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

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Columbus Vietnam Veteran got last wish to ride "on Sunday, a group of riders made his dream possible"

Motorcycle clubs come together to offer Vietnam vet one last ride

NBC 4 News
by: Danielle Avitable
Posted: Feb 23, 2020

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A local Vietnam veteran had one last wish while in hospice care, and that was to ride a motorcycle one more time.
On Sunday, a group of riders made his dream possible.
Vietnam veteran Roger L. Smith was wheeled out of the house, surrounded by loved ones and riders. 

“I said I want to get on a bike at least one time before I die,” said Smith. And that’s what he got. “He requested a last ride and, for us, it’s veterans helping veterans,” said Steve Murray of Combat Veterans Motorcycle Club.
In addition to Combat Veteran, other groups taking part in the ride included Ohio Patriot Bikers and Punishers Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club. Smith’s health has been declining over the last three weeks. read it here

Friday, February 21, 2020

Over 500 bikers escorted a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall

More than 500 bikers escort Vietnam Memorial replica through Florida

Herald Tribune
By Omar Rodríguez Ortiz, Marco Eagle
Posted Feb 19, 2020

Marco Island is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall’s first stop of its 25th season, and the only stop it will make in Florida.
Over 500 bikers escorted a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall from Fort Myers to Marco Island on Tuesday.

The Wall That Heals honors more than 3 million Americans who served in the U.S. Armed forces in the Vietnam War and it bears the names of the 58,276 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Marco Island is the wall’s first stop of its 25th season and the only stop it will make in Florida.

Roger Spies, a Vietnam War veteran, was one of the first bikers to arrive at the Interstate 75 rest stop by exit 131 to escort the wall on his Harley Davidson Road King.
read it here

Friday, February 14, 2020

Ted Phillips, Navy-Vietnam-Homeless Veteran Laid To Rest By Community

Homeless Navy veteran buried with honor by veteran community

KSN News
by: Byron J. Love
Posted: Feb 13, 2020

WINFIELD, Kan. (KSNW) – Homeless veterans are all too often laid to rest in solemn, sparsely attended services as the surviving family of the deceased can often be difficult, if not impossible, to reach.
Data from a 2019 report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that approximately 40,056 veterans are homeless on any given night, and over the course of a year that number can double.

The inscription above the Kansas Veterans’ Cemetary mausoleum reads “No one is ever buried alone, all are buried with honor,” and the staff and south-central Kansas veteran community do their best to fulfill that promise.
A great deal is unknown about the life of Ted Phillips, 73, who was laid to rest Thursday at the Kansas Veterans’ Cemetery in Winfield. Phillips, who was born April 5, 1946, according to his service records, served in the United States Navy during the time of the Vietnam war, including duty from 1964 to 1968.
read it here

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Walk in the dark Vietnam veteran healing after war

Walk in the dark

Written by a Vietnam Veteran

I am so proud to have served my country. I would have done it again if called. I had just turned 19 when the call came for service. Went to training for 11bravo in California. Sent to Nam and landed 14 July 1969. I felt the heat and the smell, oh my God the smell.

Now I was taken to the unit were I was assigned. 1 week orientation then out to (FSB) Normandy III. Next day my intro to C-Rations as the "newbe" lima beans. Next came my first ride on a chopper. 20 minutes from take off to LZ it seem like a lot less. The bird never touched down we just jumped and headed for the bush, all 7 of us. I remember asking myself “where the hell is everyone else why are we only 7?”

We walked down a small trail for a few minutes, whatever it took us to go 150 to 200 yards. Then there was gun fire all over the place, I hit the ground watched in to the bush for a few seconds.

An enemy soldier landed next to me, with his face maybe a foot from me. Our eyes locked as life left his body.

To this day can still see him, as if he were talking to me, or trying to reach out to me. The fire fight ended just like it started. We checked to see if anyone else was hit...nope all clear. We just walked away and left him there. I just couldn’t make myself look back at him.

I had to learn to hold my feeling and emotions in side of me. And I still do.

Late at night he walks into my bedroom and I get up and walk into the living room never turning on a light. Hoping at times to speak to him and knowing I can’t, so most time I just drink some water and lie down again. But sleep rarely comes. It is hard for me to walk in the dark now at my age.

