September 2015 Newsletter

Michael O'Day
By Michael O'Day February 25, 2016 22:28


Next Meeting: September 28 at 7:00 P.M.________________________________Issue: September 2015

Published Monthly – Distributed to all members of VVA and AVVA

Chapter 885*

801 Princess Street

Wilmington, North Carolina

Tel: 910-762-4268

Editor: Mike O’Day (email:

Publisher: Mack Mitchell

“Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”

President: Mack Mitchell

1st Vice president: Tony Mortillaro

2nd Vice President: Charlie Garner Jr.

Treasurer: Bob Doleman

Secretary: Les Heller

Service Officer: Tony Musolino

Sergeant at Arms: John Mitchell

Chaplain: Abdul Shareef

AVVA Chapter Representative: Deborah Musolino


*Chapter 885 is a member of the New Hanover Veterans Council


Presidents Message

I want to give a big thank you to the Chapter’s Officers, Committee Leaders and Members for accepting their positions and the tasks associated with those positions that allow us to continue to move Chapter 885 Vietnam Veterans of America forward and into the future.

I also know it takes a lot of time away from your families so I also want to say thank you to our Members families for supporting the Chapter.

Chaplain’s Report

Best wishes, for all that is good, to the members of VVA and AVVA 885.


Good news from Les Heller, his mother is doing much better. Albert Grantham was recently hospitalized, all went well and he is back at home.


Condolences to: Rossie Nance and his family, Rossie’s mother passed away on August 24; and to the family of Rollen Corbett, who passed away on August 2 0.  Please reach out to both families in our special way.


Continue to pray and wish the best for the Chapter and its members.


For interested members who have some spare time, there are opportunities to mentor at area schools.


Service Officer’s Comments

Town Hall


The Chapter will host a Town Hall on Saturday, September 12, 2015. The focus of the town hall will be on Veteran’s benefits. We are hoping to spread the word to those veterans in the community that are not aware of what is out there for them and we hope to be able to get them started on getting the help and/or benefits that they need and are entitled to. In short, we want to help the veteran maximize his or her benefits. To help us help you please be sure to bring your DD-214. If you know of someone who needs some help please spread the word.


The Town Hall will be presented by Chapter 885 and sponsored by: The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks #532. The event will be held at the Elks Lodge at 5102 Oleander Drive, Wilmington, NC, from 9 AM to 4 PM.


VA Announces New Rules Regarding Service Animals in VA Facilities


On August 17, 2015, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that it has revised its regulation regarding the presence of animals on VA property. The updated regulation will ensure VA practices remain consistent with applicable federal law. It will also assist individuals entering VA facilities in developing a clear and consistent understanding of the criteria governing facility access for service animals.


“As I have traveled to VA facilities throughout the country, I have heard from many Veterans about what a vital role their service animals play in their lives,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald. “The revised regulation will ensure Veterans and employees have clear guidance regarding the presence of service animals in our facilities. VA remains committed to ensuring America’s Veterans have access to the health care benefits for which they are eligible.”


Under the revised regulation, only dogs that are individually trained to perform work or tasks on behalf of an individual with a disability will be considered service animals.  Other animals will not be permitted in VA facilities, unless expressly allowed as an exception under the regulation for activities such as animal-assisted therapy or for other reasons such as law enforcement purposes. The regulation further confirms that service animals may access VA property subject to the same terms that govern the admission of the public to VA property, and  may be restricted from certain areas on VA properties to ensure that patient care, patient safety, and infection control standards are not compromised.


In accordance with required practices, the revised regulation was published in the Federal Register in November 2014, to obtain feedback from Veterans, advocacy organizations and other stakeholders.

Over the next thirty days, VA will provide training to frontline employees and ensure policies at all facilities are consistent with the new regulation.


Medical Emergencies


If you are a TRICARE beneficiary and you have an emergency, be sure to go to an emergency room to ensure proper coverage. Use of Urgent Care coverage depends on your plan and, unlike emergency care, requires an official referral.


For advice, you can also call the TRICARE Nurse Advice Line at 1-800-874-2273, option 1. By calling the Nurse Advice Line you can talk to a registered nurse who can give you healthcare advice, help you find a doctor or schedule a next-day appointment at a military hospital or clinic.


