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  • The VVA Veteran: IRAQ: Vietnam Without Water The IVAW Winter Soldier Investigation
    and unarmed combatants racism and sexism in the military and their experience since coming home There also were panels of scholars veterans journalists and others to give context to the first person testimony as well as taped interviews with Iraqi civilians On the first night Kelly Dougherty who served two tours as a military police officer in Iraq and is now IVAW s executive director told the packed auditorium that she became involved as one of the group s founders because of the damage to Iraq and our military comrades and to uphold the values we went to fight for She described IVAW s goals as ending the occupation full compensation for veterans and reparations for the human and structural harm done in Iraq The mutual support between generations of veterans was obvious Barry Romo of VVAW who testified at the 1971 Winter Soldier Investigation began his remarks about the event s place in the legacy of GI resistance during wartime by saying How honored we are to be here Born on the Fourth of July author Ron Kovic sent the message It takes tremendous courage to speak up against your country s policies We are fighting for the soul of America Not all veterans agreed A middle aged protester slipped into the conference on the third day yelling You guys are betraying good men A well organized security contingent provided by VVAW frog marched him outside Many Vietnam veterans still feel that the 1971 Winter Soldier Investigation demonized our generation of veterans as baby killers although that epithet was hurled with equal venom at returning riflemen clerks and chaplains as early as 1967 The tone of the testimony was anything but defamatory though many of the acts veterans described were horrific The politicians and the generals have continued these occupations to the point of breaking our soldiers and destroying our military Brooklyn IVAW member Selena Coppa a Military Intelligence sergeant on active duty in the Army said As veterans and as patriots many of us feel we must speak out about our experiences in order to change current policies and bring honor and dignity back to our military and our country Jabbar Magruder a student at California State University Northridge and a sergeant in the Army National Guard deployed to Tikrit in 2005 put it differently In a panel describing rules of engagement that grew increasing permissive until it became in one soldier s words pretty much fair game to shoot at anyone who seemed to pose a threat Magruder commented This is not a failure of leadership Commanders will always give troops tools to defend themselves The problem is the occupation The witnesses carefully screened by IVAW to verify their credentials presented a visually mixed bunch Like the returning veterans of the 1960s and 1970s there were men with short haircuts and immaculate shaves and men with well trimmed and shaggy beards and they wore everything from sport shirts to coats and ties Some displayed glittering medals on

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0808/iraq.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: Eat, Drink, & Be Merry: At The Leadership conference
    prices run the gamut from plain to fancy cheap to cher I offer the following suggestions from locations I have given a taste drive Jersey Mike s Subs is directly across the street from the hotel It offers a great choice of hot and cold subs and salads and it s also a good place for breakfast Show your VVA registration badge and get 10 percent off your breakfast order Breakfast sandwiches are made to order and they will be open at 7 a m to accommodate VVA Coffee Underground is a coffee haven located down a stairway just off Main Street The place also opens at 7 a m and features freshly roasted coffees lattés hot teas frappés milk shakes and fruit smoothies to wash down assorted muffins omelets in a mug and build your own breakfast sandwiches It is not wheelchair accessible Atlanta Bread Company is another place for a quick breakfast The menu includes specialty coffees and a bakery offering muffins breads croissants and Danish baked daily Also available are hot breakfast sandwiches on bagels or croissants Tsunami Steaks Seafood Sushi ranks high among my restaurant picks There are several sushi restaurants in Greenville Even if you aren t into sushi you should give this one a try The atmosphere is great and the service is fast Three sushi chefs keep up with incoming orders I recommend the rocken roll a combination of tuna salmon yellow tail seaweed crab cake and avocado They have specials on different days with some of the rolls going for 2 each Check for specials Sticky Fingers is unique and highly recommended It s open from 11 a m until 10 15 p m and barbeque is the specialty slow cooked on the smoker The ribs pork only fall apart in your hands The best way to eat and enjoy their prime ribs is just to dig in Hence the name The staff is ready for the mess Your silverware comes wrapped in a hand towel The ribs come to your table smoked and coated with a dry rub At your table are five sauces Memphis style wet Memphis style dry Tennessee whiskey Habanero hot and Carolina sweet Their chicken wings are not deep fried but slow smoked to a crispy perfection The portions are large and prices are moderate The Blue Ridge Brewing Company just across the street from the hotel has a large selection of their own handcrafted brews including ales and a stout Happy hour is from 4 7 o clock Half gallon Growler bottles are available to take back to the hotel The Growler bottle is 4 50 and they will refill it for 8 50 as often as you like They have a great low cost lunch special every day your choice of chicken meat loaf or country fried steak with two vegetables for 6 45 The Paris Café is the perfect place for a quick lunch of sandwiches and decadent desserts Order at the counter then

