Vietnam War History Some May Have Missed

There; but for the grace of GOD:
A little history most people will never know.
Interesting Veterans Statistics off the Vietnam Memorial Wall

“Carved on these walls is the story of America , of a continuing quest to preserve both Democracy and decency, and to protect a national treasure that we call the American dream.” ~President George Bush

SOMETHING to think about – Most of the surviving Parents are now Deceased.

There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black wall, including those added in 2010.

The names are arranged in the order in which they were taken from us by date and within each date the names are alphabetized. It is hard to believe it is 36 years since the last casualties.

Beginning at the apex on panel 1E and going out to the end of the East wall, appearing to recede into the earth (numbered 70E – May 25, 1968), then resuming at the end of the West wall, as the wall emerges from the earth (numbered 70W – continuing May 25, 1968) and ending with a date in 1975. Thus the war’s beginning and end meet. The war is complete, coming full circle, yet broken by the earth that bounds the angle’s open side and contained within the earth itself.

The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth , Mass. Listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on June 8, 1956. His name is listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on Sept. 7, 1965.

There are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall.

39,996 on the Wall were just 22 or younger.
8,283 were just 19 years old.
The largest age group, 33,103 were 18 years old.
12 soldiers on the Wall were 17 years old.
5 soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old.
One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock was 15 years old.
997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam .
1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnam .
31 sets of brothers are on the Wall.
Thirty one sets of parents lost two of their sons.
54 soldiers on the Wall attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia . I wonder why so many from one school.
8 Women are on the Wall. Nursing the wounded.
244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War; 153 of them are on the Wall.
Beallsville , Ohio with a population of 475 lost 6 of her sons.
West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation. There are 711 West Virginians on the Wall.
The Marines of Morenci – They led some of the scrappiest high school football and basketball teams that the little Arizona copper town of Morenci (pop. 5,058) had ever known and cheered. They enjoyed roaring beer busts. In quieter moments, they rode horses along the Coronado Trail, stalked deer in the Apache National Forest . And in the patriotic camaraderie typical of Morenci’s mining families, the nine graduates of Morenci High enlisted as a group in the Marine Corps. Their service began on Independence Day, 1966. Only 3 returned home.
The Buddies of Midvale – LeRoy Tafoya, Jimmy Martinez, Tom Gonzales were all boyhood friends and lived on three consecutive streets in Midvale, Utah on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh avenues. They lived only a few yards apart. They played ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field. And they all went to Vietnam . In a span of 16 dark days in late 1967, all three would be killed. LeRoy was killed on Wednesday, Nov. 22, the fourth anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on Thanksgiving Day. Tom was shot dead assaulting the enemy on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
The most casualty deaths for a single day was on January 31, 1968 ~ 245 deaths. TET!
The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 – 2,415 casualties were incurred.

For most Americans who read this they will only see the numbers that the Vietnam War created. To those of us who survived the war, and to the families of those who did not, we see the faces, we feel the pain that these numbers created. We are, until we too pass away, haunted with these numbers, because they were our friends, fathers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters. There are no noble wars, just noble warriors.

Wall To Wall Ride Raising Awareness For Veterans Services

Jeremy Staat, alumnus and veteran, will be embarking on a Wall to Wall
bicycle ride across the country to raise awareness and support for veteran
services and causes throughout the nation.

The tour will begin at the Wall of Valor in Bakersfield, Calif. on Feb. 19
and stretch 4,623 miles over the course of 100 days to the Vietnam Memorial
Wall in Washington D.C.

Friend and veteran Wesley Barrientos will accompany Staat on the Wall to
Wall tour. Born in Guatemala, Barrientos enlisted in the U.S. Army upon
turning 18 years old. It was during his third tour of Iraq in 2007 that his
military convoy was struck by an explosive device, resulting in the
amputation of both his legs.

Staat, a native of Bakersfield, Calif., attended Arizona State University in
the spring 1996. He soon became a member of the Sun Devil football team,
where he met friend and teammate Pat Tillman.

