[Editorial written by Jerry Donnellan....May 2016]
Vietnam ended for me on October 24, 1969 in a deafening orange fireball. Officially, for the rest of the world, the war in Vietnam ended on April 30, 1975. I've always contended that we were winning when I left - but that's up for discussion.
The beginning of the war in Vietnam was not really clear. Most people point to the Gulf of Tonkin incident in August of '64. However, we had had advisors and special forces in Vietnam for years before during the Eisenhower administration. So most folks fix the actual start of hostilities, if we're going to call it that, on November 1, 1955.
There's been and will continue to be discussion on whether we won or lost the war. It seems to still be up for grabs as far as arguments are concerned.
As a soldier of that war I can tell you we never lost a major battle. Many point to the Tet Offensive as a turning point, which it was, but not because we lost. We won every battle of that Offensive. Even Khe Sanh, which began on January 21, 1968 that actually started about 9 days before what's known as the Tet Offensive, which began on January 30, 1968. Khe Sanh was basically a head fake by General Giap, the head of the North Vietnamese Army, that then President Johnson fell for thinking he had to win or it would become his Dien Bien Phu, which was the 1954 battle that ended the French occupation of Vietnam when they found out the Vietnamese were pretty much unbeatable. When I say Johnson fell for it, he moved troops, and equipment north to make sure we held Khe Sanh, which was near the DMZ in Quang Tri Province - thereby leaving other parts of the country shorthanded, which was just what General Giap had expected. He thought that after hearing Johnson's speech the month before almost boasting that we were winning and it would be over shortly. The quote that comes out of that speech was Johnson stating that he "could see the light at the end of the tunnel." Once Johnson mobilized things north, General Giap hit a number of other major cities on the Lunar New Year - January 30, 1968 known as Tet.
American troops beat back the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops in every case. Thus, the infamous Tet Offensive was a decisive military victory for the U.S. However, a decisive failure politically for Johnson causing the country to turn away from its soldiers -- seeing them as losers even though they hadn't lost a battle. Then President Nixon promised, "If elected, I will end the war in Vietnam." His former boss, Eisenhower had said the same thing about Korea - the difference being Eisenhower did it.
So in 1968 I voted for Nixon, thinking he'd end the war and, in 1969, he sent me to Vietnam, and continued to send young Americans until Vietnam ended Nixon. Johnson and Nixon had a nice bipartisan loss. But we the soldiers of that war took the hit. We were the first American soldiers to lose a war since the Confederacy. We were called baby killers, drug addicts, spit on, all manner of vile things thrown at us coming home. Yes, it's all true. There were some truly awful things that were done by the anti-war folks, many of whom had conned their way out of the Draft. Things like sending notes resembling sympathy notes to the parents of soldiers who had been killed. They would comb the obituaries, find a soldier that had died, and send a nice looking note, which said many vile things - calling their son a war criminal, saying he deserved to die, and you can imagine some of the others.
Not that anyone wanted to go. But you had to be honest with yourself. You could tell the rest of the world you were a pacifist this week. I had and have some good friends who are pacifists but the difference is they are real pacifists and not just when it's convenient.
In those days it was easy to beat the Draft - a note from a Doctor or working your blood pressure up past the point, or faking a hearing test. It wasn't hard unless you had a conscience. I knew if I didn't go, someone else would take my place. That slot was going to be filled one way or another by some other mother's son.
Could you live knowing that you sent someone else to their death or perhaps being badly maimed? I couldn't. I still hear people bragging about how they beat the Draft. I guess consciences aren't as common as I thought.
Traumatic Brain Injury Support Group - Oct. 3rd
On Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018 from 5:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., there will be a Traumatic Brain Injury Support Group gathering at Good Samaritan Hospital Auditorium at 255 Lafayette Avenue in Suffern, New York 10901. Come and meet others who have similar experiences while receiving social, educational and emotional guidance. Our support group provides a supportive environment for survivors to share their stories, learn coping skills and develop new friendships in a safe environment.
Join Mill Etienne, MD, MPH, FAAN, Director of the Epilepsy and EEG Laboratory at Good Samaritan Hospital, and Aimee Rubin, L MSW, MA as they discuss the latest TBI trends and information.
Please contact Aimee with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Vietnam Memorial Wall Facts
Some Interesting Veteran Statistics off the Vietnam Memorial Wall:
There are 58,318 names now listed on that polished black Wall, as of Memorial Day 2017.
