archive-org.com » ORG » V » VVA.ORG

Total: 361

Choose link from "Titles, links and description words view":

Or switch to "Titles and links view".
  • The VVA Veteran
    so many of them he said When the aircraft carrier USS Franklin was hit we had to get people out of the water who were dead who were mutilated That was the worst of it David Jordan was on the gun crew One time they shot down a Japanese Kamikaze They were elated Only our commanding officer got the Silver Star he said but everybody shared equal in the danger After the war he mustered out Jordan s life as a civilian though was short lived He went to school and bummed around before reenlisting in 1949 switching from the Navy to the Army As a sergeant E 6 spent most of his tour in Vietnam with an artillery battery operating near Cu Chi Comparing this tour with his time in the Navy he said the food was a little better not good just better and the mail came a little quicker But this time we didn t win anything When he left the Army Jordan found that there was little demand for an ex military man He worked ten years on a riverboat plying the Mississippi He put three children through college He is a charter member of VVA Chapter 859 in Poplar Bluff Missouri not far from his home in Doniphan David Jordan won t be journeying to Washington this month He may follow the ceremonies he said but he will be participating in his own way with barbeque and a beer or two Carmelo LaSpada Carmelo LaSpada a son of Newark New Jersey enlisted in the Marine Corps on the first day of July 1942 He spent the next 30 years and nine months in uniform After boot camp LaSpada was sent to the Marine base at Cherry Point Although he was supposed to go to Florida for advanced training with an aviation unit his superiors found out that he had been a baker in civilian life and asked if he would help set up a bakery on the base They promised he would be sent for aviation training later on That later on turned out to be never Because the needs of the Corps come first LaSpada said he was told his training was cancelled and he got stuck in Cherry Point through 1943 Eventually though he received orders to deploy overseas He fought at Bougainville He saw a lot of death We tossed the bodies of dead Japanese into trenches we had dug sprinkled them with lime and covered them with dirt Sometimes though the bodies would be burned in a pyre Once you get past the shock of seeing your first dead enemy it doesn t bother you any more he said Carmelo LaSpada learned to take one day at a time because he said every day was just a matter of survival A lesson that he learned one that he would preach to his men a quarter of a century later during two tours in Vietnam was that you can t worry about your girlfriend or what she s doing back in the States Worry about what you re doing And worry about your buddies LaSpada was well past his 40th birthday when he first was sent to Southeast Asia he was almost 50 the second time around What disturbed him about this new war was the stark realization that he never knew who was a friendly and who was an enemy We had this 12 year old who did some cleaning up for us he said from his room at the Durham North Carolina VAMC extended care facility One night we came under attack The next morning we found him all tangled in the concertina with a dozen hand grenades on him LaSpada was also struck by the fact that in this war although there was a rear there were no front lines We fought over that bloomin Khe Sanh five times and then we abandoned it he said But me being a professional Marine it was not for me to question In his 1968 69 tour LaSpada s unit built a big orphanage in Quang Tri City His daughter Linda Routten said that he always talked to us about birds and monkeys and the children all the displaced children Her father also talked about all the body bags After he left the Corps Carmelo LaSpada went to college earned an associate degree in business administration and worked as an instructor in Carteret County Community College He retired at 65 Almost a quarter of a century later despite the infirmities of age he maintains his Marine trim I can still wear the uniform I retired in he said Now 83 he is a member of VVA Chapter 749 in Morehead City North Carolina Of the new memorial he said It s about time But to try to memorialize something that happened 60 years ago is not very timely P Evangeline Jamison Worry and care have always been part of P Evangeline Jamison s job Jamie as she prefers to be called trained as a nurse Knowing that her newly acquired skills would be put to good use Jamison who lived in Seymour Iowa enlisted in the Army after the attack on Pearl Harbor In January 1943 she shipped out Her eventual duty station was a very primitive hospital built by Army engineers in New Guinea They had left it only half done she said We all had to hammer in nails to get it finished The hospital designated the 13th General was hard duty Although surrounded by the Japanese they didn t ever attack Jamison said The death of a chief nurse who had wandered off into the jungle and committed suicide spooked everyone Jamison s hardest time though was monitoring newly released prisoners of war They were so starved we had to watch that they didn t overeat she said But it was hard to deny them food After the war Jamie Jamison left the service only to return following a

