially rated a Level III since she was 30 years old and in all that time the only thing the VA has covered was her dental issue and that needed congressional intercession Nesler noted that much of Honey Sue s medical care is of an emergency nature making a lengthy VA application process medically inappropriate The medical issues of most spina bifida affected individuals will almost always be urgent or emergent Nesler finds it confounding that although this is common knowledge the VA has put a program in place that can take months to process a single request for care The bottom line is we depend almost entirely on Medicaid for Honey Sue s health care Nesler said Here we have a 36 year old person who is profoundly handicapped secondary to her father s service in Vietnam On the one hand we have the Department of Veterans Affairs who says yes this person is disabled secondary to her father s military service and is entitled to full medical care but on the other hand they deny her that medical care The VA s public information materials regarding AO spina bifida benefits seem to agree with Ron Nesler as well as Glenn Johnson of the VA Honey Sue Newby a designated Level III AO spina bifida individual should receive unlimited VA medical benefits According to Johnson the Neslers should be able to take Honey Sue to any clinic hospital emergency room or doctor s office in the land and receive treatment If the VA coverage is not honored immediately at the point of care the bill may be submitted to the VA for payment The Neslers have encountered something quite different The staff at hospitals sometimes look at our VA card like we re trying to pull a scam I don t think they ve ever seen one before They certainly don t know what to do with it Indirect Casualties of war The scientific debate continues at full boil As late as June of this year when the Ford Foundation launched the U S Vietnam Dialogue to explore and address AO damage in Vietnam the old disagreements among leading AO researchers flared It always comes back to the paucity of hard evidence surrounding AO s role in birth defects a debate that will clearly rumble on for some time But Ron

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1207/honeysue.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Welcome To Vietnam Veterans of America
    Feb MAR APR MAY JUNE july aug SEPT OCT Nov DeC 2006 July Aug SEPT OCT nov dec PRESIDENT S MESSAGE Burglars Comics And Targets BY JOHN ROWAN Just when the budget battles were quieting down on Capitol Hill we learned that an employee of the VA had a burglary that resulted in the possible loss of millions of veterans and service members personal information This month s report from the VVA Government Relations Department will go into this issue in detail including an explanation of our lawsuit against the VA While this lack of security is a serious issue I urge all VVA members not to take any precipitous measures in response to this news We are still trying to learn more about who may actually be jeopardized by identity theft Furthermore we also are relatively confident that measures will be taken even if it requires congressional intervention to protect veterans We were given such assurances at a meeting that the new House of Representatives Majority Leader John A Boehner Ohio and House Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Steve Buyer Ind had with the leaders of the veterans service organizations We are concerned about the potential detrimental effect of this security breach on individual veterans But we also want to know why the VA had compiled this information in the first place and what kind of analysis was occurring There are many questions still unanswered We hope our lawsuit will aid in this effort If you are a Doonesbury fan as I am then you might be surprised to see one of the recent strips on the cover of this edition of The VVA Veteran B D Garry Trudeau s Vietnam veteran character has been one of my favorites over the years When he was sent to Iraq and lost

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0606/presidents_message.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Welcome To Vietnam Veterans of America
    returned from Vietnam Every single day he is still haunted by memories of war I see it in his eyes Let us not let new veterans down as we did with Vietnam veterans My yearning is that no veteran s family will have to live forever with the aftereffects of war and that our returning veterans and their families have access to all the help necessary to return to a peaceful life Mary S King Bennington Vermont ATTN NAVY WOs AND CWOs I m a subscriber to The VVA Veteran I am a USNR retired CW04 and served in Vietnam 1965 66 aboard the U S S Monmouth County LST 1032 I wanted you to know about the newly established WO CWO U S Navy Navy Reserve which represents active reserve and retired WOs and CWOs This special interest group will give the Navy Warrant Officer community a proper place in the military establishment and allow for discussions of mutual interest An executive board has been established whose responsibility will be to promote unity morale discussion and increase professional abilities This in turn will promote the success of this group as well as promote devotion and loyalty to the U S Navy Carmine Mezzacappa Via e mail WESTMORELAND REVISITED I noticed the long article on General Westmoreland in the September October issue of The VVA Veteran Yes he was a brave soldier But he also was involved in some controversy Here are just a couple of examples that involved the 1st Cavalry In 1965 he showed up to address the troops while they were trying to eat their Thanksgiving dinner on paper plates that were getting soggy in the rain He spoke of the great victory in the Ia Drang The troops of the 1st 7th who lost 79 KIA in that battle didn t feel victorious The 2nd 7th who had 155 KIA in a matter of hours on the 17th of November felt even less victorious Then there is the covering up of information on the NVA prior to Tet 1968 A message came from MACV in January basically saying Information on an enemy build up in the northern two provinces is politically unacceptable at this time He must have known about it because it came from his office In my opinion Westmoreland was a great officer who unfortunately near the end of his career let politics in Washington cloud his judgment Glenn H Sheathelm Muskegon Michigan AGAIN WELCOME HOME I recently celebrated my 58th birthday My father s family came to America in 1730 My family fought in the Revolutionary War the Civil War and almost every war since then I went to Vietnam in late 1968 and returned in February 1970 Not a day goes by that I do not remember the 58 479 souls we left behind and the countless thousands of Vietnamese souls that were lost there I am not sure why we fought that war but my country said go and I went

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0606/letters.htm (2016-02-15)
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  • Welcome To Vietnam Veterans of America
    VVA Publications Advertising Kit Forms Agent Orange Site Map Join VVA Agent Orange Other Toxic Exposures PTSD Locate Your Local VVA Chapter Personality Disorder Discharges Chaplains Corner CSCP Contact VVA PARTNER SITES PUBLICATIONS JULY AUGUST Issue The Veteran Departments Featured Stories President s Message Letters VVAF Report Government Relations Ask The Parliamentarian Public Affairs Committee Report Region 9 Report From The National Secretary PTSD Substance Abbuse Report Disaster Relief Committee Report SHAD Project 112 Task Force Report AVVA Report TAPS Veterans Initiative Task Force Report Arts of War Book Review Membership Notes Locator Reunions PAST ISSues 2010 Jan Feb 2009 Jan Feb mar apr may june july Aug sept oct Nov DeC 2008 Jan Feb mar apr may june july Aug sept oct Nov DeC 2007 Jan Feb MAR APR MAY JUNE july aug SEPT OCT Nov DeC 2006 July Aug SEPT OCT nov dec VVAF Report KNMF VVAF 14 Years of Successful Partnership Helping the Nation s Largest Homeless Veteran Population BY RANDY BARNES PRESIDENT VIETNAM VETERANS ASSISTANCE FUND Aiding 8 682 homeless in 2005 and a total of more than 68 020 since 1991 The Kenny Nickelson Memorial Foundation for Homeless Veterans and Children addresses the needs of Los Angeles homeless veterans formerly homeless veterans and needy children VVAF and VVA Chapters 53 and 446 have been key partners with KNMF since it incorporated in 1992 VVA has provided funds for KNMF to conduct Stand Downs Job and College Trade School Fairs and Personal Care Days and purchased education materials school supplies toys games bikes and other items for needy people in L A Stand Downs for homeless veterans and Personal Care Days for formerly homeless veterans provide basic essentials including new clothing shoes linens household supplies and décor hygiene supplies blankets some appliances sports equipment back to

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0606/VVAF1.htm (2016-02-15)
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