There are even pediatric nurses who can assist you and will call you back to check on your child. For more information, visit the TRICARE Emergency Care webpage and the TRICARE Urgent Care webpage.


Reconstructing Lost Military Records


A fire in 1973 destroyed 80 percent of Army personnel records for soldiers discharged between 1 Nov 1912 and 1 Jan 1960 and 75 percent of the Air Force records of Airmen discharged between 25 Sep 1947 to 1 Jan 1964 (with surnames beginning with Hubbard and running through the end of the alphabet).


Veterans whose records have been lost can fill out a specific form at the National Archives website that authorizes the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) to search other types of documents that would assist the veteran with their VA healthcare access or compensation claim, or for valuable research of their family member’s service history.


For more information, visit the Department of Veterans Affairs website.


If all else fails, come to the office and see Tony or Tiny and they will show you how to get it done.



Some TRICARE Beneficiaries May be Fined by IRS

About 430,000 military households that are missing Social Security numbers in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System could be forced to pay fines to the Internal Revenue Service if they don’t update their information by January.

The Pentagon is required to report healthcare coverage given to service members and their dependents as part of the Affordable Care Act beginning this year.  But to do so, they need to have each dependent’s SSN verified in the system, the letter said.

“The IRS will collect fees from individuals who don’t have minimum essential coverage,” it states.  “TRICARE verifies and reports minimal essential coverage status based on DEERS records.”

Fees for not holding the required minimum health care coverage depend on income and household size.

All TRICARE enrolled active-duty service members and retirees meet the coverage minimums, provided all their dependents’ Social Security numbers are up-to-date in DEERS. Those covered under purchased Reserve Select, Reserve Retiree and TRICARE Young Adult also meet the requirement.

TRICARE beneficiaries who had minimum essential coverage for any part of 2015 will be sent IRS Form 1095-C or 1095-B by Jan. 31, 2016, which will be needed to complete their 2015 tax returns, officials said.

Upcoming Events

Chapter Fund Raisers

Due to procedural issues the Chapter had to cancel its previously scheduled September 12, 2015 participation in the Leland Founders Day Celebration.

Saturday September 19, 2015 the Chapter will have a fund raiser at Sam’s Club.

Sunday, September 20, 2015, the chapter will have a fund raiser as part of the Corvette Car Show. The show will be held at Independence Mall and will be located in the parking lot on Oleander Drive near the Wells Fargo bank.

Saturday, September 26, 2015, the Chapter will have a fund raiser at the Battleship North Carolina car show.

Saturday and Sunday, October 3 and 4, 2015, the Chapter will have a fund raiser at Riverfest.

Saturday November 7, 2015 the Chapter will have a fund raiser at Sam’s Club.

Sunday, November 8, 2015 the Chapter will have a fundraiser at the Battleship Half Marathon.

As always if you can volunteer time between 9:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M., come out and support us. If you can’t do a full day come out for just the morning or the afternoon. As we used to say “try it you might like it” and we always manage to have lots of laughs.

Golf Outing

September 19, 2015, the first annual Cape Fear Chapter 636 Members of the Purple Heart (MOPH) Golf Classic will take place at the Wilmington Municipal Golf Course beginning with a continental breakfast at 8:00 A.M. The cost is $80 per golfer and includes golf (starting at 9:00 A.M., with a shotgun start), cart, breakfast, lunch (at the American Legion Post following play), beverages on the course and some prizes. The event is open to the public and is to support Chapter 636’s educational fund. If you do not play golf, but would like to donate $10, join the MOPH Chapter members for lunch at the Legion Post and help support the Cape Fear Purple Heart Education Fund.

Phoenix Mission’s 2015 Annual Veteran’s Christmas Party and Outreach Service

The Christmas party will be on Sunday, December 13, 2015 from 2:00 P.M. until 6:00 P.M. at the Elks Lodge at 5102 Oleander Drive. The party is free to all Veterans and their families and will include a “southern style” dinner, music, 50/50 raffle and a silent auction. RSVP for reservations to: Beverly @ by Sunday, December 6, 2015.