The names are arranged in the order in which they were taken from us by date and within each date the names are in alphabetical order.
The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth, Mass. Listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on June 8, 1956. His name is listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on Sept. 7, 1965.
There are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall.
39,996 on the Wall were just 22 or younger.
8,283 were just 19 years old.
The largest age group, 33,103 were 18 years old.
12 soldiers on the Wall were 17 years old.
5 soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old.
One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock was 15 years old.
997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam.
1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnam.
31 sets of brothers are on the Wall.
Thirty one sets of parents lost two of their sons.
54 soldiers attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia.
8 Women are on the Wall, Nursing the wounded.
244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War; 153 of them are on the Wall.
Beallsville, Ohio with a population of 475 lost 6 of her sons.
West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation. There are 711 West Virginians on the Wall.
The most casualty deaths for a single day was on January 31, 1968 ~ 245 deaths.
The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 - 2,415 casualties were incurred.
For most Americans who read this they will only see the numbers that the Vietnam War created. To those who survived the war, and to the families of those who did not, we see the faces, we feel the pain that these numbers created. We are, until we too pass away, haunted by these numbers, because they were our friends, fathers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters. There are no noble wars, just noble warriors.
Gulf War Era Monument Unveiling - November 10
Please join us! Unveiling Ceremony for the Gulf War Era Monument, on Saturday, November 10th, 2018 at 12:00 noon -- Haverstraw Bay Park - 21 Gagan Road, Haverstraw, New York 10927.
Tricare Open Season November 12 - December 10
Open season is an annual period when you can enroll in a health insurance plan for the next year. With TRICARE, open season will occur each fall, beginning on the Monday of the second full week in November to the Monday of the second full week in December.
During Open Season, you can:
Enroll in a new TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select plan
Change your enrollment (e.g., switch from individual to family enrollment)
Enroll in a FEDVIP vision or dental plan (for certain categories of beneficiaries)
Thinking about changing plans? See options below and visit the Compare Plans page for a side-by-side plan comparison. View this link: https://tricare.mil/openseason
Traveling Wall Coming to Putnam October 4th - 7th
American Veterans Traveling Tribute & Traveling Wall Coming to Putnam
The American Veterans Traveling Tribute will visit Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park on October 4-7, 2018 with the Traveling Wall. The AVTT Traveling Wall is an 80 percent scale version of the Viet Nam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. The Wall will be open to the public 24 hours a day. The names will be read continuously from the opening ceremony to the closing ceremony. The Wall and surrounds may be dimly illuminated after sunset. Contact Art or Karl at 845-808-1620 for further information.
National Suicide Prevention
FORT MCCOY, WI, UNITED STATES. 09.21.2018. Story by Scott Sturkol Fort McCoy Public Affairs The Army is committed to the health, safety, and well-being of its Soldiers, Department of the Army civilians, and families. To emphasize this commitment, the Army is joining the nation in observing September as National Suicide Prevention Month. Every person has a responsibility and commitment to reach out and help fellow Soldiers, civilians, or family members who need the strength of the Army. Together, a difference can be made by helping those who are at risk and suicides can be prevented.
Effective suicide prevention requires everyone to be aware of the risk factors for suicide and know how to respond. If a person seems suicidal, the time to take action is now. Talk to that person before it is too late. Be direct and talk openly. Listen, and allow them to express their feelings. Battle buddies are the front line in surveillance and detection of high-risk behavior. Be a buddy, learn the warning signs of suicide, and find out how to help someone threatening suicide.Employ ACE
Ask, care, escort, or ACE, is an easy-to-remember acronym that any Soldier, leader, family member, or civilian can use.
• Ask your buddy — Have the courage to ask the question, but stay calm. Ask the question directly, “Are you thinking of killing yourself?”
• Care for your buddy — Remove any means that could be used for self-injury. Calmly control the situation; do not use force. Actively listen to produce relief.
• Escort your buddy — Never leave your buddy alone. Escort to the chain of command, a chaplain, a behavioral health professional, or a primary care provider.
Know the signs. Do you know the warning signs for suicide?
If anyone you know exhibits the following signs, get help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional or by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK.
• Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself.
• Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means.
• Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person.
• Feeling hopeless.
• Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge.
• Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities.
• Feeling trapped.
• Increasing alcohol or drug use.
• Withdrawing from friends, family, and society. This includes feeling anxious or agitated, being unable to sleep, or sleeping all the time. It also includes experiencing dramatic mood changes or seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life.