After the 10 day operation we went to Hq area and it hit: How the hell did that gook get so dam close to me? Who was watching my back? The more I thought about the angrier I became. I kept in and determined not to let it happen again. I trusted no one. This has taken its toll on me. I spend a lot of time alone and have for the last 50 or so yrs. I will help you but it is hard for me to trust. I have very few friends (2) and my family stays away because I’m to straight forward. And now you know.

I have found peace in helping other vets with their struggles. I know my God has given me this struggle so I could help my brother find peace.

The Lord is my peace and when I am down, He is there to hold me. I was called to do what I do. I never wanted anything to do with this helping other thing. But now I love it so, to the point that I hurt when it seems that I have failed to reach my brother that is hurting.

(correction: edit "enemy soldier" was made to correct edit to veteran's letter)

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Post Traumatic Stress and Dementia

Service and Sacrifice

Jennifer Horbelt, Michael Bradford
Feb 5, 2020
In patients like JJ, there's no way to definitively say PTSD is the cause, but researchers are starting to look for that link between mental health and the decline of brain function. In 2010, a National Center for Biotechnology Information study found veterans with PTSD were at a nearly two-fold higher risk of developing dementia. In 2018, another NCBI study went even further: "While causality cannot be determined, it is likely that PTSD and depressive disorders are related to an increased risk of dementia in military veterans."
PADUCAH — Trauma changes the brain. Studies show that the impacts of physical and mental trauma are measurable. In more recent years, research is starting to examine the long-term effects of post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Millions of veterans and their loved ones are personally invested in those results.

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates 11-20% of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom veterans live with PTSD. For Gulf War veterans, it's 12%. For Vietnam veterans, 30% brought PTSD home with them when their tour of duty ended.

James "JJ" Jernigan is one of them. In 2018, he was proudly taking part in the arrival of The Wall That Heals. In early January 2020, JJ was one of several veterans who received a Quilt of Valor in Paducah. JJ's wife, Sandy, spoke with us on camera that day. Click here to watch that story. JJ couldn't, because for the past year dementia has been stealing his memories and, many times, his ability to communicate. It's a price he may now be paying for his Service and Sacrifice.
read it here

But yet again, research on this connection was done a long time ago.

Vets with post-traumatic stress are at high risk of dementia, from USA Today 2009

Veterans with PTSD at greater risk for dementia on Medical Net 2010

Florida Today wrote about it in 2013 PTSD:Wars's lingering grip intensifies with dementia

You are getting the idea, but one of the most troubling ones was PTSD Meds May Increase Dementia Risk in 2017...but no sign any of these studies changed much at all considering what you just read!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Vietnam Veterans Memorial to include those who died from Agent Orange....and PTSD

Memorial a fitting tribute for all Vietnam War veterans

Observer Dispatch
Posted Jan 22, 2020

On May 27, 2019, Phase 1 of a Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated at Griffiss Business and Technology Park. Several hundred people turned out for the solemn ceremony and tribute that Memorial Day as the monument was dedicated at the intersection of Griffiss Veterans Memorial Highway and Ellsworth Road.

Now begins Phase 2.

It is fitting that we honor our Vietnam War veterans whenever possible. Those who remember the turbulent times of that war will recall the general lack of respect shown our returning soldiers by a country that was deeply divided.

The Vietnam War claimed more than 58,000 American service members and wounded more than 150,000. Even those numbers pale when compared to the more than 300,000 who later died as a result of Agent Orange and those who suffer other last lasting effects from that war by way of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

But instead of the parades and accolades that greeted returning veterans of World War II, many who returned from Vietnam were met with hostility.

“We were spit on,” said Vietnam veteran Jerry Miller of Camden, who attended last May’s Memorial Day dedication ceremony, saying that it was about time Vietnam veterans were remembered in an appropriate way.

He’s absolutely right.

Memorials like the one in Rome can help with the healing. It’s a project that was undertaken by The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund Inc., said Rick Falcone, one of the original six veterans who initiated the effort more than 20 years ago. They raised between $130,000 and $140,000 to complete Phase 1, and figure it’ll cost nearly $100,000 for Phase 2.

