A long overdue recognition: Commemoration honors Vietnam Veterans this March 29

VVMF "In Memory" progam honors Veterans every year


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The scene then was vastly different from what today’s returning Veterans experience. It’s time for America to show their appreciation to those who served, especially those who continued to sacrifice long after the war’s ending.

As part of the 50th Commemoration of the Vietnam War, VA and 29 states and territories are commemorating the anniversary of the final withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam with a day of appreciation celebrated on March 29.

In Memory PlaqueMore than 40 years after the war, many Veterans continued to feel the effects of their service. Some battled with Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Others fought illnesses caused by their exposure to Agent Orange and other chemical defoliants sprayed during the Vietnam War.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) believes their fight should be honored.

VVMF’s In Memory program honors those whose lives were cut short as a result of their service, but do not meet the Department of Defense (DoD) guidelines to be added to The Wall.

In Memory is a way that all Vietnam veterans can be honored on the National Mall. Every year in June, VVMF hosts the In Memory Ceremony. Loved ones join together on America’s backyard to honor their heroes’ sacrifices. They are given the chance to read their veteran’s name and leave a tribute of their veteran at The Wall, next to the more than 58,000 service members who fell in the Vietnam War.

Many families see this as long-overdue recognition for their veteran’s heroism, devotion, and courage.

“The Vietnam soldiers did not get the respect they so richly deserved when they came home from the war. Thank you so much for giving them the ‘welcome home’ that they should have gotten…”-Diana Hamlyn

In Memory began in 1999 and has since honored more than 2,500 veterans.

A plaque that honors these Veterans was dedicated as a part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 2004. It reads:  In Memory of the men and women who served in the Vietnam War and later died as a result of their service. We honor and remember their sacrifice.

As we approach March 29 and this Vietnam Veterans Day, take the time to remember those who honorably served. They sacrificed for their country and deserve their nation’s appreciation and respect.

To all of our Veterans we say, ‘Welcome Home.’

As part of the 50th commemoration of the Vietnam War, VA is commemorating the anniversary of the final withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam with a day of appreciation celebrated on March 29.  Check with your local VA facility for events near you.


 

About the author: Latosha Adams is the Social Media and Strategic Communications Specialist at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF).

Author

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Comments

  1. Janey Kay McNamee    

    How can a female Vietnam Veteran that has been 100%PTSD disabled since 2006 continue to be denied PTSD counseling. Almost every page of my military health records state Chronic PTSD

    1. Michael E Brown    

      I would recommend that you seek out the Women’s Veterans Coordinator @ your nearest VA facility and resolve your issue.

    2. Donald E Wright    

      Don’t know where u are but u need to find a good svc officer and have him fight for you. If nothing else I know people who call or visit their state rep or senator. They can get things moving. Good luck and don’t give up.

      Someone who’s been there,

    3. Penelope (Penny) Price    

      I am also a vietnam veteran with PTSD and a member of the Vietnam Women Veterans. It may help you to go to Amazon and view the book just out for the women veterans and maybe connect with someone you know. Please see the women’s veterans coordinator at any VA. I would like to hear from you.

    4. Tony Droz    

      Good morning been there call your local Congress person they will HELP YOU do it ASAP good luck .

  2. timothy hooey    

    Don’t forget We are Vietnam War Vet’s Boot’s on the ground Not ERA Vietnam vets who never left the state and the blue water vet’s It the medal’s that tell the story..

    HOOT””71-72

    1. Tony Tumbaga    

      Tell that to the Blue water Vets family whose son was killed On aboard a ship operating .In Yankee station ie. Forrestal, Frank E Evans, Newport News ect….

      1. R. Courtney    

        Timothy Honey – Some of us “Blue Water” Vets were aboard Amphibious ships that spent months in Danang and manned LCVP patrol boats on patrol in the harbor. Were we in the “bush”? No, but we were doing our part by providing berthing areas for Army, Marine Corps and other Navy personnel essential to the operation in Danang, IN ADDITION to being part of the patrols conducted 24/7 in the area. I personally thank you for your hazardous duty service and serving our country but let’s not “split hairs” over actual Vietnam service. BTW, funny how our ribbons for Vietnam service are the same as yours.

      2. Rob    

        There is no medal for blue water veterans.

    2. Joel williams    

      It sounds like you are an elitist against ERA vets. Why negate even the ERA vets? They did their part. Some of us were training or medical support for those training men to become veterans. We went through the same treatment back home as you and we answered the call, some of us voluntarily, during an “era” when it was not a popular thing to do.

    3. Alexis demello jr    

      I was on a destroyer in vietnam 72 – 73 , we spent many , many days & nights in general quarters while we were in the territorial bounderies (shoreline of vietnam) . Firing our 5″/54’S to protect your asses & knock out artillery of our enemy. I’ve always considered myself a vietnam vet not Era vet and I’ll take that to my grave ,you & who ever can say what the hell you want to say, a lot of us became so called Era – vet around 2001 by the VA ,what was your take before 2001? DID WE FIGHT IN A DIFFERENT WAR ? I lost a close friend on the Benjamin Stoddard DDG-22 in Aug ,72 . Actually 3 died in the gun mount & till this day I THINK of them, our ship got rocked by two mine explosions on June 4 1972 ,we all were thinking , this is the day for us,we’ll sink & never be found.
      As of today I’m service connected for PTSD,Tinnitus,& hearing loss,major depressive disorder,anxiety & headaces . We been thru a lot of horrors you and us during the vietnam war,so don’t down play us like you guys fought the war by your self. I take a lot of pride wearing my Vietnam veterans cap in fact 4 of them ,and will continue to wear them till I die. ALOHA……..

      1. Donald E Wright    

        Tell it like it is. I also was on DD 941 in ’67 and know just how u feel. We had mt 52 hit and had 8 wounded and 1 kia. We all lost friends neighbors and relations in viet nam. I feel the same as you and always will.

        Sparks

    4. Robert Lippert    

      Hey Hoot—- your post can be debated for a long time. The majority of the “boots on the ground” in S. Viet Nam, were never assigned to a front line battle unit. Sorry to burst your bubble. But I certainly want to thank for honorably serving this great country.
      For God and Country
      ASA6668

  3. Valerio Dobrich    

    Why ONLY 29 States????
    When you include this type of information you must include why the rest of the States are not included in this event.
    You should have left the information out so that there were no bad feelings from the VietNam Veterans who would read this.
    If only a word it will suffice to explain it.

    1. 1SG Helmut grossinger US Army Ret.    

