Veterans News Blog

Vets Issues

Monthly Archives: April 2009

Call Senators Kennedy and Collins Today


Greetings everyone,

Tomorrow Wed. Apr. 29 several members of the ACWV are scheduled to meet with Senator Kennedy to discuss the Cold War Victory Medal.

Please everyone call his office today or tomorrow at 202-224-4543 to express your support for the Cold War Victory Medal and ask Senator Kennedy to support this medal.

Senator Collins is on the brink of introducing legislation to authorize the medal, she may need a little push to help her make the decission. Call her today or tomorrow at 202-224-2523 and express your concern and support. Ask her to please introduce legislation for a Cold War Victory Medal.

The VFW, American Legion, Amvets, and Korea War Veterans all support us, mention this when you call the senators.

We need your help right now.

Thanks,

Jerry

Jerald Terwilliger
National Vice Chairman/Treasurer
American Cold War Veterans

“We Remember”
http://www.americancoldwarvets.org
http://jerry88acwv-americancoldwarveterans.blogspot.com/

Sean Eagan of americancoldwarvets.org will be on POW-MIA Radio Hosted by Rod Utech Sunday April 26th to discuss the May 1st Day of Remembrance for Forgotten Heroes of the Cold War.

Here

POW/MIA Radio is broadcast by the American Freedom Network


Sean and Rod will discuss Cold War veteran issues and the May 1st Day of Remembrance for Forgotten Heroes of the Cold War.

(http://www.americanewsnet.com). Its flagship station is KHNC 1360AM out of Johnstown, CO. You can also catch their broadcast on Satellite: G-9 Channel 2, Sub-Audio 7.76, Horizontal Polarit

Greetings from American Cold War Veterans,

We would like to extend a invitation to you for the following events on May 1st 2009 :

  • CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST – ROOM 902 SENATE OFFICE BUILDING 8:00 – 9:30 AM MAY 1, 2009.
  • NATIONAL DAY OF REMEMBRANCE FOR FORGOTTEN HEROES OF THE COLD WAR SECTION 3, ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY MAY 1, 2009 CONDUCTED BY AMERICAN COLD WAR VETERANS.

Sincerely,


Sean Eagan Chairman
American Cold War Veterans, Inc.

Web: http://americancoldwarvets.org/
Blog: Cold War Veterans Blog
Email: Sean.Eagan@gmail.com
Phone: 716 720-4000
Network: My Fast Pitch! Profile

LinkedIn


American Cold War Vets

CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST – ROOM 902 SENATE OFFICE BUILDING

8:00 – 9:30 AM

MAY 1, 2009

SPONSORED BY

AMERICAN COLD WAR VETERANS

“WE REMEMBER”

WELCOME TO MEMBERS AND GUESTS

INVOCATION – CHAPLAIN

WHY WE ARE HERE – SEAN EAGAN, NATIONAL PRESIDENT, ACWV

BREAKFAST, FOLLOWED BY VISITS TO SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES,

PLEASE JOIN US AGAIN AT 12:00 NOON

SECTION 3, ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

NATIONAL DAY OF REMEMBRANCE

FOR

FORGOTTEN HEROES OF THE COLD WAR

NATIONAL DAY OF REMEMBRANCE

FOR

FORGOTTEN HEROES OF THE COLD WAR

SECTION 3, ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

MAY 1, 2009

CONDUCTED BY

AMERICAN COLD WAR VETERANS

“WE REMEMBER”

