Wednesday, January 30, 2008

ACWV Visits Naval Historical Center 1 Jan 25 2008


Enclosed is grip-and-grin photo. Names (Left to right) for our group are Frank Tims, Ernie Gallo, Scott L’Ecuyer, and Jerald Terwilliger.
Correction: one name missing. The guy in the middle.

He is:

Edward J. Marolda, Ph.D
Senior Historian
Chief, Histories and Archives Division
Naval Historical Center

Veterans groups push for reform of disabled veterans benefits

by Elizabeth Gibson
Jan 24, 2008

WASHINGTON -- Veterans groups Thursday added their support to recommendations calling for modernization of a system that determines what benefits disabled veterans receive relative to severity of their wounds.

Now, the vets said, they want to see some action and enforcement from the government on recommendations made by the Veterans Disability Benefits Commission.

"You've got the riffle, squeeze the trigger," Todd Bowers, director of government affairs for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said at a hearing of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

Representatives from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars and The American Legion said they like the ideas of updating the rankings that match benefits to disabilities.

They also want extra compensation beyond health care for the impact that wounds could have on quality of life of veterans.

But they expressed reservations about mandatory check-ups every two years for veterans already getting compensation.

"A lot of veterans would view these reviews as an attempt to take away their benefits," said Gerald Manar, deputy director of the VFW's national veterans service.

Researching for the commission, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies recommended case by case determinations of whether veterans need follow-up exams.

However, the benefits commission felt that required reevaluations for some types of disabilities, particularly mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, would ensure that those needing regular check-ups didn't slip through the cracks, said retired Lt. Gen. James Scott.

Scott, chairman of the commission, said, "It seems to me if you don't reevaluate, you won't know how the treatment is doing."

The commission also recommended basing benefits on a sliding scale to determine the degree to which different disabilities detract from a veteran's quality of life. The veterans groups said this was a worthy idea but would require more research to find a way to measure how much an amputation versus post-traumatic stress disorder would affect quality of life.

Several of the commission's recommendations stretch back to previous panels meeting more than 50 years ago. The Veterans Disabilities Benefits Commission report, released last October with 113 recommendations, should be sufficient to get started and set deadlines for action, leader of veterans groups said.

Thirty-five percent of disability ratings have not been updated since 1945, according to the Institute of Medicine.

"Despite the fact that the disability system was already outdated more than five decades ago there have been no fundamental reforms," Sen. Richard Burr R-N.C. said at the hearing. "It is a failure of a highest magnitude if we don't provide these heroes who have sacrificed so much for their country with the benefits and services they need and deserve."

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Elk Grove man remembers the Pueblo

It's the reason Rick Rogala spent 1968 as a captive in North Korea, enduring beatings and paltry prison meals of gummy rice and turnips served in a water pail.

For the Elk Grove Village man, the Navy spy ship USS Pueblo is both the source of nightmares -- and pride.

He won his freedom after 11 months, but the USS Pueblo still stands prisoner 40 years after its capture. Tethered on the Taedong River in Pyongyang, the only commissioned U.S. Navy ship in foreign hands is promoted as a trophy celebrating the communist nation's Cold War conquest.

One sailor was killed and the surviving 82 crew members held as prisoners when torpedo boats and airplanes attacked on Jan. 23, 1968.

Remembering the Pueblo

Rogala, who was 20 years old when captured, not only wants the public to "Remember the Pueblo," a catchphrase coined at the time in a push for the U.S. to broker freedom for the crew, but he is championing the ship's return.

"I know we're dealing with a country that's hard to talk to, but 40 years later it's time," Rogala said.

He wants to bring the ship back to showcase at a museum in Pueblo, Colo., for which the ship is named, and honor the legacy of the sacrifice of the crew members. An anonymous donor a few years ago gave the veterans property to house the ship

Rogala hopes to present the Pueblo story without the taint of propaganda he says will overshadow its legacy as long as it's moored in North Korea.

Cold War prisoners

While the North Korean government says the capture was justified as the Pueblo had crossed into their waters, U.S. officials say the ship never trespassed.

Forty years later, there is no dispute that the Pueblo was dispatched to monitor ship movements and intercept messages.

"We were there to collect intelligence, but we were in international waters, so it's fair play," Rogala said.

He had joined the Naval Reserves rather than be drafted to serve in the Army during the Vietnam War. He left his Niles home to report to San Diego to ship out on the Pueblo in fall 1967.

After a month in Japan, the Pueblo ventured toward North Korea.

As far as Rogala knew, this was a "non-risk mission." He wasn't trained in communications intelligence, but he knew there were officers aboard with those skills.

The events of midday Jan. 23 four decades ago steered the Pueblo's fate into more dangerous waters about 15 miles off the coast of North Korea on the Sea of Japan.

Torpedo boats and airplanes descended on the ship as sailors rushed to dump sensitive material overboard in an effort to protect military secrets. The Pueblo carried two machine guns, but neither was mounted.

"It was a really scary episode. Bullets flying over your head," said Rogala, who was working as a mess cook during the attack.

Amid the barrage of bullets, the captain decided to surrender and allow the North Koreans aboard, Rogala recalls.

It was a decision that led to intense criticism of Pueblo Cmdr. Lloyd Bucher, who endured savage torture until the crew's release on Dec. 23, 1968. He faced the potential of a court martial for surrendering without firing a shot.

Blame followed the Pueblo survivors back home but Rogala himself blames the U.S. Navy, saying "they should have prepared us better" for such a risky spy mission.

Rogala and his shipmates were blindfolded, strip-searched and taken off the ship by gangplank to board a bus after the siege.

When his captors vowed the sailors would be OK if they obeyed their rules, Rogala didn't believe them.

Nightmare begins North Korean soldiers piled the 82 crewmembers into a train for an overnight trip, then stopped in the freezing cold and forced the prisoners off the train for what they saw as a photo opportunity.

"For a while there, I thought it was the end," Rogala said, pausing from time to time as his eyes seemed to rove to a distant place. "I still have nightmares."

They were taken to a building the Pueblo crew dubbed "the barn," and packed into rooms, with eight bunking with Rogala.

Despite the threat of death by firing squad, Rogala only offered his name, rank, service number and date of birth.

The Pueblo's six officers were separated and faced the harshest torture. The North Koreans "knew that they would know more, so they got the worst of the beatings," Rogala said.

He suffered his most severe beating during what came to be known as Hell Week.

The North Korean soldiers had discovered that the captive sailors flashing an obscene gesture weren't extending the "Hawaiian good luck sign" as the sailors told them.

"I got a blow to the face where my teeth were loose, and I was kicked to get back up," Rogala said. "I must have given them the wrong answer because I got another blow to the head. I could wiggle my teeth and everything. It was unbelievable."

A year 'wiped off'

Americans who lived through 1968 have vivid memories of that tumultuous year: the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, the Tet offensive in Vietnam, and the Democratic convention in Chicago.

Rogala had to hear about these events from his captors. To him, it all sounded like propaganda.

"It's a year of my life just wiped off," he said.