Falcone says they have about $35,000 for Phase 2 so far, and hope to ramp up fundraising efforts and begin work in the spring. It will include a stone remembering the 300,000 victims of Agent Orange as well as a stone honoring the women who served in Vietnam. Centerpiece for the display will be a restored Vietnam era UH-1 Huey helicopter. Five flagpoles displaying military service flags will surround the helicopter.
read it here

Friday, January 17, 2020

Vietnam veteran James Nicoletti called crisis line...and blue angels showed up!

Vietnam War veteran gets unexpected help from Berwyn community after calling crisis hotline

ABC 7 News
By Cate Cauguiran
January 16, 2020

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Vietnam War veteran got help from an unexpected source when he needed it the most.
With little more than the clothes on his back, James Nicoletti called a hotline for help after moving back to his hometown in suburban Berwyn last week.

Police officers in Berwyn responded to his call, which started a series events that have changed his life.

"I had a hundred dollars in my hand when I arrived here in Chicago," said Nicoletti, a U.S. Army vet.

He hadn't eaten for days and was trying his best to hold on to the last bit of cash he had.

"I had to sleep in a bathtub. That's where I slept," he said. "I put blankets there on the bottom so I don't get cold."

He said his life was going down the drain, and that's when he decided to call a veteran crisis hotline looking for help.

"I thought, 'It's over. You know what? They're going to put me away,'" Nicoletti said to himself when Berwyn police officers showed up at this door.

That fear was quickly replaced by hope after responding Officer Ed Tovar and his colleagues embraced the veteran. They pooled together their own money to get Nicoletti a few groceries and toiletries.
read it here

MOH Robert Howard nominated for the Medal of Honor three times for three separate actions in Vietnam

This Army Special Forces veteran was nominated for the Medal of Honor three times

We Are The Mighty
Blake Stilwell
Jan. 16, 2020
In all, Robert Howard fought in Vietnam for 54 months, where he was wounded 14 times. For eight of those wounds, he received a Purple Heart. He also earned the Distinguished Service Cross, a Silver Star, and four Bronze Stars. When he retired, he was the most decorated soldier in the Army and was the most decorated of the entire Vietnam War. He remains the only soldier to be nominated for the Medal of Honor three times for three separate actions, all in a 13-month span.

On Dec. 30, 1968, Robert Howard was the platoon sergeant for a joint unit of U.S. Army Special Forces and South Vietnamese forces. Their mission was to rescue soldiers who were missing in action behind enemy lines. As they moved out onto their objective, they were attacked by what had to be two companies of enemy troops. 1st. Lt. Howard was wounded by an enemy grenade almost immediately. He lost his weapon to the explosion, and his platoon leader was down.

His luck only got worse from there.

This is how Robert Howard earned his Medal of Honor. It was one of three for which he was nominated. The men who fought with him fervently believed he deserved all three. The battle for which he received the nation's highest military honor was one hell of a slugfest. At Kon Tum, South Vietnam, that day in 1968, things went awry from the get-go.

"We took casualties on the insert," Howard said. "I finally got with the platoon leader and said we need to secure this LZ... I got three men behind me, I remember being fired at and I fell backward and they killed three men behind me."

One of the helicopters had even been shot down with troops still aboard it. The platoon began taking fire from the flanks, and Howard knew he had to tell his lieutenant the landing zone was hotter than they thought. Just as he got close to his officer, however, the unit was ambushed.

"When I come to, I was blown up in a crump on the ground," Howard recalled. "My weapon was blown out of may hand, I remember seeing red, and saying a prayer hoping I wasn't blind. I couldn't see and I was in a lot of pain."
read it here

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Phoenix Vietnam Veteran had to turn to news station for help with PTSD from the VA

Veteran reached out to ABC15 after failing to get an appointment at the Phoenix VA

ABC 15 News
By: Sonu Wasu
Jan 11, 2020
“I don’t know what to do. You just feel lost. You’re alone,” said Ortman.
For Ortman, it’s been one disappointment after another since he got home from Vietnam. First he had to deal with the pain of seeing friends who didn’t make it home, then a homecoming he did not expect.