WELCOME

INVOCATION – CHAPLAIN

PRESENTATION OF COLORS

WHY WE ARE HERE – SEAN EAGAN

REMEMBERING FORGOTTEN HEROES OF THE COLD WAR – FRANK TIMS

REMARKS – ERNIE GALLO, USS LIBERTY VETERANS ASSOCIATION

REMEMBRANCE – CHAPLAIN

BELL CEREMONY

TAPS

FLOWERS AND MILITARY HONORS AT GRAVE SITES

INDIVIDUAL VISITS TO LAOS MEMORIAL; THRESHER MEMORIAL STONE; VIETNAM WAR MEMORIAL; AND KOREAN WAR MEMORIAL

Apr 10, 2009 by Susan Mohammad

The Cold War was characterized by covertness, but it was real enough to almost consume Scott L’Ecuyer. Nearly two decades after it ended, the former mechanic at a nuclear missile silo in North Dakota was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that he says stemmed from his service with the Strategic Air Command in the late ’80s. He watched for Soviet attacks, managed the missiles’ temperature to prevent them from detonating—and was never more than three rings away from the phone during the 18-hour workdays. However, it was constantly asking himself if he was ready to “kill millions” by ensuring that the 450 warheads at the silo were always ready to launch that took its toll. But L’Ecuyer, now 43, is covering his own medical expenses since he isn’t recognized as a veteran: because war was never declared, 1945 to 1991 is classified as peacetime. And that makes Cold War vets in the U.S. who served outside of recognized action periods like Korea or Vietnam ineligible for the same pensions and benefits that traditional combat veterans receive.

According to the American Cold War Veterans organization, as many as 12 million U.S. veterans, like L’Ecuyer, are affected by the lack of recognition. Now these “forgotten” U.S. vets have begun demanding the same pensions and benefits as other veterans, who collect a pension on the basis of serving during a recognized war, serving a full military career, or being injured while in service. They are also pushing for a medal honouring their contribution (as is happening in Britain as well). While some politicians have supported the vets (Hillary Clinton unsuccessfully introduced the Cold War Medal acts of 2003, 2005 and 2007)—one obstacle, the Cold War vets say, is lack of support from other veterans. “If you didn’t get shot at, your service doesn’t register—a ‘my war was better than your war issue,’ ” says L’Ecuyer.

While Canadian Cold War vets don’t have their own medal (the government does recognize those who served under NATO through the Special Service Medal with the NATO bar), they are equal to other vets regarding pensions. A spokesperson for the British Cold War Veterans group, Tony Morland, says he’s lost hope his government will recognize the vets with a medal, and says most Cold War vets would be recognized if NATO issued the honour instead. “The Cold War was won by the NATO alliance sticking to its task,” says Morland. “It is now standard practice for NATO to issue medals for joint operations. One need only look at the Balkans and more recently in Afghanistan.” British veterans petitioned Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s office last year asking for a service medal, but were told that they are only issued to those who have been subjected to risk and rigour “greatly in excess of what is reasonable to expect during normal service activity.”

For L’Ecuyer and others like him, the issue isn’t about glory. “During remembrance ceremonies, I don’t know which group to stand with,” says L’Ecuyer. “That’s the part that stings, when someone says you aren’t a veteran, you weren’t in combat. You were in combat in your head. I had to make a deal with the devil to fix those [missiles].”

Tags: American Cold War Veterans organization, Cold War, Cold War veterans
Posted in World 1 Comment »

Macleans.ca is proudly powered by WordPress
http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/04/10/%e2%80%98well-it-wasn%e2%80%99t-really-a-war-was-it%e2%80%99/ printed on Apr 13, 2009

An enormous concrete structure known around Adair Village, or as the Blockhouse is seen on Feb. 19, in Adair Village. The building once housed the SAGE Direction Center, a Cold War-era Air Force installation designed to defend the West Coast from Soviet nuclear attack.

By BENNETT HALL
(Corvallis) Gazette-Times

ADAIR VILLAGE (AP) — Right in the middle of Adair Village squats a massive, rectilinear pile of concrete.

Unmarked and nearly windowless, its perimeter guarded by a cyclone fence topped with three strands of barbed wire, the three-story structure known locally as ‘‘the Blockhouse’’ is a weird sort of contradiction — it’s the biggest thing for miles around, but it’s so utterly featureless that it seems to blend into the background, going almost unnoticed by the steady stream of motorists flowing past on Oregon Highway 99W.

Today it stands cold, dark and silent. But flash back a half-century, and the Blockhouse was a concrete beehive called SAGE, its corridors filled with men and its rooms crammed with electronic surveillance equipment that constantly scanned the skies. The building was a sentinel standing watch against the looming threat of nuclear annihilation. During World War II, the area had been home to Camp Adair, an Army cantonment that held as many as 50,000 men, briefly making it Oregon’s second-largest city.

