966 – Vietnam veteran builds B-17 bomber

Jack Bally, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Jack Bally is seen with the one third scale B-17G bomber he built in Dixon, Illinois. Alex T. Paschal. Sauk Valley Media

In episode 966 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast another excellent representative of the great Vietnam Veteran Generation will be featured. The Vietnam Veteran Generation is great because its members went off to serve their country in very trying circumstances in Vietnam and then they came home and continued serving their country in a wide spectrum of pursuits that help make and keep it great.

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Rachel Rodgers of Sauk Valley Media

Vietnam Veteran Jack Bally of Dixon, Illinois has done something noteworthy. He built a one third sized model of a B-17G World War II bomber. His accomplishment was covered in a story by Rachel Rodgers of the Sauk Valley Media titled: Vietnam veteran builds B-17 bomber.

Rodgers tells how Bally, a 76 year old retired carpenter, spent 45 to 50 hours a week, for 17 years and 10 months building his B-17. Bally’s lifelong fascination with aviation moved him to build model airplanes after he finished his hitch in the Army Signal Corps. In the past he has built a Kitfox Model 3, a Georgia Special and ultralight Sky Pup.

When it came time for his next project he decided he wanted to do something unique – something no one else had done before in model airplanes. Bally stated: “I didn’t want to build the same one everyone else was building. There are no four-engine ones that I know of in the world.”

Bally's B-17G, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Bally spent 45 to 50 hours a week, for 17 years and 10 months, working on the bomber before the Federal Aviation Administration certified it as flight-ready.

His B-17G weighs 1,564 pounds and contains 25,000 rivets. It has a wingspan of 103 feet and is 74 feet from nose to tail. It flies with only one person on board, the pilot. He hasn’t taken the controls on any of its flights because “I’m too shaky to fly it,” he said.

Discover more about the amazing accomplishment of the Vietnam Veteran Jack Bally in episode 966 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast.

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965 – Vietnam War pilot makes final journey

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More than 1,500 American flags will be placed all over Assumption, Illinois and along U.S. 51, in honor of Capt. Joe Smith, a Vietnam War pilot killed in action who’s remains were recently discovered.

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Capt. Joe Smith

The story about a brave US Air Force pilot’s return home will be featured in this episode number 965 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast. Assumption, Illinois native, Joe Smith flew an F-100 Super Sabre fighter jet over Indo-China during the Vietnam War. On April 4, 1971 he was shot down over the badlands of Cambodia. Initially he was declared MIA and was a short time later declared KIA. When he died in Cambodia he left a widow, Elaine, who coordinated a memorial service for him in Assumption on April 17, 1971, with three military aircraft flying over St. Mary’s Catholic Church in salute. His widowed mother, Jean Smith, who passed away in 1994 never gave up hope he son would come home alive.

Beginning in 1996 search teams from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency have been combing through the mountains and jungles of the former Indo-China region searching for remains of missing American service personnel. In February 2016, a DPAA team discovered remains in Smith’s downed aircraft. They were recently identified as belonging to Smith.

When is remains were positively identified with a DNA analysis, the word spread fast in Assumption, his home town. He was a highly thought of 1963 Graduate of Assumption High School where he served as the senior class president. Two stories about the identification and planned services appeared in The Herald @ Review of Decatur, Illinois titled: COMING HOME Assumption pilot killed during Vietnam War making final flight home and Final journey to Assumption for Vietnam War pilot killed in action. The stories were submitted by Tony Reid, a staff writer for the Herald & Review (treid@herald-review.com|(217) 421-7977).

Smith’s remains will held at Seitz Funeral Home in Assumption until Monday, July 17, 2017. A funeral mass will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Assumption. Burial, with full military honors, will follow in St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery. Weather permitting, the Air Force has arranged for a fly-by of jets in a final salute to their comrade, home at last.

Funeral director Michael Seitz says he has handled a lot of final arrangements but has never seen anything quite like this. Get the whole story about this event at episode 965 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast.

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964 – Vietnam Era musicians’ secrets

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This undated file photo shows members of the Grateful Dead, from left: Mickey Hart, Phil Lesh, Jerry Garcia, Brent Mydland, Bill Kreutzmann and Bob Weir. The Summer of Love in 1967 made a turning point in rock ‘n’ roll history, introducing America to the exciting new sounds coming out of San Francisco’s local music scene. The Associated Press file.

In episode 964 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast musicians of the era will share their thoughts about the 1967 “Summer of Love” and the music it produced. That music was significant to all Vietnam Veterans because it was intertwined with the times and its memories.

