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
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
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
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
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
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
P-7-99: Endorsement of the "PT Phone Home" Project. This
project has been completed, and the committee will recommend retirement of
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Thanks to Chapter 77 for their help. Van transportation to and from the
airport was an unexpected surprise and was greatly appreciated.
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
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
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
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
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.