I found it
interesting to see that the Clintons can still generate
controversy. During the Vietnam War, people made decisions about
where they stood on our involvement. Most of those who were
opposed to our involvement, like President Clinton, used
whatever means they could to avoid the service.
Here in New York State, I find myself appalled at the conduct
of our governor, George Pataki. When he was running for his
first term as governor, the Vietnam question came up. He went on
record as being an avowed hawk on the war. He wanted to see the
bombing increased, the troop strength increased, you name it.
Except for one particular detail: He wanted someone else to do
Yes, the big hawk did not spend a single day in uniform.
Compare that to Clinton, who put his money where his mouth was.
He didn't want to go, so he tried and succeeded to avoid
military service. Here's the governor of New York State who
adopted a "let's you and him fight" stance. Now it appears he
is running for a third term. Let's not forget what folks said
about Bill Clinton, because it applies just as well in the case
of George Pataki: Never Trust a Draft Dodger.
East Greenbush, New York
All Are Welcome Home
I received my April/May issue and read the letter on
in-country versus era veterans. I would like to say to Vin
Faris of Fort Myers, Florida: Brother, you are welcome to
come to New Philadelphia, Ohio, and be a member of VVA
Chapter 857. We have a mix of members from all branches. All
are welcomed with open arms. You may have been setting a
mile or two off shore dropping shells on shore batteries,
but you, like everyone else, were doing your job. You may
have not set foot in-country, but Brother, you were there
doing your job and that's what counts. If the chapter you
belong to won't accept you because of your job at the time,
then I'd tell you to transfer to another chapter or become
an at-large member. A final note, Brother Faris: Welcome
home and thanks for a job well done.
Terry L. Wood
Ask A Grunt
In response to Vin Faris from
Fort Myers, Florida [Letters, April/May], I'd like to say:
Horse Hockey. I spent 21 years in the Navy. I did two
cruises off the coast on the U.S.S. Ticonderoga and
two cruises off the coast on the U.S.S. Constellation,
plus an in-country tour in Helicopter Attack Light Squadron
3. I received my Combat Action Ribbon for that tour. I
worked harder and put in longer hours aboard the Ticonderoga than in either of the other two units.
Aboard the CVAs we were threatened, but we were never
You guys on the gun line are
not Vietnam-era vets, you're combat vets. You were trained
for combat afloat, and you saw combat afloat.
Neither you nor any other
deep-water sailor with the Vietnam Service Medal are any
less combat vets than any in-country Army or Marine
artilleryman or Air Force ground crewman. The Combat Action
Ribbon on your chest is the same as that worn by a Marine
infantryman and is just as meaningful as any Combat
Infantryman or Combat Medic Badge worn by a soldier.
Don't belittle your service.
The awards on your chest attest to your service. If you
really want to know what your service was about, ask a grunt
who was hunkered down in a foxhole listening to naval
gunfire support save his butt. Carry yourself proudly,
shipmate. You've earned it.
Support VS. Field (CON'T)
I served with the 59th Landclearing Company in Nam. I
feel that Vin Faris should not let what others say bother
him. I know that is easier said than done. Our company
looked to the Navy ships for support when our own people
could not give us the support we needed. You brothers were
as important to my company as anyone. We need to recognize
the support that you all well deserve. Many times I have
heard this same story from other vets. Whether you were a
cook, supply clerk, company clerk, or whatever, you are as
important as field personnel.
Leslie L. Lee
On Land And On Sea
I was in the Navy aboard the helicopter carrier, USS
Boxer, which carried 200 helicopters for the First Air
Cavalry to Qui Nhon and Anh Khe in 1965. We were not in
country, but we were two miles from Qui Nhon Harbor. We were
888 feet of target. I made two trips to Vietnam while on
board this ship. I, too, have to agree we don't have the
[full in-country] experience to share, and many of us can't
get over the feeling that we don't belong.
Also, when speaking of We Were Soldiers [and the
Battle of the Ia Drang Valley], I wish more recognition
would be shown to the Navy, because it was the Navy that
took those troops over to Vietnam in 1965 from Mayport,
Florida, through the Suez Canal, 30 days non-stop to reach
Guy G. Lefevre