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Citizenship

I received this yesterday and I thought it is worth sharing with you all.
Lengthy but worth the read
Guy

Here is something well worth reading as the 4th of July approaches. It is good to remind ourselves every now and then that America has done a lot of good in this world over the past 200+ years. Many people gave their lives in the service of this ideal.

Citizenship as viewed by a Vietnamese Immigrant

On Saturday, July 24th, 2010 the town of Prescott Valley, AZ , hosted
a Freedom Rally. Quang Nguyen was asked to speak on his experience of
coming to America and what it means. He spoke the following in
dedication to all Vietnam Veterans. Here’s what he had to say.
________________________________
Thirty five years ago, if you were to tell me that I am going to stand
up here speaking to a couple thousand patriots, in English, I’d laugh
at you. Man, every morning I wake up thanking God for putting me and
my family in the greatest country on earth.

I just want you all to know that the American dream does exist and I
am living the American dream. I was asked to speak to you about my
experience as a first generation Vietnamese-American, but I’d rather
speak to you as an American.

If you hadn’t noticed, I am not white and I feel pretty comfortable
with my people. I am a proud US citizen and here is my proof. It took
me 8 years to get it, waiting in endless lines, but I got it, and I am
very proud of it.

I still remember the images of the Tet offensive in 1968, I was six
years old. Now you might want to question how a 6-year-old boy could
re member anything. Trust me, those images can never be erased. I
can’t even imagine what it was like for young American soldiers;
10,000 miles away from home, fighting on my behalf.

35 years ago, I left South Vietnam for political asylum. The war had
ended. At the age of 13, I left with the understanding that I may or
may not ever get to see my siblings or parents again. I was one of the
first lucky 100,000 Vietnamese allowed to come to the US. Somehow, my
family and I were reunited 5 months later, amazingly, in California.
It was a miracle from God.

If you haven’t heard lately that this is the greatest country on
earth, I am telling you that right now. It was the freedom and the
opportunities presented to me that put me here with all of you
tonight. I also remember the barriers that I had to overcome every
step of the way. My high school counselor told me that I cannot make
it to college due to my poor communication skills. I proved him wrong.
I finished college. You see, all you have to do is to give this little
boy an opportunity and encourage him to take and run with it. Well, I
took the opportunity and here I am.

This person standing tonight in front of you could not exist under a
socialist/communist environment. By the way, if you think socialism is
the way to go, I am sure many people here will chip in to get you a
one-way ticket out of here. And if you didn’t know, the only
difference between socialism and communism is an AK-47 aimed at your
head. That was my experience.

In 1982, I stood with a thousand new immigrants, reciting the Pledge
of Allegiance and listening to the National Anthem for the first time
as an American. To this day, I can’t re member anything sweeter and
more patriotic than that moment in my life.

Fast forwarding, somehow I finished high school, finished college, and
like any other goofball 21 year old kid, I was having a great time
with my life. I had a nice job and a nice apartment in Southern
California. In some way and somehow, I had forgotten how I got here
and why I was here.

One day I was at a gas station, I saw a veteran pumping gas on the
other side of the island. I don’t know what made me do it, but I
walked over and asked if he had served in Vietnam. He smiled and said
yes. I shook and held his hand. The grown man began to well up. I
walked away as fast as I could and at that very moment, I was
emotionally rocked. This was a profound moment in my life. I knew
something had to change in my life. It was time for me to learn how to
be a good citizen. It was time for me to give back.

You see, America is not just a place on the map, it isn’t just a
physical location. It is an ideal, a concept. And if you are an
American, you must understand the concept, you must accept this
concept, and most importantly, you have to fight and defend this
concept. This is about Freedom and not free stuff. And that is why I
am standing up here.

Brothers and sisters, to be a real American, the very least you must
do is to learn English and understand it well. In my humble opinion,
you cannot be a faithful patriotic citizen if you can’t speak the
language of the country you live in. Take this document of 46 pages –
last I looked on the Internet, there wasn’t a Vietnamese translation
of the US Constitution. It took me a long time to get to the point of
being able to converse and until this day, I still struggle to come up
with the right words. It’s not easy, but if it’s too easy, it’s not
worth doing.

Before I knew this 46-page document, I learned of the 500,000
Americans who fought for this little boy. I learned of the 58,000
names scribed on the black wall at the Vietnam Memorial. You are my
heroes. You are my founders.

