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June 2021 - News Letter

Updated: Oct 7, 2021


Dear Legionnaires, Spouses, and Friends,

This past weekend, the Department of North Carolina held its annual convention, in Raleigh. While there are new challenges facing veterans daily, one thing remained evident – The American Legion stands ready to support Veterans in every clime and place. We have a new District, Division, and Department Commander – all of whom I believe will lead our department strongly in the future.

At the Convention our Post was recognized as having the best newsletter. This is no small feat, and I would like to thank our Historian, Greg Ciesielski, for the work he does to make our newsletter shine.

During the Convention, two Posts in our District were closed. There are veterans in need of assistance and a home, and we now have two less Posts to serve them. This is a tremendous opportunity for Post #539 to fill the gap. I cannot encourage everyone enough to reach out to their neighbors, friends, and acquaintances. Invite them to a meeting. Welcome them home.

Our May poppy drive yielded $1,000 in donations – a number we should all be very proud of! This money will go towards our veteran service fund, to help veterans in need in the local area. Thank you to each Legionnaire that volunteered, your dedication to this Post is why we succeed.

At our June meeting, we welcome District Commander John Sotirkys, who will swear in our newly elected Executive Committee. This is an exciting time, as we not only continue the incredible programs that have been established, but work towards creating new programming to attract more members to our Post. I would like to congratulate each individual who was elected during the May meeting. I am eager to get to work and look forward to seeing what this team accomplishes!

Our upcoming meeting is open not only to Legionnaires, but their family and friends as well. Please come ready to eat, as Moore’s BBQ, desserts, and refreshments will be provided during our meeting. The bar will be open as well (reminder – cash bar). I encourage you to bring a friend, and I look forward to joining with each of you in fellowship Wednesday evening.

Semper Fidelis!

Liz Hartman Commander

Official Publication of the American Legion, Whitehurst-Ware Post 539, New Bern NC

American Legion Post 539

Officers 2021-2022

Commander: Liz Hartman

1st Vice Comm.: Mark Sandvigen

2nd Vice Comm.: David Hamill

Adjutant: VACANT

Judge Advocate: Bob Brinson

Service Officer: VACANT

Financial Officer: Jim Robinson

Historian: Greg Ciesielski

Chaplain: Archie Assadourian

Sergeant-at-Arms: Roy Grubb

Asst. Sergeant-at-Arms: VACANT

Immediate Past Commander: Dick Seale

NJROTC: Dick Seale

Facebook contact: Liz Hartman

Member at Large - Dave Nelson

Member at Large - Bud Van Slyke

Webmaster: Gary Guodace

Calendar of Events - June

June - PTSD Awareness Month

6 June 2021 - D-Day

9-13 June 2021 NC AL Dept Convention

12 June 2021 - Women Veterans Day

13-19 June 2021 - National Flag Week

14 June 2021 - US Army Birthday

14 June 2021 - US Flag Day

16 June 2021 - POST Meeting

20 June 2021 - Father’s Day

20-26 June 2021 - Tar Heel Boys State Program

23 June 2021 - Coast Guard Auxiliary Birthday

27 June 2021 - PTSD Awareness Day



National Commander: Bill Oxford

Department Commander: Jim Quinlan

Division II Commander: Chris Smith

District 6 Commander: John D. Sotirskys, II


Whitehurst-Ware American Legion Post 539

1822-6 South Glenburnie Rd., Suite 204 New Bern, NC 28562

Post Phone - 252-772-4327


First Vice-Commander Reports

Dear Legionnaires, Spouses, and Friends,

Legionnaires, in our post-Covid world, it is time for a little house cleaning and tidying up. We need you to update your account to assist both Post 539 and the American Legion in having records that adequately reflect our membership, service, and periods of service (Vietnam, Panama, Bosnia, Iraq, etc.). These records are used for everything from lobbying Congress to assisting our members with discount programs. This is easy, it takes less than 5 minutes to logon, go to your account, and verify or update your information.

Here are the steps:

Go to Login

<Locate> MY INFORMATION (top of left hand column)

<Click> on each topic, such as Name & Demographics

<Click> <Edit> next to each category

Save once you are done.

Due to restrictions around personally identifiable information, we cannot do this for you; only you can update your account. Thank you in advance as your help is very much appreciated.


Veteran of the Year and Lifetime Achievement.

Each year during the Veterans Luncheon, we present the Veteran of the Year and Lifetime Achievement awards to two deserving veterans in Craven County. We are looking for your input for 2021. Many veterans went above and beyond during the lockdowns over the past year and a half, we would like to recognize them at this year’s luncheon. If you have someone that you know is deserving, please contact me, at or call (703) 434-0834 to get the ball rolling.

