1006 – Pentagon changing bad paper policy

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Veterans attend a presentation at the Capitol in Washington on March 1, 2017, as lawmakers heard from American Legion representatives about veterans’ issues. CARLOS BONGIOANNI/STARS AND STRIPES

Episode 1006 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will deal with the unpleasant issue of veteran’s bad paper (bad paper referring to anything less than an honorable discharge from the military). The Defense Department on Monday issued a sweeping policy change to afford more leeway to veterans seeking upgrades to their other-than-honorable discharges.

A memorandum dated Aug. 25 instructs the Army Review Boards Agency, the office charged with changing military records, to give “liberal consideration” to veterans looking to upgrade their less-than-honorable discharges, or “bad paper.”

There was a story on this development in the Star and Stripes titled: Pentagon expands policy to upgrade vets’ bad paper discharges submitted by Nikki Wentling, a Stars And Stripes writer. In her story, Wentling laid out the basis of the argument made by various veterans groups for the Defense Department to exercise more leniency in granting upgrades in discharge status of veterans who received less than honorable discharges.

A report put out in May of 2017 by the Government Accountability Office indicated more than 57,000 service members suffering from PTSD, TBI or adjustment, anxiety, bipolar and substance abuse disorders were separated from the military for misconduct from 2011 through 2015. The majority of those service members were given a “general” discharge, which unfortunately for them this action makes them ineligible for some services through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Vietnam Veterans of America president, John Rowan said that the memo was a “step in the right direction but it’s nowhere near enough.” He continued with the statement: “Countless veterans who have suffered from PTSD, TBI and [military sexual trauma] have been issued bad paper and unfairly denied access to critical services and benefits.”

So the move is on to change the rules in treatment of our veterans. Your opinion on the subject would be greatly appreciated.

Go to episode 1006 and speak your piece on the subject in the comments section.

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1005 – Rens Swan helped develop the H-47 Chinook Helicopter

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Courtesy of the family
Rens H. Swan, a Navy electronic technician, served in World War II.

Episode 1005 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will mark the passing of a great American who made tremendous contributions to military mobility in Vietnam. Rens H. Swan was on the developmental team that produced a highly successful class of dual rotor helicopters, the H-46 Sea Knight used by the Marine Corps and the H-47 Chinook used by the US Army in that war. Bonnie L. Cook, staff writer, (bcook@phillynews.com) for The Philadelphia Daily News submitted his obituary titled: Rens H. Swan, 90, engineer on Boeing team that developed the Chinook helicopter.

Most every Vietnam Veteran is familiar with these iconic helicopters either as being a direct recipient of their tremendous lift and maneuver capabilities or just by their impressive presence. Rens Swan was one of those “behind the scenes” geniuses who created the tremendous H-46 and 47 helicopters.

He lived to the ripe old age of 90 and devoted his life to service to his country and his community. Except for a tour of duty in the Navy during World War II as an electronic technician he spent his entire life in the Philadelphia area.

Armed with a degree in mechanical engineering from the Drexel Institute of Technology after World War II he began his engineering career with the Piasecki Helicopter Corp. in Essington. And then worked for its successor, Vertol Aircraft Corp., which became Boeing Vertol and finally the Boeing Co. in Ridley Township, Delaware County. His career spanned 41 years, ending with his retirement in 1991.

In 1956, Vertol created a select team of engineers to handle the Model 107 helicopter project which produced the Chinooks and Sea Knights. Swan was one of those engineers whose responsibility was manager of weight technology – the technical discipline that balances the heft and moment of every component of a new product to ensure its safe, efficient performance.

CLICK HERE for a Boeing rotorcraft history.

If you would like to make a contribution to the Covenant United Methodist Church building fund in memory of  Rens Swan send it to the Covenant United Methodist Church, 212 W. Springfield Rd., Springfield, Pa. 19064

Discover more about this wonderful American in episode 1005.

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1004 – Vietnam War stuff used to secure the border

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Border wall utilizing Vietnam War surplus material at Yuma, Arizona

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KYMA reporter Denelle Confair

Episode 1004 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will bring you a “feel good” story coming out of Vietnam. It is about surplus material from the War being put to good use in Yuma. The story was told in a segment from KYMA Channel 11 News in Yuma, Arizona titled: Vietnam War surplus used for current border fencing. It was provided by KYMA reporter Denelle Confair.