      I am also a Vietnam Veteran. I served from July 1966 to July 1967 with the 1st Infantry Division, 1st Squadron 4th US Cavalry, B Troop as a Tank Commander and Infantry Squad Leader for 3 1/2 Months. Yes I was in compact for all of the days with the exception of a 6 fay R&R and 6 weeks in a Army Hospital. All Americans that served in Vietnam on Land, Air or Sea are Vietnam Veterans now and forever. I was a very young E-6 SSG with NO training for the things we where called on to due. But we all learned and learned fast.
      But our so called leader have not. We, America, is still getting in to compart on Land in the Air and yes at Sea and for what? We still do not get clear answers to the question “WHY”. Vietnam was the first but I am sorry to say not the last. Now with the elections we still hear we must fight this and that group. But they are not in the US but thousands of miles from our shores. So why must young man and woman die? Why is NO ONE in power to send us in to harms way held accountable, why are they still free and some of them want to send young Men and women in to combat? (!)

  4. Valerio Dobrich    

    Why only 29 States????
    …Incidently next month is 50 years I came home and the war was at the beginning so no one was waiting to throw things and spit at me.
    Ankhe 1965-66

  5. Dave Cordes    

    Lots of complaints. . . noticed here. I am a Vietnam ERA veteran. Put in four years, only “war wound” is a bum knee from Basic training when i spend 3 days in the hospital with blood poisoning. There were lots who went to Vietnam, but they were not the only ones, and those of us who served in Europe, Korea, Japan and elsewhere get lost in the “noise” of Vietnam Veterans, as if every one in country was a grunt. They were not. . . 3 or 4 to one, support to combat soldiers.

  6. Warren Kitchel    

    The States that are not participating in this event should be identified and shamed

    1. Tom Bosley    

      Try a support ratio of 8 to 12 support for each grunt. With all due respect I bet you were in real danger back in Germany or Japan or other places. Certainly not like the danger of looking for and fighting the enemy each day as a grunt.

    2. Jim M    

      Shame the States–They don’t care, I call for the States that do not join to lose all funding there right to vote, with no recognition of any type. Black list. red list them, stop all traffic in and out of their state, Take away their State name registered with the great USA. Send VN troops to all Hwys. entering and leaving those states and block the roads. Then if anything is left sell them to China or Russia. Then bring in the big troops and declare Marshal law. Of course that is a little far fetched but I cant help my self. 100% DAV VN 68-69 THANKS TO ALL TROOPS WHOM SERVED. AND A SPECIAL WELCOME HOME TO THE VN VETS. AND THANKS TO OUR HEROES WHOM ARE STILL SERVING. I;m old now and will not stink up this world much longer, So just had to put in a couple of lines. From: Jim. diedinnam.

    1. Geno Bouwens    

      I wish I would not gone to this site and see that my State of Michigan was not on the list.
      I guess this is why I never knew about it. …. 196th Light Infantry 3 of the 21st ( MOS 11B20) 1966/1967

  7. James Hess    

    As a Vietnam Veteran I can say it’s well over due …. and to those that served in Vietnam “WELCOME HOME”. Wasn’t that until after I helped design the Great Lakes National Cemetery did I start to crawl out from under a rock and admit to being a Vietnam Vet. Was honored to attend a 50th Commemoration put on by the Piety Hill Branch of the Daughters of the American in Birmingham, Michigan. I thank them for inviting me.

  8. Robert Wildrick    

    I see all of this recognition of Vietnam vets but those of us that served during the Cold War get nothing. Yes we lost men on active duty like Texas Tower 4 that went down off the East coast with the loss of 28 lives. Some of us were involved while stationed in Germany with chasing Russians away from our Matador missile pads. Yes there were Russians in West Germany, graves registration or legalized spying on us. Some of our friends were stationed in remote tours in Alaska and Iceland where they never got to see civilization for a year or more. I don’t begrudge our Vietnam brethern their honors but don’t leave us out either

    1. Jorge    

      Thanks Rob ! Vet 69-71 An-khe Vietnam.

  9. Robert Paul Dixon    

    I am a Vietnam Vet,25th Infantry U.S. ARMY,1969. I am 100% P and T for PTSD. In North Carolina the Big VA has a problem in answering the phones,long wait times,and then you get a voice mail and no call back. I have tried to get help many times. No luck. They are over loaded. One time they sent me to a Non-VA DR.. ,gave them the paper work, but the DR. has not been paid for over 18 months. So, I am forced to go to a out side Dr. for my PTSD and other issues,I have to pay him my self. The VA needs to be on a medicare type system.,since their is a problem getting in. I have others stories about the Big VA,but I won’t bore you.

    1. Jim M    

      Mr. Dixon from the 25th–I was also there serving the same time and place you were. 25 th 68-69. I have gone to the VA doctors for over 20 years now, and I have never been asked from a general Doctor–If any of my aches, pains, etc. was related to what I went through in VN. I also 100% DAV, 1 month ago saw a Doctor rushed in the room asked what seems to be the problem. Duh–Who the F—k is the Doctor. I just read an article and every Doc that treats the Disabled VN Vets are suppose to have a pocket card with symptoms and what can or can not be done for their problems. So I did a little more research-If you are not satisfied with your treatment, you can complain to the veterans advocate. They try to take care of it, if you are not satisfied with that you can go to the Director of the Hospital, and of course it keeps going up through the appeals systems. I’m going to try on my complaint to at least to the Director of the Hospital. Other than that–Going to my legislator, or congressman and if that doesn’t work Hell It is time to die anyway and I will not have any more time to fight ’em–So F—k ‘Em, if you can’t fight ‘Em. Have a great day from Jim, diedinnam. GONE TO SH%T AND THE HOGS 8 ME!

  10. Paul Sagnella    

    I noticed one comment disrespecting “Vietnam Era” veterans. As a Vietnam Era veteran myself I take exception to that comment. All of us who served and didn’t take off to Canada or head to college and were willing to take our chances serving our country are veterans. When folks ask me about my military service I always tell them that I was very lucky not to have been in Vietnam for the war but proudly served stateside when my country asked me to. My heart goes out to the loved ones of all those fine young soldiers who fought and either were severely wounded or died in Vietnam and I never stop thinking that but for the grace of God I could have been one of them.

  11. marie claxon    

    I am also Army Veteran served during the Vietnam Era. I have PTSD , Anxiety

    1. Rob Bartose    

      Don’t let it get you down.

  12. virginia Hill murph    

    I am a woman Vietnam Era Navy Vet. A lot of my friends are dead, most of us married men who were in the war at the time. My bunk mate was Mena Angeles who married a Snyder. I have misspell his last name I am sure. I looked fro her for years. She was a maid of honor at my wedding at Andrews only to find her Obit, in Jan newspaper in Los Angeles California. She was from the Philipines. If you are one of her sons I tried to contact without success— go to my face book page and see how beautiful your mom was when she was young. I have my wedding pictures that took place at Andrews Air Force Base all of Navy supply was invited and attended my wedding have my party afterwards in my barracks. The chow hall made my wedding cake. Tom Lowe was his name from n.c. never heard from him again. He was married then and wife and kid lived in N.c. Janice Gilliam on face book, served with me also. Jenny Hill Murph

  13. Robert G. Bauman    

    Like President Obama told the Families of all the people who keep being murdered in theaters and schools all over the US… SORRY isn’t good enough…neither is “We Appreciate your Sacrifices”, every year the attitude toward your Veterans fails more and more and the promises fade into nothingness. I’m not going to complain about the treatment that has gotten worse ever day since I returned from Viet Nam in August 1968, because I’m not the only Veteran who has been abused and ignored by the system and those we fought and even died for in the egotistical Country!

