Vietnam Veterans of America National Convention

VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki

by Robert Rosebrock

VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki


Fellow Veterans and Friends of Veterans;

It is with great pride to announce that Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) has been holding its National Convention during this week in Reno, Nevada.

It has been a great honor and privilege to be a Delegate to this 15th bi-annual Convention of VVA, a Veteran Service Organiztion dedicated to helping Vietnam Veterans and their families.

Membership is open to U.S. Armed Force Veterans who served on active duty (for other than training purposes) in the Republic of Vietnam between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975, or in any duty location between August 5, 1964 and May 7, 1975.

History sadly reminds us of the infamous abuse, neglect, insult and other bad treatment against Vietnam Veterans by our own government and citizenry. These forgiving heroes have suffered through long and painful personal battles and their humbleness today is as commendable as their honorable duty to our country was a half-century ago.

While the VVA was organized to help Vietnam Veterans, it has reached out to assist all Veterans as their mission is clearly defined: “Never again will one generation of Veterans abandon another.”

The camaraderie and fellowship amongst all Veterans and their spouses at the National Convention has been very moving and sometimes emotional.

Yet, two words summarize this Convention: Leadership and Friendship.

From leadership of Chapters in communities across America, State Council leadership, Regional Board of Directors, Board of Directors at Large, and the National executive staff of President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary leadership, have all brought together the finest and talented leadership dedicated to the most noble causes of mankind — protecting and serving those who protected and served America’s freedom and independence.

And inter-twined within all of this remarkable Leadership at the Convention are some of the friendliest and nicest people you could ever want to meet.

The various Awards for leadership were well deserved.

Elayne Mackey, who is the California State President of the Associate Vietnam Veterans of America (AVVA), which represent spouses, families and friends of VVA, was awarded the National “Member of the Year” Award by AVVA for the second time, for her tireless dedication and exemplary leadership. Her leadership at the recent Veterans Grand Picnic and Summer Celebration is a testimony of her dependability on “getting the job done.”

Steve Mackey, her husband, is the President of the California State Council of VVA, and he constantly displays and projects the strongest and most respected of leadership qualities. Both Steve and Elayne are regular attendees to our Sunday Rallies, outside the Los Angeles VA, driving more than 150 miles round trip from Riverside. Their lovable dog, Mr. Pibb, joins them and is a loyal watchdog over our sacred land.

Steve and Elayne Mackey

There were several top-notch speakers at the Convention, including Paul Bucha, Medal of Honor recipient during the Vietnam War, and fellow 1965 West Point Graduate, General Eric K. Shinseki, Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Many delegates and leaders at the Convention are aware of our battles here in Los Angeles over the pillaging and plundering of our sacred land at the National Veterans Home and offer their loyal support. They cannot understand how the largest VA in the nation that was deeded exclusively for disabled and disadvantaged Veterans could be so terribly abused and mismanaged while 20,000 of our fellow Veterans remain homeless in Los Angeles County, our nation’s capital for homeless Veterans.

Veterans from afar acknowledge our gallant fight and have extended their loyal support. Some from cities far away have vowed that they will show up at one of our weekly Sunday Rallies to “Save Our Veterans Land” and to “Bring Our Homeless Veterans HOME.”

The VVA membership at large supports the ACLU lawsuit against the VA and that’s because Vietnam Veterans of America is one of the lead Plaintiff’s in the lawsuit and Secretary Shinseki is personally a Defendant, as is Donna Beiter, executive director of the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.

This indeed has been a very proud week. To be amongst some of the bravest and most courageous Americans who fought a very tough battle in a foreign country and then came back to fight an even tougher battle on our own American soil against an ungrateful citizenry and an even more ungrateful government that sent them to war, has been a distinct honor and a humbling privilege and experience.

God Bless America and these great American Military heroes and their families.

God Bless all Veterans of the United States Armed Forces.

Robert L. Rosebrock
Proud Member of Vietnam Veterans of America
Chapter 47, Riverside, CA


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U.S. Army, 1965-67, Schofield Barracks, Hqs., U.S Army, Hawaii. Director, The Veterans Revolution, Captain, the Old Veterans Guard, and Director, We the Veterans.