Vietnam Veterans of America  
  The VVA Veteran® Online  
  homepipeAboutpipeArchivepipeSubscribepipeContactpipevva.orgVVA gifFacebookContact    
March/April 2024  -   -  

On Pentachlorophenol

In reference to the article in the January/February issue, “Hiding in Plain Sight,” I totally concur with the technical findings of Wilma Subra and comments of Scott DeArman. But the article did not go back far enough. I would bet this threat goes back to a period even longer before my service (1964-1996), back to a time when no trooper ever heard of the term PCP.

Everywhere I served over all those years, ammunition came on wooden pallets and was boxed in wooden crates. And when you are on a tank range (or in combat) day in and day out, you get run down, resistance gets low, and guess what, you get cold even in summer. So, where did all the wooden dunnage go? Into burn barrels, of course.

DeArman said it right. This is a completely overlooked area. The more VVA (and other organizations) can do to energize the VA the better.

Jim Barbara
via email


Thanks for publishing the “Speak Out” by An Ngo Lang. Reading her story about how she and her family got out of Vietnam and how she searched for the Marines who assisted them was heartwarming.

I was there in 1971-72 when Nixon was withdrawing the major units and witnessed the North Vietnamese taking real estate and not giving it back. After April 1975, I wondered if it was all worth it. Reading her story and knowing many other Vietnamese refugees here in America makes it all worth it. We need more stories like hers.

Clay Kelley
via email

Well Spoken Out

Thank you to An Ngo Lang for her recollection as a four-year-old of her and her family fleeing Saigon, and also for her quest to find a few of the Marines on board the Sgt. Andrew Miller who had the daunting task of caring for the many refugee families.

I recently spent time with a Marine who was a crew member on one of the nearly 80 helicopters shuttling refugees to the crowded decks of Navy ships. They flew for 19 hours straight. Their final passengers were the Marines guarding the U.S. Embassy and other crucial locations.

As a Vietnam veteran, I’m proud of every service member and civilian involved in each phase of this operation.

Bill Currie
via email

Refugee Memories

The “Speak Out!” was very good. When we got into a base camp, we would give Vietnamese children c-rations. A lot of them would open them and eat them cold. That is how hungry they were. Several of them had p-38’s to open them.

We were the Fourth Infantry Division in the Central Highlands.

Kenny Dempich
via email

More Memorial Highways

The September/October and November/December issues noted the National Medal of Honor Highway and Oregon Gold Star Families Memorial Highway across Oregon, projects I initiated and manage.

We will dedicate the 47-mile Oregon Gold Star Families Memorial Highway across that state on U.S. Highway 30 this year. I have asked the national presidents of the American Gold Star Mothers and Gold Star Wives of America to work to extend that highway across the USA to honor 650,000 Gold Star families following the National Medal of Honor Highway precedent.

Using the National Medal of Honor Highway as a model of what can be done, I have recommended several times that VVA take immediate action to request Congress to designate the 2,901-mile Interstate 80 from San Francisco to Teaneck, New Jersey, as National Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway.

If I could lead the designations of those two highways while in my late 80s, surely VVA with strong leadership across America can do likewise while many of us Vietnam veterans are living. Last call: Any takers?

Dick Tobiason
via email

Familiar Refrain

I was intrigued by a comment in Bill Schrum’s letter (“Wouldn’t It Be Nice”) in the January/February 2024 issue: “As a Marine, I wouldn’t want someone next to me who didn’t want to be there and whined all the time.” I’ve run into that attitude before. Perhaps take a look at my “Speak Out” in the January/February 2023 issue about those of us who were drafted and served in the Vietnam War.

I continue to be impressed by the quality of The Veteran. Congratulations to you and your staff and thank you for the work you all do for veterans.

Ron Schroeder
via email

Sad Misperception

In regard to Bill Schrum’s letter about not wanting someone next to him who didn’t want to be there, I’m afraid he was in the wrong branch to have that choice. The Air Force is the only branch that didn’t find it necessary to draft during the Vietnam era.

Having said that, I knew draftees who served with honor and distinction. National service, in my humble opinion, would change the path of a great number of our misdirected youth.

G.W. Davis
via email

Ain't Gonna Happen

Bill Granam makes a good case for mandatory National Service for males and females, military or civilian. All that sounds good in theory. But few people like being forced to do anything, especially for the government.

Imagine some Susie or Johnny getting assigned to an infrastructure survey project.

The media would love showing the parents screaming and crying as their 19-year-old boarded a bus. Then they would be lapping it up if Susie or Johnny got a cut finger.

Politicians would lose votes and, of course, their kids would be exempt.

Ain’t ever gonna happen.

Philip Watson
via email

Yes, To Uns

I absolutely agree with Terry Mone and Bill Graham. Every person should be proud to do their part in support of our country. More importantly, it’s the only real way to provide oversight of a Congress only interested in lining their pockets with PAC money and caring little about the American people.

Michael Cosenza
via email

Never Again

Vietnam Veterans of America needs to convince lawmakers to pass a law to display Purple Heart Medal Plaques that honor all Americans throughout American history in all federal buildings.

We also need to display Purple Heart Medal Plaques in all American schools to promote patriotism to remind our young people that our freedoms were won by defending our principles.

Russell D. Ward
via email

Agent Orange Service Medal

In 2021, Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-N.J.) introduced a bill entitled the Agent Orange Service Medal Act. The proposed bill would have made veterans who receive compensation for service-connected conditions related to exposure in Vietnam eligible to receive the medal. That bill died in committee without any further action. In the spring of 2023, Rep. Van Drew again filed the same bill in the House, and he picked up six co-sponsors. However, the bill is wasting away in the House Armed Services Committee and will most likely suffer the same fate as its predecessor unless someone picks up the ball and runs with it.

I would like to see VVA get involved in the work of getting the bill passed into law.

C. Gary Moody
via email

Give It Back!

The picture of a ‘Nam Zippo on the cover brought back the past big time. Zippos of that era were chrome-plated brass and the engraving stood out dramatically. Mine had Monsieur ZigZag on one side and, on the other, “A Fool and His Mind are Soon Parted.”

The PX in Chu Lai had a Vietnamese engraver who would put anything on one for a price.

When I left and the MP had me empty my pockets, he picked it up and said, “That’s narcotics paraphernalia; I’ll have to confiscate it.” I hotly denied it.

He told me I could wait there a week or two while it was tested. Of course, I did not. As I left, he slipped it in his pocket. If he sees this, I still want it back.

John Walker
via email

My Zippo

I served aboard U.S.S. Coral Sea 1967-70. The cover of the January/February issue reminded me of my own engraved Zippo. I still have it today

Ken Hagle
via email




-May/June 2022March/April 2022January/February 2022November/December 2021September/October 2021July/August 2021May/June 2021March/April 2021January/February 2021November/December 2020September/October 2020July/August 2020May/June 2020March/April 2020January/February 2020November/December 2019September/October 2019July/August 2019
2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016
| 2014 | 2013 | 2012
| 2010 | 2009 | 2008
| 2006 | 2005 | 2004
| 2002 | 2001 | 2000

----Find us on Facebook-Online Only:Arts of War on the Web
Book in Brief-

Basic Training Photo Gallery
Basic Training Photo Gallery
2013 & 2014 APEX® Award Winner

    Departments     University of Florida Smathers Libraries  
  - -      
  VVA logoThe VVA Veteran® is a publication of Vietnam Veterans of America. ©All rights reserved.
8719 Colesville Road, Suite 100, Silver Spring, MD 20910 | www.vva.org | contact us


Geoffrey Clifford Mark F. Erickson Chuck Forsman