PHOENIX — Valley veteran, William Ortman, said he feels helpless and let down by the Phoenix VA healthcare system.

Ortman reached out to ABC15 to say that he has been trying to get an appointment with a mental healthcare counselor since November and all he got was the run around.

First, he was told his paperwork was lost and he would be outsourced to an outside healthcare facility due to a shortage of available counselors.

He was then told that a doctor forgot to sign off on his paperwork just to get him to go in for an assessment before they could sign off on any paperwork.

Ortman is one of the several veterans or veteran’s family members who reached out to ABC15 over the last few months, saying they feel let down by the VA healthcare system. Some of those veterans have since died by suicide. read it here

Friday, January 10, 2020

Vietnam veteran lost both legs twice...after they were repossessed

UPDATE After uproar, 'a ray of sunshine:' VA promises vet new prosthetic legs

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says it will make a new pair of prosthetic legs for a Mississippi veteran after his were repossessed two days before Christmas.

Jerry Holliman, a 69-year-old, two-time Bronze Star recipient, had his legs amputated over the past two years after his diabetes worsened.

Without legs, the once-independent Hattiesburg resident was resigned to a nursing home. Anxiety and depression dimmed his hope, Holliman said, and he felt trapped.
read it here

A company repossessed and returned a vet's prosthetic legs. He still can't use them

Mississippi Clarion Ledger
Giacomo Bologna
Jan. 9, 2020
Holliman served active duty in the U.S. Army twice — as an 18-year-old specialist who volunteered to fight in Vietnam and as a 53-year-old master sergeant in Iraq. He earned Bronze Stars in both wars, according to his discharge papers. Between active duty and the U.S Army National Guard, Holliman said he served 40 years in the military.

Veteran says his prosthetic legs were taken, then returned, but he still can't use them ... and go home
COLLINS — A man walked into a nursing home for military veterans two days before Christmas, picked up Jerry Holliman's legs and left.

Holliman, 69, had hopes of moving back to his home in Hattiesburg and returning to an independent lifestyle with his new prosthetic legs.

Then they were repossessed.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs wouldn't pay for his prosthetic legs, Holliman said, and Medicare wanted him on the hook for co-pays. As Holliman tried to navigate what felt like a maze of paperwork, it felt like his country was forgetting him.

"Medicare did not send me to Vietnam," Holliman said. "I was sent there by my country... with the understanding that if something bad happened to me, that it would be covered by the VA."

On Dec. 23, an employee from Hanger came to the Veterans Home to see Holliman. Holliman said the man was adjusting his prosthetic legs, then asked himto sign some paperwork for Medicare.

Holliman said he declined because the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs should pay for the legs in full.

"This is their responsibility," Holliman said.

The man responded by taking the legs and leaving.
read it here

Monday, December 30, 2019

Vietnam Veteran Ex-POW finds trip to Hanoi Hilton healing

Vietnam POW seeks healing at Hanoi Hotel

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
By Ernie Suggs
December 30, 2019
The mission back to Vietnam was designed to help veterans who are still struggling with some level of post-traumatic stress disorder. The hope is that they’ll reach closure by seeing the place of their greatest trauma in a different light.
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

When retired Lt. Col. James W. Williams returned to Southeast Asia this past fall, to the site of the worst 313 days of his life, the last thing he expected to find was himself.

For a period spanning 1972-1973, Williams, a former U.S. Air Force pilot, was a prisoner at the infamous Hanoi Hilton.

As he walked through what’s left of the prison, now a propaganda-filled museum, someone stopped him in his tracks and pointed at a photograph on the wall.

There he was.

Tall. Handsome. Full afro. The only black soldier, he was leading a line of POWS, the last to leave, out of Vietnam.
read it here

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Vietnam Vets Gifted Service Dogs For Christmas After 50-Year Wait

‘It’s Just Incredible’: Vietnam Vets Gifted Service Dogs For Christmas After 50-Year Wait

CBS News New York
December 24, 2019
“The PTSD is overwhelming,” Thumm told CBS2’s Charlie Cooper. “There are times where I am so depressed and there are times when I have flashbacks. There are times when I just don’t know where I am. The night terrors, the nightmares.”