At this time, I would like to ask all the Vietnam veterans to please
stand. I thank you for my life. I thank you for your sacrifices, and I
thank you for giving me the freedom and liberty I have today. I now
ask all veterans, firefighters, and police officers, to please stand.
On behalf of all first generation immigrants, I thank you for your
services and may God bless you all.

Quang Nguyen
Creative Director/Founder
Caddis Advertising, LLC
“God Bless America ”
“One Flag, One Language”
“One Nation Under God”
________________________________________

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July 4th

A very moving video from Ray Charles for the 4th


have a fun 4th
Guy

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Agent Orange News

This I received today
June 18, 2015 | by Bryant Jordan

New rules posted to the federal register on Thursday make it possible for American service members exposed to Agent Orange years after the Vietnam War to be awarded compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs for related health problems.

But it is unlikely that many of the now-eligible, dioxin-sickened veterans who previously applied for compensation will have an active date-of-claim any earlier than tomorrow — June 19, 2015 — when the rule change takes effect.

“The effective date will generally be the date of publication of the interim final rule — in this case, June 19, 2015 — as long as the veteran or reservist files a new or reopened claim with VA within one year of that date,” VA spokeswoman Meagan Lutz said.

The rule change applies to 2,000 or more veterans, most of them Air Force reservists who served aboard or maintained C-123 Providers contaminated with Agent Orange for years after the planes’ defoliation missions over Vietnam ended.

Until now, the VA has not recognized these service members for the purposes of Agent Orange compensation, and denied claims based on exposure to the dioxin.

One VA official, talking on background because he was not authorized to speak for the department, said one exception to the June 19 date-of-claim would be if a C-123 veteran has a claim that has not yet been denied. In that case, he said, compensation would commence from the original file date if the claim is approved.

The official was uncertain if there were other exceptions.

Bart Stichman, an attorney and joint executive director of the National Veterans Legal Services Program, expressed disappointment in general with the VA’s decision to not reconsider denied claims from the original file dates.

“That’s what I feared,” he told Military.com on Thursday. “They’re not going to go retro. That hurts people with longstanding claims. And they could have gone retro, so it’s giving [veterans] half a loaf.”

Stichman, who has been involved in Agent Orange cases and litigation with the VA for decades, said there are many veterans who filed claims in connection with exposure to Agent Orange aboard post-war C-123s, though he does not know just how many.

The VA said on Monday that the rules change was imminent and only awaited approval of the White House Office of Management and Budget. That happened on Thursday.

The Associated Press reported that the cost of the compensation will be about $45.7 million over the next 10 years, with separate health care coverage adding to that cost.

Stichman said the VA has, by its long delays in recognizing these veterans as victims of Agent Orange, harmed them. By refusing to honor the dates of previously filed claims, he said, “the delay is doubly harming.”

It’s not the first time the VA has done this, he said.

In 2011, the VA expanded compensation eligibility to troops exposed to Agent Orange along the Korean DMZ, but would pay claims only from the date of the rule change, he said. The NVLSP has a case in federal court seeking to change that, Stichman said.

In a statement announcing the change, VA Secretary Bob McDonald said the department will begin accepting and processing claims immediately.

The NVLSP and other veterans’ organizations have pressed Congress and the VA for years to honor claims filed by service members who served aboard the C-123s after Vietnam. Studies, including one published in January by the Institute of Medicine, backed veterans’ claims that the planes remained contaminated by the dioxin and were making the airmen ill.

The IOM study was requested by the VA.

Between 1972 and 1982, the study found, some 1,500 to 2,100 Air Force Reserve members trained and worked on the planes that had conducted the aerial spraying over Vietnam. Samples taken from the aircraft showed the presence of Agent Orange residues, the IOM found.

McDonald on Thursday said the decision to expand benefits following receipt of the IOM report was “the right thing to do.”

The evidence was needed, he said, “to ensure we can now fully compensate any former crew member who develops an Agent Orange-related disability.”

Those eligible included Air Force and Air Force Reserve flight, medical and ground maintainer personnel who served on the contaminated planes. The VA will now presume that development of Agent Orange-related conditions was caused by exposure to the residue.

The VA identified several specific units and bases where members could have been exposed to the residue, including the 906th and 907th Tactical Air Groups, or 355th and 356th Tactical Airlift Squadrons at Lockbourne/Rickenbacker Air Force Base in Ohio; the 731st Tactical Air Squadron and 74th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts; and the 758th Airlift Squadron during the period 1969 to 1986 at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, International Airport.