  14. Gerald Beaver    

    I am a Disabled Combat Veteran and I served with the 173rd ABN in Vietnam and at the Veterans Hospital I go to you cannot even get an appointment for a Psychartrist, all they ever do is call me and cancel an appointment the morning of the appointment, it is a 75 mile drive one way their, I am over 70 now, just getting very tired of driving their anymore, yes we have a DAV here with a Shuttle Bus, but all they do at the DAV is drink alcohol and play poker and drive a group to the Veterans Hospital once a week for their travel pay, it very hard to get an appointment when you want it at the Veterans Hospital, I decided to buy Blue Cross Health Insurance and with Medicare and go to local doctors in my hometown than trying to mess with a broken system that’s they called the Veterans Hospital, it’s worth the $340.00 a month premium just to be able to get healthcare when I need it instead of waiting and cancellations at the Veterans Hospital, they can brag all they want about helping Vets but I’ve been their and done that

  15. Ron Neuin    

    I’ll say it’s LONG overdue. I was 19 when I got drafted, spent a year in ‘Nam. Lost a girlfriend through it. When I got home, all I ever heard was “baby killer”. There were no parades, no celebration. No THANK YOUs, So whichever Gov’t. Agency dreamed up a Vietnam Veteran’s Day — they can keep it. Shove it where the sun don’t shine. Give me my 2 1/2 years back that I spent defending MY Country.
    How about re-starting the Draft and draft all these refugees and ILLEGALS flooding the Country. I served when i didn’t want to, but I am PROUD that I did. I don’t need any accolades 40YEARS LATER!

  16. Aaaaaaasssaa    

    My husband was a Viet Nam Vet. Served his country for 22 years. After retirement, he served his church and community, and never once ,did I hear him ever say I regret any of it. He served with pride, integrity honor, etc. In 2005 he came down with Lung Cancer/ Agent Orange, had a left quadrant amputation, livd 10 months this way, in 1997 he had 4 heart attacks/agent Orange. And I as of yet can’t get an answer as to disability rating. I put in for DIC and waited a long five years for payment, even tho I was a hardship case. During this time I lost everything we had ever owned. House and car included. Credit rating went to zilch, yet I can hear my husband in my ear saying so proud to be an American.and serving my country well. RIP Jim. Thank you for serving our country. When I received my DIC I was asked by a VA agent, How much did I pay the Drs to say he died of Agent Orange. Not a Senator or Governor, or Representative that I asked for help, ever came to my aid. I finally contacted a congressmans office who was willing to listen to my cry for help, as i was sinking deep into living on the street, And a gentleman that had served in Viet Nam and has a bad case of PTSD. That i was helped. That took a year and a half. I truly feel the pain our Veterans go thru and how they are treated. Thank you all for serving our country.

  17. Stephen Sliss Jr    

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE MEANS NOTHING UNTIL THE VA IS CLEANED UP !!
    PLEASE – GOD HELP ALL VETERANS BECAUSE THE VA DOES NOT IN GENERALS ON VA CLAIMS & MEDICAL !!

    1. Robert Alcorn    

      The VA is never going to be cleaned up. Too many heads would roll and the Brass won’t let that happen.

  18. William V Braniff    

    No thanks from the American people will ever satisfy me for our treatment. The time for thanks is long gone. I don’t want a false thank you from any of you.

    Bill Braniff
    2/12 Inf. 25thID Jan.23 68 to Sept. 68, Dau Tieng Vietnam

    1. 1SG Helmut Grossinger US Army Ret.    

      I feel the same way. When some one tells me “Thank you for your service ” I tell them where you in 1967 when I came home. They had a Vietnam returnee ceremony at Fort Carson Colorado all I could say to the invitation No Thank You, you are just a little bit late, like 40 years.

  19. Jerry    

    Usually I found that those who criticize Vietnam Era Vets, either never served or were kicked out. Because anyone who wore the uniform back then, was a target of the radical anti-war movement.

  20. Barbara Milloy    

    My husband Paul “Lee” Milloy was a Vietnam Veteran a Chief Engineer on a tug boat in Camrohn Bay,an area affected by the “Agent Orange” program. He has never been recognized and was not treated very well by his own country when he came home to the USA.after serving in Vietnam for 15 months. He loved his country but not the treatment he received when he came home. He had undiagnosed PTSD and died with a diagnosis of Pancreatic Cancer. I have never filed for any benefits but am so happy to see our Vietnam Veterans are finally receiving some positive recognition. Mrs. Lee Milloy

  21. Luis A. Torres    

    Wow! En Puerto Rico lo celebran para que los politicos se luzcan, de ambos partidos. Llegan al colmo de celebrar el Dia del Veterano de Vietnam e invitar y honrar a los que son del partido politico en el poder. Los que fuimos a Vietnam, no lo hicimos representando un partido, lo hicimos por la responsabilidad de ser ciudadanos americanos y con orgullo.

    1. Alexis demello jr    

      Luis a Torres no offense to you my braddah but you need to write in English so we can understand what you are saying. My last post to you was not excepted by the moderater. Alex demello

    2. Angel Nazario    

      100% de acuerdo contigo Luis . Este dia es para los politicos buscar votos…..lamentablemente !!!!!

  22. Gene James    

    I am a US Army combat Viet Nam soldier (68-69). It’s time to get on with your lives. I never heard WWII veterans complaining 40-50 yrs. after 1945..It’s over. No, you didn’t get to go to Woodstock. That’s life. I served my country for the sake of serving. I don’t need to be recognized for that. I just wish we would have been allowed to win.

    1. mike whitley    

      I was in the Marine Corp, I was in DaNang area RVN TET 1968 until June 1969. I whole hardily agree with what you have said, its all too late, lets move on!!!!

  23. Charles R. Ross    

    I surely hate to see military veterans of any period, whether they served in combat or not, feel that they are not appreciated. Since I was a combat soldier in both Korea and Vietnam. I know the hurt of having spent nearly 3 years in a POW camp and then being treated like trash upon my return. To all veterans “Thank you for serving our great country.

  24. David R. Huff    

    11 March 2015 12:40 AM

    “Justice delayed is justice denied.” Also holds true for SEA vets (Yes, we were in Laos, Cambodia, South Vietnam and even in North Vietnam,)

    It was the SEA Vets who built two memorials with THEIR OWN MONEY; The Wall and Angel Fire. No other vet group can say that.