NESCONSET, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Two Long Island Vietnam Veterans were gifted with life changing animals on Tuesday, just in time for Christmas.
Larry Keating and Bill Thumm both have waited 50 years to receive a service dog.
“I had a drug problem. I had an alcohol problem. I had an attitude problem. I had PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder], none of which was treated,” Keating said. “I did get clean and sober 10 years later.”

“The PTSD is overwhelming,” Thumm told CBS2’s Charlie Cooper. “There are times where I am so depressed and there are times when I have flashbacks. There are times when I just don’t know where I am. The night terrors, the nightmares.”

No longer will they have to suffer in silence thanks to Paws of War and Unsung Siblings Foundation gifting them with partially trained service dogs. Their new owners will finish the job in the next year.

Paws of War rescues and trains dogs to become service and therapy pets. They’re then matched with veterans and given to them for free.

“Task training could be anything from a medical alert,” said Paws of War co-founder Robert Messeri. “It could be something where we design a bedspread to have a ball on it to pull the bedspread off the individual when he’s having night traumas.”
read it here

Monday, December 16, 2019

Vietnam veterans who found that the only way for them to move forward, was to go back

Healing the spiritual wounds of war

Merideth Bucher
December 16, 2019

War wounds are not always physical.

Psychological wounds caused by the traumas of war can be equally debilitating. And because the injury is not visible to friends and loved ones, those suffering often deal with it in silence or behave out of character.

A mental health condition caused by trauma is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, frightening or dangerous event or experiences. PTSD can affect anyone, not only veterans. First responders, and even abused children, can suffer from PTSD.

In past wars, PTSD was called shell shock or combat stress. Symptoms of the disorder can be characterized as heightened anxiety, feeling constantly on edge or experiencing extreme or unreasonable anger during routine situations. PTSD can manifest itself in different ways, for different people. It might affect a person for a few months, or their entire life. It doesn’t always go away entirely; like the tide, it may ebb and flow.

There are local Vietnam veterans who found that the only way for them to move forward, was to go back. Back to Vietnam.
Former Army Capt. Aaron Lax served in the U.S. Army for nine years. During that time, he served with the 1st of the 26th Infantry regiment “Blue Spaders,” part of the 1st Infantry Division, from 2010-2012 and deployed with them to eastern Afghanistan. Lax next served with 1st battalion of the 320th Field Artillery Regiment “Top Guns,” part of the 101st Airborne Division, from 2012-2017.
Bob Smoker was drafted into the U.S. Army in May 1969.  After basic and then infantry training, he arrived in Vietnam in early October 1969 and turned 20-years- old later that month. Smoker was assigned to Charlie Company 2nd Battalion of the 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.
Former Air Force Staff Sergeant Ed Hardesty was the non-commissioned officer in charge of weapons and munitions for the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, an air rescue helicopter squadron out of Danang Air Force Base, Vietnam, from 1968 through 1969.
Former U.S. Army soldier Charles Lee deployed to Vietnam in 1970 at the age of 19, right after marrying his first wife. In Vietnam, Lee was assigned to the 5th Battalion, 2nd Air Defense Artillery, on a track vehicle known as a Duster.
read it here

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Vietnam veteran has not forgotten Spc. Clifford Van Artsdalen

Unaccountable: A Vietnam veteran's 10-year quest to bring his soldier home

Published: December 12, 2019

“I am deeply worried about when the last Vietnam veteran dies — the last man to see a fellow soldier alive, a man like me who gave him an order to go up that trail — who will be left to carry on the mission?”

Spc. Clifford Van Artsdalen, left, plays cards with his fellow platoon members on May 5, 1968, as they await a helicopter shuttle to Hill 352 on Nui Hoac Ridge, South Vietnam. GARY SANNER

Pushing through dense foliage toward the site of the bygone ambush, Michael McDonald-Low felt like he was floating through time.

He had longed for this day, planning thoroughly for the time he would return to this hillside in Vietnam’s Que Son Valley, where many of his infantry company were wounded or killed by a hail of North Vietnamese gunfire on May 11, 1968. The body of one of those soldiers in the platoon he commanded, Spc. Clifford Van Artsdalen, had never been recovered.

