Top Ten Vietnam Wars Songs

A Veteran’s Playlist: The Top 10 Vietnam War Songs

Every soldier had his own soundtrack to the war, but these stand out

November 10, 2015

Next Avenue Blogger

By Doug BradleyContributing Writer

I first became a soldier in a war zone on Veterans Day (Nov. 11) 1970. It’s an irony I’ve wrestled with for 45 years, due in part to the precise timing of U. S. Army tours of duty in Vietnam, which meant that Uncle Sam would send me back home exactly 365 days later — on Nov. 11, 1971.

Needless to say, the date is etched in my mind and will always be. It’s personal, of course, but in a way it’s lyrical, too. I say that because my earliest Vietnam memories aren’t about guns and bullets, but rather about music.

As my fellow “newbies” and I were being transported from Tan Son Nhut Air Force Base to the Army’s 90th Replacement Battalion at Long Binh, I vividly recall hearing Smokey Robinson and The Miracles singing Tears of a Clown. That pop song was blasting from four or five radios some of the guys had, and with the calliope-like rhythm and lines like “it’s only to camouflage my sadness,” I was having a hard time figuring out just where in the hell I was.

But I knew one thing for sure. Music was going to get me through my year in Vietnam.

Did it ever.

In fact, it’s sustained me for the past 45 years, as it has countless other Vietnam veterans.

Craig Werner and I discovered the power of music from a decade of interviews with hundreds of Vietnam vets. Our new book, We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War shows how music helped soldiers/veterans connect to each other and to life back home and to cope with the complexities of the war they had been sent to fight.

Many of the men and women we interviewed for We Gotta Get Out of This Place had never talked about their Vietnam war experience, even with their spouses and family members. But we found they could talk about a song — These Boots Are Made for Walkin’, My Girl, And When I Die, Ring of Fire and scores of others. And the talking helped heal some of  the wounds left from the war.

Hendrix's guitar reminded GIs of helicopters and machine guns, conjuring visions of hot landing zones and purple smoke grenades.

When we began our interviews, we planned to organize it into a set of essays focusing on the most frequently mentioned songs, a Vietnam Vets Top 20 if you will, harkening back to the radio countdowns that so many of us grew up listening to.

Well, it didn’t take long for us to realize that to do justice to the vets’ diverse, and personal, musical experiences would require something more like a Top 200 — or 2,000! Still, we did find some common ground. These are the 10 most mentioned songs by the Vietnam vets we interviewed. Realizing, of course, that every soldier had their own special song that helped bring them home.

10. Green Green Grass of Home by Porter Wagoner

Neil Whitehurst, a native of North Carolina who served with the 1st Marine Air Wing at Marble Mountain, states emphatically “the No. 1 song that takes me back to Vietnam is Green, Green, Grass of Home.” Songs like this, those that tapped into loneliness, heartache and homesickness hold a special place in the hearts of Vietnam vets. While some liked the Tom Jones version better, others we interviewed felt the earlier, Porter Wagoner version was “more real, more sad.”

9. Chain of Fools by Aretha Franklin

Usually heard in the States as another of Aretha’s powerful statements on racial and sexual equality, which it certainly was, Chain of Fools took on special meaning in Vietnam. Marcus Miller, an infantryman in the Mekong Delta during the war, said the song referred to the military “chain of command.” And David Browne, who’d grown up in Memphis and served with the 101st Airborne, recalls that when he first learned of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., while a soldier in Vietnam, the only thing that stopped him from “killing the first honky I met” was listening to Chain of Fools. “I thought, that’s my story,” and that chain is gonna break …

8. The Letter by The Box Tops

Mail call was a sacred ritual in Vietnam and this song captured its importance lyrically and musically. Didn’t hurt that it spoke of “getting a ticket for an airplane” and “going home” because “my baby just wrote me a letter.” Nothing kept guys going more than love letters from home — and the dream of getting back to their beloved. [The Letter]

7.  (Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding

Just before his tragic death in a place crash in Madison, Wis., in late 1967, Otis Redding had completed recording (Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay, perhaps his greatest song and the first record to ever become a posthumous No. 1 hit. Was Otis Redding thinking of Vietnam? We’ll never know for sure, but he’d agreed to travel to Vietnam to entertain the troops shortly before his passing. Frank Free, an information specialist at USARV Headquarters at Long Binh in 1968-69, admits that he gravitated to music that expressed feelings of yearning and loneliness, and that Redding’s portrait of the lonely wanderer resting by the ocean watching the sun go down in (Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay perfectly captured that feeling.

6. Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR)

When asked to sum up the music of the war, Peter Bukowski, who served with the Americal Division near Chu Lai in 1968-69, responded: “Two words. Creedence Clearwater.” “They were the one thing everybody agreed on,” he told us. “Didn’t matter who you were — black, white, everyone. We’d hear that music and it brought a smile to your face.” ROTC graduate and heavy mortar platoon leader Loren Webster singled out Fortunate Son because it “pretty well summarized my feelings about serving, particularly since I had to serve in the Reserves with a whole lot of rich draft dodgers after I returned.”

5. Purple Haze by Jim Hendrix

Maybe it’s because he could have been in Vietnam that Jimi Hendrix holds so much appeal for ‘Nam vets. A member of the prestigious Screaming Eagles of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky., Hendrix preferred guitar playing to soldiering, hence his early discharge in 1962. But even more than that, his guitar sounded like it belonged it Vietnam, reminding GIs of helicopters and machine guns, conjuring visions of hot landing zones and purple smoke grenades. As James “Kimo” Williams, a supply clerk near Lai Khe in 1970-71, attests: “The first time I heard Purple Haze, I said, ‘What is that sound and how do you do that?’ The white guys who were into rock liked him,” Williams continues, “and the black guys who were into soul liked him. He appealed to everyone.”

4. Detroit City by Bobby Bare

No matter whether it’s theme or style, any song with a lyric about going home was sure to find an in-country audience and show up on a list of Vietnam vets’ favorite tunes. Maybe that’s why Detroit City, sung by the country and western singer Bobby Bare with its lingering refrain, “I wanna go home/I wanna go home/Oh how I wanna go home” was so popular on jukeboxes in Southeast Asia long after its release in 1963. Big fans included veteran C&W music lovers Jim Bodoh and Jerry Benson, who didn’t think country music ever got enough airplay over Armed Forces Vietnam Radio (AFVN).

3. Leaving on a Jet Plane by Peter, Paul and Mary

When we played this song at LZ Lambeau, a welcome home event for Vietnam vets and their families held at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., in 2010, we were overwhelmed by the response it received, especially by spouses of Vietnam vets. They sang along with tears in their eyes, because they were the ones saying goodbye to the men who were boarding the planes for Vietnam. And it got to soldiers/vets, too. As Jason Sherman, an AFVN DJ during part of his tour in Vietnam, recalled: “Leaving on a Jet Plane brought tears to my eyes.”

2. I Feel Like I’m Fixin to Die Rag by Country Joe & The Fish

Misunderstood and misinterpreted by most Americans, Country Joe’s iconic song became a flashpoint for disagreements about the war and its politics. But Country Joe, himself a Navy veteran — who when we first met him told us “I’m a veteran first and hippie second” — intended this “not as a pacifist song, but as a soldier’s song.” “It’s military humor that only a soldier could get away with,” he added. “It comes out of a tradition of GI humor in which people can bitch in a way that will not get them in trouble but keeps them from insanity.” And the soldiers got it! As Michael Rodriguez, an infantryman with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, affirmed: “Bitter, sarcastic, angry at a government some of us felt we didn’t understand, Rag became the battle standard for grunts in the bush.” [I Feel Like I’m Fixin to Die Rag]

1. We Gotta Get Out of This Place by The Animals

No one saw this coming. Not the writers of the song — the dynamic Brill Building duo of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil; not the group who recorded it — The Animals and their iconic lead singer, Eric Burdon; not the 3 million soldiers who fought in Vietnam who placed extra importance on the lyrics. But the fact is that We Gotta Get Out of This Place is regarded by most Vietnam vets as our We Shall Overcome, says Bobbie Keith, an Armed Forces Radio DJ in Vietnam from 1967-69. Or as Leroy Tecube, an Apache infantryman stationed south of Chu Lai in 1968, recalls: “When the chorus began, singing ability didn’t matter; drunk or sober, everyone joined in as loud as he could.” No wonder it became the title of our book!

We sincerely hope veterans and their families will read We Gotta Get Out of This Place and take heart from its message of survival and healing. And maybe add their own music memory at our website. There’s still an awful lot of healing that needs to be done. And we’ve become convinced that music can help. It got me through 365 days in Vietnam, and from my first Veterans Day to this one.

————-  Vietnam war songs.

