RockVets E-Newsletter: March 2018 Edition
Jerry Donnellan - email:
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RockVets Newsletter

March 2018              
Volume 10
Issue 3



Now, I don't want to go all Norman Rockwell on you but picture this: May, late 1940s, Nyack Post Office step, a tow-headed little kid... short pants... small American flag in hand. He, is me, watching the Annual Memorial Day Parade heading south down Broadway. The reason I'm sitting on the Post Office steps is so I can see over the crowd, which is two or three deep.

Then the parade takes a left down Hudson Street toward the park. Leading the parade were the young World War II veterans looking all strac in their crisp uniforms, followed by the World War I veterans — a little older and a little paunchy and out of step, then bringing up the rear were the Spanish-American War veterans, some riding in convertibles.  To me that is, they were the old guys!  Funny how your perspective changes. Today I am probably older than some of them!

Once at the park, we would gather around the Memorial for the reading of the names. That would be followed by a rifle salute and of course Taps. Kids still scramble for the empty shell casings. I also vaguely remember a large wooden sign which had the names of all those from Nyack who served and for those who didn't return, a star was added.

Maybe it was my child's mind but it seemed the Village of Nyack was truly in support of their troops and veterans and went out of their way to show that. Today I'm afraid that wouldn't happen. The American Legion, VFW and other groups have tried to keep the parade alive, but it seems each year the crowds grow fewer. To paraphrase Carl Sandburg: what would it be like if they gave a parade and nobody came?

Back in 2014 Senator Charles Schumer put forth the idea of a Parade down the Canyon of Heroes in New York. Recently, President Trump suggested it, however, the rancor in this country today has gotten so bad, that two Parties having the same idea almost guarantees it won't work!  

But folks, It's not about them. They are the ones that start the wars! It’s about the millions of young Americans whose lives were forever changed, who are invisible to the general public.

Understand, even those who don't care for the military need these troops — many of whom are not re-enlisting. 2000 pilots retired. They're just burnt out from too many missions. Why bother if nobody's paying attention anyway? They can make better money flying for JetBlue, with nobody shooting at them. 

Well, maybe a parade wouldn't hurt — it would be a start. 


As a grunt in the Central Highlands there was no sweeter sound than that of rotor blades. Choppers were coming, either bringing in supplies and ammunition, or taking out the wounded, and once in a great while, bringing hot chow!

But the best of all was when they came to pull us out — hopefully to someplace better. As grunts we were envious of those guys because they get a ride when we had to walk. They slept on bunks, when we slept in the mud, they could eat at the mess hall — well, maybe that wasn't much of a perk!

What grunts didn't always think about was the Hell we call them into — that same sound that we loved, also told the Enemy they were coming. The dust-off at times would have to sit holding a hover — waiting for wounded to be loaded on — they made a perfect target of themselves.

It was a well-known trick of the VC to just want to wound a grunt. They would do this in several ways: one was with a small booby trap with barely any explosive — just enough to take off a foot — because they knew we would be calling in a helicopter to Medevac the wounded out.

At that point one VC with an RPG could take out a helicopter which was a much bigger target, generally with five people on it. Also, there were the gunships: we would call them into hot LZ's (landing zones.) They would come in, not knowing what direction the fire was coming from. We were on the ground — at least we knew where the bad guys were. We could pop smoke and try and direct their fire as best we could, but here again they were coming in to finish a fight we started. 
This grunt owes his life to those pilots and crews. 

On April 18th, 2018, a Monument will be unveiled at Arlington National Cemetery in honor of these fine people. For further information, check out their website or contact:  
Bob Hesselbein, Chairman -- Legacy Committee -- Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association
2100 N HWY 360, Suite 907 -- Grand Prairie, TX 75050-1030 -- 608.628.9024 or via email:  To view their website:
If you would like to attend please let them know.

Letter to Senator Charles Schumer 

Dear Senator Schumer:
I recently retired after 30 years as the Director of the Rockland County Veterans Office. While in the office I had access to many of the VA forms needed to apply for benefits. However, now if anyone asks for my help I can go on-line and get the correct form.  That's all well and good. 