That fateful trek was etched like a gravestone inscription in his mind as he retraced his steps during this mission on March 9, 2012, to pinpoint the exact location of Van Artsdalen’s death so that his remains could be found and returned home.

He pressed on to find the split in the trail where he had sent Van Artsdalen and two other soldiers ahead to secure the route.

Soon after finding it, McDonald-Low was joined by the other 11 members of the mission team from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Agency, the U.S. Defense Department body tasked at that time with finding America’s lost warfighters.

McDonald-Low was confident that this was the exact location where Van Artsdalen was killed, he told Stars and Stripes during a series of interviews about his search. With the location pinpointed — the government for years had been working with an erroneous place and date of his death — the way was finally clear to find and repatriate the soldier’s remains.

Seven years later, nothing has changed. McDonald-Low’s quest to bring him home is no further along than it was then.

And there is little time left.
read it here

Monday, December 9, 2019

Operation Combat Bikesaver mending veterans of all generations

Hot rod therapy: Vets tout positive influence of motorcycle building workshop; ‘It’s really amazing what getting your knuckles dirty and bloody can do’

Chicago Tribune
DEC 08, 2019

Participants are from different branches of the service and different wars and conflicts including Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan. What they find on those Sundays is the camaraderie they had while serving and a place to work through their feelings physically by working on projects or their own bike.
U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Indiana), right, visits the headquarters of Operation Combat Bikesaver in Center Township near Crown Point on Friday, December 6, 2019. At left is organization CEO, president and founder, Jason Zaideman. (Michael Gard/Post-Tribune) (Michael Gard / Post-Tribune)

Marine veteran Dan Riordan explained to U.S. Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., how the motorcycle he is building at Operation Combat Bikesaver Inc. will look when the project is done.

The bike will be Marine Corps dress blue with the red stripe. There will be a Gold Star in front with the names of the members of his battalion “Mad Ghosts 224” killed in action listed, Riordan said. The battalion logo will be on the sides.

“It’s gonna be looking good and sounding even better,” Riordan, of Griffith, said.

Young was in Crown Point to tour the Operation Combat Bikesaver facility and learn more about the work done there to help veterans struggling with issues including depression and PTSD find their footing.
read it here

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Vietnam Veteran inspires after being imprisoned as POW

‘We made it:’ Local Vietnam veteran shares his POW story

Reporter:Erika Jackson
Writer: Briana Harvath
September 20, 2019

1,882 days; five and a half years. That’s how long Vietnam veteran Wayne Smith was a prisoner of war.

“We were in pretty bad shape, we certainly were,” said Smith.

He shared his story with us and dozens of people at Punta Gorda’s Military Heritage Museum.

The Air Force captain’s aircraft got shot down in 1968, just hours after this photo.

Now, he’s detailing his time in solitary confinement when communication was rare, but crucial.

“We used to break our knuckles by tapping on the walls and someone found out that actually, you could put the cup up against the wall, yell through it, and the other guy could listen to the other side,” said Smith.

Captured one warehouse over: prisoner of war survivor, Senator John McCain.

“We talked about anything,” said Smith. “It was important to stay in touch with each other.”

For two years, his family didn’t know if he was alive. Then, a released POW remembered his name.

“One of the things we thought was so important, any time we could, we would pass along names so in case someone made out, then we would tell the families,” said Smith.

Released during Operation Homecoming in 1973, the Naples man has shared his experience with people all over Southwest Florida.

A story, at one point, he didn’t know if he’d ever tell.

“We made it. And we survived because of each other,” he said.
read it here

Vietnam veteran got dying wish, ride in convertible with nurses

Veteran's dying wish to ride in a convertible with 'three pretty nurses' granted

NBC 10 News
September 23rd 2019

COVENTRY, R.I. (WJAR) -- A veteran who is spending the remainder of his days in Rhode Island hospice care had a wish granted on Monday.
Vietnam War Veteran Patrick Lonergan's wish to ride in a convertible with "three pretty nurses" comes true Monday, Sept. 23, 2019. (WJAR)

He's battling end-stage COPD, uses an oxygen machine and has been a resident at Coventry Health Care since March. Patrick Lonergan said he joined the military during the height of the Vietnam War in 1968.