Agent Orange Town Hall Hosted by Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 351

Vietnam Veterans America Chapter 351 Appleton, WI area hosted an Agent Orange Town Hall meeting on August 6, 2016 at the Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton WI. The Wisconsin State Council of VVA conducted the gathering of 50, which included veterans and spouses. Videos and stories from affected veterans and their families were discussed.  Veterans were requested to send in their stories for inclusion in documents sent to Congress to require the Veterans Administration to conduct research in the use of chemicals and it's effect on not only the veteran, but also the family.  Personal stories were shared by the participants. A call to action was made to contact our politicians to further the education of the public. No additional funding is required of the VA, just that they conduct research for which they are already funded. A special thanks to chapter members who assisted: Dale Siebers, Tom Bartel, Steve Leonard, John Koehler, and Leone Eiting. Also thanks to Larry's Piggly Wiggly in Little Chute for a donation of cookies and bottled water.  

VA to change driving distance requirements for Veterans Choice Card users

VA Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Public Affairs Media Relations Washington, DC 20420 (202) 461-7600 March 24, 2015 VA Works to Expand Choice Program Eligibility Eligibility criteria for 40 miles calculation would change to driving distance Washington -- In order to expand eligibility for the Veterans Choice Program, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced that it will change the calculation used to determine the distance between a Veteran's residence and the nearest VA medical facility from a straight line distance to driving distance. The policy change will be made through regulatory action in the coming weeks. The Veterans Choice Program was authorized by the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (VACAA). "VA has worked very quickly to implement the Veterans Choice Program and we appreciate the constructive feedback shared by Veterans and our partners to help us improve service to Veterans," said Secretary Robert McDonald. "We've determined that changing the distance calculation will help ensure more Veterans have access to care when and where they want it. VA looks forward to the ongoing support of our partners as we continue to make improvements to this new program." The method of determining driving distance will be through distance as calculated by using a commercial product. The change is expected to roughly double the number of eligible Veterans. The Veterans Choice Program is a new, temporary benefit that allows eligible Veterans to receive health care in their communities rather than waiting for a VA appointment or traveling to a VA facility. Veterans seeking to use the Veterans Choice Program should call 1-866-606- 8198 to confirm their eligibility and to schedule an appointment. Since the Choice Program went into effect on November 5, 2014, more than 45,000 medical appointments have been scheduled. Using expanded authorities from VACAA; VA continues to expand access to care through increased staffing and enhanced collaboration with both the Indian Health Service and Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems. See the VACAA progress fact sheet here: VA is enhancing its health care system and improving service delivery to better serve Veterans and set the course for long-term excellence and reform. VA has made significant progress in various areas of the legislation, such as extending the Assisted Living/Traumatic Brain Injury Pilot program and Project Arch, to expand timely access to high-quality health care for Veterans. For more details about the department's progress and related information,

see and ct/documents/FactSheets/Progress-Report-March-2015-Fact-Sheet.pdf. A fact sheet on the 40-mile-rule change can be found
at change-factsheet.pdf


Released November 27, 2012

A steering committee comprised of every major network, studio, and guild in the entertainment industry teamed with over two dozen of the nation’s top veterans' service organizations to bring Got Your 6 to life.

It began with a whisper, after Oscar-winner Tom Hanks wore a pin on the lapel of his tuxedo at the Academy Awards in February- a number 6 with a star in it. More TV sightings of the pin followed throughout the spring: Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, Kathy Griffin, Carson Daly, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, and others, all leading up to a news conference that formally launched Got Your 6 six months ago.

Since Got Your 6 officially launched on May 10th, 2012, our campaign to change America’s conversation about our veterans and to work toward making sure those veterans and their families have what they need to make the transition from military to civilian life has been in effect.

The launch, alone, garnered 137 million media impressions and coverage by The New York Times, NBC Nightly News, the Washington Post, TIME, Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, E! News, and other media outlets. It also launched the Got Your 6 public service announcement, featuring Hanks, Sarah Jessica Parker, Alec Baldwin, Brian Williams, Pharrell Williams, Judith Light, Bradley Cooper, Milla Jovovich, Michael Douglas, Wendy Williams and several others. Comedian and Marine Corps Reservist Rob Riggle starred in a “Funny or Die” video made for Got Your 6.

Since then, literally millions have seen that 6 in a star-studded public service announcement, on the Got Your 6 website, and across social media. Millions more saw the Got Your 6 PSA at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, during the Indy 500 and NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 this summer.

