|Vietnam Veterans of America|
|Vice President’s Report, September/October 2022|
Modernizing at Headquarters
We have been through continuing changes with the National Headquarters staff. Many positions are having the job descriptions rewritten and updated for clarity as duties have changed. Many responsibilities have changed because of constantly changing technology. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the input and support of General Council Pat Harris, who has been working side by side with me to update and modernize many of the positions.
You should also know that we have increased the level of education and experience needed to assume many of the positions as part of the uptick in technology. Also, we now require every new employee to pass a background check. If the position is a senior level one, we also request a finance background check.
Here’s a quick overview of the changes that have taken place at National HQ.
On August 1 we brought on board Katryna Lawson, who will be our new Office Manager. She will have the responsibilities of administering the building, ordering supplies, dealing with security, and many other things. She will report to the new Managing Director.
We have a new person on the switchboard who started July 25. Her name is Bintu Drammeth. She can be reached on extension 110. She has a background that fits this position. We welcome her to VVA.
Alphie Williams was promoted to Manager of Information Technology on March 1. For the time being, she will report to me.
Matt Simmons, who formerly worked the switchboard and took care of many general duties of the office, was recently promoted to Information Technologist. He reports to Alphie Williams.
At the last Board meeting I announced that Anthony Powell was appointed Director of Finance.Tyree Brooks recently resigned as Staff Accountant. We are attempting to find a replacement.
Our Director of Communications Mokie Porter will continue in this post, and in addition will take on the responsibility of Publisher of The Veteran. She will report directly to the President.
THE VVA VETERAN
Sean Venables recently took the reins as Editor of the magazine. Sean comes to us from Stars & Stripes and has been doing a wonderful job since he took over on May 1. We look forward to great things in the future.
Logan Legates, formerly Legislative Assistant in the department was promoted to Healthcare Regulator Legislative Research Analyst, reporting to Sharon Hodge.
Beginning August 25 John Stovall has been our Deputy Director for Policy & Government Affairs, reporting to Sharon Hodge. He has a broad background in Government Affairs and formerly worked for the American Legion.
Felicia Mullaney resigned as Deputy Director on June 30. We will miss her. We wish her well in whatever she moves on to.
THE GULF OF TONKIN INCIDENT
Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution on August 7, 1964, days after That came three days after the U.S. retaliated against reported North Vietnamese attacks on two American ships in the Gulf of Tonkin.
The Gulf of Tonkin incident is the catalyst that was used to escalate American action in Vietnam. It refers to two incidents. On August 2, the destroyer USS Maddox was shelled by North Vietnamese torpedo boats. The Maddox responded by firing over 280 rounds in return. There was no known official response from the Johnson Administration at the time. However, pressure mounted from members of the military to retaliate.
On August 4, the second incident was said to have taken place, but Defense Secretary Robert S.McNamara admitted in the 2003 documentary, “The Fog of War,” that the second attack never occurred. The Pentagon Papers implied the Maddox fired first. The Maddox and the USS Turner Joy maneuvered to avoid the attacks and returned fire against the North Vietnamese boats, except no American ever actually saw enemy boats or enemy torpedoes—nor any confirmed radar blips.
There was a lot of uncertainty by the time President Johnson received reports of the incident, but he remained convinced of the attacks and ordered air strikes against North Vietnamese targets under the code name Pierce Arrow, the opening salvo of America’s war in Vietnam.
The resulting Gulf of Tonkin resolution passed by the U.S. Congress gave Johnson the authority “to take all necessary measures to repeal any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent any further aggression.” The rest is history.
I would like to mention my friend Don Jones, who many of you were acquainted with. He was formerly AVVA Region 5 Director, and was extremely active for several years in AVVA. He received the AVVA Commendation Medal. He also was the administrator for Buckeye State Council for many years.
Hiring him was one of the best things I ever did while SCP for Ohio. We became fast friends. Don Jones died recently after a four-year battle with a disease that slowly destroyed his body while leaving his mind untouched. He donated his body to Ohio State University for the study of the disease that he endured. All I can say is that it was Don. He will be missed. Rest easy Don, you have earned it.
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