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  • The VVA Veteran Featured Stories
    Lamar Plain BY ROGER ABLES PHOTOGRAPHS BY STEPHEN KLUBOCK Ten days after the inauguration of Richard M Nixon the communist leadership resolved to test his will and the will of the American people COSVN Directive Number 71 ordered the North Vietnamese Army and its supporting local forces to maximize American combat casualties while disrupting lines of communications and disabling the pacification programs In 1969 more than 11 500 American servicemen and one woman died in Vietnam nearly half of them in the first four months of Nixon s presidency The year s best known combat action was the battle for Ap Bia Mountain Hill 937 known as the battle of Hamburger Hill But over one hundred miles to the south in Quang Tin Province a little known but highly significant set of military events unfolded read complete article VVA S 14TH NATIONAL CONVENTION IN LOUISVILLE A Big Hotel A Big Success BY MARC LEEPSON This has been a Convention without contention VVA National President John Rowan said on Saturday August 1 near the end of VVA s 14th biennial National Convention held at the huge two towered Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville Kentucky In some ways I miss the old days when there were big battles on the floor and tense electioneering But VVA has accomplished a lot since the Founding Convention in 1983 We can be proud of all of those accomplishments as we continue our mandate to take care of the nation s Vietnam veterans A crowd of nearly a thousand VVA delegates AVVA members and guests took part in the Convention which began Wednesday morning July 29 and ended with a star studded Awards Banquet on Saturday evening In between the 657 delegates from VVA chapters around the nation sat in Convention for four days and in evening caucuses and national committee meetings to debate resolutions and consider a handful of Constitutional Amendments The solemn and stirring Opening Ceremonies featured a call to arms by Keynote Speaker Retired Army Lt Gen Russel Honoré known as the Category Five General for leading New Orleans back from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 Gen Honoré exhorted VVA members to be prepared for Katrina like emergencies You gotta join the sheepdog club the General said for when the wolves come to the door read complete article STAYIN ALIVE Chapter 757 Brookings Oregon Riding High A series of articles focusing on VVA chapters and the fundraising strategies they have developed BY ALLAN W STEWART The Brookings Harbor community is on the southern most part of Oregon s rugged and scenic coast just a few miles north of the California border Located in the so called Banana Belt it has mild winters and cool rainy summers Tourism lumber fishing the nearby Pelican Bay Prison and retirees are the main sources of income As the Portland Oregonian put it If the Oregon map were divided by military service this coastal village on the southwest coast would be known as Veterans Land The county is

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1009/veteran1009.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran Featured Stories
    Nov DeC 2006 July Aug SEPT OCT nov dec Featured Stories REMF Diary of Dying and Bureaucratic Complexity By David Willson OCTOBER 2008 My ribs had been causing me serious pain since June I d been to see Dr Brooks several times and lots of theories had been pursued Finally I got the diagnosis multiple myeloma I recognized the name of the disease from the Agent Orange Dirty Dozen I looked up the list on the VA website and there it was nestled between Hodgkin s disease and respiratory cancers Fine bedfellows Presumptive conditions for disability compensations An open and shut case I am a Vietnam veteran who served in country from September 13 1966 through October 23 1967 I was stationed in Tan Son Nhut and then in Long Binh but I was all over the country I was presumed to be exposed I was told that I had Stage 2 B multiple myeloma and that my disease was in an aggressive mode Looked to me as though I hit the jackpot read complete article VVA s Service Officer Program The Veteran s Benefit BY MARC LEEPSON When David Willson a VVA member battling Agent Orange induced bone cancer applied to the VA for his veterans benefits last September he found out that the vast government agency had his name spelled wrong and his address all screwed up But that was the least of the Seattle resident s VA related problems As Willson faced radiation debilitating chemotherapy and a harrowing bone marrow transplant months went by with no word from the VA about the fate of his benefits application He was not alone VA employees today face a mountain of more than one million unprocessed claims by veterans seeking physical and psychological disability compensation There is a backlog VA Secretary Eric Shinseki told the House Veterans Affairs Committee October 14 It is too big and veterans are waiting too long for decisions read complete article STAYIN ALIVE ADIRONDACK CHAPTER 79 Fundraising It s A Picnic BY JAMES BROWN Nine years ago Adirondack Chapter 79 in Queensbury New York north of Albany was looking for a fundraiser that would be unique and not infringe upon the efforts of other local service organizations Since the chapter had a working wood shop obtained through a grant the decision was made to look in that direction The chapter president at that time Gary Murphy came up with an idea picnic tables The rest is Chapter 79 history Most Saturdays in the spring and summer you can find half a dozen chapter members running routers circular saws chop saws and drills on the production line A special jig is used to assemble legs ahead of time Then the 2x6 lumber is attached using outdoor hardware and deck screws Braces are installed and the finishing touches corners cut edges routered are completed read complete article FINAL RESTING PLACE Caring for Cremains BY BOB HOPKINS The wind came from the Northwest cutting through the assembled with

