A publication of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress

August 2000/September 2000

Semi-annual Committee Reports - September 2000

Government Affairs Committee Semiannual Report

By Phil Litteer, Chair

The last six months have been very productive for the Government Affairs Committee. On March 29, VVA President George C. Duggins, Rick Weidman, Joe Sternburg, and I presented the 2000 Legislative Agenda to the Joint Congressional Committees on Veterans' Affairs.

The Government Affairs Committee held a very productive and well-attended workshop at the 2000 National Leadership Conference in Buffalo. Special guests included N.Y. Assemblyman Ron Tocci, two staff members of U.S. Rep. Jack Quinn's Buffalo office, and long-time VVA member and legislative advocate Ed Chow.

Additionally, the Government Affairs Committee met in Washington in April and in June to monitor progress in implementing the Government Affairs Convention Resolutions adopted in Anaheim. That progress is summarized below.

G-1-99: The "Veterans Vote!" Campaign. This year’s 2000 vote packets were a tremendous success. Packets have been distributed to state councils and chapters. They can be accessed via the VVA web page at www.vva.org Click on the "What's New" section.

G-2-99: The Legislative Coordinators Network. We are slowly reaching our goal of matching 540 legislative coordinators for each member of the U.S. House and Senate. Sharon Hodge at the national office has done a magnificent job organizing and communicating with the network. If you would like to be part of this Legislative Coordinator Network, please contact her at Shodge@vva.org

G-3-99: Support for the National Gulf War Resource Center. VVA continues to support the veterans of the Gulf War. We recently entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the new NGWRC executive director, Charles Sheenen Miles. VVA will continue to support NGWRC and we look forward to working with its new ED.

G-4-99: Extension of Vietnam Conflict Ending Date and Eligibility for Vietnam Service Medal. A bill is expected soon from Rep. Jack Quinn (R-N.Y.) that will finally identify all-inclusive Vietnam War dates. Our national office staff is on top of this important legislation.

G-5-99: Vet Center Eligibility for Vietnam-era Veterans. The Vet Center eligibility was met in PL 106-117, which extended Vet Center eligibility to September 31, 2003. However, the Vet Center readjustment counseling resources services must be expanded to meet the needs of all veterans who receive services from the VA Vet Centers. VVA will continue to support this resolution.

G-6-99: Establishment by the DVA of More Convenient Sites for Veterans’ Hearings. This resolution has been fully satisfied due in part to VVA's insistence that the VA reach out to veterans who need services wherever they live.

G-7-99: Service Connection for Hepatitis C. This item is addressed in the 2000 Legislative Agenda. Additionally, our national Board of Directors has created a new national comprehensive Veterans Health Committee, which has a subcommittee dedicated to the hepatitis C issue. Current bills HR 1020 (a sweeping service-connection bill) and HR 4791 (a limited bill which would service-connect only for certain blood transfusions and hemodialysis) are currently before the House of Representatives. While VVA supports both bills, we are certainly much more interested in the broad spectrum of service connection incorporated into HR 1020, which was introduced by Rep. Vic Snyder (D-Ark.), a physician and Marine Vietnam veteran. HR 1020 is cosponsored by 114 Members of the House.

G-8-99: Re-establishment of Service-connected Disability in Certain Tobacco-related Illnesses. No activity.

G-9-99: Commemoration of 50th Anniversary of the End of the Korean War. The national office staff keeps a calendar pursuant to this resolution so that VVA is represented on memorial occasions specified in the resolution.

G-10-99: Commemorative Stamp Honoring the U.S. Coast Guard. No activity.

In addition to the Government Affairs Resolutions, the Government Affairs Committee recognizes the importance of Veterans Affairs Resolution V-17-99, The Veterans Quality of Life Initiative. The committee considers at every meeting how the activities of the committee measure up to the VVA Strategic Plan.

Additionally, the composition of the Government Affairs Committee is itself a working model of this important resolution. The committee is comprised of virtually every committee and task force in VVA. The cross-pollination of ideas and initiatives from the various committees and task forces results in much more complete coverage of the needs of our members. We will continue always to keep this resolution on our agenda.

Chair: Phil Litteer. Vice Chair: Fred Elliott. Members: George Corbett, Jerry Klein, Wayne Miller; Bob Necci, John Miner, Jeff White, Calvin Gross, Bob Maras, Marsha Four, Joe Saxman, Fred Urban, Allen Manuel, Bob Piaro, Carl Jensen, Ray Aldao, and George Claxton. Special Adviser: Nancy Switzer.