The Mission is now collecting the following new items for distribution to homeless and Veterans in need: deodorant, winter hats/beanies, men’s socks, winter gloves, individual bar soap, individually wrapped toothbrushes, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, individually wrapped rolls of toilet paper, new sweat pants (any size and color), any “pop top” canned goods, chap stick, and Walmart gift cards (any denomination appreciated”). The Mission will also be accepting new or gently used winter jackets.

There is a collection box for all donated items in the lobby of the Chapter.


The following is provided by Deborah Musolino

(VVA) AVVA National Convention Report

This year’s Convention was held in Springfield, Illinois at the Convention Center.  The Convention opened on Tuesday, July 21 and closed on Saturday evening, July 25th.  Claude “Mac” McDonald, VSO Tony Musolino and I attended as the voting delegates, Mac and Tony for the VVA and myself for the AVVA.

Portions of the Convention were held jointly and others separately. The newly appointed Secretary of the Veterans Administration, Robert A. McDonald addressed the VVA Delegates in a separate meeting.

To quote the AVVA National President Sharon Hobbs, “This is the second National Convention in which the AVVA Chapters have been given voting rights and privileges.  Chapter Representatives…have made it perfectly clear by their attendance and participation that they wanted a voice in national elections and bylaw revisions…” So it was a very busy WORKING Convention.  VVA National Conventions are held every other year.  Two years ago Phyllis Garner was our AVVA Delegate to the Jacksonville, Florida Convention the first time AVVA Chapters had a vote.

This year was also the election of the VVA and AVVA National Officers. All AVVA National Officers were reelected with the exception of the treasurer who decided to step down after having served for many, many years. There were two capable candidates.

One significant change is the addition of AVVA Deputy Regional Directors.  Beverly Pounds from Tennessee is our AVVA Region 3 Director and our AVVA North Carolina Representative Pamela Scheffer-Bossardet was appointed AVVA Deputy Regional Director.  Region 3 is comprised of North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

The AVVA National Bylaws Committee worked diligently comprising and revising the new AVVA National Bylaws.  The Delegates spent a considerable amount of time “tweaking” them further.  The updated version can be viewed on the Vietnam Veterans of America website. Please note: The AVVA Chapters in North Carolina are NOT incorporated so we don’t have separate bylaws from our VVA Chapter 885’s bylaws.  We follow the AVVA National Bylaws as well as our Chapter’s.

At the AVVA luncheon, General Burwell B. Bell addressed the attendees.  General Bell served 39 years in the Army.  He noted how the military has changed over the years reading excerpts from the Military Code of Conduct for spouses and families from the 1979 manual.  He laughed along with us as he read.  On a most serious note, General Bell spoke passionately about the recent fatal shooting in Chattanooga at the Military Recruiting Center. He feels strongly that military personnel should be able to defend themselves if placed in such a situation.  Those shot did not have weapons.

There were many other events that took place at the Convention, but because of lack of space I will address them in another issue.  It was very interesting to observe the VVA and AVVA from an entirely different perspective from the Chapter, State or even our Region.

It was my privilege to represent our AVVA at the Convention.

Humor in Uniform

Drag Ass Hill

It was another day in paradise at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. It was early May and the third platoon of Charlie Company of the 3rd Battalion of the 1st Training Brigade had finished last in the Saturday inspection for the 3rd week in a row. Now did this bother us trainees, not a bit. However, Drill Sergeant Powell was not too pleased. After a few well-chosen expletives Sgt. Powell said since you idiots (or something close to that) can’t clean maybe you can run. Now Sgt. Powell was no genius but the one thing he could do was run, that and carry an M-60 for a year in Vietnam.

So off we went, running through the woods, parade grounds and pretty much all over the post. We did this for almost two hours and finally stopped at the PT area about 300 yards from the bottom of Drag Ass Hill. For those of you who took basic at Fort Jackson you are probably well acquainted with the hill as it is very aptly name as by the time you got to the top of the hill your butt was really dragging. Sgt. Powell was giving us a little break but there was a catch. He was going to give us a head start, he would wait until the first man reached the bottom of the hill and then he would start running too and if he got to the top before just one person we would all run again.