However if the vet wants to do this on their own it's confusing -- reason being the VA updates their forms fairly regularly and fails to take old forms down.  Case in point: VA form 22–1990 is the form used to apply for G.I. Bill benefits. This form was changed in the mid 90s, again in 2005, and again in December 2016. Therefore, if a veteran goes online and prints the wrong form, she/he will have it sent back -- wasting time and money.  Perhaps I am getting old and cranky but it seems like it's by design to discourage veterans to apply. 

At any rate if you could speak to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on this, you would be making life easier for veterans who wish to apply on their own. All the VA would have to do is take down out of date information.  Thank you for your time in this matter.      Jerry Donnellan

Burn-Pits - New Information

A Federal Judge has recently ruled that there is a direct connection between exposure to burn pits and lung cancer.  So we are re-printing our article from RockVets July 2017 in case you missed it.

RockVets July 2017:  What if I told you that the Department of Defense had purchased incinerators that were sent to Iraq and Afghanistan to replace burn pits? Knowing how the Defense Department has done on past shopping excursions, they more than likely spent twice as much as you or I would have. Then, God knows how much more they spent to get these incinerators to the war-zone where they sat unmolested for the duration of those wars which, in case you thought otherwise, are still going on.

And now, even our Secretary of Defense admits we are losing at least the war in Afghanistan. Anyway, why did these incinerators sit out the wars? Even though a young Air Force Officer noted that the air quality around these burn pits was toxic, that young officer was reassigned to counting snowflakes in Antarctica and his reports vanished – well, almost completely....but...I digress. The reason was quite simple: the civilian contractors who were running the burn pits were making more money running the burn-pits than they would running the incinerators.

Back when I was in the Army (right after Gettysburg!) everything the military needed was done by the troops. Now, many of these services are done by civilian contractors. Now the mess halls are catering halls. Now that’s one I wouldn’t really argue with...our Mess Sgt. probably killed more people than our artillery!
So the burn pits continue despite having a better and safer way to handle trash, which had already been purchased and shipped. And they continue killing people to this day.

Troops exposed to those burn pits will continue to die well into the future. Just like the Vietnam vets are still dying from cancers they contracted from Agent Orange decades ago. Agent Orange’s chief killing element was Dioxin. These burn pits also give off dioxin because of the plastics burned.

As of now, the Department of Veterans Affairs has agreed that Chronic B-cell Leukemia, Hodgkin’s Disease, Multiple Myeloma, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Prostate Cancer, Respiratory Cancers, Soft Tissue Sarcomas, Al Amyoidosis, Chloracne, Diabetes Mellitus Type 2, Ischemic Heart Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Peripheral Neuropathy Early Onset, Porphyria Cutanea Tarda, and other diseases are a result of Agent Orange. And that’s only taken 45 years and a class action suit against the manufactures of agent orange – Monsanto, Dow, Diamond Shamrock, etc. — because we all know you can’t sue Uncle Sam.

So if the timeline is the same for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, they should be where the Vietnam veterans are today, by about 2061, which is an even century from when we first dropped Agent Orange in Vietnam. I’ll be 113 years old if the dioxin doesn’t get me first.

So maybe it’s time that the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans put together a class action suit against the civilian contractors that ran the burn-pits...but that’s just my thought...

National Commanders Dinner

The National Commanders Visitation Dinner will be held at Antun's on April 13th, 2018.  The cost is $65.00 per person. If you would like to attend, please notify 
Dominic Filippone, Commander
Rockland County American Legion.   E-mail: or call him at 845-507-2848. 

Recruitment for Electrician Apprentices

An international firm based in the Hudson Valley will conduct a recruitment from March 13, 2018 through March 19, 2019 for electrician apprentices. The 24 openings listed for apprentices represent the total number for three recruitment regions – the Hudson Valley, Long Island, and New York City.

USIS's electrical business is part of a portfolio including Technology Services, Electrical Contracting, AudioVisual Systems, Security, Wireless Services and Training Services. 