Recognition does not have to be one huge item, it could be a thousand little ones. For example, working at the food bank, volunteer work across multiple organizations, etc., being an advocate for legislative action, etc. You know these people because they are your friends and fellow service members.

For God and Country,

Mark Sandvigen

First Vice-Commander

Whitehurst-Ware Post 539

“We do not live in Viet Nam; Viet Nam lives in us.”

“The most notable fact is that 2.7 million Americans actually served in the Vietnam Theater of war. In the last census nearly 14 million Americans claimed they served in Vietnam. Four out of five are lying. I wonder why?”

Vietnam Facts vs Fiction.

For over 30 years many Vietnam veterans...seldom spoke of Vietnam, except with other veterans. These past five years I joined hundreds of thousands who believe it is high time truth be told about the Vietnam War and the people who served there. It's time the American people learn that the United States military did not lose the War, and that a surprisingly high number of people who claim to have served there, in fact, DID NOT. As Americans, support the men and women involved in the War on Terrorism, the mainstream media are once again working tirelessly to undermine their efforts and force a psychological loss or stalemate for the United States. We cannot stand by and let the media do to today's warriors what they did to us 35 years ago. Below are some assembled facts most readers will find interesting. It isn't a long read, but it will...I guarantee each you some things you did not know about the Vietnam War and those who served, fought, or died there. Please share it with those with whom you communicate.

Capt. Marshal Hanson, U.S.N.R (Ret.), Capt. Scott Beaton, Statistical Source Vietnam War Facts: Facts, Statistics, Fake Warrior Numbers, and Myths Dispelled. 9,087,000 (Million) military personnel served on active duty during the official Vietnam era from August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975. 2,709,918 Americans served in uniform in Vietnam Veterans represented 9.7% of their generation. 261 men were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War.

1. The first man to die in Vietnam was James Davis, in 1958. He was with the 509th Radio Research Station. Davis Station in Saigon was named for him.

2. 58,148 were killed in Vietnam

3. 75,000 were severely disabled

4. 23,214 were 100% disabled

5. 5,283 lost limbs

6. 1,081 sustained multiple amputations

7. Of those killed, 61% were younger than 21

8. 11,465 of those killed were younger than 20 years old

9. Of those killed, 17,539 were married

10. Average age of men killed: 23.1 years

11. Five men killed in Vietnam were only 16 years old.

12. The oldest man killed was 62 years old

13. As of January 15, 2004, there are 1,875 Americans still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

14. 97% of Vietnam Veterans were honorably discharged

15. 91% of Vietnam Veterans say they are glad they served

16. 74% say they would serve again, even knowing the outcome

17. Vietnam Veterans have a lower unemployment rate than the same non-vet age groups 18. Vietnam Veterans' personal income exceeds that of our non-veteran age group by more than 18 percent.

19. 87% of Americans hold Vietnam Veterans in high esteem.

20. There is no difference in drug usage between Vietnam Veterans and non-Vietnam Veterans of the same age group (Source: Veterans Administration Study)

21. Vietnam Veterans are less likely to be in prison - only one-half of one percent of Vietnam Veterans have been jailed for crimes

22. 85% of Vietnam Veterans made successful transitions to civilian life.

23. Interesting Census Stats and "Been There" Wanabees:

A. 1,713,823 of those who actually served in Vietnam were still alive as of August 1995 (census figures).

B. During that same census count, the number of Americans falsely claiming to have served in-country was: 9,492,958

24. As of the current census taken during August 2000, the surviving U.S. Vietnam Veteran population estimate is: 1,002,511. This is hard to believe, losing nearly 711,000 between '95 and '00. That's 390 per day. During this census count, the number of Americans falsely claiming to have served in-country is: 13,853,027. By this census, FOUR OUT OF FIVE WHO CLAIM TO BE Vietnam vets are not.

25. The Department of Defense Vietnam War Service Index officially provided by The War Library originally reported with errors that 2,709,918 U.S. military personnel as having served in-country. Corrections and confirmations to this errored index resulted in the addition of 358 U.S.. military personnel confirmed to have served in Vietnam but not originally listed by the Department of Defense. (All names are currently on file and accessible 24/7/365).

26. Isolated atrocities committed by American soldiers produced torrents of outrage from anti-war critics and the news media while Communist atrocities were so common that they received hardly any media mention at all. The United States sought to minimize and prevent attacks on civilians while North Vietnam made attacks on civilians a centerpiece of its strategy.

27. Americans who deliberately killed civilians received prison sentences while Communists who did so received commendations. From 1957 to 1973, the National Liberation Front assassinated 36,725 Vietnamese and abducted another 58,499. The death squads focused on leaders at the village level and on anyone who improved the lives of the peasants such as medical personnel, social workers, and schoolteachers. - Nixon Presidential Papers.