    Waiting 50 years to say something is totally bullshit. So what do we get for this “stale lollipop”? Nothing of use. Just another politically correct pat on the head. Don’t need it.

  25. Armando pALOMO    

    It is about time those who served during Nam got the thanks they derive!!!!! long over due!!!!!!!

  26. B. Chet    

    I am a Vietnam veteran who served in 1967-68. It was not a good time for us. When we came home, we were spit on, yelled at and generally disrespected for having served our country honorably. No one welcomed us. It still leaves a scar. I appreciate the welcoming home efforts today, I really do, but, it can never replace the welcome home we didn’t receive in 1968. Thank you to my wife and family and her family that did welcome me home. Today, we can hold our heads proudly as we acclaim that indeed, we are Vietnam Veterans. My voice echoes with the other comments here with regard to the states not recognizing March 29th. Shame on them!!

    1. Alexis demello jr    

      Served 72-73 I had friends that went home for R/R. They told us watch out when you go home,because the enemy is at home also. They were fighting a war at home , he took off his uniform and put his civies on. When I was discharged my parents & girlfriend met me on my ship. I got off my ship with my civies & my parents were disappointed , so was my girlfriend that I was’t in uniform,so to make them happy I very reluctantly went and did a dress change. Well fortunately for me I live in the Aloha state of The Moku of Keawe (Big Island of Hawaii) I was welcome home with love and sincerity, but my thoughts were about my friends, brothers & sisters on the mainland that were treated like crap when they got home . So even though I received a good welcome home , I stand behind every man and woman that got treated unfairly back in their home state. I got your 6. Aloha braddah……..

  27. Michael E Brown    

    When we “separate” different periods of service, different wars, etc. we lessen and disrespect “Veterans Day”. We should have only 1 day to salute, commemorate, acknowledge Veterans of all wars and service and that is November 11, Veterans Day. Memorial Day is set aside to honor our War Dead. Let’s not fragment our service or our time to heal. Let’s not get caught up in the “in-country” versus service somewhere outside the area of conflict..we already have medals for that.

    Keep Veterans Day as the National Day of Honor, regardless.

  28. Arthur Wirsing aka "Thumbs"    

    I guess no “Commemoration” will ever heal those feelings I felt coming home in Nov. ’69.. It was a deeply hurtful time.. But I do so appreciate the efforts being made. Thank You..

  29. William Karp    

    What about all the Vietnam veterans that came home and were spit on and cursed? Now you want to praise them and welcome them home? Too little too late! Many of these have died since returning to the states without one bit of appreciation, many of us think that maybe it would have been better to have died in Vietnam

  30. Con Gubser    

    I also am a Vietnam era vet. I agree with the other era vets as to not getting any of the recognition that I think we deserve. We were at the beckon call of our country at that time during the war, and could’ve been stationed anywhere in or out of the war zone, directly involved or in the support capacity. Like the other Vietnam era vets, I don’t intend to take anything away from vets in country, or what is commonly referred to as Vietnam veterans however I would like the recognition that we were there during that time in uniform, and you could just as easily been in country. Thanks to all the Vietnam veterans for their service! But don’t forget the other veterans who are on call during war!

  31. George Reagan    

    Thank you, VA, for the recognition. The Wall was the first step in our healing. The Mini Wall was another step in our healing. The only company that I worked for over the last 50 years and that recognized V day, was Weatherford Intl in Fort Worth, TX. It was another fantastic day for celebration for us. To all of those that sacrificed, the Ultimate and otherwise, the blood, guts, sweat and tears of fighting for our beloved America, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE AND SACRIFICE, PAST. PRESENT AND FUTURE. God Bless America, the most Exceptional Nation on the face of the Earth, and don’t anyone forge it. Regards, the product of America’s Greatest Generation and US Navy Vet, 1966-1969; Hospitalman, FMF Corpsman “Doc”, Pharmacy Tech.

    1. Stephen Harwelik    

      You are absolutely correct Mr.Regan. I served 72-78, on Dec 24th 1972 my whole squadron got orders for NKP, Viet NAM. There was going to be a giant offensive if the peace talks failed in Paris. .
      Well they signed the peace treaty and I have felt guilty for not going ever since.

      So, now we ate called ERA Vets. I cannot get over it.

  32. Jeffrey H. Adler    

    It’s been 43 years since I was separated from service, what makes you think that I’m “welcome” when …

    1. I have never been hired to any long-termed position or job. The longest job I’ve held in 43 years lasted less than 5 years. This is a typical sign of PTSD … however, the VA doesn’t recongnize me as a candidate for PTSD because I was never in a combat zone.

    2. I’ve been categorized as “Type V” veteran by the VA. It’s like the VA telling me that I’m not really a vet, but they have to let me in anyway. I was honorably discharged and received a commendation medal for my service. I feel that’s worth something better than a “Type V” veteran.

    3. I’ve been the recipient of various forms of discrimination by various employers. Thank you, America!

    4. By the way, I have a Bachelor of Science and an Associate of Arts & Science degree with honors, in addition to my “Type V” veteran status.

  33. Ray M    

    You can say Welcome Home when you say it to all Vietnam Veterans,
    In 1977, the first claims of Agent Orange exposure came flooding into the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). But it took 14 years for Congress to actually listen, take action and give our Vietnam veterans the benefits they deserved.
    The Agent Orange Act of 1991 was implemented to provide much-needed care to veterans who were exposed to the harmful chemical cocktail Agent Orange. Many of us thought the fight to get the medical attention we deserved was over, but that wasn’t the case. In 2002, the VA amended its initial plan and excluded thousands of “Blue Water” Navy vets — who served right off the coast — from receiving our rightful benefits. Because we hadn’t served on land, the VA tried to say we were unlikely to suffer the effects of Agent Orange poisoning. Even though we didn’t serve on Vietnamese soil, we were still exposed to Agent Orange. In fact, a 2011 study by the National Institute of Medicine found that Blue Water veterans could have been exposed in multiple ways, including via the ships’ water distillation system and through the air. The 2009 IOM update stated “Given the available evidence, the committee recommends that members of the Blue Water Navy should not be excluded from the set of Vietnam-era veterans with presumed herbicide exposure.”
    We are asking for your help in urging Congress to pass legislation (House Bill H 969 and Senate Bill S 681) that will reinstate our right as Vietnam Navy veterans to receive the benefits we deserve for being exposed to this terrible chemical.
    Nearly 90,000 Blue Water vets are depending on you. We are dealing with serious health issues that range from cancer to diabetes, and from Parkinson’s to heart disease. Many of these diseases have made it nearly impossible for some of us to get steady work.
    Last year, the VA finally extended benefits to Air Force crew members who flew in C-123s after they had been used in Vietnam to spray the toxic cocktail. The VA came to the realization that even the slightest exposure to this chemical had serious effects on a soldier’s health. So why are the Navy vets’ pleas being ignored? We breathed the Agent Orange-polluted air that drifted from the coast and drank water sprinkled with the herbicide, and now our bodies are paying the cost.
    We ask you to stand with us, and with Representative Chris Gibson, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and others to demand that the VA assume responsibility for the effects of Agent Orange on Blue Water vets.