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/archive/TheVeteran/2004_05/feature_3war.htm (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive


  • The VVA Veteran
    picture of my father posed before Vietnam s Dragon Mountain I wore that picture around my neck hoping to find anyone who might have served with my father Lots of veterans approached me None of them knew Dad I returned home convinced that the only man who still remembered my father was Capt John Osborne But as he put it That was another life ago Perhaps for some but not for the sons and daughters who continue to miss our fathers Pablo Gallegos was unaware I was looking for him when he came in search of me We both believe God brought our paths together On May 1 Gallegos was surfing the web He intended to check out the route for the Run for the Wall But when he initiated the search engine The Virtual Wall www virtualwall org popped up He typed in Sgt Spears name A memorial page appeared On it were several tributes to my father and a contact number Gallegos wrote the number down and looked at the clock It was midnight He told his wife Marie that he d found Sgt Spears daughter He asked her Do you think I should call her What if she thinks I m some kind of fool What should I do Call her his wife said But wait until morning Gallegos tossed and turned all night long I kept waking up checking my watch It was too early to call I was very nervous scared I couldn t believe I d found you after 37 years he said Mostly he was worried how I would react I was worried you d think I was some quack I was scared about how this would affect you Gallegos told me I wondered if you had put this all behind you If you had gone on with your life Some people put it behind them and never want to talk about it again I didn t want to open up old wounds for you Even so he felt like he was going to burst inside if he didn t make the call I needed to make the call for me For the satisfaction of knowing what happened to Sgt Spears family This was the opportunity to share my memory of Sgt Spears with someone Gallegos was willing to risk that maybe I wouldn t want to talk about my dad The phone rang around 8 00 a m on May 2 The man on the other end asked to speak to Karen Spears I m sorry he said unable to speak for his tears I m Pablo he said Pablo Gallegos I uttered dumbfounded Yes he said I knew your father I know I said I ve been looking for you Since then several other men who served with my father have contacted me Doug Johnson of Nebraska found me the same way Gallegos did Johnson served as the assistant gunner under Sgt Spears His first correspondence showed up in my e

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/archive/TheVeteran/2003_12/featureFather.htm (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive

  • The VVA Veteran
    His name as the phrase would have it is out there A former Marine with two years in Vietnam Mike joined VVA about 20 years ago He has been president of Chapter 613 in Muskegon Mich for about 10 years He also has been involved with other veterans organizations in Muskegon since the day he was discharged He is active in numerous civic organizations He said it is no surprise to him that he is comfortable with veterans groups His military service was the logical extension of a long family history An uncle was on the Bataan Death March another at Pearl Harbor his father was a Navy veteran Zimmerman says being active in veterans affairs is in my blood I guess I just love being around people he said I love life When I was in Vietnam my whole theory was that we were there to help the people I had good Vietnamese friends when I was there and I have them here He speaks frequently at local schools The first thing they all ask is Did you kill anybody he said I tell them most veterans don t like talking about it It s the worst thing that can happen to you Then I move on to another subject I m not sure how to measure the interest level of the kids A lot of them will come up to me afterwards and say their grandfather is a Vietnam veteran You get the sense that Grandpa hasn t talked much about it At least after hearing me the kids will have some idea of what Grandpa did It might even help when the kids go home and tell Grandpa that a Vietnam veteran came to school and gave a talk He is concerned about the dwindling membership in

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/archive/TheVeteran/2004_01/feature_zimmerman.htm (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive

  • The VVA Veteran
    to talk freely about the grandfather she never knew So when Megan was given a class assignment to create a book in February 2003 she immediately wanted to write about her grandfather I thought it would be a neat way to learn more about him Megan said Megan drafted the questions for her grandmother I wanted to know about when my grandfather received his orders to Vietnam she said It helped that her grandmother was approachable I never felt like there wasn t anything I couldn t ask her about my grandfather she said Megan had many questions for her grandmother How did his leaving make you feel His leaving put a hole in her heart What was his last gift to you A gold watch What was your biggest fear My grandmother had a feeling she would never see him again and she would be left to raise my mom alone Did he write you from Vietnam My grandmother received many letters from Vietnam She wrote to my grandfather every day and sometimes she sent him care packages He would never tell anything that would make her worry But once again she knew better Was there any support for her other than family She told me of an organization called the Viet Wives Club The club was a group of women from the Pittsburgh area that would meet once a week at Carnegie Mellon University It was a support group for wives whose husbands were in Vietnam The women would talk and share their loneliness sadness and fears The fear of their husbands deaths hovered over them Ultimately Megan said what she longed to understand was how the death of her grandfather changed her grandmother s and mother s lives Megan s questions astounded both her grandmother and mother

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/archive/TheVeteran/2004_05/feature_megan.htm (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive

  • The VVA Veteran
    in Lawrence Kansas Haskell opened in 1884 to 22 American Indian children When the school expanded its program and renamed itself the United States Indian Industrial Training School enrollment went from 22 to 400 during a single semester For 120 years Haskell now a fully accredited four year university has provided an education for American Indians and Alaska Natives As Region 6 Director and a member of the Minority Affairs Committee I felt it was time for recognition At half time during a men s basketball game the Haskell Veterans Honor Guard set the stage for a special recognition program VVA Kansas State Council President Mike Kuhn and Missouri State Council President Al Gibson brought many VVA members to participate in this special ceremony Karen Gayton Swisher accepted the plaque and statue that we presented to the university Both will be displayed in the new cultural center and museum Athletic Director Dwight Pickering introduced the VVA members to the teams and spectators and permitted me to present our program All veterans in attendance were asked by the Haskell Veterans Club to come out on the basketball floor to be recognized for their service The plaque inscription reads Vietnam Veterans of America recognizes the selfless dedication to duty to all Original Americans who bravely served their country during the Vietnam War Your inner strength and grace is well known with all Vietnam Veterans Mere words will never properly express this long overdue gesture of gratitude from Vietnam Veterans of America and our nation Presented by Vietnam Veterans of American Region Six and the Minorities Affairs Committee The statue depicts an American Indian Vietnam veteran wearing a bush hat a bear claw necklace and a pair of sunglasses with MACV and 1st Infantry patches An Indian blanket shawl wrapped around the base

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/archive/TheVeteran/2004_03/feature_grace.htm (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive

  • The VVA Veteran
    are always excuses for not voting Some complain that the candidates do not measure up Others insist they have other things to do on Election Day Still others complain that voting will not change things Too many make these excuses none are satisfactory In the early years of our republic Thomas Paine whose writings gave breadth and scope to the philosophical underpinnings of the American Revolution wrote The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which other rights are protected Voting is the core of democracy It is also a partial repayment of the debt we owe to those whose lives have been inevitably altered or cut short in service to us all Because it is so important that all those eligible to vote fulfill what we believe to be an obligation of citizenship by voting for the candidates of their choice in caucuses in primaries in general elections Vietnam Veterans of America has launched the VVA Vote for America 2004 campaign Our goal is simple to remind Americans of their civic responsibility The nation s first president and commander in chief George Washington put it very simply The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war no matter how justified shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by our nation We have recorded a series of public service announcements reminding our fellow citizens that they have an obligation to vote and that each of us has a duty to acknowledge and honor the service and sacrifices of those who have fought for our freedom by exercising that franchise We are sending materials to members across the country to help them publicize this campaign in their communities in their schools and at meetings

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/archive/TheVeteran/2004_03/president.htm (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive

  • The VVA Veteran
    funding mechanism that would provide an appropriate level of funding for the care of veterans who are eligible and choose to use the VA to meet their medical needs VVA is not alone in this fight If you read this column in the last issue you ll recall that VVA and eight other VSOs have formed the Partnership for Veterans Health Care Budget Reform To kick off this united effort the Partnership held a press conference February 18 at the National Press Club in Washington We re here today to launch a campaign VVA National President Tom Corey said in opening the event The goal of this campaign is to fix the manner in which the veterans health care system is funded The current method of discretionary funding for the medical operations of the Department of Veterans Affairs is broken The VA has to compete with dozens of other programs for a sliver of a shrinking discretionary pie This puts veterans at risk This is wrong We believe the VA health care system warrants a predictable funding stream to care for those who have borne the battle We believe that a new model of mandatory funding with checks and balances to insure managerial accountability will provide what the system needs and what the veterans who avail themselves of its services deserve Otherwise Corey continued we will continue to be faced every year every budget cycle with having to trek here to our Nation s Capital to attempt through testimony at hearings and at meetings with members of Congress to fight for additional funds to meet the health care needs of our veterans Rather than this deja vu all over again we really need to focus our efforts to work with the VA to improve its services its treatment and care for those it serves Corey s sentiments were echoed by Robert W Spanogle National Adjutant of the American Legion Jim King Executive Director of AMVETS Tom Miller Executive Director of the Blinded Veterans Association Alan W Bowers National Commander and Joe Violante National Legislative Director of Disabled American Veterans Mike Marcus Public Affairs Director of Jewish War Veterans of the USA Hershel Gober National Legislative Director of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Carl Blake Associate Legislative Director of Paralyzed Veterans of America and Dennis Cullinan National Legislative Director of Veterans of Foreign Wars To help convince our legislators that they need to discuss and debate the issue and move to enact a solution the nine VSOs are meeting with key members of the House and Senate stating the case for reform and attempting to enlist their backing VVA and our colleagues also will move to make funding of the VA s medical operations part of the upcoming presidential debate PUBLIC SUPPORT In a related development according to a recent nationwide survey commissioned by DAV and PVA three out of four Americans believe veterans health care should be a top to high funding priority in the federal budget Most

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/archive/TheVeteran/2004_03/gov.htm (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive

  • The VVA Veteran
    and their families According to the Pentagon more than 194 000 Guard and Reservists currently serve on active duty Guard and Reservists make up almost 40 percent of the total American force in Iraq Provisions of Sen Murray s legislation S 2068 would extend the current Family and Medical Leave Act protections to the spouses of Guard and Reservists called to extended active duty and provide child care assistance grants to parents or guardians of dependents of Guard and Reservists called to active duty The bill would expand the GI bill for Guard and Reservists who are called to active duty for 12 consecutive months or 24 months out of a 60 month period Other provisions would allow employers to claim up to 12 000 in tax credits for the pay differential of Guard and Reserve employees and would also require the federal government to cover the pay differential for federal employees called to active duty VVA favors this bil l Another bill that would benefit Reservists called to active duty is S 2099 which would provide entitlement to educational assistance under the Montgomery GI Bill for members of the Selected Reserve who serve more than two years of active duty in any five year period The bill was introduced by Sen Zell Miller D Ga and is co sponsored by Sen Mike DeWine R Ohio H R 3898 introduced by Rep Anibal Acevedo Vila D P R would authorize the construction of a replacement VA medical center in Puerto Rico at a site that would best serve the needs of both veterans and Department of Defense medical beneficiaries in Puerto Rico VVA strongly favors this measur e S 2133 introduced by Sen Hillary Rodham Clinton D N Y would name the VA Medical Center in the Bronx New York the James J Peters Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center Jim Peters executive director of the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association for 31 years died on September 6 2002 Thirty two years earlier he worked with Life magazine on an article about the deplorable conditions facing paralyzed Vietnam veterans at the old Bronx VA Hospital The article forced the VA to build the new Bronx VAMC and to establish a stand alone national Spinal Cord Injury Service VVA strongly endorses this legislatio n H R 3777 introduced by Rep Scott McInnis R Colo would require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to enter into contracts with community health care providers to improve access to health care for veterans in highly rural areas This bill was introduced to alleviate situations in which the VA facilities are geographically inaccessible to veterans in rural areas VA facilities are deemed geographically inaccessible in the case of a veteran whose residence is in a county with a population density of less than 7 people per square mile and is more than 75 miles from the nearest VA health care facility is in a county with a population density of more than 7 and less than 8 people

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/archive/TheVeteran/2004_03/gov1.htm (2016-02-16)
    Open archived version from archive



  •