Crew members would get about 15 minutes a day to go outside. They could write letters home, but their captors monitored their words.

Rogala recalls sending a letter to his parents in Niles, trying to communicate in a code that all was not well. He told them to say "hello" to an uncle who had died.

The prisoners also were allowed to play cards in the evening for an hour. Sometimes they would write lyrics to songs.

"Thank God we were with other people that would say, 'We're going to get out,' " Rogala said. "Some were lifting others up."

Freedom's price

Freedom for the Pueblo crew came after a grueling 11 months when the United States agreed to apologize. Once the crew was freed, the U.S. government reneged.

It wasn't until 1989 that Rogala and his shipmates earned prisoner of war designation, an upgrade from their "detainees" status.

Now, the hope of returning the USS Pueblo home motivates 60-year-old Rogala. He has reached out to congressional and state representatives for help but he hasn't found support yet.

The plight of the USS Pueblo continues to expose the wounds of the Cold War.

While North Korea and the United States have made progress in resolving the dispute over its nuclear program that led President Bush to describe its regime as part of the axis of evil, normal relations seem elusive.

In recent years, North Korea has tried to use the Pueblo as a bargaining chip, offering to return the ship in exchange for a visit from a prominent U.S. official.

U.S. Navy officials didn't return calls for comment on chances of the ship's return.

The ship in Pyongyang is used as a tourist attraction where visitors can view the Pueblo's encryption machines and radio equipment as North Korean tour guides relay the story of its capture.

North Korean officials used Wednesday's anniversary of the capture to say the United States should remember the "bitter lesson" of the Pueblo.

"The incident was a product of the U.S. gangster-like policy of aggression," the nation said in a statement.

For Rogala, that points up the need for the ship's return. He and the other Pueblo survivors will meet this fall at a reunion, sharing stories and calling for the ship's release.

"I need to put this behind me totally," he said. "It will never be final in my mind until the ship comes back."

The truth about Russia’s military "resurgence"

By all indications, the Russian military has enjoyed a revival of sorts in recent years. 2007 was an especially notable year in this respect. In April, Russia completed construction of a strategic submarine of a new class, the first since the Soviet Union’s dissolution. Despite a string of unsuccessful flight tests, the military has continued to develop a new sea-launched missile for these submarines. In May and December, the Rocket Forces tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) equipped with multiple warheads. In August, President Vladimir Putin made a point to personally announce that he ordered strategic bombers to return to the Cold-War practice of conducting regular long-range patrol flights. The list goes on--Russia has been upgrading its network of early warning radars, plans to resume producing strategic bombers, and is considering developing another new ICBM. In October, Putin called Russia’s plans to modernize its strategic forces no less than "grandiose."

Because it serves as a vestige of superpower status, many Russians look at such a "resurgence" with pride. Naturally, the buildup concerns the West, which also views it in Cold War terms, even though the scale is nowhere near that of Soviet deployments. Whatever the reaction, there seems to be consensus that the credit for this mini-renaissance belongs to the current Russian leadership and to Putin personally. This partly explains Putin’s high-approval ratings in Russia and his recent selection as Time magazine’s "Person of the Year."

But upon closer inspection, a different story emerges. It’s a story of weak leadership, not one of strength. Instead of leading a resurgence, the current Russian leadership has given the military and defense industry a free hand in setting national security policy and uncritically accepted their narrow view of the world and its problems. Just like the Soviet Union during the Cold War, today’s Russia has little control over its military-industrial complex. And since the military-industrial complex can only build missiles, submarines, and bombers, it’s not surprising that Russia’s security threats are now defined to require missiles, submarines, and bombers. The result is that the discussion of security issues in Russia is dominated by paranoid scenarios involving the United States destroying Russian missiles in a surprise attack and alarmist projections of how U.S. missile defense will affect Moscow’s "strategic balance."

It’s hardly surprising that the military-industrial complex is pushing the "resurgence" agenda--generals always fight the last war. There’s little doubt that they will convince the government to keep its number of missiles and submarines at a "respectable" level. Or that the military will be able to maintain these missiles at a reasonable degree of readiness. With a strong economy, Russia can certainly afford strategic forces that would be considered impressive by Cold-War standards. But these standards are irrelevant today and the strategic forces designed to fight the Cold War are useless when it comes to the security threats that exist today. Therefore, this "grandiose resurgence" will eventually prove unnecessary, expensive, and dangerous.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Gordon Kirk, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8854, was the only veteran in St. Paul's last remaining VFW club one recent afternoon.

The 84-year-old walked by his post's war memorabilia and a case packed with sports trophies from the 1960s. The post once boasted two generals among its members.

"We had some wonderful times here," Kirk murmured.

But those memories, like the VFW, are passing into history. Kirk is planning to sell the building as soon as he can find a buyer.

Minnesota's capital city once had about 15 VFW halls. Post 8854's will be the last to close, making all nine of the city's remaining VFW posts homeless. They now meet in places like community centers or libraries.

The number of VFW posts is dropping across the country as well. An estimated 1,500 World War II veterans die each day. Membership has dropped about 17 percent since 1992 to 1.8 million members.

Minnesota loses about six VFW posts a year and now has 268, down by one-third from the peak. Minneapolis, which once had about 13, is down to one.

Some posts have been able to buck the trend, however, by successfully recruiting veterans of the Vietnam and Middle East conflicts with a simple strategy -- just asking them to join.

"If we look for veterans, we find them," said Lee Ulferts, commander of Post 3915 in Brooklyn Park. Since he took over in 2001, the post has more than doubled membership to 600.

In contrast to the VFW, the American Legion is growing. Some attribute that to the variety of services it offers. The Legion should soon rebound to the 3 million-member peak it achieved in the early 1990s, officials said.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars was formed in 1899 as a network of fraternal service clubs, comparable to Rotary or Lions clubs. Membership swelled after World War II, with about 10,000 posts operating thousands of halls.

Ulferts said membership also surged in the 1970s, when the children of World War II veterans began leaving home, giving their parents more time to volunteer.

But Ulferts, a Vietnam veteran, said the VFW, along with the rest of America, belittled Vietnam veterans for fighting in a losing war, instead of welcoming them.

"The VFW lost a generation," Ulferts said. "Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another."

Smoking bans have also hurt the clubs, post leaders said, as have changing attitudes about drinking.

"It's a whole change of culture," Ulferts said.

Membership in Post 1678, near Taylors Falls, has shrunk to 14, and the post will be dissolved this year.

Commander Leland Rivard, 83, said monthly meetings draw perhaps seven old men who sit around a table in a meeting room. He said he's lucky to get three members willing to participate in honor guard ceremonies.

"We can't get anyone to join the post any more," Rivard said. "As time moves on, we forget."

The impending closing of St. Paul's last VFW hall upsets Zenus Bell, who has volunteered to work in its kitchen up to 20 hours a week for the past 10 years.

"There are some old men who come here, and this is all they have," said Bell, wiping a countertop.

Of the six patrons on hand that afternoon, none was a veteran. They watched TV, drank and teased each other -- "Go back to your nursing home!" "Sit up straight!" -- as the bartender listlessly nibbled on french fries. No veterans came in, but a mother did. She ordered macaroni and cheese for her two children.

