Humberto Rocque "Rocky" Versace tormented his Vietnamese
captors from October 29, 1963, until he was executed on
September 26, 1965. On December 28, 2001, President Bush
authorized awarding Versace the Medal of Honor for his actions
while a POW.
Texas State Council's Texas Vietnam Veterans News
and Connection, the newsletter of Greater Hartford,
Connecticut, Chapter 120, featured front-page stories
reporting that Col. James N. "Nick"
Rowe, who was a fellow prisoner, originally recommended
Versace for the award. Rowe and retired Sgt. Maj. Dan Pitzer,
also a prisoner with Versace, helped create the Survival,
Evasion, Resistance, and Escape training at the Special
Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, based on their experiences as
prisoners in Vietnam.
Whitaker stepped down as President of Tri-State Appalachian
Chapter 172 in Cumberland, Maryland.
Whitaker used his final message in The Point,
newsletter of Chapter 172, to encourage chapter members to get
involved in chapter elections and projects. The chapter
rewarded him for his six years of leadership with a plaque and
a USMC NCO sword and display case.
Moraine Chapter 448 in Newburg, Wisconsin, and the
award-winning Nevada State Council news journal, The
Perimeter Guard, both ran articles about the U.S. Army=s
decision to name its new armored vehicle "The Stryker" in
honor of enlisted men from World War II and Vietnam who
received the Medal of Honor. PFC Stuart S. Stryker received
his award posthumously for action in World War II with the
513th Parachute Regiment, 17th Airborne Division. SP4 Robert
F. Stryker served with the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry of the
1st Infantry Division. He threw himself on a mine to save the
lives of his comrades.
Massachusetts State Council=s
Bay State Vietnam Veteran dedicated the spring 2002
issue to medics and corpsmen. The paper featured a collection
of elegies to Charlie "Doc"
Brennan, Chapter 554, Auburn, who died of Agent
Orange-related cancer in October. Brennan served in Vietnam as
an Army medic at Lai Khe in 1966-67 and was a founding member
of the National Medics and Corpsmen Association. Additional
information on NMCA is available by sending an e-mail to
County, New York, Chapter 11 held its 12th Gold Star
Mothers Breakfast May 5 at the Smithtown Sheraton Hotel. The
annual breakfast honors this special group of people. National
President Tom Corey attended. Coincidentally, the California
State Legislature designated the week of May 27 to June 2 as
Gold Star Mothers Week.
WILL ONE GENERATION OF VETERANS ABANDON ANOTHER
Dakota Chapter 374 sent 2,500 pounds of food and small
gifts to a U.S. Marine unit in Afghanistan.
Nashville, Tennessee, Chapter 240 recognized the doctors
and staff of Cornea Consultants with the chapter=s
highest award for service to veterans, the Community
Compassion Award. President Wayne Georgiades presented Drs.
Erich Groos, Jr., and Ira Shivitz, and the staff with the
award, saying the recognition was "for the real work they have
done for our chapter and the communities in which we serve."
Chapter 788 in Bozeman, Montana, attended six
hours of classroom and hands-on chain-saw training offered by
the U.S. Forest Service in May. When members work on the trail
at Grotto Falls, they are considered U.S.F.S. employees and
must receive the training to be qualified.
Shore Chapter 249 in Bay Village, Ohio, had Retired
Navy Capt. Giles Northington as guest speaker at the May
chapter meeting. Northington served 23 years in the Navy and
11 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. On his 22nd combat mission
over North Vietnam he was shot down and spent nearly five
years as a POW in the Hanoi Hilton.
414 in Waukesha, Wisconsin, has three highway
cleanups scheduled this year in May, July, and November.
Chapter member Dan Sciuti lives at the midway point of the
four-mile stretch of Highway 164. Volunteers get to collect
trash and then share coffee and donuts at Sciuti=s
Texarkana, Texas, Chapter 278 held its Sixth Annual
Veterans Information Fair in downtown Texarkana on Armed
Forces Day. Red Cross, Alzheimer=s
Association, Social Security Administration, Texarkana VA
Medical Center, Texas Workforce Commission, Hospice, Vet
Center, and the Small Business Administration are a few of the
supporting organizations. The one-stop shopping is designed to
help veterans and active-duty personnel and their families
obtain services and get information on other programs and
services available to them.