 

PTSD And Substance Abuse Committee Semiannual Report

By Carl Jensen, Chair

As the newly appointed chair for the PTSD and Substance Abuse Committee, I welcome the chance to work with the committee members to address the many important issues related to veterans with PTSD and the VA system. Our primary goal continues to be the implementation of the broad-ranging resolutions adopted at the 1999 National Convention. To accomplish this, the committee is working closely with VVA’s Government Affairs Committee and the newly formed VVA Veterans Health Care Task Force to coordinate action on the "in-country effect," which encompasses the multiple health issues of those who served in Vietnam.

Veterans will receive the full continuum of quality care they deserve only through increased federal funding of the VAMC budget and the addition of specially trained quality health-care providers to meet the growing need for service. The need is to restore the staff and programs for PTSD, substance abuse, and mental health care that have been eliminated or dramatically reduced in the last four years.

The chair and committee members have had productive meetings with Dr. Alfonso Batres, director of the Readjustment Counseling Service--the Vet Center program. The committee also met with Dr. Lawrence Lehman, chief consultant for mental health. We look forward to continued dialogue. Also, Linda Schwartz is representing our issues and interests as a member of the Department of Veterans Affairs Special Committee on the Care of Seriously Chronically Mentally Ill veterans.

At the April and June meetings, the committee addressed the following concerns relating to the implementation of resolutions:

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Substance Abuse Treatment Programs: The VA health system has shifted from residential treatment facilities for veterans with PTSD to an emphasis on outpatient programs for the treatment of PTSD and substance abuse. This move is alarming because not all veterans can be effectively treated through walk-in clinics, and too few clinics are staffed with health-care professionals adequately trained to address the needs of veterans diagnosed with PTSD.

The reduction in the number of residential treatment facilities also creates concern that the VA may attempt to eliminate specialized inpatient PTSD units completely, as has happened in some geographic areas already. The committee discussed the need to conduct field research on the number and geographic distribution of residential treatment programs in the VA system. The committee plans to pursue this shortly.

Vet Center Support: There is a need to expand the number of Vet Centers. There is also a need to extend outreach efforts to encompass incarcerated veterans, homeless veterans, and especially family members. The committee recognizes the importance of the Vet Center program and the services provided to veterans with dual diagnoses (PTSD and substance abuse). Funding should be increased so the program can grow and expand. The Vet Centers have been flat-lined on funding for more than five years, and are thus understaffed. This must be corrected. We support any congressional legislation that will accomplish this end. The Vet Center programs must remain independent of the VAMC and VISN, both in terms of authority and funding levels.

: Rick Weidman, the director of VVA’s Government Relations Department, led a discussion of specific concerns of the committee. He stressed the need for a survey of new treatment modalities being used by non-VA mental health professionals. In addition, he urged a comprehensive survey of every Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) to determine whether or not the VISN mental-health funding levels have fallen below 1996 levels, which would be illegal. Weidman noted that an April GAO report concluded that the VA is not in compliance with this law. He also suggested a program to insure that VVA has a representative on the Management Advisory Committees of all the VISNs.

Counseling for Family Members: We strongly support the delivery of services to the whole family as a part of the veterans therapeutic process--sharing with the family what the veteran is going through and helping the family understand and cope with compassion fatigue and the transgenerational effects of PTSD.

Workshop at the Leadership Conference: As a part of the ongoing work to implement resolutions, the committee designed a workshop. Part One was led by Dr. Batres on the Vet Center programs. It dealt with recognizing the need to help the families and plans for expanding that assistance. Part Two, led by Mary Yeomans, covered such topics as caretaker syndrome, compassion fatigue, and the transgenerational nature of PTSD. In Part Three, Father Phil Salois spoke on PTSD and suicide. Part Four, led by Nancy Switzer, was on practical coping skills for caretakers and families.

Chair: Carl Jensen. Members: Charles Hall, Charles Kries, Sandy Miller, Wayne Reynolds, Vernon Valenzuela. Special Advisers: Dr. Eden Z. Brown, Dee Hagge, Father Phil Salois, Linda Schwartz, Nancy Switzer, Mary Yeomans. Staff coordinator: Mokie Porter.