"These men deserve more," Bell said. "They get no grants, no nothing. They fight for their country and they have nothing?"

Sunday, January 27, 2008



We are grateful to those legislators who supported a Cold War Medal, especially Representative Robert Andrews of New Jersey, and Senators Clinton, Collins, and Lincoln. Ask Your senators to join them in co sponsorship of S.1097, the COLD WAR MEDAL ACT OF 2007 (the legislation is before the Senate Armed Services Committee).

Senator Listings

State Rep. Robert E. Belfanti Jr., D-Montour County, reminds veterans they are eligible for a Cold War Recognition Certificate.


News for veterans

LUZERNE COUNTY: State Rep. Robert E. Belfanti Jr., D-Montour County, reminds veterans of the U.S. military and some civilian employees of the U.S. government who served during the Cold War (Sept. 2, 1945 to Dec. 26, 1991) that they are eligible for a Cold War Recognition Certificate.

As part of the 1998 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress authorized the Department of Defense to award a Cold War Recognition Certificate to honor U.S. military personnel and civilian employees who served the nation during the Cold War.

Anyone who served in either a military or civilian capacity with the War, Navy or Defense departments is eligible. Eligible military and civilian personnel can receive the certificate free of charge. Relatives of deceased military and civilian employees of the U.S. government can apply on their behalf.

Details about how to request a certificate and what supporting documentation is needed are available on Belfanti's legislative Web site at

Saturday, January 26, 2008

U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release

January 24, 2008

Soldier Missing from Korean War is Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
He is Pfc. Billy M. MacLeod, U.S. Army, of Cheboygan, Mich. He was buried Saturday in Cheboygan.
Representatives from the Army met with MacLeod’s next-of-kin to explain the recovery and identification process, and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the secretary of the Army.
MacLeod was a member of Company B, 32nd Infantry Regiment, then making up part of the 31st Regimental Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, operating along the eastern banks of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. From Nov. 27-Dec. 1, 1950, the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces overran the U.S. positions, forcing their southward withdrawal. Regimental records compiled after the battle indicate that MacLeod was killed in action on Nov. 28, 1950.
Between 2002 and 2005, three joint U.S.-Democratic People’s Republic of Korea teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), excavated an area with two mass graves on the eastern shore of the Chosin Reservoir. They were believed to be burial sites of U.S. soldiers from the 31st RCT. The teams found human remains and other material evidence. Analysis of the remains subsequently led to the identifications of eight individuals, including MacLeod.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons in the identification of MacLeod’s remains.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at or call (703) 699-1169.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) opposes legislation that will permit attorneys to charge claimants for veterans benefits a fee for preparation, presentation, and prosecution of a claim in the administrative claims process of the Department of Veterans Affairs more...

Paper Document ImageRead Letter to Chairman Buyer (pdf)
Paper Document ImageDownload Petition to Repeal Legislation Authorizing Attorneys to Charge Veterans (pdf)
Paper Document ImageDownload DAV Resolution No. 199 (pdf)
Paper Document ImageRead News Release

Veterans groups push for reform of disabled veterans benefits

by Elizabeth Gibson
Jan 24, 2008

WASHINGTON -- Veterans groups Thursday added their support to recommendations calling for modernization of a system that determines what benefits disabled veterans receive relative to severity of their wounds.

Now, the vets said, they want to see some action and enforcement from the government on recommendations made by the Veterans Disability Benefits Commission.

"You've got the riffle, squeeze the trigger," Todd Bowers, director of government affairs for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said at a hearing of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

Representatives from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars and The American Legion said they like the ideas of updating the rankings that match benefits to disabilities.

They also want extra compensation beyond health care for the impact that wounds could have on quality of life of veterans.

But they expressed reservations about mandatory check-ups every two years for veterans already getting compensation.

"A lot of veterans would view these reviews as an attempt to take away their benefits," said Gerald Manar, deputy director of the VFW's national veterans service.

Researching for the commission, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies recommended case by case determinations of whether veterans need follow-up exams.

However, the benefits commission felt that required reevaluations for some types of disabilities, particularly mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, would ensure that those needing regular check-ups didn't slip through the cracks, said retired Lt. Gen. James Scott.

Scott, chairman of the commission, said, "It seems to me if you don't reevaluate, you won't know how the treatment is doing."

The commission also recommended basing benefits on a sliding scale to determine the degree to which different disabilities detract from a veteran's quality of life. The veterans groups said this was a worthy idea but would require more research to find a way to measure how much an amputation versus post-traumatic stress disorder would affect quality of life.

Several of the commission's recommendations stretch back to previous panels meeting more than 50 years ago. The Veterans Disabilities Benefits Commission report, released last October with 113 recommendations, should be sufficient to get started and set deadlines for action, leader of veterans groups said.

Thirty-five percent of disability ratings have not been updated since 1945, according to the Institute of Medicine.

"Despite the fact that the disability system was already outdated more than five decades ago there have been no fundamental reforms," Sen. Richard Burr R-N.C. said at the hearing. "It is a failure of a highest magnitude if we don't provide these heroes who have sacrificed so much for their country with the benefits and services they need and deserve."

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) is revealing the reality of the
U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. In what will be history's
largest gathering of U.S. veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan,
as well as Iraqi and Afghan survivors, eyewitnesses will share their
experiences in a public investigation called Winter Soldier: Iraq and

How you can help Winter Soldier - Please read the attached file and
Lily's note below.

The D.C. Metro area is being called on to provide tax deductible
donations, housing and help with the logistics. Main organizer is Lily
Pazil, Tel: 301-785-7134, Contact her and for how you can help.

Attached is the revised list of logistics roles to be filled. Soon
Lily will schedule everything out so people can sign up for exact
shifts, but for now i'd like to just compile volunteers who can play
theses roles at some point during the weekend.

Please fwd to your networks! We need ALOT more volunteers! **Also
Note: I was hoping Childcare would be bottom lined by the DC child
care collective, but they can only help somewhat, so we need
more people for this fun role! And a child care bottom liner!! Thanks, -Lily

National Labor College
10000 New Hampshire Ave.
Silver Spring, MD 20903

5 PM: Dinner
6 PM: Welcoming brief for IVAW and testifiers
7 PM: Panel 1, "The History of GI Resistance"

FRIDAY March 14
8-9 AM: Breakfast
10 AM - 11 AM: Testimony
11 AM - 1 PM: Panel 2,"Political, Legal, and Economic Context for the
1-2 PM: Lunch
2-3 PM: Panel 3, "Corporate Pillaging and Military Contractors"
3-6 PM: Testimony
6-7 PM: Dinner
7-8 PM: Panel 4, "Impacts on Human Health and the Environment"
8:30 PM: Daily debriefing
9:30PM: Entertainment

8-9 AM: Breakfast
10 AM - 11 AM: Panel 5, "Military Discrimination and Sexual Assault"
11 AM - 1 PM: Testimony
1-2 PM: Lunch
2-3 PM: Panel 6, "Dehumanization"
3-6 PM: Testimony
6-7 PM: Dinner
7-8 PM: Panel 7, "Cost of the War at Home"
8:30 PM: Daily debriefing
9:30PM: Entertainment

SUNDAY March 16
8-9 AM: Breakfast
10 AM - 1 PM: Testimony
1-2 PM: Lunch
2 PM: Panel 8, "The Future of GI Resistance"
3 PM: Wrap-up, debriefing, closing event

Tony Teolis
Veterans For Peace
Delwin Anderson Memorial Chapter
home (evenings/weekends): 703-352-1603
cell: 703-402-1763
Blaming the Veteran: The Politics of PTSD

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) became part of the American vocabulary after the Vietnam War as its affects on veterans became widely publicized. Now, a new generation of American veterans are again victims of PTSD. This series explores the impact of politics on the funding, diagnosis and treatment of veterans suffering from PTSD. It examines the propaganda used to justify a reduction in benefits to veterans with PTSD and the effort to redirect blame for the ravages of war to the soldiers themselves.

