Vietnam Veterans of America

Chapter 267




News Sources for Veterans  






Even though Jim Doyle has closed down the "Agent Orange Zone" due to continuing personal health problems, I will try to continue to keep those of you that remain interested. abreast of the exposure news as it comes our way.   If you wish to be dis-enrolled from these occasional posts, please let me know and I will remove you from our lists. This link is courtesy of Richard Hughes in New York. I've just finished reading "The Mountains Sing" by Dr. Nguyen, which is an outstanding read and vivid, unique representation of the war from the Vietnamese perspective.

Dear Phil, Dennis & I had such a wonderful surprise to get an email from John Riling last week letting me know that he & Gary Estermyer would be heading out towards Chicago & would like to see Dennis.  Friday John awarded Dennis w/an Achievement Award for the time he served as Mi State Council President.  It made Dennis so happy.
We received your Chapter letter w/Raffle notice today!  The mail has been terrible lately.  Dennis said that w/out Dearborn Chapter, we would have never met.  We hate seeing Dearborn in hard times w/COVID & all.  We are sending $500 towards the Raffle.  If we win, please know that we donate any winnings to the good of the Chapter.
You all mean so much to us both.  Love, Marilyn Hanrahan Speck. Thank you, Phil.

U.S. Bases in Thailand During the Vietnam War and Agent Orange


In This Issue: September 10, 2021

The Last Combat Soldier to Leave Vietnam Was Killed in the 9/11 Attacks

In an August 31 article for We Are The Mighty, Blake Stilwell tells the story of Vietnam veteran Max Beilke who was in the Army for 20 years already by the time he deployed to Vietnam in 1972. His time there would be much shorter than the many others who did tours in the Vietnam War. His last day in Vietnam was the U.S. military’s last day in Vietnam. What made his last footstep on Vietnamese soil so unique was that it was captured on tape for the world to see. On March 29, 1973, Master Sgt. Beilke was given a rattan mat before he boarded a C-130 bound for home. The giver of the gift was Bui Tin, a North Vietnamese observer, there to ensure the last hundred troops at Saigon’s Tan Son Nhut Airport left as agreed. Back home, his family watched live as the man they loved, drafted to fight in Korea in 1952, headed for home from the next American war.

Blue Water Vietnam Vets Are Getting Benefits Payouts, But Not Always the Right Amount

As reported September 7 by Leo Shane III for Military Times, Blue Water Vietnam veterans are getting their disability benefits paid out by the VA, but it might not be exactly how much they deserve, according to a new watchdog report. The VA Inspector General’s Office found, while department staff have done a good job at getting benefits flowing to newly eligible veterans covered by the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act two years ago, nearly half of the claims decisions investigators reviewed from 2020 were “inaccurate.” The mistakes total an estimated $37 million: about $12 million in underpayments based on veterans eligibility and $25 million more in excess payments to individuals.

Veteran Suicides Decreased In 2019, Fewest In 12 Years, VA Data Shows

As reported September 8 by Nikki Wentling for Stars and Stripes, in 2019, 6,261 veterans died by suicide — 399 fewer than in 2018 and the fewest veteran suicides in a single year since 2007, according to new data released by the VA. The VA compiles its data on a two-year lag and revealed, for the first time Wednesday, the number of suicides in 2019. The average number of veteran suicides decreased slightly from 17.6 each day in 2018 to 17.2 in 2019. Because of the two-year lag, the 2021 report does not contain any data relevant to the coronavirus pandemic. The VA said in a statement Wednesday that it has not yet observed any increase in suicides among VA patients because of the pandemic.

Veterans Unemployment Well Below National Levels, Matches Pre-Pandemic Levels

As reported September 3 by Leo Shane III for Military Times, the veterans unemployment rate fell last month to pre-pandemic levels as national jobless rates continued their steadily decline of recent months. According to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday, the unemployment rate for all veterans dropped from 4.0 percent in July to 3.6 percent in August. That’s the first time the mark has been below 4 percent since February 2020, before the outbreak of coronavirus in America prompted widespread business closings and layoffs. The 3.6 percent rate translates into roughly 300,000 working-age veterans unable to find steady employment last month, down about 160,000 individuals from August 2020.