Building a border wall along the Mexican border is a big issue in this country. President Trump made it one of the primary planks of his campaign and he isn’t backing off from it. There is much opposition to funding the wall in Congress mainly due to political realities.

While the political wrangling and maneuvering goes on in Washington some resourceful Border Patrol agents are not standing by and watching a tidal wave of illegal immigrants flood into the country.

Confair reports on what agents are doing in the Yuma Border Sector to help stem the tide of illegals. They have gotten their hands on some surplus material leftover from the Vietnam War that is producing amazing results. M8A1 mat which referred to as landing mat in the story is the material that is proving to be a big help in securing the border. Most all helicopter pilots who flew in Vietnam are familiar with the steel planking. It was widely used for landing pads for aircraft and parking areas for vehicles because it was quick and relatively easy to install. It worked great in those applications.

In typical government fashion, massive amounts of M8A1 mat was procured during the war. As a consequence there were large stores of the mat left over after the fighting ended.

Check out episode 1004 and discover what those resourceful agents in the Yuma Border Sector did with surplus M8A1 mat and how it is helping secure our southern border.

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1003 – Vietnam commemorative partners at work in Idaho

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A veteran being honored in a ceremony at the Veteran Memorial Park in Jerome, Idaho. By Cristle Jose

Episode 1003 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will be about barbecue and the DoD 50th Year Vietnam War Commemoration program. The goal of the program is “to provide the American public with historically accurate materials and interactive experiences that will help Americans better understand and appreciate the service of our Vietnam War veterans and the history of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War,” according to the Vietnam War 50th website.

The main work of the program is being carried out by local Commemorative Partners. These partner groups have to go through a substantial qualification process and then are required to conduct six approved events within three years of their designation.

The writer of this piece is a member of a Commemorative Partner group in Sebring, Florida. The Sebring group is preparing to conduct its first commemorative function on November 10, 2017 at an appreciation and pinning ceremony on the grounds of the Highlands Country Courthouse. All in the area are invited to attend the Veterans Day parade and commemorative event that will follow the parade.

Another commemorative event recently took place in Jerome, Idaho. It was covered in a story coming from KMVT Channel 11 of Twin Falls, Idaho titled: Veterans share experiences at veterans appreciation barbecue.  The story was submitted by Cristle Jose of KMVT. It was the sixth and final program event by the Jerome Commemorative Committee.

Gib Belasquez, one of the committee members, reported that their final commemorative event had their biggest turnout yet and they hope to hold more veteran appreciation events on their own in the future. It appears the good people of southern Idaho appreciate barbecue and their veterans just as much as they do in other parts of the country.

Discover more about the Jerome, Idaho veteran appreciation event in episode 1003.

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1002 – John McCain and glioblastoma, maybe another Vietnam War legacy

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Sen. John McCain has been diagnosed with glioblastoma.

Jamie Reno, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Jamie Reno

Episode 1002 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will focus on another vulnerability Vietnam Veterans must face resulting from their service in the Vietnam War. A story in The Health Line website titled: Senator McCain’s Cancer Spurs Congress, Advocates to Action on Agent Orange Claims and written by Jamie Reno exposes the danger of coming down with another cancer caused by exposure to that old nemesis Agent Orange.

Glioblastoma is a deadly type of fast acting brain cancer. ProPublica reported that more than 500 Vietnam-era veterans have been diagnosed with glioblastoma at Veterans Administration (VA) health facilities since 2000, but noted that “this does not include the unknown number diagnosed at private facilities.”

Rick Weidman, co-founder and primary spokesperson in Washington for Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) told Healthline there is “new energy surrounding the glioblastoma issue, as more Vietnam veterans come down with this cancer and the media attention increases.”

Today thousands of Vietnam War veterans and their families are fighting both glioblastoma and the VA. There are now more than a dozen diseases presumed by the VA to be linked to exposure to Agent Orange, but glioblastoma, with which Vietnam veterans are now being diagnosed at a rapid rate, is still not on the presumptive list.

