from Gary RE hidden wounds and a question for all
- Since the days when our first troops came stateside from service in or during the Vietnam conflict (finally termed a war) we have had Veterans with hidden wounds – far more hidden than the physical scars that clothing hides.
For thousands of Veterans the hidden wounds of which I speak are those of mental issues and internal injuries and contamination.
For in excess of thirty years, we as a nation have done next to nothing to assist those Veterans and their families. We have placated them with Congressional rhetoric, promises unkept, and a few paltry programs that were NEVER funded or staffed to the degree necessary to actually help.
Today, nearly four decades after the most unique war in our history, one that created over ten times the mental illness and head trauma of any previous war, we still have no effective war mental trauma treatment program and we still use ANY other disability rating diagnosis to avoid diagnosis of either PTSD, Chemical Contamination, and Traumatic Brain Injury.
On that specific war, the war in Vietnam, we still have enormous unresolved socio-political cultural issues that effect the way we think and even our very language! I.e. “fragging”, “going postal”, and most telling of all phrases “came stateside”!
Culturally and politically, we still think of Vietnam ERA Veterans as "less deserving" of our national Veterans' assistance programs. Somehow, we still consider those honorable Veterans as ? what ? . . . "criminals"?
WHY? They served with honor, during their tours of duty, and for each and every decade since they left military service!
Vietnam Era Veterans STILL serve on "active duty" paying with their self esteem and lives the price exacted by this nation for a politically "cluster-f'd" war they never stood a chance of actually winning for their nation!
In no other war past or present did or does any troop come “stateside” - - -
They all came, come, and are welcomed HOME!
We even refuse to call those Veterans who served during that war VIETNAM VETERANS unless they were in the actual country!
NEVER before in the history of our nation have we ever disenfranchised and dishonored those warriors who served during a war by denying them the Veteran’s title of the war in which they served, EXCEPT the Vietnam War!
A question for all to consider.
Since the dawn of our nation, that fierce war for independence, we have honored our Veterans of those war periods as Veterans of (whatever war) whether they served in combat or in support of combat activities and efforts.
For instance, it has never mattered whether or not a Veteran was involved in direct combat or the theater of war for that person to be considered a Veteran of WWI, WWII, Korean War, ect.
We have, as a nation – through the DOD, decorated those Veterans with ribbons denoting the period of war in which they served. Additionally, those who served in combat or were wounded in combat have always been recognized with additional ribbons and medals commemorating those events of their service.
A combat Veteran of our wars has always been distinguished as – for instance – a WWI/WWII/Korean ect. Combat Veteran
There is only one notable exception to those generic rules – Vietnam!
Even though a Veteran may have served in direct combat support of the war (as post-war declared) in Vietnam, a Veteran may not identify him or herself as a Vietnam Veteran or a Veteran of the Vietnam War, unless the Veteran served on active duty in, over, or on the waters of Vietnam! Yet some gave the ultimate sacrifice in support of that wear without setting foot in, over or on land or waters of Vietnam! Many were injured during their active duty assignments supporting that war. ALL served!
ALL were effected by the war!
Why aren’t ALL Veterans of that period known as Veterans of the Vietnam War and those who served in combat known as Vietnam Combat Veterans?
Why do we have not a single DOD ribbon or medal to commemorate the service during war of those whose assignments were in direct support of the war, but not in the war zone? Why is there no DOD Vietnam Ribbon to commemorate service during the Vietnam War in support of the war?
There is a DOD ribbon denoting service during the war period – whether combat, war zone or not - for every single war EXCEPT Vietnam, including this Global War on Terrorism!
Aren’t all who served during Vietnam, truly Veterans of the Vietnam War? Aren’t the many who served in combat truly Vietnam Combat Veterans?
Shouldn’t those Veterans who served during Vietnam by providing the lifelines to supplies and the homeland be also awarded DOD ribbons or medals commemorating their service during war?
A question for all to consider: Why is it that the only US war-time service in which non-combat zone active duty in support of the war was refused title, recognition, ribbon, or medal is that during Vietnam?
I suggest that there should be a new ribbon – called the Vietnam Era Ribbon - created by the DOD and authorized for wear on uniform for any active duty troop who served DURING Vietnam and for any Veteran of the Vietnam War era! I suggest that it should be the same as the Vietnam Service Ribbon except bordered by a rope of the red, white and blue of the flag of the USA, thereby showing that the Troop/Veteran served during the time the USA enveloped and honored its treaties with the Republic of South Vietnam!
In-country Veterans would be authorized to wear both the Vietnam Service and Vietnam Era ribbons plus their Vietnam Campaign medal/ribbon.
I suggest that we give the DOD a break and not even require that they ISSUE the ribbon to all the Veterans who qualify, we Veterans can buy our own ribbon if we wish to display it.
I suggest that all who served during Vietnam should be officially termed as Veterans of the Vietnam War and those who served in, over or on the waters of Vietnam be known as Vietnam Veterans –as they are today known.
I would also suggest that the DOD revert its regulations regarding wear of the Vietnam Campaign medal/ribbon to those it accepted when the Republic of South Vietnam issued the medal and which the DOD then restricted AFTER the fall of the RSVN.
All troops who served during Vietnam in any one of the supporting areas outside of Vietnam which were listed as eligible for the medal by the RSVN, should still be authorized to wear the foreign ribbon they earned according to that foreign nation’s standards at the time of issue – it should make no difference that the nation LATER fell!
(All herein are personal opinion, I am not a licensed Doctor or Lawyer.)
Gary Kendall: disabled USAF Veteran; Constitutionalist; Veterans'/citizens' rights activist; US recognized/registered Sovereign, independent entity.
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