A story appearing in The Times online website of Beaver, Pennsylvania titled:  Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir, other rockers recall iconic summer that was submitted by Jocelyn Gecker of the Associated Press offers a fascinating insight into the musicians of the times and their thoughts on the music and the forces that brought it about.

Quoting Gecker “In San Francisco the Summer of Love in 1967 marked a turning point in rock and roll history: It introduced America to the exciting new sounds coming out of San Francisco’s local music scene.

There was the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Big Brother and the Holding Company, which launched Janis Joplin’s career, and Country Joe and the Fish, another signature band of the era.

She interviewed members of these bands to discuss their memories of that legendary summer and how it shaped their careers and influenced their lives.

Here are the summer of love luminaries she spoke with:

Bob Weir, 69. Grateful Dead, guitarist, vocals.

Country Joe McDonald, 75. Country Joe and the Fish, lead singer, guitar.

Dave Getz, 77. Big Brother and the Holding Company, drummer.

David Freiberg, 78. Quicksilver Messenger Service, bassist and vocals. Joined Jefferson Airplane in the early 1970s.

Their stories described the times and how it brought about a whole new genre of music Vietnam Veterans will remember forever. It is embedded in their memories of those troubled times.

Discover for yourself what these golden oldies had to say about those times and the music it generated at episode 964 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast.

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963 – Ken Burns Vietnam War project most ambitious yet

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THE RIGHT MOMENT Filmmakers Lynn Novick and Ken Burns at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Photograph by David Burnett.

David Kamp, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

David Kamp

In episode 963 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s epic documentary The Vietnam War will be highlighted once again. A very thoughtful and deliberative report on the presentation recently appeared in The Vanity Fair magazine titled: Why The Vietnam War Is Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s Most Ambitious Project Yet. It was submitted by David Kamp, a Vanity Fair contributing editor since 1996. He lives in New York City.

It is fair to say that the Vietnam War is a very touchy subject for all Vietnam Veterans. Due to the enormity of that trying episode of our country’s history it is not easy to create an all encompassing look at the conflict. It is beginning to look like Ken Burns and his business partner Lynn Novick may just have accomplished that task.

The writer David Kamp has interviewed the two and watched the whole series in a marathon viewing session a few days before meeting with the filmmakers. He described it as “a knock-you-sideways experience that was as enlightening as it was emotionally taxing.” The Vietnam War, has been more than 10 years in the making. The series premieres on PBS on September 17, its 10 episodes totaling 18 hours of viewing.

The Vietnam War, written by the historian Geoffrey C. Ward and narrated by Peter Coyote, is rich, revelatory, and scrupulously evenhanded. Burns and Novick’s production crew interviewed all of the 79-person roster of contributors that included veterans of the U.S. armed forces (including P.O.W.’s), former diplomats, a Gold Star mother, an anti-war protest organizer, an army deserter who fled to Canada and journalists who covered the war. Both North and South Vietnamese veterans of the War were also a part of the contributors.

Get more of the story about the epic documentary The Vietnam War in episode 963 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast.

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962 – Vietnam War protestors have blood on their hands

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Thousands marched across heavy traffic, shut sown highways and rerouted traffic May 9, 1972, in Mankato. Student activists protesting the war in Vietnam blocked motorists access to the Main Street and North Star bridges and stopped traffic on Highway 169. File photo

In episode 962 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast the issue of complicity on the part of anti-war protestors in the elongation of the Vietnam War is the featured topic. A recent op-ed in The Mankato Free Press titled: Vietnam protests extended war that was submitted by Gary Lindsay of North Mankato shed much light on the subject.

Lindsay expressed an opinion in his op-ed that is shared by many Vietnam Veterans. That is the belief that the anti-war protestors did in fact cause the war to drag out longer than was necessary. That in effect caused more names to be added to the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington and more mothers with broken lives.

The Tet Offensive that occurred in February of 1968 illustrates the contention. The Tet Offensive kicked on the first of February of that year. It was a massive attack of towns and cities across the country. The leaders in North Vietnam were frustrated with their inability to defeat the South Vietnamese and their American led allies.

They decided to roll the dice and gamble everything they had with one big offensive hoping to drive the Americans out of South Vietnam so they could have their way with the Southerners and realize their goal of installing a Communist paradise in a unified Vietnam.

They even convinced the National Liberation Front cadre, better known as the Viet Cong, to come out of their rat holes into the open and assist in the defeat of the South Vietnamese and their imperialist American allies.

In reality it was all for naught. The North suffered a grievous defeat. The Viet Cong leadership apparatus was destroyed. The North lost everything including more than 50,000 dead troops.

