Vietnam Veterans Of America

Memorial Chapter #165

Legion Hall, 134 Harrison Street in Sumas

Please pass this around.

On September 29, 2011, the Memorial Post 212 of Sumas celebrates its 65th anniversary. Some 29 veterans formed the post on September 29, 1946.

To honor this day, we are celebrating with two dinners. One dinner on Friday, September 30 with hamburgers by donation only. A dessert will be provided. The second dinner will be held the next night, October 1 where there will be spaghetti and garlic toast. That dinner will be by donation only, as well. Again, desserts will be provided!

All veterans at the vet center and at the VVA are especially welcome out here in Sumas. Both dinners will be held from 5-89 PM at the Legion Hall, 134 Harrison Street in Sumas. Hope to see you there!

Thanks, Jim.

New VVA Region 8 director

GREETINGS: I would like to introduce myself to you. I am Tom Owen your new VVA region 8 director. There are such large distances in our region much of our contact will be electronic.

I enlisted in the Army in 1966. I guess that is why the word greetings in large letters doesn’t bother me as much as some. After training at Ft. Gordon and Ft. Benning I was sent to Korea where I served for 6 months with the 2nd Inf. from 1/68 till 6/68. From there to Viet Nam from 7/68 to 7/69 where I served with a commo co. attached to the 1st Cav. at camp evans then at Tam My. I was trained in communications and inf. but I actually spent little time in either as my CO discovered I had quite a natural talent in procurement. I returned in July 69, 4 days before man walked on the moon.
From discharge till early 74 I pretty much refer to as a major bump in the road. I left the S. Cal. rat race, where the rats were winning, and moved to Orygun. I didn’t know alot about the use of chain saws, axes, wedges,or heavy equipment but I had a fair knowledge of explosives so I went to work in the woods. After a few years the opportunity came to partner with 2 others and we started our own logging company that logged with cats, skidders and specialized in logging with draft horses. We also had a tree planting crew and 2 professional foresters that did management planning. In 1981 I married Nadine and we used the horses to log the material and build our log home on 30 wooded acres.
In 1990 on one of my seldom trips to town I was struck by a speeding auto which pretty much ended my forest career. Not being able to do a lot of manual tasks I got a real estate brokers licence. { procurement talent don’t fail me now} My wife and I as a team, have now won several national awards in the real estate industry. Culture shock. From living in a tent in logging camps 6 months a year to dealing with people every day. I should have gone fishin but instead organized an annual concert series, free to the public, and chaired the committee for 14 years. When a position came open on the local planning commission instead of following my basic instinct to go fishing, put in an app. was chosen and served for nearly 12 years. 44months of that time was spent as a tech. advisor on a committee that re-wrote all the city planning and development codes.
I have been a chapter vp, pres. state council vp and pres. with the VVA. As the new director I would like to hear from you as to how we may accomplish the mission of VVA. Sharing ideas on how to raise $ is always a key issue as is being sure that we get everyone into the health care system. I would like to hear what your chapters are doing for exitement and how recruiting is going in your area.
I look foward to meeting with you all.

Tom Owen Region 8 director

From Gene Goldsmith

The Vietnam 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.”

Something to think about: Most of the surviving parents of the dead are now deceased themselves.

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.

The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth, MA, 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.

The largest age group, 8,283 were just 19 years old

3,103 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 scheduled 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. 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.

The most casualty deaths for a single month: May 1968 – 2,415 casualties incurred.

For many 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, wife’s, sons
and daughters.

There are no noble wars, just noble warriors.

2011 Musical salute – from Jim Pace

We at the Post 212 want to be sure that the members get as much information regarding the November 11 events including the Mt. Baker Show. Could you send us the information you have so that I can post it our newsletter. This would include the Applebee’s dinner for veterans, veterans honored, bonus cards, etc.(list of activities). The more the information the better..

Steve and I respect your comments regarding the problems created by having a political figure like Larsen come and talk. We are going to get other sources and information, create a packet of phone numbers/emails/addresses of key contacts for veterans/veterans families/friends who attend this event at the Ferndale Event Center. Ken Richardson gave good insight. We are going to try to reach Liz Witkowsky at the Veterans Advisory Meeting next week @ 1000 for her take on the event. But we will leave the politics out of it. People are tired of it anyway!

Is there any information regarding the September event where the POWs/MIAs will be remembered?

Jerry Hulbert
Post 212