Millions more watched NBC’s “Stars Earn Stripes,” co-hosted by retired General Wesley Clark, where celebrities like Dean Cain, Laila Ali, and others earned over $200,000 for Got Your 6 charities. The San Diego Padres teamed with Got Your 6 for a Military Appreciation Day on August 19th, when hundreds of veterans were guests of honor at the game and thousands at the ballpark got to see the campaign’s PSA. Got Your 6 is also partnering with the NFL, to enable nonprofit partners to team with NFL clubs to activate communities around the league’s Veterans Day “Salute To Service.”

The Got Your 6 pins even made it to the Summer Olympics in London this year. Olympic athletes April Ross and Jennifer Kessy sported their pins during their run towards a silver medal in women’s beach volleyball. Through a relationship with the Chief of Staff of the Army, Got Your 6 helped promote and gain publicity 20 Olympic athletes and coaches serving in the U.S. military.

Just a month after Got Your 6 officially launched, recognition for of the campaign’s efforts came from former President Bill Clinton, highlighting our nonprofit commitments during June’s Clinton Global Initiative America conference in Chicago. President Clinton joined eight Got Your 6 representatives on stage during the opening plenary of the conference. Also, Got Your 6’s managing director, Chris Marvin, was singled out for his leadership by the National Conference on Citizenship. The conference awarded Chris the “HOOAH” Award, which recognizes a veteran who defines citizenship through service to the country, both in uniform and beyond.

To mark the anniversary of the D-Day landings of World War II on 6/6, Got Your 6 partnered with Kevin Bacon and his foundation to issue a call to action for the general public to "show their 6." Among others actions, he urged citizens to volunteer, pack care packages and emergency kits, and read books about and by veterans.

Got Your 6 and Lifetime Television hosted benefit concerts at the political conventions this summer. When Republicans gathered in Tampa, musical guest Sara Evans was joined by special guest Meghan McCain and her parents, Senator and Mrs. John McCain. At the Democratic convention in Charlotte a week later, musical guest Flo Rida was joined by special guests Eva Longoria and General Wesley Clark.

On September 11th, Got Your 6 and the Pat Tillman Foundation co-hosted a forum on service and sacrifice at Pace University, just blocks away from Ground Zero in New York. The event was moderated by Jim Dao of the New York Times and featured Marie Tillman, a FDNY firefighter who was in Tower One on 9/11, and two Tillman Military Scholars with combat experience.

Over 1.2 million people have logged onto our website to learn more and to support Got Your 6 by purchasing Got Your 6 pins, paracord bracelets, and t-shirts - 22,000 pins alone, as of early October. All of that has generated revenue for Got Your 6 partners totaling more than $100,000.

Beyond awareness, Got Your 6 partners are taking action, focusing on the 6 Pillars of Reintegration: Health, Housing, Family, Education, Jobs, and Leadership.

For the Jobs pillar, Got Your 6 convened a meeting in Los Angeles on June 19th, bringing together 70 human resources and hiring executives from most of the studios, agencies, networks, and guilds to launch a joint hiring initiative within the industry. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Got Your 6 co-hosted a Hollywood Hiring Fair in August. The U.S. Chamber, being a lead activation partner for the Jobs pillar, hosted hiring fairs across the country. They confirmed their 10,000th veteran hire in September.

On 7/24, we formally launched our Education pillar with the Pat Tillman Foundation and Student Veterans of America at George Washington University in Washington, DC.

At this event, we unveiled the first 50 colleges and universities who have pledged to become more veteran-friendly and meet certain metrics to ensure increased college completion rates. With support from Got Your 6, the Pat Tillman Foundation and Student Veterans of America have partnered with Operation College Promise to conduct an extensive six-year study on the college retention, performance, and graduation rates for student veterans.

Our lead activ homeless ation partner in the Housing pillar, the 100,000 Homes Campaign, recently completed an effort called “Rapid Results” in a number of cities. In four cities—including San Diego and Atlanta—teams were able to house more than 100 homeless veterans in 100 days. In partnership with Got Your 6's digital media firm, Brand Knew, we've created an web application for the 100,000 Homes campaign to allow the general public to report and support veterans in their communities.

Give an Hour, our lead activation partner in the Health pillar, has developed plans with the professional mental health organizations—the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatrist Association—to host an event in New York in early 2013 that will dramatically advance the Got Your 6 Health pillar goals.

Our lead activation partner in the Leadership pillar, The Mission Continues, has inducted four classes of Fellows in 2012—for a total of more than 300—all of which will complete six months terms of service and add to the Got Your 6 goal in the Leadership pillar. Meanwhile, Team Rubicon and their hundreds of veteran volunteers descended on the East Coast to assist with response and recovery from Hurricane Sandy.