  34. Donald York    

    As a Vietnam Veteran, my best, and most cherished welcome home came one year when i, and my cousin , who is a Vietnam vet also, were paying our tribute to our fallen Brothers at the wall. This young school child handed me a hand written card that she had made and said thank you, and welcome home. On the front of the card she had written, “Thank you for saving America”. On the bottom of the card there was a cut out and pasted star, and in that star she wrote, “my Grandpa was in the Marines, love Julia.”
    She signed her name as Julia Guzman.
    That day, that little girl brought tears to my eyes that i had a hard time holding back.
    There have been many welcome homes before, but none as healing as this one.

  35. Richard    

    Let us remember the the very often forgotten or never recognized US Coast Guard Vietnam Veterans, who have never gotten their due.

    Richard White
    Ron 1, Div 11 65-66

    1. Doug Huckins    

      I agree Richard! It may be hard for some to believe today, but anyone who wore a uniform in those days was subject to humiliation by a non-adoring and appreciative public. A shipmate and I were both spit on by a group of laughing and jeering college students hanging out of windows as we sat on our seabags awaiting a ride to our cutter. “Baby Killer!” greeted us at airports too, since we had to travel in uniform. Still makes a knot in my gut to think about!

  36. GUILLERMO QUERTIER    

    My father Jean G Quertier was at Saigon in 1967-68, but unfortunately passed away 3 weeks ago. I´m revising all his Air Force papers and can see that he travelled a lot. He was a great great person, we are very sad because of his death.We lived in Spain since he retired in 1975. He came to Gorramendi Base in 1973 and retired in Edwards AFB in 1975. I LOVE YOU, DADDY!!!!!!

  37. Ken McFalls    

    I willfully and intentionally joined the Marine Corps in 1969. Assigned the MOS of 0311, I knew I was destined for Vietnam. In early 1970, I had the opportunity to leave Okinawa and volunteer for a tour in Vietnam and quickly did so. Call it fulfilling my rebellious side, but serving in Vietnam was just something I felt I had to do. I, too, ended up quickly losing the love of my life (high school sweetheart) to “Jody” and my life was forever changed by the entire Vietnam experience. I only recently started taking advantage of Veterans services. I understand that those exposed to Agent Orange get preferential care at greatly reduced cost, or even free. I served as “boots on the ground” (and I HATE that term), so I would assume at some point I would have been exposed to Agent Orange or other chemicals. My question is… how do I determine if I qualify for Agent Orange benefits? Can any of my fellow veterans help me? God bless you all. Like so many of you, I have remained bitter and forever scarred by the treatment we received up in returning from Vietnam. We deserved better, then and now!

    1. Alexis demello jr    

      Ken , First of all “Thank you for your service”. You need to contact your nearest VA office and get a VSO (veteran service officer) this person will help you for FREE . He or She will get you on track to benefits. That’s your start…..

  38. Doug Huckins    

    As a vet who has always felt caught in the middle… and regarded as “less than” during well-deserved recognitions of Vietnam vets…I clap for and honor them just as much as anyone else…I concur with those who honor ALL veterans, all the time. I am an Army brat, raised by a dad who was a career soldier, WWII and Korean War armor officer. In fact he was a horse cavalryman in 1928 and buried with crossed sabers on his dress blues in 1990. An older brother, a USAF sergeant and crew chief based in Thule, Greenland in the 1950’s, carried a long scar on the calf of his leg, caused by a Viet Minh bayonet as he was hurriedly unloading cargo for French soldiers during a ‘touch and go’ landing at Dien Ben Phu. He had a story to tell that no one wanted to hear at that time either. Not considered to be a combat vet, he fought for the right to join a local VFW POST and was finally admitted. He still bore the memories and scars of that day until his death a few years ago. In 1969 I enlisted at 17 in the USCG, not wanting to wait to be drafted. We all know we go where our orders assign us. Mine took me to an icebreaker while others went to the cutters Spencer and Minnetonka, tied up fore and aft of us. Due to their draft, they regularly served as fire support platforms for soldiers and marines in the Mekong Delta. My ship’s battles were in the true ‘cold war’, shadowing a Soviet fleet on maneuvers north of Siberia. When I watched what looked like tracers missing our helicopter, I thought World War III had just started. It turned out they were flares from a warship, but a hit would have still resulted in a downed chopper. The Soviet icebreaker that broke away from the fleet and attempted to ram us, directing us to heave to and prepare to be boarded, was very real. So were its gun crews in full battle dress, manning their twin antiaircraft guns. The four days of cat-and-mouse through fog and ice that resulted in our finally being able to steer clear we’re as intense as any I’ve encountered. After 4 years as a petty officer and diver, college and an Army ROTC commission allowed me the privilege of serving this country and our soldiers another two decades on active duty and as a reserve officer assigned to active Army units. The year gone from my family, home and law enforcement career for Desert Shield and Storm was tough, as all vets and their family’s know. Every Veterans Day I recognize my wife and kids, for in my heart THEY are veterans too. One year ago I was asked by my Legion POST to participate in our local parade. Not as a combat vet, but just as a vet, alongside both combat and non-combat vets. The public made no distinction; their cheers were for ALL of us, and our families. And for our comrades who never came home, even those not killed in combat, like my childhood friend Mike, a soldier who died before embarking for Viet Nam. And my military diver buddies: an entire USMC LRRP team, SF soldier and USAF SEAR-team who deployed to Viet Nam the day we graduated. Their picture remains on my desk even after 45 years, reminding me that not all returned, and that our bond as brothers in arms…and veterans…will endure.

  39. Norman Morgan    

    Thanks to all military coming home! Job well done !

  40. James D. Gutshall    

    Over the last decade many Americans have recognized the service and sacrifices of Active Military and Veterans.
    Recognition is a wonderful thing, but I would prefer the efforts be made to stop the senseless suicides of our community and make ending the tragedy of homeless Veterans a priority before accepting illegals and refugees into our USA.
    VETERANS FIRST !!!

  41. John J. Loftus 2457    

    While our nation commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the Vietnam Conflict, we should also recall that the VA bureaucrats of those earlier times falsely told most Vietnam vets that they could not even apply for VA Disability benefits because their military medical records had been destroyed in a fire at the St. Louis Archives. In fact, all Vietnam era files from 1964 onwards remain untouched. Only a few records in 1962 and 1963 were singed, but 99% of all Viet Nam era military medical records are still intact at the St. Louis archives.

    This phony fire story, whether through negligence or laziness, deterred almost an entire generation of veterans from ever applying for medical benefits. No wonder the suicide rate for Viet Nam era veterans has been so high. They never got benefits, so never got treatment. It meant less work for the VA bureaucrats though, and it seems that is all that counts.

