Vietnam Vets to Honor UH-1 Crews

Kent Vietnam Veterans to Honor
Vietnam Dustoff Association Crews Who Saved Them
Published July 17, 2017 | By LMcCloskey
Joe Start, Vietnam Veteran

“That others may live,” was the slogan of the UH-1 Dustoff helicopter crews who flew into firefights to rescue the wounded in Vietnam. That slogan and heroism have been passed down to today’s medical evacuation crews who serve in harm’s way across the globe.

The Vietnam Dustoff Association is coming to Dover for their September 21-23 national convention. They will be hosted by Kent County Chapter 850, Vietnam Veterans of America.

They have special meaning to Joe Startt Jr., Chapter 850 president, who will never forget his own life-saving ride after being wounded in Vietnam in 1969.

“I remember being told to hold on, help was on the way. In less than 15 minutes the ‘whop, whop, whop’ was like an angel’s voice telling me I’d survive. The UH-1 Huey on display at the Kent County Veterans Memorial Park serves as an ongoing reminder of their heroism,” he said.

Paul Davis, vice president of Chapter 850, worked for two years with the federal government and even the White House to secure the helicopter. That was followed by a road trip caravan to Florida by Joe Startt and other members of the chapter to pick it up with the help of a trucking company sympathetic to veterans.
One of the highlights will be a Friday, September 22, 7 p.m., dinner hosted by the chapter at the Modern Maturity Center and followed by several events the next day.

Saturday’s agenda will include a special 10 a.m. ceremony at the Kent County Veterans Memorial Park on S. Little Creek Road in Dover where crew members will be honored, followed by lunch at the Dover AFB dining facility where the Dustoff crews with be greeted by representatives of the 436th Airlift wing and some of the today’s airmen. A special tour of the AMC Museum will follow.

“These men, several thousand of whom paid the ultimate price saving lives in Vietnam,” are our brothers who traded their tomorrow for our today,” said Mr. Startt. “We will always honor and revere them.”

The $35-a-plate dinner will be open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. The cutoff date is September 15. “Sponsorships are also available to help with the costs of honoring these heroes,” said Paul Davis, VVA State Council president. For tickets or sponsorship opportunities, call 302-697-8384 or email pauldavis5322@comcast.net.

Why Cyber Matters

 

“The opening shots of a large-scale conflict are likely to begin with cyber,” acting Secretary of the Army Robert Speer told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Our emphasis is on defense for the Army,” he said, noting that protecting the network and protecting the ability to operate with degraded information or a complete shutdown of communication and data lines is important.

What to watch: Tactical units cycling through the National Training Center are being exposed to cyberattacks so they can learn to operate with limited contact to higher headquarters and adjacent units.

Surprise Victory in 1776

On May 23, 1776 at Sag Harbor, New York, Patriot troops under the command of Lieutenant Colonel R. Jonathan Meigs captured several British vessels and burned tons of Redcoat supplies.

With the help of two local men, Meigs and his Connecticut raiders grabbed the British garrison commander from his bed in the wee hours of the morning, firing only one gunshot. Instead of guns, the Patriots used bayonets to capture the British fort, successfully avoiding announcing their presence with gunfire.

With six Redcoats dead and 53 captive from their success on land, the Patriots moved from the hilltop fort towards the harbor. The British ships anchored there eventually noticed the body of men in long boats moving towards them and opened fire. The Patriots, though, went on to burn 24 British ships and their cargoes of hay, rum, grain and other merchandise. With an additional 37 prisoners in custody, the 170 Yankee raiders returned to Connecticut without having lost a single man in their party.

The Sag Harbor ambush was the only successful Patriot attack on Long Island between the British takeover in 1776 and their departure following the Treaty of Paris in 1783.

Army prepares a needs list

In anticipation of Congress and the Trump administration boosting defense spending, Army leaders have created funding wish lists that focus on troops, modernization and delayed installation maintenance.

The lists, totaling $8.2 billion for 2017 and $18.3 billion for 2018, reflect unfunded priorities aimed at both near- and long-term readiness.

For 2017, the Army’s request includes $2.5 billion for aviation programs, $1.8 billion for armored vehicles, $1.3 billion for air defense, $500 million for command and control, $500 million for installation maintenance and operations, and $100 million for test and evaluation.

For 2018, the Army seeks $7 billion to cover the cost of higher troop end strength plus $2.5 billion for aviation, $2.5 billion for armored vehicles. $1 billion for air defense, $800 million for Stryker vehicle improvements, $800 million for installation maintenance and operations, $500 million for command and control, $300 million for soldier equipment, and $200 million for test and evaluation.

The list of unfunded priorities was prepared after President Donald Trump charged Defense Secretary James Mattis with conducting a 30-day review to assess readiness conditions including training, equipment maintenance, munitions, modernization and infrastructure. That information will be used to draft an amendment to the 2017 budget, and to help form the 2018 budget.

Separately, President Trump has directed reviews of the U.S. nuclear posture and ballistic missile defense capabilities.

Retired CSM Elected to Congress

A retired Minnesota Army National Guard Command Sergeant Major, the highest-ranking enlisted soldier ever elected to Congress, has become ranking Democrat on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.  Rep. Tim Walz, first elected to Congress in 2006, also serves on the House Armed Services Committee and is co-chairman of the House National Guard and Reserve Components Caucus.

He was elected by fellow Democrats to be the senior member of their party on the veterans’ panel. Walz joins fellow Army veteran Rep. Phil Roe, a Tennessee Republican and former military doctor, in leading the veterans’ committee in the 115th Congress that convened Jan. 3.

Among Walz’s legislative achievements is a provision of a 2016 bill changing the legal definition of “veteran” to include Guard and Reserve members who served 20 years of military service but were never called to federal active duty. “Guard and Reserve members make many of the same sacrifices as those in regular service, and their commitment should be recognized,” Walz said as the bill was signed into law in December.“Recognizing Guard-Reserve retirees as veterans is a small but important step we can take to honor their great service to our country.”

Army to lead Inaugural Parade

The U.S. Army Caisson Platoon of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) will be among the Army units leading the way in Donald Trump’s Jan. 20 presidential inaugural parade. Members of the regiment, based at Fort Myer, Va., have marched as the official “Escort to the President” in every procession since the 1953 inaugural parade of President Dwight D. Eisenhower after President Harry Truman officially bestowed that title on the unit in 1952.

Other Army units confirmed for the procession include the 1st Cavalry Division’s Horse Cavalry Detachment from Fort Hood, Texas, and the 1st Infantry Division Commanding General’s Mounted Color Guard from Fort Riley, Kan.

The Army leads every inaugural parade procession for two reasons, said Maj. Brian Fiddermon, OIC of the Joint Team Parade. First, some Continental Army veterans of the Revolutionary War escorted George Washington up the steps of Federal Hall in New York City for his first inauguration in 1789. Also, as the nation’s oldest and largest service, the Army’s place at the head of the inaugural parade procession is “symbolic of the peaceful transition of power” from one presidential administration to the next, he said.

Army Pay Raise

The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act was signed into law last week by President Barack Obama. The bill brings an end to the Army’s troop drawdown and provides soldiers with the first pay raise in five years that matches the average private sector increase.

The $619 billion policy bill represents just half of the annual legislation needed to keep the Army and Defense Department fully running. A separate defense appropriations bill that fully funds programs has not been enacted. Instead, Congress passed and the President has signed a temporary funding bill that mostly limited spending to 2016 levels through April 28; giving the new administration time to review service requests and establish priorities.