|Vietnam Veterans of America|
I am sincerely grateful for the return of the printed VVA magazine. Since I reside in Germany, your regional reports don’t affect us here in Europe. But it would be sweet if you could include reports from areas overseas about VVA concerns.
I cherish the Locator pages, thinking and hoping that I will reconnect with Vietnam vets through them. So far it hasn’t provided much, but I am not referring to your wonderful, professional service. You folks do the utmost to make it happen.
I was awarded a Purple Heart in February 1966. My younger brother, George S. Davis, earned two Purple Hearts with the Marines in 1966-67.
Robert Lee Davis
As a VVA member since the eighties, I enjoyed much comradery through the nineties. But something happened. Cliques in leadership formed and any voice contrary to our president was shit-canned. I now see VVA national the same. You have John Rowan president for umpteen years and the rest of the leadership likewise.
I don’t feel comfortable with your magazine. It’s depressing. Same old drivel. I have embraced Christ and don’t want to cry about Vietnam. It’s over. Take care of those in need like the disabled vets, American Legion, DAV, VFW. You can continue sending me The Veteran, but I throw it in the trash because it depresses me.
I don’t subscribe to Mr. Stenmo’s criticisms of editor Michael Keating regarding his comments at the end of a letter from John Thompson in the March/April 2021 issue of The Veteran or the fact that Thompson’s letter made it into the publication.
I submit, however, that Mr. Thompson was quite spiteful in his statements about the left wing being a causative factor of our country’s failures. That is absolutely not true, nor is it an honorable statement. He made it obvious in his statements which side of the aisle he is speaking for.
Furthermore, this type of inflammatory speech will solve none of the issues that face our country at this juncture. Stenmo is correct in his assessment of Thompson’s leanings and was right to criticize his political blamesmanship. As long as this form of posturing persists, with our citizens continually blaming everyone else for their problems, we will linger at the societal impasse that currently exists.
David J. Aronoff
THANKS BUT NO THANKS
In response to Al Anderer’s “TDY Blues” letter, I totally understand his DD-214 problem. Like him, I have spent the last 3-1/2 years trying to get my DD-214 changed.
At least he was able to find TDY papers. In my case, I was an aircraft mechanic TDY to several places in Southeast Asia, to refugee evacuation from Vietnam to the Philippines, and other places. And like Mr. Anderer, my DD-214 doesn’t say anything except that I was in Southeast Asia.
The people at Andrews Air Force Base only say that it’s been over five years, so sorry. In my opinion this is bull. I worked on airplanes that flew into places with Agent Orange and God knows what they were carrying.
I would like to know how many people the Air Force did this to. I bet thousands got screwed out of ribbons, medals, and disability treatment. Thanks, Air Force.
Al Anderer described in his letter in the last issue the same problem my brother experienced in trying to find his TDY records. His Navy Patrol Squadron 50 (VP-50) was TDY several times to Okinawa and the Philippines. However, the unit was attached to the Naval Air Facility in Cam Ranh Bay for the entire deployments. I searched for proof for quite some time without result.
Then, while doing research at the Naval Operational Archives at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., someone informed me that there is a Naval Aviation Archive up the street. I went there and found plenty of evidence to support boots on the ground for my brother and many of his shipmates, which helped them prove service connection. Here is the link. Type your information in the Search box: https://www.history.navy.mil/research/archives/digital-exhibits-highlights/naval-aviation-records.html
I hope this helps some of your readers.
Michael A. Harris
The Government Affairs article by Pete Peterson in the September/October issue raises serious questions about his ability to accurately explain complex issues. The Military Order of the Purple Heart has never made unfair or inaccurate assumptions about VVA. Why then does Pete Peterson disparage another Veterans Service Organization with his distorted views?
In a finger pointing manner, he claims the Military Order of the Purple Heart closed its benefits program “without warning.”
The facts Mr. Peterson failed to include are that many years ago the MOPH created a branch group to raise the funds to support the MOPH mission and its programs. That group, the Purple Heart Service Foundation, is also known as the Purple Heart Foundation. Over the years the PH Foundation has decided to assume an authoritarian role and operate according to its own agenda, apart from the MOPH. In recent years they have taken action to control rights to the words “Purple Heart.”
It’s important to note that the PH Foundation now operates under its own bylaws and in its IRS 990 declares itself independent from all other groups. It elects its own officers and hires its own staff without any MOPH organizational input.
A 990 review clearly shows huge annual monetary losses of PH Foundation fiscal assets. That public information certainly makes it easy when deciding whether or not anyone should donate to them. Those steady losses are the key reason that the PH Foundation has drastically failed to honor its original fiscal responsibility to the MOPH. Readers can conduct their own review of the PH Foundation’s fiscal status by going online to see the financial information in its 990s. Readers might also wonder why Charity Navigator gives the PH Foundation a zero-star rating.
VVA members and readers should also know that the MOPH consists entirely of PH recipients. The separate and much smaller PH Foundation has a few PH recipients as Board members. Several Board Directors and its CEO never served in any military capacity. I will add this: The PH Foundation was not present when anyone was recovering from combat-related injuries. Therefore, they have no moral right to claim control of any Purple Heart honor earned by PH recipients.
Bottom line: What occurred with the MOPH-NSO program is entirely the fault of PH Foundation’s management failures. That unfortunate problem occurred when the PH Foundation abruptly and callously stopped funding the very successful nationwide MOPH Program. The problems encountered by the MOPH Service Officer program were certainly not the fault of the MOPH.
I hope this fills in some critical facts that Pete Peterson failed to include.
A GOLD STANDARD
Every member in the Military Order of the Purple Heart has made a blood sacrifice in duty to America and our Oath. Instead of grandstanding or backstabbing a congressionally chartered organization of combat-wounded veterans, VVA and Pete Peterson should be asking how non-congressionally chartered groups are allowed to operate essentially unchecked and without any real accountability for injuring veterans and our noble cause to care for those who have borne the battle.
Veterans organizations need to unite to ensure a Gold Standard level of benefits for all veterans and our families, not backbite, divide, and create more animosity in our communities, which reduces our effectiveness and destroys efforts that really could give us that level of benefits.
If we as a community could pull together and stop eating our own and playing political games, maybe we could actually get to that Gold Standard that would start dealing with all the issues, not just a few cherry-picked items that don’t fully address the problems that veterans and our families face.
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