    The National VA’s Inspector General refused to investigate my complaints concerning the lack of medical care. Several years ago, I wrote to the Justice Department to compel the VA to investigate the issue of delays, among other things. The National Patient Advocate’s office sent the order to investigate delays in my medical care down through the Patient Advocate system. After it got to the Patient Advocate’s Office at the Bay Pines VA, the order simply disappeared. The head of the Bay Pines Patient Advocate office had no clue that his own staff had destroyed the file.

    I have learned that the bureaucrats at Bay Pines have somehow been taught to enter the computer software “back door” to erase or alter a veteran’s medical files. To this day, digital notes attached by my nurses to my medical files sometimes just disappear. It makes it easy for VA staff to claim they were never copied or informed. This kind of criminal violation of HIPPA is very easy to prove: all medical software provided by the National VA has a hidden key stroke recorder to show exactly what was changed and by whom.

    The VA’s National Inspector General wrote back to me that the “alleged” illegal alteration of veterans digital medical records (even if it was being done at many VA hospitals across the country) was not even worth investigating.

    Please understand that my gripe is only with the VA bureaucrats who repeatedly fail to hire enough specialty doctors while paying themselves huge bonuses for depriving us of timely medical care. Most of the medical staff at Bay Pines VA are great. My primary care doctors and nurses are superb. But consulting doctors in specialist clinics were erratically staffed or non-existent.

    I am glad to see that the VA is finally emphasizing CPAP issues. It has taken the lives of many vets. My sleep disorder was misdiagnosed by two VA hospitals back in the eighties until one of the techs told me that the doctor did not know what he was talking about and I should see a private physician who specializes in nothing but CPAP. I did, and the private sleep study showed I had been suffering from severe apnea requiring the highest CPAP level: fifteen pounds of pressure. For many years, the VA refused to accept the private sleep study or pay for my CPAP machines. Finally, they did another VA sleep study, confirmed severe sleep apnea, and issued me a medium sized face mask, then a large mask. It was a little better but I still had leaks that woke me up twenty times a night.

    I went to a CPAP private doctor who said I had a very wide face, so none of the VA’s masks would ever fit. He gave me a script for a total face mask like the firefighters use. The VA sleep clinic had never even heard of it, so I had to buy my own mask once again. It was much better but still leaked, and I had a third sleep study once again confirming severe sleep apnea. The tech suggested I try the new Amara View Full Face Mask, large size. This is amazing. It hardly ever leaks, and is extremely quiet and comfortable to wear. Unfortunately, the $36 soft plastic insert wears out rather quickly and needs to be replaced every four months or so.

    The VA sleep clinic refused to see me and sent me a nasty letter. In essence, since I had chosen to take a private doctor’s recommendations, I should stay with him. There is only one VA doctor for 11,000 CPAP patients at Bay Pines VA, Florida. I only met the gentleman once for three minutes more than a decade ago. The CPAP clinic is actually run by his secretaries and a nurse. They are always short-handed. Now that I have turned 65, I am trying to get medicare to pay for my masks.

    My fellow veterans and I deserve at least minimum levels of medical care. The primary care doctors and nurses are great, but the VA pays so little that the specialty clinics often have too few doctors or none at all. The Bay Pines administration is on record that they dislike the Congressional mandate to send veterans to outside doctors if we have to wait more than thirty days for an appointment at the VA.

    Thirty days? Sometimes at Bay Pines VA, I have had to wait for years. The last ENT doctor quit years ago and was not replaced until 2016. I am a 100% service connected, permanent and total, disabled veteran. My face was smashed in an Army parachute accident, and I was hospitalized for months at Fort Benning but the surgeries had to be done over at Walter Reed. I may hold the record for most ENT surgeries (27) and receive the maximum service connected disability for severe sinusitis (50%).

    I used to receive quarterly ENT appointments, but the ENT clinic at Bay Pines VA went for more than four years without any ENT physician at all. In 2015, I put my foot down and demanded the VA send me to an outside ENT physician under the new Congressional program for victims of VA delays. It took some fighting, but I finally got to see an actual ENT doctor. She said I had to have emergency surgery. The polyps had grown so large that they were obstructing drainage. If this persisted, I could develop a serious infection. I had been warned of the risk of Osteomyelitis at Walter Reed.

    I asked the VA to clear me as medically fit for emergency ENT surgery, but they took no action. I had to pay a private doctor to order the EKG, labs, etc. which I also paid for privately. I went ahead with the ENT surgery which indeed uncovered extensive and deep rooted areas of infection. We had caught it just in time. It was indeed an emergency.

    Then the VA refused to pay the doctor they themselves had selected for me. Bay Pines VA falsely told the federal VA clearing house that I was not 100% disabled, had no sinus disability, and omitted that the local VA had been notified of the surgery well in advance. I guess they wanted to punish me for using the Congressional program. I just got a bill for more than $6,000 for “non-emergency” surgery that had not been cleared in advance. The VA Federal Clearing Center said that since I was neither service connected for sinuses (untrue) nor was 100% disabled (I was) then I will have to pay the $6,000 towed to the ENT surgeon and the hospital out of my own pocket.

    Oh, and they continue to refuse to pay for my CPAP equipment.

    I am still proud that I volunteered to serve my country in time of war, and volunteered for hazardous duty parachute training. As OCS class President and Honor Graduate, the Pentagon offered me a regular army commission and choice of assignments if I stayed in service. A few years later, I finished law school and worked at Justice Department HQ under the Attorney General of the United States’ Honors Program. The Army wrote me that they would triple promote me from First Lieutenant, Infantry to Lt. Colonel, JAG if I came back.

    The reason I declined both offers was the same: I could not trust that I would receive adequate medical care. The government has never kept its promise to disabled veterans: malpractice was the medical standard of care for veterans of the Viet Nam Era. I feel so sorry for our wounded kids coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. Soldiers of this generation do not deserve what they are about to receive from the VA. Neither did we.

  42. Troy Thomas Heikkala    

    Why isn’t it fully recognized or even mentioned that the American War on Vietnam was a holocaust. It was an atrocity for our government to course us when we were young to go and kill people 10,000 miles away from our shores just to secure Vietnam’s resources for the multinational corporations. It was based on a lie, for God’s sake. We can’t keep pretending that it was an honorable adventure. No doubt our vets need the best of care for the rest of their lives if necessary. They also need the truth which is sorely lacking in the above plans and conversations.
    Tomas Heikkala, 1st Bat.,12th Inf., 199th Light Inf, Bgd. 1968

  43. Robert Oswald    

    To heck with any accolades, just wish I could get a job. Every interview ends the same. More flesh ripped from my soul and rarely a call back. I know it’s the same for all Americans, but the pain is always there. It has been hard since my last job in 2008, and it seems to get harder with each application. The military did not leave PTSD scares, it’s living in America that does. I love my country… just wish the citizens of this great nation would love me back.

