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  • The VVA Veteran: Locator
    Inf Bde Americal Div at LZ Bravo Duc Pho 1968 69 I was commo Contact Tom Ginocchio 719 Carroll St Brooklyn NY 11215 718 857 9756 Need help with stressor verification Seeking anyone who served with 59th Field Svc Co and witnessed the sapper ground attack Cam Ranh Bay between Aug 1971 Apr 1972 Contact Dennis E Kelly 4461 Manhattan Dr Salt Lake City UT 84120 801 969 4800 Want to hear from any former members of the Counter Intelligence Section 25th MI Det 25th Inf Div Cu Chi Dec 1968 69 Contact Gary D Bell P O Box 960 Utuado PR 00641 garyngladys aol com Seeking anyone who was stationed with 27th Field Maintenace Sqdrn at Takli AB Thailand and traveled to Da Nang to work on aircraft during mid late 1965 Refer to code V1659 when getting in touch Also seeking any info about former supply sergeant Donald Sopher 1 11 Arty 9th Inf Div April May 1968 Contact Jim R Riesenberg Courthouse 615 N 6th St Sheboygan WI 53081 920 459 3054 riesejrr co sheboygan wi us Looking for anyone who served with VMFA 542 Chu Lai or Da Nang Oct 1967 June 1969 Contact Wayne Wolter 651 261 4269 whwolter msn com Seeking Arthur Stamps Philadelphia Hann former Lt Robert Bob Thompson or Richard Driscoll who served with me in 366 SPS Da Nang Dec 1969 70 I was relieved of duty after threatening to shoot a sergeant Did anyone tape the rocket attacks Contact Joseph T O Brien 40 Woodland St Lawrence MA 01841 jtob49 aol com Searching for anyone who served with me in 1st Cav Div 2nd Bn 7th Cav HHC HQ and HQ Co I was on fire support Pershing Bradley Garry Owen and Dacus Bn C O was Lt Col Dale Vesser Contact Joseph A Martin Jr 110 Cape Teal Ct Upper Marlboro MD 20774 202 486 3897 hanifmoo1 yahoo com In search of anyone who served with any of the following units basic training with 2nd Bn 5th Trng Bde Ft Polk Jan 1965 AIT with Co B 1st Bn 5th Trng Bde March 1965 42nd Co 4th Stu Bn TSB Ft Benning Ga May 1965 Co C 1st Bn 511th Inf Ft Benning and Co C 2nd Bn 8th Cav 1st Cav Div Contact Tony Koonce 703 E Oak Greenville IL 62246 618 664 1976 Would like to hear from anybody who served in MWSG 17 Hooch D 13 1969 70 Contact Robert Moran 521 West 175th St Apt 4 New York NY 10033 redoctobert46 hotmail com I was a surgeon with the 12th Evac Hospital at Cu Chi in the spring of 1967 A severely wounded young soldier died in my arms I would like to contact his family Contact Tom McDonald mmmcdonald hotmail com Looking for Danny Assit who served with me at either Ft Gordon Tent City in 1968 or in Stuttgart Germany in 1969 with SQ 138 HQ 6th Bn 52nd Artillery Contact Mark A

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0608/locator.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: LETTERS
    long time MANY HATS I read Brian Bobek s letter in the March April issue which concerned his VFW experience in 1968 This unfortunately did happen to many returning veterans during the Vietnam War But I have a news flash We Vietnam veterans now run the VFW I never had the experience Brian had when I joined I was welcomed with open arms I was commander for three terms and I m currently second vice president of my VVA chapter Many of us wear many hats in the veterans communities we live in I d never let a veteran from any war tell me I don t belong Cory Kilvert Via Email THE GUYS ON THE GUNS The March April issue was given to me by a friend and fellow veteran In this issue Mark Jury s Quiet War in Vietnam contains photos from July 1969 to July 1970 I was in Fire Support Base Wood from September 22 1969 until it was shut down Vietnamized in December of 1969 I have been looking for information regarding this FSB and have found none until now I was a gun chief and would like to get more information and names of the guys who were on those guns during the period I would also like to speak to Mark Jury regarding his photo book Ryan Neuhauser Via Email We have given Ryan Neuhauser s contact info to Mark Jury ed THE VALUE OF SACRIFICE I am a life member and read every issue with great interest I served with pride then graduated from college then started a successful business and taught high school for 31 years When I retired several years ago I