After Outcry in Congress, Pentagon Revives Committee on Women in Service

As reported September 2 by Hope Hodge Seck for Military Times, one of the Pentagon's oldest advisory committees has been spared from elimination after female veterans in Congress got wind of the move and protested. In an August 14 memo obtained by, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered the reinstatement of the 70-year-old Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services, known as DACOWITS, which was dissolved at the start of this year as part of a sweeping review of the Pentagon's 42 advisory committees.

COVID-19 Information

Every Veteran, spouse, and caregiver in America eligible for COVID-19 vaccine - learn more here.
There is a lot of information on the VA vaccine page: click to read more.  That page is frequently updated with the latest information.  
More COVID Information...

A Pill for Curing PTSD?

As reported September 7 by Patrick Tucker for Defense One, a new company, with funding from the U.S. Army, may have found the secret to treating PTSD with a pill or some other direct form of medicine. Dr. Jennifer Perusini, founder of Neurovation Labs, says PTSD has a unique biomarker called GluA1. It's a protein that is part of a glutamate receptor system, which helps memory formation. But trauma can also spur the creation of GluA1. In 2014, during experiments for her doctoral thesis, she found rats subjected to traumatic experiences had more GluA1. They also experienced anxiety and symptoms associated with PTSD, even when they weren’t experiencing threatening noises and lights. Blocking the protein removed the anxiety, but the rats still displayed a healthy reaction to new frightening stimuli. That’s key because it’s important to retain the ability to be scared by actual threats.

102-Year-Old Among Three Pennsylvania Veterans Receiving France’s Highest Honor

As reported September 6 by Mike Crowley for the Meadville Tribune, a 102-year-old Saegertown resident received France’s highest honor when he was one of three western Pennsylvania residents admitted to the Legion of Honor. Francis C. Turner was recognized for his participation in the liberation of France as a member of the Army’s 17th Armored Engineers Battalion in World War II. French Consul General François Penguilly bestowed the honor on Turner and two other veterans of World War II who fought to liberate France — Guy Prestia, 99, of Ellwood City, and Wallace N. King, 97, of New Wilmington. Susan Benninger of Saegertown, Turner’s daughter, attended the ceremony with him but said that as a child in the 1960s she knew little of his wartime exploits. “When I was in high school, and of course we were watching Vietnam, I said something about the war,” Benninger recalled this week, “and my mother told me he was a highly decorated soldier.” When Benninger asked her father about his experiences, he told her that she “didn’t need to know” about them.

Upcoming Pre-Convention Meetings

Region 1
  • The Region 1 Conference is scheduled for October 16, 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. at the Dante Club, 1198 Memorial Avenue, West Springfield, Mass. 
Region 2
  • State Councils will meet prior to Convention: The New York State Council will meet at 9:00 am, Sept 25, at the Tioga Downs and Conference Center, 2384 W. River Road, Nichols, New York 13812.
  • The Pennsylvania State Council will meet at 9:00 am on Oct 16 at the Ramada Inn & Conference Center, 1450 S. Atherton Street, State College, PA 16801.
  • The New Jersey State Council will meet at 11:00 am on Oct 24 at the Senior Community Center, 3 Municipal Drive, Bordentown, NJ 08505.
Region 4
  • The Florida State Council will meet Saturday, October 16, 8:30 a.m., at the Orlando Marriott Lake Mary, 1501 International Parkway, Lake Mary, FL 32746.
Region 5
  • Pre-Convention Meeting will take place September 24-26 at the Doubletree Hotel in Columbus, Ohio.
Regions 8 and 9
  • Combined Conference, September 14-16, Nugget Casino Resort, 1100 Nugget Avenue, Sparks, Nevada 89431. View the flyer here.

During the Convention, VVA will follow guidelines mandated by the State of North Carolina, The City of Greensboro, Guilford County, and the Sheraton Hotel. There is no way to know in advance what the situation will be when we convene at the Convention so VVA will monitor the mandates, and change our guidelines as needed.
If the convention were held today, this would be in effect:
The mandate is for all persons throughout Guilford County, regardless of vaccination status. Individuals must wear face coverings when indoors in all business, establishments, and public places.
Visit the Convention Website for More Information...
View the Official Candidates Roster Here...
View the Candidate Statements Here...


September is suicide prevention month - take a moment and reach out.


Remembering 9/11 with the National Archives Foundation.

          GARLIC SOUP          

Keep all vampires at bay with this roasted garlic soup.
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