1079 – Freedom Hunt for vets staged in Waverly

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From left, Colonial Hunt Club President Jerry Dew Jr. cooks hamburgers and hot dogs for the Freedom Hunt lunch with assistance from Vance Joyner, board member with the National Wild Turkey Federation, on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017. [Kate Gibson/progess-index.com]

Episode 1079 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about a wonderful thing the good people in the Petersburg, Virginia area are doing to honor our veterans. The event was covered in a story found in The Progress – Index of Hopewell, Virginia titled: Community unites for Freedom Hunt in Waverly and was submitted by Kate Gibson, a staff writer with the paper.

Across this great nation events are taking place where the veterans who served their country including Vietnam Veterans are honored for their service. One such happening took place in the environs of Waverly, Virginia. On December 9, 2017, the Freedom Hunters for Wounded Veterans conducted their second annual Freedom Hunt for special guests including 30 veterans and civilians with disabilities.

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Retired SFC and Vietnam War veteran William Durham, of Matoaca, heads to lunch on his trackchair, donated to him by the Daughters of the American Revolution in Charlottesville. [Kate Gibson/progress-index.com]

The Freedom Hunters for Wounded Veterans is an amalgamation of five different hunt clubs in the area that include Bendall, Sussex, Sussex-Newville, Colonial and Waverly Hunt Clubs. They all came together and established the incorporated title Freedom Hunters for Wounded Veterans to put on the Freedom Hunt.

Justin Stell who led the effort that resulted in the Freedom Hunt is the president of the Bendall Hunt Club. He stated the inspiration for the inaugural Freedom Hunt came to him one night on his front porch. He said “I was just sitting there thinking, ‘Daggonnit, we’ve never done something small — why start now? I called the other club presidents and every one of them said, ‘We’re in,’ and they jumped right on it.”

Hundreds of hunt club members got an early start on Saturday morning making ready for the first snowy hunt of the season for the special guests: 30 veterans and civilians with disabilities.

Listen to episode 1079 of the podcast and discover more about this wonderful event that helps honor all of our veterans.

1078 – New Zealand Vietnam Vet beats system

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Vietnam veteran Denny Makara was about to hand his war medals back in disgust for his treatment after he was injured in action. KELLY HODEL/STUFF

Episode 1078 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will take a look at how sometimes Vietnam Veterans are not treated properly regardless of their country of origin. There was a story in the National news on the Stuff website of Wellington, New Zealand titled: SAS veteran denied pension for 40 years after being told he hadn’t served in Vietnam that tells of such a case that occurred in that country way down under.

The story was submitted by Matt Shand. It told about the problem Vietnam Veteran Denny Makara encountered when his disability payments for injuries he suffered in Vietnam were abruptly terminated. The payments ceased in 1976 after his doctor was told Makara had never served in Vietnam. Despite evidence to the contrary being on hand it took Makara 15 years of fighting the system to get his disability payments restored.

What makes Makara’s experience hard to understand is the fact he served in Vietnam as a member of The New Zealand Special Air Service or better known as the NZSAS. The New Zealand Government states that NZSAS is the “premier combat unit of the New Zealand Defense Force.” It went into service on 7 July 1955 and is the special forces unit of the New Zealand Army. It was modeled after the famed British Special Air Service (SAS).

Even though the Veteran Affairs office reinstated his pension he was still not satisfied. He demanded to be compensated for payments not paid and for an apology from the Veteran Affairs office. Finally he prevailed against the government bureaucracy. His experiences leaves the reader with two conclusions. One the improper treatment of veterans happen in other countries and two, when facing similar situations with a government, never, never, never give up.

Listen to episode 1078 of the podcast to discover how New Zealand Vietnam Veteran Denny Makara beat the system.

1077 – Aussie Karl Quinn’s take on The Vietnam War documentary

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Karl Quinn, journalist with the Sydney Morning Herald.

In episode 1077 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast the perspective of an Australian journalist, Karl Quinn, toward the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick epic documentary The Vietnam War will be featured. It is important for Americans to value the viewpoint of the Australians because next to Korea and Thailand they were one of our most valued allies in that War.