When Senator John McCain was diagnosed with glioblastoma, suddenly the plight of many Vietnam Veterans who are also suffering from the cancer gained a powerful and well know fellow advocate.

Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, and Rep. Louise Slaughter, the 30-year congressional member from New York, held a joint press conference urging David Shulkin, the head of the Veterans Administration to take a closer look at Vietnam veterans diagnosed with glioblastoma.

Representative Slaughter said it right when she uttered: “Veterans belong to us. Veterans are our responsibility.”

Discover more about the glioblastoma situation and its effect on Vietnam Veterans in episode 1002.

1001 – Lessons of history and The Vietnam War

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Norman Boyter, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Norman Boyter

Episode 1001 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will take a look at the importance of history with special emphasis on the Vietnam War. Norm Boyter recently submitted an opinion piece to The Augusta Chronicle Study of history provides answers over U.S. actions. In his opinion piece he pointed out the value of history when it comes to steering the ship of stated through the perilous times we live in today.

Boyter began by describing how America started out with an isolationist inclination because for so long we were protected by two large oceans. That all changed on Decemberd7, 1941 when the Japanese attacked and destroyed Pearl Harbor. Isolationist policy was also destroyed in the attack. We joined the Allies to defeat the Axis powers and have never stepped back from involvement in the politics/governments of other nations to this day.

We have found that appeasement does not work in the world we live in today. The atomic bombs we developed seventy years ago have spread to other nations and have become a standard tool of enforcing national policy with large and small nations. Not only do we face serious nuclear threats from countries like North Korea and Iran, we are challenged by unchecked destruction by terrorists from small nations.

Dealing with such threats to our national existence requires steady and wise leadership. Boyter professes that the study of history will provide the necessary insight our leaders need to proceed in the world we live in today.

John Kennedy would frequently remind us of the  Edmund Burke quote: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” For good men to act the right way they must have a strong foundation in history.

Boyter recommends a study of U.S. and world histories to help prevent any more Vietnam Wars.

Discover more about the importance of history at episode 1001.

 

1000 – Vietnam Veteran News Podcast marks its 1000th episode

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vietnam veteran news, mack payne

This is the 1000th episode of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast. What began as the result of a comment about a speech presented to a Toastmasters club in Sarasota, Florida back in 2012 became a crusade by Mack Payne. At that fateful meeting Payne decided for the first time ever to speak about an event he experienced in Vietnam. The speech was well received and afterward a member of the club who was a book publisher made the suggestion that led to the crusade. Liz Coursen encouraged to write a book about his memoirs of the Vietnam War.

Payne decided to act on the suggestion after she said he “possessed a great deal of firsthand knowledge of one of the most divisive times in the recent history of our country.”  After nine months of hard work he published Vietnam Veteran Memoirs. The book turned out to be a highly inspirational project. It encouraged him to travel across the country speaking not only about the book but also about the veterans who served in that war.

He has spoken from Belle Glade, Florida to Colorado Springs, Colorado. He began to notice there would always be a few Vietnam Veterans in attendance at each event. He would talk with the veterans and listen to their stories and marvel at what an outstanding job they did for their country not only in the Vietnam War but when they came home.

After a while, Payne realized that more people should hear these stories and realize the greatness of the Vietnam Veterans because these men and women had been so wrongly maligned and reviled by a country that could not separate negative feelings toward the war from the troops who served.

Payne’s solution to correcting this misconception about Vietnam Veterans by the world was the creation of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast.

Discover more at episode 1000.

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999 – Texas Vietnam memorial to be dedicated at Killeen

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Vietnam Memorial at the Central Texas State Cemetery.

Episode 999 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will be finishing up a story that began in episode 552 and was published on February 13, 2016. That episode announced plans for the creation of a Vietnam memorial to be placed at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery located on Texas Highway 195 south of Killeen. Episode 969 announced that work on memorial was completed at the Riley-Gardner Memorial Services Company in Hamilton and its immediate movement to the cemetery.

retired Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

retired Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk, keynote speaker for the dedication.

In this episode a story in The Fort Hood Herald titled: Retired general to speak at memorial dedication by Julie A. Ferraro, Herald Correspondent is featured. It describes the upcoming formal dedication ceremony to be held at 10:00 am this coming Monday, August 28, 2017. The monument consists of four black marble panels bearing the words “Welcome Home, Brothers & Sisters” along with dozens of engraved quotes from Vietnam veterans in Central Texas and elsewhere.

