After Forty-Six Years — Remembering Still

John E. Abrams, an Edgewood Town Councilor, has graciously agreed to tell part of his father’s story when his father served as a Navy pilot during the Vietnam War. He has provided an excerpt from ” Behind The Lines“ stories authored by combatants and others who have experienced military combat and other aspects of some wars in which the United States has been involved. The stories have been compiled and edited by Andrew Carroll. I’ll leave the rest to Councilor Abrams and other sources:

My Dad was a Decorated Navy helicopter pilot. He was killed in action in Vietnam in 1968 when his aircraft was shot down along with his wingmen. None of the crewmen of the aircraft on that mission survived.

War all around him, my Dad would take time to record and send my Mom audio tape letters. He left us his thoughts about the war in his own voice, with the battle sounds in the background. Even now, after 43 years, it is very difficult for me to read his words, and more difficult still to hear the tapes. I am proud to share an excerpt of one of his audio letters. I hope this stands as a small tribute to the difficult and dangerous situations our military men and women in conflicts face daily.

This excerpt was transcribed and reproduced in a book containing letters and commentary from Americans at war beginning with the American Revolution. The book is titled “Behind the Lines” authored by men and women in conflict, compiled and edited by Andrew Carroll. ISBN 0-7432-5616-6. I recommend reading it.

From an audio letter in the voice of my father – Lt. (Senior Grade) John L . Abrams USN

Well this war is different than any other war, you could ask somebody from World War II, or Korea if they ever killed anybody, and they’d probably say, “well I don’t know.” And they’d be telling the truth. They were firing at long ranges, long distances, to emplacements, this type of thing. This isn’t that kind of war. We’re firing from 600 meters away. We fire, we hit, we see what we hit. We see the results of our hit. We see the wounded, and of course we see the dead. Of course, Charley gives it back to us too. We take a lot of hits in the aircraft. Occasionally one of us get it too. We’ve had three door gunners wounded – one of which died – since we’ve been here. I’ve been shot at quite a few times, and I think I’ve got a purple heart coming for a minor thing that happened here a couple weeks ago (one of three). There’s nobody here that’s not getting shot at, although this part of the war isn’t as highly publicized as what is going on in the north. The part we’re doing down here nobody wants to talk about. It’s a dirty job. Its women, twelve, fifteen-year-old boys and grown men that we’re killing because they’re killing Vietnamese and trying to kill us. Some of the atrocities Charlie commits are unbelievable. It’s really hard to believe some of the things that he does. In this thing the last few days we liberated a VC prisoner of war camp. Some of the people have been in the camp for two and a half to three years.” There is the sound of gunfire crackling in the background. “I wish that guy would stop firing, it’s making me nervous…. Yesterday for example, we were cleared to go into an area where Charlie supposedly had an arms cache. We went into the area —- sure enough, there was all camouflaged — arms cache. So we went in, circled the area one time at high altitude, rolled into our strike. All of a sudden, people start running out of the hooches — we call them hooches, they’re grass houses — running out of the hooches that this material was all stacked around. And every one of them had a saffron robe on. A saffron robe is a bright orange robe — kind of the color of a flight suit, if you remember what that looked like — that the Buddhist monks wear,— every one of them. Now what were Buddhist monks doing where there was a large cache of Charlie equipment, and no Buddhist pagoda around the area? Charlie’s not dumb, but he’s not smart either, really. They ran out of the hooch, ran across the rice paddy, and they never got any further. Now maybe there were some Buddhist monks among them. Possibly there were. And Charlie was trying to escape along with them. But they all got it…

Editor: Lt. John Leon Abrams, as his son has said above, gave final full-measure to his country and its citizens on July 13, 1968:

Lieutenant John Leon Abrams was serving as a pilot with the Helicopter Attack (Light) Squadron Three Seawolves when he was killed in action in the Mekong Delta region of South Vietnam. His UH-1B helicopter was hit by .50 caliber enemy fire, causing the transmission to seize at 800 feet. Also killed in the crash were his copilot, LtJG James Henry Romanski, and his crewmen, AMH3 Raymond Douglas Robinson and AMS3 Dennis Michael Wobbe. His fellow Seawolves remember John’s bravery and devotion to duty.
HE IS NOT FORGOTTEN.