  44. Angel Nazario    

    I served in V.N. from 68-69 and was with Vietnamese 24/7 in a advisory team 28…MAV- Tuy Hua. Being with them all the time it was very hard to sleep , because you never know if one of them were a vietcong and I still living that war as it was yesterday . Not much help from the VA. This celebration is too many years late. When I got home a friend instead of saying welcome ,he told me “baby killer ” and I almost kill him. I have been denied PTSD about 4 times , we are the forgotten ones !!!

  45. Keith Whitmore    

    I also am a Vietnam Veteran. I joined the USAF with a 46250 MOS. Now with that out of the way. When I came back to the world in 68 and then finally got out of the service in 72. I went back to work in the local USS steel mill and became a Journeyman Pipefitter. Lucky for me the job came with health insurance. And, I used that and civilan doctors, as I thought going to the VA & seeing their doctors who I classed as QUACKS! And, at that time I found out that I was right. I only recently went back to the VA, but. I have had friends that found out that those QUACKS are still there doctoring. Just why can’t the VA weed out these QUACKS? Surely they know who they are. Why does a vet of any war, survire that war only to be killed by a QUACK doctor that is working in the local VA hospital??

  46. Tom Reilly    

    I hold a Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts, a Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, etc. from Vietnam. It was thirteen years after my return home before I finally heard the only two words any soldier ever finally wants to hear–the words “thank’ and “you.”–Tom Reilly

  47. Calvin    

    I was not in Viet-nam to fight the war I was there just before the war ended. I worked for the D.O.D. I was a civilian when in Nam but I was in Korea. I am now a Service connected vet and I do go to the V.,A. and I know that many were not treated well by the V.A. but I do want to say that I have nothing but good things to say about the V.A. They have been nothing but good to me. I wouldn’t be alive today if not for the V.A. They have paid for two heart surgeries and not cost me anything. I still get all my meds for $8.00 per med peer month. And I go see a doctor when ever I need to or they call me and ask me to come there and see the doctor. Also I have been on air the last 16 years and no charge. Enough of that I am happy with the V.a.

  48. Chuck Kosack    

    Ken, I may be wrong, but I recall the V.A. finally admitted that anyone who served in Vietnam was exposed to Agent Orange (or any of the other herbicides with a color band on the barrel) since you drank the water, breathed the air, and ate something grown or raised there.
    To the ERA Vets.
    I was in-country from 4/18/70 to 6/24/71. I have no ill will towards anyone that honorably wore the uniform of any branch of our country’s armed services. What I do have an aversion to is someone who wears un-earned medals, tells “war stories” that were neither in the service nor in-country. As I said, I have a respect for and consider any Veteran my brother or sister. “Bluewater Navy” and other service personnel that provided services in support, who assisted our wounded brothers and sisters I honor and thank you for your service. I know of veterans that wear CIB’s, have a Purple Heart, and other awards they never earned and were not awarded to them. These are some of those who I consider useless.
    Was I in the jungle? No, I never represented myself as any type of a hero, and never wanted to be. That being said, I am very proud of my service in Vietnam for 14 months.
    I will also bet that most people that didn’t serve in-country were never asked to roll up their sleeves, or have faced undeserved harassment during job interviews or on the job just for being a Veteran. I know we were all “crazed Vietnam Veterans” that were drug addicts, baby burners, and just plain rotten people and we probably deserved what we got. I was working as an electrician at large job sites. Several people enjoyed sneaking up behind me and they would fire a stud gun just to watch me jump. They found it amusing. I have been home 45 years and still suffer from excessive startle response, the 4th of July and new years I will be asleep before the fireworks start.
    One person above said that starting around 2001 they were clumped into an “Era” category. We were lumped into that group in the 1970’s. Congress in the 70’s decided they would do something special for in-country Vets. They would allow us to receive extra points for Government Jobs as a thank you for serving in a combat zone, trouble arose because those vets not “BOG” started raising such a fuss they decided to come up with the term Vietnam Era Veterans, and that was that. I still have nightmares a few times a month, I have hit my wife while she tried to shake me awake. When our daughter was about 2 years old, I had fallen asleep on the sofa, she tried to wake me when she was going to bed. I threw her across the room. She landed in a chair. My wife tells me that by the time she got there, I was with our daughter and calming her.
    I am not interested in having any type of celebration 45 years later. I think this is more to make someone else feel good about themselves, as my family still helps me heal. My wife married me in 1969 and has fought my war beside me since I came home. God has truly blessed me.
    Chuck Kosack
    Co. A, 52nd Sig Bn,
    1st Sig Bde. Cantho, R.V.N.
    4/18/70 to 6/24/71

  49. Robert T Murphy Jr    

    If a Vietnam Veterans Day ain’t attended any better than a Veterans Day,then our “feelings” would be hurt once agin. My wife,an assistant principal at an elementary school, put together a Veterans Day program last fall and the attendance was sad. Her boss probably won’t allow it this year. But I will have to say , those 4th and 5th graders did make the few of us feel specai. Evidently, today’s society isn’t touched by war like we were in the 60’s and 70’s. Of the five Vietnam dead from the county that I live in, I knew relatives of all five. Not that way now. Also, it appears that Vietnam vets don’t even like each other. At a monument dedication for those five fallen brothers, some biker Vietnam vets with all their garb shunned/avoided me. All I had on was my Vietnam vet cap. So, I assume society will be glad when we “all fade into the sunset”. After all, there won’t be a Vietnam Unknown at the Tomb of the Unknown to remind people of the our war. So they sure don’t need a Vietnam Veterans Day to remind them. Thanks anyway. Survivor Tet68.

  50. John J. Loftus 2457    

    I went through Infantry OCS at the Benning School for Boys in 1973. One of the instructors told us that Agent Orange was used to clear the Kudzu vines from the “Vietnam Village” movie set that was built for John Wayne’s film, “The Green Berets”. We crawled all through this area during training at Fort Benning. I later came down with early onset colon cancer, diabetes mellitus, and a strange, as yet undiagnosed, skin condition.

    Any other of the vets from Ft. Benning have similar illnesses? I volunteered for Nam, but was hospitalized for five months after a bad parachute accident. Are there any other instances you have heard of Agent Orange being used domestically?

    ps: the “presumptive illness” thing for Agent Orange is not being enforced. I am told that VA HQ has ordered their staff to deny 100% ratings to everyone regardless of presumption. The only exemption to the 100% rule is for returning Iraq and Afghan vets who lost arms and legs, because it would look bad in the press.

  51. Tom Konieczko    

    A Vietnam Vet once told me that one day the Era vets would have their special day and I told him I won’t hold my breath according to the majority of the In Country vets that I have talked to you are nothing unless you were in combat they also say even if you were In Country but did not see any combat to them your just an Era vet also. You know it takes a whole Country to have a war not just the ground pounders if it weren’t for the support troops more boys would have come home in body bags

  52. Robert Pettijohn    

    Welcome Home, you are all American hero’s in my book!!!

