[Odie - .3K]  Odie's Veterans Page

Welcome to the new home of Odie's Veterans Page,
one soldier's view of service during the "Vietnam Era".

| "Old Glory" | Dedication | The Call To Duty | My Credentials | My Vietnam Tour |
| Welcome Home | The Record | POW/MIA | Our Unknown Soldier | Homeless Veterans |
| The Wall | An Original Poem | Feedback | Special Feedback | Credits | Site Menu |

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always flies proudly on this site.

Please pause here for one minute while our National Anthem is playing
to honor our veterans; male and female, past and present.

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[Up - .1K] [Spacer] Dedication [Spacer] [Down  - .1K]

"In the Beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, and brave and hated and scorned.
When his cause succeeds the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."

(Mark Twain)

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Graphics by Ron Fleischer
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All of you who proudly proclaim your patriotism on the Web inspired this site;
constructed by a Vet who hid his Vietnam service record for a long time.
Thanks for helping a "Closet Vet" dust off the cobwebs and come alive.
The following sections will help you know me and understand what makes me tick.

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[Up - .1K] [Spacer] The Call To Duty [Spacer] [Down  - .1K]

"Let every nation know. . .whether it wishes us well or ill. . .
that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend,
oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

(Inaugural Address - John F. Kennedy - January 20, 1961)

[US Seal - 10.9K]

Here is the American Eagle, symbol of our great democracy,
holding an olive branch on one side, arrows on the other.


We, the veterans of the United States Armed Forces, prefer peace, but we fought,
wherever and whenever necessary, to preserve our ideals and our way of life.

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"And so, my fellow Americans. . .ask not what your country can do for you. . .
ask what you can do for your country."

(Inaugural Address - John F. Kennedy - January 20, 1961)

I answered the call to duty on 25 September 1961 when I graduated as a Distinguished Military Graduate from the Boston College ROTC program and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Field Artillery.  I completed most of my military training with honors and was a Captain when I served in Vietnam.  I intended to be a "lifer" until a medical profile ("artillery ears") limited my potential for promotion.  I left the active Army on 4 June 1970 as a thirty year old Major and have been in the Reserves since then.

I never really reconciled the rejection I felt after my tour in Vietnam.  My decorations and citations sat in a dusty box for years, until my wife recently covered one wall of my new office with them.  My four children, three pre-Vietnam and one post-Vietnam, saw a side of their father they never knew.  I had to reconsider; they were proud of me.

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Bronze Star Air Medal National
Defense Medal
 Vietnam
Service Medal
 Vietnam
Campaign Medal

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[Up - .1K] [Spacer] My Vietnam Tour [Spacer] [Down  - .1K]

I was lucky.  There are only two campaign stars on my Vietnam Service Medal.  I arrived
"in country" just after the 1st Cav fought bitterly in the Ia Drang Valley and I left Vietnam
before the Tet Offensive wreaked its devastation.

"Redleg Two One, this is Redleg Six.  Over . . . "

I was Charlie Battery Commander and an Intelligence Officer/Aerial Observer in the
2nd Battalion, 17th Artillery, 1st Air Cavalry Division from:

June, 1966 Through July, 1967
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Presidential Unit Citation
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1st Cavalry Division Home Page 1st Cavalry Division Association

Others definitely saw more "action" than I did, but I saw my share.  Certainly enough
to earn the right to speak my piece, starting with my "Welcome Home".

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"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war,
no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive
the veterans of earlier wars were Treated and Appreciated by their nation."

(George Washington)

When I returned from 'Nam, we landed on an empty runway in Oakland, California.
No parades, no bands, no cheering crowds, not even an Airman to tell us where to go.

Our only welcome was an angry crowd of protesters exercising their
" First Amendment rights" by shouting "Baby Killers!"
.
THIS REJECTION BY FELLOW AMERICANS AND
THE INDIFFERENCE OF OUR COUNTRY CUT DEEP!

Furthermore, welcoming me and other Vietnam Vets home twenty-five years later
in a parade honoring another generation of heroes only rubbed salt in an old wound.
(Write to me and I'll gladly explain why I feel this way.)

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Graphic by Ron Fleischer

NEVER AGAIN!
Our veterans deserve better.  To those of you in Iraq or Afghanistan
or anywhere on Freedom's Frontier, "Go With God" and when your job is done,
"Welcome Home!", from at least one seasoned vet who cares.