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/0808/eat_drink.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
    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 PRESIDENT S MESSAGE Who We Are And Why BY JOHN ROWAN Well we finished VVA Summer School better know as our National Leadership Conference The overwhelming consensus of opinion was that it may have been the best one yet I want to thank everyone who attended as well as the presenters the Conference Committee and all the folks in South Carolina who helped make this conference a great success I know I speak for everyone when I say that we all enjoyed the city of Greenville and the local hospitality Now we can take our newly acquired knowledge and go forward on behalf of our veterans and their families I want to congratulate Elaine Simmons the new President of the Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America and all her newly elected officers The officers and directors of VVA look forward to working with them It is hard to believe that we have been advocating for veterans for thirty years now But every once in a while we need to remind ourselves why we do this work Recently I received an e mail from a disgruntled World War II veteran who took umbrage with our founding principle Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another While I can sympathize with his feelings that he did not do anything wrong I did have to explain things to him My response follows I hope it will remind us of who we are and why Dear Sir while I appreciate that you may have a problem with our motto I assure you that it was developed for valid reasons Our motto was adopted at our Founding National Convention

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1008/pres_message.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS
    requirement that the officials uphold all statutes within their span of control Any reasonable person would think that such a step would not be necessary But then again any reasonable person would have expected the completed National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study to have been delivered to the Congress on October 1 2005 when it was due For more on this issue see NVVLS on www vva org REACHING OUT TO VETERANS Maybe Congress is finally acknowledging the fact that a lot more must be done to inform veterans and their families about the benefits veterans have earned by virtue of their service in uniform Back in June the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee included in the Veterans Health Care Authorization Act an effort by Sens Russ Feingold D Wisc and Bernie Sanders I Vt to improve outreach to veterans The Feingold Sanders language based on Feingold s Veterans Outreach Improvement Act would expand a grant program for community based organizations to include state and local entities including the National Guard and veteran service officers who conduct outreach for veterans The measure would also require coordination between grant recipients and the VA Nearly every day I learn of veterans in my state who are not aware of services and benefits they have earned through their service to our country including wounded veterans who fall through the cracks as they transition out of the military Feingold said Conducting outreach is more important than ever as we welcome home and prepare to enroll into the VA system the tens of thousands of dedicated military personnel who are serving in Afghanistan Iraq and other places around the globe This legislation expands on a model program the VA and National Guard have used in Vermont to help service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan Sanders added We can have the best health care services in the world for our veterans and their families but if they do not know about them or cannot access them what good do they do This legislation will provide resources to organizations so that they can reach out to returning service members veterans and their families With as many as 300 000 U S military personnel who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan suffering from PTSD or major depression and as many as 320 000 having suffered a traumatic brain injury of some kind we need these outreach services more than ever Our only quibble with this is that it does not include veterans service representatives of the veterans service organizations In a related development the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs held a hearing in July on the implementation of the recent decision by the VA to use television advertising and marketing in its outreach to veterans Currently the VA does not use national media campaigns to advertise benefits and services it provides As part of its long range planning the VA was prohibited from using television advertising to notify veterans about services offered

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1008/govt_affairs.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran:MEMBERSHIP NOTES
    Officer As one of 2 100 nationwide Blue and Gold Officers Garcia will help young men and women interested in attending the Naval Academy with the extensive application process and also will counsel prospective Midshipmen on all aspects of the Naval Academy In May Queens New York Chapter 32 held its 18th annual Veterans Information Day Chapter members provided nearly two hundred veterans from all eras with information on the services and benefits they are entitled to Among those in attendance at the event New York State Sen Serphin Maltese and New York City Council member Anthony Como Racine Kenosha Wisconsin Chapter 767 invited all disabled veterans to join them at the huge Fourth of July parade in Racine one of the nation s largest The Chapter made a trailer available to accommodate wheelchair bound veterans and provided chairs for those unable to walk In addition to the trailer the Chapter had its two living statue floats one depicting the Vietnam Women s Memorial statue and the other the Three Servicemen statue at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in the parade The Women s Memorial float was escorted by women portraying Donut Dollies All in all more than one hundred people participated in the Chapter s parade contingent West Palm Beach Florida Chapter 25 conducted a congressional candidate interview session in July at its chapter headquarters The chapter invited the three candidates running in the primary for the Republican nomination in the 16th Congressional District to visit the chapter and discuss veterans issues with key members of the chapter The candidates who appeared were former Navy pilot Hal Valeche a VVA member and Florida State Rep Gayle Harrell whose husband is a Vietnam veteran In an effort to reorganize and rebuild Capital City Chapter 488 in Baton Rouge Louisiana took part in the first All Veterans Reunion a four day event at the Louisiana capital in May The event included military exhibitions and a Vietnam Veterans Moving Wall This was a good way for us to get out in public and let people and former members know we are still around said Chapter President Don Holland Austin Texas Chapter 915 has given 500 to the VVA Texas State Council s Service Officer Program In doing so the Chapter challenged the other VVA chapters in the Lone Star State to match or exceed that donation In 2007 and 2008 the Texas State Council received grants from VVA s Vietnam Veterans Assistance Fund to support and expand its Service Officer program which is open to all generations of veterans and has had consistently high claim success rates Kyle Orlemann of South Bay Chapter 53 in Redondo Beach California makes ski caps for cancer patients at the West Los Angeles and Long Beach Medical Centers She had been using her own funds to buy the materials until the chapter voted several months ago without her knowledge to provide her with 250 to buy materials Most recently Chapter member Steve Mandel delivered twenty two of

