President of USS Liberty Veterans Association Ernest Gallo wrote regarding the latest dishonoring of the USS Liberty:
This time by “head honchos” at Howard County Vietnam Veterans, Inc. in Greentown, Indiana. Gallo emailed under Subject:
USS Liberty Not Wanted
Sept. 15 -18 Glenn & Merrilee Oliphant, honorary crewman Ted Arens and wife Pam, Patricia and I were to participate in the Vietnam reunion as we did last year at Kokomo, IN.
However, the head honcho of the event did not want us there and told us to leave. We were not welcomed. This was very out of character from last year. It is a sad day for the Vietnam vets and our country.
At one point this idiot called our message Bull Shit and that is when I lost my cool and told him what I thought of his attitude and so did Ted Arens. When we left, it was not a pretty scene….
Now in its 34th year, the ALL Veterans reunion this year attracted thousands of veterans who began to descend upon the Howard County Healing Field in Indiana on September 15 through 17 for the annual All-Vets Reunion.
The now famous Annual Vietnam Veterans Reunion is the oldest annual Vietnam Veterans Reunion in the country and the organization owns 40 acres 8 miles east of Kokomo Indiana on State Road 26. The nickname for the property is the Healing Fields, which are open 12 months a year, and have 1800 members nationwide.
On Wednesday this reporter left a voice message for the President, Head Trustee and Chaplain at the Howard County Vietnam Veterans, Incorporated Office.
No reply has yet been received, but if one is it will be published at LIBERTY CENTRAL II
Along with Ted Aren’s Letter to:
Howard County Vietnam Veterans Organization
8313 East 400st South
Greentown, IN 46936
September 19, 2016
To President Chuck Simons, all officers and Trustees,
I served in Vietnam in 1968 – 69 on firebase C-2 in the United States Marine Corps. I served my entire time on the DMZ and was decorated for action in battle. For the first time in 2015 I came to the reunion in Howard County and was welcomed with open arms. It felt good to be welcomed, it felt good to be with my brothers-in-arms, I told my wife Pam so. Along with me were two of my friends Ernie Gallo and Glenn Oliphant – they were also welcomed. The experience they had in battle when the USS Liberty was attacked was far worse than any thing I ever saw. We were welcomed at the gate and were given free passes. Thanks for supporting us and welcome home – we were told.
The same thing happened in 2016; we were welcomed at the gate and were given free passes. Thanks for supporting us we were told.
The USS Liberty is the most decorated ship in US Navy history for a single engagement. Among the awards won by the officers and crew of the USS Liberty are the Medal of Honor, two Navy Crosses, eleven Silver Stars, twenty Bronze Stars, nine Navy Commendations, 208 Purple Hearts, 294 Combat Action Ribbons and the Presidential Unit Citation. The story of the attack on the USS Liberty is one of treachery and betrayal by the Israeli and American governments. They were abandoned twice while under attack by the USA government – flights were recalled in midair. LBJ knew that Israel was attacking the Liberty, but the crew did not because the planes were unmarked. The crew was threatened with imprisonment by Admiral Isaac Kidd if they spoke of the attack. The story finally broke open when Jim Ennes wrote a book “Assault on the Liberty” in 1980. The Medal of Honor was presented by the Navy Secretary (the only one not given at the White House by a President in modern history) at an obscure naval yard so as not to draw attention to the press and public. I found out around the year 2000 about the USS Liberty treachery and said “This can’t be in my United States and started supporting these men.
Until we ran into Chuck Simons everything was OK. He said we could not be there because this was a place for healing. I said “These men went through hell” and you as a Vietnam veteran cannot support them? With cold empathy Simmons went on to say that there were many casualties in A Shau Valley – they are not controversial – and again said “This was a place for healing”. The men in A Shau Valley were never abandoned under fire by the USA government.
Can you imagine a 455’ long ship and 208 mutilated bodies strewn all over the deck – it was a bloodbath. Over 720 rounds (5” holes) cannon fire, heat seeking missiles, napalm, 3200 rounds of armor piercing bullets, a torpedo strike (40 ft hole), And the crew of the USS Liberty doesn’t need healing? Even A Shau Valley did not have that many bodies per square foot and a 70% casualty rate. I will bet Mr. Simons that you never saw the action and terror that these men endured. They were sitting ducks on the ocean and had no means to fight back. You were never abandoned during battle by the president of the United States.
I have enclosed for you two pages of your own by-laws dated June 2015.
What you did Mr. Simon was far worse then what some American people did when we returned from Vietnam. We were spit upon. You Mr. Simon, as president of HCVVO, spit on Ernie Gallo and Glenn Oliphant and you did not have any knowledge of their ordeal, only your personal biased thoughts. Shame on you!!
Howard County Vietnam Veterans Organization owes these men and the entire USS Liberty crew an apology.
Ted G Arens
USMC 1967 – 1969 Vietnam
Liberty website: https://www.usslibertyveterans.org/
Ps: We went to Tomah, WI and met the veterans with the Vietnam Moving Wall. We were welcomed with open arms.
Ernie Gallo will be the guest speaker for the USS Shangrala reunion on Sept. 24 in St. Louis.
Former three time USS LIBERTY Veterans President Phillip Tourney reported regarding the second engagement for his second book at a talk within an Albuquerque church;
An irate audience member left during his presentation but not until after was it discovered that over 100 of the paper petitions to End a nearly 50 year USA Government Cover-Up had also disappeared.
This Story will be continued at Liberty Central II
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