In 1958, at the height of the Cold War, the site was returned to military control and became Adair Air Force Station.

Adair Air Force Station was headquarters for the Portland Air Defense Sector of NORAD — the North American Air Defense Command — and its main reason for being was the Blockhouse, officially known as the SAGE Direction Center. The acronym stood for Semi-Automatic Ground Environment, a computerized control system for tracking and intercepting enemy aircraft. The Adair installation was one of 22 around the country designed to spot incoming Soviet long-range nuclear bombers before they could drop their loads of destruction on American soil.

Responsible for the defense of eight Western states, the SAGE Direction Center continuously monitored the readouts of 16 long-range radar stations. In case a hostile aircraft was spotted, the station could scramble U.S. jets from the 322nd Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, the 84th or the 456th in the San Francisco Bay Area, the 194th in Fresno or the 190th in Boise.

Although primitive by today’s standards, SAGE was highly advanced for its time.At its peak, Adair Air Force Station was home to 860 Air Force officers and enlisted men and 150 civilian support personnel. Most of them spent their working days inside the Blockhouse, monitoring or maintaining the electronic equipment.

One of those men was Jim Juntunen. Now 69, he’s a retired lieutenant colonel living in Corvallis. In 1963, he was a brand-new second lieutenant on his first posting out of officer’s school.

In his three years at Adair, he worked in the ‘‘blue room,’’ a cavernous space on the third-floor dimly illuminated by the glow from about two dozen computer consoles. As a weapons controller, Juntunen was assigned to one of the consoles, along with a technician.

The circular screen was split down the middle by a line representing the West Coast between Southern Washington and San Francisco Bay, and the operator could zoom in and out to focus on particular sectors.

‘‘We never had a real threat, thank goodness, but we did have instances of unidentified aircraft,’’ Juntunen said. ‘‘Maybe a commercial aircraft had wandered off their flight plan for some reason. We’d have to scramble some aircraft and go out and take a look and see what it was.’’

By checking flight plans and conferring with Federal Aviation Administration flight controllers, SAGE personnel could usually determine that an initially unidentified aircraft was harmless, and not the leading edge of a nuclear strike by Soviet long-range bombers. But not always.

Juntunen recalls one instance when his crew couldn’t identify a plane heading for the Oregon coast. Not sure what they might be dealing with, they sent two F-101 jet fighters streaking from Hamilton Air Force Base in Novato, Calif., to find out.

‘‘They were about 80 miles off the coast when we intercepted them,’’ Juntunen said. ‘‘They identified it as an airliner. They gave us the tail or registration number, and we were able to confirm it with the FAA.’’

While this sort of thing didn’t happen often, Juntunen said, it was probably more common than the American public ever realized because of the stealthy tactics used by Air Force pilots.

‘‘The fighter came up underneath the aircraft, and astern,’’ he said. ‘‘They got up close enough to ID the aircraft and peeled away. I don’t think they ever knew they’d been intercepted.’’

All these years later, Juntunen doesn’t remember exactly what was going through his mind that day when a blip on a radar screen sent his crew into full alert.

‘‘But probably the main thing was ’I sure hope this is some airliner that’s off course, because the alternative is something I don’t want to think about,’’’ he says today.

By the end of the 1960s, the threat of Soviet nuclear bombers had been replaced by the threat of Soviet nuclear missiles and SAGE technology was becoming obsolete. On Sept.15, 1969, Adair Air Force Station shut down, and now the community of Adair Village has grown up in its place. Justus Seely bought the old Blockhouse in 2002 with plans to lease it to industrial tenants, but he hasn’t had many takers.

His countertop and floor covering business occupies about half of the 40,000-square-foot ground floor, with the other half rented out as storage space. The rest of the building is empty. Scavengers have picked over the building pretty thoroughly, but a few Cold War relics remain.

The basement, set up as a fallout shelter, still has a small cache of Civil Defense supplies — cans of emergency drinking water, a tin of survival wafers, a sanitation kit — stored just in case the unthinkable happened.

But up on the second floor, in the very heart of the giant concrete cave of the Blockhouse, one key part of the old SAGE installation remains: the War Room. It’s a glassed-in cubicle looking out over the building’s control center, where the station’s top brass could keep track of everything that was happening in the Portland Air Defense Sector.