The above blue text is provided by:

Together We Served

If you follow the link,above you will find other information for Lieutenant John L. Abrams. Additionally, Lt. Abrams service information can be found by clicking here and here including comments and tributes from those who served with him. We want to express our heartfelt thanks to Lieutenant Abrams and all of his family for the sacrifices they have made on our behalf.

You will find related links below:

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Profile: Col. George Everett ‘Bud’ Day — The Patriot Post

 

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Mark Alexander of The Patriot Post published this article of tribute to Colonel George Everett ‘Bud Day‘ a hero in a multitude of ways.  We forget Colonel Day and the men and women like him at our peril.  For when are heroes are gone, we have memories alone … That is why we require honored memories.


Profile: Col. George Everett ‘Bud’ Day

 

A Great American Patriot, RIP

 

By Mark Alexander

August 1, 2013

 

“Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for, I have grown not only gray, but almost blind in the service of my country.” –George Washington (1783)

 

A few days ago, I received the latest copy of “The Hook,” a seasonal journal of carrier aviation published by the Tailhook Association.

 

I was deeply moved by this summer’s edition because it included a reprint of “Honor Bound1,” a Pentagon study of bravery, torture and endurance — and the experience of American POWs in Vietnam.

 

The Hook then listed the names of Navy and Marine POWs who made it home, including John McCain2.

 

Later that same day, I heard remarks at a White House press conference that should be of interest to the families of the 58,209 Americans killed in Vietnam.

 

Barack Hussein Obama3, while sitting with Vietnamese Communist Dictator Truong Tan Sang under a portrait of George Washington, had this to say about what our nations have in common: “We discussed the fact that Ho Chi Minh was actually inspired by the U.S. Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and the words of Thomas Jefferson.”

 

Obama, of course, is a phony “community organizer” who was steeped in Communist indoctrination4, and who launched his political career in the home of domestic terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. Thus, he may not be able to distinguish between the Essential Liberty5 codified by our Founders in the Declaration of Independence as “endowed by our Creator6” and the murderous regime of “Uncle Ho,” a brutal Stalinist pig who slaughtered a HALF MILLION peasants when consolidating his oppressive communist regime in Vietnam. Most of us, however, understand that Ho was no Thomas Jefferson.

 

After the signing of the Paris Peace Accords in 1973, which were intended to end the war in Vietnam, Ho went on to butcher anyone who had given aid to American military personnel.

 

The disconnect between Obama’s outrageous and surreal comments about Ho and the bravery of Patriot Vietnam POWs like John McCain and my friend Roger Ingvalson7 was driven home this past weekend with the death of a man who was also a POW at the Hanoi Hilton with McCain and Ingvalson — Air Force Col. George Everett “Bud” Day.

 

While these men were suffering unspeakable torture, Hanoi Jane Fonda8 was posing a hundred yards away on an NVA anti-aircraft gun, and now-Secretary of State John Kerry9 was “aiding and abetting the enemy10” and undermining the Paris peace talks.

 

At least Fonda feigned an apology11 this past April, saying, “I take responsibility for my actions. … I made an unforgivable mistake when I was in North Vietnam, and I will go to my grave with this.”

 

No such apology from Kerry.

 

At times, the Obama regime’s fog machine makes it difficult to maintain clear focus on the long line of American Patriots12 who have devoted their lives and fortunes to extending Liberty to successive generations, and those who strive to do so today. But then, the passing of a great Patriot helps us cut though the fog and bring the legacy of such Americans back into focus.

 

John McCain said of Bud Day, “He was the bravest man I ever knew, and his fierce resistance and resolute leadership set the example for us in prison of how to return home with honor.”

 

Brave indeed, but Bud Day’s beginning was unremarkable, as is the case with so many great Patriots.

 

He was born in Sioux City, Iowa, and in 1942, at the age of 17, he convinced his parents to allow him to enlist in the Marine Corps.

