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Finally, I'm a Vietnam Vet !


CrueDawg34
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After posting my question, I found the definitions in Wikipedia along with the history. The AFEM is described as a medal awarded for service in an specific operation where you encountered or were in danger of hostile action by Foreign Armed Forces. The Vietnam Service Medal is described as awarded for service in Vietnam, Laos,Cambodia or Thailand on land, sea or in the air in direct support of the operations in Vietnam. The AFEM was awarded for service in Vietnam from July 1958 until July 1965. It was also issued for service in Operation Frequent Wing April 29 & 30 1975. The VSM was awarded for service from Nov. 1961 to April 1975. It's anybody's guess how they determined who got what.

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I'm not sure, and I know someone will correct me if I'm not right, but I think the medals Sonny mentioned above can be awarded without ever actually being on the ground in Vietnam. Is that a true statement?

Don R.

Don, I asked my VA adviser that same question a couple weeks ago, and he told me that the VSM was at one time good enough for proof of boots on the ground, but now it seems to be interpreted differently. In other words, it is not a"for sure" thing!! Now, after saying that, my ex-Navy brother in law was told that he was qualified for any Agent Orange claim and his VSM meant that he was also considered as "boots on the ground". This was told to him by his doctor at the VA clinic. Oh, my brother in law was on an aircraft carrier off the coast.

Ken

Edited by Mt.crewchief
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My original DD214 shows 40 days of "SEA" service (South east Asia) but does not list the VSM. I spent 40 days on the ground at Tan Son Nhut Air Base. I reentered active service in 1979 and some woman at CBPO noticed the reference to SEA service and said I was indeed entitled to the VSM. However, to qualify for the campaign medal, I would have to have served 6 consecutive months in country. The VSM has been on my ribbon rack and on my awards and dec printouts as well as my final DD214 since the error was corrected in 1979. However, I do not have enough "Evidence" of boots on the ground for the VA to recognize/acknowledge me as a Vietnam Vet. So be it. I know my skinney 21 year old but was there even though I cant prove it. I couldnt prove I supported operation Nickel Grass (yom kippur war/October War) either, but I did. For the younger guys, you have heard it before on this site..SAVE ALL of your paperwork !

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For the younger guys, you have heard it before on this site..SAVE ALL of your paperwork !

Amen to that Sparks. And, if I may add something; protect that paperwork if a divorce is in your future. During my divorce, I told my ex to just keep everything. Not only did I loose all my Vietnam paperwork, but I also lost lost boxes of irreplaceable photos. Later, when I asked my ex if I could get them back, she told me she trashed everything! Whay a bitch!!!

There's no such thing as a "friendly divorce."

Don R.

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Thanks to encouragement from you "gents", I just took copies of my SEA Form 5's & OERs down to the VA service rep from the Am Legion, at my local VA Service center. He's gona' take them to the eligibility office at the Anchorage VA. I am attempting to prove that I'm a Viet NAm vet too, without ever being awarded the VN Svc Ribbon. I saw that some of you had done it, so I'm trying too. I'll let ya' know how it goes.

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Thanks to encouragement from you "gents", I just took copies of my SEA Form 5's & OERs down to the VA service rep from the Am Legion, at my local VA Service center. He's gona' take them to the eligibility office at the Anchorage VA. I am attempting to prove that I'm a Viet NAm vet too, without ever being awarded the VN Svc Ribbon. I saw that some of you had done it, so I'm trying too. I'll let ya' know how it goes.[/quote

If you are planning on applying for AO and such, be sure your documents show you were actually ON Vietnam soil, not just orders that say you were to go....Travel vouchers, that sort of thing. I finally had made medical evaluation today, and was advised very heartily that it was good that I had that sort of documentation . Just havin a VSM doesn't do it, and get this, one of my brothers at the local VVA chapter was told, FOR YEARS, that he did not qualify for any PTSD treatment or disability, because he had not been awarded a combat infantryman's badge. Reckon the two Charley's he killed didn't count.....

