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It was with great dismay that I read in the May/June issue of The VVA Veteran that the legitimacy of PTSD is being questioned again. Even more disturbing is that Dr. Sally Satel, a psychiatrist who did part of her residency at a VA hospital, is waging a campaign to discredit PTSD.

Unfortunately, there are many individuals who do not believe such a syndrome exists. But before one comes to that conclusion, he or she should walk in the footsteps of one of our troops. Imagine you are confronting the enemy. You are the target. It’s not a good feeling. Let us go one step further: Your comrade, while standing next to you, is blown up and you have to pick up the body parts.

Ask yourself and be honest: Would you be able to put these images behind you? It is remarkable that when it comes to physically injuries, people understand. But when it comes to the spirit, people have trouble believing.

I know PTSD is real. Many years have passed since my husband returned from Vietnam. Every single day he is still haunted by memories of war. I see it in his eyes. Let us not let new veterans down as we did with Vietnam veterans. My yearning is that no veteran’s family will have to live forever with the aftereffects of war and that our returning veterans and their families have access to all the help necessary to return to a peaceful life.

                     Mary S. King
                     Bennington, Vermont


I’m a subscriber to The VVA Veteran. I am a USNR retired CW04 and served in Vietnam (1965-66) aboard the U.S.S. Monmouth County (LST-1032). I wanted you to know about the newly established WO/CWO U.S. Navy, Navy Reserve, which represents active, reserve, and retired WOs and CWOs.

This special interest group will give the Navy Warrant Officer community a proper place in the military establishment and allow for discussions of mutual interest. An executive board has been established whose responsibility will be to promote unity, morale, discussion, and increase professional abilities. This, in turn, will promote the success of this group, as well as promote devotion and loyalty to the U.S. Navy.

                     Carmine Mezzacappa
                     Via e-mail


I noticed the long article on General Westmoreland in the September/October issue of The VVA Veteran. Yes, he was a brave soldier. But he also was involved in some controversy. Here are just a couple of examples that involved the 1st Cavalry.

In 1965, he showed up to address the troops while they were trying to eat their Thanksgiving dinner on paper plates that were getting soggy in the rain. He spoke of the great victory in the Ia Drang. The troops of the 1st/7th who lost 79 KIA in that battle didn’t feel victorious. The 2nd/7th, who had 155 KIA in a matter of hours on the 17th of November, felt even less victorious.

Then there is the covering up of information on the NVA prior to Tet 1968. A message came from MACV in January, basically saying, “Information on an enemy build-up in the northern two provinces is politically unacceptable at this time.” He must have known about it because it came from his office.

In my opinion, Westmoreland was a great officer who, unfortunately near the end of his career, let politics in Washington cloud his judgment.

                     Glenn H. Sheathelm
                     Muskegon, Michigan


I recently celebrated my 58th birthday. My father’s family came to America in 1730. My family fought in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and almost every war since then. I went to Vietnam in late 1968 and returned in February 1970. Not a day goes by that I do not remember the 58,479 souls we left behind and the countless thousands of Vietnamese souls that were lost there. I am not sure why we fought that war, but my country said go, and I went.

America can send troops to war for any reason, some good, some bad. You might agree or disagree with the reason. However, the individual soldier only fights for you, your family, your safety, and his home. I can only hope that we never again not give an American fighting man a home to come home to. Remember to welcome home the American fighting men and women and thank them for all they gave up for you.

                     Tom Edgman
                     Sierra City, California


While reading the March/April issue of The VVA Veteran, I saw the letter from Rudy Hudowalski, who said that he looked at his medal and it said “for service in the Republic of Vietnam.” In my opinion, this gentleman does not have all his facts together.

Quite a few troops were stationed in Guam flying B52s to the war zone to drop their ordnance and then make the long trip back. You also had troops who were stationed in Thailand who were flying Jolly Green Giants doing rescue work. And there were troops stationed on ships (Yankee Station 77) flying from aircraft carriers to make strikes in the war zone, north and south.

What he may not know is that in the early ’60s American troops were stationed in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, without the knowledge of the American public. If the gentleman took another look, he would have found that a lot of the air support that he received came from these places.

Where does this individual think that the fighter bombers and 52s that defended Khe Sanh came from? These planes were not stationed in Vietnam, but Guam, Thailand, and Okinawa. Mr. Hudowalski needs to get the facts.

                     Ray Purnell
                     Via e-mail


I had to laugh at Rudy Hudowalski’s letter in the March/April issue in opposition to my resolution to correct the Vietnam Service Medal’s geographic area of qualifications. He said that the VSM says on it “for service in the Republic of Vietnam.” This is not true. It really says, “Republic of Vietnam Service.”

Mr. Hudowalski added “in” to make a point. This is what the Pentagon’s regulations continue to do to exclude all other service outside of Vietnam by U.S.A.F. support personnel. This perpetuates the rift between veterans. It is shameful that this mentality is allowed to dominate and to facilitate continuation of the legacy of denial of the U.S.A.F.’s role in the global Cold War battle for democracy and against communism in Vietnam.

I would say to Rudy Hudowalski that the body count does not say “Vietnam” or “in country.” It says “Southeast Asia.”

                    Jack Head
                    Laconia, New HampshireΩ

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