RockVets E-Newsletter: July 2018 Edition
Editor: Pat McGlade- email:
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RockVets Newsletter

July 2018              
Volume 10
Issue 7



It's 4:21 a.m. on July 1st and an unusually heavy thunderstorm spooked my dog.  So Ducks decided to spook me and now we're all up because, at 150 pounds, you don't ignore the dog!  As I am waiting for the storm to pass I begin to think how funny it is that this driving rain brings me back to the Central Highlands of Vietnam long ago.  Once the monsoons came in, everything came pretty much to a stop.  In the triple canopy jungle, that pouring rain made everything so noisy that it was a good idea not to move because you couldn't hear.  Believe it or not, you couldn't smell and sense of smell is very important because it's one of the 3 senses that really work for you in combat, and they're usually heightened.  Your ability to see, even on a good day in that heavy jungle is very limited.  Even something a few yards away could be invisible.  So if your sense isn't working, moving is not a good idea because God knows what you could run into.

Strange now almost half a century has gone by since we sat cold and wet with no way to get warm.  You only had the clothes on your back.  Your poncho was pretty much useless because after a few days in the jungle it had more holes than a colander.  So you sat, deaf and blind, hoping the enemy was also stalled in their position and just as miserable as you were.  Funny how we had more in common with the NVA (North Vietnamese Army) than we did with our commanding officers who were sitting safe and warm in a barracks with hot chow somewhere in the rear - probably asleep at this time of day.  We had far more in common with the bad guys than with our leaders back in Washington - even though back then a greater number of them were veterans.  In those days it was almost a pre-requisite to elected office to have worn the uniform.

It makes me wonder how much less concern there is in Washington today with so few veterans, and our Congress.  But still they feel they know best for our troops and what they're doing in Iraq and Afghanistan. I know the War is over but tell that to the young Americans that are still there.  

One of the things that would help to keep you going back then, was knowing that troops in the past had gone through just as much, if not more, of this kind of misery.  You could compare yourself to those who froze in Bastogne in the winter of '44 under General Anthony Mcauliffe, or farther back at Valley Forge in that awful cold.  There's some solace on your part that you're part of a long line of Americans who stood up when needed and won the War and Freedom - but we didn't.  Hell, we didn't even fight in a war.

The last war this country fought ended before I was born.  Yet we keep sending troops to fight for some believable myth about saving the world.  So here we are at the Fourth of July celebrating independence, and our friends in D.C. have a new phrase called "boots on the ground" - yet they have no concept of what those words mean.  And when and if this is all done, will any Mother be able to say, "This that we have won, was worth my son?"   

[Editorial written by Jerry Donnellan....July 2015.  We can only hope the situation for our troops and veterans will improve with the current Administration.]

Executive Order Supporting Mental Health Care 

President Trump’s Executive Order Supporting Mental Health Care for Transitioning Service Members Now Underway / VA.GOV

May 31, 2018, 05:14:00 PM
WASHINGTON — Today the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that the White House has approved an interagency plan to implement President Trump’s executive order supporting Veterans with mental health care and suicide-prevention resources during their transition from uniformed service to civilian life. 

Signed by the president in January 2018, the executive order directs VA, the Department of Defense (DOD), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to collaborate to provide, to the extent consistent with law, seamless access to mental health care and suicide prevention resources for Veterans, with a focus on the first year after separation from military service. 

“This collaborative effort represents a critical first step for ensuring that service members transitioning from active duty to Veteran status understand that VA, DOD and DHS are committed to easing the stress of transition by providing the best mental health care possible,” said Acting VA Secretary Peter O’Rourke. “Transitioning to civilian life is difficult and, ultimately, this effort will make it easier for our Veterans.” 
Research has shown that service members in transition to Veteran status are at higher risk of mental health challenges and suicide. The president acted to ensure that new Veterans will receive access to VA mental health care and other services to the extent they are eligible. 

Implementation of the Joint Action Plan by the three departments includes 16 important services. Below are three examples: 

  • Expanding peer community outreach and group sessions in the VA Whole Health initiative from 18 Whole Health Flagship facilities to all facilities. Whole Health includes wellness and establishing individual health goals. 
  • Extending DOD’s “Be There Peer Support Call and Outreach Center” services to provide peer support for Veterans in the year after separation from the uniformed services 
  • Expanding DOD’s Military One Source, which offers resources to active-duty members, to include support to separating service members up to one year after separation. 
The White House will closely monitor the outcomes of the Joint Action Plan. 

Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act

By NIKKI WENTLING | STARS AND STRIPES. --  Published: June 25, 2018

WASHINGTON — The House unanimously passed legislation Monday that would extend Department of Veterans Affairs benefits to approximately 90,000 sailors who served off the coast during the Vietnam War, some of whom have been fighting for years to prove their illnesses were caused by exposure to Agent Orange.

Lawmakers voted 382-0 in favor of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, which must go to the Senate for final approval. It provides eligibility for disability compensation to “Blue Water” Navy veterans – those sailors aboard aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers and other ships who contend they were exposed to Agent Orange through the ships’ water systems. The dioxin-laden herbicide has been found to cause respiratory cancers, Parkinson’s disease and heart disease, as well as other conditions.

Read further:  

"The Wall That Heals" Coming to Newburgh, NY

NEWBURGH – The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund “The Wall that Heals” replica and mobile education center will visit the City of Newburgh August 2nd through August 5th, 2018.

The Wall will be open for visitors 24 hours a day at the Newburgh Waterfront - Riverfront Marina.   This is the only official stop for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund “The Wall That Heals” in New York State in 2018, though there are other "Moving Walls" coming to New York this year by other groups.  For more information on "The Wall That Heals" check out their website:

Visitors will be able to rub on names on the Wall as they do on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.  The public is invited and admission is free for all visitors.  For a complete listing of events, visit facebook page for:  "The Wall That Heals Visits Newburgh."  For further information, send an e-mail to:

The Declaration of Independence - July 4th, 1776 

Conflict between the Colonies and England was already a year old when the colonies convened a Continental Congress in Philadelphia in the summer of 1776.

In a June 7 session in the Pennsylvania State House (later Independence Hall), Richard Henry Lee of Virginia presented a resolution with the famous words: "Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved."

Lee's words were the impetus for the drafting of a formal Declaration of Independence, although the resolution was not followed up on immediately.

A committee of five was appointed to draft the Declaration, and the task itself fell on Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. Discussions of Jefferson's Declaration of Independence resulted in some minor changes, but the spirit of the document went unchanged.

The process of revision by the Continental Congress began July 1, then continued through all of July 3 and into the late afternoon of July 4, when the Declaration was officially adopted. Of the 13 colonies, nine voted in favor of the Declaration, two -- Pennsylvania and South Carolina -- voted No, Delaware was undecided and New York abstained.

John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress, signed the Declaration of Independence. It is said that John Hancock's signed his name "with a great flourish" so England's "King George can read that without spectacles!"

Today, the original copy of the Declaration is housed in the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and July 4 has been designated a national holiday to commemorate the day the United States laid down its claim to be a free and independent nation.

To view complete article:                          

Fun Facts About the Declaration of Independence By National Archives
America's revolutionary Charter of Freedom, the Declaration of Independence is a document upon which our nation's founding principles were established. The Declaration of Independence set the course for our nation on a journey of freedom, which also led this historic document on its own journey. 
For example, did you know:
Who Authored the Declaration of Independence? To find the answer and read the other fun facts:

Memoir of a Vietnam War Army Nurse

Lynda Van Devanter Buckley was an Army nurse in the Vietnam War from 1969-1970.  However, her heroism extended long beyond her time served at war. She was stationed at the 71st Evac Hospital in Pleiku, Vietnam. In her book, Home Before Morning, Lynda describes her alarming experiences, watching so many overburdened nurses and medics desperately trying to numb the pain of the blood and casualties experienced on a daily basis. "Her experience was so alarming to her that the most pleasurable work she could later recall was her assignment to help a leper colony of Vietnamese." (NYT)

Unfortunately, in 2002, Lynda passed away from complications from a disease she contracted because of her exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. Agent Orange was often called “The Silent Killer” because so many veterans have died years after their time of service because of their exposure to the chemical.

To read the entire article, view this link: 

Concerned Veterans Report - Worst VA Fails in June 

By Courtney Palazzo (Concerned Veterans of America)
June was a historic month for the VA. On June 6, the president signed the VA MISSION Act into law. This legislation will give veterans more choice over their health care by expanding their access to care outside the VA. The long-overdue move will empower veterans by giving them more control over their health care.

While June brought good news for veterans, it didn’t bring much for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The ink was barely dry on the VA MISSION Act when reports of #VAFails started pouring in. Here are the four worst stories we saw this month. 
To continue reading view this link:

VA Secretary Nominee:  Robert Wilkie

Published: June 27, 2018

WASHINGTON – After months of unsteadiness at the top echelons of the Department of Veterans Affairs, lawmakers and major veterans groups are looking for consistency at the agency – and they think Robert Wilkie could be the one to deliver it.

