665 – Army stets CSM Plumley’s record much like Hillary Clinton’s were

Command Sgt. Major Basil Plumley, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

The late Command Sgt. Major Basil Plumley at the United States Military Academy at West Point on May 10, 2010. (Wikimedia)

In this episode the story featured in Episode 611 will be revisited. Recently a follow up story in military.com titled: Army to Keep Infantry Icon’s Awards Unchanged Despite ‘Discrepancies’ submitted by Matthew Cox tells about the results of a request by military history researcher, Brian Siddall, to have the headstone of CSM Basil Plumley altered.

CSM Plumley served with then LTC Hal Moore during the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley in Vietnam. In that battle, the first between large scale forces in the War, LTC Moore’s unit, the 1st of the 7th Cav with 450 soldiers fought against a force of 4000 NVA troops at LZ X-Ray. The actions of the Americans in that battle inspired a book written in 1992 titled: “We Were Soldiers Once … and Young,” co-authored by Joseph L. Galloway and retired Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore. The book was later made into a movie .

In the like named movie, LTC Moore was portrayed by none other than Mel Gibson and CSM Plumley was played by Sam Elliott. The movie elevated the CSM to celebrity status.

Everything seems wonderful for CSM Plumley who recently passed away from cancer on Oct. 10, 2012 at the age of 92. Unfortunately research by Siddall indicated the CSM may have made claims about his military service that were not true. He felt compelled to request that Plumley’s headstone at Fort Benning, Georgia be corrected. That request kicked of a review by Army Human Resources Command.

In Cox’s article it was reported that Lt. Col. Janet Herrick, a spokeswoman for HRC announced: “Based on the facts available, U.S. Army Human Resources Command has determined there is no substantial evidence that any of CSM (R) Basil Plumley’s awards or decorations are in error. Absent this evidence, U.S. Army Human Resources Command is not authorized to alter or amend CSM (R) Plumley’s military records.”

Listen to the podcast and see if you agree with the findings and recommendations of Brian Siddall.

664 – Swift Boat Tour Update


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Janna Hoehn, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Janna Hoehn at home in Kihei on Maui.

We have just received exciting news from Janna Hoehn out in Hawaii. She reports she has completed another state in her quest to find photos of fallen Vietnam Veterans whose name is on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC. She announced that after three years of hard work in the state she finished Washington. To date she has completed Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Colorado, Montana, Nevada  and helped complete Idaho and South Dakota. Next she is going to be searching for missing photos in Nebraska. All in that state are encouraged to give her a hand in this noble effort.

Click here for more information about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund Education Center.

If you have any questions about the program or some helpful information for Janna in her search she can be reached at: neverforgotten2014@gmail.com

Swift Boat Tour, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Swift Boat sailors Dave Bradley, Bob Bolger, and John Paul Jones aboard the restored vessel

In this episode we will be checking up on the ongoing Swift Boat tour in southern California. This is a follow up to Episode 654 which announced the Swift Boat tour taking place in California. The update comes from a story in The San Diego Reader titled: Swift Boat tour up the California coast by Ken Harrison.

The fully restored from the ground up Swift Boat PCF #816 is making a ten stop tour from Oceanside Harbor up to Santa Barbara ending on August 6. This Swift Boat did not see service in Vietnam but trained many of the Swift Boat sailors at Coronado. After the War it served in the Maltese Navy until it was retired in 2010 and returned to Shelter Island in August 2012. A call was put out for former Swift Boat sailors to help with the restoration; 36 showed up and worked for four months on the project.

The sailors who served aboard Swift Boats in Vietnam deserve much respect and admiration for the jobs they accomplished under very trying conditions. All who can are encouraged to go and see this tribute to the bravery of US Sailors in the Vietnam War.

663 – Vietnam Vets still winning medals

 Vietnam Vets compete, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Frederick resident and Marine Corps veteran Christopher Musick,left, learned to walk and swim again with the help of coaches at hood College and Shepherd University. Musick won a fourth-place ribbon in the 25-meter breastroke in addition to a national award. He is shown with Hood College swimming coach Don Feinberg at the Hood aquatic center.

Vietnam Veterans are beginning to show their age a little bit. The country is celebrating The 50 Year Commemoration of that war so that tells you something about the ages of the participants. In this episode we are taking a  look  at the accomplishments of two Vietnam Veterans who are in a way following the advice of Dylan Thomas who said in a poem to his father

“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

Bob Dozier, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Brunswick resident Robert “Bob” Dozier, an Army veteran, won a silver medal in doubles badminton.

In a story from The Frederick News-Post titled: Local Vietnam veterans win big at national athletic competition submitted by Sylvia Carignan scarignan@newspost.com the accomplishments of two Vietnam Veterans in the field of athletics. They are Robert “Bob” Dozier, an Army veteran and Marine Corps veteran Christopher Musick.

