Former Marine and long-time VVA member Patrick W. Welch, who sits on the VVA National Board of Directors and is the director of Erie County Veterans Service Agency in Buffalo, N.Y., is the host of the brand-new The Veteran’s Radio show, which had its debut on July 20 on WECK-AM Radio in Buffalo and on line at www.weck1230.com
This show provides information and advocacy on veteran and military issues that effect the nation’s 25 million veterans, those who are currently serving in the armed forces, and their families. The show airs on Mondays from 11:00 a.m. to noon.
Posted on July 23rd 2009 in Radio
John Brennan, who served as a Flight Operations Coordinator, with the 114th Aviation Helicopter Company in Vinh Long in 1970-71, is collecting names that in-country Army helicopter crews painted on their aircraft from 1961-73 for a book he is putting together.
“I have cataloged over 2,550 names to date,” Brennan told us. “I expect that number to exceed 3,000 when complete, and would very much like to include as many personalized copter names as possible. The second part of this book project is a photo collection of helicopter nose art that includes names, artwork, graffiti—everything and anything that was painted officially and unofficially on in-country Army copters.”
If you’d like to help, email the name info and/or scanned nose art pictures to email@example.com
Posted on July 23rd 2009 in Comments, Museums, Music
When the prime-time Emmy award nominations were announced this morning, HBO led the league, with 99. No. 2 NBC had 67. Among the 99 are ten nominations for the sterling original film, Taking Chance, which VVA will screen twice at the 14th National Convention in Louisville.
The nominations include Outstanding Made for Television Movie; Outstanding Lead Actor in a Mini Series or a Movie (Kevin Bacon as Mike Strobl); Outstanding Directing (Ross Katz); and Outstanding Writing (Strobl and Katz). The Emmys will air September 20 on CBS from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
Mike Strobl will be honored by VVA with the President’s Award for Excellence in the Arts at the Convention’s Saturday night banquet. Strobl, HBO CEO Bill Nelson (a VVA member) and John Phelps (Chance Phelps’ father) will be on hand for the Saturday afternoon screeningin Louisville.
Posted on July 16th 2009 in Feature Films, On TV
The documentary film making husband-and-wife team of Cheryl and Patrick Fries, whom VVA honored with an Excellence in the Arts Award in 2004 for their first-rate In the Shadow of the Blade, recently has finished another terrific Vietnam War doc: the informative and evocative A Touch of Home: The Vietnam War’s Red Cross Girls.
The film, which Cheryl Fries directed and wrote and Patrick Fries shot and edited, tells the story of the 627 young women who volunteered for the Red Cross Supplemental Recreational Activities Overseas Program in Vietnam or, as most GI’s knew them, the “Donut Dollies.” The film features former Donut Dolly Holley Watts reading excerpts from her book, Who Knew? Reflections on Vietnam, along with present-day interviews with a dozen or so former Red Cross girls, comments from male Vietnam veterans, and lots of in-country footage and photos of the Donut Dollies in action back in the day.
“We tried to bring a touch of home to the combat zone,” Watts notes, and then the film shows how and why the women did just that in Vietnam. They brought good cheer (they were told to smile at all times), recreational games, soft drinks (and donuts) to the troops, all the while sporting distinctive light blue mini dresses. It was a mixture of “idealism, the lure of adventure and a minimal salary” that took us to Vietnam, one of the women notes. “None of us knew what we were getting into.”
The Donut Dollies traveled just about everywhere in South Vietnam, averaging about 17,000 air miles a month taking their program to the troops in the field. Their job, one of the women said, “was to make people smile and take their minds off the war.”
The Fries’ film does a fine job of making this small but important segment of the Vietnam War come alive. To learn more about the film, including its availability on DVD and screenings, go to the Touch of Home web site.
Posted on July 8th 2009 in Documentaries
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the July 8, 1959, deaths of U.S. Army Master Sgt. Chester Ovnand and Maj. Dale Buis in Bien Hoa, Vietnam (widely recognized as the first Americans to perish in the Vietnam War), the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund will stage a special ceremony and wreath laying on July 8 at 10:30 a.m. at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Among the speakers will be journalist, author and Vietnam War expert Stanley Karnow (Vietnam: A History), who reported from Saigon on the deaths of Ovnand and Buis in 1959 and Capt. Nathaniel P. Ward IV, whose father, Col. Nathaniel P. Ward III, was chief of staff of the Military Assistance Advisory
Group in Vietnam in 1959. Jan Scruggs, VVMF founder and president, also will speak.
As the photo above shows, Ovnand’s name was misspelled when it was inscribed at the apex of The Wall on Panel 1E, Row 1 in 1982. So the name was added again, with the correct spelling, at Panel 7E, Row 46.
Posted on July 4th 2009 in Memorials