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Vietnam ERA veteran or Vietnam COMBAT veteran?

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  • Vietnam ERA veteran or Vietnam COMBAT veteran?

    I'm a Vietnam ERA veteran not a Vietnam COMBAT veteran. I think the VA and all veteran groups should differentiate between COMBAT veterans and ERA veterans.
    A COMBAT veteran is someone who served IN COUNTRY in a combat zone. An ERA veteran is someone who served during combat years. COMBAT veterans should always be given greater benefits than ERA veterans.
    I was in the CORPS from 70 -74, but I'm an ERA veteran, not a COMBAT veteran because I was never IN COUNTRY.
    Thanks,
    Bob Young

  • #2
    Combat Veteran

    The entire Marine Mission radiates outward from the Marine on the ground that pulls the trigger. Every Marine, from Pilot to the maintenance log clerk, from gate guard to Headquarters horse holder, Every Marine helps pull the trigger. If the Marine wasn't necessary for the accomplishment of the mission, the billet wouldn't exist. When I was a white hat in WW2 and running the fresh water evaporators in the engine room on the USS Uvalde, I shared with the gun tub gunners the ship responsibility. The ship had to have all of us.
    In Korea and Vietnam, I had confidence and felt comfortable flying any aircraft. Every man in the squadron was equally responsible for the bullets fired, and enemy killed.
    The word, 'combat' seems to leave out those, usually with special skills, that are critically necessary for the Mission.
    To me, 'Marine' places all Marines on equal footing. Anything else has no meaning. Combat is shared by every Marine.
    Wayne
    Wayne Hazelbaker

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    • #3
      Excellent reply Wayne! Couldn't have been better said.

      Comment


      • #4
        Not qualified

        Since I did not serve "In Country" I would be the last one to enter into a debate about what qualifies as a combat veteran. I can testify first hand that the VA in N.J. was less than accommodating to "Viet Nam era Veterans".

        I did my 4 years and got out (Jan '68 to Jan '72). I feel blessed to have known some good men who did serve in Viet Nam and I'm glad that most of them returned. Sadly some would never completely assimilate into the civilian world and as a result would suffer many ills that others have difficulty understanding. My heart goes out to the guys who came home to face protests and to be called names that they didn't deserve.

        The level of danger and stress they faced puts them in a different category in my mind. A category to which I may never be qualified but I am privileged to have known some good men that I think of as heroes. Their names may be less than footnotes in history but I'm honored to have known them briefly as friends/brothers.

        In recent years I've been asked to speak on "Veteran's Day" and I'm quick to emphasize that I'm not qualified by my own experience but I do consider it an honor to speak on behalf of those who either can't or won't speak for themselves.

        The U.S. Marine Corps.... an experience that I wouldn't take a million dollars for but I doubt that I could do it again for five million.

        I sometimes think I'm negligent if I sit down and enjoy a good meal, have a good night's sleep, or enjoy the company of those around me if I don't take time to give thanks for those who made it possible.

        Forgive me for rambling. Just my two cents.

        Comment


        • #5
          Combat and Noncombatant

          I just want to share some things along the line of combat and noncombatant soldiers. If you talk with anyone who has been in Combat it does change them in a way that non-combat experience would have never done, and I might add, some more than others. The experience is one they will never forget or cannot, to some degree or another. Marines do all share a camaraderie that we all feel toward each other regardless of combat or noncombatant experience, but there is a difference between the two. I once argued this with a soldier going to Iraq and when he returned he had to agree with me that it does change the person in such a way that they will always carry it with them the rest of their life. The distinction is there and that is why when we (USMC Combat Helicopter Assoc.) get together in a reunion atmosphere we feel different than we would toward those who have never experienced combat. It is like someone who went through a terrible experience, no matter what it might be, and when they find someone who went through the same experience they understand each other in a way others cannot really comprehend, simply because they have never experienced it, and there is a bond there between them. All of this is not to say that the noncombatant soldiers are any less soldiers than those who have experienced combat, it is the experience that makes the difference.
          David "Butch" Powell HMM-262 RVN 70-71

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          • #6
            Could not have said it better

            Butch

            I could not have said it better or agree with you more.
            Well done.

            Semper Fi

            Bruce "Howdy" Mayor HMM-161 '69-'70

            Semper Fi


            Bruce "Howdy" Mayor HMM-161 '69-'70

            Comment


            • #7
              Butch
              I have to agree with you it does make a difference in the soul. I was in HMM163 (evil eyes) at Santa Ana in 68-69 and watched the guys returning from Nam. I didnít know any better at the time but I wanted what they seem to have. I could never put my finger on it what it was they had, they seemed move with an assurance us state side boys had not learned.
              I transferred to HMM 364 (the Purple Foxes) in Nam in 70 then transferred to HMH463 and followed them to Kaneohe Bay Hawaii in 71. By then I had wished I had my innocence back.
              I have found all through my life that when I meet another Marine itís with pride we both share but an incountry Marine share a kin ship whether they were on the ground or in the air.

              Comment


              • #8
                two different issues

                As I read the rely's i'm seeing two different issues. Is there a difference in the though process between ERA and Combat vets. Of course there is, there is no experience like combat. Should the BENEFITS be different....NO. We could not have done our jobs without the cooks, fuel handlers, H & MS maintence, etc. or the supply folks, clerks. The only BENEFIT difference should be if an ERA vet. refused a combat assignment......To the best of my recolection, nobody ASK me what I wanted to do after I raised my hand and joined. I had the good fortune to be with some brave and skilled Marines in country, but I also know we couldn't have preformed without our non-combat support.