Edited by gizzard
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  • 1 month later...

Update on VN service recognition. Back in March when I wrote that I submitted my existing paperwork to the VA, I also sent the same stuff to the DD-214 correction folks at Randolph AFB. On Apr 22 I got a letter back from them. Their words -"use this letter as proof of "Boots on the ground" in VN". The legalese of the letter said they weren't gona' correct the DD-214 cause it wasn't in error, just incomplete. They said they couldn't prove how many days I was ever there, cause they were all TDY's. Anyway, I got the best result I could've I guess. The VA service rep says it's all they need to upgrade me to VN vet status. So thnx Sparks. Guess I can say "Finally, I'm a Vietnam Vet" too.

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Update on VN service recognition. Back in March when I wrote that I submitted my existing paperwork to the VA, I also sent the same stuff to the DD-214 correction folks at Randolph AFB. On Apr 22 I got a letter back from them. Their words -"use this letter as proof of "Boots on the ground" in VN". The legalese of the letter said they weren't gona' correct the DD-214 cause it wasn't in error, just incomplete. They said they couldn't prove how many days I was ever there, cause they were all TDY's. Anyway, I got the best result I could've I guess. The VA service rep says it's all they need to upgrade me to VN vet status. So thnx Sparks. Guess I can say "Finally, I'm a Vietnam Vet" too.

Good, it is about time............at least you have that big obstacle taken care of..... good luck with the rest

Giz

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Like you said, You knew you were there. But it sure is nice that you now have an official letter stating you had boots on the ground.

You have given me another avenue to pursue. I have the VSM but cant prove "Boots on the ground". Think I'll write to those Randolph folks an see if I can get one of those golden letters........Thanks

One of the great things about this site, is the comradeship among us Vets. Also, the great information shared by all.

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Amen to that. The address is as follows (if you need it):

HQ AFPC/DPAPP

550 C Street, West Suite 32

Randolph AFB, TX. 78150-4703

I'm told that a DD-215 is the correction to a DD-214. This is that office. I didn't get a 215, but the letter I mentioned. Good luck.

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I do have a VSM on my DD-214 along with a DFC and 7 AMs. That is not good enough for the VA. Still got old flight time records with thousands of combat sorties listed. 927 hours combat time on a C-130-E. Not good enough for the VA. Waiting for records and DD215 from St. Louis. Went through a county Veteran's Service office to request records. VA is just being asinine. They got some little space on the DD214 if it ain't the right number they kick it back.

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I love salmon fishing in Alaska. I hate swimming upstream against the current with the VA. I just hope, like some others that I can get what I need before I spawn and die.

Thanks J for the Randolph address.

I cannot believe that the VA is even questioning your record Greywolf. Asinine is a very polite word in your case !

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Well, I sent my DD149 (application for correction of military records) off to Randolph today. I noticed my DD214 stated "Indochina or Korea Service" and listed the number of Days. I thought that it read "South East Asia Service". It makes a difference because Southeast Asia includes the countries of Thailand, Cambodia, Laos,Vietnam, Burma; essentially the entire region.

However, Indochina historically includes the countries of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. The Geneva Accords of 1954 recognizes Indochina as being the countries of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Reference materials such as Wikipedia also list those countries referring to "Indochina". I have no idea whether it will make any difference at all, but I included this information with my request for "correction".

We will see.........

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  • 3 months later...

Aug 2013. After my May 2013 letter from Randolph saying "boots on the ground" in VN; I thought it was over. Last wk I got a DD215 from Randolph awarding me the VSM (1 star) & the VN Gallantry medal (palm). So now I've added that to the VA's record & they're happy. Anch VA said if I'd had the VSM there would never have been a problem. Sorry to hear others w/ the VSM aren't classified VN vets. The Anch VA office must be OK after all. Thnx again for the help guys.

