RockVets Newsletter
June  2024
Volume XVI  Issue 6

   Website:                  Veterans Crisis Line: Dial 988, then Press 1

Last Stop, U.S.A.
Last Stop, U.S.A.
[Written by Arthur H. Gunther --
June 1994 for D-Day + 50 Museum Dedication]
Camp Shanks, NY (1942–46)

The sun now rises and sets on suburban tract houses and the only reveille sounds are those of mothers rousting the young from their beds for school. Long gone are the rectangular wooden barracks placed on stretches of macadam with the precision of an Army Corps of Engineers site plan. No longer heard are the footsteps of soldiers drilling or card-playing in the bunkhouse. Never to be felt again are the initials carved by soldiers in the recreation and orientation area benches in this "Last-Stop, U.S.A.," as Camp Shanks was called, especially by those who never returned from the European Theatre in World War II.

Camp Shanks, NY was the largest U.S. Army port of embarkation for the European Theatre of War from 1942 until the end of hostilities. Overnight, 2,040 country acres – mostly farmland – in Orangetown, Rockland County, (18 miles north of New York City) were transformed by 17,000 workers into a city for 50,000 service people.

About 1.3 million troops passed through Camp Shanks enroute to North Africa and then England to await the Normandy landings in June 1944. The camp was also used to house 290,000 German and Italian prisoners of war, and camp records show that 533,869 persons were debarked at Shanks on returning to the United States.

Some of those soldiers would live again at the camp from 1946 until 1956, when it was renamed Shanks Village and became a residential civilian housing project for students under the G.I. Bill. Many of the GIs who came through Camp Shanks or lived at Shanks Village, would later choose Rockland County as the place where they would settle down, marry their sweethearts, and raise their children.

The Camp Shanks Story...

The Camp Shanks Story...
[RockVets Newsletter - June 2012]

In the autumn of 1942, Western Highway in Orangeburg looked like it had for many years past. Dotted with aging farmhouses, the old road made its way through corn and tomato fields. At night, people whose families had lived there for generations were lulled to sleep by the incessant chirping of crickets. Only the radio told of world-wide war elsewhere.

Then one day in September, a U.S. Army trailer pulled up near the Orangeburg Post Office. Major Drew Eberson of the Army Corps of Engineers arrived, and surveys began. Eberson liked what he saw: mostly all farmland, Route 303 connecting easily with Route 9W, quick access to the Hudson River by the Piermont Pier, and most importantly, two railroads serving the area. It was only 15 miles to the shipping docks at Hoboken. This was perfect.

On September 25th, 1942, Eberson summoned over 100 property owners from Blauvelt Road to Washington Street two-and-a-half miles south of Tappan, to tell them they had two weeks to get out of their homes. The Army was seizing their land under the War Powers Act. They would be paid for their property with first option to buy it back after the war. The 2,040 acres would be made into a U.S. Army New York Port of Embarkation Center through which ready-trained troops would be processed to North Africa and later England. The Camp would be named after Major General David Shanks, Commander of the New York Port of Embarkation during World War I.

By mid-October, the land was a major construction site. Some 17,000 workers hired by the Army from the nearby metropolitan area were converting the old farmlands into a city for 50,000 people. Work went on non- stop as bulldozers cleared the land, sewers were installed and roads were built through the mud-fields. Over 1,500 barracks were constructed as well as mess halls, theaters, service clubs, central latrines, gymnasiums, and office buildings. Some of the old smaller houses were left standing to serve as Officer quarters.

Camp Shanks officially opened on January 4, 1943. Troops from across the nation began arriving by train around the clock to be processed onto ships that would carry them across the Atlantic to fighting fronts. A permanent staff of 5,000 Officers, men, and women (400 members of the Women’s Army Corps, or WACS) was needed to operate the post 24 hours a day, supported by 1,500 civilians who worked a 48-hour, six day week for an average monthly wage of $250.00.
Camp Shanks, along with Camp Kilmer in New Jersey (which opened in 1942) was the largest Army port of embarkation on the East Coast and became known as “Last Stop-USA.” Together, they sent over three million troops overseas. Shanks alone handled more than 1.3 million from 1943 into the Spring of 1945. The Camp’s busiest month came in October 1944, when 27,626 troops (roughly two Divisions,) were processed in one 19-hour period.

Combat-ready soldiers were brought to the Camp on long trains pulled by steam locomotives on the Erie and New York Central railroads. They were assigned to barracks, had their equipment checked and their medical and personnel records examined and put in order. Once through the paperwork, they were on standby until space became available on ships anywhere in the New York area.

