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September/october 2009

red star bulletThe Veteran Departments : Stayin' Alive | Operation Lamar Plain | A Big Hotel, A Big Success | Hepatitis C | President's Report | Letters | Government Affairs | Veterans Against Drugs Report | TAPS | Communications Department Report | Constitution Committee Report | Women Veterans Committee Report | Region 9 Report | PTSD/ Substance Abuse Committee Report | AVVA Report | Veterans Incarcerated Committee Report | Resolutions Committee Report | Books In Review | Membership Notes | Locator | Reunions | Calendar

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Ten days after the inauguration of Richard M. Nixon, the communist leadership resolved to test his will and the will of the American people. COSVN Directive Number 71 ordered the North Vietnamese Army and its supporting local forces to maximize American combat casualties while disrupting lines of communications and disabling the pacification programs.

In 1969, more than 11,500 American servicemen (and one woman) died in Vietnam, nearly half of them in the first four months of Nixon’s presidency.

The year’s best-known combat action was the battle for Ap Bia Mountain (Hill 937), known as the battle of Hamburger Hill. But over one hundred miles to the south in Quang Tin Province, a little-known but highly significant set of military events unfolded.

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"This has been a Convention without contention,” VVA National President John Rowan said on Saturday, August 1, near the end of VVA’s 14th biennial National Convention held at the huge, two-towered Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. “In some ways I miss the old days when there were big battles on the floor and tense electioneering. But VVA has accomplished a lot since the Founding Convention in 1983. We can be proud of all of those accomplishments as we continue our mandate to take care of the nation’s Vietnam veterans.”

A crowd of nearly a thousand VVA delegates, AVVA members, and guests took part in the Convention, which began Wednesday morning, July 29, and ended with a star-studded Awards Banquet on Saturday evening. In between, the 657 delegates from VVA chapters around the nation sat in Convention for four days and in evening caucuses and national committee meetings to debate resolutions and consider a handful of Constitutional Amendments.

The solemn and stirring Opening Ceremonies featured a call to arms by Keynote Speaker Retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, known as the “Category Five General” for leading New Orleans back from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Gen. Honoré exhorted VVA members to be prepared for Katrina-like emergencies. “You gotta join the sheepdog club,” the General said, “for when the wolves come to the door.”

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A series of articles focusing on VVA chapters and the fundraising strategies they have developed


The Brookings-Harbor community is on the southern-most part of Oregon’s rugged and scenic coast, just a few miles north of the California border. Located in the so-called “Banana Belt,” it has mild winters and cool, rainy summers.

Tourism, lumber, fishing, the nearby Pelican Bay Prison, and retirees are the main sources of income. As the Portland Oregonian put it: “If the Oregon map were divided by military service, this coastal village on the southwest coast would be known as Veterans Land.” 

The county is conservative in many ways, but progressive in others. The chance of having a tax increase or a bond issue approved here is slim, but if there’s a local family in need, people will stand in line to deposit donations at one of the local banks.

[ read complete article ]


It seems so obvious—a no-brainer, really: If one disease is responsible for the majority of liver transplants in the United States, and if liver function tests generally do not reveal that disease, but a simple blood test for it has been available since 1992, then surely that test must be included in standard blood screening protocols. Right?

Wrong. In most cases, the test for hepatitis C is given only if you request it by name.

One Vietnam veteran heard about hep C and requested the test. But his HMO said the test wasn’t covered since he “wasn’t in a risk group.” Because all Vietnam-era veterans are at risk for hepatitis C, he persisted and got the test.

He tested positive, which made him angry. If he had been diagnosed earlier, he could have made lifestyle changes to minimize the liver damage and received treatment for the virus at an earlier stage.

Like many hepatitis C patients, this Vietnam veteran prefers anonymity due to the stigma associated with this disease. He believes he became infected while in service, either from a tattoo or an airgun injector. He doesn’t deal with the VA; but many veterans have reported that the VA presumed they were intravenous drug users unless they proved otherwise—guilty until proven innocent.

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