went to the VA to see about obtaining medical benefits Of course I was denied because I made more than 28 000 a year In reading your article on the continuing underfunding of the VA I see that it is still the same Our leaders in Washington do not value veterans sacrifices for the country although they give lip service to the concept Gary A Melvin Fresno California STOP THE COOKIES I have just finished the March April issue The entire publication is informative One column in particular caught my eye The report of the Veterans Incarcerated Committee is an entire column of nothing It mumbles about VIN 1 95 content It points out that VIN 1 95 may be obsolete in the light of the Second Chance legislation The Second Chance legislation according to Government Track is on hold and is a paper life raft The column rambles on about these two bills without a single note of urgency Moreover I would suggest that the committee is blinded by its activities in prisons Although visiting incarcerated brothers in arms is noble we should be working to prevent incarceration to start with not delivering cookies to the slammer Your column suggests that PTSD should be introduced as a mitigating factor in sentencing Diminished Capacity is a legal defense

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0608/letters.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: Taps
    two tours of duty in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart He was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America Westfield Chapter 688 Ronald M Dove 64 died January 20 in Palestine Texas of cancer He served in the U S Navy during the Vietnam War from 1966 69 He was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America Palestine Chapter 991 Paul R Fisher 55 died December 8 2007 in Hooks Texas following a motor vehicle accident He served in the U S Army He was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America Texarkana Chapter 278 Robert James Frake 58 died January 10 in Middletown New Jersey from metastatic kidney cancer He served in the U S Marine Corps during the Vietnam War from 1968 69 He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Navy Achievement Medal with V device In 1989 at the age of 40 he joined the Marine Reserves with the 6th Motor Transport Battalion in Red Bank New Jersey and deployed in 1991 to Operation Desert Storm He was a life member of Vietnam Veterans of America Allenhurst Chapter 12 Leon William Fuller 73 died on January 2 in White Hall Arkansas of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cancer of the bronchus and the lungs He served in the U S Army in the Vietnam War During the Korean War he served in the U S Navy He was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America Pine Bluff Chapter 830 George G Gallagher 63 died January 19 2007 in Lafayette New Jersey of Agent Orange related cancer He was a veteran of the Vietnam War and a member of Vietnam Veterans of America Stanhope Chapter 327 Walter H Gekoski 59 died December 15 2007 in Kendall New York of cancer He served in the U S Marine Corps during the Vietnam War He was a life member of Vietnam Veterans of America Rochester Chapter 20 Ernest J Glenn Jr 61 died April 23 2007 in East Elmhurst New York of lung cancer He served in the U S Army He was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America Rego Park Chapter 32 Douglas Earl Gonyea Sr 64 died March 27 2007 in Burlington Vermont of liver failure He served in the U S Army with tours of duty in Germany and Vietnam from 1964 67 He was a life member of Vietnam Veterans of America Essex Junction Chapter 829 David Andrew Gray 60 died January 17 in Mineral City Ohio from a heart attack He served in the U S Army in Vietnam at the rank of Sergeant He was a life member of Vietnam Veterans of America New Philadelphia Chapter 857 Jack J Green 63 died in Brooklyn He was a veteran of the Vietnam War and a life member of Vietnam Veterans of America Brooklyn Chapter 72 Samuel G Hannah 86 died in November 2007 in Lincoln Arkansas He served in the U S Air Force during the Vietnam

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0608/taps.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: REUNIONS, ETC.