Of his relationship with ASU alum and fallen soldier Pat Tillman, Staat
recalls, „It was a relationship of brothers. We didn‚t need to hang out or
talk every day. We would just keep each other up to date on what was going
on in each other’s life.‰

After being drafted into the National Football League (NFL), Staat had
stints with the Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams. It was while recovering
from a knee injury that he learned of Tillman‚s passing.

„My mom called me and was beside herself. She kept saying, „he‚s gone, Pat‚s
gone,‰ he said. „I lost it and when I got back to my apartment I just sat
there and cried. His death put a lot of things in perspective for me though.

Having already acquired NFL retirement benefits that Tillman urged him to
secure, Staat retired from football and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps.
He was quickly sent to the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot in San Diego,
California for 13 weeks of basic training.

„They do what they do, not for the money, but for the love of their
country,‰ Staat said. „I loved being part of a team that was making a
difference, and being in the branch of the military that could be anywhere
in the world in 24 hours in an emergency situation.‰

Upon successfully completing basic training with knowledge of the weapons
systems, Staat was eventually deployed to Iraq. Aside from his service in
combat, Staat also managed to donate basic supplies and toys to the children
of Iraq with the help of his friends at local churches in the U.S.

In 2007 when Staat returned from abroad he decided to finish education via
ASU online. In 2009, he proudly received a bachelor‚s degree in liberal arts
and sciences.

„No one can ever take away your education. Getting my degree was one of my
biggest accomplishments, especially since I was battling dyslexia.‰ Statt

The Wall to Wall ride is part of the Jeremy Staat Foundation. Through the
foundation, Staat works as a motivational speaker in classrooms throughout
the nation, recalling the life experiences of himself and others on the
Veteran Speaking Board. The cause runs strictly off donations from the
community to help keep much-needed funds in the classroom.

The ride will make a stop in Tempe, Ariz., March 8 and 9. To learn more
about the tour, please visit or

Natasha Karaczan,
Media Relations

Veteran Veritas Has Doubts

I am no Pappa Hemingway, but I think in the terse and laconic way he used his verbs. I have also fought in a war with no glory as did Ernest. What aligns me with him is the lack of potency in the written word, as searing and penetrating as Hemingway was, to alter the behavior of a bellicose nation.  War is a verb on steroids. Survival has no syntax, just symptoms and infinite costs.

The ravages of war and the psychic damage it brings have never in history been so paraded if front of polite society at is has in the last ten years of non-declared wars of assimilation.

T.S. Elliot put it aptly, “how much reality can humankind handle?”

The killings of the homeless men in Orange County by an Iraq combat veteran, were clearly the act of an aberrant man with a parallel life. It matters not that we was a Marine, sailor, soldier or Airman. He is yet another, “Canary,”  in the tunnel of the aftermath of wars. Particularly, wars that ask for 4 and 5 tours of duty.  No soldiers since the Crusades have served in as many campaigns. Why does this just slide by in the middle of the night while we have the “Four Non Horseman,” on stage debating about subjects that are mostly a distraction from the one budgetary item that is breaking the bank in the exact same way that the Russians went broke fighting in Afghanistan?

Why is there not more due diligence background checks on these young warriors prior to their enlistment? The paradoxes are abound. If  the Orange County Marine, Ocampo, was to have  applied for a disability claim based on PTSD, prior to his killing rampage,  it would have likely been denied because of a pre-existing  personality disorder condition. Yet we send them to war and make that very condition worsen to the point of cracking. The Catch-22 of all this would stun even Joseph Heller, the author.

Master Card does more homework than the Department of Defense.  But we need numbers in the volunteer fighting force. Big numbers, were we to ever get entrapped into fighting on multiple fronts. Where will we find the future combatants?  The Four Horseman of the GOP race suggest using illegal immigrants who are in search of citizenship. Is this the way of a proud sovereign nation that has spent the last 10 years demonizing undocumented workers who built 75% of the homes in the southwest?

Now they are good for cannon fodder because we are going to run out of volunteers who can pass background checks? Por mi Dios, what have we become?