Public Affairs Committee Semiannual Report

By Jim Doyle, Chair

The Public Affairs Committee is bound by eight resolutions adopted by the delegates at VVA’s last National Convention:

P-1-99: Community Service. Chapters are encouraged to take part in community activities through the various media resources of VVA. The "Membership Notes" section of The VVA Veteran is filled with positive contributions our members make in their communities. In addition, documents describing our purposes and principles are available through various VVA on-line resources and at national headquarters.

P-2-99: Children’s Welfare. Our members are full partners in efforts to protect children and insure their positive development through the numerous projects in which they are engaged, including Foster Parents and Grandparents programs, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, scouting, and school- and faith-based projects.

P-3-99: Chapter Involvement with Educational Institutions. Chapters have made significant progress in becoming resource centers for educational institutions at every level. The education subcommittee is preparing a Speakers Bureau handbook to be distributed at the tenth National Convention in Greensboro, North Carolina, in August 2001.

P-4-99: Regulation of Certain Activities at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. VVA has maintained an active role working with the U.S. Park Service to protect the sanctity of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial area through enforcement of regulations pertaining to inappropriate activities at The Wall.

P-5-99: Endorsement for Participation in Local Environmental Efforts. Members have the opportunity to coordinate their activities and efforts to protect our environment from hazardous waste by using the VVA Talk List, the Single Point Of Contact (SPOC) list, and other VVA networking opportunities.

P-6-99: Biennial Publication of the VVA Constitution, Resolutions, Code of Disciplinary Procedures, and Long-range Strategic Plan in The VVA Veteran. These documents are regularly published in The VVA Veteran.

P-7-99: Endorsement of the "PT Phone Home" Project. This project has been completed, and the committee will recommend retirement of this resolution.

P-8-99: Requirement To Report Semiannual Progress on All Current Resolutions. You are reading the fulfillment of this resolution.

Strategic Planning Committee Report

By Fred Elliott, Chair

Of the more than 600 surveys sent out by the Strategic Planning Committee, more than 20 percent were returned. This is a fantastic return rate. Thanks to all who participated.

According to those surveys, you--the members of VVA--have said that membership is the highest priority of VVA. This was followed by advocacy, communications, direct services, organizational effectiveness, financial, and community services.

Within the general goal of membership, the survey results indicated that a national marketing strategy was the first priority to work toward. Therefore, at the June Board of Directors meeting, the committee brought forth the following motion, which passed unanimously: "To charge the National Membership Committee to immediately begin the development of a National Marketing Strategy for member recruitment. The committee will work in concert with the National Director of Membership Affairs as well as each of the Regional Directors in the development of this strategy. Such strategy to be presented to the delegates at the Tenth National Convention ."

Even though direct services was fourth among the seven main goals of the national Strategic Plan, the need for service officers was ranked among the top priorities and was often discussed in the comments area of the survey. Because of these indicators, at the June Board of Directors meeting the committee brought forth the following motion, which passed unanimously: "To have a representative from the National Department of Veterans Benefits, the National Treasurer, and the National Veterans Benefits Committee work with the Regional Directors and the Conference of State Council Presidents to develop an expanded Veterans Service Officer Program no later than the Tenth National Convention."

The Strategic Planning seminar at the National Leadership Conference was well attended, and a lot of good ideas were exchanged among the participants. Those who were unable to attend but would like a copy of the handouts, or any chapter or state council that would like assistance in formulating a Strategic Plan, can contact the committee through the national office, by e-mail at FredVVA20@aol.com, or by phone at 716-225-0377.

Veterans Affairs Committee Semiannual Report

By Robert Maras, Chair

I want to thank each of you for all your hard work and effort this year. I know that we have a lotof different events going on in each state. All the committees did well, and we can be proud of everything that was accomplished. The list of people who worked hard is long.

One major event was our first Native American Health Summit, which took place in Window Rock, Arizona. It was a huge success. Monte Wilson and Doc Ross processed 45 claims for compensation--17 of them were for people using the VA for the first time and nine were discharge upgrades.

I hope that you have been getting the word out on hepatitis C. This deadly disease knows no age or gender barriers. The committee has had guest speakers during the last few Board meetings who have shared information on this problem.