    Hotel phone 618 662 3054 Contact Art Halmstead 920 738 5326 arthalmstead yahoo com or Forney Shrewsbury 304 664 9207 U S S Cony DD DDE 508 May 14 18 San Antonio Contact Ken Cox 104 Winterdale Dr Lake Alfred FL 33850 863 307 3187 kecox yahoo com or www usscony com Echo Co 2nd Bn 3rd Regiment 3rd MARDIV 1965 69 Sept 17 21 Braintree Mass Contact Don Hinman 803 329 2357 Echo2367 comporium net or www Echo23Marines6569 org 3rd Marine Div Association Annual Family Reunion July 30 Aug 3 Woodbridge Sheraton Hotel Iselin N J Anyone who served with was attached to or served in support of the 3rd MARDIV at any time since it was formed in 1942 is invited Contact Bill Krueger 7622 Highland St Springfield VA 22150 703 451 3844 www caltrap com VMA 242 VMTB VMFA VMFA AW any era St Louis Sept 2008 Contact Bill Boyd 14 Duane Ave New City NY 10956 845 638 1862 GINche aol com 509th Engr Co P B Vietnam Era Branson Mo Sept exact dates not yet confirmed Contact Richard Trapp 528 So 10th St Geneva NE 68361 402 759 3659 MCB 74 Seabees Vietnam Era Biloxi Gulfport Miss Oct 16 19 Contact Bill Christiansen P O Box 303 Maplewood WI 54226 920 856 6842 pinhole centurytel net 1st Bn 9th Marines Network All who served with the unit families and friends invited El Tropicano Hotel San Antonio Aug 20 24 Reunion reservations Military Reunion Planners 817 251 3551 or info MilitaryReunionPlanners com Hotel reservations 800 972 3480 or 210 223 9461 or at www eltripicanohotel com use group code F9B Contact Phil R Sutherland 254 258 9183 psutherland19 yahoo com NMCB 71 Seabees all eras Arlington Virginia Aug 5 10 Contact Jerry Montecupo 2548 Pitcairn Rd Monroeville PA 15146 412 373 3096 Jmontecupo comcast net or www MCB71 com 199th Light Inf Bde Vietnam Era the Redcatchers All units invited Circus Circus Hotel and Casino Reno June 16 20 Contact Ed Davis 856 854 7103 Edward199 aol com or John Velasquez 209 836 5706 Eag14evr comcast net or Jim Brinker 814 726 1146 www Americasmilitarymall com 1st Cav Div 12th Cav Regiment Branson Mo Sept 10 15 Contact Bill Tallerdy 307 221 0237 skydog82007 yahoo com or www 12thcav us Pleiku Air Base Reunion Fredericksburg Va Sept 17 21 All units detachments and squadrons that served at Pleiku AB between 1962 72 invited Especially searching for any members of 6th Air Commandos who served March 1968 69 Contact Harry Beam 724 745 9129 or visit www pleikuab com 1st Engr Combat Bn Marriott Courtyard 310 Hammons Dr Junction City Kansas 66441 Sept 7 9 Reservations 785 210 1500 Contact Larry Blair 505 821 1386 Ron Labinski 913 362 6468 rlabinski kc rr com Vietnam Delta Reunion Ft Rucker Ala June 6 8 All aviation units stationed in the Mekong Delta invited Contact Stan Gause 561 882 4329 sgause101 bellsouth net 1st Bn 8th Cav 1st Air

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0608/reunions.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: Seminars
    s Job More Than Making Coffee Barry Hagge Fred Elliott Bruce Whitaker Presenters You May Think You Know But You Have No Idea Is the VVA Chapter or State Council Secretary position on your horizon 1 Your VVA responsibilities and legal sinkholes Real and Imagined 2 Your value to the Chapter or State Council 3 Minutes What you do and What you should do Wednesday July 16 2 3 30 Regency BC0 Parliamentarian Mike Swift A Presiding Officer s Duties We will examine the ins and outs of meeting procedures by demonstration and by participation Members will observe and discuss a scripted meeting from beginning to end Following this demonstration members will observe a presiding officer handle ten motions that commonly occur in meetings After each motion is demonstrated and discussed a volunteer will preside over the meeting and handle the motion The group will then critique the handling of the motion Templates for writing State Council and chapter bylaws will be included in the handout Wednesday July 16 2 3 30 Regency 2 Wednesday July 16 3 45 5 15 Continental 2 Agent Orange Committee Buzz Sawyer Chair Health Care Issues Agent Orange Betty Mekdeci Presenter Betty Mekdeci CEO of the American Birth Defects Registry has long experience in the areas of Vietnam veterans birth defects A special staff adviser to the VVA Agent Orange Committee she has been invited many times to testify on Capitol Hill In the Nov Dec issue of The VVA Veteran Mekdeci wrote an article on birth defects That article also was included in a recent issue of the San Francisco Medical Journal Thursday July 17 9 10 30 Regency BC PTSD Substance Abuse Committee Tom Berger Chair Post War Integration From Battlemind to PTSD Dr Matthew J Friedman Presenter Although most war veterans will have a successful homecoming everyone should be prepared for a few bumps in the road especially at first A significant minority however experience problems such as PTSD that require professional attention We will review what can be done to promote normal reintegration and what treatments are