 

After three years serving in the South Pacific, he returned home and earned bachelor and law degrees. He also joined the Iowa Air Guard in 1950 and pursued a fighter pilot track. After flying F-84s on fighter-bomber missions in the Korean War, Day decided on a career as an Air Force pilot.

 

In 1967, then-Major Day headed a squadron of F-100s in Vietnam, assigned to a secret program nicknamed the Misty Super Facs. He and his men were tasked with flying deep into enemy territory and selecting targets. So dangerous was this operation that more than 40 percent of his pilots were shot down in the first six months. On August 26th of that year, Day’s own plane was disabled by enemy fire, and he ejected, landing in the gun sights of Vietnamese militiamen.

 

After several days of torture, he escaped and evaded the enemy. He was recaptured two weeks later after being wounded by a bomb that detonated nearby. He was returned to the same camp from which he escaped and was subjected to more severe torture before being marched off to the Hanoi Hilton, where he would spend the next five years.

 

Day’s Patriotism and his epic resistance to relentless degradation and torture by his captors is profiled in the book “Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty.” His citation in that book notes, “On one occasion in 1971, when guards burst in with rifles as some of the American prisoners gathered for a forbidden religious service, Major Day stood up, looked down the muzzles of the guns, and began to sing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’ The other men, including Navy POW James Stockdale, the ranking U.S. officer in the prison, joined him.”

 

Later, Vice Admiral James Stockdale, who was also awarded a Medal of Honor13, recalled of that moment, “Our minds were now free and we knew it.”

 

George Day was released on March 14, 1973, and three years later both he and Stockdale were awarded the Medal of Honor by President Gerald Ford. His Medal of Honor citation14 concludes, “Col. Day’s conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Armed Forces.”

Indeed.

 

After rehabilitation, Day returned to the flight line. Retiring in 1977, he opened a law practice in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, and devoted that practice to seeking support for veterans.

 

He was active in politics, most notably in his support for John McCain in 2000 and 2008, and George W. Bush in 2004, when Day worked with the Swift Boat Vets to expose the truth about John Kerry’s fraudulent and self-aggrandizing tour in Vietnam, and his treasonous actions afterward. (As was the case in the most recent presidential contest between Obama and Mitt Romney, the list of distinguished military patriots15 has always favored the Republican candidate.)

 

As tough and heroic as he was, Day was described by friends as a “gentle and humble soul.”

 

In 2011, when he was inducted into the Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame, he remarked of his service to our nation, “It was a great spirit of sacrifice and help [for] each other and high standards. You get those values from your parents, from your church. They expected a lot from us as kids, and we either gave it to them or they gave you a little corrective action.”

 

In his personal narration of his heroic service16, Col. Day concluded, “We are so fortunate by the accident of birth to be Americans, and having had that good fortune, our primary duty is to make sure our country survives and we stay free. That ought to be the primary objective of every American for the rest of their life.”

 

Bud and his wife Doris celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary in May, and on the afternoon of his death she said, “He would have died in my arms if I could have picked him up.”

 

Of the passing of such extraordinary Patriots as George “Bud” Day, Gen. George Patton once wrote, “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.” Gen. Patton’s words not withstanding, I will do both: I will mourn the passing of Bud Day and thank God he lived.

 

Job well done, good and faithful servant!

 

(Footnote: I highly recommend further reading on Bud Day, starting with his 1989 autobiography, “Return With Honor.”)


Honor Our Veterans: November 11, 2012

It Was Armistice Day (11th Month, 11th day, 11th Hour, 1918)

The treaty to end the War To End All Wars was signed on November 11th, at 11 AM, 1918. The day was to be celebrated from that time on as Armistice Day.

We know of course, World War I did not end all wars and another World War (WWII) would kill young and old alike from its beginning in 1939 until its end in 1945.

The following, taken from the website Military.com explains the history of Armistince Day and how it came to be Veterans Day:

Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor the end of World War I, which officially took place on November 11, 1918. In legislation that was passed in 1938, November 11 was “dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day.’” As such, this new legal holiday honored World War I veterans.