Part I: Stacking the Deck - With trillion dollar estimates for the Iraq war, the Administration looks to cut costs, eyeing treatment for the returning PTSD wounded veterans.

Part II: Ration & Redefine - Redefining PTSD and substance abuse as moral/spiritual failings opens the door to cheaper unregulated, unlicensed faith-based "treatments."

Part III: Malign & Slime - Propaganda is used to stigmatize veterans seeking help, reduce benefits to veterans with PTSD and to blame the soldiers for their own illness.

PTSD Resources | About the Authors

Story Link

Make this Bill Status Widget

Cold War Veterans Blog

Capture of USS Pueblo welded crew together

Wednesday 23 January 2008 at 20:21

by NC Sentinel

Pueblo Chieftain - Pueblo, CO, USA

Capture of USS Pueblo welded crew together

Surviving crew members wryly observe the 40th anniversary of the spy ship's capture by North Koreans.


It's that time of year when the telephone rings more often at Don Peppard's house in El Paso, Texas - reporters wanting the 70-year-old Navy veteran to remember for a moment what it was like 40 years ago in the icy waters off North Korea to be part of the most famous crew of Americans to ever be captured and tortured by an enemy.

"The media usually calls around the anniversary (of the USS Pueblo being seized) and anytime North Korea causes new problems," Peppard said in a soft-spoken, wry tone. "I guess people think we have some unique insight into North Koreans. Personally, it's not anything I like to dwell on."

The harrowing story of the USS Pueblo is a familiar one to readers of The Pueblo Chieftain because the little freighter that had been converted into a National Security Agency spy ship was named for the Steel City when it was commissioned by the Navy in 1967.

Packed with the most top-secret electronic eavesdropping equipment and code books, the Pueblo was cruising off the North Korean coast in January 1968, listening to North Korean radio signals while pretending to be an oceanographic research vessel - a ruse that didn't fool anyone.

On Jan. 23, the North Koreans changed the cat-and-mouse game. Instead of just shadowing the Pueblo, patrol boats circled the ship and opened fire with 20 mm cannons, demanding that then-Lt. Cmdr. Lloyd "Pete" Bucher stop the ship. Frantically radioing for U.S. air support, Bucher's crew began sledgehammering radio equipment and burning code manuals while Bucher kept the ship moving and out of reach for two hours. Seaman Duane Hodges, 21, was killed by shrapnel as he helped destroy code manuals. Other crew members, including Bucher, were wounded as well. The Pueblo only had two .50-caliber machine guns and the Navy - distancing itself from the NSA spy operation - had rejected Bucher's request for an automatic scuttling system that could quickly sink the ship.

So after two hours of taking fire, the Pueblo finally stopped running and North Korean soldiers came aboard, bludgeoning the crew and beginning 11 long months of brutal treatment for the 82 surviving Americans. Almost as painful was the stunning realization that no help ever came from U.S. aircraft carriers or bases in South Korea or Japan.

"The official government answer was that no warplanes were available in South Korea that were not armed with nuclear weapons," the craggy-faced Bucher recalled during a 1992 crew reunion in Pueblo. "But that was a bunch of crap. The USS Enterprise was fully armed and on its way back to Vietnam and its jets could have reached us in 15 minutes."

Bucher said the crew knew the dangers of being a spy ship. But the crew members had no idea they would be left alone in the Sea of Japan.

"It's true that we expected some kind of American reaction in the days right after being taken," Peppard said. After all, U.S. warplanes were bombing North Vietnam every day and were not far away. "But nothing happened and that was tough. Over time, I know some of the guys got pretty despondent, feeling like we'd been abandoned. But we tried to keep our morale up, especially the skipper (Bucher.)"

The "Pueblo incident" as it became known, raised the spectre of the U.S. opening a second war against North Korea as President Lyndon Johnson and top U.S. military leaders insisted that the seizure of the crew would not be tolerated. But a week after the seizure, the war in Vietnam exploded as Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers launched the Tet offensive, attacking dozens of South Vietnamese towns and U.S. bases the length of the country. As combat raged in South Vietnam, the Pueblo crisis was pushed further away from the front pages.

What happened to the crew during the 11 months of captivity is a story of torture and defiance - being beaten and having revolvers pressed against their heads, the hammers clicking on empty chambers, being forced to pose for many propaganda photographs and defying their captors by always posing with a raised middle finger, an insult they explained as a "Hawaiian good luck sign." It was a gesture of defiance they reveled in - until a Time magazine news story about their photographs explained the insult to their captors, who beat them savagely for a week in retaliation.

"I guess that's why the crew never cooperates with Time magazine to this day," 63-year-old Alvin Plucker explained last week from his Fort Lupton home. "I know the reporters who call from Time probably weren't even born when we were captured, but we went through Hell Week because of that magazine."

When the crew finally was released in December 1968, it came home to a grateful nation but a cold, disapproving Navy. Having survived beatings and mock executions, the crew was further demoralized to see the Navy launch an 80-day inquiry into how the ship was captured and a courts-martial of Bucher for not having sunk the vessel first. But public opinion was strongly behind the defiant crew and the Navy ultimately settled for giving Bucher a reprimand.

It was an attitude the crew has never forgotten.

"The Navy would have preferred the North Koreans just sunk us," Bucher said bluntly in an interview with The Chieftain.

Not the crew, though.

"He was like a father to us," Plucker said with emotion, noting that Bucher died in 2004. "If it hadn't been for the skipper, we would have all perished. If the Navy had had its way, we would have all gone to the bottom in freezing water. Bucher didn't let that happen. He saved his crew and that's what we'll always be - his crew."

Peppard, who is president of the Pueblo's crew association, agreed with that assessment.

"Pete was our inspiration in captivity. He was always the skipper to us. His resistance inspired us to resist," Peppard said, adding that there are 71 surviving crew members. "But there are guys who still can't deal with what happened, who feel such anger at how we were treated."

It took years for the crew to be given official respect from the Navy. The crew members finally were given Prisoner of War medals in 1995, but not until supporters had pressured Congress into pressuring the Pentagon. Those are medals the crew believed they more than deserved.