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WW II American
Campaign
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WW II Asia
Pacific
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WW II Europe
Africa Middle East
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World War II
Victory
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Korea
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Vietnam
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Persian Gulf
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Bosnia
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Kosovo
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Afghanistan
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Iraq

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"I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience.
I know no way of judging the future but by the past."

(Patrick Henry - March, 1775)

I'm not here to debate the issue of whether the Vietnam War was good or bad, just or unjust,
necessary or unnecessary, or any other topic about the war's validity.  You certainly have a
right to your opinion, but not in this forum.

I'm telling you in advance, I will simply ignore any message that attempts to divert this space
from its main topic: the commitment between a soldier/sailor/airman and his/her country and
whether or not that commitment has been honored.

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Graphic by "Doc"

As I see it, there is a commitment between members of our Armed Forces and our country:
  • Members of the Armed Forces are expected to display unquestionable obedience
    and unswerving loyalty particularly when faced with life threatening situations.

  • Our country has at least an implied commitment to guarantee speedy resolution
    of their personal situations if the worst happens.

I can't speak for other generations except my own.  Our country's treatment of Vietnam Era
veterans is a national disgrace!  The blatant disregard for our welfare is painfully obvious to
anyone who wants to see it, starting with the POW/MIA situation and ending with the total
abandonment of our homeless veterans!

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"Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just."
(Thomas Jefferson)

The travesty begins with our country's treatment of over two thousand
prisoners of war and missing in action.

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Graphic by Ron Fleischer

THINK OF IT: OVER 2000 AMERICANS ABANDONED BY THEIR COUNTRY!

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Graphics by "Odie"
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To allow their families and loved ones to languish in limbo for over thirty years is inexcusable.
I'm not talking about financial support; I'm talking about the mental anguish of not knowing.
If they are dead, tell us, so we can reconcile our losses and conclude the grieving process.
If they are alive, tell us, so we can go outside of political and diplomatic channels to negotiate
their return.  Maybe we can even "buy them back" from a morally corrupt government that
has already hoarded information and bartered with their remains.

Remember: "There but for the Grace of God go I".

[MIA Award - 17.7K] [MIA Adopt - 9.6K]
[Bracelet - 3.5K]
Click on the bracelet to read the history of my adopted hero.

Let's help make this year the year we bring them all home!

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If you care, click here and join the cause.

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Adapted from graphic by "Doc"
"Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God"
(Inscription on the marble monument to the first Unknown Soldier.)

On Memorial Day, 1984, 6 bones (four ribs, a pelvis and a humerus) were laid to rest as
the remains of the Unknown Soldier of the Vietnam War.  This honor was recognized as
an overdue gesture of reconciliation, as well as a display of support for the families of
those still missing in action.  The remains lay in state from May 25th to May 27th at the
Capitol where an estimated 250,000 people filed past the coffin to pay their respects. On
May 28th, the remains were transported by caisson to the Arlington National Cemetery,
stopping briefly at the new Vietnam Memorial.


In February, 1998, The Washington Post and The New York Times reported that the
remains could quite possibly be those of 1st Lt. Michael J. Blassie, a highly decorated
Air Force pilot who was shot down on May 11, 1972.  These reports also described other
evidence found with the remains that should have helped with their identification.  From
1972 to 1980 the remains were officially listed as "believed to be Michael J. Blassie",
although the family was never told that.  Then in 1980, for reasons that are unclear, the
classification was changed to "unknown".


Our Government's reasons may be unclear, but these conclusions are very clear to me:
  • This is not "pure conjecture".  Although no one is saying for sure that the remains
    are those of Lt. Blassie, no one denies the strong possibility that they are.

  • This is not "media hype".  These reports were published by The Washington Post
    and The New York Times, both highly respected newspapers.

  • This is not "rabble rousing by POW activists".  In January, 1998, the Department
    of Defense acknowledged that the remains were found with shreds of a pilot's flight
    suit, part of an ejection seat, money and two ID cards belonging to Lt. Blassie, but concluded that their proximity to the six recovered bones "doesn't prove anything".

  • This is not "the futile hope of a distraught family".  The announcement regarding
    the remains was accompanied by news that the Pentagon is considering exhuming
    the remains for DNA testing.

