• 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

 

Articles that appear here because the newsletter mailed and emailed was full.  We try to not edit what appeare in our newslttter so at times you will be directed to this web page for overflow articles. This page will change frequently.  Thank you - your newsletter team.

October 2015

February 2016

VA Burial Guidance
If the veterans passes regardless if they are receiving benefits for not, and have an Honorable discharge or under honorable conditions, they get free burial at the National Cemetery.

What does it take
(1) Copy of DD-214
(2) Family sets the services up, and informs the Funeral Director they want military honors and to be buried at the National Cemetery.
(3) The family pays for the service, there may be a cost for transportation of the remains or cremains.  The cost is but by the funeral home, most funeral homes charge $75.00 some more, but nothing outrageous.  If they charge some ungodly amount then that needs to be brought up then not wait until later (as to why it cost so much for transporting)
(4) Funeral Director will setup honors, and burial time after contacting the National Cemetery
(5) if the family desires to have the veteran buried at an outside cemetery outside of the National Cemetery because they have plots already or the families desires to have the veteran laid to rest then its at their cost or life insurance policy.
(6) The only thing that the military honors consist of is the two military members to fold the flag and present it, along with playing tapes, if the family wants full honors, then the funeral director should contact the local veterans organization to provide the honor guard for the volley of fire, and possible playing of taps.
Many years ago the change occurred when the full military honors was provided by the military, due to the shortage of military personnel and the cost of war, is when this came about.
Remember to the family, cost to be laid to rest at the National Cemetery is free, to include opening, closing, crept, headstone and honors saving $10,000.00
Cost at a local cemetery, opening and closing $300.00.  Cost of the Crept who knows, cost of headstone is free from VA, but has to be ordered by the funeral director cost of a private headstone who knows, cost of service casket etc. anywhere from $3,000.00 at the cheapest to $6 or 7,000.00
Every state has one or two National Cemeteries, depending on the size of the state there may be more, like California

Free Legal Services

The Legal Aid & Defender Association, Inc., is hosting numerous (17 to be exact) free legal clinics (priority for vets) in both Oakland & Macomb counties for the next 6 months, all starting at 10AM. See Oakland flyer for those dates & locations. Macomb flyer for their dates & locations. More info at 877-964-4700 in Oakland County, 586-465-1344 in Macomb.

Town Hall

14 May 1300 Agent Orange Town Hall Meeting at Swartz Creek United Methodist Church, 7400 Miller Road, Swartz Creek, MI.  Registration begins at 1200.  Sponsored by Genesee County VVA Chapter 175.  This is a free event for all Veterans, their families and the public.

Agent Orange Brown Water Ships with Presumption of Herbicide exposure

Ships or boats that were part of the Mobile Riverine Force, Inshore Fire Support (ISF) Division 93 or had one of the following designations operated on the inland waterways of Vietnam. Veterans whose military records confirm they were aboard these ships qualify for presumption of herbicide exposure.
During your Vietnam tour, did your ship or boat have one of the following designations?
AGP (Assault Group Patrol/Patrol Craft Tender)
LCM (Landing Craft, Mechanized)
LCU (Landing Craft, Utility)
LCVP (Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel)
LST (Landing Ship, Tank)
PBR (Patrol Boat, River)
PCF (Patrol Craft, Fast or Swift Boat)
PG (Patrol Gunboat)
STABS (Strike Assault Boats)
WAK (Cargo Vessel)
WHEC (High Endurance Cutter)
WLB (Buoy Tender)
WPB (Patrol Boat)
YFU (Harbor Utility Craft)
- See more at: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/shiplist/index.asp#find