"I know of one fellow who was so upset by it all that when his medal arrived in the mail, he threw it in a canal," Plucker said.

Although their ordeal was 40 years ago, the crew points out that the Pueblo remains a sore point in U.S. relations with

North Korea. The sailors who served aboard her want the ship returned to the U.S. and, over the years, they have built a ground swell of support in Congress to push North Korea into returning the ship - which North Korea keeps tethered in a river near Pyongyang as a war trophy of the long struggle with the U.S.

Bucher wanted the ship recovered, as do many of the crew.

"Of course I want to see the ship returned," he said not long before his death. "It bothers the crew that North Korea is allowed to use our ship as a propaganda tool."

Plucker agreed.

"At the time we were prisoners, we just wanted to see the ship sunk wherever the North Koreans had put her," Plucker said. "Now, we'd like to see her returned. She's still commissioned by the U.S. Navy. Like I tell groups whenever I'm invited to talk about our experience - when we get the Pueblo back, my work will be done."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

VFW Slams NY Times for Wacko Vet Story

Saturday, January 19, 2008 at 02:38 PM

by State Blogmaster

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Jan. 18, 2008--The national commander of the nation's largest organization of combat veterans is furious at the New York Times for not fact-checking the Jan. 13 article that portrays servicemembers returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as mentally unstable and more likely to commit violent crimes than nonveterans.

"This is irresponsible journalism," said Veterans of Foreign Wars National Commander George Lisicki, a Vietnam veteran from Carteret, N.J., "because it twists facts to perpetuate a myth that combat veterans are crazy and more likely to commit violent crimes. This dishonors the service and integrity of 1.5 million servicemen and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan."

The article, "Across America, Deadly Echoes of Foreign Battles,", cites 121 cases in which veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan either committed or charged with a killing. The cases ranged from vehicular manslaughter to first-degree murder. The reporters then mixed in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injuries, domestic violence, substance abuse, and homelessness and unemployment verbiage "to build an untenable case against today's veterans, and to further strengthen their biased 'wacko vet' premise," said Lisicki.

"America's veterans serve their country and society honorably," said Lisicki. "We're not all perfect, but perpetuating the crazed veteran myth is no better than calling every news media organization irresponsible for the acts of a few reporters. I expect more due diligence from the nation's third largest newspaper. I can only surreptitiously surmise that one of the reasons behind this story was to attack U.S. policy regarding the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and using troops as their pawns."
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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Veteran group membership dwindling

Veteran group membership dwindling

This Article states a sad fact , My own VFW post 53 closed its doors Jan. 1st.
it had been opened following the Spanish-American War.

US World News

RALEIGH, N.C., Jan. 21 U.S. veterans' organizations are seeing their ranks rapidly thin as World War II veterans die and younger soldiers decline membership.In the American Legion, for example, World War II and Korean war vets make up about half of all members, but World War II veterans are dying at a rate of about 1,000 per day, the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer reported Sunday. That demographic reality has forced many groups to scale down their activities, sell off assets, or face shutting down altogether.Younger veterans may reject the groups because their activities, like polka dances, do not interest them, the newspaper said. The trend could also reflect the overall societal trend away from civic organizations, bowling leagues and other group activities.And there is also a divide between older soldiers, many of whom were drafted, and younger soldiers who enlisted voluntarily and think of their military service as a career.

Copyright 2008 by UPI

Moscow returns to Soviet era with weaponry on parade

Luke Harding in Moscow
Monday January 21, 2008
Guardian Unlimited

Military parade in Moscow
Russia’s defence minister, Sergei Ivanov, reviews troops during the military parade on Red Square in Moscow marking the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. Photograph: Pool/EPA

It was one of the highlights of the Soviet calendar, and a chance for the world's only communist superpower to show off its military might.

For ordinary citizens, it was also a rare opportunity to eyeball their gerontocratic leaders standing on top of Lenin's tomb - and to check that they were still alive, and could wave.

But 17 years after the last communist tanks trundled through Red Square, the Kremlin has decided to revive the Soviet-era practice of parading its big weaponry.

For the first time since the fall of the Soviet Union, combat vehicles will return to the heart of Moscow, driving past the Kremlin during Russia's annual military parade on May 9, Russia's defence ministry confirmed today.

As well as six thousands soldiers in shiny new uniforms, Russian generals plan to show off their latest tanks and rockets, including the country's new, and lethal, intercontinental ballistic missile, the Topol-M.

"Under the plan adopted by the president, land and air military equipment will be involved in the parade on Red Square," General Yuri Solovyov said today. The parade will include the new S-300 missile defence system - which Russia has just sold to Iran - and 32 fighter jets.

The decision to revive one of the most pregnant symbols of the Cold War is likely to provoke criticism from Russia's opposition, who accuse president Vladimir Putin of turning Russia into a pastiche version of the Soviet Union.

It might also raise a few quizzical eyebrows inside Britain's Moscow embassy. Last week Russia forcibly closed the British Council's two regional offices in St Petersburg and Yekaterinburg using what British officials described as "'classic KGB tactics".

On Friday, Britain's ambassador in Moscow, Tony Brenton, compared post-communist Russia to the Soviet Union after officers from Russia's main domestic intelligence agency - the FSB - interrogated British Council workers.

President Putin has already demonstrated his fondness for Soviet emblems. He has updated the Soviet national anthem. Last year he said Russia should preserve the hammer and sickle on victory flags, arguing it was a part of Russia's past.

Today, one observer said that the Kremlin was using different symbols from Russia's Soviet and pre-revolutionary past to recreate a 'new national idea' of Russian greatness.

"It's a very complicated postmodern mix that borrows from the Soviet past, but also from Russia's imperial past and the tsarist era," Nikolay Petrov, scholar-in-residence at the Carnegie Centre in Moscow said.

He added: "It's an ideological concept. The point is to show that Russia was great before the revolution, was great during Soviet times and to say we are restoring its greatness."

The Soviet Union's military parades, to celebrate victory over the Nazis on May 9 and the Bolshevik revolution on November 7, were a twice-yearly feature of Soviet life, watched by millions live on TV.

The parades invariably featured portraits of Lenin and Stalin, as well as balloons, motorcades and rictus-like grinning folk dancers. Kremlinologists used the occasion to try and divine who might become the next Politburo leader - by scrutinising who stood nearest to the current general secretary.

"We will be using military vehicles. But we haven't decided yet which and how many war machines will be used," Oleg Yushkov, spokesman for the Moscow military district told the Guardian. "We'll know by mid-March," he added.

Combat vehicles were last paraded in Red Square on November 7, 1990, shortly before the Soviet Union vanished. No parades were staged from 1991 to 1994. Parades resumed in 1995, but without any of the tanks and 20 metre-long missiles characteristic of the Soviet epoch.

As well as rehabilitating old Soviet imagery, Putin has also boosted defence spending. After the Soviet Union's demise, Russia's vast military economy collapsed. The squeeze continued in the 1990s, but since 2000 spending has gone up, with last year's budget of $31bn almost four times the amount spent in 2001.