available for those with PTSD and other mental health problems Dr Matthew J Friedman is executive director of the VA s National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and professor of psychiatry and of pharmacology and toxicology at Dartmouth Medical School He has worked with PTSD patients as a clinician and researcher for 35 years and has published extensively on stress and PTSD biological psychiatry psychopharmacology and clinical outcome studies on depression anxiety schizophrenia and chemical dependency Dr Friedman is a Distinguished Lifetime Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association past president of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Anxiety Disorders Association of America and has served on many VA DoD and NIMH research education and policy committees Thursday July 17 10 45 12 15 Regency BC Government Affairs Committee John A Miterko Chair Grassroots Advocacy Every Person Makes a Difference Patrick W Welch and

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0608/seminars.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: DOWNTOWNLIVE: The Greenville Guide
    students Throughout most of the twentieth century there was only one school in South Carolina s Upcountry for black students Sterling High School The school consistently received the least funding the worst equipment and furniture and the greatest neglect Despite that a vibrant community developed around the school and those black students who pursued their education there In short Sterling High School and its students were invested with all the hopes and dreams of the Greenville African American community In the late 1960s those students acted on those dreams and sat down at Woolworth s lunch counter With that simple defiant act the movement was born that resulted in the integration of Greenville s public buildings In 1967 during a senior class dance to raise money for Miss Homecoming festivities the school caught fire and was destroyed Although the fire marshal blamed faulty wiring few believed him Three years later the Greenville school system was integrated Stroll several blocks further south cross the bridge at Reedy River walk down another block turn left down the stairway or take the nearby elevator and you re at Liberty Bridge This 355 foot suspension bridge an engineering feat supported only on one side swings out over the Reedy River Falls Once the site of textile mills and cotton warehouses the 32 acre Falls Park is now a respite from city life with gentle walkways that follow the river It s ideal for an evening stroll But on Wednesday July 16 starting around 7 o clock it will be a great place for music when Marvin King and the Blues Revival a local jam band with a passion to play takes the stage The site is the Peace Center Amphitheater on the river And it s free except for the beer Come back Thursday night and shag the night away to beach music Also at the Amphitheater it s part of Larkin s Rhythm on the River The beach music featuring the Out of Towners costs five bucks but it goes to charity Doors open at 6 30 the music starts between 7 and 7 30 Hot dogs and hamburgers will be on the grill and there s a fully stocked bar Just a little ways down the river past the Falls the Upstate Shakespeare Festival will be in full swing with a production of Molière s The Miser All performances are free They start at 7 o clock arrive early it s lawn seating July 17 20 If free music is what you re interested in but you can t make it Wednesday or perhaps the six block walk was daunting you ll have another opportunity Thursday Just a block south of the hotel on the west side of Main Street is Piazza Bergamo site of Thursday s Downtown Live concert Be there at 7 o clock for beer and blues Gas House Mouse will perform Friday night July 19 the music moves even closer with a free concert on the plaza just

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0608/greenville.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: East & West: The Japanese, British, French, Chinese, and Americans in Post-War Vietnam
    Minh leaders saw the famine as an opportunity to organize the peasants to seize the rice granaries of the colonial regime and to direct popular resentment against the French and Japanese It was not a tough sell Everyone knew that the forced requisition of land compulsory rice sales to the government and unreasonable taxes had contributed to the dire state of the food supply Even more than the downfall of the French and more than the impending defeat of the Japanese it was the famine that enabled the Viet Minh to transform their fugitive guerrilla organization into a mass movement At the time of the Japanese takeover the OSS was completing an elaborate plan for expanding operations into Indochina The Viet Minh already had been involved in the rescue and recovery of Allied aviators whose planes had been brought down over Indochina And they had