For the Family pillar, NBC Publishing is partnering with lead activation partner Blue Star Families to create a digital reintegration toolkit for over 300,000 military families. The Military Child Education Coalition has partnered with Joining Forces to “Educate the Educators”, bringing more than 100 colleges to help prepare teachers to work with military children.

Got Your 6 continues to work closely with the White House and Departments of Defense, Labor, and Veterans Affairs to develop the public sector role in the campaign— including a recently finalized memorandum of understanding with Department of Labor VETS and work with the VA on National Suicide Prevention Month.

It began with a whisper, but six months after our launch, Got Your 6 is talking out loud about ways to bridge the military-civilian divide. We are working with all of our partners to support veterans and their families.

Got Your 6 served as a co-convener for the White Oak Corporate Roundtable, a gathering of private sector leaders focused on cross-sector collaboration designed to share the wisdom gained from the second gathering of “Joining Forces for Military Families” at the White Oak Plantation in Florida. The term “Got Your 6” has become more prevalent in popular culture, used in four TV shows, including CBS’s Hawaii 5-0 and NBC’s Law and Order: SVU since our launch in May. And the Got Your 6 PSA has been a fixture on multiple networks during primetime, NFL football, and even during the Major League Baseball Playoff. In the months to come, we are going to get even louder!

Copyright © 2012 Got Your 6, All rights reserved.

Smart justice for vets

Editorial from the Toledo Blade, November 28, 2012,r:31,s:0,i:187

Specialty courts, whether they deal with the problems of the mentally ill or addicted, have shown extraordinary success around the country, diverting people from prison and jail into less-costly community treatment and supervision. They offer people who commit mostly lower-level, nonviolent offenses a chance to get the help they need, while sparing society the enormous human and economic costs of incarceration.

In Lucas County, a group of Veterans Administration officials, local judges, military leaders, and others are working to start a veterans’ court in Toledo. Details need to be worked out before local judges consider a final plan, including how to manage the court docket, train probation officers, and line up services for eligible veterans, but this is an initiative the entire community should get behind now.

Local advocates, including Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton of the Ohio Supreme Court and retired Lt. Col. Bob Decker, don’t need to start from scratch. Lucas County runs a Family and Drug Court that links drug-addicted parents to services that can preserve families and keep them out of jail. And special courts for veterans already operate in Youngstown, Cleveland, Mansfield, and Akron, as well as in East Lansing and Novi, Michigan.

In Novi’s 52nd District Court, Judge Brian MacKenzie and his veterans’ treatment court give vets a chance to get sober and heal emotional scars, as Blade staff writer Rod Lockwood reported recently.

The program is no free ride. It requires the hard, grueling work of personal change. But the court does recognize the service of veterans to their country, acknowledges that some carry serious psychological and physical problems, including post-trumatic stress syndrome and alcoholism, and connects them to a range of services they might not have known about.

Participants are placed on probation. The court requires them to get counseling through the Veterans Administration, address addiction problems, get tested regularly for drugs and alcohol, and stay out of trouble.

Typically, veterans’ court takes those with low-level felonies or misdemeanors, such as driving under the influence, drug possession, or assault. Once a participant completes the program, which takes about a year, charges are dropped.

In Novi, since the program started in 2010, 70 people have graduated from veterans’ treatment court, while only three have failed.

Reorganizing court dockets costs little or nothing, but savings can be huge. Every person who is diverted from prison or jail saves taxpayers about $30,000 a year. Veterans now make up about 10 percent of the U.S. prison and jail population.

Respect for military veterans is higher than at any time since World War II. Toledo has already shown it’s willing to honor that service with action as well as words. Veterans Matter, an initiative to house homeless veterans eligible for a special program run by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the VA, provides vouchers to rent private housing. Meantime, the VA offers supportive services that help those formerly homeless veterans get back on their feet.

In providing housing or dispensing justice, one size doesn’t fit all. Through an innovative housing program and an emerging speciality court, Toledo is honoring veterans by helping those who need it.

September Council Meeting

VVA - Wisconsin State Council concluded its meeting at the Best Western Grand Seasons Hotel in Waupaca this afternoon.  Although the Council did not have the needed quorum, those in attendance followed the planned agenda (see Meetings/Agenda).

Those in attendance learned what has been occurring within VVA, nationally and throughout Wisconsin, from the President's Reports which was covered by Jim Mayr, Vice President.  Jim Mullarkey, Secretary, shared recent correspondence as well as legislative initiatives provided by Clif Sorenson.  The Treasurer, Pat Craney, provided a report on the Council's quarterly P&L.

