Share
Preview
 
 
 
RockVets Newsletter
January 2021
Volume XIII, Issue 1

 
The Tet Offensive - January 1968


TET OFFENSIVE - JANUARY 1968 – 53 YEARS AGO
As part of the Tet Offensive, Viet Cong soldiers attack the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. A 19-man suicide squad seized the U.S. Embassy and held it for six hours until an assault force of U.S. para- troopers landed by helicopter on the building's roof and routed them.

The offensive was launched on January 30, when communist forces attacked Saigon, Hue, five of six autonomous cities, 36 of 44 provincial capitals, and 64 of 245 district capitals. The timing and magnitude of the attacks caught the South Vietnamese and American forces off guard, but eventually the Allied forces turned the tide. Militarily, the Tet Offensive was a disaster for the communists. By the end of March 1968, they had not achieved any of their objectives and had lost 32,000 soldiers and had 5,800 captured. U.S. forces suffered 3,895 dead; South Vietnamese losses were 4,954; non-U.S. allies lost 214. More than 14,300 South Vietnamese civilians died.

While the offensive was a crushing military defeat for the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese, the early reporting of a smashing communist victory went largely uncorrected in the media and this led to a great psychological victory for the communists. The heavy U.S. casualties incurred during the Offensive coupled with the disillusionment over the earlier overly optimistic reports of progress in the war accelerated the growing disenchantment with President Johnson's conduct of the war. Johnson, frustrated with his inability to reach a solution in Vietnam announced on March 31, 1968, that he would neither seek nor accept the nomination of his party for re-election.

On January 21, 1968, an intense barrage of artillery hit the U.S. Marine Base at Khe Sanh in northwest South Vietnam. This presaged a siege and battle that would last for seventy-seven days and would see 6,000 Marines hold off 20,000 North Vietnamese. Anticipating that American Forces would be drawn north to the fighting at Khe Sanh, Viet Cong units broke the traditional Tet (lunar new year) cease-fire on January 30, 1968, by launching major attacks against most cities in South Vietnam.

For the next two months, U.S. and ARVN forces successfully beat back the Viet Cong assault, with particularly heavy combat in the cities of Hue and Saigon. Once the fighting had ended, the Viet Cong had been permanently crippled and ceased to be an effective fighting force.
On April 1, U.S. Forces began Operation Pegasus to relieve the Marines at Khe Sanh. After opening the road to Khe Sanh (Route 9) with a mix of Air Mobile and ground forces, U.S. troops linked up with the besieged Marines on April 8th, 1968.

This was despite protests from the Marines that they had the situation completely under their control.

VA Welcome Kit Update

VA Welcome Kit Update 01:
Guide to Access Vets Care, Benefits & Services



The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced 22 DEC the addition of 10 ‘quick start guides’ and caregiver resources to the VA Welcome Kit — a guide for service members, Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors to access care, benefits and services.

The updated welcome kit makes it easier to obtain information about VA resources by listing each step and document needed in the application or enrollment process.

The VA Welcome Kit is organized around major life milestones, such as separating from military service, retirement or seeking care while aging. The kit now includes a total of 14 ‘quick start guides’ that cover a variety of topics, including:
 Applying for VA health care.
 Getting started with mental health services.
 Getting started with health services for women Veterans.
 Understanding community care.
 Accessing urgent care.
 Applying for a disability rating.
 Applying for education benefits.
 Applying for burial in a VA national cemetery and for memorial products.
 Understanding the modernized decision review process.
 Getting started with services for Veterans ages 65 and older.
 Getting started with Veteran state benefits and service.
 Getting started with Vet Center services.
 Getting started with caregiver benefits.
 Applying for survivor benefits.

More than 1 million copies of the VA Welcome Kit have been downloaded or printed across the country. VA created the kit and follow-on guides using human-centered design with feedback from hundreds of Veterans and their families. You can download the VA Welcome Kit at https://www.va.gov/welcome-kit/
[Source: VA News Release | December 22, 2020]
U.S. Space Force To Almost Triple Its Size

The U.S. Space Force plans to almost triple in size and add a Reserve element in 2021, the service’s top general said 15 DEC as the newest military branch neared its first birthday.

Gen. Jay Raymond, the chief of Space Operations, will officially become a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on 19 DEC when the Space Force marks its one year anniversary. The space chief told reporters that he was optimistic about his plans to grow the force from about 2,400 active-duty troops to about 6,400 by the end of 2021.

To date, the Space Force is built almost entirely of former Air Force space-focused troops who applied and were selected to transfer into the first new military branch created since the Air Force was split from the Army in 1947. The Space Force did commission 86 Air Force Academy cadets directly into the new service, and it is interviewing candidates to select 98 cadets to commission into the service in the spring, Raymond said.

