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  • The VVA Veteran: The Veterans Health Conuncil: Arming Veterans With Information
    talk about health and healthcare issues we are greeted with something akin to astonishment because no one has ever mentioned this to them before Enter the Veterans Health Council VHC an innovative outreach effort created by VVA that will mine the realities of new American media and communications to target veterans and their families in more effective ways There is so little outreach to the men and women who served our nation honorably and well Rowan notes And because too many veterans succumb to diseases that can be traced back to their time in service VVA has created in partnership with nearly fifty collaborating healthcare and advocacy organizations the Veterans Health Council KEY CHALLENGES The mission of the VHC speaks directly to the key challenges facing veteran outreach in this country today At least 80 percent of vets do not use the VA as their healthcare provider and only some 25 percent are members of veterans service organizations As a result VA or VSO messages about services options and programs often fail to find the veterans they are intended to reach Traditional avenues of reaching veterans like the VA or VSOs can no longer be expected to reach a significant number of vets with a pressing need to understand the care and compensation they have earned In Rowan s words the VHC aims to fill a void that has long threatened to become an abyss To meet this looming challenge Rowan identifies the VHC goals as fourfold We want to inform veterans and their families about health issues related to their military service as well as the health care and other benefits available to them he says We want to educate health care communities about the multiple health issues associated with military service With advocacy organizations we want to develop educational materials for medical colleges nursing schools teaching hospitals and related entities as well as to target veterans in the booklets and brochures published by these organizations along with other means of electronic dissemination And we want to advocate on behalf of health care initiatives for veterans and their families A big job and a vital one But how to do it The basic objective of the VHC comes back to a simply stated goal To ensure that veterans get proper service related diagnoses in a timely manner and are fully appraised of their options for care and compensation But Rowan acknowledges communication in America has changed since the Vietnam era vets came marching home Information is digitized and global It is cable and satellite broadcast across hundreds of television channels or web based blogged and Facebooked and Tweeted and YouTubed To imagine that a particular veteran in need will happen to pick up a VA or VSO brochure or see a poster just when he or she needs it has become a rare happenstance Those older forms of outreach might still have their place and purpose but they can no longer be the only form of outreach employed The

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0809/vhc.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran:
    donations at one of the local banks For the past fourteen years VVA Chapter 757 has sponsored a free annual Fourth of July fireworks show at the Port of Brookings Harbor All of the funds are donated by the community through the hard work of our chapter Preparations for the show begin in January For many years our members went door to door soliciting businesses taking collections in front of stores and requesting donations from individuals During the past several years fundraising has become easier because local air personality Steve Braun spends time suspended in the air in the boom of a cherry picker broadcasting on KURY Radio until sufficient funds are raised VVA and AVVA members joined by the Brookings Harbor High School cheerleaders and sports teams Lions Club Redshirts Marine Corps League and employees of Chetco Federal Credit Union line Highway 101 through town collecting cash donations Businesses challenge each other to match pledges All of this is aired on the radio and coverage is provided in the local newspaper Last year in just two days we raised more than 20 000 to cover the cost of the fireworks show This year despite the poor economy and a storm that dropped two inches of rain in one day more than 23 000 was raised in less than three days Much of the money came from local businessmen who realized that the fireworks show is a money maker for them Individual donations accounted for about 25 percent of the total Nearly everyone who donated said Thank you for your service This is our stimulus package for our community The funds are used only for the fireworks show More than a ton of fireworks was purchased In the past The Avenue of The Flags was a major venture we used to raise funds for our other chapter activities On national holidays the chapter placed flags for three miles on both sides of Highway 101 through town American flags POW MIA flags service flags and tribal flags We charged 35 to sponsor a flag While the program was very successful it became increasingly burdensome Due to the age and physical limitations of some of our members we turned the program over to the local Boy Scout troop They are doing a great job raising money for their causes while teaching young men the value of patriotism But we needed to replace that lost revenue A car show was suggested one that would coincide with the Fourth of July fireworks show It would generate revenue for the chapter without taking revenue from the fireworks program It would also be a stand alone event While none of us had much experience in putting on a car show a Stayin Alive feature in the November December 2008 issue of The VVA Veteran spurred us on VVA Chapter 582 in Chico California gave us a real head start We borrowed heavily from the information they supplied They were a great help and totally unselfish in