Applications will be available at USIS Electric, Inc., 35 West Jefferson Ave., Pearl River, NY, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 1 to 4 p.m., excluding legal holidays, during the recruitment period. Applicants must apply in person. Applications must be received no later than March 19, 2019.

Employment Opportunity

Logistics and Personal Service company with a unique opportunity seeks experienced business minded individual.  Good people skills a must. Logistics experience helpful, but not a pre-requisite  You must be motivated, organized, and computer literate. Quick on the uptake is essential for a fast paced growth oriented opportunity with a special niche. Please respond in confidence to

Vietnam Veterans #333 - Handcycle Program

Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter #333 in Rockland County has been raising funds on behalf of their hand cycle program to benefit wounded veterans.  These veterans, some with spinal cord injuries or leg amputation, or other injuries, can make good use of these hand cycles, or perhaps even a kayak if they'd like. There are veterans in the community who are eligible for the program and the Vietnam Vets are asking for help in reaching out to the wounded veterans.  If you are a wounded veteran who might be eligible to receive a hand cycle or kayak, or a family member or friend of a wounded veteran, please contact Roy Tschudy via e-mail at:] 

Veterans Breakfast

Hospice of Orange and Sullivan Counties is sponsoring a Veterans' Breakfast on Thursday, March 8th, 2018 from 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. at the West Hills Country Club, 121 Golf Links Road, Middletown, New York 10940.  All Veterans are asked to please registered via e-mail: or call 845-561-6143, extension 394. Guest Speaker is Retired Brigadier General Dana B. Demand, Former Commander 105th Airlife Wing, Steward Air National Guard.

Freedom Award

The Rockland County Veterans Service Agency will be holding their annual Rockland County Freedom Award on Wednesday, March 21st at 6:00 p.m. at Clarkstown Town Hall.  This year's awardee is Karen Ross, a retired Navy veteran.  All are welcome to attend.

Fact Sheet - Medical Information for Veterans 

During a medical emergency, Veterans should immediately seek care at the nearest medical facility. A medical emergency is an injury or illness so severe that without immediate treatment, you believe your life or health is in danger. If you believe your life or health is in danger, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department (ED) right away.  Veterans do not need to check with VA before calling
for an ambulance or going to an ED. During a medical emergency, VA encourages all Veterans to seek immediate medical attention without delay. A claim for emergency care will never be denied based solely on VA receiving notification, or approving the care in advance. It is, however, important to promptly notify VA after receiving emergency care at a community ED. When possible, notification should be made within 72-hours of admission to a community medical facility. This allows VA to assist the Veteran in coordinating necessary care or transfer, and helps to ensure that the administrative requirements for VA to pay for the care are met.  This link provides some good medical information for Veterans.

Entrepreneur Training - Vets with Criminal History

If you know of a veteran who has been in trouble and behind bars, this link may be of interest:

Local Veterans Organization

For your information, here are the addresses for some of our local veterans' organizations:
  • Rockland County Marine Corps League, 20 Station Road, Pomona, New York 10970  
  • Military Order of the Purple Heart, 20 Station Road, Pomona, New York 10970
  • Vietnam Veterans of America, P.O. Box 243, New City, New York 10956
  • Nam Knights, 1 Western Highway, Tappan, New York 10983
  • Korean War Veterans, P.O. Box 304, New City, New York 10956
  • R.C. Military Order of the Purple Heart, 20 Station Road, Pomona, New York 10970
  • Jewish War Veterans, P.O. Box 38, New City, New York 10956
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars, P.O. Box 921, New City, New York 10956
  • Air Force Association, Chapter 251, 207 Treetop Circle, Nanuet, New York 10954
  • Rockland County American Legion, 86 South Reld Drive, Pearl River, New York 10965
Combat Vet ID Cards Available
Combat Veteran ID Cards are now available.  If you are a combat veteran, you can get this card at the County Clerk's Office which is located at 1 South Main Street, Suite 100, New City, New York 10956.  To apply for the Combat Veteran ID Card, or the F.A.V.O.R. card for all veterans, if you don't already have one, bring your DD214 to the County Clerk's Office.  They'll take your photo and make up a card for you. For further information, contact the Rockland County Clerk's Office at (845) 638-5076.