Strangely Walter Cronkite and others in the media pronounced the Tet Offensive to be a tremendous victory for the North and defeat for the American coalition. This gave addition impetus to the protestors.

Here more the featured opinion and a personal account of the Tet Offensive in episode 962 in the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast.

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961 – Vietnam Vet leads rumble through Arizona

Nation of Patriots ride, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Nation of Patriots ride through Arizona.

Episode 961 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature Dan Smith, a US Air Force Vietnam Veteran and the work he is doing with the NOPA. There was a story about him and that organization in The Daily Miner, “The trusted local news leader for Kingman, Arizona and Mohave County” that is titled: Nation of Patriots to rumble through Kingman and was submitted by Aaron Ricca.

The story was about the Arizona portion of the NOP’s annual Patriot Tour™ where members conduct a nationwide motorcycle rumble to encourage patriotism and support for our veterans and their families. The 2017 Tour began in Madison, Wisconsin on Memorial Day and will end back in Madison on Labor Day.

The Nation of Patriots™ was formed in 2008. They launched the very first Patriot Tour™ in 2009. Their humble start has led to a huge following across the country and they continue to work on expanding their membership and mission. Their focus has been and always will be this: to provide financial support to those who have served in our Armed Forces and their families. They believed all our veterans  have volunteered their lives in the preservation, protection and future of The United States and all of its citizens. For this all members of the NOP are grateful.

Dan Smith serves as the NOP Arizona Regional Commander. He became a member in 2010 when NOP founder Bill Sherer asked if there was anyone willing to carry the flag (through Arizona) and Smith said. “Hell yeah! I’ll carry the flag for anyone.”

Smith said “What we’re looking for is people to show up and support us, our veterans and even ride with us. Donations are definitely appreciated.” He added that the NOP raises money through its national network and distributes it directly to the families they strive to support,

Get more on the NOPA rumble through Arizona at episode 961 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast.

CLICK HERE for more information about the Nation of Patriots.

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960 – Unlearned Agent Orange lessons and Monsanto

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Avocado trees growing on steep hillsides near Valley Center, California are seen in this file photo. Roundup is used on 250 types of crops in California

Episode 960 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will see the ugly head of Agent Orange arise with a lesson from the past that should be carefully evaluated. The situation was covered in a story appearing on The Buffalo Rising website titled: Rounding Up Roundup! The story was submitted by Newell Nussbaumer, the ‘queenseyes’ of Buffalo, New York.

Vietnam Veterans are well aware of the perils of exposure to the widely used defoliant in Vietnam known as Agent Orange. The etymology of that name derives from the practice of storing the chemical in white 55 gallon drums with orange stripes. There was other identical “agents” with other hues in their names according to the colors of the stripes on their storage drums.

The “willy – nilly” use of Agent Orange in the War produced some beneficial results. Moving the heavy vegetation back from the edges of rivers and streams save many lives on American military river crafts. The opposition forces were deprived of hiding places that made the job of locating and destroying them easier. Unfortunately this story has a powerful BUT. One of the components of Agent Orange is a chemical known as 2,3,7,8-tetrachloro-dibenzo-para-dioxin, or TCDD or just plain dioxin. Dioxin just happens to be one of the most deadly molecules ever created. It is carcinogenic – that means it causes cancer in humans and other animals.

Unfortunately along with the several benefits of the use of Agent Orange there was a significant downside. It caused much suffering and death among those ill-fated enough to be exposed to the chemical defoliant.

Therein we arrive at the question facing mankind today. The Buffalo Rising story, Rounding Up Roundup!, delves into the horns of a dilemma. We must decide if the benefits of using chemical defoliants outweigh their hazards.

Get the whole story surrounding this situation at episode 960 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast.

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959 – An amazing story – Marine killed in Vietnam and buried comes back from the dead

Ronald L. Ridgeway, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Retired Marine Ronald L. Ridgeway, photographed at his Texas home, was 18 years old in 1968 when his patrol was attacked in Vietnam. He was captured and held prisoner for five years before being released, a time during which he was believed dead. (Matthew Busch for The Washington Post)

In episode 959 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast you will be privileged to hear one of the most bizarre stories to come out of the Vietnam War. The story appeared in The Washington Post and was titled: ‘Killed’ in Vietnam and buried with comrades, one Marine returned from the dead. The story was submitted by Michael E. Ruane.

Ronald L. Ridgeway, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

A 1973 photograph of Ridgeway after his return to the United States. (Matthew Busch for The Washington Post)

The story is about the highly unusual experiences of Ronald L. Ridgeway who grew up in Houston, Texas and attended Sam Houston High School. At the age of 17 he joined the Marine Corps in 1967. In February of 1968 he found himself in a Marine company fighting in the crucial battle at Khe Sanh.