Third platoon took off for the hill and some idiots were really moving leaving the pack strung out. Someone yelled out slow down which only made sense as we should all reach the bottom at the same time and once at the hill you were on your own. We started up and I was about three quarters of the way up the hill and near the front. However, I looked over my left shoulder and here comes Sgt. Powell passing men left and right. After more than a month of basic I was in good shape and I had no problems with running but I did not want to go for another run. On the left side of the hill was a crevasse with a relatively steep drop off and as Sgt. Powell was about to pass me I tripped (was it an accident, not likely) falling into Sgt. Powell and he went tumbling down the crevasse. He scrambled back up and still almost caught one of the stragglers. Once he got to the top he immediately jumped in my face calling me all kinds of names and accusing me of purposely tripping him, imagine that. With all of the innocence I could muster I denied everything.

You can guess the rest. It was back in the barracks scrubbing everything for the rest of the day. Running did not make us better cleaners but it was sure a good motivator. While 3rd platoon never won the Saturday inspection we never came in last again.

Editor’s Comments

With kids having just gone back to school in the last few weeks I thought that you might want to share the below article with any school age children in your extended families.

Now, She is A Teacher

There were no desks. “Ms. Cothren, where are our desk? She replied, “You can’t have a desk until you tell me how you earn the right to sit at a desk.” They thought, “Well, maybe it’s our grades.” “No, she said.” “Maybe it’s our behavior.” She told them, “No it’s not even behavior.”

And so, they came and went, the first period, second period, third period, still no desks in the classroom. Kids called their parents to tell them what was happening and by early afternoon, television crews had started gathering at the school to report about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of her room. The final period of the day came and as the puzzled students found seats on the floor of the desk-less classroom, Martha Cothren said, “Throughout the day no one has been able to tell me just what he or she has done to earn the right to sit at the desks that are ordinarily found in this classroom. Now I am going to tell you.” At this point, Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it. Twenty-seven (27) U.S. Veterans, all in uniform, walked into the classroom, each one carrying a school desk. The Vets began placing the school desks in rows, and then they would walk over and stand alongside the wall. By the time the last soldier had set the final desk in place those kids started to understand, perhaps for the first time in their lives, just how the right to sit at those desks had been earned.

Martha said, “You didn’t earn the right to sit at these desks, these heroes did it for you. They placed the desks here for you. They went halfway around the world, giving up education and interrupting their careers and families so you could have the freedom you have. Now, it’s up to you to sit in them. It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students, to be good citizens. They paid the price so that you could have the freedom to get an education. Don’t ever forget it.”

The above is a true story. The teacher is a daughter of a WWII POW. Let us always remember the men and women of our military and the rights they have won for us.

September’s Birthdays

Happy birthday everyone.

Donald Highsmith             1st                                         Lonnie Davenport             2nd

Blaine Love                        4th                                        James Fore                         7th

Danial Fortini                     7th                                        Virgil Liner                          12th

Les Heller                           13th                                      Jerry Autry                          16th

Richard Needham             17th                                      Len Schilling                       17th

Darryl Clark                        20th                                      Albert Grantham               20th

William Frye                       21st                                      Ronnie Williams                21st

James White                      21st

Other News

Facebook Page


The Chapter has a new Facebook page. To follow us on Facebook go to VVA Chapter hit like and continue to check in to see what is going on at the Chapter.


Engraved Memorial Bricks


The Chapter continues to sell the Memorial Bricks first offered as part of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the start of the Vietnam War. The bricks will outline the walkway to the Veteran’s Memorial area at Hugh MacRae Park in Wilmington.  Bricks cost $100 each; please contact the office at: (910) 762-4288 for information on how to purchase the Bricks.


VVA National Convention


Claude McDonald and Tony Musolino represented the Chapter at VVA’s national convention which took place in Springfield, Illinois in July. For the most part the convention was all about procedural processes regarding: proposed convention resolutions; proposed VVA constitutional amendments; and campaigning guidelines and voting procedures; all of which led to very tedious discussions. One piece of information that affects all of us is that Chapters should no longer retain copies of their member’s DD-214’s. The DD-214 should either be returned to the member or destroyed.