By SYLVIE CORBET | Associated Press | Published: September 23, 2018
In this Sept. 26, 1918 file photo, a U.S .Army 37-mm gun crew man their position during the World War I Meuse-Argonne Allied offensive in France. It was America's largest and deadliest battle ever, with 26,000 U.S. soldiers killed and tens of thousands wounded.
ASSOCIATED PRESS: PARIS — It was America's deadliest battle ever, with 26,000 U.S. soldiers killed, tens of thousands wounded and more ammunition fired than in the whole of the Civil War. The Meuse-Argonne offensive of 1918 was also a great American victory that helped bringing an end to World War I.
A remembrance ceremony took place in the Meuse-Argonne cemetery, which is surrounded by green fields and forests in Romagne-sous-Montfaucon, a village in northeastern France. More than 14,000 graves were lit with candles to honor those buried there. On that day, volunteers began reading the soldiers' names aloud, while others were in charge of placing candles on all the crosses. Covering 130 acres, Meuse-Argonne is the largest American cemetery in Europe. William M. Matz, secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) that maintains the site, told The Associated Press that this piece of history must be retold to younger generations. To read further: https://www.stripes.com/100-years-ago-us-fought-its-deadliest-battle-in-france-1.548819?utm_medium=email&utm_source=Stars+and+Stripes+Emails&utm_campaign=Daily+Headline
VA Researchers Work To Create 3D-Printed Lung
VA researchers work to create 3D-printed artificial lung that may revolutionize treatment of Veterans with lung disease
WASHINGTON — U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) scientists at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System in Michigan recently announced that they are working to create a 3D-printed artificial lung that could potentially revolutionize treatment of Veterans affected by lung disease.
Though still in its infancy, VA researchers hope to build what they call the first artificial lung that closely replicates the natural lung, resulting in compatibility with living cells and a very small size for portable or wearable short- and long-term respiratory support.
In the near term, the device could be used as a temporary measure — a bridge to help patients waiting lung transplant or an aid for Veterans with recovering lungs. According to researchers, future versions could have longer-term applications. To read further view this link:
The Department of Defense Hearing Center of Excellence (HCE), in collaboration with the Army Game Studio and subject matter experts from all service branches, developed an interactive course to ensure service members receive hearing loss prevention training earlier and throughout their careers.
Called the Hearing Education and Readiness (HEAR) course, the standardized training informs service members about the risks of exposure to hazardous noise, the negative impacts of noise-induced hearing loss, and effective strategies to help reduce the risk. The training also outlines regulations and standards for service members and DoD civilians enrolled in a Hearing Conservation Program as determined by their service branch.
Tinnitus and hearing loss have remained among the top disabilities of veterans leaving the service, calling for more comprehensive and frequent education to increase awareness of the risk within the military community. In 2017, the Veterans Benefits Administration reported there were 1.6 million and 1.1 million veterans receiving disability compensation in Fiscal Year 2016 for tinnitus and hearing loss, respectively. To read further: https://health.mil/News/Articles/2018/09/07/New-course-aims-to-reduce-military-hearing-loss
VA Fiscal 2019 Budget Signed Into Law
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump signed the Department of Veterans Affairs fiscal 2019 budget into law on Friday, giving the department a funding boost of more than 6 percent and pushing the agency’s total spending over $200 billion for the first time.
The president finalized the bill at a ceremony held in the North Las Vegas VA Medical Center, surrounded by federal officials and local veterans. He praised the massive spending measure as another promise kept by his administration. “With this funding bill we have increased the VA’s budget to the largest ever,” he said. “We are delivering the resources to implement crucial VA reforms.”
The Rockland County PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran Peer Support Program is pleased to announce that we are sponsoring a Frontline Paper (formerly known as Combat Paper, NJ) art workshop at the Rockland County Fire Training Center on October 10, 2018. Essentially, this is a veteran’s art project where, in an open workshop, veterans gather and while sharing their stories, engage in the transformative and often cathartic process of making handmade paper from U.S. military uniforms. Then through instruction and collaboration use printmaking, drawing, painting or the written word to tell their stories. You don't have to consider yourself artistic to participate. We will help you to become creative!
The full day workshop will be facilitated by renowned Vietnam Era Veteran Artist Walt Nygard from Frontline Paper who was the featured artist during Nyack's Art Walk 2017 dedicated to honor U.S. veterans. During this full day workshop, veterans will gather to cut uniforms into tiny sized postage size pieces, keeping busy as they bond and share their stories in their own lingo. We welcome veterans of all branches and eras to participate in this creative forum and share with us their stories and become part of a community of men and women who have trod different, yet common ground. As we transform these uniforms, so we transform ourselves.