The keynote speaker for the event is the very appropriately chosen retired Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk. He is a Vietnam Veteran who brings with him an impressive resume. He was born at Fort Hood, he graduated from nearby Baylor University in Waco, he married his wife Beth in the Fort Hood 1st Cav Division Chapel. She was the daughter Lt. Gen. John Yeosock, who commanded the 1st Cavalry Division at the time. All his children graduated from high school in Harker Heights. Both he and his father commanded III Corps and Fort Hood.

The Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1000 of Killeen deserves a great deal of credit for helping make the memorial a reality. They were instrumental in raising the $40,000 required to complete the project.

Everyone in the Central Texas area are encouraged to attend the dedication.

Get more information about the event in episode 999.

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998 – Vietnam Vet Bill Hotaling served on the USS Saint Paul

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Episode 998 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will highlight another excellent representative of the great Vietnam Veteran Generation. He is Bill Hotaling, a US Navy Vietnam Veteran who today resides in Bowling Green, Kentucky. It is even more important to do that in this day and time when highly paid professional football players can’t seem to be able to bring themselves to stand for the national anthem of the country that provided them with the opportunities of wealth and the freedom to speak they so amply enjoy. The writer of this piece will stick to watching the University of Alabama Crimson Tide football team beat up on their SEC opponents and refrain from watching the professional football games and supporting their sponsors. Thank goodness we still have the freedom to do that. Thank you Vietnam Veterans.

Deborah Highland, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Deborah Highland

Now getting back to Bill Hotaling, there was a story about him in The Bowling Green Daily News titled: Veteran: Vietnam War naval service routine, with bursts of fear by Deborah Highland, dhighland@bgdailynews.com. Bill is a native of Philadelphia. Both his father and grandfather were US Navy veterans and probably due to that heritage he was imbued with the belief that military service was an obligation.

After college he decided to follow in his forbearers footsteps and join the US Navy. When he entered the Navy, the Vietnam War was raging at its fullest but that did not deter young Bill Hotaling. He figured it was his duty to serve his country in the military and the fact a war was going on did not make any difference in his duty obligation.

Bill served three tours in the Vietnam theater of operations as an officer aboard the USS Saint Paul a Baltimore class heavy cruiser that could fire 8″ shells on targets 26 miles away. On many occasions the ship would sail into the middle of Haiphong harbor and shell targets of opportunity.

Discover more about Bill Hotaling and his service to his country during and after the Vietnam War in episode 998.

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997 – Vietnam Vet Luis Lopez leads the way in Mission, Texas

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Vietnam Vet and member of the Catholic War Veterans of Mission, Texas Luis Lopez

Episode 997 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will be a continuation of its primary mission of extolling the virtues of the Vietnam Veteran Generation, one as great as any that ever heeded the call of duty from its country and one that has continued to serve despite the lack of appreciation from that country. A story about one of those veterans from Mission, Texas comes from reporter Trason Bragg of KRGV channel 5 TV of Weslaco titled: Veterans Concerned Over Fence Damage.

Luis Lopez is a native of Mission, Texas and lived there all his life except for a four year hitch he served in the Air Force. Back in the sixties he was called to serve and despite the fact he was married and had a child he proudly went off to serve the country he loved. One of those years in the Air Force took him to Vietnam. He often thanks God for his safe return home to Mission and his family.

Upon leaving the military he went home and continued to serve his country in Mission as a proud American citizen. One of the things he did there was to join the Catholic War Veterans which is officially known as the Catholic War Veterans of the United States of America. It is a national service organization of baptized Catholics that have served or are currently serving in the United States Armed Forces. Founded in 1935, the Catholic War Veterans are dedicated to serving all service members regardless and their families regardless of their religion.

Luis became an active member of the organization and he said this about what they do on a regular basis: “We help widows, we help any members that are sick, in the hospital or that are ill. We also help the churches. We give donations to the churches.”

Recently something happened to the Catholic War Veterans facility there in Mission that is causing problems.

Discover what this outstanding Vietnam Veteran Luis Lopez is doing about the situation in episode 997.