Compensation for vets expanded

More than 84,000 Vietnam veterans afflicted with heart disease, Parkinson’s disease or B-cell leukemia are drawing disability compensation today thanks to a decision by Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki to expand the list of ailments presumed caused by exposure to herbicides, including Agent Orange, used during that war. Another 74,000 veterans have claims pending, […]

Aircraft put servicemen at risk

In a complaint to the Air Force inspector general, a retired officer alleges health officials have known since at least 1994 of Agent Orange contamination aboard C-123 aircraft flown by reserve squadrons for a decade after the Vietnam War, and failed to warn personnel of the health risks. After the Air Force stopped using UC-123K […]

Cannon leaders move on to success

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Courtesy photo Col. Clark was commissioned through the Air Force ROTC program in 1986 from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn. During his 22 years of active-duty service, he has served as a pilot, instructor/evaluator pilot, class commander, assistant director of operations, chief of current operations, chief of safety, and chief pilot. Sharna Johnson Philip […]

Vietnam veterans reunited after more than 40 years

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CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Carlton Zarling Jr., left, and Clovis resident Romeo Sierra reunited after serving together in Vietnam 43 years ago. Liliana Castillo Clovis resident Romeo Sierra thought Carlton Zarling Jr. died in a helicopter explosion in Vietnam in April 1967. That was until he was the voice on the other end of […]

Retroactive pay: Timely, complex

Tom Philpott Many Vietnam veterans with ischemic heart disease, Parkinson’s disease or B-cell leukemia expected VA compensation for their illnesses to begin soon after a 60-day congressional review period ended Oct. 30. Though the first batch of payments did go out mid-week, the relatively small number — about 1,300 claims worth $8 million — reinforced […]

Retroactive compensation awarded

By Tom Philpott: Military Update The Department of Veterans Affairs published its final regulation Aug. 31 for compensating Vietnam veterans with ischemic heart disease, Parkinson’s disease or B-cell leukemia, or their surviving spouses. Veterans diagnosed with these diseases only will have to show they stepped foot in Vietnam sometime from Jan. 9, 1962 through May […]

Final Agent Orange review ordered

An estimated 200,000 Vietnam veterans suffering from three diseases newly associated with exposure to Agent Orange are closer to receiving disability compensation following an appeals court order Aug. 2 directing VA to publish a final implementing regulation within 30 days. On a lawsuit brought by a coalition of veterans’ service organizations, the U.S. Court of […]

New Agent Orange claims deadline near

By Tom Philpott: Military Update The Department of Veterans Affairs likely will begin in October to pay thousands of disability claims to Vietnam veterans with ischemic heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and B-cell leukemia — illnesses newly associated with exposure to defoliants, including Agent Orange, used in that war. A 60-day countdown to the day that […]

Agent Orange aid hits roadblock

By Tom Philpott Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), chief architect of the pricey post-9/11 GI Bill education benefit for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan war era, could become a new champion, for taxpayers, against what he perceives as excess spending on military pay and on a new wave of Agent Orange claims. Webb, a former […]

Diseases linked to herbicide exposure in Vietnam expanded

By Tom Philpott: Military Update About 86,000 Vietnam War veterans, their surviving spouses or estates will be eligible for retroactive disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs — an average of 11.4 years for veterans and 9.6 years for survivors — under a draft VA rule to expand by three the number of diseases […]

Vets should file paperwork now

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Tens of thousands of Vietnam veterans with ischemic heart disease, Parkinson’s disease or B cell leukemia should file claims now with the Department of Veterans Affairs for disability compensation, not wait until VA publishes a regulation officially linking these diseases to wartime service. Advocacy groups are urging the swift filing […]

National memorial effort seeks photos of fallen Vietnam soldiers

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CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Rada and Perry Winkles’ son, Harvie, died in Vietnam 40 years ago a decorated veteran. Harvie’s photo has become part of a permanent digital display near the Vietnam Veterans memorial Wall in Washington D.C. By Eric Butler: Freedom New Mexico More than 40 years after her son Harvie, nicknamed “Pud,” […]

Soldiers’ transition top priority

By Tom Philpott: CNJ columnist Vietnam War veterans will nod with understanding over many of Noel Koch’s comments contrasting support for wounded troops and veterans today, from citizenry and government, compared to how it was 40 years ago. During the Vietnam War, he said, “we got very good at saving people’s lives on the battlefield. […]

Still thankful for Clovis mechanic

By James Matessino: Guest columnist In July 1968, I was a Vietnam-era veteran traveling from Louisiana to my next assignment at Sacramento’s McClellan Air Force Base. I was driving my old Ford Comet, determined not to go to California without wheels. I made it to visit a gent I was stationed with in Turkey. He […]

Military feature: Fallen Vietnam soldier honored with memorial

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Courtesy photo Lloyd Smith, 22, in uniform at Christmas a few months before heading overseas to fight in Vietnam. By Eric Butler: Freedom New Mexico At 88, Myrtie Smith isn’t apt to just jump up and take any cross-country trip. Given the honor about to be bestowed on her fallen hero of a son, she […]

Protests ensure Vietnam still in public eye

Freedom New Mexico There were protests at the White House last month, and they were appropriate. The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is still a long way from having an acceptable record on human rights and especially on religious freedom. It is helpful to remind the leaders of that country that people are still watching. Nonetheless, […]

In Tribute: Vietnam vet dedicated to appliance repair

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer There were two things Duward Moon hated to see — a home appliance that didn’t work and a veteran who didn’t belong to a Veterans of Foreign Wars post. He spent his free time fixing both. The Vietnam veteran and repairman died March 31 at age 61. Born Jan. […]

Vietnam memories still fresh

Erecting the wall

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CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Clovis High School football player Sergio Hernandez checks to be sure a panel of the Vietnam Wall Memorial replica is level before it is anchored Friday morning. CNJ staff writer Sharna Johnson The steady clanging of mallets hitting metal stakes and voices shouting “level” and “hold it, hold it!” mingled […]

Traveling memorial

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CNJ staff photo: Sharna Johnson Patriot Guard rider Cruz “Cruzzer” Garcia from Albuquerque takes a photo Thursday for a group of National Guard soldiers in front of the truck that caries the Vietnam Memorial Wall replica. More than 100 motorcycles, police, fire and military personnel gathered at Cooks Truck Stop in Clovis Thursday afternoon to […]