co operated with the American Air Ground Aid Service the organization responsible for the recovery of lost air crews The OSS Chief of Intelligence for Indochina Capt Archimedes L Patti had met with Ho Chi Minh near the China border and received assurances that the Viet Minh were ready to cooperate with the Americans in fighting the Japanese In mid July an OSS team under Maj Allison K Thomas parachuted into Viet Minh held territory near the city of Thai Nguyen about fifty kilometers from Hanoi Thomas remained with the Viet Minh over two months arming and training select forces for operations against Japanese lines of communication The war ended before the Viet Minh had fought more than a few skirmishes with the Japanese but their connection with the OSS bolstered Ho s prestige and helped to identify his movement with the victorious Allies That connection infuriated the French and deepened their suspicion of American intentions From the Americans at his jungle headquarters Ho learned on August 12 that the Japanese government had accepted the Potsdam Declaration and that the end of the war was imminent In two high level meetings in mid August Viet Minh leaders accepted Ho s call for a rapid seizure of power in order to confront the Allied occupation forces with a fait accompli Throughout northern Vietnam months of Viet Minh organizing and propaganda and dissatisfaction with the ineffectual Bao Dai government had laid the groundwork for a swift takeover Within a few days most of Tonkin northern Vietnam and a good portion of Annam in the center were in the hands of the Viet Minh The Japanese discreetly remained in the background and by the end of August had handed over responsibility for police and control of transportation and public utilities to the Viet Minh On August 25 Ho Chi Minh arrived in Hanoi from Thai Nguyen A few days later Emperor Bao Dai formally abdicated and turned over the imperial seal to representatives of the Viet Minh government On Sunday September 2 a crowd of three or four hundred thousand gathered in Ba Dinh Square in Hanoi In the center of the square a tall platform was decked with the new red and gold flags Viet Minh soldiers with drawn pistols encircled the platform As an assistant held a parasol over his head the traditional symbol of royalty Ho read the brief declaration announcing Vietnam s independence At one point in the address he paused and asked his listeners Countrymen can you hear me The crowd answered with a roar We hear you It was a moment that none present ever forgot An OSS officer who witnessed the ceremony reported by radio to Kunming From what I have seen these people mean business and I am afraid the French will have to deal with them For that matter we will all have to deal with them The Viet Minh knew their new regime was in a race against time Chinese occupation troops would arrive in a few days The French were unwilling to relinquish their colony The attitude of the Allies was uncertain Widespread starvation still remained an immediate threat Rival nationalist groups had been thrown into momentary disarray by the Viet Minh s superior boldness and organization but they were far from cowed and some had the support of the Chinese These groups had large followings and they retained their own newspapers radio stations and armed militias While they waited anxiously for the Chinese the Viet Minh attempted to learn what they could about the attitudes of the Americans and the French from the handful of Americans who had arrived in Hanoi on August 22 as part of the OSS Air Ground Aid Service Mercy Mission operations The chief of the OSS mission was Capt Patti With Patti s team came five French officers led by the head of French intelligence in Kunming Maj Jean Sainteny As he often emphasized during the next few weeks Patti s mission mainly concerned post war house keeping finding and aiding Allied POWs and internees searching for war criminals and arranging the preliminary steps for the surrender of Japanese forces But Patti was aware that he was involved in events of great moment and sometimes found it hard to resist becoming involved Like most Americans in China Theater Patti was unaware that Washington had in effect abandoned Roosevelt s Indochina policy Patti and his team landed at Gia Lam airport on August 22 and were driven by the Japanese through streets festooned with the red and gold flags of the Viet Minh Banners stretched above the streets proclaimed in English French and Vietnamese Welcome to the Allies Long Live Vietnam s Independence and Death to the French Sainteny and his men observed these scenes with dissatisfaction and annoyance The French wanted to be treated as one of the victorious Allies in Asia just as they had been in Europe Never mind that the French colonial regime had collaborated with the Japanese for almost five years The DeGaulle government insisted that the brief desperate and disorganized French response