But 2021 could be the year some space-focused troops serving in the Army and the Navy transfer into the Space Force, Raymond said. The service recently completed a Defense Department-required study on how to best incorporate service members outside the Air Force into the Space Force. Raymond said a few hurdles still exist, but he expected the processes to allow non-Air Force transfers to be in place in 2021.

Raymond said the service also expects to unveil its plans for a Space Force Reserve component early in 2021. National Guard leaders have lobbied for the last year to build a Space Force National Guard element, but Raymond and other leaders have declined to provide their specific plans while they worked with Congress to study the issue. On Tuesday, the general again declined to describe how a Space Force Reserve element would be constructed. The National Guard already employs some 1,100 space-focused troops in at least nine states, officials have said. Raymond said his service relies “very heavily” on those forces and Reserve troops to complete its missions, which include operating space-based sensors and protecting American space-based assets.
To read full article, view this link: U.S. Space Force
[Source: Stars & Stripes | Corey Dickstein | December 15, 2020 ++]

PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran Peer Support Program

THE ROCKLAND COUNTY PFC JOSEPH P. DWYER VETERAN PEER SUPPORT PROGRAM UPCOMING ACTIVITIES AND EVENTS (Week of 1/4 to 1/8 2021).  

For further information or other events, contact Izzy Quintana at 845-638-5244 or via email:  iquintana@vettovetrc.org.

January 4, 6 & 8 (M, W & F) MEDITATION from 9am to 9:30 am. Class elicits deep relaxation and helps reduce stress and anxiety. Participants can sit or lay down. Instructor Brett Cotter is an author and meditation teacher with 20 years experience. To participate download “Ring Central Meetings” app to your cell phone or meeting program onto your PC or laptop by clicking on website: https://www.ringcentral.com/apps/rc-meetings.  It's free & similar to Zoom. meeting ID: 582 811 3947

January 5th (Tuesday) from 5:00-6:00 pm. GENTLE YOGA. Virtual session via Zoom. Yoga is ex- tremely 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 or have any questions, please contact Izzy Quintana at email iquintana@vettovetrc.org.

January 6th (Wednesday) at 9:30 am. VETERANS WALKING CLUB at PALISADES CENTER. Meet in front of BRIDGES located on the 2nd Floor. The Mall stores and businesses open at 11 am. Masks are required while in the mall. We will walk between 45 minutes to an hour. Join fast pace group, slow pace group or walk at your own pace. Just get walking !

January 6th (Wednesday) from 5 pm to 6:30 pm. COOKING WITH THE CORPS. This is a virtual cooking class via zoom with Chef Chris Martinez, USMC Retiree who studied at the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan, NY. He’ll be making Pineapple-Roasted Chicken and will send ingredients for the recipe ahead of the event to get ready for the class. Zoom Meeting ID: 721 0587 432, Passcode: 0794 #. Contact Izzy Quintana at email iquintana@vettovetrc.org. for further info.

January 7th (Thursday) from 9-10 am. QIGONG (Ancient Chinese Exercise). These are gentle meditative exercises based on the cultivation and refinement of Universal Life Energy known as Qi. Practicing this exercise reduces pain, reduces stress and anxiety, improves physical fitness and improves immune function and vitality. Instructor Norman Galinsky, MFA has over 36 years of study, practice, and teaching of Chinese healing and martial arts. If interested in attending or have questions, contact Izzy Quintana at email iquintana@vettovetrc.org.

January 7th (Thursday) from 4 – 5pm TAPPING aka Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). Vet to Vet Staff will teach you to simply use your own fingertips to tap upon just a few of the body’s acupres- sure points, while focused upon an issue you’d like to change for the better. It’s a fast way to feel bet- ter and easy to learn self therapy that will help you relieve stress & reduce anxiety. Zoom Meeting ID: 841 3981 8795 ; Passcode: 338649 or click below to join:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84139818795?pwd=cStxZXE2OTBkWVAyd1UzT0JNby81dz09

Weekly Support Group Sessions Schedule
WELLNESS & RECOVERY VETERAN & FIRST RESPONDERS SUPPORT GROUP - Every Monday from 2 pm to 4 pm via conference call. Session is led by Sharon Bailey. LCSW. You can call in with your name or stay anonymous. Dial in # 425-436-6393, Passcode 114029 #.

VETERAN & MENTOR SUPPORT GROUP - Every Tuesday from 10 am to 11:30 am via conference call. Session is led by Veteran Outreach Coordinator Flore Raphael. Geared for Vets who have taken the Military Behavioral Health Course.  Dial in # 701-802-5101, Passcode 486170 #.