They both competed in the National Veterans Golden Age Games in Detroit. Dozier and Musick competed as part of Team Martinsburg, from the Martinsburg VA Medical Center. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs conducts the Golden Age Games for military veterans who are 55 or older, receiving health care from the VA and who have completed a rehabilitation program for military veterans who are 55 or older and receiving health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Musick came down with pneumonia in 2011 and it was so bad he had to relearn how to walk. At the Golden Age Games he not only won a ribbon for fourth place in the 25-meter breast stroke event but he received the national Marilyn Iverson Challenge Award, which is presented to first-time Golden Age Games athletes who embody the games’ mission of living an active lifestyle year-round. Not bad for someone who almost died from pneumonia.

Musick’s Army veteran buddy, Bob Dozier won a silver medal in doubles badminton. The Martinsburg team broke its previous records and came home with 26 medals — including 11 gold medals — and 11 ribbons.

The message to all Vietnam Veterans is stay fit and “Do not go gentle into that good night.”

662 – American Thinker unloads on VA chief Robert McDonald

Robert McDonald, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Robert McDonald – 8th United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs

In this episode we are going to take a look at an opinion about Robert McDonald, the eighth United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs. He is the retired Chairman, President, and CEO of Procter & Gamble. He was appointed by President Obama in 2014 to head the agency charged with helping veterans. The opinion comes in an article posted in The American Thinker titled: Obama’s Mr. Terrific submitted by Joanna Rosamond

Rosamond believes Mr. McDonald is challenged in the veracity department. She states this about the Secretary: “Secretary McDonald has “misspoken” on several occasions, embellishing his military record and magnifying the number of unfit employees who were fired, but this is the biggest lie of them all: “Still, simple words from West Point´s Cadet Prayer guide me — choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.””

She pointed out that after Mr. McDonald made the regrettable statement where he compared wait times in getting health services at a VA hospital to that of waiting in line at an amusement park, he was commended by President Obama when he  stated: “I think Secretary McDonald has done a terrific job.” This made her wonder if the president was merely tone deaf or if there is something more sinister to his attitude.

Rosamond brought up other examples of lost rectitude on the secretary’s part. One is where the secretary stated 90% of Veterans are either “completely satisfied” or “satisfied” getting the appointment when they wanted.  This is puzzling when considering a VA IG report that revealed more than 300,000 American Veterans died while waiting for health care.  Are we talking success?

In 2014 the Obama administration had a goal to end veteran homelessness by 2015. McDonald reported that as of 2016 it had been eliminated in just two states. At the rate it will take 48 more years to end homelessness. Could the VA have used some of the $5.2 million they spent for a botched VA marketing campaign to help house veterans.

These and other valid points are raised by Rosamond.

661 – Vietnam re-enactment planned in Elgin, Illinois

2/327TH VIETNAM RE-ENACTMENT GROUP, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Re-enactors from the 2/327th Vietnam Re-Enactment Group show what a typical Vietnam War encampment looked like during a re-enactment earlier this year in Peoria. – COURTESY OF 2/327TH VIETNAM RE-ENACTMENT GROUP

Re-enactments of famous wars and battles is a fairly common occurrence in this country. Most are Civil War battles followed by those from the American revolution and a few from World War II. You don’t hear much about Vietnam re-enactments but they do happen from time to time. In this episode we will take a look at one happening in Elgin, Illinois. It is reported on in a story from The Daily Herald of Elgin, Illinois titled: Rare Vietnam re-enactments coming to Elgin by Dave Gathman Daily Herald correspondent.

Gathman reports that the Event spokesman Rick Pennington, who teaches social studies at Hampshire Middle School and lives in Marengo, said Vietnam re-enactments are rare, because while the American Revolution inspires us, the Civil War stirs us and World War II is seen as “the last good war,” Vietnam remains a hot potato. Pennington a 34-year-old Elgin is a self described ” history geek.” His grandfather served as an Army medic during World War II and he liked to hear him talk about his experiences in that war.

He began to collect equipment and weapons from World War II which he would take to weekend gatherings of re-enactors. He met eleven other re-enactors from his neighborhood west of Chicago who expressed an interest in doing re-enactments of the Vietnam War. With the help of Scott Adams, a Roscoe, Illinois, native who had served in Vietnam in the Second Battalion of the 327th Infantry Regiment, part of the legendary 101st Airborne Division they formed a new unit called the 2/327th Vietnam Re-Enactment Group.

After taking part in shows in the southern part of the state they are now planning to hold a show in the Chicago suburb of Elgin. It will be called “Return to the A Shau,” a rather unnerving thought to anyone who was anywhere near that valley during the Vietnam War.

