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:
email@example.com. To view their website: https://www.vhpa.org/legacy.htm
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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 :email@example.com.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org]email@example.com.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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