When they got the word, they were taken by train or ferry to ports at Hoboken or on Manhattan’s West Side. Later in the war, they would board ships directly from the Piermont Pier. Some were fortunate enough to travel on either the Queen Mary or the Queen Elizabeth. Too fast for German U-boats, these ocean liners crossed the ocean without escort.

Years later, one former WAC remembered shivering in her overcoat and pajamas as she stood by her barracks in the cold night and watched a Company of troops marching to the loading area on the East Side of Western Highway. They were singing, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” as they headed for the trains and the European battlefront.
Upcoming Events

Friday, June 14th, 2024:  Dear Fellow Veterans and Extended Family:   Join us for our Veteran’s Game Day Social Luncheon on June 14th (Friday) from 11:00am to 2:00pm at the Community Center Town of Clarkstown - Auditorium located at 31 Zukor Road, New City, New York 10956. All Veterans and their spouses, Caregivers and Gold Star families are welcome to join us to play games including BINGO and TRIVIA for prizes, socialize and have fun! This event is provided free of charge by the Rockland County Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran Peer Support Program (VettoVet). There is plenty of parking available and the auditorium is very large with plenty of room for folks to spread out. Doors open at 10:40 am. BINGO Starts at 11am sharp. RSVP: Required especially for Lunch! There will be a sign-in table where you will pick up a ticket needed for lunch. Please contact Izzy Quintana at email or call cell phone number 845-587-6497 to reserve a seat or if you have further questions.

Ismael (Izzy) Quintana, Veteran Outreach Coordinator.  Cell: (845) 587-6497
Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran Peer Support Program Rockland County (Vet to Vet)

Saturday, June 15th, 2024:  The Sons of Italy Rockland Lodge 2176 has graciously invited all Rockland County veterans and their significant others to a free luncheon and bocce playing experience.  The luncheon will be held on Saturday, June 15th, 2024 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 p.m. at the Sons of Italy Lodge 2176 which is located at 46 Van Wyck Road, Blauvelt New York 10913.  If you have any questions, please contact Anthony Albanese at 845-527-5380.

Wednesday, June 19th, 2024:  DEEP WATER FISHING TRIP - LONG ISLAND BABYLON, NEW YORK - CAPTREE STATE PARK.   DATE: Wednesday, June 19th.  Bus leaves at 12 pm sharp
BRIDGES Outdoor Parking Lot located outside at the Palisades Center Mall TARGET Store Parking lot.  Provided free to all Rockland County Military Veterans. A $50 deposit is required no later than June 14th. The deposit will be returned when you board the bus on June 19th for. Captree State Park.
If interested in attending or have further questions regarding the fishing trip please contact Larry Kelly at email: or via cell phone at 845-709-0583

Saturday, June 29th, 2024:  From Chip Hayes (email:
Our next monthly trip to the NYS Veteran’s Nursing Home will be on Saturday June 29, 2024.  We will muster (meet) in the lobby at 1130hrs (11:30 A.M. for you civilians).  Thereafter, we will go to the wards and deliver Ice Cream to all the patients and the staff.  We need all hands on deck, so the patients and staff receive their Ice Cream for lunch.  Any youths you can bring to the Nursing Home will receive a letter stating their Community Service and ice cream.  This is a great way for you to help disabled Veterans. Without your help, many would be unable to receive ice cream.

Please NOTE: New Police procedures at the facility. Have a VA ID or Drivers license ready when you approach the gate.  The NYS Veterans Nursing home is located at: 2090 Albany Road, (Route 9) Montrose, NY 10548

Vietnam Veterans Chapter #333 Monthly Meeting

Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter #333 -- monthly meeting is held on the first Thursday of each month, at Kearsing-Edwards American Legion Post #1600, 20 Station Road, Pomona, New York 10970. The Board will meet at their usual time of 6:30 p.m. with full membership meeting to start promptly at 7:30 p.m.  Veterans from all eras are welcome.

VVA 333 will hold their usual monthly meeting on Thursday, July 11th, 2024.  The Chapter welcomes current, former and prospective VVA members to attend.  The meetings are held at the Kearsing-Edwards American Legion Post #1600, 20 Station Road, Pomona, New York starting at 7:30 p.m.  