Australians were willing to support the American effort in Vietnam as a result of their concerns about the growth of communism in Southeast Asia after the Second World War. Australia’s active entry in the War began in 1962 when they sent 30 military advisors to Vietnam. Their commitment to the War peaked out at 7,672 military personnel in 1965. The Australians pulled out along with the Americans in 1972. That turned out to be Australia’s longest war to date where they paid a price of 521 killed and 3,000 wounded. That is why Americans should always value and honor the Australians due to their willingness to help in the fight to stem the tide of world communist domination.

Quinn recently wrote a show review that appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald that was titled: Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s Vietnam War series is 10 hours in hell, well spent. The review byline gives a reasonably sound idea as to his opinion of the show. It reads: ” This superb 10-part series from the makers of The Civil War goes way beyond America’s pain to tell a story of a bigger tragedy a century in the making.”

Quinn’s review examines The Vietnam War in a step by step fashion that leaves the reader with an excellent overview of the show and enough facts about the War so they can draw their own conclusions.

Listen to episode 1077 of this podcast and discover exactly what Karl Quinn thinks about the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick epic documentary The Vietnam War.

1076 – Atlanta History Center Vietnam War Exhibit

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Atlanta History Center

Episode 1075 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will highlight the Atlanta History Center and their “More Than Self: Living the Vietnam War” exhibit. There was a story about it on The Atlanta Planit website titled: Atlanta History Center’s Vietnam War Exhibit Delivers Firsthand Views that was submitted by Gabbie Watts

The Atlanta History Center, nee Atlanta Historical Society, was founded in 1926 by fourteen Atlanta citizens who had a passion for their city’s historical relevance in society. 1990 is when the Atlanta Historical Society officially became the Atlanta History Center. This occurred after decades of after decades of researching, collecting, publishing and celebrating the early stories of the city of Atlanta. In 2016, the Atlanta History Center expanded its horizons to connect people, history, and culture in an effort to be more relevant in today’s quickly changing world.

The center’s current exhibit titled: “More Than Self: Living the Vietnam War” comes out of the center’s larger Veterans History Project that started in 1999. That project features veterans’ stories from live interviews.

Sue Verhoef, the Atlanta History Center’s Director of Oral History and Genealogy, said this about the Vietnam War exhibit: “It’s an opportunity for anyone to hear what happened from the people who experienced it.” The exhibit has six sections which covers the various themes that came out of numerous interviews with Vietnam Veterans. In addition to the oral histories there are pictures and a large array of Vietnam War relics.

All who can are encouraged to visit the Atlanta History Center located at 130 West Paces Ferry Road NW in Atlanta. It is so important to know the history of something like the Vietnam War so that we might not make similar mistakes in the future.

Listen to episode 1076 of the podcast and discover more about the Atlanta History Center’s More Than Self: Living the Vietnam War exhibit.

1075 – Filipino love child finds Vietnam Vet dad fifty years later

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Episode 1075 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a special love story. It is about a Vietnam Veteran, Gary Barnes, who recently met his daughter he never knew existed. The event was describe in a story from the Union newspaper which serves western Nevada County, California titled: DNA match introduces Grass Valley man to his daughter for the first time that was submitted by Matthew Pera.

The story began one day when Barnes was relaxing at his home in Grass Valley. As he sat back and enjoyed the view of the beautiful mountain scenery he received a phone call out of the blue asking if he would submit to a DNA test. He said—sure! and the story began. More samples were sent to Ancestry.com and before he knew it he was speaking to the fifty year old daughter he never knew was there.

The daughter, Olivia Robles, had being searching for her real father ever since she was ten years old. That was when she made the discovery her mother’s husband was not her biological father. Her mother and real father, Barnes, got together in 1966 while he was serving in the US Navy and on an R & R in the Philippines. He moved on and Olivia’s beautiful mother kept a secret from Gary. She never uttered a word about their daughter.

Back in 2014 Gary Barnes’s cousin, Diana Barnes, who lives in Alabama, submitted a DNA sample to Ancestry.com. When her DNA was analyzed she received a list of close matches that included Olivia Robles, a name she did not know. Olivia received a notification from Ancestry.com her DNA makeup was a close match with Diana Barnes. Olivia took that clue and ran with it.

Listen to episode 1075 of the podcast and discover the exciting story of how the lives of a father and his long lost daughter came together after a fifty year period of time.

1074 – Australians secure the revered Long Tan Cross

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Long Tan veteran Peter Dinham with the cross at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra last night. Picture: Kym Smith

Episode 1074 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will take a look at a very touchy situation for the government of Vietnam. It all started back in 1966 during the Vietnam War. It seems a force of 100 members of Delta company, 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment encountered 2,000 plus NVA soldiers in a rubber plantation near Long Tan, in Phuoc Tuy Province, South Vietnam. The day long battle ended with a decisive Australian victory.