In 1954, after having been through both World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress — at the urging of the veterans service organizations — amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

And so we do … honor our veterans, today November 11, 2012 and forward in time.

getimage.exe

17781943 poster, United States, World War II Artist Perlin, B. Publisher United States. Office of War Information Studio Name/Printer United States. Government Printing Office Historical period World War II

HERE FOR MORE VETERANS DAY POSTERS

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Let ’em Win or Bring ’em Home

We’ve thought the thoughts that are in Charlie Daniel’s song since I was a preteen, but especially as they apply to Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.  Sometimes it seems our President and Congress aren’t paying attention and have allowed our men and women to be sacrificed in wars they do not intend to win because they (the politicians) have not the courage to fight the wars to win.  Since I believe they are more concerned about so-called collateral damage than they are about the lives of our military protectors, here’s the video that Charlie Daniels has made:

Bring ’em Home

We hope you’ll give considered thought to this message from Mr. Daniels and ask our Lord to guide us to real victory instead of the charade we are now executing and to bless each active service member, veteran and Moms and Dads that have lost their brave defenders.

After Forty-Four Years — Remembering Still

We posted this last year and we are pleased to have John’s permission to post it this year.  It has now been 44 year’s since the loss of John’s father.

John E. Abrams, an Edgewood Town Councilor, has graciously agreed to tell part of his father’s story when his father served as a Navy pilot during the Vietnam War.  He has provided  an excerpt from  ” Behind The Lines  stories authored by combatants and others who have experienced military combat and other aspects of some wars in which the United States has been involved.  The stories have been compiled and edited by Andrew Carroll.  I’ll  leave the rest to Councilor Abrams and other sources:

My Dad was a Decorated Navy helicopter pilot. He was killed in action in Vietnam in 1968 when his aircraft was shot down along with his wingmen. None of the crewmen of the aircraft on that mission survived.

War all around him, my Dad would take time to record and send my Mom audio tape letters. He left us his thoughts about the war in his own voice, with the battle sounds in the background. Even now, after 43 years, it is very difficult for me to read his words, and more difficult still to hear the tapes. I am proud to share an excerpt of one of his audio letters. I hope this stands as a small tribute to the difficult and dangerous situations our military men and women in conflicts face daily.

This excerpt was transcribed and reproduced in a book containing letters and commentary from Americans at war beginning with the American Revolution. The book is titled “Behind the Lines” authored by men and women in conflict, compiled and edited by Andrew Carroll. ISBN 0-7432-5616-6. I recommend reading it.

From an audio letter in the voice of my father – Lt. (Senior Grade) John L . Abrams USN

Well this war is different than any other war, you could ask somebody from World War II, or Korea if they ever killed anybody, and they’d probably say, “well I don’t know.” And they’d be telling the truth. They were firing at long ranges, long distances, to emplacements, this type of thing. This isn’t that kind of war. We’re firing from 600 meters away. We fire, we hit, we see what we hit. We see the results of our hit. We see the wounded, and of course we see the dead. Of course, Charley gives it back to us too. We take a lot of hits in the aircraft. Occasionally one of us get it too. We’ve had three door gunners wounded – one of which died – since we’ve been here. I’ve been shot at quite a few times, and I think I’ve got a purple heart coming for a minor thing that happened here a couple weeks ago (one of three). There’s nobody here that’s not getting shot at, although this part of the war isn’t as highly publicized as what is going on in the north. The part we’re doing down here nobody wants to talk about. It’s a dirty job. Its women, twelve, fifteen-year-old boys and grown men that we’re killing because they’re killing Vietnamese and trying to kill us. Some of the atrocities Charlie commits are unbelievable. It’s really hard to believe some of the things that he does. In this thing the last few days we liberated a VC prisoner of war camp. Some of the people have been in the camp for two and a half to three years.” There is the sound of gunfire crackling in the background. “I wish that guy would stop firing, it’s making me nervous…. Yesterday for example, we were cleared to go into an area where Charlie supposedly had an arms cache. We went into the area —- sure enough, there was all camouflaged — arms cache. So we went in, circled the area one time at high altitude, rolled into our strike. All of a sudden, people start running out of the hooches — we call them hooches, they’re grass houses — running out of the hooches that this material was all stacked around. And every one of them had a saffron robe on. A saffron robe is a bright orange robe — kind of the color of a flight suit, if you remember what that looked like — that the Buddhist monks wear,— every one of them. Now what were Buddhist monks doing where there was a large cache of Charlie equipment, and no Buddhist pagoda around the area? Charlie’s not dumb, but he’s not smart either, really. They ran out of the hooch, ran across the rice paddy, and they never got any further. Now maybe there were some Buddhist monks among them. Possibly there were. And Charlie was trying to escape along with them. But they all got it…