Airmen who served at these units and locations may file for a disability compensation claim online through the joint VA-Department of Defense web portal, eBenefits.

The VA also said in its statement that the contaminated aircraft may have been used at several active-duty Air Force bases following their service in Vietnam.

Those who served on an active-duty base where the aircraft were assigned or who had “regular and repeated contact with the aircraft through flight, ground or medical duties during the period 1969 to 1986, and who develop an Agent Orange-related disability” may apply by going to this VA website.

Claims not filed through eBenefits should be mailed to Department of Veterans Affairs, Claims Intake Center, Attention: C123 Claims, P.O. Box 5088, Janesville, WI 53547-5088. Alternatively, the claims may be faxed to the Wisconsin center at 608-373-6694.

Veterans with specific benefit questions related to dioxin exposure on C-123s may call the VA’s C-123 Hotline at 1-800-749-8387 (available 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST) or e-mail VSCC123.VAVBASPL@va.gov.

— Bryant Jordan can be reached at bryant.jordan@military.com

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THANKS

Thanks to all of you that sent their 2014-2016 member dues into me this week.
AS you know this is the only way we can keep this group going. We are
still charging $20 due each reunion year.
AS I have created this web site and use your email addresses, I save a lot of money
from NOT mailing out all the newsletters etc.
With 300 members and approx. 200 of you that have email addresses you can see what we are saving
a lot of postage etc. This is the reason we can keep our dues so low. So I thank you for
keeping them up to date. For those who have not send them yet, please do it.

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2015 VA Compensation Rate

Here is the VA 2015 Comp Rate for disabilities above 10%
It is in Word 2007 format

The following tables show the 2015 VA compensation rates

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James Stevens

I am sorry to announce that James Stevens passed away on July 4th, 2014.
Jim was an ATCS while in VP40 from 1965-1969.
His son Mike is sending me some pictures and more info on his father, I will post it on our web site when I receive it.

Folks we are on a downhill slippery slope, meaning that we are losing more former VP40 members than we are gaining.
I make a challenge to each and everyone of you that you recruit 1 new member before our next reunion 10/5/2016.
Please remember that we now welcome ALL VP40 people regardless of when they were in the squadron.

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MEMORIAL DAY 2015

Take a moment this Memorial Weekend

gratidude rock

Word Gratitude engrained on a rock in a fresh water creek There is a custom in some circles to leave a pebble on a gravestone when visiting a cemetery. For many, it is a sign that you were there, you remember them, miss them, honor them. Take a moment this coming weekend to visit the resting place of someone you know or perhaps a veterans cemetery.

(click here for a veteran cemetery locator link)
http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/cems/listcem.asp

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2016 Reunion

I added some info about room rates and the agenda for the 2016 reunion in San Diego, CA
look under the REUNIONS/2016 reunion @San Diego, CA TAB.
The schedule might change but the room rates will NOT change. These rates will apply for 3 days before and 3 days after the reunion.
START PLANNING NOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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New Agent Orange Info

At our last reunion 10/2014, We had a presentation by Bruce Barth concerning the problems VP sailors have had with VA claims for Agent Orange.
We had representatives from the Florida congressional offices attend as well as other VP squadrons.
I have added a PDF file created by Bruce Barth on the latest status of our Agent Orange struggle with the VA.
You can find it under the Welcome Shipmates/Agent Orange TAB It is in PDF format
We have NOT given up on this project but it is not coming to an end soon. So hang in there for awhile longer,
(or move to a more VP friendly state).
Guy Fisk

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Seamaster Remembered

The Seamaster Remembered
Posted: 02 Apr 2015 01:28 PM PDT
By Commander William L. Murphy, USN (Ret.) From Naval Aviation News December 1981
“Comes now into the Domain of Poseidon a new winged Navy vehicle with unsurpassed dash, elusiveness and lethal power…”