Comparatively speaking the Australians paid a heavy price for their victory. 18 of their  number paid the ultimate price with their lives. The opposition forces suffered 245 killed. After the battle, surviving members of Delta Company created a concrete cross with their own hands and set it in the red dirt of the rubber plantation as a monument to honor their fellow soldiers who fell in the battle. After the War Australians would make regular annual pilgrimages to Vietnam to pay their respects to those Australian soldiers who died there.

These pilgrimages apparently began to rub the Vietnamese government the wrong way. They apparently chaffed at foreigners coming to their soil to celebrate a victory won against their army during the Vietnam War. Recently the Vietnamese banned the Australians from conducting anymore Long Tan Battle remembrances on their soil.

Something is occurring that has caused the Vietnamese to take a more conciliatory attitude toward the Long Tan Battle dispute.  Vietnam is seeking to become a more accepted member of the nations of Southeast Asia so they decided to rid themselves of this bone of contention with the Australians.

A story in The Australian titled: Secret return from Vietnam for Long Tan cross by Simon Benson describes the situation. Listen to episode 1074 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast and discover how the sensitive situation was settled to the satisfaction of both parties.

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Members of 6RAR at a ceremony to install the cross in 1969.

1073 – We now bomb Hanoi with hamburgers

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Episode 1073 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about the first McDonald’s restaurant opening in communist Hanoi. The story comes from The Japan News and is titled: Hanoi gets its 1st McDonald’s. It came from Yomiuri Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper published in Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, and other major Japanese cities. It is part of the Yomiuri Group, Japan’s largest media conglomerate.

The primary topic of the story is about the opening of the first McDonald’s in Hanoi. Another aspect of the story in addition to the significance of it being a first in that city is the person who made it all happen. Henry Nguyen was a refugee who fled the Vietnam War along with his family and who made the perilous journey to America. He grew up in Fairfax County, Virginia and his first job was at a McDonald’s restaurant. Ironically he rose up the ladder of success and returned to his homeland as a successful businessman with a McDonald’s franchise in tow.

It is the opinion of this writer that this event in Hanoi makes an even greater statement about the Vietnam Saga that has played out over the last hundred years. Rather than being a true believer in the teachings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels as presented in their Communist Manifesto written in 1848, Ho Chi Minh was something else.

This writer believes he was a committed nationalist whose primary goal was the establishment of a free and independent Vietnam. He claimed to be a communist when he saw that as the most viable way for him to go in his mission of creating an independent homeland. After the dust settled, it is clear the independent Vietnam Ho fought so hard to create is now a vibrant and growing country looking for a place to dispose the dead corpse of its formerly communist government.

Listen to episode 1073 and discover the whole story about the opening of a new era of fine dining in Hanoi that is being ushered in by the Henry Nguyen and the McDonald’s Corporation.

1072 – Vietnam Vet Dr. Brian S. Joseph has a story

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Dr. Brian S. Joseph helped develop a heroin treatment program in Vietnam after the military became concerned that mechanics who were addicts might be putting pilots and crew at risk if they were working on aircraft while high. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

Episode 1072 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature another outstanding representative of the Great Vietnam Veteran Generation. He is Dr. Brian S. Joseph of Amherst, New York which is not far from Buffalo. His story was told in an article in The Buffalo News titled: Doctor studying psychiatry helped soldiers in Vietnam hooked on heroin and submitted by Lou Michel reporter for The Buffalo News.

Brian S. Joseph grew up in North Buffalo and as long as he could remember he had a passion for helping people. Psychiatry was the method he chose to pursue that passion.  In 1969 he received an invitation from Uncle Sam to pack up his psychiatric talents and bring them with him for a yearlong tour in Vietnam. He had just completed medical school at the University at Buffalo and was completing his first year of psychiatric residency at the old E.J. Meyer Memorial Hospital in 1969.

They made him a flight surgeon and assigned him to an Army aviation unit at Can Tho which is way down south in the delta of Vietnam. Joseph immediately got to work on a serious problem facing the military in the country – a heroin epidemic among soldiers fighting the Vietnam.