Community-based outpatient clinics (CBOCs) were discussed at the last meeting, along with ways to improve services to veterans and their families. We know that CBOCs are having a favorable impact on veterans, but we also know that there must be more of them and they must be better placed. Several states do not have them or the CBOCs are situated in areas that many veterans find hard to get to. We have talked to VA Undersecretary for Health Dr. Tom Garthwaite, and he has told us that 158 more clinics are scheduled to open in the next two years.

I hope to have staffers from the Office of Management and Budget at the November Board of Directors committee meeting. There are many questions we want to ask them. One is why there is not enough funding for the current Veterans Health Administration to continue the health-care programs needed for all veterans. We also need to ask why three- or four-year budgets are not developed, which would allow medical personnel at VA hospitals to know if they will be keeping their jobs and whether they will be able to spend more than five minutes with a patient.

I hope that more members will take active roles in veterans health-care issues and other issues that the Veterans Affairs Committee is working on. We are fighting another war--one that if we work together we have the power and ability to win.

Keep up the fight. Pick up your phone and call your members of the Senate and House of Representatives. Welcome Home.

Veterans Benefits Committee Semiannual Report

By Jerry Klein, Chair

The Veterans Benefits Committee has been extremely busy the past several months. By following the intent of the strategic plan, the committee has been working on fulfilling the promise to the membership to turn the resolutions adopted at the National Convention into reality.

During the course of the year issues arise that require immediate attention. VVA has petitioned the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to create regulations to make diabetes a presumptive service-connected disability due to exposure to herbicides. Another petition, called the "In-Country Effect," was also submitted. The committee also has been working with VVA’s Government Affairs Committee and Women Veterans Committee on regulations and legislation that affect women veterans. That includes special monthly compensation for women who have had mastectomies.

The issue of real judicial review (VB-1-99) has been discussed for many years. The committee is working on a plan in conjunction with the Government Affairs Committee to implement this resolution. The committee is working with VVA’s Government Relations Department to insure that sufficient funds are made available in the DVA budget to run the Veterans Benefits Administration and provide quality services (VB-10-99 and VB-11-99).

A bill pending before Congress this year has the potential to modify the offset between the service-connected disability payments and military retirement (VB-12-99). While it may not be all we desire, it's a start in the right direction. The committee is working with the Government Relations Department to obtain attorney representation at the VA (VB-14-99). Veterans and hepatitis C (VB-15-99) is being pursued on two separate fronts: through Congress (Bills HR 1020 and S-71) and through a petition to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to make hepatitis C a presumptive service-connected disability.

The veterans benefits program has expanded the service representative training program during this term. Three training sessions have been scheduled. The basic service representative course was held in June in Washington, D.C. A second basic service representative training course will be held in Yakima, Washington, during the first week in October. An advanced training course is scheduled for Chicago at the end of October.

The Veterans Benefits Committee will continue to work toward implementation of the convention resolutions to fulfill the mission presented to us by the delegates, as well as tackle new issues that confront veterans dealing with the claims and benefits process. "In service to our fellow veterans" is our motto, and we will strive toward that goal.

Women Veterans Committee Semiannual Report

By Marsha Four, Chair

The committee has been motivated in its desire to increase outreach, enhance services, protect benefits, and seek legislative advantages for veterans. This moves us forward in fulfilling our responsibility to the strategic plan.

Legislative Activity

On June 8, I delivered testimony on women veterans before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Benefits. The issues we discussed included: HR 3998, the inclusion of service-connected mastectomies to those receiving special monthly compensation; HR 4488, legislation to provide benefits to children with birth defects born to women who served in Vietnam; and legislation to establish within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs permanent sexual trauma and personal assault treatment; to seek treatment and benefits for those serving in the National Guard and Selective Reserve who encounter sexual trauma or personal assault while on active training days; and to insure continued biannual congressional reporting of the VA Advisory Committee on Women Veterans with a response from the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), chair of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, held a field hearing on women veterans in Philadelphia on June 2. VVA’s Women Veterans Committee was contacted by the Senate committee staff and asked to provide witnesses for the hearing. We were able to do so.