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Got documentation from St. Louis that confirmed I served 45 days as staff Load with 834th at Ton Sun Nhut. Had 4 or 5 reporting periods of the Airman Evaluation signed by pilot and Company Commander in the package and every one of them had some confirmation of boots on the ground. The admin clerk at local VA refused to even look at them. He will only accept Vietnam Cross of Gallantry or Vietnam Expeditionary added on a DD-215 along with the VSM. Eligible for both and sent back to St. Louis for corrected DD-215. Been about 3 months since the request went back for 215 and nothing yet. Guess ya can't rush the government.

I got a VSM on my DD-214 and it ain't good enough for the VA here. Got several papers that confirm boots on the ground. Not good enough.

Still waiting, ain't giving up. I can think of a few places to put my boot that ain't on the ground.

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I didn't hav any medals on my DD214. When I sent in my orders that I was in VN (BOG) I recieved a letter telling me of all the medals I was qualified for .I still havn't tried to get any of the medals.

My wife wants me to get them, I guess so she can pin them on my flag when I die.

Guess I need to find all my papers and go over them again. I havent been concerned at all about the medals or Viet Vet status.

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Graywolf88 you need to write a letter to your congressman and tell him your problem with your local VA rep. I was short by 2-3 days of 6 months in-country so I am not eligible for the VN campaign ribbon( the green and white one) as a full 6 months are required. This did not stop them from giving me the DD-215 with VN service ribbon and a letter confirming boots on the ground. Atlanta VA looked at the paperwork and put me on the Agent Orange Roster. ONE DAY ON THE GROUND QUALIFIES YOU FOR PROOF OF EXPOSURE! The VA AIN'T your friend....in a lot of cases. Bill :(

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Graywolf88 you need to write a letter to your congressman and tell him your problem with your local VA rep. I was short by 2-3 days of 6 months in-country so I am not eligible for the VN campaign ribbon( the green and white one) as a full 6 months are required. This did not stop them from giving me the DD-215 with VN service ribbon and a letter confirming boots on the ground. Atlanta VA looked at the paperwork and put me on the Agent Orange Roster. ONE DAY ON THE GROUND QUALIFIES YOU FOR PROOF OF EXPOSURE! The VA AIN'T your friend....in a lot of cases. Bill :(

Thanks......... got contacting congressman as backup plan. I am giving the local County Veterans Rep time for his request to work. It got me some of the paperwork that I did not have already. If the amended DD214 doesn't come in within 6 months of the request I go to the backup plan.

VA doctors and medical personnel for the most part are doing a great job. It is the admin section that is not our friends. We are dealing with the peons who are just doing what they are told from higher up. That is never a good situation.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just got a letter from the damn POS's in Baltimore, tellin' me that they are workin' on my claim, but "They are EXTREMELY busy" so just be patient. If the incompetent sons of bitches had done their job right to begin with, there would not be an issue for them to deal with. Just plain bullshit..................glad I am not in a dire situation. Into 27 months now,

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  • 2 months later...

Ghostrider, After reading your post, I dug out my DD214 and checked to see if I got any medals. I DID get my VSM ! I also got among the other standard things, was a RVCM. I can't remember what that was. While I was at Naha, the 374th got a Presidential Unit Citation, and something else "Presidential" Neither of those two are on my 214, but they probably weren't important?

Also, during the Pueblo Incident", our planes at Naha participated in a 521 mission to Korea. Do any of you guys remember any of the details? I know the 35th took part in them, but I think all of the squadrons were involved. It seemed we were hauling equipment to Korea to stage a military build-up, and then hauling it back after dark, and then doing it all over again.I am sure I have managed to screw up some of the details, but that's what I remember! I remember being told there was a Korean Medal for that also! I think I got one, but it is not on my 214.

Thanks for your replys,

Ken Carlson

I remember the F102,s being gone to Korea by the next morning along with extra launchs to Korea hauling lots of munitions. One of them was really different as the Crew Chief found a Hand Grenade behind the seats in the cargo compartment and my getting real upset with the EOD people not getting out and clearing it so we could load the aircraft out and make a on time block. Something about being told Sir you cant talk like that on the radio and my telling them I did not care just come get the *** grenade out of the aircraft.

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