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Directors’ Reports, March/April 2024 -   -  

As 2024 unfolds, Region 1’s chapters are gearing up to commemorate National Vietnam War Veterans Day with many ceremonies and events. This year, we aim to leave a lasting impression on our communities and veterans, marking significant milestones throughout the region.

In Rhode Island, the State House will serve as the backdrop for our tributes, while Massachusetts holds its gatherings at the poignant Vietnam Memorial Wall in Fall River. Vermont and Connecticut will host local ceremonies, bringing veterans and their communities together in solemn remembrance and respect.

This will be a landmark year for our chapters, with Chapter 273 celebrating its 35th anniversary, Chapter 818 marking 25 years, and Chapter 207 observing 39 years In Service to America. These milestones underscore the chapters’ enduring legacy and contributions.

Massachusetts Chapter 207 is set to make history in June by awarding its first Eagle Scout medal, showcasing VVA’s commitment to fostering leadership and achievement in young people. Rhode Island chapters are collaborating with JROTC programs to recognize deserving candidates, further strengthening our ties with young leaders.

This year also represents the last opportunity to take part in Vietnam War 50th anniversary commemorations. In recognition, the Daughters of the American Revolution is honoring Vietnam War veterans with pins and flags, a gesture that celebrates their sacrifices and legacy.

I encourage all chapters to embrace 2024 with enthusiasm and dedication, making it a year of memorable celebrations and acknowledgments. Let’s honor our history, our veterans, and our communities with events that resonate with the spirit of service and sacrifice that defines Vietnam War veterans’ legacy.

I trust everyone is in good spirits and health. I must inform you that this report will be succinct, as health challenges have recently limited my capacity to fulfill my usual duties.

At the outset of January, I encountered a respiratory infection that persisted into February, significantly affecting my daily activities and responsibilities. This unfortunate timing prevented my participation in the VVA national Board meeting held in January. Our alternate also faced health issues and was unable to attend the meeting.

Despite these setbacks, I am on the mend and eagerly anticipate resuming my full duties. I regret any inconvenience these absences may have caused and appreciate your understanding and support.

On February 2, the New Jersey Shore Area Chapter 12 and Southern New Jersey Chapter 1068 proudly served as Silver Sponsors for this year’s 56th Annual Chapel of Four Chaplains Award Gala. A total of 20 veterans from both chapters were in attendance, marking a significant presence at the event.

The following day, on February 3, three Bronze Medallion members from Chapter 12 had the honor of inducting 10 new members into the Chapel of Four Chaplains Foundation. These individuals were recognized for their outstanding contributions to their communities, embodying the spirit of service and sacrifice that the Four Chaplains represent.

Additionally, the New Jersey State Council Secretary/Treasurer, Carlton Rhodes, attended the annual Four Chaplains service at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church in Kearny, N.J. This special service pays tribute to the selfless acts of the four chaplains, including Fr. John Washington, who served at St. Stephen’s as his last parish before joining the military.

Each year, this event serves as a poignant reminder of the ultimate sacrifice made by these heroic chaplains.

Region 3 continues to thrive in both our growing membership and the wide breadth of activities undertaken by our chapters. Highlighting every endeavor would be a monumental task, as efforts run from veteran support and fundraising to fostering brotherhood among all Vietnam War veterans.

I’d like to share insights from a recent public speaking event. As part of the VVA tribe, I had the privilege of addressing a local Military Officers Association of America chapter. My presentation, drawn from my trip to Vietnam in February 2023, aimed to communicate my experiences in an approachable way that also dealt with explanations of some nuanced topics. The discussion was warmly received, particularly the following points:

  • The remarkable recovery of a once war-torn Vietnam over the last 50-plus years
  • Conversations with Vietnamese children, offering a glimpse into the country’s future
  • A visit to a battle site in Cambodia, highlighting the broader geographical nature of the war
  • A poignant reunion with a North Vietnamese soldier who once fought against the 1st Cavalry, which offered a personal reflection on reconciliation

The journey led me to finding personal peace after 53 years.

In addition to this speaking engagement, I recently participated in the Tennessee State Council meeting, where the turnout and hospitality from AVVA were, as always, exceptional.

Looking ahead, my next road trip will take me to the Virginia State Council meeting in early spring. While visiting all states is a time-consuming endeavor, I am dedicated to making connections happen, reinforcing my commitment to supporting veterans throughout the region.