These issues relate directly to the legislative agenda established by our committee. We continue to work with VVA’s Government Affairs and Veteran Benefits Committees and staff. After an inquiry on HR 3998 and a discussion with Len Selfon, director of VVA’s Veterans Benefits Program, this committee is taking a closer look at the actual rating and benefit scheduling for a service-connected mastectomy. Additionally, we are seeking a study to gather statistical information on children with birth defects born to men who served in Vietnam. This will provide scientific data to bring equitability and just benefits to children with birth defects of all veterans who served in Vietnam. (In compliance with WV-4-99)

Outreach

A brochure entitled "Women Veterans" was produced by the Women Veterans Committee as a tool for outreach, education, and membership. It outlines the history, accomplishments, and legislative agenda of the committee. The brochure, which includes a VVA membership form, has been distributed at national Board of Directors meetings, to state council presidents, at the VA National Summit on Women Veterans, at the VVA 2000 Leadership Conference, and to women veterans who have been contacted through the Internet.

Part of our outreach has included interaction with other women veterans’ groups, including Vietnam Women Veterans (VWV). Established only recently, the group’s president and several members have attended two of our committee meetings. We discussed ideas and concerns in hopes of bringing a stronger and more unified voice to these issues. A VWV liaison, who is also a member of VVA, will attend future committee meetings. (In compliance with WV-2-99)

VA Summit 2000

Several members of this committee attended the National Summit on Women Veterans Issues, held in Washington, D.C., June 23-25. I was a presenter on a panel discussing the involvement of women veterans in veteran service organizations. I also served as a moderator for a working session on the subject. The participants discussed the approaches of various service organizations toward women veterans and how they could best assist women veterans. Sensitivity, outreach, and attitude were high on the list of concerns. A report on the summit will be written and distributed by the VA Center for Women Veterans. (In compliance with WV-2,4-99)

Leadership Conference 2000

The Women Veterans’ Committee hosted three workshops. Joan Furey, director of the VA Center for Women Veterans, discussed women veteran statistics and some health data from Summit 2000. Linda Schwartz, chair of the VVA Health Care Task Force, discussed

women veteran health data from her thesis and proposed a new study on women veterans of the Vietnam era. Cindy Falzone, women veterans coordinator for New York, discussed PTSD related to personal assault and explained how to form a well-grounded PTSD assault claim.

I would like to thank each presenter for doing a great job.

Leadership 2000 was an exciting event that overflowed with information. Over the span of just a few days we were given the opportunity to listen to experts, exchange ideas with professionals, and make contact with others from across the country who are driven by the same passions. The Leadership Conference delivered the basics, but also provided a forum for the exchange of issues, problems, and solutions. (In compliance with WV-2-99)

Thanks to Chapter 77 for their help. Van transportation to and from the airport was an unexpected surprise and was greatly appreciated.

Navajo Nation

Linda Schwartz and Fara Sanchez of the Women Veterans Committee attended the Navajo Nation gathering. The women veterans groups discussed a broad range of issues--some gender specific, some cultural, some merely veteran. Future meetings are being considered. (In compliance with WV-2,4-99)

Thanks to all those who have contributed to our progress over the past year. We look forward with enthusiasm to the coming months.

Task Force on Homeless Veterans Semiannual Report

By Robert R. Piaro, Chair

The Task Force on Homeless Veterans has had several accomplishments to its credit as it has worked to make changes in the conditions affecting homeless veterans since the Task Force's inception following the 1993 National Convention.

In August 2000, a very successful, well-attended program was held at the Leadership Conference in Buffalo. Paul Sutton, vice chair of the Task Force, conducted the meeting. We also were honored to have Miss America 2000, Heather French, as our guest speaker at the conference. Her platform has been "The Forgotten Heroes: Honoring Our Nation's Homeless Veterans.'' She is the daughter of a disabled Vietnam veteran and has pledged to help homeless veterans fight the battles they face on our nation's streets. She urges all Americans to lend their support to these often-forgotten men and women.

As chair of the Task Force on Homeless Veterans, I have had several opportunities to meet and work with Heather French. She is an incredible young woman. I have been fulfilling my life's dream--working with homeless veterans--since 1992. In all those years, I have never seen such dedication, devotion, and love for the homeless veterans issue. It has been a delight to work with her. Heather French is a true veterans advocate and a great young lady. On behalf of VVA, Heather, we thank you, as do all the veterans you have helped. With your assistance we will continue to make a difference in the lives of homeless veterans.

The chair of the Task Force has been working with Chapter 536 and the Kern County Veterans Service Department to develop a homeless program in Bakersfield, California. We have been very successful. We have attained a three-year per diem grant for a Resource and Referral Center in Bakersfield--at a value of $23,400. We also received a grant of $23,000 to buy a new van to transport veterans. We are in the process of locating a building to start a SRO program in Kern County. A $300,000 HUD grant will be used to fund part of this program. The Task Force on Homeless Veterans and VVA will continue to help in this effort to provide the best homeless veterans services in the county.