Editor: Lt. John Leon Abrams, as his son has said above, gave final full-measure to his country and its citizens on July 13, 1968:

Lieutenant John Leon Abrams was serving as a pilot with the Helicopter Attack (Light) Squadron Three Seawolves when he was killed in action in the Mekong Delta region of South Vietnam.  His UH-1B helicopter was hit by .50 caliber enemy fire, causing the transmission to seize at 800 feet.  Also killed in the crash were his copilot, LtJG James Henry Romanski, and his crewmen, AMH3 Raymond Douglas Robinson and AMS3 Dennis Michael Wobbe.  His fellow Seawolves remember John’s bravery and devotion to duty.
HE IS NOT FORGOTTEN.

The above blue text is provided by:

Together We Served

If you follow the link,above you will find other information for Lieutenant John L. Abrams.  Additionally, Lt. Abrams service information can be found by clicking here  and here including comments and tributes from those who served with him.  We want to express our heartfelt thanks to Lieutenant Abrams and all of his family for the sacrifices they have made on our behalf.

You may find related links below.

Related articles

Pondering Once More

This will be the third time we’ve posted this.  We do so because we believe this gentleman honors the servicemen and servicewomen that fought for him and his fellow South Vietnamese people so many years past.  In the coming days, we will write about those of our men and women who returned; sometimes broken in spirit and body to a home where many staying home, did not appreciate their sacrifices.

So, pasted below is last year’s version of the post:

I first wrote and posted this article on my personal blog in February of this year (2011).  The story grabbed me and has since tugged at me from time to time.  I suppose it has done so because I believe America is fortunate to have citizens such as Mr. Quang Nguyen.  This is especially true when we see many legal and illegal aliens whom have no desire to be our fellow Americans.  Here’s the article. I hope you will enjoy it and I trust you will watch the video:

How Lucky Can I Be — How Lucky Are We?

Battle of Hamo Village During the Tet Offensiv...

Battle of Hamo Village During the Tet Offensive. US Marines and ARVN troops defend a position against enemy attack. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Image via Wikipedia

By Chuck Ring (GadaboutBlogalot ©2009 – 2011)

Quote Freely From The Article – Leave The Pseudonym Alone

I could tell you and I will … now.  Today I received an email from a friend at church.  Now you have to realize that some of this friend’s emails can make you roll on the floor …, but in agony, rather than glee — they truly are that bad.  But the one I received today was an absolute jewel which brought tears of appreciation to my eyes.  This email contained the text of a speech given by an American citizen who left Viet Nam when he was 13 years of age.  He came here with his family and the rest of his story is pure gold, so I’ll let him tell it, first in print and then via YouTube.

Bear with me, as I want to tell you of the phone call I made to his number where I left a message on the answering machine.  I identified myself and related that I write a blog and I would appreciate his giving me permission to publish his speech on gadabout-blogalot.  Not only did the generous Mr. Quang Nguyen return my call to grant my request, but he went further, and offered a YouTube presentation for my posting.  Please find below the text of the gentleman’s speech followed by a video of about ten-minutes duration:

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 someway 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 a place on the map, it isn’t a physical location. It is an ideal, a concept. And if you are an American, you must understand the concept, you must buy into 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 you live in. 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 500,000 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.

