197 VVN – Vietnam-Era Soldiers Eligible For Discharge Upgrades

Vietnam Vets

The secretary of the Army has ordered liberal consideration be given to Vietnam-era soldiers who received downgraded discharges even though they may have been suffering from post-traumatic stress.(Photo: Sgt. 1st Class James K.F. Dung/Army)

Recent directives from the big octagonal building now make it possible for Vietnam Era Vets to appeal less than honorable discharges from the service. The basis for appeals to upgrade discharges is PTSD. Back in the Vietnam War days PTSD was not a recognized defense for less than honorable discharges.

Review boards are now instructed to take into account PTSD when service members submit appeals to upgrade discharges.

If you are interested in submitting an upgrade appeal mail applications for the various boards of the Army Review Board Agency to 251 18th Street South, Suite 385, Arlington, VA 22202-3531.

For online applications, access http://arba.army.pentagon.mil/.

196 VVN – Vietnam Vet John Chambers Still Fighting For His Home

Melody Unger and John Chambers

John Chambers, right, talks with Melody Unger at his apartment, in Marietta on Saturday. Unger is a real estate agent with Keller Williams in Smyrna who has been leading the effort to raise money for Chambers.
Staff-C.B. Schmelter

Back in episode 004 I shared the story of Vietnam Veteran John Chambers of Marietta, Georgia. Because of a snafu with Well Fargo his house was put into foreclosure and he was evicted. For a year he lived in a travel trailer as he and his lawyers fought to get his house back.

With help from his community he has been able to move into a senior living facility and he has secured a job with the City as a process server. Despite this he is still determined to recover the deed to his house he lived in for eighteen years.

When his story was first publicized, local citizens began to make donations toward the $52,000 it would take to buy his house back from the bank. To date about half the amount needed has been raised.

Please consider making a donation like I did and help this Vietnam Veteran get back into his home. To make a donation, contact Unger at (770) 596-6352 or by email at melodyunger@hotmail.com. Checks may be sent to the JRC Home Fund and mailed to 196 Freyer Drive NE, Marietta, GA 30060.

195 VVN – Tony LittleHawk, Native American Vietnam Vet

Tony Littlehawk

Tony LittleHawk, an Army Vietnam veteran, Cherokee tribe member and sun dancer, performs a spiritual cleansing. DoD photo by Marvin Lynchard

Tony Littlehawk is a Vietnam Veteran who helps verify my contention the Vietnam Generation is as great as any. He joined the Army and became an airborne infantry medic. He served with the 82nd Airborne Division when they went into the Dominican Republic and then he volunteered for duty in Vietnam.

His offer was accepted and the Army shipped him to Vietnam and assigned him to the 173rd Airborne Brigade. He immediately signed up for the long range reconnaissance patrol and spent a year going on patrols and taking care of both military and civilian sick and wounded.

After his time in the military he has become a spiritual advisor and spends his remaining days helping his fellow Native Americans. Tony Littlehawk is a tribute to his country and his people.

194 VVN – The Tet Offensive as seen by Mack Payne

Tet Offensive of 1968

Wanton destruction caused by the North Vietnamese during the Tet Offensive.

In previous episodes we have looked at the major battles of the Vietnam War. In this episode I am going to talk about the mother of all battles in Vietnam – the Tet Offensive of 1968. As with Operation Lam Son 719, I witnessed the Tet Offensive from start to finish from a viewpoint “slap – dab” in the middle of the thing.

The Tet Offensive left an impression on me that has lasted a lifetime. I still think about of the lesson it demonstrated and it is critical that we all should be aware of the lesson and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Listen to the episode and discover that important lesson.

193 VVN – Retired Marine and Vietnam Vet Prentiss Waltman Still Serves

Prentiss Waltman

Connie Kinney, director of DAV in Cold Springs, Kentucky, stands with Prentiss Waltman, a veteran who now volunteers to drive other veterans to medical appointments.

Vietnam Veterans are a great generation and proof of that is the example being set by Printiss Waltman. He is a Vietnam Vet and an ex-Marine who after retiring from a career in the automotive industry is now serving in the DAV by driving veterans to their appointments at several VA Medical facilities.

Prentiss says the only pay he receives is the good feelings he receives in his heart by helping veterans get to their appointments on time. In many cases he is the only reason some veterans get to see medical personnel.

Prentiss Waltman is a great American and deserves a Vietnam Veteran News Podcast salute and I have delivered it to him.


192 VVN – Operation Lam Son 719, Part 5

NVA Soldier

 North Vietnamese Army Officer Rallies His Men During Operation Lam Son 719.

This episode is the final part of our examination of Operation Lam Son 719. We will see how the North Vietnamese reacted with a vengeance against the incursion into the Kingdom of Laos by of the South Vietnamese. The South Vietnamese were beaten badly primarily due to a lack of capable and wise leadership at all levels.

We also look at the aftermath of this operation where both sides declare victory. Sadly, it was the cause of much loss of men and material for dubious victory claims.


191 VVN – Operation Lam Son 719, Part 4

Cobra Gunships over Laos

A section of AH-1G Cobras over Laos during Lam Son 719. Note – they are not 101st Abn Div gunships. They are from down south on TDY to Khe Sanh for Operation Lam Son 719.

In this episode we will take a difficult look at what happened to the South Vietnamese forces when they ventured into Laos to disrupt NVA logistical supplies. The North Vietnamese were a little slow to react but when they did it was “Katy bar the doors.” The Southern forces were beaten badly.

It is the opinion of this writer the big difference in the conflict was leadership. The North had very capable leaders with a maniacal determination to succeed and no reluctance to spill the blood of their fighters where the Southern forces had weak leadership more worried about politics than fighting battles.

In the next episode we will look at the retreat of the Southern forces and maybe the aftermath. Don’t miss it.

190 VVN – Operation Lam Son 719, Part 3

Nguyễn Văn Thiệu

Nguyễn Văn Thiệu, President of the Republic of Vietnam

As we continue an examination of Lam Son 719, in this episode we will look at how the American and Vietnamese forces were arrayed for the operation. As usual as is the case with many large military operations there were many delays and misjudgments which spelled trouble for the ARVN military.

Sit back and listen to how the operation began.

189 VVN – Operation Lam Son 719, Part 2

ARVN Soldiers in Laos

South Vietnamese soldiers with captured equipment during Lam Son 719.

In this episode we will take a look at how the planning for Lam Son 719 was conducted. After learning how the planning was conducted it looked like the operation was doomed from the start. In the first place due to extreme security measures taken to keep the enemy from knowing more about the operation than we did the planners sacrificed adequate planning for tight security.

Another problem was the chain of command structure of the South Vietnamese. Most commanders in the ARVN were political appointees and were more loyal to their benefactors than winning the war. Listen to this episode and groan at the mistakes that were made by the planners beginning at the tops of both the USA and South Vietnam.

188 VVN – Operation Lam Son 719, Part 1

Vietnamese Soldiers Moving to Laos, Vietnam Veteran News, mack payne

South Vietnamese soldiers moving into Laos during Operation Lam Son 719.

This episode begins a multi-part look at Operation Lom Son 719 a pivotal battle of the Vietnam War. It was as much political as it was military in its planning and it resulted in a seismic change in the airmobile doctrine of the US Army due to heavy losses in US aircraft.

The writer(I) participated in Lom Son 719 from day one to the day we pulled out and. After seeing it first hand, to this day I fully realized that I was in the middle of a history making event. I urge you to listen to whole presentation of this epic operation.