Common Myths Dispelled:

#1. Myth: Common Belief is that most Vietnam veterans were drafted. Fact: 2/3 of the men who served in Vietnam were volunteers. 2/3 of the men who served in World War II were drafted. Approximately 70% of those killed in Vietnam were volunteers

#2. Myth: The media have reported that suicides among Vietnam veterans range from 50,000 to 100,000 - 6 to 11 times the non-Vietnam veteran population. Fact: Mortality studies show that 9,000 is a better estimate. "The CDC Vietnam Experience Study Mortality Assessment showed that during the first 5 years after discharge, deaths from suicide were 1.7 times more likely among Vietnam veterans than non-Vietnam veterans. After that initial post service period, Vietnam veterans were no more likely to die from suicide than non-Vietnam veterans. In fact, after the 5-year post-service period, the rate of suicides is less in the Vietnam veterans' group.

#3. Myth: Common belief is that a disproportionate number of blacks were killed in the Vietnam War. Fact: 86% of the men who died in Vietnam were Caucasians, 12.5% were black, 1.2% were other races. Sociologists Charles C. Moskos and John Sibley Butler, in their recently published book "All That We Can Be," said they analyzed the claim that blacks were used like cannon fodder during Vietnam "and can report definitely that this charge is untrue. Black fatalities amounted to 12 percent of all Americans killed in Southeast Asia, a figure proportional to the number of blacks in the U.S. population at the time, and slightly lower than the proportion of blacks in the Army at the close of the war. ”

#4 Myth: Common belief is that the war was fought largely by the poor and uneducated. Fact: Servicemen who went to Vietnam from well-to-do areas had a slightly elevated risk of dying because they were more likely to be pilots or infantry officers. Vietnam Veterans were the best educated forces our nation had ever sent into combat. 79% had a high school education or better. Here are statistics from the Combat Area Casualty File (CACF) as of November 1993. The CACF is the basis for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall): Average age of 58,148 killed in Vietnam was 23.11 years. (Although 58,169 names are in the Nov. 93 database, only 58,148 have both event date and birth date. Event date is used instead of declared dead date for some of those who were listed as missing in action) Deaths Average Age Total: 58,148, 23.11 years, Enlisted: 50,274, 22.37 years, Officers: 6,598, 28.43 years, Warrants: 1,276, 24.73 years, E1 525, 20.34 years, 11B MOS: 18,465, 22.55 years.

#5 Myth: The common belief is the average age of an infantryman fighting in Vietnam was 19. Fact: Assuming KIAs accurately represented age groups serving in Vietnam, the average age of an infantryman (MOS 11B) serving in Vietnam to be 19 years old is a myth, it is actually 22. None of the enlisted grades have an average age of less than 20. The average man who fought in World War II was 26 years of age.

#6 Myth: The Common belief is that the domino theory was proved false. Fact: The domino theory was accurate. The ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand stayed free of Communism because of the U.S. commitment to Vietnam. The Indonesians threw the Soviets out in 1966 because of America's commitment in Vietnam. Without that commitment, Communism would have swept all the way to the Malacca Straits that is south of Singapore and of great strategic importance to the free world. If you ask people who live in these countries that won the war in Vietnam, they have a different opinion from the American news media. The Vietnam War was the turning point for Communism.

#7 Myth: The common belief is that the fighting in Vietnam was not as intense as in World War II. Fact: The average infantryman in the South Pacific during World War II saw about 40 days of combat in four years. The average infantryman in Vietnam saw about 240 days of combat in one year thanks to the mobility of the helicopter. One out of every 10 Americans who served in Vietnam was a casualty. 58,148 were killed and 304,000 wounded out of 2.7 million who served. Although the percent that died is similar to other wars, amputations or crippling wounds were 300 percent higher than in World War II...75,000 Vietnam veterans are severely disabled. MEDEVAC helicopters flew nearly 500,000 missions. Over 900,000 patients were airlifted (nearly half were American). The average time lapse between wounding to hospitalization was less than one hour. As a result, less than one percent of all Americans wounded, who survived the first 24 hours, died. The helicopter provided unprecedented mobility. Without the helicopter it would have taken three times as many troops to secure the 800-mile border with Cambodia and Laos (the politicians thought the Geneva Conventions of 1954 and the Geneva Accords or 1962 would secure the border).