Chapter representatives provided an update on their activities as well as a new initiative by AVVA which will explained in detail in December - get your wallets out, it sounds like we'll all want to participate and share the information with our friends.  Moreover, some of the proceeds will be coming back to both the State Council and AVVA.  Isn't that a win-win!

Additional discussions were had on other marketing strategies, Council and chapter histories, and areas the Council may have to step-up their game to continue to make the Wisconsin State Council they preeminent chartered VSO in Wisconsin. 

VA News

VA Makes Changes to Veterans Choice Program Changes Remove Barriers and Expand Access to Care

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced a number of changes to make participation in the Veterans Choice Program easier and more convenient for Veterans who need to use it. The move, which streamlines eligibility requirements, follows feedback from Veterans along with organizations working on their behalf.

“As we implement the Veterans Choice Program, we are learning from our stakeholders what works and what needs to be refined,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald. “It is our goal to do all that we can to remove barriers that separate Veterans from the care they deserve.” To date, more than 400,000 medical appointments have been scheduled since the Veterans Choice Program went into effect on November 5, 2014.

Under the old policy, a Veteran was eligible for the Veterans Choice Program if he or she met the following criteria:

Enrolled in VA health care by 8/1/14 or able to enroll as a combat Veteran to be eligible for the Veterans Choice Program;
Experienced unusual or excessive burden eligibility determined by geographical challenges, environmental factors or a medical condition impacting the Veteran’s ability to travel;
Determined eligible based on the Veteran’s current residence being more than 40 miles driving distance from the closest VA medical facility.

Under the updated eligibility requirements, a Veteran is eligible for the Veterans Choice Program if he or she is enrolled in the VA health care system and meets at least one of the following criteria:

Told by his or her local VA medical facility that they will not be able to schedule an appointment for care within 30 days of the date the Veteran’s physician determines he/she needs to be seen or within 30 days of the date the Veteran wishes to be seen if there is no specific date from his or her physician;
Lives more than 40 miles driving distance from the closest VA medical facility with a full-time primary care physician;

Needs to travel by air, boat or ferry to the VA medical facility closest to his/her home;
Faces an unusual or excessive burden in traveling to the closest VA medical facility based on geographic challenges, environmental factors, a medical condition, the nature or simplicity or frequency of the care needed and whether an attendant is needed. Staff at the Veteran’s local VA medical facility will work with him or her to determine if the Veteran is eligible for any of these reasons; or Lives in a State or Territory without a full-service VA medical facility which includes: Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire (Note: this excludes New Hampshire Veterans who live within 20 miles of the White River Junction VAMC) and the United States Territories (excluding Puerto Rico, which has a full service VA medical facility).

Veterans seeking to use the Veterans Choice Program or wanting to know more about it, can call1-866-606-8198 to confirm their eligibility and to schedule an appointment. For more details about the Veterans Choice Program and VA’s progress, visit:

Services & Research


ETaBO (Employment Training and Business Opportunities)


Notion Of Economic Freedom


We call it Econ Ops. That’s short for Economic Opportunities Committee. Why the change? Very few people understood what the old ETaBO Committee was, and we have decided to adjust our priorities.

The committee will now put as much effort into helping veterans become successful in starting their own business. We will not abandon our charge of ensuring that the federal government meets its responsibilities to service-disabled, veteran-owned businesses, but we know that many new veterans want to start their own    businesses.

This is a change, but one we are ready for. We have taken several steps to help our new mission succeed. First, Veterans of Modern Warfare has joined us. We now have two representatives from VMW on the committee. We also want to reach out to the other veterans’ organizations and to existing VSOs. Why? Because we believe that we will be stronger working together and because new legislation that would establish a new Assistant Secretary for Economic Opportunity in the VA is a solid idea.  In fact, supporting that legislation is the committee’s highest national legislative priority.

We would like a representative on the committee from every state. So State Council Presidents, please send us your appointments.

The notion of economic freedom is an American cornerstone. The first mission of the Economic Opportunities Committee, therefore, will be to enable as many veterans as we can to successfully start their own businesses. This includes partnerships between veteran entrepreneurs. In doing this, we want to ensure that the Small Business Administration and the VA have the tools and resources to help make this happen.

We will be putting together an inventory of what is available and what is needed. We will also be working with Ohio State Council President Tom Burke in taking its very successful recognition programs for veteran-owned businesses and doing the same nationally.
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