Last Man Standing
As a last man standing organization, the VHPA and its members are in our twilight
years. As we prepare to "pull pitch" for the last time it is
important that our legacy is well established. This is especially true
because of the controversial nature of our war, the Vietnam War. The
biased news media and so called peace movement versions of the war
Witness to War
Preserving oral histories of Combat Veterans. The VHPA is working with
Martin Madert at http://www.witnesstowar.org
to help preserve our legacy through your oral history. Please see details
Vietnam Archives Project
The VHPA has selected the Vietnam Center and Archives at Texas Tech
University in Lubbock, TX as its official archives. Please consider making
the VHPA Collection at Texas Tech the final resting place for your
artifacts. Details are here.
Arlington National Cemetery monument
Monument: The Vietnam Helicopter Pilot and
Crewmember Monument construction process nears completion. Granite Industries of
Vermont (GIV) reports the monument is completed (see picture) and is on its way
to Washington, DC. It is
reasonable to expect delivery to Kline Memorials by December 1.
Installation Process: Frosty Price and Ron
Markiewicz are working with Kline Memorials to prepare the site for
installation. Kline submitted the required documents to ANC management, and
still awaits response as to when they will be authorized to install the needed
monument footer. The process moves slowly in ANC, but they do progress. Frosty
is working with David Fedroff, ANC Deputy Chief of Engineering, to discover why
Kline Monuments has not had a response regarding their application. As always,
our vigilance and attention to detail will keep the installation process on
track and complete well in advance of the April 18 dedication ceremony.
Dedication Planning: The dedication ceremony is reserved for the ANC
Memorial Amphitheater at 4:00 PM, April 18, 2018. The amazing Carl McNair
continues to provide sound advice and insights as to getting the most “bang
for the buck” on our dedication day. He communicated our goals of having a
sizable military flyby as part of the dedication event, as well as coordinated
with Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall for a post event reception. Additionally, he
arranged for Quad-A to provide a generous donation to help cover the reception
expenses; this donation, plus a contribution from the VHPA will provide
appetizers, beverages, beer and wine for those attending.
Honor Guard, Music and Program: The request process for arranging the
ceremonial honor guard, music, and other important elements will commence
following Veteran’s Day. It was suggested we delay the request process until
after this demanding date is past, and then submit our requests before the honor
coordinators begin to prepare for Memorial Day, 2018. That makes sense, so we
have nine more days to relax before “ramping up” for the April ceremony. We
will design the program document along the lines of what was created for the
August, 2015 tree dedication ceremony. John Powell is working to create a front
page cover logo appropriate for the event, and we will then arrange through VHPA/HQ
to get the program published.
Dedication Ceremony Invitations: We have a great
deal of work to do creating a list of those who should be invited to the
ceremony. The list of congressional supporters, both elected and hardworking
staff is long, and I will seek the assistance of Lauren Currie, Representative
Amodei’s outstanding staffperson, to ensure we have proper contact information
(and to make sure no one is overlooked). We need to send invitations to some by
email, some by snail mail, and some by both.
Guest Speaker: The current plan is to ask Secretary
of Defense James Mattis to speak at the dedication ceremony. John Powell and
will craft the request letter, the caveat being if the SECDEF cannot participate
due to his demanding schedule, that he recommend a member of the JCS to speak in
his place. As we USAF’rs like to repeat, “Aim High!”
Hotel accommodations: The VHPA Executive Council is
working to provide a hotel for those who wish to attend from outside the local
area. Stay tuned for details.
Media Contacts: We need to begin communicating to
the military-oriented media in January to communicate the ceremony details. This
will give publishers of paper products time to consider announcing the event to
their readers at an early stage. As we get closer to the event, press releases
will be sent out to television/cable/radio sources that may be interested in
attending and reporting the ceremony.
Legacy Committee Dinner: It would be outstanding to
join the committee together for dinner the night before the ceremony, April 17th.
It will be a time of celebration and recognition that each of you truly deserve
for your selfless effort to complete this important mission. Please plan to
arrive in Washington in time to attend this function. More details will be
provided as the plan evolves.
The final phase of this long process will commence within a few weeks, so enjoy
the calm moments while you can. Please contact me with any questions you may
have, and anticipate a conference call sometime before Thanksgiving.
All the best,
Bob Hesselbein, Chairman