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1009/stayinalive.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran:
    also discovered many enemy installations while facing withering fire from 51 caliber machine gun positions During the next two weeks virtually every aircraft assigned to the operation received damage from ground fire and many were shot down Infantry contact with the enemy was light for the first two days in the field However it was only be a matter of time before that changed On the morning of May 18 Bravo Company 1 501st Infantry began to climb Hill 187 north of LZ Professional As the third platoon reached the summit several enemy mortar rounds rained down As the remainder of the company joined by recon and mortar platoons reached the top a command post was established Soon thereafter enemy mortar crews had the CP bracketed One round fell on each side and a third directly hit the CP The company commander Capt John C Pape and the senior medic Spec 4 Russell Lane Jett were killed in the blast while the commander s RTO and five others were wounded Mortar rounds continued to fall on Hill 187 until late afternoon eventually killing four men and wounding 18 Shortly after Bravo came under siege Charlie Company began receiving intense small arms and machine gun fire while following a trail north of Hill 187 The first and third platoons tried an assault on enemy positions atop a small hill The second platoon was defending the company CP and also engaged with the enemy The assault on the little hill failed the men pulled back There were wounded and ammo and water were running low It became essential to secure the area so that a resupply helicopter and medevac could come in Shortly after the men pulled back a flight of Douglas A 1E Skyraiders or spads rolled in and passed directly overhead dropping 500 pound bombs onto the enemy position Charlie Company eventually secured the hilltop and the dead one seriously wounded and heat casualties were evacuated As the men began to dig in for the night they surveyed the surreal scene around them Melted napalm hung from splintered blackened vegetation Tree stumps smoldered Bomb fragments ugly jagged chunks of steel littered the landscape The stiffening bodies of dead NVA soldiers lay close by The air smelled of combat and death The men of Charlie Company would call this hill Ghost Mountain The 1st Battalion 502nd Infantry entered the action on May 19 when they established a command post at Hau Duc Meanwhile their infantry companies and recon and mortar platoons conducted combat assaults by helicopter west of Professional and southeast of Tien Phuoc The object was to seize the high ground surrounding Professional and take the pressure off of the firebase and district headquarters at Tien Phuoc Contact with the enemy was generally light and sporadic until May 21 when 1 501 units northeast of Hill 187 made contact in the early morning Fighting continued throughout the day as two companies and the recon platoon were ambushed The fighting was concentrated around a small hill where the enemy occupied well concealed spider holes trenches and steel reinforced concrete bunkers By mid afternoon Delta Company was scattered south and east of the hill They were badly shot up and pinned down by heavy enemy fire Worse the location of one of their platoons was unknown Recon also was hurting after losing its platoon leader platoon sergeant and several other men leaving a Spec 4 rifleman in command Bravo assaulted the enemy hill position from the northeast and sustained many casualties They collected the dead and wounded and set up a CP and aid station Charlie Company in reserve was ordered to assault the hill late that afternoon The third platoon stood up on line shoulder to shoulder and before the command to charge could be given the enemy opened fire Immediately second platoon was ordered into the fight and the two platoons charged across a rice paddy toward the hill Several men fell wounded in the paddy and more at the base of the hill as from above the enemy fired mortar machine gun and rocket propelled grenades As the men leaped over a stone wall and began to advance up the hill the first platoon and company CP also came under attack The enemy tried to encircle them Murderous fire brought down several more of Charlie Company s men But using grenades and fire and maneuver they reached a second stone wall Then they were fired on from every direction Enemy soldiers wearing grass and tree limbs as camouflage rose up from spider holes and trenches and charged from behind The fighting became very close often hand to hand There were many acts of personal courage After taking out several enemy bunkers with light anti tank weapons and spraying rifle and machine gun fire into the trees where enemy soldiers had tied themselves with ropes the 101st moved further up the hill toward a third stone wall behind which there was a continuous line of spider holes interconnected by tunnels To the left and right behind the wall were bunker and tunnel complexes Each time a bunker was taken out more enemy soldiers crawled through the connecting tunnels and trenches pulled their dead away and replaced them in the firing positions The beleaguered grunts finally fought their way to the top of the hill and destroyed the last of the enemy bunkers They were exhausted nearly out of ammo and water and without radio contact with the CP The two platoon leaders Don Gourley and Dan O Neill made the decision to recover their wounded and withdraw from the hill After getting the wounded off the hill Gourley led a group back up the hill to recover the dead but the tactical situation prevented their recovery efforts Only with the help of guys from Bravo s third platoon were they able to police up their weapons and equipment and get their wounded to a makeshift assembly area and aid station