Updated VVA Chapter 333 Website

From Roy Tschudy, President of VVA Chapter #333:
I encourage you take a few moments and check out our updated website for VVA Chapter 333. Our new Webmaster Debbie Frank has been updating the site to make it more uniform and colorful. In the picture section there are a few of us from back in our military days, I am sure that Debbie is continuing to add the photos sent to her. If you did send me and/ or Debbie a photo and it is not yet posted, please give Deb a little time to do so. I have no doubt based on her other managed Websites that when completed/updated, it will be first class!  Link to VVA #333 website here:  https://www.vva333.com


Thank you and a happy/healthy New Year to all!  Roy

President's Roadmap to Empower Veterans (PREVENTS)

Suicide prevention efforts usher promise of help for all Americans
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today the completion of all 2020 priorities established under the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS) to end suicide through seamless access to care, a connected research ecosystem and robust community engagement aimed at changing the culture around mental health care and ultimately preventing suicide among Veterans and all Americans.

President Trump released the PREVENTS roadmap in June 2020 and to date, PREVENTS has accomplished all nine priorities for the year, including:

  • Launching REACH as a national public health campaign aimed at empowering all Americans to play a critical role in preventing suicide.
  • Garnering signatures from 42 States and one U.S. Territory on a PREVENTS State Proclamation outlining agreed-upon practices and steps to engage their citizens in suicide prevention.
  • Partnering with VA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes to create a Wellbeing in the Workplace Pledge and Guide to encourage companies to prioritize the mental health and wellness of their employees. More than 50 major U.S. companies and organizations have already signed the pledge.

“We have adopted a public-health approach to suicide prevention that enlists all Americans to recognize the signs of those who are vulnerable and connect them to resources that can help,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “I want every Veteran to know that VA is here for you, and we will not relent in our efforts to reach those who are struggling and connect them with lifesaving support.”

Achieving the 2020 milestones is fulfilled by the launch of the Suicide Prevention Grand Challenge under a partnership among PREVENTS and the VA Innovation Center in collaboration with the VA Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention — who will host a summit in February 2021 with experts in technology, mental health, suicide prevention and related fields to help guide the planning and implementation for the challenge.

The summit will build upon success and lessons learned from The White House Summit on Veterans Suicide held in September 2019, and guide efforts for launching, running, judging, and selecting winners of individual competitions in the Suicide Prevention Grand Challenge. For inquiries on the summit, please contact VASPGChallenge@va.gov.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the Veterans Crisis Line to receive free, confidential support and crisis intervention available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, text to 838255 or chat online at http://VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.

Media covering this issue can download VA’s Safe Messaging Best Practices fact sheet or visit http://www.ReportingOnSuicide.org for important guidance on how to communicate about suicide.

VA Compensation Rate Schedules Effective December 2020


VA Compensation Rate Schedules for 2021

View 2021 Veterans disability compensation rates. Use the compensation benefits rate tables to find your monthly payment amount. The VA bases your monthly payment amount on your disability rating and details about your dependent family members.  

The VA is required by law to match the percentage of cost-of-living adjustments made to Social Security benefits. These adjustments help to make sure that the purchasing power of your benefits keeps up with inflation. You can get the latest cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) information on the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) website.
https://www.va.gov/disability/compensation-rates/veteran-rates/

New York State Division of Veterans Services

Five benefits New York Veterans can take advantage of right now. Do you know other benefits New York has to offer?     For further information, view this link: https://veterans.ny.gov

The more than 760,000 Veterans residing in New York have many reasons to call the state home — two Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean, Niagara Falls and the Catskills, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and The Big Apple. You also have many great benefits you can use right now. Take advantage of these New York-specific programs and live life to the fullest after your military service:

1. Connect with a Veterans benefits advisor or file a discharge upgrade application. If you haven’t done so already, meet with your benefits advisor at the applicable county Veterans service office. These advisors are qualified to provide you with free counseling in applying for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits. Work together to seek VA compensation and pensions, the GI Bill, health care, home loans and more, or get help filing appeals. They can also assist you in accessing state benefits (see below) or in submitting military discharge upgrade applications. New York is also the first state in the nation to provide you with free access to a Discharge Upgrade Advisory Board. If you have a worthy argument for an upgrade, the board can issue an opinion that may strengthen your case when going before review panels.

Learn more: Find your nearest benefits advisor at https://rly.pt/3dxclXS (click on “Find an Office Near Me.”) Learn how to appeal your discharge status at https://rly.pt/31g5xZJ.

2. Get a state home loan. You may know about the VA home loan guarantee (https://rly.pt/2GTP467). But the State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) also has the Homes for Veterans program. If you’re a veteran or a spouse of one discharged under conditions other than dishonorable you may qualify for a low-interest, fixed-rate loan 0.375% below the already low-interest-rate loans offered through SONYMA. The program also provides down payment assistance of up to $3,000 or 3% of the purchase price of the home (not to exceed $15,000).   Learn more: https://rly.pt/3o0CvqC.

