Showing posts with label Vietnam Era. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vietnam Era. Show all posts

Thursday, April 28, 2011

72 year young Vietnam era-veteran walking 2,300 miles for others

Vietnam veteran walking 2,300 miles to thank comrades in arms

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Those who say they support American troops and the sacrifices they make for country should walk a mile in Al Slusser's shoes.

Since April 4, the Vietnam War-era Navy veteran has treaded 260-plus miles of U.S. 1, walking north from Key West and bound for Fort Kent, Maine. That might seem an impossible 2,300 miles, but the former principal, who was happily retired in Cottonwood, Ariz., already has completed a cross-country trek that spanned from the Pacific to the Atlantic coasts.

Tuesday afternoon, Slusser gave his feet a rest just outside Cocoa, where he planned to stay the night. He'll head out again this morning on his Great America Walk, dedicated to the honor of all U.S. veterans.

"I just want to thank veterans for their service and show respect to them I think they deserve," the 72-year-old Slusser said. "I'm not raising money, just recognition for their service, what they've done and what they do. They put their lives on hold, their families and dreams, and put their lives on the line for this country."
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Vietnam veteran walking 2,300 miles to thank comrades in arms

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Last hope for blue water Vietnam vets

Last hope for blue water vets

Veterans Corner

Bobbye C. Jerone — Veterans Corner

Like the Cavalry in an old western movie, House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner [D-CA] has ridden to the rescue of the ‘Blue Water Navy’ Veterans. These are Veterans who have been excluded from receiving any disability compensation due to exposure to Agent Orange and the other toxic chemicals sprayed in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. Rep. Filner has introduced a new law [H.R. 2254] which, if passed, will restore equity to all Vietnam veterans that were exposed to Agent Orange.

Before 2002, it didn’t matter where a person served in the Vietnam War. If a person became disabled due to the exposure to the terrible poisons in the air and waterways, VA would pay disability compensation. In February 2002, Congress decided to ‘save our taxpayers money’ and ordered VA to implement a ‘foot on the ground’ policy. After this policy revision, only service members who actually set foot on the ground in Vietnam could get paid for the terrible medical conditions from Agent Orange and the other herbicides that were routinely sprayed. The soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines serving in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos and the China Sea were exempt from payment even though they were contaminated by these toxins just like their brothers in arms who served on the ground, in Vietnam itself.
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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Reporter does not know when Vietnam ended?

This really could have been a great story. The problem is, it just doesn't add up.

Veterans Of Homlessness

By Gary Gray
Reporter / Bristol Herald Courier
Published: February 1, 2009

A door cracked slowly open, and a shadow stretched across the cold, gray floor.

Bob Nyert entered the meeting room at a snail’s pace, eyed his surroundings and tentatively rolled his wheelchair to a spot where he felt comfortable.

When asked to come closer, he gripped the wheels tightly and cautiously made his way forward. He positioned himself, locked his wheels in place and linked his hands together on his lap.

When he did, rays of sunshine poured down on his face and shoulders from a nearby window and bounced off the black and gold cross hanging from his neck.

The 51-year-old former Navy missile technician is a homeless veteran. His path through life has not been laden with the pretty and pleasant. The foundations of his story are built on heartache, anger and loss.

“It’s ugly,” he said of being homeless.

His eyes were wide and fixed. His body language projected clear signs of a man weighed down by regret and apprehension.

Nyert, originally from Illinois, was a missile technician from 1976-78. He joined the military to further his high school education and serve his country.

“I went in when I was 18, and at that point there was no thought in my mind at all that I might end up homeless,” he said. “But I found out I had a congenital spine disease while I was still in. That’s probably where it all started.”

Following an early honorable discharge because of his disability, Nyert became angry at his circumstances and at the world.

“When I got out I was filled with rage,” he said, his body stiffening. “I started using alcohol and drugs. I became a loner. People would look at me funny, and that increased the rage that was locked up inside me.”

In 1981, that rage finally got the better of Nyert, when he lashed out at another human being, committing a crime, which he would not discuss, that locked him and his rage behind bars for 26 long years.

“My war was prison,” he said softly, looking at the ground. “A lot of the guys from the Vietnam era – for them it was a war their government didn’t want to commit to, and the media forced that issue on the public. It damaged a lot of the men’s psyches.

“Today, the Vietnam vets see the guys returning from Iraq and being treated like heroes when they were spit on when they returned,” Nyert said. “It made them angry.”

Nyert was released from an Arizona prison just more than a year ago.

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Why am I upset? Because while this would have made a great story and was well written, the problem is, this "Vietnam veteran" was not if this reporter has his dates right.

Vietnam Era Veteran

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA) states, "A Vietnam era veteran is a person who served on active duty for a period of more than 180 days, any part of which occurred between August 5, 1964 and May 7, 1975, and was discharged or released with other than a dishonorable discharge.
Was discharged or released from active duty for a service connected disability if any part of such active duty was performed between August 5, 1964 and May 7, 1975.
Served on active duty for more than 180 days and served in the Republic of Vietnam between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975."

Veterans do go homeless. I can't remember how many stories out of over 5,000 I've done on this blog alone about them. They also ended up in jail because back then when they committed crimes, no one cared they were a veteran. Today, well Veterans Courts are finally finding a balance of justice for the veterans.

Is Bob Nyert a veteran? I have no way of knowing and I don't know if the reporter asked for any proof either. What I do know is that the Vietnam War, for the most part was over in 1973 but the deaths didn't stop until 1975. I know Vietnam veterans from that time between the "end" and the real end, treated as if they are "not really Vietnam veterans" and this man claims he was one but served in 1976. So why drag Vietnam into any of this. It would be a bad enough story of yet another veteran ending up homeless, maybe going to jail when he should have been helped instead, but to drag Vietnam into this, does not do the story or the suffering of so many other homeless veterans justice at all.