                Comment


                • #9
                  In response to the last remark about benefits should not be any different for combat and non-combat veterans, I have these questions;

                  1. Should job preference in government hiring be handled in the same way?
                  2. If the widow/widower of a deceased veteran is in the running for a position, should they be given greater consideration than a non-combat veteran?
                  3. What about health benefits? Granted some ERA veterans are exposed to chemicals or warfare grade weaponry that could have some residual effects, but should those who failed to take care of themselves be given equal consideration to those with clearly combat induced illness?

                  Just curious. Over the years I have come to know a large number of veterans who served at home, or in completely non-combat areas, that received government jobs despite any specialized or higher education while combat area vets had no luck, nor did their spouses in spite of more relevant skills.
                  Deborah

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Benefits, not Jobs

                    Again, two different issues. (1) Benefits ie, health, rehab, training, education etc. No differce between combat vs. non combat. As regards surviving dependents, if the vet was on active duty, then yes those dependents should be considered. If back it civilian life at death, no. Point is, as a civilian individuals have the choice and its up to them to prepair for the family. (2) regarding employment, that would be a function of skill level and trainging not VA status. However, given two people with EQUAL skill and training, I think a vet should get preference. Question to answer is, are they in fact equal in skill and training? Thats tough to determine


                    Originally posted by widow1 View Post
                    In response to the last remark about benefits should not be any different for combat and non-combat veterans, I have these questions;

                    1. Should job preference in government hiring be handled in the same way?
                    2. If the widow/widower of a deceased veteran is in the running for a position, should they be given greater consideration than a non-combat veteran?
                    3. What about health benefits? Granted some ERA veterans are exposed to chemicals or warfare grade weaponry that could have some residual effects, but should those who failed to take care of themselves be given equal consideration to those with clearly combat induced illness?

                    Just curious. Over the years I have come to know a large number of veterans who served at home, or in completely non-combat areas, that received government jobs despite any specialized or higher education while combat area vets had no luck, nor did their spouses in spite of more relevant skills.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Benefits, not Jobs

                      Again, in my opinion two different issues. (1) Benefits, ie health, rehab, retraining, education etc. I don't think there should be a difference between combat and non combat vets because both served. (2) Re; Jobs, that should be based on skill levels, training, education, personality of both employer and employee, etc. are the issues. Best qualified should get it and yes I think vets should get preference over non-vets if BOTH have the same skills etc. to offer. Problem is that very seldom do you have two people with exactly the same skill, training, personality etc. so choices are made.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        In reply to Era Verse Combat

                        If we don't distinguish between the combat vet and the era vet, how can the va rate our disabilities and our problems? If a marine gets drunk and wrecks a motorcycle and loses a leg does he rate the same benefits as someone who lost a leg in combat, I have to say (no). The marine who lost his leg in combat is more deserving than the era marine. Of course that's a personal opinion from someone who served in viet nam, Lebanon, through to the Persian Gulf before being ask to retire with a disability.
                        Always a Semper Fi
                        J Lynch

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Treatment not rateing

                          In my opinion the VA (and the congress) should concentrate on providing what our Vets need, based on need. Not 10% of this or 20% of that. Sure some Marines got in car wrecks or roughed up at the club, but some also got disabled on training missions stateside. And their need is also real. They answered the call just like we did and were ready to go, just like we did. And in country some worked bunches of hours a day to feed us, provide us water, and make sure we had the parts we needed to keep our birds in the air to get those medevac's. But they didn't see combat. Bottom line, in my opinion, every one who answered the call (and didn't wimp out) should get the help they need without going through a bunch of office winnie bull...


                          Originally posted by J Lynch View Post
                          If we don't distinguish between the combat vet and the era vet, how can the va rate our disabilities and our problems? If a marine gets drunk and wrecks a motorcycle and loses a leg does he rate the same benefits as someone who lost a leg in combat, I have to say (no). The marine who lost his leg in combat is more deserving than the era marine. Of course that's a personal opinion from someone who served in viet nam, Lebanon, through to the Persian Gulf before being ask to retire with a disability.
                          Always a Semper Fi
                          J Lynch

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            What's the big deal

                            Of the 2.6 million Americans that went to Vietnam, between 1-1.6 million (40-60%) either fought in combat, provided close support or were at least fairly regularly exposed to enemy fire. That includes the 7,484 women (6,250 or 83.5% of which were nurses) that served in Vietnam.

                            Let's cut to the chase - most of the guys in line companies or those in direct support had some level of comtempt for the REMF types (and to some degree, justifyably so). The reality is, is that they were there and they were an integal part of the overall mission.

                            The term "Vietnam Era Vet" has never differentiated between cook and grunt -it simply means that a Vietnam era veteran is a person who (1)served on active duty for a period of more than 180 days, any part of which occurred between August 5, 1964 and May 7, 1975, and was discharged or released with other than a dishonorable discharge; (2)was discharged or released from active duty for a service connected disability if any part of such active duty was performed between August 5, 1964 and May 7, 1975; or (3) served on active duty for more than 180 days and served in the Republic of Vietnam between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975. It says nothing about being shot at.

                            David Hackworth like to say that "One Purple Heart don't make you any less a stud than the guy with seven - we're all pullin on the same rope"

                            I can't speak for the other members of this association, many of whom fought and died in Vietnam - but I would imagine they would probably say - If you served proudly and honorably, what the hell's the difference.
                            Last edited by Tom Thompson; 01-07-2007, 21:28. Reason: Grammar

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                            • #15
                              Era verse combat

                              Brother Thompson:

                              Thanks, every once in a while we need to get our head out of our ass and get our feet back on the ground. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.
                              as always Semper Fi
                              Jim Lynch

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