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1209/veteran1209.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran November/December 2007 Featured Stories
    of America Originally conceived without thought to membership VVA was organized as a guerilla force to storm the halls of Congress on behalf of the nation s veterans of the Vietnam War But the intended targets repeatedly asked How many people do you represent How large is your membership In this issue we profile the first thirty chapters Well make that the surviving thirteen chapters The path of every successful venture is littered with failures Of the original thirty VVA chapters seventeen were stillborn only existed as a number or met with a quick end But others prospered sometimes struggled and survived We asked those original survivors to recount their histories and discuss their challenges These are their stories read complete article Woman on a Mission VVA s Second National President Mary Stout By Mac Leepson It s not every day that a veterans service organization s national election results make headlines in the nation s top newspapers But that s what happened on August 3 1987 when The New York Times and The Washington Post trumpeted the fact that Mary Stout had been elected the second president of Vietnam Veterans of America the day before by an overwhelming majority of the four hundred delegates at VVA s Third National Convention in Washington Woman Takes Command was the NYT headline Woman to Lead Charge for Viet Veterans Group the Post said followed by the subhead Election Follows Tradition of Non Tradition The newspapers played up the fact that Mary Stout who had served as a U S Army nurse in Vietnam was the first woman chosen to lead an American VSO At the time Stout felt that her election signified an important step in the recognition of the role played by women in the Vietnam War and as veterans advocates

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0208/veteran0208.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran November/December 2007 Featured Stories
    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 Featured Stories Salivation Army Feeding the Troops in Vietnam Iraq BY XANDE ANDERER A good meal first and foremost must be served hot And this meal is very hot Rolling waves of steam sweep upward filling the air with the aroma of garlic and paprika Dinner tonight is sausage and spicy Cajun rice There s almond poppyseed pound cake for dessert and hot chai tea Where pray tell is this meal is being served Would you believe on a remote mountain pass in Afghanistan s Paktika Province The age old maxim holds that an army moves on its stomach But soldiers from the Napoleonic Wars to Vietnam were forced to eat essentially the same tins of meat and beans That has all changed in recent years as scientists and nutritionists have joined forces to make extraordinary changes in what American soldiers eat in the field To see just how far battlefield rations have come in recent years you only need to see how little it improved over its first 170 years read complete article Thirty Names BY FRED J WILHELM A light rain is falling Marilyn and I hear something in the distance a voice but we cannot make out what is being said Walking closer I can hear names being read one by one We are in Washington D C to visit two old friends Raymond J Kiesler and Charles Hicks Closer now I can see The Wall and veterans friends and families listening in the rain to the names being read We walk by the vendors and we look at the Three Soldiers at their equipment the M 60 and the M 16 And always in the air the names are being read one by one I gaze at the people touching and staring at the names hugging each other and leaving mementos A stage with a podium stands in the grassy area From here more than 58 000 names are being read day and night until they are all heard by the men and women who have been here for 25 years read complete article Charitable Arm The History of the Vietnam Veterans Assistance Fund BY MARC LEEPSON Thirty years ago a brash new veterans service organization was founded in Washington D C Vietnam Veterans of America quickly qualified as a 501 c 19 the special tax exempt non profit designation given by the IRS to organizations made up of war veterans that have programs that help needy and disabled veterans and their families and do community service work But soon after that VVA added a new component the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation which was organized as a 501 c 3 There was always a question about the fundraising abilities of a c 19 said Skip Roberts who served as VVAF s executive