  • This is another situation where we must question our government's actions when
    dealing with POW/MIA from the Vietnam War.
Whether you agree or disagree, please read these reports and form your own opinion.

[Wash. Post Logo - 1.5K]
(February 5, 1998)
[NY Times Logo - 1.2K
(February 15, 1998)

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"The first casualty of war is truth."
(Author Unknown)

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Graphics by "Odie"
Odie's Veterans Page salutes the Blassie family for their courage and persistence.

On May 7, 1998, Secretary of Defense William Cohen ordered the exhumation of the
Vietnam Unknown.  On June 29, 1998, after 26 years of uncertainty, the remains
were positively identified as Air Force 1st. Lt. Michael J. Blassie.

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(May 7, 1998)
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(June 29, 1998)

Lt. Blassie has finally been reunited with his family!  May he rest in peace.

The remains of this courageous pilot were first laid to rest in the Tomb of  
the Unknowns to honor our service in a complicated and controversial war.

God help us when even our representation at this hallowed shrine is controversial!

This section is based entirely on information submitted to the POW/MIA Digest
by Jen Bauer, from the POW/MIA Freedom Fighters. Thank you, Jen.

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"War doesn't determine who's right, just who's left."
(Author Unknown)

The travesty does not end with the prisoners of war and missing in action.  
Our government has virtually abandoned an entire generation of veterans who left
home as innocent teen-agers and came back physically maimed or mentally crippled.
Essentially, they exchanged one living hell for another: the living hell of death
and destruction for the living hell of poverty and despair.


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Graphic by Ron Fleischer

What does our government do?  As little as possible! After all we have to control
expenses and balance the budget.  Fine, I agree, but not on the backs of those who
went without question and receive denial and empty promises in return.


SOMETHING IS DRASTICALLY WRONG!

. We served when we were called yet we returned to indifference.
. We negotiated for years to gain recognition that Agent Orange deformed our children.
. We continue to get "lip service" about our POW/MIA.
. Our homeless brethren still struggle to survive.
. Organizations who protest are censured and labeled subversive.

The indifference remains the same, only the time and place have changed.
At the birth of our country, our Continental Army at Valley Forge had to repeatedly
ask for basic support.  Today, our Gulf War veterans struggle with their Agent Orange,
called "Gulf Syndrome".


So, you ask "Would you serve again?".  Emphatically "YES", not for
the reward or recognition, but because I love this crazy, mixed-up country!

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Cover photo from the book "Hunger of the Heart: Communion at the Wall"
©1995, Larry Powell, Used With Permission

"... we cannot dedicate. . .we cannot consecrate. . .we cannot hallow this ground.
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us. . .
that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause
for which they gave the last full measure of devotion. . .
that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain. . .
that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom. . .
and that government of the people. . . by the people. . . for the people. . .
shall not perish from this earth."

Excerpts from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address delivered November 19, 1863

[Cross at the Wall - 21.7K] Three generations are shown here as Gary G. Wright, Jr. holds
his son, Gary G. Wright III, so that he can kiss the name of his grandfather, Col. Gary G. Wright, USAF, MIA 1-17-67.
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This photo by Eli Reed is from the book "The Wall - Images and Offerings from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial"
©1987, Collins Publishers, Inc.

The original photo, by Seny Norasingh, appeared on the cover
of the book "The Wall - Images and Offerings from the
Vietnam Veterans Memorial"
©1987, Collins Publishers, Inc.

[The Wall - 29.2K]
(Left) Photo from the book
"Hunger of the Heart: Communion at the Wall"

©1995, Larry Powell, Used With Permission

"The Wall is beautiful, and it's ours.  I have returned many times since that first time, exorcising my demons.  It's always difficult, but it becomes a little easier, a little bit better.  I will be there on Memorial Day this year, and I will be standing quietly beside you."

Excerpts from "Meet Me At The Wall", a letter from David Regenthal to his comrades in arms, ©1992

We all meet at the wall: The families of POW/MIA; the loved ones of the homeless and
mentally disturbed; and those of us that are "OK" because we can "function in society".
Sometimes, thank God not often, we envy those who are listed on the wall: they have found
eternal peace.  We all find some vestige of peace, but we still wrestle with the memories
and the rejection every day of our lives.  In our own way, we all want to "come home".