Vietnam Veterans of America can take pride in what is being done. VVA and the Homeless Veterans Task Force once again are leading the way in helping homeless veterans.

All the work that is being done in the continuing fight for our homeless veterans is in keeping with VVA resolutions.

Veterans Initiative Task Force Semiannual Report

By Tom Corey

Two resolutions that passed unanimously at the 1999 National Convention pertain to the Veterans Initiative Task Force (VITF). The first one continues a previous resolution to encourage all veterans who served in Southeast Asia to provide personal effects or grave-site information that might assist in locating or identifying Vietnamese war dead. The second relates to our efforts to achieve the fullest possible accounting of all unrepatriated POW/MIAs. We continue to meet the intent of both resolutions with the utmost respect and honor for the sacrifices made by fellow service members and their families. The fullest possible accounting of American POWs and MIAs continues to be a VVA priority.

VVA can be extremely proud of the work being accomplished through the Veterans Initiative, now in its seventh year. We had some rough lessons early on in the program, along with some disagreements and misunderstandings by some individuals. And there are those who continue to distrust--or have not yet come to acknowledge--the value of what we are doing.

But we can hold our heads high. VVA's Veterans Initiative is an extremely powerful and successful program in fulfilling our responsibility to our unaccounted Americans and their families. No one can argue with facts. The veteran-to-veteran approach on the issues of missing Americans and Vietnamese is a noble cause that benefits families on both sides.

We have had the support of POW/MIA family members, Sons and Daughters In Touch, ex-POW organizations, former POWs themselves, Medal of Honor recipients, and others whose endorsements we can be proud of. We have helped family members who have made pilgrimages to the locations of loved ones killed or missing in action. We also have provided help for VVA members who have returned to locate burial sites of Vietnamese soldiers. We have met with considerable success and will continue to support these efforts whenever possible.

Recently at the VVA Leadership Conference in Buffalo, the Veterans Initiative seminar was well received and supported by those in attendance. We were able to provide information on everything that we do and answer every question that was asked. We discussed our mission and successes at every level: Travel to excavation sites, work with the Joint Task Force-Full Accounting (JTF-FA) and Joint Field Activity (JFA), and our personnel responsible for recovering America's missing. We provide input and support for the outstanding work of the JTF-FA and JFA.

We have worked closely with Vietnamese and Lao leaders to make changes that will assist our governments’ accounting efforts. That includes more unilateral and trilateral efforts and new efforts in encouraging and producing witnesses. The support from U.S. Ambassador to Hanoi Pete Peterson, his staff, and the JTF-FA personnel in Vietnam and Laos has been extremely important to our mission.

We continue to return artifacts and grave-site information received from VVA members to appropriate Vietnamese officials. We continue to meet with Vietnamese veterans on the local and provincial levels to assist with U.S. accounting efforts. We have built a relationship and respect for each other as former soldiers, and we work on fulfilling a common commitment to themissing on both sides and to their families.

We are privileged to have participated in repatriation ceremonies in Vietnam to escort American remains aboard U.S. aircraft on their journey to Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii (CIL-HI), for identification and return to their families. We have been fortunate to attend services at Arlington Cemetery and elsewhere around the county, participating with families when their loved ones are finally laid to rest on American soil.

We have addressed other important issues such as Agent Orange. We also discuss concerns presented to us about the treatment of former ARVNs and others.

We have enjoyed the working relationship with the POW/MIA Affairs Committee. There is much to say about the support and participation of the VITF members and staff and those who have made the difficult returns to Southeast Asia in support of this most worthy project. To all of them, I say, "Thank You" for making it happen, including the late Mike Nash, who is not forgotten.

The Veterans Initiative Task Force requests the assistance of any veteran who can provide information so that we can continue this most important mission and fulfill the Fullest Possible Accounting.

Members: Charlie Brown, George Claxton, Alan Cook, Tom Corey, Ken Deal, Richard Delong, Jim Doyle, Bill Duker, Agnes Feak, Dan Johnson, Bob Maras, Bob Necci, Bob Reiser, Jack Thomas, Jeff White. Special Advisors: Janet Alheit and Sarah Bernasconi. Staff Coordinator: Mokie Pratt Porter.

   

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