3. Look into education benefits. New York also has a few opportunities for you or your children to get a higher education at reduced or no cost:

• Veterans Tuition Awards: If you meet service criteria — generally extending to New York State Veterans who served in hostilities after 1961 and who were discharged under honorable conditions — you can receive tuition awards for study at a New York degree-granting institution or vocational training program. Details: https://rly.pt/2TdHk21.

• Military Enhanced Recognition Incentive and Tribute (MERIT) Scholarship: Tuition assistance is available to children, spouses or financial dependents of New York residents who died or became severely and permanently disabled in military service. Details: https://rly.pt/3j5LD9K.

• Regents Awards for Children of Deceased and Disabled Veterans: New York also provides $450 annually to students whose parents served in times of war or national emergency and, as a result, died or received a VA service-connected disability rating of 40% or greater. Details: https://rly.pt/3jbJnhC.

4. Explore housing modification funds and property tax exemptions. If you are a low- or moderate-income veteran living with a disability in New York, you could receive funding to adapt your home under the Access to Homes for Heroes/Veterans program.

And if you own your New York home, you may be able to reduce your property tax burden. The state notes three programs of interest to Veterans:

• Alternative Veterans’ Exemption: For service during a designated time of war or receipt of an expeditionary medal, with additional reductions available for combat and VA service-connected disability ratings.

• Cold War Veterans’ Exemption: For service during the Cold War, with additional reductions available for VA service-connected disability ratings.

• Eligible Funds Exemption: Partial exemptions for certain property purchases.

Learn more: For details about Access to Homes for Heroes/Veterans, visit https://rly.pt/37j9i4F. For property tax information, call [login to see] or visit https://rly.pt/2IsC0p.

5. Start a business. After the military, you may choose a career in health care, high tech, the service sector or another industry (https://rly.pt/34494fx). Or you can become an entrepreneur. Here are a few resources to get your veteran-owned business off the ground in The Empire State:

• Consult with a New York Small Business Development Center (SBDC). This nationwide business assistance network is partly funded by Congress through a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The network (https://rly.pt/33Ldx5F) gives you access to free and at-cost training to start, grow and expand your small business. New York’s SBDC Network State Office (https://rly.pt/37c7PwJ) oversees an in-state network of 22 campus-based centers and outreach offices, which provide no- and low-cost business advice and training to new and existing small businesses. New York’s SBDC has a specific program providing targeted training, counseling and mentoring to Veterans. Services include personal advice sessions, business plan workshops and business concept assessment. Details: https://rly.pt/2IsCj3d.

• Locate other trainings. Also check out SBA’s Boots to Business training offerings for transitioning service members, Veterans and military spouses at https://rly.pt/2ZBUTvp. In addition, find local, no-cost business advisers at https://rly.pt/2E3xICV, https://rly.pt/33A6Xi0 and https://rly.pt/3hy2eTc.

• Get verified as Veteran-owned. Once your veteran business is set up, get help getting verified from VA’s Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization (https://rly.pt/3kheSZ6) and start doing business directly with VA, the second largest federal agency.

To read further:  Benefits for Veterans in New York
More resources for New York Veterans:
• New York Division of Veterans’ Services: https://rly.pt/3dxclXS.
• NYS Veterans app: Android (https://rly.pt/3dyy7KN) or iOS (https://rly.pt/3dAkwT6).

Employment Opportunities and Information

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

Good Samaritan Hospital, Suffern, New York.  Good Samaritan Hospital is affiliated with Westchester Medical Center.  See this link for available employment - https://wmchealthjobs.org/search-jobs/

Rockland County Employment Information:
Here is a link to current job openings available in Rockland County
http://rocklandgov.com/departments/personnel/job-opportunities/

Rockland County Veterans' Credits:
http://rocklandgov.com/files/8115/1120/9567/Veterans_Credit_Info.pdf

New York City Civil Service Jobs, Tests, and Results as listed in The Chief:
http://thechiefleader.com/news/civil_service/

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

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: http://a856-gbol.nyc.gov/GBOLWebsite/
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:


  • Handicap-Accessible van
  • Motorized Wheelchairs
  • Manual Wheelchairs
  • Oxygen Generator
  • Walkers
  • Bath Chairs
  • Transfer Benches
  • Braces
  • Crutches
  • Canes

If you have need of any of this equipment, contact the folks at the Rockland County Marine Corps League - 845-323-8774 or via e-mail: drobin137@icloud.com.
RockVets 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: NewYorkVets@gmail.com.

We are not affiliated with Rockland County Government nor the Veterans Service Agency of Rockland.

Each month, our newsletter reaches more than 1500 local veterans or those interested in veterans' welfare. Please use this forum to let veterans know of any information, resources, links or events of interest.  Send information to NewYorkVets@gmail.com and feel free to pass this newsletter along to others who may be interested.

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

Pat McGlade
Co-Founder / Director
Email: NewYorkVets@gmail.com
Facebook: www.Rockvets.com