Here is the Zoom info for the next meeting:
JOHN MASTANDREA, VVA #333 President, is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: R.C. VVA 333 Zoom
Date and Time:  Thursday, July 11th, 2024 at 7:30 p.m.
Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 869 2601 1657
Passcode: 757581

Dial by your location
• +1 646 931 3860 US
• +1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
• +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
• +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
• +1 305 224 1968 US
• +1 309 205 3325 US
• +1 719 359 4580 US
• +1 253 205 0468 US
• +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
• +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
• +1 360 209 5623 US
• +1 386 347 5053 US
• +1 507 473 4847 US
• +1 564 217 2000 US
• +1 669 444 9171 US
• +1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)
• +1 689 278 1000 US

Meeting ID: 869 2601 1657
Passcode: 757581
Find your local number:

Also check out the VVA #333 website created and maintained by Debby Frank.  Below is a link to lots of great information such as:  V.A. Info, Officers and Past Presidents, Fallen Heroes, Our Members Then, Members in Action, Veteran of The Year, RockVets Newsletters, Watchfires, Pig Roast. Then, under the Column "MORE" on the upper far right side, Momentos at The Wall, Handcycles Program, 529 Educational Program, Merchandise, Jerry Donnellan -- Founder of Chapter 333, Scholarships, Applications, Gene Sullivan Service Award, VVA National Convention, 30th Anniversary of Chapter 333, Street dedication ceremony for one of Rockland's KIAs, James Margro, and so on.   Much thanks to Debby Frank for maintaining the website.  

And for those who have not done so yet, please send a picture of yourself in uniform so Debby can add it to the VVA website.  Send photos to
The VVA #333 website address is:

Joseph P. Dwyer Vet-to-Vet Events and Activities

Vet-to-Vet:   Special Events

Dwyer Vet-to-Vet Events and Activities

MEDITATION - Weekly - (M, W & F) - 9-9:30 am. Class elicits deep relaxation and helps reduce stress and anxiety with experienced Instructor Brett Cotter (Stress is Gone Founder and Author of 3 Keys To Managing PTSD). Online virtual event you can experience via Zoom. Meeting ID 983 8404 0455; Passcode: join or Click here for link:

VETERANS WALKING CLUB - Weekly - (Wednesdays) - 9:30 am at PALISADES CENTER. Meet in front of BRIDGES, 2nd Floor, next door to Autobahn Indoor Speedway. We will walk between 45 minutes to an hour. Join a fast pace group, slow pace group or walk at your own pace for however long you want. The mall offers us a comfortable indoor venue regardless of the weather outdoors where we can gather together in camaraderie and get some fitness and exercise while we get walking!   

GENTLE YOGA - Weekly - (Wednesdays & Fridays) - 7-8 pm & again on (Sundays) 10-11:15 am. Virtual session via Zoom. Yoga is extremely beneficial for your physical and mental health. Instructor Mira Stangl is a 500 hour Yoga-Alliance Certified Teacher With Extensive Training in PTSD and Restorative Yoga. If interested in attending email Then you'll be registered to get invitations to each session.

QIGONG - Weekly - (Thursdays) from 9-10 am. (Ancient Chinese Exercise). Gentle meditative exercises based on the cultivation and refinement of Universal Life Energy known as Qi. Practicing this exercise reduces pain, stress and anxiety, improves physical fitness and improves immune function and vitality. Instructor Norman Galinsky, MFA has over 36 years experience in the art.

If interested in attending or have questions, contact Izzy Quintana at email:

Six Apps To Help Manage Stress

Six apps to help manage stress
Free tools offer education about PTSD and related mental health concerns

May 23, 2024

VA Office of Connected Care

Unmanaged stress can affect your overall well-being and lead to anxiety, high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, substance misuse and more. Managing stress can be additionally challenging for those with PTSD—a condition that is more common among Veterans than civilians.

That’s why VA offers virtual resources specifically designed to help Veterans and their family members manage stress and practice self-care. These free tools offer education about PTSD and a range of related mental health concerns while also offering information about how to connect with professional support when needed.

Here are six VA mobile apps that Veterans and their families can use to manage stress and support their self-care:

1 & 2. PTSD Coach and PTSD Family Coach

Mobile apps Veterans use to manage stress
PTSD Coach helps Veterans manage stress in-the-moment. Developed with input from Veterans and mental health professionals, the app provides self-assessment tools, educational resources and coping strategies for managing PTSD symptoms.

You can use PTSD Coach to take a PTSD self-assessment and track symptoms. The app also offers tools for managing the stress of daily life, including guided relaxation exercises, soothing sounds and images, relationship tips and more.

The PTSD Family Coach app helps family members of those living with PTSD. It can help users manage stress, take care of themselves and tend to their relationships. The app features include mindfulness exercises, a stress level tracker, and tools that can help users process difficult emotions and build their social networks.