Wilkie, President Donald Trump’s pick for VA secretary, faced a panel of senators Wednesday, most of whom seemed willing to approve his nomination. Wilkie, 55, was considered a safe choice for the job given his decades of experience working on military issues on Capitol Hill, the Pentagon and White House.  Read full story here:

Requesting Military Medical Records and DD-214

From Army Echoes - Current Edition

Veterans and next-of-kin may request clinical and medical treatment records online via the National Archives at https://

All others (including veterans and next-of-kin who choose not to submit an electronic request) may mail a letter or Standard Form (SF) 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records to:  National Personnel Records Center, 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO 63138 or fax a letter or Standard Form 180 to: (314) 801-9195.

When sending a request via postal mail or fax, use the Standard Form (SF) 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records. Although not mandatory, using the SF-180 is the recommended method to send a request for military service information. This form captures all the necessary information to locate a record. Provide as much information on the form as possible and send copies of any service documents that you may have. Follow the instructions for preparing the SF-180. 

Check the Records Location Table at and submit your request to the appropriate address.

Costs: Generally there is no charge for basic military personnel and health record information provided to veterans, next-of-kin and authorized representatives. If your request involves a service fee, you will be notified as soon as that determination is made.

Veterans, or their next-of-kin, who have a strong interest in viewing their own files in person, rather than receiving document copies by mail, may request an appointment with the Federal Records Center Research Room, or hire an independent researcher to examine the records on their behalf.

Here are useful links from Army Echoes Current Edition - check out page 21:

Gulf War Illness Study 

Note from the folks at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in New York City:
My name is Sarah and I am a study coordinator working with Dr. Benjamin Natelson at Mount Sinai Beth Israel located in Manhattan. We recently got in touch with Senator Schumer’s office and they provided us with a list of NY veteran related groups. We thought you might be able to help us identify Gulf War veterans for two DoD funded studies on Gulf War Illness we are doing.  The first Brain Mechanisms and Biomarkers uses methods like brain MRIs to understand the cause of GWI and develop markers to aide in its diagnosis.  The second Vagus Nerve Stimulation: A Non-Invasive Treatment to Improve the health of Gulf Veterans with Gulf War Illness uses a novel, non-drug method of stimulating a nerve in the neck to improve the widespread pain seen by some Gulf veterans with GWI.  The device has recently been approved by the FDA for treating a certain kind of headache so we will also determine if the treatment improves this symptom. 

We would greatly appreciate your help in notifying Gulf veterans about this study.  We are looking both for veterans with GWI and Gulf veterans who are in good health and can be used as a comparator group for those with the illness.

If any Gulf War veterans are interested in participating in this study, or would like further information, please contact Sarah Khan via e-mail: or here:  Sarah Khan, Study Coordinator - Mount Sinai Beth Israel - 120 East, 16th Street - New York, NY 10003 - T: 212-844-8618

65th Anniversary Commemoration of Cease-Fire 

This will commemorate the 65th Anniversary of the Cease-Fire of the Korean War on July 27th, 2018.
The National Purple Heart Hall of Fame is organizing a special event to commemorate the 65th Anniversary of the Cease-Fire of the Korean War on July 27th, 1953.  The event will be held on Saturday, July 28th, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. at the National Purple Heart Hall of Fame, 374 Temple Hill Road in New Windsor, New York 12553.  Their website is:

If you served in the Korean War, they want to hear from you.  They are interested in hearing about your experiences, as well as your thoughts on the war, to share with the public as part of this event.  For further information or to participate in this project, please contact Pete Bedrossian, Program Director at the Purple Heart Hall of Fame.  Pete's telephone number is: 845-561-1765, extension 28.

The National Purple Heart Hall of Fame is open from Tuesday - Saturday (10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) and on Sunday (12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m.). They would like to hear stories of any veteran who is a recipient of the Purple Heart and you can add photos or information on veterans even if they have passed away. 

If you visit the National Purple Heart Hall of Fame, one of the veterans whose story you can listen to is Jerry Donnellan's...he recorded it years ago and he is listed under Gerald Donnellan. 

Employment Opportunities

Here is a link to current job openings available in Rockland County

And this link will give you information on Veterans' Credits:

New York City Civil Service Jobs, Tests, and Results as listed in The Chief:

MTA Metro-North Railroad has ongoing employment opportunities:
To apply for current jobs with the MTA, please go to the MTA Employment Portal at:

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 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


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.

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 - 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. 

You can find information, useful links, and view our website at:

Previous copies of our newsletters are also available on our website at 

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:

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


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