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1008/member_notes.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: Veterans Health Care COMMITTEE REPORT
    CSCP Contact VVA PARTNER SITES PUBLICATIONS September october 2008 The Veteran Departments Featured Stories President s Message Government Affairs Member Notes Veterans Healthcare Homeless Veterans Veterans Incarcerated POW MIA PTSD AVVA Chapter 172 Books In Review Ross Grego Remembered Anthony Russo Letters The Locator Reunions Taps American Medals Messer at the BVA 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 Veterans Health Care COMMITTEE REPORT Hep C At The LC BY PAT BESSIGANO CHAIR At the 2007 National Convention VVA members requested more information on hepatitis C from the Health Care Committee As a result of this request we had two presenters at the 2008 National Leadership Conference speak on hepatitis C and their proposal for a health management HIV outreach campaign in VA Dr Lawrence Deyton the Chief Public Health and Environmental Hazards Officer and Dr David Ross the Director of the Clinical Public Health Programs work at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington D C Dr Deyton and Dr Ross discussed an introductory guide to hepatitis C that is given to patients who participate in the VA Hepatitis C Resource Center Program The guide provides information on what it means to have hepatitis C how the virus can spread and treatment options along with other vital information The full text of the guide can be found and downloaded at www hepatitis va gov It is not copyrighted and anyone may print it and distribute as many copies as they d like A second Health Care Committee session at the Leadership Conference on Traumatic Brain

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1008/health.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: HOMELESS VETERANS COMMITTEE REPORT
    BVA 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 HOMELESS VETERANS COMMITTEE REPORT Anticipating HUD VASH BY SANDY MILLER CHAIR This year the Homeless Veterans Committee decided to make a donation to a nonprofit in South Carolina instead of holding a seminar We selected the Alston Wilkes Veterans Home because of its long standing relationship with the South Carolina State Council and local South Carolina VVA chapters I know the donation will be put to great use The director of the program has assured me the Home will send pictures of items purchased for the J Award were received this year There must be many success stories of people deserving national recognition for their accomplishments working with the homeless I urge all Chapters and State Councils to seek out individuals who have made successful transitions from homelessness and nominate them for this award The committee is awaiting with great anticipation the start up of the HUD VASH program Creating 10 000 vouchers will move forward the effort to end homelessness among veterans The regulations have been formulated and some of the new liaisons have been named to oversee the distribution of the vouchers This issue has been on the top of this committee s priority list for many years When HUD went forward with the request for the allocation of funds for this joint venture it took a giant step in its commitment to providing housing for homeless veterans We applaud HUD Homeless veterans and those who help them received a significant boost when the U S

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1008/homeless.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The VVA Veteran: VETERANS INCARCERATED COMMITTEE REPORT
    the Leadership Conference in Greenville VIC presented a seminar entitled VIC 101 Introduction to Veterans Incarcerated Chapters We presented the seminar initially to the VMW Convention and VVA Leadership Conference late Thursday afternoon although we had to compete with a live band on Main St On Saturday morning VIC vice chair Tom Burke and I already challenged by the 45 minute allotment experienced a fire alarm and hotel evacuation that encroached even more on our time Upon my return from South Carolina and a visit with family and old friends in North Carolina I encountered an unexpected backlog of VIC mail forwarded from The VVA Veteran While on the road for two weeks I managed to stay abreast of the seemingly endless flow of email associated with VVA National business but I was daunted by the task of reading and responding to dozens of kites also known as prison correspondence Prisoners write a lot of kites Most ask for help with problems ask questions or have issues that need immediate attention There are prison medical requests and grievance forms inmate correspondence and package forms and all kinds of questions involving programming and education needs There also are questions and anxieties about parole or cellmates and unit housing assignments endless questions and problems for caseworkers and counselors to manage many questions about classification issues that end up in the warden s lap appeals to directors governors and legislators as well as the courts and newspapers Congress or anybody who may help or be empathetic The term comes from the saying Why don t you fly a kite to the warden or Write a kite to the Captain or jokingly If you really want that bed move drop a snitch kite Prisoners are creative and write on any available medium Many are prolific particularly those who are litigious the dreaded writ writers In an attempt to channel this energy some institutions permit prisoner newspapers such as The Angolite at the Louisiana State Prison Another example The Eagle Speaks from the Fountain Davis Correctional Facility in Alabama America s Oldest Continuing Veterans Incarcerated Newsletter The higher a staff member moves through corrections or is perceived as having influence or juice the more kites he receives The number of responses to the Veterans Incarcerated Report took me back to my days in Nevada prison yards and the dilemma of responding to letters VIC 101 dealt with the issue of What We Can and Cannot Do what we as a veterans service organization can expect to accomplish working inside prisons Reading kites involves sorting them into four piles One large stack requesting counsel and legal help is given a very low response priority because VVA does not have the funds or staff to support these types of requests Quite a few of the kites involve veteran eligibility benefit issues and contain questions that require help from trained veteran service officers The State Councils and local Chapters may help with this only if they are fortunate

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1008/vets_incarcerated.html (2016-02-15)
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