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1009/lamarplain.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran:
    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 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 VVA members and guests roared with approval He could have spoken for an hour as far as I was concerned said George Biswell a 22 year member of Kansas City Mo Chapter 317 attending his first VVA Convention The results of the Friday morning voting VVA President John Rowan Vice President Jack Devine and Secretary Barry Hagge were re elected to their third two year terms Larry Frazee succeeded retiring Alan Cook as National Treasurer Cook was given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Opening Ceremonies honoring his many years of service to VVA The ten winners of the at large seats to the Board of Directors were Marsha Four Bill Meeks Patrick Welch Dan Stenvold John Margowski Thomas Burke Jerry Yamamoto Sandie Wilson Pat Bessigano and Richard DeLong The winners of the Regional Director races were Wayne Cartier Region 1 Fred Elliott Region 2 Bruce Whitaker Region 3 Carol Schetrompf Region 4 Tom Meinhardt Region 5 Steve House Region 6 Allen Manuel Region 7 Francis Rowan Region 8 and Dick Southern Region 9 The officers and new board were sworn in on Saturday morning by actor Jon Voight who had just addressed the delegates about setting aside March 28 as national Vietnam Veterans Remembrance Day Bill Nelson the chairman and CEO of HBO and VVA member introduced the Saturday afternoon screening of the acclaimed HBO film Taking Chance Also on

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1009/convention.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran:
    a very difficult disease to treat Ross said Besides causing liver failure liver cancer often will spread in the blood through the portal vein to other organs So what s the good news First there are new drugs coming out for hepatitis C he said and we are hopeful that these will be available within a couple of years Among these are protease inhibitors that will be used in combination with other drugs The other thing is that we have had some success in attacking some complications of HCV before they weaken people to the point that they can t tolerate antiviral therapy Also new medications such as Telaprevir are showing improved response rates for HCV There are also some newer treatments for cirrhosis that are helpful In exploring new treatments careful testing is always essential Scientists from the Massachusetts Biologic Laboratory of the University of Massachusetts Medical School recently reported on a new antibody that shows promise for neutralizing HCV But it s too early to say what this means Dr Ross said The study reported on results in tissue culture and nonhuman primates and it is common for promising results in animals not to pan out in humans He pointed to areas of progress in patient care It s now possible to detect liver cancer earlier through semiannual screening And there are lifestyle changes We re running a very successful program to educate providers about talking to patients about cutting down on alcohol use Blood transfusion one of the major risk factors for HCV transmission didn t take off until the 20th century People referred to non A non B hepatitis until about 20 years ago when the new virus was identified as the cause of most non A non B hepatitis Advocacy And Activism Ron Iams was trained as a registered nurse at Fort Sam Houston during the Vietnam War The worrisome problem he sees with hepatitis C is the assumptions of how veterans became infected The underlying assumption is it s their own fault The obvious possibilities for infection especially those in combat situations in Vietnam being exposed to blood are all discounted when it comes to considering veterans for compensation for their injury It s always assumed that they were drug abusers or some of the highly charged negative ways that one can become infected Iams said It s been an uphill battle for veterans to get past those assumptions A lot of the things that we ve gotten past with HIV we haven t with HCV Iams s own case is extremely rare He knows exactly how and when he became infected with HCV This he said is one of the reasons that I have always been a preferred patient in clinical trials and various studies We know the very date that I was infected drawing blood from a Vietnam returnee who had hepatitis in 1975 I stuck myself in the thumb and then I came down with hepatitis and was a patient in

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1009/hepc.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran:
    Board of Directors I want to thank the delegates who attended the National Convention for their support We want to congratulate all those who ran for office and encourage those who were unsuccessful to remain active in VVA There is plenty of work to go around at all levels of the organization From the comments I received from many of the delegates this may have been one of our best Conventions ever It was certainly helped along by some great speakers such as Gen Russel Honoré Pat Sajak and the surprise visit from Jon Voigt who is working to get a national Vietnam Veterans Day As usual we could not have done it without our wonderful staff who made this Convention one of our finest and quickest We also must thank our hosts the Kentucky State Council and the local chapters Also the Constitution Committee the Resolutions Committee and all our issues committees did wonderful jobs The committee hearings were well attended and in many cases turned into seminars on the various issues affecting veterans Given how quickly things went along and the interest of many of the delegates for more information we will consider some modifications for future conventions For the last two years the officers have focused on modernizing operations and developing new revenue streams We hope to see the results of these efforts over the next two years This will enhance our efforts to help veterans and their families VETERANS HEALTH COUNCIL As those who attended know my main emphasis was on our latest and in some ways perhaps our most important initiative the Veterans Health Council and its web site www veteranshealth org If you have not visited this site I urge you to do so right away The long term effects of Agent Orange and other toxic substances on Vietnam veterans and more recent veterans may be the most significant issue facing veterans of modern times Historically it was assumed that the dangers of warfare were over when you left the battlefield Unfortunately since the atomic era and the use of defoliants in Vietnam the old adage is no longer true These toxic exposures have injured and killed more veterans than bullets and bombs have Some of these ailments can be mitigated if they are identified early But in order for this to occur health care professionals must be educated This is especially important when you realize that more than 70 percent of veterans don t use the VA system and don t belong to veterans service organizations such as VVA I again urge each and every one of you to go www veteranshealth org and become knowledgeable about these issues and then do whatever you can to get the word out to all veterans I encourage you to reach out to other organizations you are involved with For example I am coordinating with some of my brother Masons who are also VVA members to get an op ed piece published in their Grand Lodge