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0408/veteran0408.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran Featured Stories
    Atlanta and Charlotte became a mill capital surrounded by mill towns Life in the mill towns was tough and the work hard The towns were usually built by and for the owners who provided factory churches and factory stores often with factory scrip But in the cool of the evening families gathered to watch the men play baseball The Textile Leagues were born At Brandon Mills 13 year old factory worker Joe Jackson had already earned a reputation The eldest of eight children he worked by day at his father s side In the evening he was on the baseball field He was a phenomenon He first played in the Textile League and then in the minor leagues for the Greenville Spinners More and more people came out to see him He was a natural beautiful and graceful on the diamond His home runs were known as Saturday specials his line drives blue darters his glove the place where triples go to die read complete article East West The Japanese British French Chinese and Americans in Post War Vietnam BY RONALD SPECTOR Adapted from In The Ruins of Empire By Ronald Spector Copyright 2007 by Ronald Spector Published by arrangement with Random House An imprint of Random House Publishing Group a division of Random House Inc On September 2 1945 ten days after Gen MacArthur received the Japanese surrender aboard the U S S Missouri thereby ending World War II a squadron of Royal Air Force transport planes landed at Tan Son Nhut airport outside Saigon carrying the first of the British occupation forces a battalion of the 20th Indian Division under Maj Gen Douglas Gracey Crowds of French and Vietnamese cheered the arrival of each plane Still others lined the road waving Union Jacks as the troops were driven

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0608/veteran0608.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran Featured Stories
    Charlie s point To which Kilgore shouts Charlie don t surf Lance and Kilgore are fictional and the enemy certainly didn t ride the wild surf in the South China Sea But a few intrepid American servicemen actually did surf off of South Vietnam in the war zone That included young Navy Corpsman J Craig Venter who was stationed at the Danang Navy Hospital in 1967 68 and who today is one of the world s top scientists Venter achieved worldwide fame in 2001 when he led a team that completed the publication of the sequencing of the human genome one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs in modern history Craig Venter was named to Time magazine s 2007 list of the top men and women whose power talent or moral example is transforming the world One observer called him arguably the most famous living scientist taking over the role once occupied by Albert Einstein Venter will receive VVA s Excellence in the Sciences Award at the National Leadership Conference read complete article Righting A Terrible Wrong The Dedication of the Levitow Health Center at Rocky Hill BY MICHAEL KEATING On May 22 Connecticut Gov M Jodi Rell U S Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Gordon Mansfield Connecticut Commissioner of Public Works Raeanne Curtis and hundreds of others joined Connecticut Commissioner of Veterans Affairs Linda Schwartz to dedicate the new Sgt John L Levitow USAF Veterans Health Center Our Linda Schwartz Linda Schwartz who served on the VVA National Board of Directors chaired national committees and was the first woman to receive the VVA Commendation Medal for Justice Integrity and Meaningful Achievement This is the change that I wanted to see at Rocky Hill for many years Schwartz said I remember first reading about the appalling conditions at the Connecticut Veterans Home In fact I first read about them in The VVA Veteran Connecticut is the home of the nation s first state veterans home In 1863 Benjamin Fitch honoring his promise to soldiers recruited for Union regiments established the Fitch Home for Veterans which offered shelter and support to veterans their widows and their orphans But by the 1930s the strain on the Fitch facility finally caused Gov Wilbur Cross to start a land search which resulted in the establishment of a new Soldiers Home in Rocky Hill read complete article IRAQ Vietnam Without Water The IVAW Winter Soldier Investigation BY BILL CRANDELL It breaks out this way Some of us see the war in Iraq as a conflict America had no choice but to enter one that s going well or at least decently Others say the nation had to get into Iraq but the current administration bungled it The third view is the war was a mistake from the get go Vietnam veterans don t fault the courage and capability of the troops whichever outlook they have Nor do Iraq veterans What s striking is how these outlooks parallel the views Vietnam veterans had about our own war

