• Chuck and his wife Ann

  • President and Charlie heading to the East Room

  • Chuck and his son Mike

  • Chuck and his daughter Jeanna

  • Medal of Honor

  • East Room For The Medal of Honor Ceromony

Vietnam Veterans of America,
Charles S. Kettles Chapter 310
National Chapter of the Year - 1999 & 2007
Newsletter of the Year 2007, 09, 11, & 15
E-Newsletter of the Year 2017
Chapter member LTC. (Retired) Chuck Kettles receved the Medal of Honor - July 2016
Click Here To View The 2018 MLB All Star Game Opening Ceremony Honoring MOH Recipients.  Col Kettles Is One Of Two In Uniform.  The Video Lead In Is A Short MOH History Followed By Announcing Each Receipient. 
President’s Message
Jon Luker

Things keep changing. Three Vietnam Veterans we know passed away. As you’ll read in the minutes, the membership agreed we will no longer sell merchandise anywhere except the VA. Two Board Members have recently resigned as did the Chapter Secretary. Change can be scary, especially when there is nothing you can do about the fact that we are all getting older.

Don’ t get me wrong. I’m not saying change is bad or that the result of change is bad. Far from it. Right now, we have more members, more cash and more net worth than at any time in our history. The Memorial has never looked better. The Christmas party at the VA is so large it has been divided into two smaller parties to ease the stress on the staff. Our Pig Roast sells out. Our members continue to dominate the leadership of many of the area veteran’s organizations and are on almost every veteran-related committee in the county. Our members are making a difference to veterans and their loved ones even outside our county. Even though we are at a high point now, change is inevitable. Though it can often be good, it sometimes is not. So, what should we do?

When I was first involved with military service, enlisted troops were told not to think just do as told. But it was in the context that if we all did our part, no mission was “impossible.” All during the Cold War, we had several enemies that were evenly matched as far as technology and best weapons but we were outnumbered in terms of troops in uniform. Yet the world considered the United States not just as “a” world power, but as “the” world power. Why? I can’t remember the Naval Officer who just finished a quick brief on the dozens of distinct operations that take place between the launch of one jet from a carrier and the next jet. I think itwas over 40 things that took place in approximately 65 seconds. He said that the reason we are able to operate at night, at day and during all kinds of weather is that we are also the best trained military in the world. “Although we may be evenly matched for guns, we can overwhelm the enemy with the pace of our operations”, he said. He also pointed out that even though Great Britain had a carrier group in the fight that was much like ours, we launched three times more sorties during Desert Storm than they did. What does that have to do with change? Well, there’s a debate. Some say, “those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” And you’ve probably heard me quote Sun Tzu about strategy and tactics. Of course, many of our best- known business leaders also promoted some type of strategic planning. Jim Collins noted that the companies that went from good to great had in common their ability to confront the most brutal facts and then use that information to make a plan based on values. Greatness, he said, was a function of choices and discipline – not circumstances. On the other side of the debate is the well-known military adage, “No plan lasts first contact with the enemy.” Or, as I’ve heard it said in the hallways of the State Legislature, “Life is what happens while you are busy planning other things.”

So, change is out there and it is making itself present in our everyday lives. Do we run from it or embrace it? Service members are known to run toward the shooting. That’s because we know that aggressors will not stop if they think aggression is working. But we don’t rush to aggression foolishly. We have a plan, tools, procedures--and we have drilled them to near perfection. It is not the tactic of counterattack that saves the day; it is the strategy of aggressive that does it, through a variety of tactics supported by training and logistics.  So, let change come. We know that the important thing is that Never Again Will One Generation of Veterans Abandon Another. As our membership gets older and has increasing physical and mental health challenges, our means of accomplishing our mission must, necessarily change. But changing the process does not mean changing the goal. Change gives us the opportunity to examine how we do what we do and to make adjustments based on our abilities. Strategies works best when you think of yourself as being in year one of a five-year plan. Thus, a strategic plan is not a suicide pact.

Another good thing about Jim Collin’s work is that firms that focus on value, rather than profit, do better. That is, if you have two companies that sell short flights, the company whose goal is to “have fun” while making short flights for profit will have greater profit than the airlines whose goal is to sell short flights for profit. A strategy built on passion is one that can be followed with discipline.

Our members have been passionate people. Even with disputes about how best to do something, we are all on the same side, while finding making sure veterans returning home are not made to feel alone and unappreciated. So, as we get older and more infirm, we still have passion for the mission that will endure changes.

That is why I vote to prepare to run toward the changes. What say you?

De Oppresso Liber