#8 Myth: Kim Phuc, the little nine-year-old Vietnamese girl running naked from the napalm strike near Trang Bang on 8 June 1972...shown a million times on American television...was burned by Americans bombing Trang Bang. Fact: No American had involvement in this incident near Trang Bang that burned Phan Thi Kim Phuc. The planes doing the bombing near the village were VNAF (Vietnam Air Force) and were being flown by Vietnamese pilots in support of South Vietnamese troops on the ground. The Vietnamese pilot who dropped the napalm in error is currently living in the United States. Even the AP photographer, Nick Ut, who took the picture, was Vietnamese. The incident in the photo took place on the second day of a three-day battle between the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) who occupied the village of Trang Bang and the ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam ) who were trying to force the NVA out of the village. Recent reports in the news media that an American commander ordered the air strike that burned Kim Phuc are incorrect. There were no Americans involved in any capacity. "We (Americans) had nothing to do with controlling VNAF," according to Lieutenant General (Ret) James F. Hollingsworth, the Commanding General of TRAC at that time. Also, it has been incorrectly reported that two of Kim Phuc's brothers were killed in this incident. They were Kim's cousins not her brothers.

#9 Myth: The United States lost the war in Vietnam. Fact: The American military was not defeated in Vietnam. The American military did not lose a battle of any consequence. From a military standpoint, it was almost an unprecedented performance. General Westmoreland quoting Douglas Pike, a professor at the University of California, Berkley a major military defeat for the VC and NVA. FACT: THE UNITED STATES DID NOT LOSE THE WAR IN VIETNAM; THE SOUTH VIETNAMESE DID because the Democrat-controlled congress refused to fund the South Vietnamese Army, but it looks like they would love to stay in Afghanistan for another 20 years.

The fall of Saigon happened 30 April 1975, two years AFTER the American military left Vietnam. The last American troops departed in their entirety 29 March 1973. FACT: How could the US lose a war in which it had already stopped fighting? We fought to an agreed stalemate. The peace settlement was signed in Paris on27 January 1973.

* It called for release of all U.S. prisoners, withdrawal of U.S. forces, limitation of both sides' forces inside South Vietnam and a commitment to peaceful reunification.

* The 140,000 evacuees in April 1975 during the fall of Saigon consisted almost entirely of civilians and Vietnamese military, NOT American military running for their lives. Continued on the next page 10 “We do not live in Viet Nam; Viet Nam lives in us.” continued

* There were almost twice as many casualties in Southeast Asia (primarily Cambodia ) the first two years after the fall of Saigon in 1975 then there were during the ten years the U.S. was involved in Vietnam.

* Thanks for the perceived loss and the countless assassinations and torture visited upon Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians goes mainly to the American media and their undying support-by-misrepresentation of the antiwar movement in the United States.

* As with much of the Vietnam War, the news media misreported and misinterpreted the 1968 Tet Offensive. It was reported as an overwhelming success for the Communist forces and a decided defeat for the U.S. forces. Nothing could be further from the truth. Despite initial victories by the Communists forces, the Tet Offensive resulted in a major defeat of those forces. General Vo Nguyen Giap, the designer of the Tet Offensive, is considered by some as ranking with Wellington, Grant, Lee and MacArthur as a great commander. Still, militarily, the Tet Offensive was a total defeat of the Communist forces on all fronts. It resulted in the death of some 45,000 NVA troops and the complete, if not total destruction of the Viet Cong elements in South Vietnam. The Organization of the Viet Cong Units in the South never recovered. The Tet Offensive succeeded on only one front and that was the News front and the political arena. This was another example in the Vietnam War of an inaccuracy becoming the perceived truth. However, inaccurately reported, the News Media made the Tet Offensive famous.”

- credit and research to Capt. Marshal Hanson, U.S.N.R (Ret.) and Capt. Scott Beaton, Statistical Source.


To the members of Post 539, I thought it would be fitting that we understand the history of the Medal of Honor. I would like to do this in a number of articles so that we can understand when the medal was established, why it was established, and who are the beneficiaries of the highest recognition by our country.

This medal may be awarded to recognize American Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, Space Force Guardians and Coast Guard men who have distinguished themselves by acts of valor. The medal is normally awarded by the President of the United States, but it is presented "in the name of the United States Congress" and is often referred to as the Congressional Medal of Honor. It is also presented in the field by senior officers of that particular service.

There are three distinct variances of this medal. One for the Department of the Army awarded to Soldiers; one for the Department of the Navy awarded to Sailors, Marines and Coast Guard men of the Department of Homeland Security; and one for the Department of the Air Force, awarded to Airmen and Space Force Guardians. The Medal of Honor was introduced for the Department of the Navy on December 21, 1861, soon followed by the Department of the Army's version on July 12, 1862. The Department of the Air Force used the Department of the Army's version until they received their own distinctive version on April 14, 1965.

The Medal of Honor is the oldest continuously issued combat decoration of the United States Armed Forces. The President typically presents the Medal of Honor at a formal ceremony intended to represent the gratitude of the American people, with posthumous presentations made to the primary next of kin. Additional information concerning the medal will be presented in the following monthly Newsletters.


Dick Seale,

Post 539 Past Commander

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