Vietnam Veterans of America
The VVA Veteran® Online
March/April 2015

In this issue:

AK47: Grunts Love Simple Stuff
John McDonald, who wrote a series of irreverent books about his experiences as a grunt in Vietnam, writes about getting shot at and other encounters with the Kalashnikov. Xande Anderer, in The M16 and the AK47, argues that the two weapons were deeply symbolic of the forces that used them during the Vietnam War
. [on the cover]

Photo: National Archives and Records AdministrationPhoto: National Archives and Records AdministrationPhoto: National Archives and Records AdministrationPhoto: National Archives and Records Administration

art: Paula Goodman KozFATAL LIGHT: Readers of The VVA Veteran know Richard Currey for his incisive journalism—shown again in his profile of Wes Studi in this issue. However, in literary circles he’s best known for his spare, elegiac novel, Fatal Light. We’ve excerpted just one chapter.

photo: Bernard EdelmanAMERICA’S VETERANS COURTS: In January 2008 Judge Robert Russell launched the Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court. Bernie Edelman examines the extraordinary success of his vision, which was modeled on drug and mental health treatment courts but brings the VA and veteran-mentors into the justice system. VVA’s Patrick Welch calls it “the most profound change in the attitude of our criminal justice system toward veterans in the history of this country.”

Photo: Judy LaceyCompanion pieces look at its replication elsewhere. Dorn Patrick Farrell examines the participation of VVA Chapter 975 in the Lake Havasu City Veterans Court in Arizona Court Helps Troubled Veterans. In a further twist, Incarcerated Chapter 1080 became involved in the Jacksonville, Fla., Veterans Treatment Court. Veterans Behind Bars Helping Veterans looks at the chapter’s “scared straight” program, which invites young veterans in trouble to visit Vietnam veterans inside prison.

Photo: Larry B. StevensonWES STUDI: At the Edge of Courage: Wes Studi is America’s best-known Native American actor. He became famous with Dances with Wolves and provided the smoldering anger that powered The Last of the Mohicans. Writer Richard Currey questions him about his commitment to strong portrayals of American Indians and the influence of the Vietnam War on his life and career.

© William BrownLAISSEZ-FAIRE GOOD TIME: Key West Is for Veterans: Marc Leepson takes us on a guided tour of Key West, Fla., and points out the places and history most interesting to veterans.

Photos courtesy Mokie PorterThe Veterans Initiative 2015 Mission to Vietnam:
A four-person VVA delegation left January 21 for Vietnam on the VI’s 24th mission. They brought with them the location of a possible Vietnam MIA gravesite, the VI’s 299th case.

Mokie PorterBaby, It’s Cold Outside:
Veterans Against Drugs’ All Skate
Photos: Brian DuMontThe Lone Bugler’s Funeral and Chapter 899’s Honor Guard
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