     When you go to the Ship Listing that the VA has on-line, < http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/shiplist/index.asp# > go to the FIND YOUR SHIP link, and you will find a statement that says something like: All sailors who were on the following list of Hull Types are eligible for the presumption of exposure to herbicide.
And on that list are LST's.   So every sailor that was on any LST that served in Vietnam is given the presumption of exposure. If the Regional Office is denying your claim for exposure, and you served on any LST, then they are making a mistake - a Clear and Unmistakable Error (CUE). If you have any service officer at the VA or any Service Organization who does not agree with this, You can have them call me at 303-762-9540... or they can contact the Veterans Benefits Administration Service Agent Agent Orange Mailbox [VAVBAWAS/CO/211/AGENTORANGE] for a direct confirmation of this.
CONTACT  vA  Agent Orange and Ships
800-749-8387 (Press 3)
Note:
A Veteran must file an Agent-Orange related disability claim before VA will conduct research on a specific ship not on VA's ships list. This requirement also applies to survivors and children with birth defects. VA does not have the capacity to research ships when no compensation claim is filed.
Find out more about benefits and how to apply.
Not filing a claim
If you think your ship should be on the list and you are not filing a claim, you may conduct your own research and submit documentary evidence to VA.
Documentary evidence includes deck logs, ship histories, and cruise book entries. You may obtain ship deck logs from the National Archives at College Park, Maryland.
This evidence must show the ship entering the inland waterways of Vietnam, docking in Vietnam, or otherwise sending crew members ashore. A ship that anchored in an open water harbor, such as Da Nang Harbor, is not sufficient evidence for the presumption of Agent Orange exposure.
You must scan your documentary evidence and email it to the Veterans Benefits Administration's Compensation Service at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Emails sent to this email address are not secure. Please do not include personal data.
- See more at: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/shiplist/not-on-list.asp#sthash.zmvcEGYq.dpuf
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Game_Warden
External links
Gamewardens of Vietnam, Inc.
Mobile Riverine Force Association - CTF-116 page
United States Naval Operations Vietnam, Highlights; January 1966
United States Naval Operations Vietnam, Highlights; February 1966
United States Naval Operations Vietnam, Highlights; March 1966

 

July 2015

COMMEMORATING THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE VIETNAM WAR

 The Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly will commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War at a service to be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday July 18, 2015. The service is open to the public. We would like to extend a special invitation to all veterans and their families.

 Roy Luera, Director of the Great Lakes National Cemetery, offers the following, “We will honor the men and women who served during the Vietnam War (2/28/1961-5/7/1975). We will honor their patriotism and sacrifice.”

 Ground combat troops were introduced into South Vietnam in 1965, although many others were serving in-county before that time, with the last troops being pulled out in May 1975. Etched on the black granite panels of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial are the names of 58,307 Americans who were killed or died during that war. Over three and half million Americans served in Vietnam.

 The service will consist of patriotic music, speakers, honor guards, veteran’s organizations, presentation of wreaths, and more. The Holly High School Band will provide the music for the service. Color guards are more than welcome. You are also welcome to place a wreath during the service.

 We welcome you to wear your uniforms if possible. If you would like to have a small display before and after the service, please feel free to do so. The displays should relate directly to the Vietnam War. Nothing can be sold on the property and you should bring your own table.

 Holly Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5587 will host a luncheon for all veterans and their families at their post starting at noon. The lunch is free and the post is located at 201 Airport Drive in Holly.

 The Great Lakes National Cemetery opened in 2005 with the first burial on 10/17/2005. As of the end of May 2015, there have been over 25,300 burials.   The Great Lakes National Cemetery is located at 4200 E. Belford Road, Holly MI 49442.

 For additional information about the service contact Vietnam Veteran Joe Mishler, the event coordinator at 810-348-9960, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For information about the Great Lakes National Cemetery call 248-328-0386 or 866-348-8603.

 

Veterans and Air Force Reserve personnel who were exposed to the herbicide Agent Orange through regular and repeated contact with contaminated C-123 aircraft that had been used in Vietnam as part of Operation Ranch Hand (ORH).

VA published this regulation as an interim final rule so that it could immediately begin providing benefits to eligible Air Force veterans and Air Force Reserve personnel who submit a disability compensation claim for any of the 14 medical conditions that have been determined by VA to be related to exposure to Agent Orange.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald made the decision to expand benefits following receipt of a 2015 report by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (IOM) on Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft. This VA-requested report found evidence that as many as 1,500 to 2,100 Air Force and Air Force Reserve personnel who served as flight,
medical and ground maintenance crew members on ORH C-123 aircraft previously used to spray Agent Orange in Vietnam were exposed to the herbicide.

