The Vietnam Veterans of America National Chapter of the Year - 1999 & 2007
Newsletter of the Year 2007, 09, 11 & 15
- ATTENTION -
Michigan House Bill 5169 proposition would take away the property tax exemption from qualifying veterans and instead give them a $1200.00 State of Michigan tax credit
Please pass on to your Members, who are VA 100% Disabled "and" have applied for the "Real Estate Tax Exemption" from their City or Township.
Everyone should be writing or calling their State Representative and State Senator and tell them to "not" vote for this Bill 5169.
Michigan House Bill 5169 proposition would take away the property tax exemption from qualifying veterans and instead give them a $1200.00 State of Michigan tax credit.
Click here to find your Representative.
President’s May Message - David Draper
I would like to take a moment to thank all those who took a chance and voted for me for President (not that there were many others raising their hand). I also want to thank my predecessor, Dave (Doc) Martinez, for his fine job as President during the last year, especially with the health issues he has had to contend with. Also, thanks go out to the rest of the officers and board members for their commitment and time both in the past and the upcoming term. It is my hope that we can bring together new volunteers to help continue our missions and projects so we can stop relying on the same people over and over again.
I joined the Air Force about a year after I graduated from high school. The year I graduated we moved from West Branch to Unadilla. The Vietnam war was heating up at the time and my father said I should enlist in the service of my choice before I was drafted. Well, it turned out that was good advice. Two weeks after I signed papers to enlist I received a “greetings and salutations” letter from the Army.
I left from Detroit to go to basic training in Lackland AFB, Texas. From there I was sent to Forbes AFB, Kansas for Loadmaster training on C-130 aircraft. After that I was given orders for permanent base assignment at Naha Air Base, Okinawa (Ryukyu Islands). My tour was divided between missions in Vietnam and Thailand, typically two weeks at a time in both. While in Vietnam we were stationed at Cam Rahn Bay. Our missions included airdropping supplies and personnel and moving supplies and “friendlies” from one hot spot to another. Many of the air strips we landed on were just dirt clearings or PSP (pierced steel plank). One of my more tense experiences was landing on a PSP runway and blowing a tire. We came to rest slightly off the metal runway which bogged our tires down in the sand and made it impossible to change that tire with the equipment at hand. The proper jacks had to be flown in from another base. We had to sit on the aircraft until repairs were complete. Unfortunately, the base we flew into was ours by day but the VC’s by night. It took until late night to replace the tire. As we were preparing to get under, way the security personnel thought it would be funny to fire off a couple rounds near the aircraft, near where I was standing at the rear. Needless to say, I did not think it was as funny as they did.
The missions we flew from Ubon, Thailand were all night missions. This made it great for sightseeing around the Bangkok area during the day. I enjoyed this tour as it was a beautiful country where the people liked Americans. Our night missions were designated with the name Blindbat. We pushed out flare canisters through a special fitting stuck between the two tail doors. These flares descended by small parachutes to light up the sky to either give light to pinned down troops or illuminate suspected enemy activity below. Two F-4C Phantoms were assigned to each C-130 on each mission. When suspected enemy activity was detected on the ground, the F-4s would fly down and strafe the area; and, if they made visual confirmation of suspicious activity, they would come back around to bomb the area.
The only hostile activity I was involved with was when we were returning to base flying low and were shot at with a suspected missile. It came close enough to rock the wings. Many C-130s came back with only two out of four engines working and shot up pretty bad. A few didn’t make it back at all. A few Loadmasters and Crew Chiefs lost their lives while returning the fold down jump seats to their stored position. “Friendlies” that they had just finished transporting had rigged grenades to the bottom of the seats so when they put them up it pulled the pin. To all you who were directly involved in the action, you have my complete respect. I can only slightly imagine the horrors and pain you endured. My only hope is that my bird was one that lit up your night and kept a bad situation from becoming much worse. Together We Served.
SSgt Dave Draper