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july/august 2009

red star bulletThe Veteran Departments : John Phelps | Symbol Of A Nation's Concern | Chapter 850 | Your Old Kentuckiana Home | Connie Steers | Stayin' Alive | A First Cut | Hotel 2/3 Reunion | The Veterans Health Council | President's Report | Letters | Government Affairs | Constitution Committee Report | Homeless Veterans Committee Report | PTSD/Substance Abuse Committee Report | AVVA Report | Rules Committee Report | Membership Affairs Committee Report | Agent Orange Committee Report | Election Committee Report | Minority Affairs Committee Report | Women Veterans Committee Report | ETABO Committee Report | Region 4 Report | Region 9 Report | Books In Review | Membership Notes | Locator | Reunions | Calendar

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Veteran Cover

BY XANDE ANDERER

When you look at one of John Phelps’ paintings, there is little question where his inspiration comes from. His muse lies in the Rocky Mountain rangelands near his home in Dubois, Wyoming—the scenic badlands and the mountain ranges that frame it. His muse scales the high peaks of the Absaroka Range and trudges along the Wind River.

Phelps paints an occasional maritime scene or still life, but the bulk of his work—indeed, the very essence of his work—centers on the Great American West. Phelps records with oil and canvas the cowboys, ranchers, Native Americans, and mountain men of that great American epoch. He depicts the wildlife that brought them there: bison, elk, and bighorn sheep.

[ read complete article ]


By Marc Leepson

Newton Heisley died May 14 at his home in Colorado Springs. He was 88 years old. The Williamsport, Pennsylvania, native flew C-46 transports for the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II, then went on to a long career as a commercial artist and graphic designer for advertising agencies in New York, New Jersey, and Colorado.

Newt Heisley created countless images during his long, fruitful career. One of those images, which he sketched in pencil in 1971, has made an indelible mark on American culture and society. That year the agency Heisley was working for received a contract from Annin & Co., the nation’s oldest and largest flag manufacturer, to design a flag for the National League of Families of American Prisoners Missing in Southeast Asia. The idea for such a flag came from League member Mary Hoff, the wife of Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael Hoff. An A-7 Sidewinder pilot, Hoff had been listed as missing in action since January 7, 1970, after he did not return from an armed reconnaissance mission over Laos.

[ read complete article ]


BY DAVE SKOCIK

Like many Vietnam veterans, Paul Davis’s two tours in harm’s way as a young man were a part of his distant past. At 67, he’d been involved in a great many things since.

Even though his youthful wartime experiences had left a lifelong impression, life went on. He’d completed a rewarding career as a law enforcement officer, a successful small business owner, and an elected county official. He also managed to weave in 48 years as a volunteer firefighter.

[ read complete article ]


BY BRUCE W. WHITAKER, REGION 3 DIRECTOR

When you arrive in Louisville for VVA’s 14th biennial National Convention, you’ll officially be in the state of Kentucky. But if you tune in to a local TV or radio station, you may hear the area referred to as “Kentuckiana.” You’re not hearing things; that’s the term widely used for the greater Louisville area, which includes the surrounding counties, cities, and towns, including those just across the Ohio River in Southern Indiana.

Kentuckiana is the 42nd largest metropolitan area in the nation, with a population of some 1.4 million people. It is the home to VVA Kentuckiana Chapter 454, which is hosting the National Convention. Led by President Robert Keller, the chapter is one of VVA’s most active. Darrel Martin, the Kentucky State Council President, is a member.

[ read complete article ]


BY BOB HOPKINS

“Volunteer” is a funny word.

Conrad “Connie” Steers was hot and tired as Bravo Company headed back to LZ Debbie where the 4/21st of the 11th LIB troopers would try getting some shuteye. It was another day in the ’Nam, 3-1/2 months into his tour and 2-1/2 months before a sniper would end his stay in Southeast Asia.

“We came across a tunnel,” Steers recalled. “The Captain looks around and sees all 5’9”, 130 pounds of me and hands me his .45 and a flashlight and says, ‘You’re going down there.’”

[ read complete article ]


By Jim Brown

VVA’s Mesquite Chapter 993, one of the newest in the country, decided to establish a chapter home that could be used to help veterans apply for benefits and as a place for chapter members who want to help. We started assisting veterans at the Mesquite Senior Center, but soon realized the need to expand the program.

We went through the steps to lease property from the city of Mesquite, with financial assistance from several grants. However, we still needed to generate funds to operate on a day-to-day basis.

[ read complete article ]


BY JOHN PRADOS

Leaders of the Pentagon come and go. Of those secretaries of defense who held the top Pentagon job during the Vietnam years, Robert S. McNamara has received the most attention. It is remarkable that his successor, Nixon’s Defense Secretary Melvin R. Laird, has received so little.

Much of this has to do with the escalation of the war. McNamara presided over U.S. troop levels in Vietnam that ballooned from 685 in 1961 to 549,500 in 1968. But the U.S. withdrawal deserves equal attention. Laird managed the process in half the time, leaving the Pentagon in early 1973 just as the last American troops departed South Vietnam. Equally significant, Laird played the key role in the transformation of the American military to the shape it retains today, changing the draft to a lottery system, then eliminating it altogether, and then creating the all-volunteer military.

[ read complete article ]


BY RICHARD CURREY

It started with VVA National President John Rowan’s frustration about running into Vietnam veterans who had health problems related to Agent Orange (AO) but who were routinely unaware that they were entitled to health care and to disability compensation.

These vets were developing diabetes, Hodgkin’s disease, and more than thirty varieties of cancer, yet they remained unaware that their illnesses were related to military service, and that treatment as well as disability benefits were available to them through the VA.

[ read complete article ]

 

 

 

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