So read the certificate presented to those naval aviators who have qualified in the P6M Seamaster, the world’s first multijet flying boat. I was the fifteenth to have done so. With Bob Turner, chief experimental test pilot of the Martin Company, as pilot I had flown copilot on four test flights in this rather spectacular aircraft.
That was back in 1959 but my recollections of the Seamaster are still vivid. Powered by four J71 Allison turbojet engines equipped with afterburners, the 166,000-pound, 134-foot –long P6M was one of the largest seaplanes ever built. With wings swept back at a 40-degree angle, wing tip floats and high “T” tail, the Seamaster was a trim-looking airplane. The long slim fuselage was a new departure in seaplane hulls, designed to give the P6M better rougher water handling characteristics than previous seaplanes.
Conceived as a high-speed mine-layer, the Seamaster carried 30,000 pounds of droppable stores which were dispensed through a special rotating mine door. The weapons delivery capability had been of more than just academic interest to me at the time, for I had just been assigned to help Lieutenant Jim Campbell (Armament Test P6M Project Officer) on the P6M project when the Seamaster arrived at the Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, MD., for Navy acceptance trials. Jim’s job was to determine whether the P6M was capable of doing its job: whether the elaborate navigation equipment was accurate; whether all of the various mines and bombs could be carried and successfully dropped from the rotating mine door. In short, he was to determine that all of the armament was suitable for fleet use.
In order to be better prepared for the P6M on its scheduled arrival at the Naval Air Test Center later that year, several Navy test pilots participated in the Martin Company’s test program. As Jim’s assistant on the project at Armament Test, I went to Martin’s Strawberry Point test facility near Baltimore for a week to fly the Seamaster.
Walking out to the airplane for my first flight, I was impressed by the size of the bird. The Seamaster sat on its specially designed breaching vehicle, its tail 37 feet high, its cockpit about 16 feet above the ground. Since I had just spent several weeks flying the Navy’s smallest operational jet, the Douglas A4D Skyhawk, the 102–foot-wingspan Seamaster loomed monstrous by comparison. Entering the hatch on the port side of the fuselage, I noticed the folding anchor secured to the bulkhead, something I had not seen in an airplane for quite a while. Immediately aft were two crew stations, and forward was the cockpit.
Back in my patrol squadron day, I had thought that the PB4Y-2 Privateer was a big airplane at 65,000 pounds, but this Seamaster was bigger in every respect. Well, almost. The crew of the Seamaster was made up of only four men—normally a pilot, a copilot, a radio operator, and navigator—while tin Privateers we had a crew of 10. The navigator performed double duty as navigator–bombardier. For test work, however, a flight test engineer rode the navigator’s position. The airplane was highly instrumented and telemetering equipment would transmit information to the ground station for immediate evaluation as we flew.
After starting the J71s we left the parking line and taxied toward the seaplane ramp. For ground operation the P6M employed a unique beaching cradle which made taxiing very similar to that experienced in an airplane with conventional landing gear. Hydraulic hoses connected the brakes of the beaching vehicle to the aircraft controls. After power was added to start rolling , idle RPM was sufficient to keep the big plane moving.
Once over the ramp and into the water of Middle River, the beaching vehicle was released, and the Seamaster became a true seaplane. The combination speed brakes used in flight and hydro flaps for use at slow speeds in water made directional control while waterborne much simpler than in seaplanes I had flown before. The hydro flaps could be used simultaneously to slow the airplane or individually for directional control.
In contrast to the high position of the cockpit when on the ramp, I felt like we were submerged when we were on the water, although the cockpit was still about six feet above the surface.
The crash boats had swept the area and we cleared for takeoff. The afterburner circuits were armed, the airplane turned into the wind, and Bob pushed on all four throttles. My job was to monitor the power and put the flaps down at about 80 knots.
As power was applied, the P6M was an impressive sight to see. The jet blast threw up a cloud of spray that completely hid the hug “T” Tail, the nose of the airplane rose, and the wing tip floats cut through the water. However, none of this was visible from the cockpit—it happened about 65 feet behind us. As “hump” speed was reached, about 80 knots, the nose came back over, and I put the flaps down. At 145 knots, we broke free of the water.
Although I later had several opportunities to control the airplane on the water at these speeds, I never ceased to be impressed. Doing 145 knots on a nice smooth concrete runway is one thing—145 knots on choppy water is another.
As we headed out towards the test area, the Atlantic off Assateague Island, I had an opportunity to get the feel of the Seamaster. The hydraulically powered controls, while not as light as a fighter, were not unduly heavy. Control response was remarkably quick for such a big airplane.