This new Combat Veteran ID Card offers all of the same benefits as the F.A.V.O.R. (Find and Assist Veterans of Record) card, which includes almost 1000 discounts to Rockland's veterans, but this new CVID card has specific advantages. The CVID card is co-sponsored by the Rockland County Police Benevolent Association and will be recognized by our local law enforcement agencies. So if you ever get pulled over, along with your license, registration, and insurance card, show the police officer your Combat Vet ID card so he knows you're an in-country vet.
Useful Telephone Numbers for Veterans

Rockland County Veterans Service Agency


Rockland County Sheriff’s Office


Veterans Peer-to-Peer (Counseling)


People to People (Food)


Montrose VA Hospital


New City VA Clinic


Housing Unit


Rape Crisis Services (Main)


Rape Crisis Services (24/7)


Home Health Care


Good Samaritan Hospital Emergency


Nyack Hospital Emergency


Domestic Violence


Suicide Hotline


Mental Health Association of Rockland County


Mobile Mental Health


West Point (nearest military base)


New York National Guard (Orangeburg, NY)


Army Reserve (Orangeburg, NY)


Military Recruiter


Rockland County Housing Action Coalition


Alcoholics Anonymous


Emergency Shelter


Meals on Wheels


Here are useful links from Army Echoes June - September 2017 issue - check out page 22:

Iraq and Afghanistan Memorial and Monument

The Rockland County Iraq and Afghanistan Memorial and Monument will honor those from Rockland who served in those two theaters of war, whether in the Persian Gulf War, Operations Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn, or Inherent Resolve in Iraq, or Operations Enduring Freedom or Freedom's Sentinel in Afghanistan - particularly those who gave their lives.
The Memorial and Monument will be located in Haverstraw Bay County Park near the Rockland County 9/11 Memorial. We will keep you posted as to dedication ceremony for the Memorial.
Chapter 120 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart is accepting tax-free donations in support of this memorial and monument and providing a structure through which to coordinate and arrange for its construction.  For further information, please call 845-371-7605 or visit our website at: 

Rockland County Marine Corps League Auxiliary

The Rockland County Marine Corps League Auxiliary continues its on-going campaign - Pet Rescue - to reunite our troops with pets they may have had to leave in Afghanistan. Cans and bottles (no glass bottles) that can be recycled for cash, may be brought to Kearsing Edwards American Legion Post 1600, 20 Station Road in Pomona, New York. They are collected by ARC Pet Rescue volunteers and recycled. Contributions for the Pet Rescue Project are also welcome! The funds pay for food and water to sustain pets on their journey home; their transportation is free. For more information contact Chairman Dale Fisher 845-304- 3595.

Rockland County Marine Corps League - MASH Unit

We regularly receive donations of handicap assistance equipment for disabled veterans from people who want to help.  Our donated equipment is available for free to military veterans and their families.  The items include the following:
  • Handicap-Accessible van
  • Motorized Wheelchairs
  • Manual Wheelchairs
  • Lifts
  • Walkers
  • Bath Chairs
  • Transfer Benches
  • Braces
  • Crutches
  • Canes 
If you have need of any of this equipment, contact the folks at the Rockland County Marine Corps League - 845-323-8774 or via e-mail:

RockVets Newsletter  

You can find information, useful links, and view our webpage at Previous copies of our newsletters are also available on our website at

Jerry Donnellan has now officially retired from his position as Director of the Veterans Service Agency of Rockland.  The County of Rockland has no responsibility for any information, articles, events, or comments posted in our newsletters. The volunteers at New York Vets / RockVets will continue to publish the e-newsletter.  We welcome your thoughts, questions, and feedback.  Please pass this along to other veterans who can benefit from some of the information in the newsletters.

At the discretion of the editor, we'd be happy to add your upcoming events to our newsletter.  Please submit the details to us as soon as possible, but no later than the 25th of each month so we can get the information in the following issue. Send information to

RockVets website:

RockVets newsletters:




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