To continue reading the article, view this link:
Help for Low-Income Veterans from VA and HUD

Thousands of low-income veterans could get help from additional $78M in rental vouchers By LINDA F. HERSEY STARS AND STRIPES • June 11, 2024 Veterans Richard White, far left, and Michael Chinn speak with HUD Acting Secretary Adrianne Todman about their experiences using a rental assistance voucher program through the Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs. (Department of Housing and Urban Development) WASHINGTON — A voucher program exclusively for veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness will receive $78 million to fund rental assistance for thousands of veterans under a partnership between the departments of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs. HUD and the VA announced the funds last week for additional vouchers through the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program, which combines rental assistance and health services for income-eligible veterans. More than 83,000 veterans and their families now participate in the program. Vouchers are renewed yearly for qualifying beneficiaries. An additional 7,000 veterans who are aging, disabled and on low or fixed incomes are expected to benefit from the new funding, according to HUD. Johnny Graves of Washington, D.C., qualified for a rent subsidy through the HUD-VASH program. Graves, a 70-year-old Marine Corps veteran, said he relies on monthly Social Security checks and VA disability compensation for income. “My social worker at the VA gave me a list of apartments, and I’ve been calling around. Some have a waiting list,” said Graves, who served in the military from 1974-1980 with deployments to France, Denmark and Cuba. “The place I’m in now is noisy and run down. I’m no better than anyone else. But at my age, I think it’s time to find something more suitable.” Under the terms of the program, Graves and other veterans have 120 days to find a place from a list of participating landlords. The HUD-VASH program is one of the few federal programs for which Congress coordinates appropriations across two different subcommittees to fund housing assistance and supportive services, according to HUD. It also is the only rental assistance program in which eligibility is limited to veterans.

Read more at:
Source - Stars and Stripes
Faces of Freedom -- Those Who Defend Our Country

Faces of Freedom -- Oral Histories and Portraits of the Men and Women that Defend Our Country

I never served in the military, and I never had to make the sacrifices US military veterans have made. I decided I wanted to do something to show my gratitude to our veterans and I began my project which I call Faces of Freedom.

The project consists of interviews and photographs. I meet with veterans, record their personal history, and take their photo. I print the photo in black and white, frame it and present it to each veteran at no charge. The interview covers each veteran’s life before, during and after their time in the service. Each veteran has the opportunity to make any changes to their bio before it is finalized. I make no money from this project and the photos are free to each veteran.

Currently these photos and bios appear on my website They also appear on my Facebook page and the photos and stories of the WWII veterans have been sent to the National WWII Museum for their archives. There are currently 80 interviews and photos on the website. I hope to make this into an exhibit for universities, high schools, community centers, libraries, etc. to help increase awareness of the 3% of the population who is doing the heavy lifting so the rest of us can enjoy all that this country has to offer.

Every veteran has a story. Some stories are about combat, some are about funny memories, some stories are sad, and some are about things accomplished after their military service.   All are about service to country and making sacrifices.

You have a story and I want to tell it to the rest of the people in the United States. Let’s pick a date and get together to record your history and tell it to our fellow citizens.

Walter Schuppe
Avon, CT
Phone:  (860) 558-1072

Book Proceeds Benefit Disabled Veterans
Please check out Vietnam veteran Roy Tschudy's book, "Endless." Roy is a past President of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter #333, and writes about a variety of experiences that our Vietnam vets encountered.  As with all good books, be prepared to experience a lot of emotions with this: you will be intrigued, angry, surprised, maybe shed a tear or two, and laugh out loud at some of the shenanigans in this enjoyable tale of fact, fiction and myth. All proceeds of "Endless" go to help veterans. The book is available in paperback or Kindle edition from Amazon:
"Endless" is the second book authored by Roy Tschudy. His first book also had great reviews.
"Up Close and Personal" is available through Amazon as well.  
Employment Opportunities
CHORE helps people maintain the independence of living at home by providing free minor household repairs and home improvements that make living at home safe. CHORE is always looking for volunteers that have experience in minor home repairs/improvements and electric work. Interested volunteers may submit resumes to Sue Cibirka at or call at 624-1366 ex 101.

VA Hudson Valley is hiring and enrolling!  
Our Veterans deserve the best and we need your help to deliver that care for them. Please share with your networks!
Hiring:  We currently have 100+ job vacancies posted on our USAJOBS page, available USAJOBS - Search
These include clinical and non-clinical roles at our campuses in Montrose and Castle Point, as well many of our 7 clinics throughout the Hudson Valley. Applicants can review the great VA benefits we offer, to include, compensation, leave flexibilities, student loan forgiveness, health care benefits and retirement benefits.