The Chapter recently purchased a grill for future use by the Chapter. The grill is the same one that was used for the cook-out, in April, as part of the 50th anniversary commemorating the start of the Vietnam War and was also used for the May cook-out for the nurses at the VA facility. The grill will also be available for rental by individuals or groups at a cost of $55 per day or $75 for two days. Please contact the office (910-762-4288) for availability.

Life Membership Offers

VVA National has offered to lower the payment for Life Time Membership beginning August 1 through December 31, 2015. The cost to become a Life Time Member will be $100. AVVA National has also offered Life Membership at a cost of $100, to begin starting November 1 through December 31, 2015. You may wish to consider becoming a life member.

Recent Fundraisers

Last month we had a fund raiser at the Med North Health Center. It was family day at the Health Center and not really much of a fund raising opportunity for us as it was more of a community outreach effort on our part. While we did not take in much money we made a few new friends and had some interesting conversations with some of the attendees. As usual, those of us that were there had lots of laughs.

Proud Uncle

On Saturday, June 13, 2015, history was made in San Antonio, Texas. Ivy Taylor, the niece of Chapter 885’s Chaplain, Abdul Shareef, became the first African American elected Mayor of San Antonio. In Ms. Taylor’s inaugural speech she stated “when young San Antonians who live in disadvantaged neighborhoods in our city turn on the evening news and see the diversity of this City Council, my prayer is that they will believe they can be anything and more importantly, they will recognize that they have the power to become involved and shape the community that they envision.”

Congratulations to Mayor Taylor and to our Chaplain Abdul Shareef.

NC VVA State Fund Raiser

The State VVA Council is conducting a fund raiser that began on August 1 and ends October 11, 2015. The State Council is holding a raffle that will split the profits as follows: 1/3rd to the State Council; 1/3rd to Phoenix Mission veterans Winter Outreach serving homeless Veterans and Veterans in need; with the remaining 1/3rd to be split proportionately with each VVA Chapter in the state.

Tickets will cost $10 each and the winners will receive 3 levels of gas cards: 1 card for 55 gallons of gas; 1 card for 25 gallons of gas; and 1 card for 10 gallons of gas. The winners will be drawn on October 17th at the State meeting in Durham.

Anyone interested in purchasing tickets please contact the office.

Veterans Discount Program

Tammy Beasley, the New Hanover County (NHC) Register of Deeds, recently announced her office is launching a new Veterans Discount Program and needs local businesses to help.

The registrar for NHC said they will be giving veterans who have recorded their DD 214 in NHC a “Thank you for your service” photo ID card. The card will allow veterans to get discounts at participating businesses in NHC. “They will be able to go into a business and show them the card and the business will recognize it right away and give them their discount,” said Beasley. She said the goal is to make it simple and easy for veterans to get the discounts they deserve.

The new program is intended to both honor veterans and encourage them to record their DD 214 (discharge papers) in New Hanover County. Veterans won’t be able to get the discount card until their DD 214 is recorded in New Hanover County. If they have lost it, the Register of Deeds office will work with Veterans Services to help them find the documentation and record it. If they already recorded their DD 214, they will be able to come in and get their photo ID made starting in September.

Once the DD 214 is recorded, Beasley said no one except for immediate family will be able to look at it for 80 years. It has important information, including a veteran’s social security number, branch and how many years they served. “History for New Hanover County is here. Birth, marriage, death, the military and so much more,” Beasley explained. “Two hundred years down the line, if you want to search your family, you will be able to come and search and find out where they served our country.”

Participating businesses will be given a sign they can display if they want. The participating businesses will also be listed on the Register of Deeds website, and a list will be given to all veterans who come into the Register of Deeds office to get their photo ID made.

When the website goes live in a few weeks, businesses will be able to sign up themselves. Until then, anyone who wishes to participate should call Tammy Beasley, Registrar, at 910-798-7736 or email her at

Veterans will be able to start using the cards on Veterans Day, November 11.

Beasley said they will start taking photos and handing out the photo ID cards in September. is the source of info for the participating businesses in the New Hanover County veterans ID program.

Michael O'Day
By Michael O'Day February 25, 2016 22:28
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