Read article

Monday, January 21, 2008

S5650 LEIBELL�������������
Military Law
TITLE....Authorizes the issuance of a Cold War service medal to certain individuals

05/22/07 1ST REPORT CAL.1287
05/29/07 2ND REPORT CAL.
01/14/08 1ST REPORT CAL.24
01/15/08 2ND REPORT CAL.




2007-2008 Regular Sessions


April 25, 2007

Introduced by Sen. LEIBELL -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
printed to be committed to the Committee on Veterans, Homeland Securi-
ty and Military Affairs

AN ACT to amend the military law, in relation to the issuance of a Cold
War medal

The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
bly, do enact as follows:

1 Section 1. Section 247 of the military law is amended by adding a new
2 subdivision 1-b to read as follows:
3 1-b. The governor is hereby authorized to present in the name of the
4 legislature of the state of New York, a military decoration, to be known
5 as the "Cold War service medal", bearing a suitable inscription, device,
6 and ribbon, all of which shall be of suitable design, to any person (i)
7 who is a citizen of the state of New York or (ii) who was a citizen of
8 the state of New York while serving in the armed forces of the United
9 States; (iii) who served in the United States Armed Forces during the
10 period of time from September second, nineteen hundred forty-five
11 through December twenty-sixth, nineteen hundred ninety-one, commonly
12 known as the Cold War Era; and (iv) who was honorably discharged or
13 released under honorable circumstances during the Cold War Era. Not
14 more than one Cold War service medal shall be issued to any one person;
15 nor shall any citation be awarded or presented, under the provisions of
16 this subdivision, to any person whose entire service subsequent to the
17 time of the receipt of such medal shall not have been honorable. In the
18 event of the death of any person during or subsequent to the receipt of
19 such citation the Cold War service medal shall be presented to such
20 representative of the deceased as may be designated. The adjutant gener-
21 al shall make such rules and regulations as may be deemed necessary for
22 the proper presentation and distribution of such decorations.
23 § 2. Subdivision 4 of section 247 of the military law, as amended by
24 chapter 184 of the laws of 1998, is amended to read as follows:

EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
[ ] is old law to be omitted.

S. 5650 2

1 4. This section shall not be construed to require that a recipient of
2 the conspicuous service cross [or], the conspicuous service star or the
3 Cold War service medal has been a resident of the state of New York at
4 the time of his or her entry into the United States army, air force,
5 navy, marine corps, or nurses corps.
6 § 3. This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after
7 it shall have become a law; provided that the division of military and
8 naval affairs is authorized to promulgate any and all rules and regu-
9 lations and take any other measures necessary to implement this act on
10 its effective date on or before such date.

Please contact both of your Senators regarding S38.

Please contact both of your Senators regarding S38.
Veterans' Mental Health Outreach and Access Act of 2007
Ask them to co-sponsor this bill. At this time, it has 13 co-sponsors.

S38 - 'A bill to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish a program for the provision of readjustment and mental health services to veterans who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, and for other purposes.'

About This Legislation:

Veterans' Mental Health Outreach and Access Act of 2007 - Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish a program to provide to veterans of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, particularly veterans who served in such Operations while in the National Guard and reserves: (1) peer outreach and support services; (2) readjustment counseling and related services; and (3) mental health services. Directs the Secretary to also provide to immediate family members of such veterans, during the three-year period following the return of the veterans from such a deployment, education, support, counseling, and mental health services to assist in: (1) readjustment to civilian life; (2) recovery from an injury or illness incurred during such deployment; and (3) readjustment of the family following the veteran's return.

Authorizes the Secretary to contract with community health centers and other qualified entities to provide such services in areas not adequately served by health care facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Requires the Secretary to: (1) contract for a program to train veterans to provide the peer outreach and support services; and (2) conduct a training program for clinicians of community health centers and entities contracted to provide such services.

Extends the eligibility for hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care for veterans who served on active duty in a theater of combat operations from two to five years after their discharge or release from such duty.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

We can not stop the fight. So once again I am asking that you email this letter to both of your senators. Copy it, go to the website for your senators follow the link for contact me/email, fill out the information needed, paste it in the box change the name to your senator and sign your name. Our Cold War Veterans and I thank you for your help.

Jerry Terwilliger

Dear Senator Levin,

Will you ignore our country's veterans? Can you say no to a Cold War Medal? Do we have to wait another year?
The provision for a Cold War Victory Medal was taken out of the NDAA 2008 in the House/Senate conference.

The American Cold War Veterans, as a VSO speaking for all veterans need your assistance. Time is growing short for this session. Time that should not be squandered.

Our Cold War Veterans know the importance and urgent need of our active duty and reserve military fighting in Iraq and Afghanstan. We feel the pain and suffering of our wounded warriors. We support the families of those who paid the ultimate price.
The U.S. Military is the best in the wrold, and must continue to be so. The American Cold War Veterans wish that all war could be eliminated forever.

Our brave men and women place their lives on the line every day.
Do not forget that the Cold War warriors also put their lives on the line. They served in places far from home, under sometimes harsh and dangerours conditins.
Lasting from Sept. 1945 to Dec 1991, our longest war had many "hot spots", Korea, Vietnam, the Congo, Cuba and many more.
Many lives were lost as our planes were shot down, ships attacked, ground forces attacked. These men and women served with honor and dignity and valor.

It is for our fallen brothers and sisters in arms that we are seeking this medal. Not for us, but for those who died serving our country.
Therefore we ask that you take the step forward, and help honor these veterans. The passage of time will dim the memory, even today people tend to forget the danger, the possibility of all out nuclear war.

So we ask that now you become a cosponsor of S.1097 The Cold War Medal Act 2007, and then vote for passage of this bill. A small token of appreciation from our country to these deserving veterans. Taking a line from the song "We didn't start the fire,..No we didn't light but we tried to fight it."

Please find it in your heart to help the country remember and recognize our Cold War Veterans.
S.1097 The Cold War Medal Act 2007 should be passed this year. As each year passes, there are fewer veterans left. Let this be the year that our country remembers and honors our veterans.


Jerald Terwilliger, Treasurer
American Cold War Veterans

Friday, January 18, 2008

Cold War icon passes away

Bobby Fischer a iconic symbol,similar to 1980 Olympic Hockey Team as far as American against the soulless Soviet Union during the Cold War, has passed away in Iceland. In recent years he has best been known for his anti -American anti-semitic rants. To me he always seemed like a tortured soul, who suffered from mental illness just my opinion. Either way he seemed like a rather twisted guy. Here is blurb from CNN

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) -- Bobby Fischer, the reclusive chess master who became a Cold War icon when he dethroned the Soviet Union's Boris Spassky as world champion in 1972, has died aged 64.

Bobby Fischer became an increasingly anti-establishment figure after ending his chess career.

Spokesman Gardar Sverrisson said Fischer passed away in a Reykjavik hospital on Thursday. There was no immediate word on cause of death.

United States-born Fischer, a fierce critic of his homeland who renounced his U.S. citizenship, moved to Iceland in 2005.