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0808/veteran0808.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran Featured Stories
    women s health issues VVA participants at the conference held once every four years included Marsha Four who chairs the VVA Women Veterans Committee Sandy Miller Connie Christensen and Sara McVicker read complete article Stayin Alive A series of articles focusing on VVA chapters and the fundraising strategies that they have developed We Did It Ourselves Chapter 632 Fights For Its Own By Ted Jorden When Carolyn Cedillo began to experience occasional lapses in memory she dismissed it as a sign of advancing age But the memory failures became more frequent and she developed other physical problems including dropping things She grew unresponsive when spoken to and developed difficulties with her speech Her husband Cid took her to see their family physician who admitted her into the hospital She was diagnosed with a brain tumor Worse the tumor was malignant Doctors told the family that radiation therapy was all that could be done and they should take her home The family immediately sought other doctors and hospitals better equipped to fight this malignancy The University of Texas M D Anderson Cancer Center in Houston agreed to see Carolyn Cedillo and confirmed the original diagnosis But where previous doctors offered little hope doctors at M D Anderson suggested an aggressive course of innovative cancer treatments Surgery was performed and 90 percent of the tumor removed Then came an aggressive regimen of chemotherapy combined with radiation treatments The treatment continued for several months but afterward the prognosis was good read complete article You Always Learn Something The 2008 Leadership Conference BY MARC LEEPSON photos by Michael Keating When you attend a VVA National Leadership Conference you have to make choices And that was certainly true with this year s LC which took place July 16 19 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Greenville South Carolina With many of the three dozen seminars offered concurrently over four days conferees had to prioritize On Thursday morning at 9 00 for example Jim Lynch the President of Chapter 905 in Porter County Indiana decided to take in the two part Heath Care Issues seminar It dealt with hepatitis C and Agent Orange and birth defects Lynch a veteran of eight VVA Conventions and Leadership Conferences is mighty glad he chose that session read complete article Angola To Iraq One Veteran s Commitment To A Young Soldier BY MICHAEL KEATING Sometimes while serving in Iraq Jason Mouret would be drenched in sweat fear clinging to him like his clothes He would calm himself by thinking about the advice he had been given by someone who had seen it all years ago Amid the terror and the tedium and the constant confusion he heard a voice that gave him insight and suggested alternate courses of action And when the action started and the battle raged he had a friend and elder brother in arms who whispered Be brave Be strong This counsel and comfort came from letters from home from Louisiana At first Mouret said it was

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1008/veteran1008.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran Featured Stories
    attend vote on the cars and decide the winners We have ten categories including motorcycles That makes it easier A few people want to have more categories but we choose to keep it simple There is no admission charge read complete article Snowball Express Remembering the Families of the Fallen BY XANDE ANDERER Most soldiers carry a letter they hope no one will ever read The military encourages everyone in combat zones to compose a letter to be delivered to their loved ones should they fall in battle It s a final goodbye of sorts words they never had the chance to say aloud a modicum of comfort for the loved ones left behind Some are addressed to unborn children others to small children too young to remember them The letters are painful to read The sad fact is that more than 4 200 families have read those bittersweet letters and more than 8 500 children have lost a military parent in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan This December 1 600 of those children and their families will converge on the self proclaimed happiest place on earth Disneyland for a welcome if temporary escape from their grief The event is the third such trip made possible by Snowball Express an all volunteer charity Its mission is to provide happy memories and camaraderie for the children of servicemen and women who have died in the Global War on Terrorism This year s all expense paid trip includes visits to Disneyland and the Universal Studios theme park and a day long event called A Day in the Life of California All travel hotel and food costs are free They don t pay one penny explained the event s chairman retired USAF Lt Col Roy White a Southwest Airlines pilot They ve already paid everything they need to pay to this country The purpose of the trip is to let the children know their sacrifices aren t forgotten read complete article Tears and Rejoicing The 15th Anniversary of the Dedication of the Vietnam Women s Memorial TEXT PHOTOS BY MARK JURY With temperatures barely above freezing in the early morning of November 11 Janet Gorman King read her poem about nurses in Vietnam Hers Was the Last Face He Saw King read in front of the Vietnam Women s Memorial in Washington D C The crowd attending the reading had come to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the dedication of the Memorial As the temperature rose and the warmth of the day spread over the thousands of Vietnam veterans and their supporters the spirit of the motto of the Memorial A Legacy of Healing and Hope also spread over the crowd A day of storytelling speakers and camaraderie culminated with the Color Guard Pass in Review that was developed and organized by VVA Fifteen years ago we talked about leaving a legacy said Diane Carlson Evans an Army nurse in Vietnam founder and president of the board of the Vietnam Women s

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1208/veteran1208.html (2016-02-15)
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