As we forge ahead, Region 4 is witnessing remarkable growth in both membership numbers and the establishment of new chapters. Florida stands out as a beacon of progress, currently ranking second in national membership and on the verge of surpassing New York for the top spot. Within this vibrant state, Chapter 1036 is now VVA’s third-largest, with Chapter 1048 also making significant strides to reach sixteenth place. For a comprehensive look at Florida’s dynamic agenda, I encourage you to go to vvafsc.org.

Mark your calendars for our next Region 4 get-together, scheduled April 31- May 3 in Dothan, Alabama. While we are finalizing the agenda and accommodations, I’m excited to report that the gathering will include opportunities to explore Ft. Novosel (formerly Ft. Rucker) and the U.S. Army Aviation Museum. This promises to be an enriching experience filled with fellowship and meaningful discussions. To facilitate planning, please inform your state council president of your attendance and offer any suggestions you may have.

Georgia welcomes its first AVVA chapter in Hinesville, a pioneering development in the state. This chapter is set to host The Wall That Heals from October 23-27. Additionally, Forsyth is gearing up for an Agent Orange town hall meeting in August. These events underscore our commitment to supporting veterans and engaging with local communities.

Looking ahead, the National Leadership & Education Conference in Reno from August 20-24 is an essential gathering for leadership development and information dissemination. Start planning your attendance to ensure you don’t miss out on this valuable opportunity.

As the fiscal year concludes on February 29, it’s crucial to finalize and submit your reports to your state council and VVA National promptly. Early completion will help avoid last-minute stress. Should you need help or have questions, your state council officers and I are here to support you.

Region 4’s growth and success are a testament to the dedication and hard work of each member. Your contributions, whether large or small, are invaluable to our collective achievements. I am honored to serve as your Region 4 director and remain committed to supporting you in any way possible.

For assistance or inquiries, you can reach me at vvagcsc@aol.com or call 912-387-6551. May blessings be upon you and your families.

Greetings from Region 5.

I participated in the National Board meeting from January 17-21 in Silver Spring. During that time, I had the privilege of chairing the Veterans Benefits Committee meetings on January 18 and 19. Additionally, I contributed to the CSCP meeting and engaged with the Membership Affairs and the Leadership Conference Planning Committees.

While spending the winter in Florida, I attended an informal veterans group meeting in Northport. Although the gathering was not VVA-oriented, it provided a valuable opportunity to discuss VVA, veterans benefits, and the importance of applying for enrollment in the VA. I’m pleased to report that these discussions led to two veterans deciding to sign up with the VA.

The Board has officially approved the VVA Budget for Fiscal Year 2024, setting the stage for another year of dedicated efforts toward enhancing legislation and securing better benefits for all veterans. This achievement underscores our ongoing commitment to veterans and their families.

We have established committees to spearhead VVA’s initiatives in advocating for legislative improvements. Our legislative priorities are outlined on vva.org. I encourage everyone to familiarize themselves with these objectives. Understanding our legislative agenda is crucial when engaging with members of Congress in your area to ensure their support for veteran-related issues.

Looking ahead, the Leadership Conference is scheduled for August 20-24 in Reno. This is an excellent opportunity for members of Region 6 to come together, share insights, and strengthen our advocacy efforts. Details about the seminars will be provided soon. We’re expecting a productive and informative experience for all attendees.

Following the Leadership Conference, I propose organizing a Region 6 Conference by year’s end. This will serve as a platform for fresh discussions stemming from the Conference and allow us to strategize effectively for next year. I am looking for a host state in the region for this event. Hosting before the end of the year is advantageous, as it enables invited VVA National leaders to participate within their budget constraints, unlike last year’s election-period scenario.

As we advance in age, the importance of maintaining our health—both mental and physical—cannot be overstated. I recommend employing a buddy system to ensure that we all remain vigilant about our well-being. Staying proactive about health issues is essential for our community’s longevity and vitality.

Let’s continue to support each other in our health, advocacy, and planning for upcoming events. Your active participation and engagement in our legislative efforts and forthcoming conferences and conventions are invaluable to our collective success.

Region 9 is made up of VVA chapters in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, the Territory of Guam, and the Republic of the Philippines. With a membership of some 11,000, it is a challenge to stay in touch with state councils, chapters, and members in the Region, but I make every effort to do so.

The state councils and chapters are active in their communities. That includes hosting and sponsoring versions of the traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial. One notable event was the Wall That Heals displayed on Oahu and Maui in Hawaii in February. Many California cities have also displayed versions of The Wall.

Nevada has a chapter that holds ceremonies as they receive unclaimed veterans’ remains for burial. The New Mexico State Council and chapters are working on completing Angel Fire with a cemetery and a permanent Wall display. The Arizona State Council supports an active Veteran Service Officer Program. The Colorado chapters have an educational program for high schools. Utah has a wonderful replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Layton. The chapters in Guam and the Philippines are active in their communities, supporting an orphanage and holding events.