The instrument panel was conveniently laid out, with engine instruments grouped together between the pilot’s and copilot’s flight instruments. On the overhead, the fuel control panel switches were so arranged that white lines showed the path of fuel from the tanks to the engines. Lights, radios, air conditioning, and similar switches were distributed between the pilot’s and copilot’s console panels. The ejection seat was comfortable, and there was plenty of leg room for even a tall person like me.
The one big discrepancy that I noticed was the poor visibility during turns. Although better than most transport airplanes, the P6M-1 Seamaster was a little shy on windshield area for a tactical airplane. This discrepancy was recognized by the Martin company and the P6M-2 version of the Seamaster had large plexiglass areas overhead, giving visibility similar to jet fighters.
Once in the test area, a Martin test pilot in a Grumman F11 chase plane joined on us. His job would be to observe the rotation of the mine bay door, and watch the dropping of the 30,000 pounds of mines. Contact was made with “Adrift Base,” Armament Test Base Radio, and clearance to drop the stores was received.
A high-speed, low-level pass over the area showed that it was clear to drop the mines. Actually they were inert stores, but with the exact weight, shape, size, and center of gravity of the actual weapons that they simulated. At a speed of about 500 miles per hour the mine bay door was rotated. A slight vibration could be felt throughout the airplane but not anymore than expected.
“Mines away!”
The door rotated shut. It was a good drop. All of the mines fell cleanly away just as they were supposed to fall. High airspeeds at low levels can give disturbing airflow patterns around airplanes, which cause trouble in the separation of droppable stores. This successful drop was quite a milestone.
Another successful flight, which checked an important data off the long list that any new airplane must complete, started out very unpretentiously, and ended very undramatically.
Although the sky was clear, the surface visibility as we taxied out was about three miles. When we arrived in the seaplane area it was obvious that we would have to wait for an increase in visibility to comply with the stringent weather restrictions that the test operations were under. In order to conserve fuel, Bob Turner secured the engines. An auxiliary power unit in the after end of the airplane was remotely turned on to provide power for the radios. As we sat, weather cocked into the wind, gently bobbing up and down, one of Martin’s crash boats came alongside to offer us some coffee and doughnuts. A coffee break in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay. I could learn to like it.
The visibility finally came up to the necessary five miles. Bob fired up the J71s and within minutes we were airborne. A quick turnaround and we were in a position for an approach for an overload high-gross-weight landing at 165,000 pounds. This could put a lot of strain on important structural members. Seconds later, we were coming to a stop on the water as uneventfully as a duck returning to a mill pond.
The visibility had gone back down and Bob decided to return to the hangar. After almost four hours in the airplane we taxied back up the ramp at Strawberry Point.
On another flight, while on a high-speed taxi run, to get the feel of the water-handling characteristics, I suddenly realized that looming up almost directly ahead of me were two large poles. We had been in the same area of the bay only a few days before and it had been clear.
Some fisherman had apparently stuck two poles into the bottom, about 50 feet apart, to mark his traps. Extending about 10 feet out of the water, they were probably a little too high to go under the wings. I shoved in on the rudder to try to turn but, at 130 knots on the water, we veered only a few degrees. To cut back on the power would have been unwise, because we could not have stopped before reaching the poles and we would have only settled lower in the water and hit both poles for sure.
Right between the poles! Apparently we had missed them—or so I thought at the time. Later on the ramp, the evidence was plain. A long scratch from the leading to the trailing edge of the right wing about 30 feet outboard of the fuselage. There was a small hole in the leading edge of the wing.
I remembered other days in other seaplanes—hours spent circling or tied to a buoy, waiting to be pulled up the ramp by a beaching crew with their heavy equipment. By comparison, the process of getting the Seamaster out of the water onto the parking apron when a flight was over was simple. Although the Seamaster was designed to “live” on the water, and not require beaching for long periods, the test airplanes were normally taken out of the water each day. As the ramp area was approached, the pilot spotted his beaching vehicle, moored nearby so he could taxi right into it. A hook on the underside of the airplane trapped a cable, and the vehicle clamped onto the airplane. A flight crew member attached the hydraulic lines and the Seamaster taxied up the ramp under its own power.
Although it was the latest and best of a long line of Navy seaplanes, the P6M Seamaster lost out to the advancing technology—Polaris missiles and nuclear-powered submarines, A3J Vigilantes and F4H Phandtom IIs—and to budgetary constraints. Modern weapons are expensive and the funding level demanded hard decisions. Something had to go. There are a lot of people who are sorry that it was the P6M Seamaster.

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