This is where the sector commander would oversee the constant training exercises that kept his men ready to meet the Soviet nuclear threat — and coordinate the response if that threat ever became real. Today, nearly 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it’s hard to remember how serious the danger seemed in those days. But for an old cold warrior like Juntunen, the memories remain vivid.

‘‘We had a saying out there,’’ he recalled. ‘‘The saying was, ’This job consists of hours and hours of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror.’’’

Every Memorial and Veterans’ Day, elected officials praise veterans and the sacrifices they have made while in uniform. However, that sacrifice does not end when they return home to their families and communities.

For many veterans, the hardest and most enduring sacrifice begins the moment they return home. The combat load they shouldered for their country endures long after war is over.

For most, it lasts a lifetime.

This is especially true in New York.

New York has sent over 70,000 troops to Iraq and Afghanistan and has the fourth largest veteran population in the country. Overall, there are almost 12,000 service members from the state currently deployed in both the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters of combat, many of whom are from the New York City area.

However, six years into the war in Iraq, and eight into the war in Afghanistan, many Active Duty, Reserve and National Guard veterans have come home to a city administration that does a lot of talking and thanking but nothing, other than a breakfast at Gracie Mansion on Veterans’ Day, in terms of actual, tangible services.

Ask any veteran and he or she will tell you that over the past several years New York City’s Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs (MOVA) has done little or nothing to assist the hundreds of thousands of veterans in New York City, if these courageous and honorable individuals even know the office exists at all.

In January 2007, Crain’s New York Business reported that New York City veterans would need help with housing, mental health issues, and job counseling and that they will turn increasingly to city agencies that are ill-equipped to handle the influx.

Two years later, that shameful truth has not changed, except to get worse.

According to a statement on the MOVA website, Commissioner Newman asserts that the office “is committed to expanding opportunities and services for the veteran community and to give back to the men and women who have given so much for our country.”
However, this lofty sentiment has not resulted in any real tangible actions that benefit our heroes.

Despite Mayor Bloomberg’s year-old decision to elevate the office to a Commissioner- level position, the situation for veterans has not changed. MOVA’s communication and outreach to the veteran community is still virtually non-existent.

This has resulted in a situation in which veterans, returning service members and even their families find themselves stumbling through a frustrating web of city government bureaucracy, complete with aggravating runarounds and shameless stonewalling.

Even the free 311 hotline the city consistently promotes has not been helpful, as many veterans say their calls are met with no real informational assistance.

Most disturbing, however, is the lack of leadership, conviction and direction from MOVA. As a result, the majority of veterans view MOVA as an office that is unresponsive, unhelpful, and a waste of taxpayer’s dollars.

New York City’s veteran community has all but given up on trying to deal with MOVA. Instead, veterans turn to veteran service organizations, veteran resource centers, and an increasing number of community-based organizations that offer services not only to veterans, but to their families as well.

In essence, MOVA has become a redundant operation that can only refer veterans to those who offer actual services or, as they like to call it, “partnerships. “

However, even with all of MOVA’s problems, the main problem is the Bloomberg administration.

When asked for assistance by constituent veterans, the majority of our local elected officials, including the Mayor, repeatedly regurgitate the same phrase,

“Veterans issues are federal issues, not local issues.”

This response belies the very existence of MOVA, which was established in 1987 to:

“…work with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the New York State Division of Veterans’ Affairs (NYSDVA), City Agencies, veterans’ organizations and other stakeholders to offer services to veterans, their dependents and survivors; while encouraging innovative partnerships to ensure creative problem solving.”

To underscore this lack of support, the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs is consistently underfunded by the city while the state continues to fund more to the office. For fiscal year 2009, out of a city budget totaling $59 billion dollars, the Bloomberg administration contributed a grand total of $175,000 to MOVA (his own office); while New York State contributed $181,000.

The majority of these funds go to the salaries of four individuals who work at MOVA. Thus, no money is or can be directed towards any tangible services that could help any city veterans looking for actual assistance.

