This is the letter I wrote to send to Senators and Representative.........and a comment too as per Jerry's above....Its just hard to believe that a sitting President of the United States would ignore a letter from an established and chartered United States Veterans Service Organization. Not good manners in my and my mother's opinion.
Anyway, here's the letter I'm sending.....maybe too long, but what the heck....I included that Wall Street Journal article that I thought was very good.
John Q. Public
21 Circle Dr.
Anywhere, USA 00001
January 8, 2014
The Honorable Senator _________
XXXX________Senate Office Building
Washington, D. C. 20515
Dear Senator ______,
The Cold War spanned several decades from 1946–1991. This “long twilight struggle” as President Kennedy referred to it as, was arguably the most significant and threatening geo-political event of the 20th century. Our victory in it changed the world forever, yet, U.S. veterans that served during that period have never been recognized for what they did for all of us. The theater, as you know, was worldwide and constant throughout the entire period; The Congo, El Salvador, Guatemala, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Arctic/Polar Regions, China, Hungary, Greece, Crete, Germany, High Seas, S.A.C., Korea, Taiwan, Guam, Indonesia, Angola, Laos, Philippines, Vietnam, Panama, Thailand, Turkey, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and on and on……The 1991 capitulation of the USSR and resulting elimination of this decades long Soviet threat and national peril, now 23 years ago, led to the freeing of tens of millions of people around the world from a repressive and brutal system, and the de facto surrender of an enemy dedicated to our very own destruction.
During this period Cold War veterans endured privation and hardship, often under very arduous and difficult conditions and long periods at sea, and many thousands paid the ultimate price. They volunteered to protect their country when she called them. These veterans have never been recognized for the great and historical defense of our nation they undertook and achieved. Millions that spent years on active duty at remote and hostile duty stations received no medal decoration whatsoever, not one, for their service and for what they accomplished; service honorably rendered in the “Cold” War for all of us, our families, and our allies. The nation called….they went, regardless of what “political winds” were blowing, then or now.
I write to ask that you please take a moment to reflect on what the Cold War was to all of us and especially on its forgotten veterans, and that you please sponsor the necessary provision calling for the long overdue award of a Cold War Service Medal in the 2015 NDAA, and to introduce independent medal legislation in the Senate.
Thank you for any consideration you might give this letter.
John Q. Public
Please refer to enclosed (separate) Nov. 9, 2012 Wall Street Journal B. Newman article for supporting opinion.
Also, please refer to then Senator Hillary Clinton’s Legislative Bill wording below (2005-2006 S-1351, …..2007-2008 S-1097) for reference, (In Blue).
The Secretary concerned shall issue a service medal, to be known as the `Cold War service medal', to persons eligible to receive the medal under subsection (b). The Cold War service medal shall be of an appropriate design approved by the Secretary of Defense, with ribbons, lapel pins, and other appurtenances.
(b) Eligible Persons- The following persons are eligible to receive the Cold War service medal:
(1) A person who--
(A) performed active duty or inactive duty training as an enlisted member during the Cold War;
(B) completed the person's initial term of enlistment or, if discharged before completion of such initial term of enlistment, was honorably discharged after completion of not less than 180 days of service on active duty; and
(C) has not received a discharge less favorable than an honorable discharge or a release from active duty with a characterization of service less favorable than honorable.
(2) A person who--
(A) performed active duty or inactive duty training as a commissioned officer or warrant officer during the Cold War;
(B) completed the person's initial service obligation as an officer or, if discharged or separated before completion of such initial service obligation, was honorably discharged after completion of not less than 180 days of service on active duty; and
(C) has not been released from active duty with a characterization of service less favorable than honorable and has not received a discharge or separation less favorable than an honorable discharge.
(c) One Award Authorized- Not more than one Cold War service medal may be issued to any person.
(d) Issuance to Representative of Deceased- If a person described in subsection (b) dies before being issued the Cold War service medal, the medal shall be issued to the person's representative, as designated by the Secretary concerned.
(e) Replacement- Under regulations prescribed by the Secretary concerned, a Cold War service medal that is lost, destroyed, or rendered unfit for use without fault or neglect on the part of the person to whom it was issued may be replaced without charge.
(f) Application for Medal- The Cold War service medal shall be issued upon receipt by the Secretary concerned of an application for such medal, submitted in accordance with such regulations as the Secretary prescribes.
(g) Uniform Regulations- The Secretary of Defense shall ensure that regulations prescribed by the Secretaries of the military departments under this section are uniform so far as is practicable.
(h) Cold War Defined- In this section, the term `Cold War' means the period beginning on September 2, 1945, and ending at the end of December 26, 1991.
Wall Street Journal
November 9, 2012
By Barry Newman
A Cold Shoulder for Cold-War Vets
For survivors of the anticommunist effort, little remembrance on Veterans Day
This weekend, Americans will honor soldiers who fought the country's wars, from the Somme to Kandahar. In Manassas, Va., 30 miles from the nation's capital, a parade on Saturday will honor veterans of another big war: the one that never happened.
The Cold War, from 1945 to the Soviet Union's breakup in 1991, was all about avoiding total nuclear war. It turned hot in Korea and Vietnam and sparked conflicts from Lebanon to Grenada. But soldiers on duty between flare-ups didn't do battle. When the war that wasn't came to an end, they got no monuments, no victory medals.
