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

April/May 2002

LETTERS

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE

I received on Tuesday Time magazine, which had an article on Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan. On Thursday, I received the February/March issue of  The VVA Veteran. Take a look at the cover photo on The Veteran, and then turn to page 36-37 in Time. What you will see is unique - a mirror image of troops going into battle separated by over 25 years (1966/2002). The choppers are the same, but are pointing in opposite directions. The troops exiting are similar but are moving in opposite directions. There, in the background, the hills are covered with dust and haze, arrayed in opposite directions. The terrain is the same. Both were hammer-and-anvil ops. And how the ops went hold familiar scenarios.

Dennis M. Ostrowski
Saratoga Springs, New York

IN COUNTRY VS. ERA (CON'T.)

I know many Vietnam-era vets who have not joined VVA for various reasons. Many have not joined because they were not in country and feel they don't qualify or will not be accepted by the in-country vets. I've joined VVA and pay my dues each year, but I have never attended a meeting for just that reason.

Although I was never in country, I did spend a lot of time, along with thousands of other sailors, off the coast of Vietnam in that area called the "Combat Zone." We weren't in country but we were 360-plus feet of target coming in close enough to provide fire support when there was a call for fire. We went up north and went in close enough to fire on land-based targets, ferries, and bridges. In the south, we got in close to the coast and stopped, boarded, and inspected boats to make sure there was no contraband.

I was fortunate in that none of the ships I was on took a direct hit. However, there were many times after an exchange with shore batteries that we would go on deck and sweep up shrapnel from shells that had exploded near our ship. I, like many other sailors who never were "in country," earned our Vietnam Service Medals and Combat Action ribbons, the Navy equivalent of CIB. But we weren't in country; we don't have that experience to share; and many of us can't get over the feeling that we don't belong.

Vin Faris
Fort Myers, Florida

THE SPECIAL BOND

In the last issue I placed a notice in the "Locator" asking for information on a tape called Folk Songs of Americans in the Vietnam War. The response was tremendous. Calls came in from coast to coast.

I'd like to thank everyone who responded. It shows the special bond between our veterans. I'd also like to thank every veteran who put his or her life on the line so that I and all other Americans may live in a world with very little fear. There was a horrible price paid for our freedom. May we never forget those who paid the highest price.

Beth Loop
Bay City, Michigan

MEA CULPA

In the February/March issue I noted an error in a caption in the article, "Brave Men and Leaders of Men." President Johnson is not giving the woman a Silver Star. He is presenting her with the Medal of Honor. I have two Silver Stars, and I know what I'm talking about. I am also 100 percent disabled from South Vietnam.

Louis Di Croce, Jr.
Virginia Beach, Virginia

Editor's note: Life Member Louis Di Croce is correct. We erred in the photo caption in which President Johnson is clearly presenting the Medal of Honor to Eulah Mae Pitts. As the article noted, Mrs. Pitts's husband, U.S. Army Capt. Leroy Pitts, was the first black officer in American history to be awarded the Medal of Honor, which was presented posthumously to his widow at the White House on Oct. 10, 1968.

Policy For Letters

We welcome letters to the editor for publication in The VVA Veteran. We are interested in your criticism as well as your praise. Letters may be edited for purposes of clarity or space. Regrettably, because of the volume of mail we receive, we are unable to acknowledge or return unpublished material.

   


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