Tag Archive: Vietnam Veterans

Lives Of Vietnam Veterans Threatened By A Tiny Killer


Some of the hundreds of Vietnam War veterans who have suffered from cholangiocarcinoma, (Phto by AP)

Some of the hundreds of Vietnam War veterans who have
suffered from cholangiocarcinoma, (Phto by AP)

According to a story on CBS News Baltimore, there is yet another silent killer besides Agent Orange for Vietnam veterans to be concerned about; a parasite called a fluke worm that can live for decades in a person’s without symptoms. When symptoms do show, it may be too late.

One gets this fluke worm by eating raw or undercooked fish. Apparently this disease is endemic to rivers in Vietnam. It is said that these flukes effect up to 25 million people worldwide.

Preserved liver fluke parasites (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Preserved liver fluke parasites
(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

According to the CBS Baltimore piece, the disease “can be treated easily and effectively with a handful of pills if caught early on,” if not it can develop into a deadly form of cancer that affects the bile duct. When symptoms do occur they are most evident in the form of severe pain. When this happens, the patient may have only months yet to live.

A study was conducted by Seoul National University in South Korea of 50 Vietnam veteran volunteers at the Northport VA Medical Center in New York. Of the 50 blood samples given by these volunteers, nearly 20 percent of them came back positive or bordering positive for liver fluke antibodies.

If Vietnam veterans remember eating raw or undercooked fish while in Vietnam, get this checked out. Over the last 15 years some 700 veterans were found to have the rare bile duct cancer. Of these about half did not file claims for benefits, because they did not know that it was related to their time in Vietnam.

Now that this disease has been discovered to have clear links to Vietnam, there should be no having to “fight” for the benefits that belong to all whose health has been affected by this disease because of their service in Vietnam. This goes for the various illnesses that are connected to the defoliant Agent Orange too. We need Congress and the VA to pick up the ball on this before it is too late. We served our country. Now it’s time for our country to take up its responsibilities toward those of us who have been negatively affected by these diseases that are directly related to that service.

Preserved liver fluke parasites (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit) Some of the hundreds of Vietnam War veterans who have suffered from cholangiocarcinoma, (Phto by AP) 


National POW/MIA Day Observance

Mark your calendar.

I’m sure everyone knew Friday, 15 September is National POW/MIA day.  Our comrades at VFW Post 8870/American Legion Post 66 are having a program commemorating this day and honoring all those who were POWs and those who went but never came back.  Let’s mass at the newly dedicated City of Edmonds Veterans Plaza and help pay tribute to our brothers and sisters in arms.

This tribute begins at 6:30pm, the address is 250 5th Avenue North, Edmonds, WA 98020, and it is located adjacent to the Edmonds Public Safety Building.

Guest speakers will be Joe Crecca, a POW in the Hanoi Hilton; Dan Doyle, Navy Corpsman at Khe Sanh; and a special presentation of a portrait to the family of an Army MIA, Vietnam War, whose remains were recovered.  Following that, we will be giving 50th Anniversary Pins to all Vietnam veterans attending the program.

If you have any questions, please contact Jim Traner at jtraner@tranersmith.com

Thanks and hope to see you there.

The Chaplain’s Corner

Coming Home From Vietnam, 47 Years Later

By Dan Doyle

Forty seven years ago I was serving as a Fleet Marine Corpsman with Bravo Co., 3rd Recon Bn., 3rd Marine Division. When my generation came home it was to a nation that was severely divided over the war and we often found ourselves rejected by former friends, belittled, even despised by many because of our service in Vietnam. Those who were vehemently against the war either could not, or would not, separate the warriors from the politics of the war.

We, of course, had our own issues, suffering, as so many of us were, from the various symptoms of what would later be recognized as PTSD. Our families, too, struggled to understand our angers, our silences, our restlessness. As a result, we learned to keep all of that “stuff” inside, shoving it into the background as best we could. In time, most of us just found ways to go on and to succeed in our lives.

As a result of that time in our country’s history, we never felt the important psychological experience of being “welcomed home.” Vietnam veterans, on meeting each other for the first time, even these many years after the war, will often say “welcome home” to one another. It means that much. It is that important. 

Our service, which was honorable and done with great courage and skill, was never recognized, or respected in the way it had been for veterans from other wars. Time, though, and the terrible events of September 11, 2001, brought about a change in the general attitude of society toward the men and women of the modern all-volunteer military. Now, even if people disagree with the wars, they have been able (for the most part) to separate the warriors from the war and to give them the honor and the respect they are due. We Vietnam veterans are profoundly happy to see these men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan coming home to warm welcomes and getting positive coverage by the media. In a strange sort of way this new attitude toward the toward the warriors coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan has come to encompass the warriors of my generation too.

I experienced a personal example of this change in attitude this past April 28th, in Spokane, Washington, forty seven years after I came home from Vietnam. I was a veteran chosen to be honored at Washington Secondary School Athletic Administrators Association (WASSAAA) annual conference in Spokane in 2015. The conference also invited my siblings to be in attendance and to participate in this event. For the past five years, the WASSAAA conference has included the honoring of a military veteran in their program. It has become an important part of their annual conference. The people involved with WASSAAA are hard working and dedicated to the daily struggle of molding young student athletes in middle schools and secondary schools all across the state of Washington. Having met them, I can tell you that they do it with love, joy, and good humor as well.

Coming Home From Vietnam, 47 Years Later

Dan, with his brothers and sister

The welcome and the respect that these folks have for our military veterans is both genuine and warm. When I was introduced at the conference dinner event, a nine minute film interview done with me last year by U.S.A. Military Medals (USAMM) was shown, after which I was overwhelmed by the standing ovation I was given. It moved me very deeply. In fact I can say that now I know what it feels like to be “welcomed Dan, with his brothers and sister home.”

Post Becomes “Vietnam War Commemoration Partner”

What does that mean? It means that as a Post, we have committed to hold two functions each year in 2015-17 to recognize, thank and honor our Vietnam Veterans and their families. In return, the Department of Defense will provide us with a Commemoration flag and seal which we can use in any event we hold. We have already discussed with members of the Edmonds Cemetery board to recognize Vietnam veterans at next Memorial Day’s ceremony. As most of you know, there is a theme each year usually recognizing veterans and those who died in a particular war or a specific branch of service. We have suggested at the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Vietnam war it would be appropriate to recognize veterans and their families of that conflict. That would be one of the two events we are required to conduct. I am sure we could do something similar next Veterans Day as well. Also, we have a joint picnic each year with American Legion at the Edmonds park. That would be a great opportunity to invite our fellow citizens who served in Vietnam but haven’t wished to become a member of VFW to join us in fellowship. We will keep you posted.