Fischer told reporters that year that he was finished with a chess world he regarded as corrupt, and he sparred with U.S. journalists who asked about his anti-American tirades.

"The United States is evil. There's this axis of evil. What about the allies of evil -- the United States, England, Japan, Australia? These are the evildoers," Fischer said.

He was born in Chicago but grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and became U.S. chess champion at 14 and a grand master at 15.

Fischer was wanted in the United States for playing a 1992 rematch against Cold War rival Spassky in Yugoslavia in defiance of international sanctions.

He beat Spassky in 1972 in a series of games in Reykjavik to claim America's first world chess championship in more than a century.

The event was given tremendous symbolic importance, pitting the intensely individualistic young American against a product of the grim and soulless Soviet Union.

It also was marked by Fischer's odd behavior -- possibly calculated psychological warfare against Spassky -- that ranged from arriving two days late to complaining about the lighting, TV cameras, the spectators, even the shine on the table.
Don't Miss

* No relief for chess legend Fischer
* Chess legend renounces U.S. status

Spassky said in a brief phone call from France, where he lives, that he was "very sorry" to hear of Fischer's death.

Fischer's reputation as a chess genius was soon eclipsed by his idiosyncrasies.

Fischer was world champion until 1975, when he forfeited the title to another Soviet, Anatoly Karpov.

He dropped out of competitive chess and largely out of view, emerging occasionally to make erratic and often anti-Semitic comments.

Fischer, whose mother was Jewish, once accused "the Jew-controlled U.S. government" of ruining his life.

He then fell into obscurity before resurfacing to win a 1992 exhibition rematch against Spassky on the Yugoslav resort island of Sveti Stefan in violation of sanctions imposed to punish then-President Slobodan Milosevic. Fischer beat Spassky 10-5 to win $3.35 million.

Former Russian chess champion Garry Kasparov said Fischer's ascent of the chess world in the 1960s was "a revolutionary breakthrough" for the game.

"The tragedy is that he left this world too early, and his extravagant life and scandalous statements did not contribute to the popularity of chess," Kasparov said.

Fischer announced he had abandoned chess in 1996 and launched a new version in Argentina, "Fischerandom," a computerized shuffler that randomly distributes chess pieces on the back row of the board at the start of each game.

Fischer claimed it would bring the fun back into the game and rid it of cheats.

He acepted the offer of citizenship from Iceland after being detained for nine months in Japan for trying to leave the country using an invalid U.S. passport

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Veterans Funding Crisis Averted

January 18, 2008

Thank you for contacting the President and urging his support of the needed $3.7 billion increase in emergency funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs—job well done. The President requested the $3.7 billion in emergency funding on January 17, 2008. Without your help, he may not have. This total budgetary increase now equals $6.6 billion more than last year.

Many of you face long lines at your local VA medical centers and outpatient clinics. The VA is desperately struggling to solve problems ranging from veteran suicides, treatment for traumatic brain injuries, rising rates of post-traumatic stress disorder, homelessness among the nation’s newest generation of veterans, and an ever-growing, seemingly unstoppable, disability claims’ backlog. This new increase of $3.7 billion in VA funding will help to solve these challenges. It therefore does not come a moment too soon.

Please contact the President and thank him for requesting the emergency funding contained in the Omnibus Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2008. If you prefer, you may visit the DAV website,, to send a prepared email to the President.

As always, we greatly appreciate your efforts on behalf of our nation’s disabled veterans.
Cold War Sailors Build Replica

Veterans build replica of submarine

Photobucket OCALA - Frank Holland and Ken Cole, two U.S. Navy submarine veterans, are active participants with the U.S. Submarine Veterans, Nautilus Base.

"After we got the local chapter of Submarine Veterans started, we decided our group needed a project to give us cohesiveness," Holland said. "We started looking around for a project that would interest them."

The two men came up with the idea of building a replica of the Nautilus submarine, the first sub to make an underwater crossing at the North Pole.

Holland, a 22-year veteran, served on the Nautilus and was part of the crew to receive a New York City ticker-tape parade in 1958.

Cole, a four year veteran, served on the USS Trumpetfish, doing maneuvers during the Cold War era with the U.S. Navy 6th Fleet.

The Nautilus was the first nuclear powered boat, with a diesel engine back-up to get where it needed to go if repairs were needed.

"The first submarine, the Huntley, was built during the Civil War," Cole said. The Huntley was found about five years ago in Charleston Bay, S.C., and is on display there.

Cole went on to say that submarines were counted as 27 percent of the Navy and were used to sink 52 percent of Japanese merchant and war ships.

The local group's replica of the Nautilus was built to 1/13th scale. Holland is an engineer and machinist, and built many of the parts. A Boeing B-25 drop fuel tank was donated to the group by Hoffman Air Boats in Inverness.

Holland and Cole called the Nautilus Museum in Groton, CT, for information on the boat. "They sent us the blueprints for the Nautilus," Cole said.

Holland took them to Staples and had them blown up until the boat was exactly 24 feet. He made a template of the tank and laid it against the pressure hull of the Nautilus to make sure they started with an exact fit.

"Hoffman also donated a trailer the size of a small mobile home, so we could make the project mobile and have something to carry it on when we finished," Cole said.

The project had the exact effect on their Nautilus veterans group they hoped for. Everyone got in on the act and it took two years to complete the project.

The next time you are at an event at the Ocala-Marion County Veterans Park, look around. The replica of the Nautilus will most likely be there.

In September, Holland plans to take the replica to New London, Conn., for the 50th anniversary celebration of the vessel's crossing at the North Pole.

For some interesting reading about the Nautilus and other submarines, try "Thunder Below" by Rear Adm. Eugene Fluckey; "Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Espionage" by authors Sherry Sontag, Christopher Drew and Annette Lawrence Drew; "The Silent War: The Cold War Battle Beneath the Sea" by John Pena Craven; and the reference book, "U.S. Submarines Chronology: A Century of Silent Service."
Rieckhoff on Countdown with Keith Olbermann RE: O’Reilly

Wednesday night, Paul Rieckhoff talked about Bill O'Reilly's incorrect statements regarding homeless veterans on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

Please check it out, post it, and pass it on. Also, encourage your friends to sign on to

Thanks for all the support.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Editor&Publisher: 'Swiftboating' John McCain -- Via Local Newspapers
By Greg Mitchell
Published: January 16, 2008

NEW YORK Supporters of John McCain in South Carolina are describing as "absolutely despicable" a flier -- distributed to the editors of 80 daily and weekly papers in that state, now (for better or worse) made public -- claiming that he turned his back on fellow prisoners of war in Vietnam.

Now it turns out that the man behind it all hails, far from South Carolina, way up north in Rockland county, just north of New York City. And he's promising to carry his campaign to other primary states. Gannett's Journal News of White Plains in an article last March quoted the man, Jerry Kiley, who lives in the tiny town of Garnerville, as charging that that McCain had turned his back on POWs and their families. He called McCain a traitor to prisoners of war who he believes were left behind in Vietnam. “If he had the power of the presidency, I’d really fear for this country,” Kiley said....