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1009/presreport.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran:
    drive our country toward Third World status Don Austin Lennon Michigan A RESPECTFUL WELCOME The letter Caskets in Dover in the May June issue evoked many sad memories During 1965 66 and early 67 I flew C 141s out of Travis AFB On return trips from Vietnam the aircraft were often fully loaded with aluminum coffins Those coffins were not even flag draped No one met the aircraft except for mechanics and air freight personnel I vividly recall carrying so many coffins that we got blisters on our hands I also remember combat troops arriving bandaged and filthy still carrying their weapons and not a soul to meet them except for essential medical personnel I saw injured troops unload the severely wounded I sincerely hope that American society has learned from this shameful treatment of Vietnam War veterans Our homecoming was extremely solemn Please do not treat our present returning warriors the way you treated our dead and wounded Belated welcome homes mean nothing to us An honorable meaningful decent and respectful welcome is the least this society can do for them I cannot forget Ruben F Alarcon By Email THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES Thank you for the great job in the article on our Hotel 2 3 reunion When I received the magazine I read it over and over and was very impressed with the work that VVA is doing So much so that I sent in my application So now I m a member and ready to start working with my local chapter here in San Antonio We can t allow the government to forget our veterans Ralph Rod Rodrigue By Email PATRIOTIC POETRY I was deeply moved by the latest publication of The VVA Veteran July August 2009 especially the cover and the story of John Phelps and his son Chance I write patriotic poetry and I sent John Phelps an e mail and poem shortly after Chance was killed John responded with a short message of thanks and ended with God Bless America That truly moved me Secondly I had the great pleasure of knowing POW flag designer Newt Heisley for a short time He was a great patriot and talented individual We had several telephone conversations and seemed to have a lot in common He was a man of great humility and love of country I will guard and cherish my July August issue for years to come Bob Beskar By Email DISGUSTED With each issue of the The VVA Veteran I get more and more disgusted You re no longer providing enough things of importance and interest to veterans Do away with all the glitter long committee reports and full page ads Go back to The Veteran of years past I looked forward to reading the interesting articles and the information provided in Taps Locator and Reunion You should take a look at the VFW s magazine Don Werley Highland Indiana THE BEST I am the past Bronx County Commander of the Jewish War

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1009/letters.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran:
    increase of 7 100 claims processors the total increase will be 8 300 when this bill has passed l have provided an additional 115 community based outpatient clinics this bill adds 30 more l have provided an additional 42 Vet Centers this bill adds 28 more l have allowed the Veterans Health Administration to hire an additional 2 657 doctors 11 509 nurses and 40 604 total new staff this bill provides for 6 992 more l have increased the travel reimbursement rate which had not been increased since 1979 to 41 5 cents per mile These resources mean that our veterans have better access to the health care that they need to include improved access in rural areas and increased access for our middle and lower income Priority 8 veterans Edwards said Additionally these resources insure that our veterans wait less time to get the services and benefits that they have earned It is up to Congress to exercise its oversight responsibilities to insure that the dollars are doing all this and not going to prettify grounds or redo the offices of hospital administrators in the latest designer colors It is up to VVA and the other veterans service organizations which for so long have advocated for more funding for VA programs also to look with a critical eye at how VA leadership spends the bucks FOR FEMALE VETERANS During the Vietnam War some 2 75 million men and 10 000 women served in country In today s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq women comprise some 14 percent of those deployed Many see combat Scores have been killed Hundreds have received wounds many of them grievous As these women move from active duty to veteran status will the VA be ready to provide the necessary gender specific services they will need To insure that the VA will be ready Congress passed a bill to authorize 4 million to study the barriers women face in gaining access to medical care at the VA and 5 million to assess VA health services and programs for female veterans The legislation H R 1211 was introduced in the House by Rep Stephanie Herseth Sandlin D S D It passed by a vote of 408 0 With an increasing number of women seeking access to care for a diverse range of medical conditions the challenge of providing adequate health care services for women veterans is one the VA must meet Herseth Sandlin said Unfortunately services in VA facilities often fall short of properly providing for the health care needs of women There is too much fragmentation of care and not enough clinicians with the current training and experience The bill would create a new program to offer graduate medical education training and certification to health professionals who give counseling care and services to veterans suffering from sexual trauma and post traumatic stress disorder In addition the legislation would authorize 1 5 million in each of fiscal years 2010 and 2011 for a pilot program

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1009/govaff.html (2016-02-15)
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