Quang Nguyen

Creative Director/Founder

Caddis Advertising, LLC

To those of you who served in the Marine Corps, as I did, we all know that, “once a Marine, always a  Marine.”   My service was in peace-time from 1957 to 1961, but I can still be drawn to anger when I remember the way our Viet Nam vets were treated by some of our so-called citizens and politicians when the vets returned from their tours:  thus, the tears of appreciation for our honorable veterans.  I want to add my praise for all the service members who served in Viet Nam and all other wars and conflicts –  in the past and now.

My thanks to Mr. Quang Nguyen for his service to this country in sharing his experiences and telling of his good fortune in his poignant and obviously heart-felt words AND for his becoming a great citizen who did not forget to offer service in return for citizenship.   He continues to tour the country when he is able, where he further shares his experiences with school children, veterans organizations, political groups and other citizens.  If you get a chance to hear and meet him, it looks like you will be amply rewarded.

To Mr. Nguyen, I apologize for not posting any Vietnamese children,  “playing in the mud.” ;>) I looked, but could not find an image.

You may want to follow any links posted below.

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A Resource For Finding US Armed Forces Personnel KIA In Vietnam

Visitors to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall...

Image via Wikipedia

By Chuck Ring (GadaboutBlogalot ©2009 -2011

Quote Freely From The Article – Leave The Pseudonym Alone

People have been working to honor our Vietnam Veterans, living and dead, for so many years and through abundant tears.  There are museums at different locations: there’s The Vietnam Memorial Wall  administered by the National Park Service and there are several virtual “Walls” posted on the Web.  One such site is The Virtual Wall® which was founded, is maintained and continued in service by dedicated individuals.  The quickest. and perhaps, the most through way to learn about the site and the people involved with it, is to click on this link,  The Virtual Wall® — www.VirtualWall.org   which will actually take you to their “About” page.

The Memorial Pages can be searched from the “Index” page to several specific pages.  We have posted the links just below, but it is far more simple to follow The Virtual Wall® link. We provide the links to The Memorial Pages to whet your appetites and to offer a sample of some of the available resources.

The Memorial Pages:
 By Last Name
 By State & City
 Wall Panels by Date
 Faces of Freedom (photos)
 Send us a photo
 Height of Valor (medals)
 By Military Unit
 MIA Status
 About The Wall
 About Us
 Who We Are
 Links       FAQ

Remember the links above are also ® by The Virtual Wall.  You may find more related links below:

How Lucky Can I Be — How Lucky Are We?

Battle of Hamo Village During the Tet Offensiv...

Image via Wikipedia

By Chuck Ring (GadaboutBlogalot ©2009 – 2011)

Quote Freely From The Article – Leave The Pseudonym Alone

I could tell you and I will … now.  Today I received an email from a friend at church.  Now you have to realize that some of this friend’s emails can make you roll on the floor …, but in agony, rather than glee — they truly are that bad.  But the one I received today was an absolute jewel which brought tears of appreciation to my eyes.  This email contained the text of a speech given by an American citizen who left Viet Nam when he was 13 years of age.  He came here with his family and the rest of his story is pure gold, so I’ll let him tell it, first in print and then via YouTube.

Bear with me, as I want to tell you of the phone call I made to his number where I left a message on the answering machine.  I identified myself and related that I write a blog and I would appreciate his giving me permission to publish his speech on gadabout-blogalot.  Not only did the generous Mr. Quang Nguyen return my call to grant my request, but he went further, and offered a YouTube presentation for my posting.  Please find below the text of the gentleman’s speech followed by a video of about ten-minutes duration:

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 someway 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 a place on the map, it isn’t a physical location. It is an ideal, a concept. And if you are an American, you must understand the concept, you must buy into 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 you live in. 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 500,000 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.

Quang Nguyen

Creative Director/Founder

Caddis Advertising, LLC

To those of you who served in the Marine Corps, as I did, we all know that, “once a Marine, always a  Marine.”   My service was in peace-time from 1957 to 1961, but I can still be drawn to anger when I remember the way our Viet Nam vets were treated by some of our so-called citizens and politicians when the vets returned from their tours:  thus, the tears of appreciation for our honorable veterans.  I want to add my praise for all the service members who served in Viet Nam and all other wars and conflicts —  in the past and now.