Pennington has done a good job in setting up this show and all in the area are encouraged to come and see it to learn about a painful piece of American history.

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday

Where: Camp Big Timber, 37W955 Big Timber Road, between Elgin and Gilberts

Admission: $5; free for veterans and kids 5 and younger

More information: See 2/327th Re-Enactment Group Facebook page or email worldwar2rick@yahoo.com

Rick Pennington, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Rick Pennington and members of the 2/327th Vietnam Re-Enactment Group are holding a re-enactment in Elgin this weekend. – DAVE GATHMAN, FOR THE Daily Herald

660 – Veterans fight PTSD with music



Chris Mumford, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

. Jeff Williams, center, tries out a tune on his fiddle that is quickly picked up by guitarists Bob Simpson, right, and Paul Newkirk, left. Drummer Chris Mumford, back, is inviting musicians to join the jam band, that could be split into country and rock groups, to help raise money for veterans’ causes. Photo by RaeLynn Ricarte.

PTSD is a big problem for many Vietnam Veterans. It also is a challenge for veterans of other wars. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for PTSD, reports the following numbers for different war eras:

  • About 15 out of every 100 Vietnam veterans have been diagnosed with chronic PTSD and about 30 percent have experienced the disorder after going into combat.
  • Twelve out of every 100 Gulf War veterans struggle with PTSD-related issues.
  • Between 11 and 20 out of 100 veterans from Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom experience PTSD.

There is no magic potion known to the medical profession that will cure PTSD but that isn’t stopping a veteran out in The Dalles, Oregon from trying to help other vets with the condition. Chris Mumford is a Vietnam Era veteran who is also a musician with lots of experience in the music business.

Not long ago from a show about veterans he discovered medical clinicians believe music is beneficial for veterans suffering from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). Without missing a beat he decided to use his background in music to help veterans.

The results to his campaign is chronicled in two articles found in The Dalles Chronicle titled: Vets, musicians sought for band and Band for vets gets underway by RaeLynn Ricarte. The two articles described how he first put out the call for both musicians and veterans with PTSD who wanted learn how to play a musical instrument to join the program and how the program is succeeding.

Chris is planning on organizing two bands. One called “Barbed Wire” to play rock music and another called “Outside the Wire” playing other types of music. All in the area are encouraged to support the effort to help veterans and have fun at the same time.

For more information, or to donate an instrument, call Mumford at 541-298-2719, Gorge Community Music at 541-296-2900 or email team@gorgecommunitymusic.com.

659 – Another Vietnam Vet, Bill Hacker, has passed on




Bill Hacker, vietnam vetetran news, mack payne

Bill Hacker. Courtesy of Barbara Hacker.

Another brave Vietnam Veteran has passed on. Bill Hacker of Meriden, Connecticut died on July 6 after a three-month battle with cancer. The account of his life and passing was recounted in a story from the Record Journal titled: Meriden resident, Vietnam War veteran remembered for push to honor fallen soldier by Bryan Lipiner of the Record-Journal staff.

His story has two interesting elements. First, he was involved in the delayed awarding of the Congressional Medal of Honor to another Vietnam Veteran and secondly how he and his wife got married.

In January 1970, while on patrol in Vietnam, Hacker was seriously injured after snagging a trip wire that was attached to a grenade. Instantly another soldier, 20-year-old Donald Sloat from Coweta, Oklahoma, threw himself on the grenade. Sloat died but his action saved the lives of several of his fellow soldiers. Hacker was tortured by memories of the event for the rest of  his life. It caused him to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Donald Sloat’s heroism was not recognized at the time but it could and should not be forgotten. Because of testimony provided by Hacker and other squad members several years ago, Sloat posthumously received the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration awarded by the U.S. government, in September 2014.

Hacker had a girl friend in Meriden before he went to Vietnam who wrote to him every day while he was in country. When he return home in 1970 he had to get away so he moved to Mississippi without his girl friend and future wife Barbara. He had to get his mind straight. They reconnected in 1991 after a phone conversation between Bill’s sister and Barbara’s family. Barbara Hacker visited Bill in Mississippi, and he moved back to Connecticut a short time later. The two married in May 1993.

Bill Hacker, rest in peace.  

Bill Hacker, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Bill Hacker (back row, far right) at a ceremony with President Barack Obama commemorating the bravery of the soldier who sacrificed himself in January 1970. Courtesy of Barbara Hacker.

658 – Vietnam Vet James Fletcher overcame his demons


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James Fletcher, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

James Fletcher stands underneath the American Flag outside his Edgewood Road home Friday in Natchez. Fletcher is a Vietnam War veteran and has since felt a calling from God to minister to people in the Miss-Lou. (Nicole Hester / The Natchez Democrat)

In this episode another story about a member of the Great Vietnam Veteran Generation is featured. It comes from The Natchez Democrat titled: Natchez man finds faith after war, drinking submitted by Cain Madden. The article tells about Vietnam Vet James Fletcher and the challenges he had to overcome.