During his last "monthly" meeting, Lonergan said he made a comment to his caretakers that prompted action from them.

"You know they were asking me questions what else can they do for me this month; 'How can we help you?' What can we do for you?'" said Lonergan. "The third time they asked, 'What can we do for you?' I kind of threw my hands up and said, 'How about a ride in a convertible with three pretty nurses?' And they took me seriously."read it here

Monday, September 23, 2019

AMVETS taking over rolling the thunder in Washington

It's Official: AMVETS Will Hold Memorial Day Rally in D.C. to Replace 'Rolling Thunder'
By Richard Sisk
21 Sep 2019
The 2020 events will be held to "to make the nation, especially our voters, aware of what is happening, what isn't happening and what needs to happen to address our POWs, our MIAs, and our veterans and active-duty service members who are dying by suicide," Chenelly said in a statement.
Ray Weaver, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, supports Rolling Thunder 2017. (Joshua L. DeMotts/U.S. Air Force)
AMVETS made it official Friday: A "Rolling Thunder"-style motorcycle rally will take place next Memorial Day weekend in Washington, D.C., to honor the nation's veterans, POWs and missing-in-action.

In a release and at a news conference, leaders of the veterans service organization American Veterans, better known as AMVETS, said they would continue the tradition of the annual three-day rally of thousands of motorcyclists in the nation's capital for the 2020 Memorial Day.

Last year, Artie Muller, long-time leader of the Rolling Thunder rallies that rumbled through Washington for 32 years, cited escalating costs, stating that the 2019 rally would be the last, although local chapters around the country might sponsor their own events.
read it here

Friday, September 20, 2019

They were “Donut Dollies,” young women who volunteered to fly to combat zones

Meet 'Donut Dolly' Judy Squire, one of Vietnam's forgotten veterans

By: Craig McKee
Sep 17, 2019 

She didn't fight. She wasn't a nurse. But she was in the thick of it.

Judy Squire didn’t live to see herself recognized as an honorary Vietnam veteran. The certificate welcoming her to Vietnam Veterans of America arrived in August, two months after her death of congestive heart failure.

But getting it all was a victory, her family said. Women like Squire spent decades unsure if they even had the right to ask for their service with the Red Cross Supplemental Recreational Activities Overseas program to be counted alongside that of soldiers, nurses and other members of the armed forces.

“She probably would never have told us she got it,” Squire’s sister, Mary Catherine Schneider, said.

They weren’t military. They were “Donut Dollies,” young women who volunteered to fly to combat zones as part of a morale-boosting effort during the war. There, in the heat and mud, they wore sky-blue dresses, served snacks and attempted to provide “a touch of home” that would distract soldiers from their daily losses. Smiling was required. So were perfect hair and makeup.

None of it protected them. In a 2017 interview with PBS, former Dolly Rachel Torrance recalled crouching behind barricades as artillery fired around her. Squire would later tell her family about a day she returned from serving lemonade in the field to discover her house had been bombed.
read it here

Shifty contractor took off with Vietnam veteran's insurance money leaving him homeless

Veteran left homeless after contractor allegedly takes insurance money, leaves home gutted

By Bob Hallmark
September 18, 2019

KILGORE, Texas (KLTV) - An East Texas veteran says he’s in a no-win situation in trying to repair his home after a contractor left him high and dry.

Back in March, the south side of Kilgore was hit by a massive storm damaging hundreds of homes.

The victim in this case, a Vietnam veteran, says he relied on his insurance to rebuild his shattered home. But instead, what happened in the months that followed left him homeless.

Most of the homes in south Kilgore along Layton Street that were damaged in the March storms have been repaired, except one, belonging to Vietnam veteran Don Greathouse home for 42 years.

Going through his insurance company, Greathouse hired a contractor, Preston McGinnis, to rebuild. But then things began to go wrong.

“He had promised me that he’d have it back up in two months. I have emailed him and called him since the middle of April. Got no response and he vanished,” Greathouse says.

"The house has been totally taken down to studs by the contractor we had," says daughter Renee Stevens.
Preston McGinnis was arrested and taken to Gregg County Jail. (Source: Gregg County Jail)
read it here