to the Japanese coup of March 1945 constituted resistance France had a right to expect its allies to help her regain what was rightfully hers Patti and Sainteny were taken to the Metropole a large colonial style hotel Patti s men were billeted at the hotel but the Japanese insisted that they could not be responsible for the safety of Sainteny s party and suggested that they move to the palace of the Governor General Sainteny readily agreed relishing the symbolic value of the French once again occupying the palace Once ensconced there however with the grounds patrolled by Japanese sentries Sainteny and his team found themselves unable to leave or to communicate with the outside world except through Patti and the Americans They could do little to influence events or to aid their countrymen in Hanoi With Sainteny isolated Patti s team had become the center of the attention hopes and apprehensions of the French Japanese and Vietnamese Although Patti continued to insist that his work was circumscribed he was seen as the official representative of the victorious Allies During his first week in Hanoi Patti met with the Japanese commanding general leaders of the Chinese community prominent French businessmen consuls of various European nations ministers of the Viet Minh government and he dined with Ho Chi Minh On August 25 he even held a press conference with representatives of the Hanoi press Sainteny became increasingly frustrated with his inability to influence the situation and he found it easy to blame his problems on Patti and the OSS On August 28 he warned French Headquarters in Calcutta of a concerted Allied maneuver aimed at eliminating the French from Indochina The next day he talked of a total loss of face for France in Indochina Such messages soon drew protests from the French Patti s OSS boss Col Richard P Heppner shot off a blistering message to Patti You will not repeat not act as mediator or go between or arrange meetings between French Annamites or Chinese Confine yourself to POW work and such other special tasks as directed by Chinese Combat Command or this headquarters Patti flew to Kunming and Chungking to defend his actions and try to receive clarification about current American policy Not surprisingly he received little guidance As Patti s plane returned to Hanoi he could see a long line of vehicles wending its way across the flooded plains of the Red River Delta It was Lt Gen Lu Han s Chinese occupation Army Lu Han the Dragon Cloud had been a corps commander at the great Chinese victory at Taierzhuang in 1938 Under Lu s nominal command were three Chinese armies two of which were scheduled for redeployment by sea to north China where Chiang Kai Shek was impatient to re establish control Accompanying Lu Han were American liaison teams of the Chinese Combat Command an American military advisory organization that had been training Chinese units in south China All of the teams were under the command of Brig Gen Philip E Gallagher Lu Han s adviser Like Patti Gen Gallagher was seen by many French and Vietnamese as some sort of American pro consul with vast powers to resolve all problems In fact China Theater s directive to U S units with Chinese occupation forces limited their mission to advising and assisting the Central Government military forces during their movement to their areas of occupation and acting in an advisory capacity in the provision of necessary supplies and the administration of civil affairs On September 14 Lu Han arrived in Hanoi unceremoniously evicted Sainteny s mission from the Governor General s palace and took up residence there himself His troops were quartered in public buildings schools hospitals and private homes Ignoring French demands and protests Lu Han quickly came to a working agreement with Ho The Viet Minh government was permitted to remain in place French soldiers remained locked in the Citadel Viet Minh forces were not disarmed Ho was pressured but not compelled to include members of Chinese supported nationalist parties in his government The price paid by the Viet Minh for this arrangement was high The entire cost of feeding and maintaining the Allied occupation forces in the north was to be borne by the Vietnamese to be compensated later at a fair rate of exchange Despite the famine conditions OSS reported that the Chinese were actually shipping rice out of the country or selling it on the black market for ten times the Saigon price According to rumor Ho Chi Minh also kept the Chinese well supplied with opium and at one point presented Lu Han with a gold opium pipe The exchange rate between the almost worthless Chinese dollar and the Indochinese piaster was arbitrarily set by the Chinese generals at 14 to 1 thus making the dollar worth more than three times as much as in south China Chinese officers in Viet Nam bought out every profitable enterprise they could With their bargain shopping and other financial activities