Some 50,000 men and women will be returning to our neighborhoods in the next 6 months. 70% are healthy, holy, happy, proud and balanced veterans of war. Some 30% will be lacking the equanimity and oars to get them ashore in an economy that cannot take care of its existing work force.  They are also entering the radio talk show America that is rife with angry polemic that nearly mimics the very cacophony from the streets of Iraq and Afghanistan. To us these endless paid for diatribes are freedom of speech. To the returning veteran they are  called, “triggers.”

Who cares? Who in the neighborhood actually cares? Care with feet, not care with rhetoric?

The has provided a forum here for dialogue, outreach, and advice from fellow veterans. Most all the time it has remained in the category of helpful and guided toward betterment of the veterans condition.

But honestly, when you look at the statistics about our readers, as we get on a monthly basis,  the community cares the most about, sports, Mexicans and guns, in that order.

The lip service given to, “Support the Troops,” is a sentiment that seems quite ephemeral.  Meaningful for raising money for non-profits, but has little to do with the activity of daily living of most Americans. I have never in my life witnessed such a disconnect from soldiers and war.

Sure they are in the news and make for wonderful advertisements that touch our heartstrings, but who in the village is preparing for Johnnie and Joan when they coming marching home?

Two years ago there were a series of forums at Himmel Library, staffed by combat veterans, that focused on preparing the families of veterans who were transitioning. All of the presenters  were published authors and all had struggled with the demons of war. What happened to these community forums? Has war so jaded us all that we are just flat worn out?  Did T.S Elliot nail it by asking how much reality can humankind handle?

So where is my doubt?  I doubt the efficacy and value of maintaining a blog, as an unpaid volunteer, that remains in the  pantry of most Americans.

My gloom is not all pervasive. Veteran Veritas has for many a season been ranked in the top 25 of readers. We have have garnered many new followers and veterans from all over the United States , Great Britain, Scotland and Ireland.

My doubt  stems from wondering if the publisher and owner of the Tucson Citizen, Gannett, cares. They provide absolutely no feedback to the contributors here. Curiously they are the owners of Military Times and USA Today, both of whom rely heavily on military readership.  I was so naive as to think they might have sent us a Christmas card or something. A subscription to USA Today would be nice. Especially since they never leave enough in retail outlets.

At any rate, this online confessional of sorts for men and women of war, marches on with a desire to one day turn swords into plowshares and promulgate some sense of peace around the world, and offer some contentment inside  the collective ranks of veterans who want to share their stories and struggles. The feedback I get from them is the only fuel that invigorates.  Emails from Seattle to Tampa are what keep me tuned in. New pals who are veterans of the Army Special Forces in Great Britain are pretty buffed.

In the context of our Marine Corps motto and oath, “First to fight for right and freedom and to keep our honor clean…” I do not wane. A good Marine is always a peacekeeper first  and will do what it takes to vanquish the evil forces on our planet. I wished it were different.

But I say again, my doubt is about the neutered, jaded, weary public that is rapidly acquiescing to corporate America and a war machine that has compromised its conscience and allowed itself to be more interested in Penn State pedophiles then men and women at war.

Our Editor Mark Evans has been great and always helpful. I expected more help  from Gannett.

I will just lower my expectations and read the Sports page first, so as to be a regular American.

San Diego Union Names Person of The Year- The Marine

Marine recruits from 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, Company L , about to begin their graduation ceremony from boot camp, remain under their drill instructor's watchful eye at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.
Ok, I know it is not local. But the people they defend are local.  Plus it is a cool picture.  They never gave us Dress Blues when we graduated.  We only got the top just for pictures in the album.
Marine recruits from 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, Company L , about to begin their graduation ceremony from boot camp, remain under their drill instructor’s watchful eye at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. — Nelvin C. Cepeda
Written by

Today, the U-T launches a new tradition. Each Jan. 1, we will honor the Person of the Year, an individual or category of individuals with San Diego ties.

We can think of no better way to begin this tradition than by selecting as our first winner the Marine. Since Sept. 11, 2001, America has relied on the Marine to keep us safe from terror at home and to take the fight to our enemies abroad, a task our Marines have handled with immense courage, professionalism and honor.

Some of the 56,000 Marines based in San Diego County — the West Coast hub for Marine ground and air forces — have served a half-dozen or more tours of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. Their sacrifices, and those of all the other military personnel based in our county, have been enormous.