He also bills himself as Vietnam vet, "a key figure in the battle for U.S. POWs and MIAs and other U.S. veteran issues since 1983," a consultant to a billion-dollar New York company. He also helped "swift boat" John Kerry in 2004.

The flier in South Carolina features a cartoon of McCain, a former POW, sitting in a cell on one side and a supposed "fact sheet" on the other side, accusing him of collaborating with his captors. Among other crimes he is charged with revealing bombing routes of U.S. planes in exchange for better medical care. You will remember that McCain was victimized by other smears in the state (fathering a black baby?) when he ran, and lost, there in 2000.

The First Read blog at reports, "The mastermind of the anti-McCain veterans mailer, Jerry Kiley of the group Vietnam Veterans Against McCain, told NBC News/National Journal that he created the ad, and it was printed and mailed by a group that publishes the like-minded journal US Veteran Dispatch. According to Kiley, who ran a similar group in 2004 that opposed John Kerry, the flier was distributed to 80 editors at newspapers throughout South Carolina, and that it was not mailed to any households....
McCain Swiftboated by Group Called Vietnam Veterans Against John McCain

Who they are I do not know, I find this type of politic despicable. Their Website quotes Ross Perot and Adm. Stockdale on a reported Senate Report 103-1 POW / MIA’S REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON POW / MIA AFFAIRS . Anyone can publish a website but this is venomous garbage just my opinion. I hope South Carolina voters can see that.and reject this kind of attack .

Take a look decide for yourself

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Name:Sean Eagan

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My Names is Sean Eagan The Public Affairs Director of the American Cold War Veterans . I am a veteran of the US Army 1989-1991 I served in Southwest Asia for 17 months with the 528th USAAG during the Gulf War.I received Imminent danger/Hostile fire pay for 11 months of my tour there. I am also a member of VFW Post 53 and a National member of the American Legion.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

For the Journal-Constitution
Published on: 12/18/07

It might help the drought that so few flowers are left to water in Atlanta, so many having been thrown at Jane Fonda to celebrate her 70th birthday.

The AJC predictably gave her glowing coverage, with only the mention that Fonda has to deal with criticism by Vietnam veterans.

Here is one Vietnam veteran who is bothered far more by how the media portray her than by Fonda herself.

Now that the threat of communism is gone, the Cold War stand against it is sometimes ridiculed, likened to looking for boogeymen under the bed. Fonda's own affinity for communism is brushed aside as paranoid rubbish.

But it shouldn't be.

Among those who protested the Vietnam War were many honorable, patriotic and faithful citizens. Fonda was not one of them. Well, she certainly did protest, but if she was a faithful citizen and patriotic, it must have been for another country. Her anti-American roots are evident to any reporter setting willful blindness aside long enough to do some research.

In November 1970, in a speech to University of Michigan students, Fonda said, "If you understood what communism was, you would hope, you would pray on your knees that we would some day become Communist."

Shortly thereafter at Duke University in North Carolina she said, "I, a socialist, think that we should strive toward a socialist society, all the way to communism."

A year later Fonda said at the University of Texas, "We've got to establish a socialist economic structure that will limit private profit-oriented businesses. Whether the transition is peaceful depends on the way our present governmental leaders react."

The complete list is a long one.

What she actually did matters far more, of course, than what she thought or said as a young woman long ago. When Fonda took a camera crew to North Vietnam late in the war, her actions easily crossed the line of "aid and comfort to the enemy."

While in Hanoi, Fonda delighted our enemy by cavorting for cameras on an anti-aircraft gun, pretending to shoot at U.S. aircraft. Under pressure in recent years, Fonda said that was bad judgment, but her other actions were far worse.

She made speeches and recorded propaganda radio broadcasts in Hanoi expressing solidarity against " . . . our common enemy —- U.S. imperialism." She called our troops, our POWs and our president war criminals and begged U.S. troops to disobey orders from their officers.

Fonda returned to the U.S. and reported our POWs were well treated. When the POWs later came home to tell stories of their sustained starvation diet, maltreatment and torture —- real torture, not the kindergarten variety we now debate —- she called them liars.

Youthful indiscretions and rebellious ideas are one thing; Fonda's actions betraying her country are quite another. Prosecuting Fonda for her Hanoi escapade was considered, but set aside. Nobody could find a spine.

Fonda and Tom Hayden, the Marxist activist who would become her husband of 16 years, also organized lobbying efforts to cut off congressional funding for opposition to their friends in the communist regimes of Hanoi and the Cambodian Khmer Rouge. After funding was indeed cut off and America turned its back, the Khmer Rouge starved and murdered 1.5 million.

Just as bells cannot be unrung, some things cannot be forgiven. Nevertheless, Fonda seems to me just another aging radical. There have always been left-wing and right-wing kooks. My heartburn is reserved for you in the media who give her legitimacy, the reporters and editors and pundits who give her a pass.

Why is it that Fonda, who betrayed her country by going far beyond legitimate protest, is a media darling?

Why do news stories featuring her leave out those sordid details of her past, making only neutral reference to her clash with Vietnam veterans?

Why is it left to Vietnam veterans to balance Fonda's tributes with the details of her treason, as if Vietnam were somehow a war we created, as if she betrayed just us, and not you and the rest of the country?

When our troops returned from Vietnam through California airports, protesters often gathered there to shout insults and spit at them, sometimes throwing unmentionables to splatter their uniform. Those protesters were a tiny part of the population, but everyone else always seemed to be looking the other way.

That is what you in the media have been doing with Fonda for decades. Looking the other way.

> Terry Garlock of Peachtree City was a Cobra gunship helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War.

O'Reilly: "They (homeless veterans) may be out there, but there's not many of them out there. Okay?...

IAVA Bulletin

Dear Sean,

O'ReillyLast night, Bill O'Reilly raised an important topic on his television show: the plight of homeless veterans.

Unfortunately, he got the facts wrong.

O'Reilly: "They (homeless veterans) may be out there, but there's not many of them out there. Okay?...If you know where there is a veteran, sleeping under a bridge, you call me immediately, and we will make sure that man does not do it."

Despite O'Reilly's doubts, the facts are irrefutable. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, almost 200,000 veterans sleep on our nation's streets each night. And Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are joining those ranks at an alarming rate.

Click here to sign an open letter to Bill O'Reilly, telling him that he needs to set the record straight as soon as possible. This issue is far too important to be swept under the rug. You can also learn more about the issue of homeless veterans, and find out what you can do to help.

As an IAVA Supporter, you're more familiar with this issue than most people. Sadly, many Americans still don't realize that veterans make up about one-third of the adult homeless population.

No matter how you feel about Bill O'Reilly, there's no denying the fact that he has a huge audience - an estimated 2.3 million people tune in each weekday night. So take a minute to urge Bill O'Reilly to correct his mistake. He has a great opportunity to help homeless veterans by bringing more attention to the issue, and you can urge him to be part of the solution.

Thank you for standing with us.



Paul Rieckhoff
Iraq Veteran
Executive Director
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

P.S. The site also includes more background information on the issue, along with details on how you can get involved.