Bell Chapter 266 in Philadelphia held its annual
Easter Party for children and families at the St. Francis Inn.
The Easter Bunny appeared for photo opportunities.
many chapters offering scholarships is Chapter 101 in
Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. The chapter will
award $500 to the winner of an essay contest asking the
question, "What impact did the tunnels at Cu Chi have on the
Vietnam War efforts?" Chapter 800 in East
Rutherford, New Jersey, is offering two $500 scholarships
this year for the winner of an essay on the topic, "How and
why does the tragedy of September 11 cause American citizens
to have greater appreciation toward our country=s
436 in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, offers a
post-high school grant to the children of chapter members, and
Chapter 236 in Janesville, Wisconsin, reviewed
scholarship applicants in April. Chattanooga, Tennessee,
Chapter 203 offers a $1,000 scholarship to relatives of
chapter members. Chapter 343 in Houston has the
Robert F. Connally Scholarship Program, and the Texas State
Council sponsors the Alberto Rodriguez Memorial
City, New York, Chapter 333 formed a partnership with the
Jersey Explorer Children=s
Museum, and members shared their war experiences with some
10,000 students at four different schools. More than 30
Vietnam veterans took part in the series that included a
traveling exhibit containing over 200 items left at the
Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Chapter members were in the middle
of their presentation at Rockland Community College on
September 11 when news of the World Trade Center attack was
announced. According to chapter Education Chair Howard Golden,
"The exhibit took on a very personal meaning, and students
learned not only about the war, they also learned about
healing and what Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is all
787 in Tampa, Florida, announced that chapter
member Ron Dyches, recipient of the Florida State Council
Educator of the Year award, was named Hillsborough County
Teacher of the Year. Dyches created an elective course on the
History of the Vietnam War that is taught in 11 high schools.
COUNT THEM IN
82 in Hicksville, New York, is making preparations
to celebrate the Chapter=s
20th anniversary in September, featuring music by the Capris.
If you want to join in the festivities and share the
experience, contact Connie Steers at 516-822-5938 or Tim
Glover at 516-822-5811.
535 in Grass Valley, California, was treated to
member Dave Fleuti=s
"Roadkill Chili" featuring, "Elk by Edsel, Pork by Pontiac,
and Beans by Buick" at a recent membership recruitment
Austin, Texas, Forming Chapter held its first
organizational meeting in April. Vietnam veterans in the area
are urged to contact Bob Baker at 979-562-2432 for additional
Robertson, treasurer of Veterans Incarcerated Chapter 847
in Kinder, Louisiana, serves as a reading tutor in the
Education Department at Allen Correctional Center, where those
who are unable to read or have difficulty keeping up with
lessons are provided with skills to help them in their daily
lives. The chapter has also presented a class on
decisionmaking to the inmates.
303 in Columbia, South Carolina, reprinted an
article announcing that the U.S. Army has awarded the
Distinguished Civilian Service Medal to Connie Stevens seven
months after she was recognized for her service to Vietnam
veterans at the 10th National Convention in Greensboro, North
Carolina, last August.
Cities Chapter 299 Honor Guard in Rock Island, Illinois,
presented the colors at the Rock Island Criterium and
presented the chapter at services at the Rock Island Arsenal
on Memorial Day.
Saturday of each month, members of Chapter 223 in
Santa Rosa, California, get together to clean up
and restore tombstones and walls at the local cemetery. About
three years ago the chapter began volunteer patrols in the
cemetery on Halloween to combat vandalism.
343 in Houston salutes members Armando Aguilar,
Arturo Aguilar, Wolf Biedenfield, William Brown, Kurt Hafer,
Michael Heredia, and Bob Hopkins who prepared hundreds of sea
trout filets at the 21st Annual Good Friday Fish Fry. Fellow
chapter members Steve Jaffe, Leo Perez, Ben Saenz, Joe
Trujillo, Carl Tuenge, and Carlos Uresti also helped out at
the annual chapter event that raises funds for chapter
State Council President Darrell Martin, a member of
Kentuckiana Chapter 454 in Louisville, reports
that VVA Life Member Larry Arnett, Legislative Affairs Chair for
Chapter 454, has declared his candidacy for the 57th District
House of Representatives in the State General Assembly.
12 in Allenhurst, New Jersey, has a fishing trip
scheduled for June 9. The "Capt. Cal II"
leaves the dock at 3:00 pm.