James tells about the motivation that helped him decide to join the US Army knowing he would be going straight to Vietnam. He had failed to graduate from high school due to his failure to pass a math course. Rather than tell his mother about his failed graduation attempt he joined the Army. He went on to serve on the front lines in that war and was medevaced home early due to injuries received when the vehicle he was in hit a mine.

After leaving the service he got his high school diploma and then proceeded to earn a degree in sociology from the University of Southern Mississippi. He did not realize it at the time but PTSD kept him from holding regular jobs for many years. James said he became a functional drunk because he was tormented by his wartime memories and he could sleep only after drinking enough to pass out.

In 1992, he was confronted about his drinking. “One day I came to church, and a man leaned close to me and said, ‘James, you’ve got nothing but the devil in you.” That one comment started him on his road to recovery. Later he answered a call from God and became a preacher to those in prison. He believes “There are some good men in jail who just got on the wrong path.” He is on a mission to help those serving time in jails and prisons.

657 – Janna Hoehn closes out Colorado

Janna Hoehn, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Janna Hoehn at home in Kihei on Maui.

Janna Hoehn, a good friend of this podcast, has reached a major milestone. She is an unpaid volunteer helping to find missing pictures of fallen Vietnam Veterans whose name is on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington DC. She was encouraged by The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund eight years ago to give them a hand in finding missing photos from the Island of Maui. Not only did she find the requested images in a short period of time, she went on to find missing photos for the entire state of Hawaii. She was moved to continue seeking more missing photos in other states. She headed east in her search.

One of the states she was pursuing was Colorado. It was a tough assignment. Of the 626 Coloradans on the wall there were 281 missing pictures when she started her quest. Today she announced the job is done in Colorado. The feat was featured in a story in The La Junta Tribune-Democrat titled: Labor of love complete submitted by Dana Kwist. Janna is doing tremendous things in this mission she is pursuing.

Her work has resulted in complete sets of pictures for the states of South Dakota, Montana, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Alaska, and now Colorado. As Colorado and other states came closer and closer to finding all of theirs, she began to focus on Nebraska, then, last fall, she set out to find the 1,150 missing pictures from Texas. Texans enthusiastically embraced Janna’s campaign, where she has found about 800 in the last nine months. From there the hunt moved to Kansas and Oklahoma and now recently into Missouri.

All are encouraged to help Janna in her quest to find all of the missing pictures. The Wall of Faces exhibit that will soon be a part of the Vietnam Memorial needs help. The Education Center aims to display all pictures of those lost in the war. For more information visit The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund  website at: www.wmf.org

Contact Janna Hoehn at: neverforgotten2014@gmail.com for more assistance in finding missing pictures.

656 – Vietnam Vet Tom Foor tells his story

Tom Foor, Vietnam Veteran news, mack payne

Tom Foor poses with the barrel of his cannon, Bad News III, during the Vietnam War.

In this episode, Tom Foor, another prime example of the Great Vietnam Veteran Generation will be featured. A review of his experiences related to Vietnam was published in The Sentinel of Carlisle, Pennsylvania titled: Voices of Service: Soldier returns to Vietnam after injuries submitted by Jeffrey Hawks Education Director for Army Heritage Center Foundation. The story was part of The Sentinel program that salutes local Vietnam War veterans and participants with a year-long series of stories that will be published every Saturday in History. Called “Voices of Service,” the weekly feature examines how the war shaped officers and enlisted personnel from every branch of the military in every phase of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Tom gives a vivid account of his Vietnam memories stretching from his entry into the Army through the happy day his parents met him at the airport in Pittsburg when he arrived home from the war. It was a little depressing to hear him tell of the three soldiers who deserted the night before they were shipping out and ran off to Canada.

In my opinion he was fortunate to be assigned to a 105mm howitzer battery in the 1st Cavalry Division. The 1st Cav was the elite, air mobile “fire brigade” of Vietnam. They seemed to be moving constantly around the country to where ever there was a need.

Tom was wounded not long after he arrived and was sent to Cam Ranh Bay for rehabilitation. One day while he was lying in his bunk he heard a familiar voice and it turned out to be none other than Jimmie Stewart who was visiting wounded soldiers in Vietnam.

Unfortunately when Tom came home he processed through San Francisco and encountered the ugliness of anti war protestors. Those low life individuals did not dim his happiness at going home or his appreciation of his time in the Army. Here is what Tom Foor has to say about his military time “I wouldn’t trade my memories in the Army for a million bucks.”