“Opening up eligibility for this deserving group of Air Force veterans and reservists is the right thing to do,” said Secretary McDonald. “We thank the IOM for its thorough review that provided the supporting evidence needed to ensure we can now fully compensate any former crew member who develops an Agent Orange-related disability.”

Under this new rule, Air Force and Air Force Reserve flight, medical and ground maintenance crewmembers who served on the contaminated ORH C-123s are presumed to have been exposed to herbicides during their service, thus making it easier for them to establish entitlement for some VA benefits if they develop an Agent Orange-related presumptive condition. In addition, for affected Air Force Reserve crew members, VA will presume that their Agent Orange-related condition had its onset during their Reserve training. This change ensures that these reservists are eligible for VA disability compensation and medical care for any Agent Orange-related presumptive condition, and that their surviving dependents are eligible for dependency and indemnity compensation and burial benefits.

The interim final rule can be found on the Federal Register: www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection. VA will immediately begin processing
claims and issuing benefits to eligible Air Force crew members.

Defense web portal, eBenefits (https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/).

VA also has identified several active duty locations where ORH C-123 aircraft may have been used following their service in Vietnam. Active duty personnel who served in a regular USAF unit location where a contaminated C-123 was assigned and who had regular and repeated contact with the aircraft through flight, ground or medical

duties during the period 1969 to 1986, and who develop an Agent Orange-related disability, also are encouraged to apply for benefits. For more information on applying for these benefits, including the affected units, Air Force Specialty Codes and dates of service for affected crew members, and a listing of Agent Orange-related conditions,

EST) or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Remember Airport USO’s?

Well, since the USO doesn’t service Detroit Metro, (though they still operate at lots of other airports) there is a new organization that is trying to do the same thing at Metro. The facility is called “Freedom Center.” They provide internet, snacks, reading material, games, travel assistance and so forth, just like the USO. Freedom Center is looking for 50 - 75 new volunteers. The new volunteers will primarily staff the Freedom Center facility that will be opening at the North Terminal before the end of the year, however we also still need a few volunteers to work at the flagship Freedom Center at the McNamara Terminal. Volunteer duties include (but are not limited to), greeting guests, general light cleaning, stocking of snacks and beverages, logging donations, and assisting guests with questions and needs. Please visit our website at www.mifreedomcenter.org to find out more about volunteering at the Freedom Center, and to download an application.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

June 2015

The Toxic Exposure Research Act Update
News Flash from AVVA National
May 15, 2015
Today the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health passed out of committee H.R. 1769, the Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2015. The bill is scheduled to go before the full House Veterans Affairs Committee for passage on Thursday, May 21, 2015, before going to the floor for vote.
We are reaching our goal in getting H.R. 1769, The Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2015 passed in the 114th Congress and we need more co-sponsors.
VVA urges you to take action NOW!
Go to our Legislative Action site http://capwiz.com/vva/home/ and enter your Zip Code and send the prepared letter to your Representatives asking them to join their colleagues and co-sponsor H.R. 1769, the Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2015, introduced by Congressman Dan Benishek (MI-1) and cosponsored by Congressman Mike Honda (CA-17).
Please follow up your letter with a call or a visit to their offices.