Joseph described the situation and a step he took to help remedy the challenge: “There was a heroin epidemic raging among the enlisted men at the time and concern that some of the mechanics fixing the helicopters were high on heroin. “myself, the chaplain on the base and another officer developed a heroin treatment program for anyone who would come forward.”

Listen to episode 1072 and discover more about what this outstanding Vietnam Veteran, Dr. Brian S. Joseph did for the troops in Vietnam battling heroin addiction and the outstanding service he rendered to his country when he came home to Buffalo, New York.

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Dr. Brian S. Joseph, right, with his colonel at Can Tho Army Airfield in Vietnam in 1971, helped soldiers who were dealing with addiction while serving. (Courtesy of Brian S. Joseph)

1071 – The Thompson submachine gun role in Vietnam

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Thompson Sub-machine Gun

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General John T. Thompson holding an M1921

In Episode 1071 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast one of the most iconic weapons of the last 100 years and its role in the Vietnam War will be featured. The Thompson submachine gun is an American submachine gun, invented by John T. Thompson in 1918. It has been in use ever since by various civilian and uniformed users including service in the Vietnam War.

A story appeared in The NRA American Rifleman website titled: The Tommy Gun “In Country”: The Thompson SMG in Vietnam that described the venerable firearm’s service in that War. The story was submitted by Tom Laemlein, an experienced copywriter, content generator and marketing manager. He did a good job of describing how the Thompson SMG made its way onto the battlefields of Vietnam.

After the Korean War where they had been a mainstay weapon for UN troops they were pronounced obsolete by the US military in 1957. Large numbers of the “tommy guns” were stored away in U.S. arsenals after they were supplanted as the standard U.S. submachine gun by the M3A1 “Grease Gun.” Most assumed the older tommy guns would soon become recycled into now Chevrolet engines.

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The Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) was a significant user of the Thompson in the first half of the 1960s.

But hold the phone, trouble began to brew in the early 1960s over in Southeast Asia and this provided an opportunity for the Thompsons to regain a new lease on life. President Kennedy made the momentous decision to help the new South Vietnamese government in its attempt to resist the communist and highly aggressive North Vietnam.

With this, the potent Thompsons were called out of retirement and sent off to war in Vietnam to help stave the rising tide of communism in the area. Laemlein went on to describe how the SMGs were used in the war and who used them. His article contains several personal accounts of experiences with the weapon.

Listen to episode 1071 and discover the full story of the Thompson submachine guns in the Vietnam War.

1070 – Australia to commemorate its Vietnam Veterans at Wanneroo

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Medhi Rasulle’s design for the Koondoola Peace Park features Australian and Vietnamese soldiers, a Long Tan Cross and lotus flower.

In Episode 1070 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast the feature is a report on a wonderful development for Vietnam Veterans that is happening in Wanneroo, Western Australia, Australia. It was described in a story found in The Wanneroo Times titled: Koondoola Peace Park and Vietnam War tribute proposal approved by City of Wanneroo and written by Lucy Jarvis of the Wanneroo Times staff.

The City of Wanneroo had decided to spend $198,020(Aus) for the creation of a memorial in its Koondoola Park. Quinns Rocks sculptor Mehdi Rasulle has presented a proposal that has received a great deal of support by the working committee.

One of the primary goals of the memorial will be to honor the service of Australians who participated in the Battle of Long Tan that occurred back in August of 1966 in Vietnam.  The battle took off when a force of 100 Australian soldiers encountered 2500 NVA soldiers in a rubber plantation. The Australians prevailed and when the smoke cleared after the day long battle 245 NVA soldiers lay dead. The brave Australians suffered 18 dead. It is believed the NVA lost more than 245 soldiers because of their policy of removing as many of their dead as possible after a battle. It is appropriate for the Australians to be proud of their soldier’s performance in the battle.

Wanneroo city leaders stated they are aiming “to create a space for reflection and commemoration for people who had done military service and their family members, particularly during the Vietnam War.”  The project working group includes representatives from the Vietnamese Association of Western Australia and the Wanneroo Returned and Service League of Australia.

Wanneroo mayor Tracey Roberts said “many members of our community will find this a very special place to sit and reflect.” Domenic Zappa, the city councilor who put forward the original motion for a peace park in 2016, said it would be a special place for service men and women who fought in the Vietnamese conflict.

Listen to episode 1070 and discover more about this wonderful thing the good people of  Wanneroo, Western Australia are doing to commemorate their veterans.