Just around the corner is the National Leadership & Education Conference at the Silver Legacy Resort Hotel in Reno. I am looking forward to a good turnout of members from Region 9. Leadership conferences are always a place to learn about how to be a more successful state council or chapter leader.

I will continue to advocate for Region 9 veterans and their families as I attend state council and chapter meetings throughout the region and National Board of Directors meetings and events. One of my goals for 2024 is to have each Region 9 state council increase the number of its chapters. This can be accomplished by active recruiting of new members.

I pray that you all stay safe and well and check on your buddies. Get back in the habit of attending meetings and renewing efforts to recruit new members. In the meantime, I am available by email at dick.southern@gmail.com for any questions or concerns.


On June 6, the Nebraska Vietnam Veteran Memorial Foundation will dedicate a $7.3-million plaza in honor of the 396 Nebraskans who sacrificed their lives during the Vietnam War. This memorial will also pay tribute to the three Sage brothers from Niobrara, Nebraska, and Garry Hodgson from Beatrice, who perished aboard the U.S.S. Frank E. Evans on June 3, 1968. The memorial will feature 11 granite obelisks, each representing a year of the war and containing historical events from the home front and abroad.

The vision for the memorial began in 2019. It was conceived by a group of Vietnam War veterans determined to see it realized before time diminished their ranks. They formed the foundation, which is committed to “Remembering the Past, and Educating the Future,” and collaborated with Prohaska Architects, Hartman Historical Society, the City of Papillion, Bellevue University, and many other supportive organizations. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, their dream steadily advanced toward reality.

A pivotal aspect of this project has been the educational initiative led by the NVVMF Education History Committee. The committee launched a website that serves as a gateway to the memorial and a platform to share the stories of Nebraska’s Vietnam War veterans. This has blossomed into a vibrant online community of volunteers, families, and supporters.

Many serendipitous occurrences have energized the project as it headed toward completion. An unexpected email in 2022 from Craig Fouts set off a chain of remarkable events. Fouts recognized the tail number of the memorial’s restored Vietnam War UH-1 Huey helicopter. That led to the reunion of all six crew members who served with Fouts in the war and culminated with the unveiling of the “Snoopy” at the memorial site.

Another poignant element of the memorial’s narrative involves POW-MIA bracelets. Several bracelets linked to Nebraskan servicemembers, such as Air Force Maj. Michael J. Bosiljevac and Navy Comdr. Thomas E. Scheurich, have been presented to the memorial, symbolizing a deep connection to the legacy of those who served.

Thank you for your support. If you have comments, questions, or concerns, feel free to contact me at drbarickman@hotmail.com; dbarickman@vva.org; or 712-314-1808.


2024 has arrived and thankfully so far this winter season has been mild. And I hope everyone has made it through without any big weather issues.

The Board of Directors and Conference of State Council Presidents meetings in January were productive, with full schedules. One of the main topics we discussed was the situation in Puerto Rico, where many VVA members’ claims are several years old and need to be assessed and completed as soon as possible. VVA President Jack McManus and Marc McCabe traveled to Puerto Rico with the VA Secretary to work on resolving those claims.

I also attended the most-recent Membership Affairs Committee meeting, where I was happy to learn that VVA has topped the 91,000-member mark. I encourage all chapters and state councils to review their rosters and remove deceased members. Let’s continue working on gaining new members and ensuring roster accuracy.

The Membership Department announced that new election and finance reports will be available on the VVA website. Please check the site for these forms.

We are preparing for the Leadership Conference in August at the Silver Legacy in Reno, with a focus on which seminars we will be offering. More information on the seminars, as well as registration details, will be available soon on the website, so please check it regularly and register on time so that we can have an accurate count of attendees.

As for the Camp Lejeune situation, we recommend filing a claim, if necessary, with a Veteran Service Officer or with VVA National. Other firms pose the risk of overcharging veterans and asking for high fees to handle these claims, with some firms taking 50 percent or more of the claims once filed. Remember, neither Veteran Service Offices nor VVA charges any fees for this service.

Finally, even though following last year’s vote at the Convention, VVA will remain a viable organization into the near future, state councils and chapters are encouraged to set up a Legacy Program to account for any eventuality. VVA’s Legacy Task Force will report at all upcoming BOD meetings on their progress. Charlie Hobbs, Dottie Barrickman, and Francisco Ivarra have been appointed to the Legacy Task Force.




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