Perhaps the most flagrant evidence of the Mayor’s negligence towards veterans is the fact that his semi-annual Mayor’s Management Report (MMR), which covers 46 city agencies and organizations, does not even include MOVA.

The February 2009 MMR does not even once mention the word “veteran” and yet the report states that it addresses:

“…those [agencies] that have a direct impact on citizens – including the provision of fundamental support services to other agencies involved in serving citizens.”

For too many years now, MOVA has acted merely as window-dressing for the Mayor to point to a couple of times a year when Memorial and Veterans’ Day rolls around or when the VA Secretary comes to visit.

In reality, MOVA should act as a powerful veterans advocate for the city. One of MOVA’s missions is to advise the Mayor on issues and initiatives impacting veterans and the military community. Yet here again, MOVA is derelict in its job.

When the ongoing New York VA Regional Office scandal first came to light last year, the Mayor and MOVA’s Commissioner were noticeably quiet.

Perhaps the Mayor did not want to embarrass the Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs as that might have jeopardized the city’s VA’s Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) funding that is currently used to attempt to lower the numbers of homeless veterans in the city.

Whatever the reason, the fact remains that the Mayor and his Commissioner have been MIA on this issue.

With President Obama announcing plans to start bringing the majority of troops home by next year, many believe that the coming years will bring a new surge of returning veterans with real needs. These new veterans, most of whom will have served multiple tours, will bring home with them a range of issues including PTSD, TBI, and other readjustment and reintegration issues.

There are already 800,000 veterans in New York City from past military conflicts. Because there has been no leadership from the Mayor or MOVA with respect to caring for these individuals who freely chose to serve this nation and this city, how can Mayor Bloomberg or Commissioner Newman expect to address the influx of veterans which soon will arrive?

It seems sensible that if veterans in New York City are not receiving substantial assistance from MOVA, then the time has come to close shop and allocate these funds towards services that would actually be of support to veterans.

For too long, veterans have watched the Mayor’s left hand work in disharmony with the right. His message towards veterans and their families during his past two terms has been long on thanks but short on substance.

Years into the wars in the Middle East, 2009 has turned into another election year for Mayor Bloomberg. The Mayor and his Office of Veterans’ Affairs have done little or nothing for our city’s veterans during this same period of time.

If Mayor Bloomberg has been unwilling to step up to the plate and go to bat for veterans during his last two terms in office — but can move heaven and earth to attain his own self-centered ends — then we veterans (and our family members) who have served the people of New York City by defending their freedoms at the cost of physical and emotional harm, deserve a better Mayor and a better candidate!

03 April 2009

Veterans who served during the Cold War should be given a medal recognising their military service, a Northampton MP has claimed.

Brian Binley, Conservative MP for Northampton South, said those who had served in the forces since World War Two should be given a National Defence Medal, similar to an award given out in France.

In a letter to John Hutton, the Secretary of State ADVERTISEMENTfor Defence, Mr Binley said the medal would particularly recognise the efforts of those who served in the Cold War period between the mid-1940s and 1991, which was dominated by a stand-off between America and Russia.

The MP’s letter stated: “I add my voice to the many who are calling for a National Defence Medal for those veterans, past and present, who served for many years in our armed forces with nothing to show for it.

“I don’t need to tell you that many of those, of course, served during the Cold War and received no official recognition whatsoever.”

Mr Binley decided to write to the Government minister after being contacted by residents and veterans living in Northampton.

He said: “It’s about time the Government listened to our veterans because they are the ones who have put their lives on the line in order to serve Queen and country.

“Our veterans just want to receive the recognition that they deserve.”

The national campaign for the creation of a National Defence Medal is being led by a group of service veterans.

The group said: “It is our belief that an National Defence Medal is a reasonable and proper way for the nation to demonstrate to all the armed forces that their service is appreciated.

“A small token of recognition for putting themselves at the mercy of the country’s leaders in the hope it will act in the citizens’ best interests.

“A medal that can be officially worn on parade with pride.”

For more information on the campaign, go to http://www.nationaldefencemedal.webs.com

The full article contains 336 words and appears in Northampton Chron & Echo newspaper

Last Updated: 02 April 2009 10:53 PM
Source: Northampton Chron & Echo
Location: Northampton