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Vietnam-Related VA Benefits and other issues

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This deal on out-of-country veterans proving they actually set foot in South Vietnam in order to qualify for special benefits has gotten out of hand, especially since the VA started tightening it's belt. I am personally fortunate in that I reenelisted at Cam Ranh Bay and it's on my DD 214. I was also credited with a Vietnam tour because of my combined days in-country from TDY from Pope and later from Naha and Clark. This is NOT something I requested, and it went on my records before I got out. But there are a lot of guys out there who have no way of proving they were in South Vietnam to qualifiy for benefits - and not all of them were in C-130s or in the Air Force. There were several US Army units that sent people TDY as did the Navy and Marines. In fact, the Marine C-130s in Vietnam were on the same status as USAF airplanes - they were TDY to Futema from Stateside units and then further TDY to Chu Lai and Da Nang.

There is really one way to deal with this, and that is through political action. Neither the American Legion or the VFW really understand the problem. Their staffs are made up of Army and Navy veterans for the most part. There is only one veterans organization that is fully familiar with the situation, and that is the Troop Carrier/Tactical Airlift Assoc. (www.troopcarrier.org/home.html.) Although we did not ask for it when we organized, the IRS granted us "wartime veterans" status because of a question on the application that asks what percentage of the membership is made up veterans who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam or after 1990 (in which the US has been in a perpetual state of war.) Because more than 90% of our membership is made up of such veterans (it's actually closer to 100%), we were granted this status. As a wartime veterans association, we have full charitable status and all donations are fully tax-deductible. We also have the right to lobby Congress in regard to veterans issues.

At present we have 109 members, most of whom are Vietnam veterans. The majority were aircrew, but we also have flight line and other support personnel in our membership.

If you want to help your fellow veterans - and perhaps yourself - then join the Association today and become a participant. Once again, the web site is www.troopcarrier.org/home.html. Dues are $25.00 a year, $100.00 for a fice-year membership or $250.00 for a life membership.

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