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An Original Poem by Owen F. Devlin
on the 30th anniversary of my return from Vietnam

Dedicated to all who still wait to come home.


I faced death
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I'm the one
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Many are gone
[Spacer] some whom I knew,
Why am I
[Spacer] one of the chosen few.

I sought the answer everywhere:
[Spacer] the land, the sea, the sky,
And still no answer anywhere,
[Spacer] why I did not die.

My friends, my family, all who care
[Spacer] are surely there for me,
Why is it they can't understand
[Spacer] this haunting mystery.


Only those who've made the trek
[Spacer] Who've faced it day by day,
Can really know the random game
[Spacer] That gruesome death will play.

The answer has to lie beyond
[Spacer] the realm of humankind,
We have to look beyond ourselves
[Spacer] the answer there to find.

Somewhere, someone sees the path
[Spacer] where all who've gone have trod,
For me I found the answer
[Spacer] when I gave it up to God.

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© 1997-2017,  Owen F. Devlin,  All Rights Reserved
(Veterans and friends: just ask and I will grant permission to copy this poem.)

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So there you have it.  I've bared my soul to the world.  I need to hear from other veterans,
whether you agree or disagree.  I will display every substantive message I receive,
pro or con, until I run out of space.

(I can no longer accept feedback because I have run out of space
but please feel free to view the comments left by others.)

I think you're on target
and here's why

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0341 positive replies
since 04/06/97

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I think you're off the mark
and here's why

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0000 negative replies
since 04/06/97

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  [Yellow Check - .13K] Read the replies
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  [Yellow Check - .13K] Check the alpha index
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  [Yellow Check - .13K] View the 22 site awards
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Once again, please do not send messages about the morality of the Vietnam War.
Also, please do not "flame" me for telling it like it is.
I will simply ignore personally demeaning messages because
I am still a patriot who loves his country as dearly as any citizen.
That's why I produced this page.

"I was born an American; I will live an American; I shall die an American!"
(Daniel Webster, July 17, 1850)

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Graphic by "Doc"
INDIFFERENCE HAS TO CHANGE

or our
"great experiment
in democracy"
will go the way of the Roman Empire.

[Eagle - 14.7K]
Graphic by "Doc"

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How's this for positive feedback?
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My son Dennis, third of our four children
and a real computer jock, provides a steady stream of
humorous e-mail to several people.  He sent this message on 4/14/97:

"This is not humor.....

http://www.masshome.com/vietnam.htm

This is a page put up recently by my father, and I want everyone to know
just how proud I am of him for finally facing his demons from 1967...

If you or a parent/relative/friend lived (or otherwise) through the Vietnam "conflict",
you should check out this URL.

Even if you have no connection whatsoever to the Vietnam _WAR_,
you should still check it out...

Please pass this URL along to anyone else you feel may want
(or need) to see it.  Spread the word...

The war is SE Asia is a huge black mark on the reputation of America,
and it is long past time to make amends...

My hat is off to you Lt. Col. Owen F. Devlin..... After 30 years, Welcome Home."

Thanks for indulging a proud father.  Dennis was a baby when I left for Vietnam.
He didn't know who I was when I came home.  This mess has taken a long time to heal.
To quote a higher authority than I "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased".
I love you, Dennis, and the world needs to know it!

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One final word:
God Bless You and [Flag and Document - 7.8K]
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Graphic from the DAV
God Bless America

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Graphic by Ron Fleischer
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All thanks and credits are presented on our Credits Page to allow faster loading.
Please visit the great people who helped produce this site you all enjoy so much!

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Disclaimer
Graphics and quotes used on this site have been collected from many sources.  Proper credit has been given
where the artist/author is known and further reproduction is expressly prohibited without their permission.
All other images are assumed to be in the Public Domain.  Parties knowing otherwise should  contact us
and we will immediately either obtain permission to use the copyright item or replace it.

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| "Old Glory" | Dedication | The Call To Duty | My Credentials | My Vietnam Tour |
| Welcome Home | The Record | POW/MIA | Our Unknown Soldier| Homeless Veterans |
| The Wall | An Original Poem | Feedback | Special Feedback | Credits | Top of Page |

| Credits | My Adopted Hero | Site Awards & Recognition| Links |

Dedicated to . . .
[Teddy Bear - 1.5K]
the love of my life.
(54 Years - 1/19/17)

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