debate between in-country vets, in-theater vets, and era
vets like myself gone on long enough? The fact is that most
of those who served during the Vietnam War era did not serve
in the Southeast Asian theater. In-country vets fail to
recognize the threat posed during that time by the Soviet
Union in other parts of the world. Would they have had all
military forces serve in Southeast Asia, leaving the rest of
Asia and Europe exposed to Soviet attack? I don't think so.
It's time for this sterile,
unproductive debate to come to its long-overdue end. In just
three years, we will mark the 30th anniversary of the end of
the Vietnam War. In Vietnam, 70 percent of the population
has been born since then. What's the same number for the
SHAD SHIP INFO
Prior to SHAD popping up on
our radar, I was helping some of our chapter members with
asbestos and Agent Orange claims. Unless a sailor was
leaning over the chart table underway, there is very little
likelihood that he knew where he was. So I wrote a letter to
the U.S. Naval Academy magazine Proceedings and
received a response from Ann Hassinger of the History
Department. She provided a list of web sites to whittle down
the real ships' history.
At the website,
you can download the file, OPNAVINST 5750.12G. This explains
how a ship submits events and in what form. Having this
information might help veterans gain access to useful
knowledge for a VA claim. Happy hunting.
John R. Hill
Coos Bay, Oregon
IN COUNTRY VS. ERA (CON'T.)
I have been reading with
great interest the Letters to the Editor concerning Vietnam
in-country versus era veterans. I am a Vietnam-era vet, Air
Force 66-70, serving in the Middle East, Europe, and CONUS.
I cannot remember the number of times I volunteered for
Vietnam. I served proudly where and when the Air Force
deemed it necessary. I do regret, with something like
survivor's guilt, not serving in Vietnam, but there was
nothing I could do about it.
Vietnam-era vets, whether
in-country or not, should not let others belittle their
service or, worse yet, belittle it themselves. We could have
run, like so many of our generation did, but we chose to
serve our country, and we served proudly wherever we were
VVA is only as strong as its
membership. If a chapter allows non in-country vets to be
belittled and shunned, it will be the weaker for it and will
eventually lose members - and the respect of local vets and
the community at large. All Vietnam-era vets should always
remember that we are a Band of Brothers and therein lies our
strength. Welcome Home.
Carlton N. Yancey
COMBAT ACTION AWARDS
This refers to the letter,
"Ask a Grunt,'' from Jim Doran in the June/July issue. I am
a U.S. Air Force/SOG Vietnam veteran, 1963-64. At that time
there were only 16,000 "advisers'' in Vietnam and we could
only serve under a U.S. passport.
Only the Department of the
Navy issues a combat action ribbon (CAR) to Navy and Marine
Corps personnel. Airmen serving in Vietnam prior to June
1965 could only receive the Vietnam Campaign Ribbon and the
Armed Forces Expeditionary Service Ribbon. If the Air Force
issued a CAR to an Air Force ground crewman, he had to have
prior service in the Navy or Marine Corps. If a CAR was
issued to anyone in those days, he deserved it and should be
very proud to have it on his DD-214.
William L. Mitchell
Brooklyn, New York
Everyone is entitled to their
opinion, but how you can label Daniel Ellsberg [June/July
issue] an antidisestablishmentarian is beyond me. I think he
is just the opposite. He is obviously anti-establishment
from the point of view of being antiwar and
anti-Johnson and Nixon.
I read most of the Pentagon
Papers, and I fail to recall any conclusive evidence that
the Vietnam War was "unwinnable'' by Korean War standards.
Both were limited wars and this is no reason why South
Vietnam could not have been saved with a minimum of U.S.
military encouragement in 1975.
political events intervened to prevent a normal response by
the U.S. government. But President Ford could have utilized
other options. After all, he was obligated to enforce the
January 1973 Peace Treaty to the maximum extent possible. No
one could have foreseen when the Pentagon Papers were
written that Laos and Cambodia would fall like they did.
Ellsberg is not the
establishment as I knew it - nor as my fellow soldiers knew
it. He is some kind of hippie snitch airing stolen dirty
laundry in public.
THROW THE BUMS OUT
In regard to the President's
Message in the June/July issue, I agree wholeheartedly. I am
delighted to know our Veterans Vote! campaign is up and
running. Here in Nevada it appears the veterans community is
condescended to. Many other important issues of great
national and international importance need addressing - or
so they say.
Since I don't have a good
answer, I have a tongue-in-cheek great idea. Let's suspend
the Congress of the United States of America for the
duration of the War on Terrorism. Better yet, why not do
away with Congress permanently? Think of the millions of
hard-earned tax dollars saved in bloated congressional
salaries not paid, free medical and other perks, millions in
congressional retirement in current and future payments not
spent, and costly congressional fact-finding vacation trips
Maybe the money would be
found and allocated for veterans. Maybe veterans would form
up and become a third party or even throw the scoundrels
out. Maybe we would get a Congress that wouldn't whimper and
cave in when an order comes from the other end of
Veterans need to vote, but
not for just whoever is running.
Glenn M. Browne