Monday, May 30, 2011

In Memoriam

"They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits' end. Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven."

Psalms, 107:23-30, KJV

On this Memorial Day we salute our fallen shipmates.

Robert M. Taylor, USS Camden AOE 2
Steven F. Boody, USS Koiner, DER 331
Richard Appling, USS Intrepid CVS 11
Bruce Langston, USS Takelma ATF 113
Thomas LaLiberte, USS Constellation CVA 64*
Philip Clickner, USS America CVA 66
James Bradford, USS Estes AGC 12

* President of VASVW 2009-2010

These men served in the Blue Water Navy in the Vietnam War, and then served in the Veterans Association of Sailors of the Vietnam War. We mourn our members "still at sea" as we do all of the nation's fallen.

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2011: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Seventh Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved. Reprinting or copying of the contents of this blog without the express permission of the author is unlawful.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Recommendation for Memorial Day

[Note:  A correction in the day of this has been made.  The films will air on Monday Night, when Memorial Day is observed.  Sorry for the error.]

As we approach Memorial Day, with all the parades, backyard BBQ parties, and other ceremonies and festivities, we need to get a handle on what this day means.

Turner Classic Movies has been running a marathon of some of the best war movies made about American Troops [mostly]. While To Hell and Back, the Audie Murphy story, is one of the best at portraying a true war hero, it was left off this year's list of films.

The cost of war is what Memorial Day is about. There is no greater cost than one's life. Hollywood has glorified the soldiers and airmen, and sailors and certainly the Marines who fought with courage, and died while doing so. And it is these men and women that we honor on Memorial Day. But there are other costs as well, as so many of us know. The scars - both physical and emotional, the diseases, and the loss of innocence are all included in the cost of war.

In this vein I would like to recommend two films that will run on Turner Classic Movies on Monday night. From 8 until 11 PM Eastern Time, TCM will be running one of the finest films dealing with the return of Veterans from the war, The Best Years of Our Lives. From 11 PM until 2 AM Eastern Time TCM will be showing Since You Went Away.

The Best Years of Our Lives stars Frederick March, Dana Andrews, Myrna Loy and Theresa Wright, among others. One of the three returning Veterans is portrayed as a Navy Veteran returning with no hands. He is portrayed by Harold Russell, who really lost his hands in a training accident stateside during WW II, and he steals the movie from the rest of the cast. In fact, he is the first and only person to win two Oscars for the same role. He won Best Supporting Actor, and a separate special Oscar for what his performance meant to many crippled and handicapped Veterans.

Since You Went Away is not about military personnel, but about the home front, and what they had to deal with during WW II. It is a surprisingly well told story, well acted, and certainly, of great interest. It is also extremely poignant. It has perhaps a better known and larger cast that Best Years: Claudette Colbert, Jennifer Jones, Shirley Temple, Joseph Cotten, Monte Wooley, Lionel Barrymore, Hattie McDaniel [of Gone With the Wind fame], and many more familiar names and faces.

I would highly recommend these two films as very appropriate for Monday night. If possible, you might want to catch them both even though they run long and late. They are well worth the investment in time and emotions. And your emotions will be in play during both of them. Keep a box of tissues at hand.

If you can't watch them, try to tape them or Tivo them. If not, try to rent them and watch them.

Since You Went Away won one Oscar and was nominated for eight others, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Actress, and Supporting Actress. It perhaps should have won more.

The Best Years of Our Lives won 8 Oscars, including Russell's two, and was nominated for a ninth Oscar; Best Actor, Supporting Actor [Russell], Best Picture, Best Music, and so on.

These are probably two of the best films ever that you may not have heard of, or even watched. But they are two films that every Veteran, and every family member of a Veteran should watch -- every time they are presented. Those who are portrayed in these two films deserve no less, and neither do you.

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2011: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Seventh Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved. Reprinting or copying of the contents of this blog without the express permission of the author is unlawful.

Friday, May 20, 2011

More on the IOM Study

More on the IOM Study

After listening to the conference regarding the release of the IOM Study on Blue Water Navy and Agent Orange, there are a number of conclusions to be drawn.

First, the IOM Committee was tasked with the wrong parameters. The point they made in the conference is that there are no qualitative statistics gathered by anyone that could prove exposure, or non-exposure to a statistical certainty.

Second, by their conclusion that they could prove neither the liklihood of exposure to Dioxin, nor the non-exposure, they left the door open for the correct scientific approach, which is a statistical analysis and comparison between all Vietnam Veterans and all Vietnam Era Veterans current day as to who has which and how many AO-related diseases. This would be a mortality/morbidity study and the breakdown would be four groups: Brown Water Navy, Ground troops, Blue Water Navy, and the control group: Vietnam Era Veterans.

Note: We make the distinction between Vietnam Veterans, those who received either the Vietnam Service Medal or the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for Service in Vietnam, and those who served during the Vietnam Era but who did not receive either of those medals.

Therefore, when we ask Congress to introduce, support, fund and pass the Agent Orange Restoration Act of 2011, we will also ask them to request such a study to be contracted out by the Institute of Medicine.

Based on the reading of the report and the testimony in the conference held today it is our opinion that the Institute of Medicine Committee on the Study of Agent Orange and Blue Water Navy Veterans did an outstanding job. Their task was a difficult one. One can read between the lines and see what, perhaps, they really wanted to say, but could not because of the limits of their task, which was set by the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs at the frantic urging of Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, a decorated Vietnam Veteran of the Marine Corps.

It is a sad state of affairs that a Vietnam Veteran of his stature would do, say, and believe the things he has done and said, all in opposition to anyone outside the Marines.

In the end, the IOM did what it was tasked with doing, which once again makes them heroes.

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2011: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Seventh Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved. Reprinting or copying of the contents of this blog without the express permission of the author is unlawful.

IOM Report a wash!

The Institute of Medicine's Report is in and the results are stunningly disappointing. They could not reach a conclusion either way. Here is their published statement on the issue.

"The committee’s judgment is that exposure of Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans to Agent Orange-associated TCDD cannot reasonably be determined."

It is to their credit that the IOM committee did not rule out the possibility.

While we have called for mortality studies before, perhaps this will prompt such an examination of the Blue Water Sailors medical issues as a group, when compared to those of the ground and Brown Water forces in Vietnam.

Stay tuned.

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2011: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Seventh Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved. Reprinting or copying of the contents of this blog without the express permission of the author is unlawful.

Friday, May 13, 2011

IoM Report Due Friday, May 20!!!!

[Note: This should have been posted 24 hours ago but Blogger was down for that period.]

We just received the following heads up from the Institute of Medicine:

Dear Interested Parties:

The Institute of Medicine will be releasing the prepublication version of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans and Agent Orange Exposure Report to the public on Friday, May 20th, 2011. An electronic version of the report will be available beginning at 2 p.m. that day. To view the report, please visit our website at www.nationalacademies.org and type in “blue water” in the search box; it will take you directly to the report.

In addition, a briefing to discuss the findings of the report with veterans and other interested parties will be held the day of the release at 3 p.m. in room 208 at the Keck Center of the National Academies. The Keck Center is located at 500 5th St., NW Washington, DC 20001.

Space is limited; please let us know in advance if you plan to attend the briefing. If you would prefer to participate by phone, we can provide you with a call-in number. Please notify us by Thursday, May 19th if you are going to call in to the briefing.

I have a lot of faith in this committee, they know what they are doing and I believe they will come up with the right results. Nevertheless...

...now is the time to pray.

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2011: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Seventh Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved. Reprinting or copying of the contents of this blog without the express permission of the author is unlawful.