the Chinese according to one estimate managed to extract some 400 million piasters from the poorer half of a country whose total gross national product in 1939 had been around 1 1 billion piasters In return for these concessions the Chinese dealt with the Viet Minh as the de facto government Having been briefed by Patti Gallagher began a series of informal meetings with Ho While recognizing that Ho was an old revolutionist and a product of Moscow Gallagher like Patti concluded that Ho and his party represent the real aspirations of the Vietnamese people for independence He looks upon the United States as the savior of all small nations and is basing all his actions on the statement in the Atlantic Charter that the independence of the smaller nations would be assured by the major powers I pointed out frankly that my job was not as a representative of the State Department nor was I interested in the political situation that I was merely working with Lu Han As for Sainteny Lu Han had some old grudges against the French and was in no hurry to meet his demands The Chinese generals also were genuinely concerned about the safety of the large Chinese segment of Hanoi s population should serious fighting break out there For the time being an uneasy calm settled over Hanoi though it seemed to one American observer that the streets of Hanoi throbbed with tension Contributing to the edginess in the North was the continuing flow of news and rumors about developments south of the 16th parallel In southern Vietnam as in the north the Japanese surrender had galvanized nationalists into action The communists position in the south however was far shakier than it was in the north and the Viet Minh were obliged to compete for leadership of the independence movement with the Trotskyite Dai Viet Party the pro Japanese Phuoc Quoc and two indigenous religious sects the Cao Dai and the Hoa Hao which effectively controlled some Mekong Delta provinces Indeed the main reason that the communists had been included at all in the nationalist coalition that easily took control of Saigon and most of Cochin China on August 25 was the widespread belief that the Allies supported the Viet Minh In Saigon Gracey was preoccupied with his mission of controlling and disarming the 40 000 Japanese troops in Southern Indochina who vastly outnumbered his own forces Gracey s other tasks were to release and repatriate Allied prisoners of war and internees to maintain law and order and to liberate Allied territory in so far as your resources permit In this case Allied territory meant French territory to the British government Unlike the Americans and Chinese the British had never challenged the right of the French to reassert their rule in Indochina Gracey was unimpressed with the nationalist government delegation that welcomed him at the airport and claimed to be in charge in Saigon His chief of staff after a quick tour of the city concluded that the Vietnamese claim that they controlled civil affairs was a laugh Gracey soon decided that the Annamite government constituted a direct threat to law and order through its police and armed guards There had been few serious incidents but there were constant threats to French lives and property and Vietnamese radio stations and newspapers carried on an incessant campaign of anti French propaganda Gracey was not a fool or a racist but he was completely out of his depth He knew nothing about Indochina lacked a political officer and believed French assurances that the nationalists were a minority of troublemakers and former collaborators Gracey might have learned more about the real situation in Indochina from the OSS A small OSS detachment with duties similar to Patti s team in the north had been in Indochina since September 1 Besides locating and aiding prisoners of war particularly Americans the OSS team code name Embankment was to identify and apprehend war criminals and microfilm Japanese documents and code books Given the absence of any other American presence in Saigon the team was also to report on political developments and watch for the emergence of any anti Allied groups or activities by the Japanese to subvert the surrender The Embankment team was under the command of Col A Peter Dewey son of a congressman and a relative of Thomas E Dewey the Republican Presidential candidate in 1944 Dewey had no special knowledge of Indochina and only one member of his team spoke Vietnamese a few did not even speak French Nevertheless Dewey was determined to carry out the intelligence aspects of his mission and soon established contacts with Vietnamese political leaders Dewey was particularly impressed with Dr Pham Ngoc Thach the sponser of the Viet Minh front organization Vanguard Youth Gracey could not have been pleased with this brash young American and probably regarded the OSS as an annoying nuisance As for Dewey he was unlikely to find common ground with a general whom one of