The workshop is free to all veterans regardless of type of discharge received. Coffee and light breakfast as well as lunch and beverages will be provided throughout the course of the day. If interested in attending please RSVP to Veteran Outreach Coordinator Ismael (Izzy) Quintana at email email@example.com or call (845) 587-6497.
Rockland Homes for Heroes Fundraiser
Rockland Homes for Heroes (RH4H) is asking you to participate in a “Celebrity Veterans Bartenders Fundraising Challenge” [a very popular local fun-fundraising tool with which you are probably familiar] at the Del Arte Restaurant in Orangeburg on Wednesday, October 3rd, by entering a Team of 3 Celebrity Bartenders to serve 1/2 hour tours-of-duty for “Tips” which will go to the cause. The Cash-Bar drink prices will be adjusted for the occasion. We think it will bring attention to the cause and bring many of the Veterans in the County together for an evening of brotherly fun competition at no cash cost to your organization. To sign up for the Fundraising Challenge or for further information, email John Murphy at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
USIS-US Information Systems, Pearl River, New York has numerous jobs available and we appreciate their reaching out to our veterans. USIS is located at 35 West Jefferson Avenue, Pearl River, NY10965. Their website is: http://www.usis.net/
If interested in any of these positions, please send an updated resume to: Anjelica Pagnozzi Recruitment@usis.net (845) 353-9248
The folks at USIS are seeking 1 CDL Truck Driver, but more than 10 people for each of the other positions. Click on each link for a full description of each job:
New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) - Office of Academic Affairs seeks a Director of Military and Veteran Affairs for our New York campuses. The office for this position is located at the New York City (Manhattan) campus. Please submit a cover letter, resume and contact information for at least three references. To assure full consideration, please submit your application by October 9, 2018. More info can be found here:
James J. Peters VA Medical Center VA Employment Information: Employment Information Session at the Bronx VA on Friday, October 19th from 9:00 a.m. – Noon. In room 3D-22. MTA, Port Authority, FDNY, and other city agencies will be conducting an information session on employment opportunities for veterans. James J. Peters VA Medical Center is located at 130 West Kingsbridge Road, Bronx, New York. 10468
Target Stores Hiring for the Holidays: Target plans on hiring around 120,000 seasonal workers across the country for the upcoming holiday season, the company recently announced in a news release. Hiring events will be held Oct. 12 - 14 at stores across the country. Target says the events will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the potential for eligible applicants to interview on the spot and receive a conditional job offer.
Boots to Business Reboot- US Small Business Administration:November 6, 2018 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in room 3-D-22. Boots to Business Reboot is a two-step training program that provides participants an overview of business ownership as a career vocation, an outline and knowledge on the components of a business plan, a practical exercise in opportunity recognition, and an introduction to available public and private sector resources. For further information e-mail. Aamoroso@arsenalpartnership.com or Peter.Fehnel@SBA.gov, or call 518-326-6328.
NYC Green Book Online: The Green Book is the official directory of the City of New York. An indispensable reference guide for anyone living or working with New York City. Includes detailed listings of agencies. Website: http://a856-gbol.nyc.gov/GBOLWebsite/
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 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
Rape Crisis Services (Main)
Rape Crisis Services (24/7)
Home Health Care
Good Samaritan Hospital Emergency
Nyack Hospital Emergency
Mental Health Association of Rockland County
Mobile Mental Health
West Point (nearest military base)
New York National Guard (Orangeburg, NY)
Army Reserve (Orangeburg, NY)
Rockland County Housing Action Coalition
Meals on Wheels
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 is located in Haverstraw Bay County Park near the Rockland County 9/11 Memorial. An Unveiling Ceremony for the Gulf War Era Monument will take place on Saturday, November 10th, 2018 at 12:00 noon -- Haverstraw Bay Park - 21 Gagan Road, Haverstraw, New York 10927. The public is welcome to attend.
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.
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:
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: email@example.com.
RockVets Newsletter - A Project of New York Vets
RockVets is an Outreach project of New York Vets, Inc. - a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization established in 1992, to advocate for those who have worn the uniform of the U.S. Military, no matter where or when they served.
The volunteers at New York Vets / RockVets publish this monthly 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. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.