Looking for Blue Water Vietnam Navy Veterans
Sen. Gillibrand wants to do a press release on The Blue Water Navy Bill, S.681.  She is looking for Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans (Navy and Marine Corps) who served in the offshore waters of Vietnam with an Agent Orange illness who have either been denied benefits because they did not have “boots on the ground” or who are still waiting for their claim to be decided.
If you are such a person, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Court Ruling Helps Viet Nam War Vets
The Court of Appeals for Veteran Claims has made a landmark ruling that will help many Navy and Coast Guard vets who have been classified as Blue Water sailors.  This case is Gray vs McDonald and was just decided on April 24, 2015. This will greatly benefit many Viet Nam Navy veterans effected by Agent Orange.  In it they declared that the Harbors of Danang, Cam Ranh Bay and Vung Tau must now be classified Brown water instead of Blue Water. Basically they Court said these ports were classified as deep-water but should have been classified as being in the spray area and not by the fact that large vessels could enter it.  The VA must now declare all vessels that entered these harbors as dioxin (AO) exposed and compensate the sailors on them that have the presumptive diseases that are recognized as having their genesis in AO exposure.
In regard to service in mouth of rivers, such as minesweepers, the court said that even the VA Secretary declared that there is no definite boundaries of a river mouths therefor they cannot just make a decision by “flipping a coin” as to what vessels were exposed and which were not.  The court further stated that inland water service cannot be limited to the ships that are on their “official” ships list.  The emphases should be on the likelihood of exposure to herbicide and the fact that a large river’s brown water plume can extend far out to sea. It stated that the use of “mouth” and “borders” around Viet Nam may extend well beyond the physical land mass of a river and the VA’s current regulations cannot be viewed as valid.  The CAVC further said that the VA’s interpretation of the Code of Federal Regulations that cover this area are “arbitrary and capricious”.
To put the icing on the cake, the court ruled that the VA’s reliance on the IOM’s (Institute of Medicine) 2011 report on dioxin exposure is unacceptable because the IOM was “to general and inconclusive in nature”.  This means that the VA’s rating system cannot conclusively contend that some offshore vessels were NOT contaminated by AO.
Finally the court ordered that VA to redraw its lines and rules as to what is the proper boundaries and “exercise its fair and considered judgment to define inland waterways in a manner consistent with the regulations with emphasis on the probability of exposure. In essence they said the present methods are patently unfair.
This ruling should bode well for Sailors and Coast Guardsmen who sailed and flew into areas that should have be considered contaminated long ago.  However for all vets who may have a claim in the works, the new regulations are going to have to be promulgated by the VA and they must decide if they wish to honor past claims as they may look at this as new rules that did not apply when the original case was denied.  The VA can be very obtuse about how they honor a change of the Code of Federal Regulations. They also have a right to appeal this to the U S District Court but that is extremely doubtful.
Synopsis prepared by:
Mike Day
Veteran Service Officer
Catholic War Veterans USA

Detroit becomes a Purple Heart City
According to a report we received from Nick Luxon, Military Order of the Purple Heart, The Purple Heart flag now flies over the City of Detroit Government Building.
The web site below contains a three and a half minute Fox news video about the City of Detroit becoming a Purple Heart City.   If you play the video Tom Strempka is interviewed.  For those that don’t know Tom, he is a great Veteran Advocate.   Also Jan Knapp President of MOPH Auxiliary is on the video.  Mayor Duggan signed a proclamation naming Detroit a Purple Hear City and presented it to Sr. Vice Commander Leonard Milewski.  The project was spearheaded by Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones.  Also on hand were State Adjutant Ron Knapp, State Finance Officer Dennis Wallott, and MOPH National Officers.  Three time Purple Heart Recipient and President of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 9, Paul Palazzolo, gave a very inspirational speech.  I would be remiss if I failed to mention how hard MOPH member John Ciecko worked to make Detroit along with other Michigan cities MOPH cities.
http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/29103587/detroit-designated-as-a-purple-heart-city#.VVt8G-tjS6Y.gmail