The situation for the Marines at Khe Sanh was perilous. They numbered 4,000 Marines and were surrounded by 20,000 to 40,000 North Vietnamese soldiers who were intent upon creating another Dien Bien Phu. That was in 1954 where Viet Minh commander Vo Nguyen Giap defeated a force of 15,000 French troops. That resulted in France withdrawing from Indo-China and the creation of North and South Vietnam. That led directly into the next conflict which involved the US. The Marines’ mission at Khe Sanh was to prevent another Dien Bien Phu. The stakes were high and the fighting was fierce.

That February Ridgeway and his platoon was involved in a terrible action where they were named “the ghost patrol.” They gained that title when they were sent out on a patrol to recon enemy positions, and possibly capture a prisoner. When the dust cleared more than two dozen Marines, including the platoon leader, were killed.

A few weeks after the battle Ridgeway’s mother received the dreaded letter informing her that her son was killed in Vietnam. On Sept. 10, he was buried in a national cemetery in St. Louis. His mother attended the burial and went home with a folded American flag. Little did she know she would soon see her son alive and well again.

Find out the rest of this amazing story in episode 959 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast.

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958 – Wisconsin honors its fallen Vietnam Veterans

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Wisconsin Wall of Faces Kayla Breese/River News

In episode 958 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast you are going to be treated to a story that will warm your heart and fortify your patriotism. It comes from The Northwoods River News of Rhinelander, Wisconsin – the official newspaper of the Oneida County Seat and is titled: Face for Every Name: Vietnam veterans memorial exhibit comes to Rhinelander. The story was submitted by Kayla Breese a Feature Writer for the River News.

First, a little background on this story. After the Vietnam Memorial Wall was completed and dedicated in 1982 the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Fund which led the way to making the Wall a reality made a momentous decision. It was resolved to create an education center adjacent to the Memorial Wall that would among other things house an exhibit called the “Wall of Faces.” That facility is designed to contain a picture of every person whose name is on the Wall. It was a daunting task to locate a picture for all the 58,315 names on the Wall.

CLICK HERE for more information about the VVMF and Wall of Faces.

Wisconsin is one of the states that has secured a picture of every one of its 1161 state residents who lost their lives in Vietnam. It addition to sending the photos to the Wall of Faces project in Washington DC, they have put together their own pictures exhibit called: “Wisconsin Remembers: A Face for Every Name.

The awesome Wisconsin exhibit was made possible by Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television with assistance from the Wisconsin Veterans Museum and the Wisconsin Newspaper Association. The exhibit is based in Madison and is frequently moved around the state for viewing.

Recently the GFWC Rhinelander Woman’s Club sponsored an exhibition of the Wisconsin Wall in Rhinelander for the July 4, 2017 Celebration. Discover the amazing things that happened at that celebration in episode 958 of the Vietnam Veteran News.

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957 – USMC Vietnam Vet Michael Reagan changes lives with a pencil

Michael Reagan, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Michael Reagan and some of the celebrity portraits he drew Courtesy Michael Reagan

In episode 957 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast another tremendous representative of the great Vietnam Veteran Generation will be featured. That Vietnam Veteran is Michael Reagan, an internationally recognized artist. The amazing things he is doing for Gold Star Families was highlighted in a story on the website people.com titled: Vietnam War Veteran Provides Grieving Military Families Comfort by Sketching Fallen Soldiers which was submitted by Diane Herbst.

In 1968 Reagan was serving as a Marine in Vietnam when just before his was scheduled to come home his best friend was killed in a rocket attack. When Reagan returned home he was grateful to be alive, but he was burdened with the nagging feeling that he had a debt to pay. Reagan of Edmonds, Washington, now 70 formerly worked for the University of Washington as an artist after he left Vietnam.

At the University of Washington he found a way to begin repaying that nagging debt. He drew signed portraits of the biggest celebrities in the world that were auctioned off at charity events benefitting children and cancer research, raising over $10 million dollars for the nonprofits such as Seattle’s Children’s Hospital.

Michael Reagan truly is an outstanding representative of the Vietnam Veteran Generation. He not only served his country in Vietnam but he continued serving his country at the University of Washington as an artist, but wait there’s more.

In 2004 something happened that changed Reagan’s life along with thousands of Gold Star Families. It helped him realize what he calls his “destiny.” His new destiny motivated him to establish the Fallen Heroes Project.

Discover what that momentous event was in episode 957 that put Michael Reagan on the road to helping heal the wounds of war. You will be amazed and impressed by this wonderful person and his story.

CLICK HERE for more information about the Fallen Heroes Project.

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