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july/august 2007

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Khe Sanh:
The Other Side Of The Hill

The 1968 battle for Khe Sanh, the biggest battle of the Vietnam War and its longest sustained siege, has been the subject of history, story-telling, and myth-making. But for all the books, articles, and buddies’ accounts of their experiences, one aspect has so far been little touched. That is the tale of the adversary, the North Vietnamese enemy who fought in the hills and villages around the combat base.

In our book, Valley of Decision, Khe Sanh chaplain Ray W. Stubbe and I worked hard to present something about the other side. We thought we had done well with the information available at the time. But since the book was published in 1992, much more has come out, including official histories of the NVA—officially know as the Vietnam People’s Army—and many of its units, as well as collections of Vietnam Workers Party documents, enough to make possible for the first time a more extensive treatment of the North Vietnamese side of the battle. What follows is a fresh look at that story. [read complete article ]

Get ready For Some Musical Fireworks

A funny thing happened to Wes Guidry, VVA’s national meetings planner, last December. While attending the Nevada Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Reno, he ran into the legendary country music star Lee Greenwood. Guidry, not the shy and retiring type, walked right up to Greenwood, said hello, and then asked if he would be amenable to performing his mega-hit “God Bless the U.S.A.” at the Opening Ceremonies of VVA’s 13th National Convention in Springfield, Illinois, in July. Greenwood said he liked the idea but needed to check his schedule. An official letter went out the next day from VVA National President John Rowan. Early this spring came the official reply from Greenwood’s associate, Jerry Bentley, who happens to be a Vietnam veteran and a VVA member. Lee Greenwood would happily come to Springfield to sing his song, as well as the National Anthem, at the Wednesday morning, July 18, Opening Ceremonies. “It’s going to be a special treat for the delegates and guests at the Convention to hear Lee Greenwood,” Rowan said. “His song is world famous and will fit in extremely well with our always-spirited Opening Ceremonies.” [read complete article]

In The Tornado’s Trail

On Thursday, March 1, the sky over Enterprise, Alabama, turned dark, then ominous. Shortly after one o’clock, a tornado’s funnel reached out of the swiftly moving, leaden sky, touched down by the airport, withdrew, then slammed to the ground again. The twister dawdled through Enterprise, destroying everything it touched along a 10-mile trail. Eight students were killed at the high school, and many homes and businesses were totally ruined. [read complete article]

Memorial Day Done Right
Quincy, Mass., Veterans Honor Their Own

It started out small. A fraternity of veterans in Quincy, Massachusetts, most of them Marines, would gather in late March to honor those who died in the Vietnam War.

Twenty years ago, they were blessed with a memorial: a clock tower built by the O’Connell Development Company—Billy O’Connell had served during the Vietnam War—and Forge Development Corporation. It rises some four stories at Marina Bay in the Squantum section of Quincy. Inscribed on one of the four panels at the base of the tower are the names of 47 local men who perished in Vietnam. [read complete article]


The notion of leading a local VVA chapter and helping to build it into a vibrant force in the organization was not part of Randy Wright’s personal agenda in the late summer of 1971. Fresh from the Vietnam War as an Army platoon commander, Wright was intent on becoming a lawyer. [read complete article]



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