Nor can they join the American Legion—which makes the parade of Cold War vets in Manassas a minor hot spot of its own.
The idea came out of Legion Post 10, a brick building with a long bar on Cockrell Road. The parade committee was in a room behind the bar one evening, talking protocol and Porta-Johns. Most were career retirees, yet 50 years after the Cuban missile crisis, the Legion's exclusion of Cold War short-timers was on their minds.
You have to serve in a declared war," said Mark Meier, the post commander, a44-year-old retired Marine. "That's our charter."
Bill Carruthers, 81, who flew in Vietnam as an Air Force colonel, opened his wallet and pulled out his Legion card. The eligibility periods were on the flip side: World War II, then a gap from 1946 to 1950. Korea, and a gap from 1955 to 1961.Vietnam, and another gap, from 1975 to 1982. Lebanon-Grenada, and a gap from1984 to 1989. Finally, a short war in Panama, a gap and 22 straight years of membership from the 1990 Gulf War through the Global War on Terrorism, which isn't over yet.
Missing in action: 22 years of the Cold War.
Col. Carruthers said, "I have a son who served four years on a destroyer, chasing Russian subs—after Vietnam but before Grenada. He cannot be a Legionnaire, and that really ticks me off."
The committee members have marched plenty. They've pinned on campaign medals and expeditionary medals. If they served during the Korea or Vietnam "eras," they also got a National Defense Service Medal. So did anyone on duty during the Gulf War, or since Sept. 11, 2001—whether patrolling Anbar Province or a stateside train station.
There’s no National Defense Service Medal for veterans of the Cold War. What were America's GIs up to? They went on alert when Egypt claimed the Suez Canal in 1956.They manned missile silos in North Dakota and piloted B-52s aimed at Soviet targets. They crewed nuclear-armed submarines and drove tanks in the Fulda Gap between West and East Germany. Some of what they did is still secret.
Don Levesque, a retired minister in Maine, was on leave in 1958 when 17 men in his Air Force unit were shot down and killed by a MiG while on a surveillance flight along the Armenian border.
"They call it peacetime," says Mr. Levesque, 74. "It wasn't. The Legion won't accept us. That's an affront. We never got a medal, and that's an affront, too."
Before he got discouraged and quit, Mr. Levesque belonged to American Cold War Veterans, a group trying to convince the Defense Department to award a medal to GIs like him. Bills for the creation of one have passed the House and Senate several times, only to wilt in committee. The Pentagon is opposed.
"The Cold War was not actually a war," wrote Elizabeth King, an assistant secretary of defense, in a 2011 letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee. A medal would overlap hot-war medals, she wrote. It would cost $440 million, and 35 million vets could claim it.
How many of them served only in those 22 gap years? "Maybe five million says Frank Tims, 76, a retired defense analyst who is chairman of the veterans group. The Congressional Budget Office puts the likely number at 3.4 million and a medal's cost at $33 million.
"If it's about the money, I'll pay for my own medal," Frank Almquist says. He is 50 and drove Army tanks in the Fulda Gap early in the 1980s. "Just authorize it. I'll buy my own."
In2006, Mr. Almquist, who lives in Illinois, complained to his then-senator, Barack Obama. Mr. Obama emailed back, calling a Cold War medal "appropriate," and hoping "that this impasse can be broken soon." It wasn't. Now the vets intend to ask him to create the medal by executive order.
They have campaigned too, to have May 1 (communism's May Day) declared Cold War Victory Day. Maine and Kansas have done it. Independently, Matamoras, Pa., has put up a Cold War monument. San Diego had a Cold War parade in 2010. Omaha had one last July.
Now comes Manassas. Banners on street lamps here commemorate Civil War battles in the fields beyond its strip malls. At a burger joint with "Thank You Veterans" ketchup on the tables, a waitress was asked what the Cold War was. "Just...like...a war?" she said.
"People don't realize there was a Cold War," Russ Keating was saying at Legion Post 10. He is an Air Force vet, and president of the parade committee. "They grew up with Vietnam and the Gulf."
It was the Cold War's invisibility that led the post to sponsor the parade (a separate nonprofit is running it). At Legion headquarters in Indianapolis, a spokesman says the matter of membership "has been brought to our attention." But the leadership has no plan to change the rules. Even if it did, Congress would have to amend the charter to let any veterans come in from the cold.
Parade planning has taught the Manassas Legionnaires one other lesson about Cold War vets: They're hard to find. No database lists them. A sign-up sheet at the county fair went unsigned.
"We're having a hard time," said Mr. Meier, the post commander. "They don't want to participate in our parade."
Kevin Bryne, in charge of participation, got up and told him: "When you have veterans that can't be members of your organization, they don't rush out to help you."
Mr. Bryne, 53, is a security contractor. He never joined the military; his father did. So he joined the Sons of the Legion. Kurdt Carruthers, the colonel's Navy-veteran son, will never do that.
"I told my father," he says on the phone from his home near Fredericksburg, "if I can't join the Legion, the hell with it."
He is 56 and spent four years, 1977-81, hunting submarines aboard the USS Peterson. "Interacting with the Soviets wasn't fun and games," he says. "We weren't waving at them and sharing movies." He missed getting a National Defense Service Medal by months.
Kurdt Carruthers was expecting to drive to Manassas today for its Veterans Day Parade. But he won't take part. He'll be standing in the crowd, watching his dad march by.
Write to Barry Newman at firstname.lastname@example.org