Some have died, some have suffered horrific injuries, some are wounded in less-obvious ways. The Marine’s family also has borne a huge burden.

Yet the Marine perseveres, caring for loved ones, protecting our nation and demonstrating the wisdom of Marine Commandant Charles McCawley’s 1883 decision to make “semper fidelis” — Latin for “always faithful” — the Marine Corps motto. When not defending this nation abroad, the Marine is our neighbor, our friend, our children’s coach, our school’s supporter, a welcome, constructive and beloved member of our community.

The U-T is far from alone in its admiration. “Some people work an entire lifetime and wonder if they have ever made a difference to the world. But the Marines don’t have that problem,” President Ronald Reagan wrote in a letter to a young Marine about to deploy on a dangerous mission.

We couldn’t agree more.

In recognition of all the Marine has done for San Diego, for the United States and for the cause of freedom, the U-T salutes the Marine, our 2011 Person of the Year. Semper fi!

New Mobile Vet Centers




January 4, 2012



VA Deploying 20 New Mobile Vet Centers

Additions to Fleet Will Expand Veterans’ Access to VA Services Across U.S.

COLUMBUS, Ohio- The Department of Veterans Affairs today deployed 20 additional Mobile Vet Centers from the production facility of Farber Specialty Vehicles to increase access to readjustment counseling services for Veterans and their families in rural and underserved communities across the country.

“Mobile Vet Centers allow VA to bring the many services our Vet Centers offer Veterans to all communities, wherever they are needed,” said VA Under Secretary for Health Robert A. Petzel. “VA is committed to expanding access to VA health care and benefits for Veterans and their families, and these 20 new vehicles demonstrate that continued commitment.”

In an event attended by Petzel, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, representatives of the Ohio congressional delegation, and Veterans service organizations, VA launched the 20 new vehicles to their destinations ranging across the continental United States, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

These customized vehicles–which are equipped with confidential counseling space and a state of the art communication package—travel to communities to extend VA’s reach to Veterans, Servicemembers and their families, especially those living in rural or remote communities.  The vehicles also serve as part of the VA emergency response program.

The 20 new, American-made vehicles will expand the existing fleet of 50 Mobile Vet Centers already in service providing outreach and counseling services.  The 50 Mobile Vet Centers were also manufactured by Farber Specialty Vehicles.  In fiscal year 2011, Mobile Vet Centers participated in more than 3,600 federal, state and locally sponsored Veteran-related events.  The VA contract for the 20 Mobile Vet Centers totals $3.1 million.



Mobile Vet Center Launch 2/2/2/2


During the announcement event, Petzel also announced that Farber Specialty Vehicles recently won a competitive bid to produce 230 emergency shuttle vehicles for VA over the next five years.  The shuttles will provide routine transportation for Veteran patients in and around various metro areas during normal operations, but convert to mobile clinics that will facilitate the evacuation of patients and their care teams during disasters and emergencies.  The VA contract for the 230 emergency shuttles totals $53.5 million.

VA has 300 Vet Centers serving communities across the country, offering individual and group counseling for Veterans and their families, family counseling for military related issues, bereavement counseling for families who experience an active duty death, military sexual trauma counseling and referral, outreach and education, substance abuse assessment and referral, employment assessment and referral, VA benefits explanation and referral, and screening and referral for medical issues including traumatic brain injury and depression.

More than 190,000 Veterans and families made over 1.3 million visits to VA Vet Centers in fiscal year 2011.

To find out more about Vet Center services or find a Vet Center in your area, go to

The 20 new mobile Vet Centers will be based at:


  • Birmingham, Ala.
  • San Diego, Calif.
  • Atlanta, Ga.
  • Western Oahu, Hawaii
  • Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Evanston, Ill.
  • Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Baltimore, Md.
  • Pontiac, Mich.
  • Kansas City, Mo.
  • Jackson, Miss.
  • Greensboro, N.C.
  • Lakewood, N.J.
  • Reno, Nev.
  • Stark County, Ohio
  • Lawton, Okla.
  • Ponce, Puerto Rico
  • Nashville, Tenn.
  • Washington County, Utah
  • Green Bay, Wis.



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