his officers called an old fashioned product of the British Empire On September 19 Gracey notified the Viet Minh government that he intended to issue a proclamation banning all processions and demonstrations imposing a nightly curfew and prohibiting the carrying of arms by any forces not authorized by him All newspapers were to be closed and the provisional government was to supply a list of the arms and location of all Vietnamese police and military units Beginning on September 21 Gracey s troops began evicting the Viet Minh government from public buildings and police stations and disarming Viet Minh police and paramilitary forces By this time French officials had convinced Gracey that former French POWs in the Saigon area could be rearmed and easily take control of the city government and services and the Vietnamese would be overawed and offer no resistance During the night of September 22 the British quietly turned over installations and police posts to the French The Treasury the main Post Office City Hall and other public buildings were taken from the surprised Vietnamese by the French troops with little loss of life but considerable brutality On the morning of the 23rd the French of Saigon celebrated their victory by going on a rampage Soldiers and armed civilians fired into empty buildings French gangs roamed the city randomly assaulting Vietnamese including women and children Any Vietnamese found on the streets was likely to be kicked beaten and then trussed up and hauled off to a police station Gracey was privately furious and ordered the French soldiers to return to their barracks Yet the damage was done British and foreign press representatives reported fully on the antics of the French assumption of control At a press conference shortly after the French takeover Gracey was given hell by American and Australian reporters This was far more than a public relations disaster however The clumsy French coup had led to the very situation Gracey had intended to

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  • The VVA Veteran: Sons of Brooklyn in Vietnam
    Cullen Bryant I suddenly found myself standing before a gold framed portrait of John and Dennis Hamill I had just experienced a seamless flow into the exhibition the result of planning by the Society s Alison Cornyn The portraits are printed on canvas giving them a painterly sense Before each of the nine photographic portraits is a pad that you step on to activate a state of the art sound system As you listen to the 3 5 minute presentations told in the veterans own words you become intimate with the people in the portraits Having served in Vietnam my experience forged a visceral connection with each subject Their commonality lies in their ties to Brooklyn and their service Although they come from different racial ethnic and religious backgrounds the thread of their lives is intertwined in their upbringing and service Each portrait conveys a part of the personality of the subject from the free spirit surfboard behind Joe Giannini to the spirituality of stained glass windows over the shoulder of Anthony Wallace and the activism of Herbert Sweet symbolized by the Black Veterans for Social Justice insignia he wears John and Dennis Hamill appear together although Dennis didn t serve His statement at the beginning of the oral history I wasn t sure I d ever see him again And it was like this amazing emptiness that I never felt that way before brings home the tightness of an Irish family from Park Slope You instinctively know why John Hamill wanted his younger brother with him in the portrait Adjacent to each portrait is a glass enclosed stand with personal artifacts medals letters home a can of foot powder pictures of men striking macho poses And there are unit insignias olive drab in keeping with the uniform of the day Under the memorabilia is a printed version of the oral presentation and a bio of each person These simply add to the oral histories As I studied the portrait of Joan Furey and listened to her presentation I was struck by the strength of this woman and by a deep sense of loss that both of us had experienced Although I only met Joan once and talked to her briefly we had a common friend Lynda Van Devanter Lynda had served as a nurse in Vietnam and wrote Home Before Morning She died in 2002 Although we only saw each other on occasion we had forged a bond in the early days of VVA She had schooled me in women veteran issues She said I was lucky to be able to go to The Wall and look up the names of men I knew who had died in Nam She told me many men had died on her watch and she didn t know any of their names Furey s recounting of the perils of personal attachment as a nurse in a mass casualty unit brought this all back to me Away from the portraits is a kiosk that

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0608/brooklyn.html (2016-02-15)
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