  53. Thomas Worley    

    First I am thanking ALL my fellow Veterans and all present Military and Civilian Personal who has participated and continue to guard our efforts to ensure our world a safe place to live and support our families and friends of other Nations. Our sacred vow to defend or die is our vision of the freedoms we hold close to our hearts. My first contact with the VA was in 1972. At this time the VA was trying to diagnose me as Paranoid Schizophrenic. Paranoid yes, Schizophrenic, I was not. I was ordered to Vietnam January 26, 1966. I was assigned to 505th Graves Registration. I had only been to an occasional funeral. This duty shattered my internal and external belief system. The destruction of bodies is overwhelming and there were Many. I lost count after the first thirty days. I remained in the Enlisted Reserves or National Guard for 18 years with some breaks after I completed my required obligation to my country. After Vietnam it was difficult to sleep. The flashbacks and nightmares of the war was devastating. In 1982 I was awarded ten (10) percent for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I continued to appeal this award. In 1992 I was admitted to the VA Hospital for two weeks due to my drug use and self medicating trying to forget the war and bodies. In 1993 I was admitted to the VA Hospital for four (4) months for treatment of PTSD. I was denied an increase in my rating for PTSD. In 1994 I was in the VA Hospital for three (3) months for PTSD and again denied an increase in rating for PTSD. In 1995 I was in the VA Hospital for PTSD for another three (3) months. In August of 1995 I was awarded 100 percent for PTSD. I appealed this decision because my family and I had suffered badly financially throughout all the years of delays and denials and my inability to work. I appealed this decision to the BOARD OF VETERANS’ APPEALS Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, DC 20420. This court remanded this case back to Denver Regional Office on March 18, 2013. On March 18, 2013 this case was sent back to Denver Regional Office and was ordered and afforded expeditious treatment. On January 06, 2015 this case was ordered back to the Denver Regional Office and also stated matter must be afforded expeditious treatment. Must I say Anymore?
    Respectively,
    Thomas Worley

  54. James R. Horigan    

    Re: the blue water veterans.
    I am a Vietnam Vet, 1967-1971. I rode a WWII LST up and down the Mekong R. more times than I would like to remember in support of the Mobile Riverine Forces. One trip took us to within 14 miles of the Cambodian border. On 10/31/68 we were upriver and the enemy floated a mine past us in the night and it took out the first class quarters of another LST killing 8 members of that Blue Water group. We brought supplies to Cua Viet, Vung Tao, DaNang, Etc.
    In 1970-71 I was on a patrol gunboat on coastal duty. We are all Viet Nam Veterans. We have all been treated badly over the years. So let’s not bicker about who did what. We all have our demons. My son, a Marine, spent 2 tours in Afghanistan and came home a hero. He is physically unscathed but only time will tell what toll it has taken on his psyche.

  55. Harry DeSantis    

    To all my brothers and sisters in arms Remember we DID NOT loose the Viet Nam “conflict” The morons in Washington DC lost that one. So be proud and hold your heads high..

    Harry DeSantis,Msgt. USAF,Ret.

  56. Lonnie Davenport--SSgt    

    Vietnam Vet. 70-71. TO LITTLE—TO LATE…………………………………..

  57. Marvin Schober    

    Both the Denver Medical Center Colorado and the Colorado Springs VA clinic have excellent PTSD Trauma programs for both combat and non-combat veterans including MST for both male/female veterans. Please look up Agent Orange “VA presumes that Veterans were exposed to Agent Orange of other herbicides if they served”, “In Vietnam anytime between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975, including brief visits ashore or service aboard a ship that operated on the inland waterways of Vietnam”. “In or near the Korean demilitarized zone anytime between April 1, 1968 and August 31, 1971. Effective date of above was October 30, 2010. Get an advocate in the community, DAV FFW, or VHA in the VA system. If you cannot get you percentages for ratings, appeal and if needed then again an advocate or if needed a lawyer specialized in the VA appeal system.

  58. Scott T. Heffelfinger, USN 71-75    

    I did not serve in Nam but served in the Navy during the Viet Nam era. To those who served in country the U.S. can never repay the debt that is owed you all of these years later. To the families who lost lost ones, God Bless You. To those degrade those of us who served in the military (but not in country) during this ugly time remember that anyone who served in the military ran the risk of being there and some of us carry the guilt of not being there and losing friends who were there. The reality is that anyone who serves in any branch of the military at anytime may not make the ultimate sacrifice but they are making A sacrifice. Bless those who served in Nam, during Nam and who have served anytime in the past, present or future.

  59. Gary S. Perry STG2 USN '68-72    

    I graduated from high school in June ’66. By late September Ken Carpenter came home in a bag. Then Gary Smith the following spring and then Danny Peters and then Bill Brown a few months later. I went to school with these guys. It makes you think. Gary Hutton joined the Navy and served Brown Water. He came home intact as far as I know. I really didn’t know that you had to volunteer for the Riverines. I just thought you enlisted and did what and went where you were told so I did just that. I signed up for the Navy just after Tet. They made me a Blue Water type.
    I did what I was told. Its what you do.

    Dogs and Sailors Stay Off of The Lawn !!!! SanDiego 1969 I’ll never forget that one.

    I have a VietNam service ribbon with 2 stars. I’m proud of what I did but I know I didn’t do much by comparison and never said so. After 4 years I came home and forgot I was ever in the service. For those who served in that time it wasn’t unique. 20 years later my 7 year old daughter asked if she could see my uniform and I played hell finding it. I took a picture of her in my jumper and hat saluting and then put it all away again physically and mentally.

    About 10 years ago my brother in law called me. “I was listening to the radio and the DJ said to thank a veteran. I thought I didn’t know any but then I remembered you’re a vet”. “Thanks for your service”. That got to me. I wasn’t expecting the flood of emotion 30+ years later.

    A few years ago I bought a VietNam veteran ballcap but couldn’t wear it. Then I found a U.S.Navy version and occasionally (like at a Memorial Day service) I’ll wear it. It works for me. I’ve been a member of the Legion for 26 years but for the most part only paid dues. Now I’m as involved as I can be. Need to make up for lost time.

    I tangled with a misguided state rep a few years back that wanted to have a separate VietNam Veterans Day. He was confused. He was not a vet. He wasn’t reelected.

    I recently signed up for VA Healthcare because I was counseled to do so. I hope to never need it. I always felt that I shouldn’t take from those who needed or deserved it more. I hope it improves for those truly in need.

    So in closing I am proud for what I did but there was never a day that I didn’t know and respect that there were others that did and were doing so much more.

  60. Paul Bylin    

    It took all this time to say “welcome home?”… They can keep it…

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