I read with great interest Tom
Hall's report on VVA's contribution to the Teach Vietnam
Teachers Network Inaugural Conference. As a life member of
VVA and a past president of Chapter 273, in Providence,
Rhode Island, I would like to thank Tom and VVA for their
participation in and support for this wonderful conference.
As a participant, I was overwhelmed at the turnout and the
intense interest of the non-veteran teachers. We came
together as the first group of teachers to be selected as
Educational Ambassadors to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
As a Vietnam veteran, it doesn't get much better than it was
at the conference. Imagine being surrounded by 70 non-vets
who really wanted to learn about our veteran experiences and
what they should teach in their classrooms. Our answer to
them was: Teach the truth; don't leave it to the media or
Hollywood to do it. They've already done too much damage.
G.D. Woodside, Jr.
I chair the Adoption Committee
for the National League of Families of POWs and MIAs in
Southeast Asia. The League is attempting to locate
photographs of all the 1,891 Americans still unaccounted for
in Southeast Asia. We need the help of VVA members to
accomplish this goal. If anyone has a picture of a missing
American they would be willing to share for our project, or
knows where we may be able to obtain one, please contact me.
The League needs to preserve the POW/MIAs' stories and their
faces. We need help to accomplish this task.
Candace D. Lokey
P.O. Box 206
Freeport, PA 16229
VETERANS LIKE US
There was a review in the
March/April issue of the Entertaining Vietnam
documentary by Mara Wallis, an excellent review. All the
people in these wonderful shows are kept from being
considered veterans by all the veterans organizations. This,
I feel, is wrong.
The folks in the shows went to very small places and saw
plenty of action. VVA has people who are full members who
were never even in country and some who were in country who
were in the big base camps. Some of these show folks have
the same war nightmares we veterans have. So why can't the
rules of membership be changed to show that all these folks
are veterans just like us?
William Gary Bradberry
I'm feeling a bit conflicted after reading your article
about wannabees. I've recently found one who claimed to be
in my pipeline engineer unit. But, as I read on, it became
clear to me that if you weren't a grunt in the Nam, you were
still a wannabee. That's crap.
I spent my first six months at a firebase where I came up
against ambushes and had to bury dismembered bodies. My next
six months were in the base camp as a clerk getting mortared
constantly. We lost people to enemy fire even though we were
``noncombatants.'' That may not have been as bad as the
grunts had it, but I still suffer from it even today. I
realize that the grunts had it worse than anyone else, but I
really get tired of my service being belittled.
A PLEA FROM INSIDE
Over the years I have been incarcerated, I have seen one
bill after another signed into law to help veterans. This is
good. But little if anything has been signed into law to
help us incarcerated veterans. So I ask fellow veterans to
remember that most of us were there at your side when things
did not look good. Remember, there are thousands of us in
the prison system across America, the country we so proudly
put our lives on the line to serve.
When Public Law 107-95 was first written, it talked about
helping incarcerated veterans. With the changes of the
writing of P.L. 107-95, they have closed the doors to almost
all of the Vet Centers that are supposed to aid us with
housing once we leave the prison systems. I am requesting
all veterans to lobby their representatives to produce
legislation that will aid incarcerated veterans in housing
when they become eligible for parole so they can have a
place to live while they work their way back into society.
Paul Charles Stimel