Some of the jobs we need filled urgently are:
  • Nurse, including all Specialties – Montrose Campus
  • Medical Support Assistant - Montrose and Castle Point locations
  • AC Mechanic – Castle Point Campus

Always accepting applications for Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurse and Certified Nurse Assistant.   VA wants to hear from you! If you have questions about any of the above positions, please contact or call 503-307-0193.  
For further information, contact Timothy J McGuigan, MS
, HR Senior Consultant, VA Hudson Valley HCS -- (503) 307 0193.

The Department of Civil Service:  The following examination announcements have been updated and added to our public website.  When filing your online application, please be advised that technical assistance is available Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Please be advised that you will need a personal ID to apply for Department of Civil Service examinations. If you do not have a personal ID, please create an account.  Here are some of the employment opportunity examinations coming up -- please view this link for further description of each position:

Continuous Recruitment Examinations
The Department also accepts applications for most continuous recruitment examinations on an ongoing basis, with no application deadline.
  • Continuous Recruitment Examinations -

HELP Program – No Examinations Required
The Hiring for Emergency Limited Placement (HELP) Program temporarily removes the civil service exam requirement for more than 100 direct care, health and human services titles across State agencies for a 12-month period. To be eligible for jobs in the HELP program, candidates must meet the jobs’ minimum qualifications and any other conditions of employment. Candidates should visit the HELP Jobs Portal and use the candidate portal to apply for jobs in the HELP program.  
Check out HELP Jobs Portal here:

Veterans Employment and Training Services (VETS) Resources for Veterans
The Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) is committed to helping America's veterans and separating service members by preparing them for meaningful careers, providing employment resources and expertise, and protecting their employment rights.

FedEx Independent Service Provider
FedEx is looking to hire full time and part time drivers to deliver and pickup packages from Blauvelt, NY. Full time schedule is Monday – Friday and part time schedule has weekend positions available. Must be over 21 years old, have a clean drivers license, and be able to pass physical and drug tests. Background checks are also required. Salary for full time starts at $700 per week. Please contact 201-724-7781 to see if you qualify.

Office of Acquisition, Logistics, and Construction of the Veterans Administration:
The link below lists current positions have been announced for the Office of Acquisition, Logistics and Construction (OALC). This is not a complete listing of all Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) vacancies and may not include all positions announced for OALC. You may access VA recruitment information on the VA Jobs site at this link:
If you wish copies of announcements listed below, please contact the individual identified in the specific announcement.  Here is the link to the OALC Job Listings:

Montefiore-Nyack Hospital, Nyack, New York 10960
See link for full listing and information about career opportunities at Nyack Hospital, Nyack, New York.

Good Samaritan Hospital, Suffern, New York.  Good Samaritan Hospital is affiliated with Westchester Medical Center.  See this link for available employment -

Rockland County Employment Information:
Here is a link to current job openings available in Rockland County

Rockland County Veterans' Credits:

New York City Civil Service Jobs, Tests, and Results as listed in The Chief:

MTA Metro-North Railroad has ongoing employment opportunities:
To apply for current jobs with the MTA, please go to the MTA Employment Portal at:

NYC Green Book Online: The Green Book is the official directory of the City of New York.  An indispensable reference guide for anyone living or working in New York City. Includes detailed listings of agencies. Website:
Rockland County Marine Corps League

Rockland County Marine Corps League regularly receives donations of handicap assistance equipment for disabled veterans from people who want to help. The donated equipment is available for free to military veterans and their families. The items include the following:

  • Motorized Wheelchairs
  • Manual Wheelchairs
  • Oxygen Generator
  • Walkers
  • Bath Chairs
  • Transfer Benches
  • Braces
  • Crutches
  • Canes

If you have need of any of this equipment, contact John Leighton of the Rockland County Marine Corps League - 845-521-5361 or via email:
RockVets Monthly E-Newsletter

RockVets is an Outreach program of New York Vets, Inc.,  a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization established in 1992, to advocate for those who have worn the uniform of the U.S. Military, no matter where or when they served.

The volunteers at New York Vets / RockVets publish this monthly e-newsletter.  We welcome your thoughts, questions, and feedback. E-mail:

We are not affiliated with any government agency such as the Veterans Administration, Rockland County Government, nor the Veterans Service Agency of Rockland.

Each month, our newsletter reaches more than 1800 local veterans or those who care about veterans' interests.  Please use this forum to let veterans know of any information, resources, links or events they might enjoy. Send information to or send us a note through our website:  Thank you for passing this newsletter along to other veterans or those who care.

Our Mailing Address
New York Vets, Inc. / RockVets
P.O. Box 387
Tomkins Cove, New York 10986                                                           

Pat McGlade
Co-Founder / Director
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