My thanks to Mr. Quang Nguyen for his service to this country in sharing his experiences and telling of his good fortune in his poignant and obviously heart-felt words AND for his becoming a great citizen who did not forget to offer service in return for citizenship.   He continues to tour the country when he is able, where he further shares his experiences with school children, veterans organizations, political groups and other citizens.  If you get a chance to hear and meet him, it looks like you will be amply rewarded.

To Mr. Nguyen, I apologize for not posting any Vietnamese children,  “playing in the mud.” ;>) I looked, but could not find an image.

You may want to follow any links posted below.

Conditions Added To Agent Orange And Other Herbicide Exposure Consideration

By Chuck Ring (GadaboutBlogalot ©2009 – 2010)

Quote Freely From The Article – Leave The Pseudonym Alone

A friend advised me that the United States Department of  Veterans Affairs on August 30th published new rules which will allow certain Viet Nam Veterans to apply for compensation for two additional health conditions and expansion of another condition previously approved for disability compensation.  We regret the tardiness of our posting the information and because it is so important to those veterans and their families instead of posting a link we are posting the entire press release from the agency along with helpful links:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 30, 2010

VA Publishes Final Regulation to Aid Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange

VA Health Care and Benefits Provided for Many Vietnam Veterans

WASHINGTON – Veterans exposed to herbicides while serving in Vietnam and other areas will have an easier path to access quality health care and qualify for disability compensation under a final regulation that will be published on August 31, 2010 in the Federal Register by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The new rule expands the list of health problems VA will presume to be related to Agent Orange and other herbicide exposures to add two new conditions and expand one existing category of conditions.

Last October, based on the requirements of the Agent Orange Act of 1991 and the Institute of Medicine’s 2008 Update on Agent Orange, I determined that the evidence provided was sufficient to award presumptions of service connection for these three additional diseases,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.  “It was the right decision, and the President and I are proud to finally provide this group of Veterans the care and benefits they have long deserved.”

The final regulation follows Shinseki’s determination to expand the list of conditions for which service connection for Vietnam Veterans is presumed. VA is adding Parkinson’s disease and ischemic heart disease and expanding chronic lymphocytic leukemia to include all chronic B cell leukemias, such as hairy cell leukemia.

In practical terms, Veterans who served in Vietnam during the war and who have a “presumed” illness don’t have to prove an association between their medical problems and their military service.  By helping Veterans overcome evidentiary requirements that might otherwise present significant challenges, this “presumption” simplifies and speeds up the application process and ensure that Veterans receive the benefits they deserve.

The Secretary’s decision to add these presumptives is based on the latest evidence provided in a 2008 independent study by the Institute of Medicine concerning health problems caused by herbicides like Agent Orange.

Veterans who served in Vietnam anytime during the period beginning January 9, 1962, and ending on May 7, 1975, are presumed to have been exposed to herbicides.

More than 150,000 Veterans are expected to submit Agent Orange claims in the next 12 to 18 months, many of whom are potentially eligible for retroactive disability payments based on past claims. Additionally, VA will review approximately 90,000 previously denied claims by Vietnam Veterans for service connection for these conditions. All those awarded service-connection who are not currently eligible for enrollment into the VA healthcare system will become eligible.

This historic regulation is subject to provisions of the Congressional Review Act that require a 60-day Congressional review period before implementation. After the review period, VA can begin paying benefits for new claims and may award benefits retroactively for earlier periods. For new claims, VA may pay benefits retroactive to the effective date of the regulation or to one year before the date VA receives the application, whichever is later. For pending claims and claims that were previously denied, VA may pay benefits retroactive to the date it received the claim.

VA encourages Vietnam Veterans with these three diseases to submit their applications for access to VA health care and compensation now so the agency can begin development of their claims.

Individuals can go to a website at http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/AO/claimherbicide.htm to get an understanding of how to file a claim for presumptive conditions related to herbicide exposure, as well as what evidence is needed by VA to make a decision about disability compensation or survivors benefits.

Additional information about Agent Orange and VA’s services for Veterans exposed to the chemical is available at www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange.

The regulation is available on the Office of the Federal Register website at http://www.ofr.gov/.

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