The Good that Came from Vietnam
On Saturday, July 24th, 2010 the town of Prescott Valley, AZ, hosted a Freedom Rally. Quang Nguyen was asked to speak on his experience of coming to America and what it means. He spoke the following in dedication to all Vietnam Veterans:
“35 years ago, if you were to tell me that I am going to stand up here speaking to a couple thousand patriots, in English, I'd laugh at you. Man, every morning I wake up thanking God for putting me and my family in the greatest country on earth.
I just want you all to know that the American dream does exist and I am living the American dream. I was asked to speak to you about my experience as a first generation Vietnamese-American, but I'd rather speak to you as an American.
If you hadn't noticed, I am not white and I feel pretty comfortable with my people.
I am a proud US citizen and here is my proof. It took me 8 years to get it, waiting in endless lines, but I got it, and I am very proud of it.
I still remember the images of the Tet offensive in 1968, I was six years old. Now you might want to question how a 6-year-old boy could remember anything. Trust me; those images can never be erased. I can't even imagine what it was like for young American soldiers, 10,000 miles away from home, fighting on my behalf.
35 years ago, I left South Vietnam for political asylum. The war had ended. At the age of 13, I left with the understanding that I may or may not ever get to see my siblings or parents again. I was one of the first lucky 100,000 Vietnamese allowed to come to the US.  Somehow, my family and I were reunited 5 months later, amazingly in California. It was a miracle from God.
If you haven't heard lately that this is the greatest country on earth, I am telling you that right now. It was the freedom and the opportunities presented to me that put me here with all of you tonight. I also remember the barriers that I had to overcome every step of the way. My high school counselor told me that I cannot make it to college due to my poor communication skills. I proved him wrong. I finished college. You see, all you have to do is to give this little boy an opportunity and encourage him to take and run with it. Well, I took the opportunity and here I am.
This person standing tonight in front of you could not exist under a socialist/communist environment. By the way, if you think socialism is the way to go, I am sure many people here will chip in to get you a one-way ticket out of here. And if you didn't know, the only difference between socialism and communism is an AK-47 aimed at your head. That was my experience.
In 1982, I stood with a thousand new immigrants, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and listening to the National Anthem for the first time as an American. To this day, I can't remember anything sweeter and more patriotic than that moment in my life.
Fast forwarding, somehow I finished high school, finished college, and like any other goofball 21 year old kid, I was having a great time with my life. I had a nice job and a nice apartment in Southern California. In some way and somehow, I had forgotten how I got here and why I was here.
One day I was at a gas station, I saw a veteran pumping gas on the other side of the island. I don't know what made me do it, but I walked over and asked if he had served in Vietnam. He smiled and said yes. I shook and held his hand. The grown man began to well up. I walked away as fast as I could and at that very moment, I was emotionally rocked. This was a profound moment in my life. I knew something had to change in my life. It was time for me to learn how to be a good citizen. It was time for me to give back.
You see, America is not just a place on the map; it isn't just a physical location. It is an ideal, a concept. And if you are an American, you must understand the concept, you must accept this concept, and most importantly, you have to fight and defend this concept. This is about Freedom and not free stuff. And that is why I am standing up here.
Brothers and sisters, to be a real American, the very least you must do is to learn English and understand it well. In my humble opinion, you cannot be a faithful patriotic citizen if you can't speak the language of the country. Take this document of 46 pages - last I looked on the Internet, there wasn't a Vietnamese translation of the US Constitution. It took me a long time to get to the point of being able to converse and until this day, I still struggle to come up with the right words. It's not easy, but if it's too easy, it's not worth doing.
Before I knew this 46-page document, I learned of the Millions of Americans who fought for this little boy. I learned of the 58,000 names scribed on the black wall at the Vietnam Memorial. You are my heroes. You are my founders.
At this time, I would like to ask all the Vietnam veterans to please stand. I thank you for my life. I thank you for your sacrifices, and I thank you for giving me the freedom and liberty I have today. I now ask all veterans, firefighters, and police officers, to please stand. On behalf of all first generation immigrants, I thank you for your services and may God bless you all.”

September 2015

Former Vietnam MIA Burial Update:

Army Maj. Dale W. Richardson, 28, who was identified earlier this year, will be buried Aug. 29 with full military honors in Mountain View, Ark. He was lost when the UH-1H helicopter he was a passenger in was shot down near the Vietnamese/Cambodian border on May 2, 1970. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/NewsStories/NewsReleases/tabid/10159/Article/614394/soldier-missing-from-vietnam-war-accounted-for-richardson.aspx .