Happy New Year

The best to you and yours in this coming year.










USMC Vietnam Tankers have made history and your Foundation is making it known.

January 2011   



Dear Marine, 


  The Foundation is proud to inform you that there has been a positive response to our e-mail asking for your help - both financial assistance and volunteer workers to carry some of the work load. The level of financial and "sweat equity" contributions are recognized as follows:




$251 & Up


$101 - $250


$51 - $100


$1 - $50

  There is a parallel process for rewarding your in-kind volunteer effort as well. Just contact me and we'll agree on where your work would be most meaningful for you in the context of our day-to-day goals attainment effort.


  Each Breech Block will cite donors for the period since the last monthly edition and the VTHF web site will post the up-to-date cumulative.


  Of course, should the contributor desire to remain anonymous, we'll honor that wish as well.

  Thank you for helping us to fund your Historical Foundation.

Silver Star Recipient: SSGT Thurlo J. Siva


Silver Star
Silver Star Medal

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Staff Sergeant Thurlo J. Siva (MCSN: 1139175), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Platoon Sergeant with Company B, First Tank Battalion, FIRST Marine Division (Rein.), FMF, in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 12 May 1968, during Operation ALLEN BROOK, Staff Sergeant Siva's platoon was supporting Company E, Second Battalion, Seventh Marines, when they were ambushed near Xuan Dai Village in Quang Nam Province, by a large North Vietnamese Army force. During the ensuing fire fight one of the tanks was struck by enemy rocket fire which mortally wounded the driver and injured the crew members, forcing them to abandon the vehicle. Skillfully deploying his remaining tanks, Staff Sergeant Siva ably directed effective fire upon the hostile force, then maneuvered his own tank to a position between the enemy and the disabled vehicle. Disregarding his own safety, he fearlessly left his vehicle and assisted in the evacuation of the injured crewmen. As the Marines withdrew, one of the tanks accidentally maneuvered into a bomb crater and was immobilized. Again moving his vehicle into a protective position, Staff Sergeant Siva unhesitatingly exposed himself to intense hostile fire, and connecting a cable between his tank and the one in the crater, he directed the removal of the immobile vehicle. Resolutely continuing his determined efforts, he ignored the hostile rounds impacting near him and, entering the abandoned tank, maneuvered it to friendly lines. By his courage, bold initiative and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of great personal danger, Staff Sergeant Siva contributed significantly to the accomplishment of his unit's mission and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.

Donors: Thank you for supporting the Foundation.

Dick Carey, 3rd Tanks*

John Coffee, 5th / 3rd Tanks
Doc Forsyth, 1st Tanks*
Jim Raasch, 5th Tanks
Pappy Reynolds, 3rd Tanks*
LtCol Ray Stewart, USMC (ret.), 1st Tanks**
Jim Didear, 1st Tanks
Glen Hutchins, 3rd Tanks
Louie Ryle, 3rd Tanks
Rick "Smitty" Smith, 1st Tanks
Maj. Frank Box, USMC (ret.), 3rd Anti-Tanks
Col Bill Davis, USMC (ret.), 3rd Tanks
Garry Hall, 3rd Tanks
Belmo Belmessieri, 5th / 3rd Tanks
Justin Donnelly, 1st Tanks
MGySgt Mark Damschen, USMC (ret.), 1st Tanks
Garry Hall, 3rd Tanks
Dave Helfrich, 1st Tanks
Carl Lemon, 1st Tanks
Jerry Wahl, 3rd Tank Bn.


 *In-Kind Services

**In-Kind & Monetary

~ Donations received after 31 December will appear in the February issue.

K-Bar Auction

 There were a total of seven participants involved in the fund-raiser auction for the K-Bar.  The winning bid of $230 tendered by Guy Wolfenberger, 3rd Tanks.  The other six participants were; Bobby Joe Blythe, 3rd Tanks; Tom Colson, 1st & 3rd Tanks; R.B. English, 3rd Tanks; Al Jacobs, 1st Tanks; Doug Scrivner, 1st Tanks and Jerry Wahl, 3rd Tanks.  Your participation is greatly appreciated.

OntosOntos History

 OntosWe have been receiving fantastic response as a result of our email request for Ontos historical volunteers. However, we need more input from those of you that have yet to respond. Your history, your individual story will be lost to the ages if you do not take action and become involved.


  Also, we need copies of your photos to post on our web site and to submit to the National Archives, the Marine Corps University Library and the U.S. Marine Corps Historical Section.


  Send us an eMail for more information on how to go about supplying your information for those the archives.

Foundation Member Passes
William "Dee" Duty
Wm. "Dee" Duty
Anchorage resident William "Dee" Duty, 65, died at home Dec. 14, 2010, due to complications from cancer.

  William "Dee" Duty was born Sept. 4, 1945, at Vian, Okla., where he graduated from high school. Dee served his country by entering the U.S. Marine Corps in 1966. He served with the 3rd Tank Battalion and distinguished himself by earning the Vietnam Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and a Presidential Unit Citation as well as a Purple Heart.

  He is survived by his loving wife, Dolores "Kathie" Duty; daughter, Christina Duty; son, Bill Duty and daughter-in-law Sherry; and son, Thomas Duty and daughter-in-law Vicky. Dee was blessed with six grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He has six brothers and sisters, all in Oklahoma.
Myths about the VA

Complied by Dick Carey


The fol­low­ing post was orig­i­nally fea­tured on the VA's

  Rumor mills are per­ma­nent fix­tures in schools, offices and wher­ever peo­ple con­gre­gate, and most of the time they're pretty innocu­ous.  But myths and rumors that deal with health-in this case Vet­er­ans health-are a seri­ous mat­ter that can pre­vent qual­i­fied Vets from seek­ing the care they both need and deserve.  Many have come up in the com­ments sec­tion, and oth­ers I hear from the guys in my old unit.  The myths won't die unless they are addressed pub­licly and clearly, so we present you with the most com­mon we hear, and the straight­for­ward answers they need.

Five Myths About VA Health Care

Myth Num­ber One - I wasn't injured in the ser­vice, so I'm not eli­gi­ble for VA health care.

Sta­tus: False -
One of the most com­mon myths revolves around eli­gi­bil­ity for health care at VA. Many think that you have to first estab­lish a dis­abil­ity rat­ing before you can start to make appoint­ments, see doc­tors and receive med­ica­tion. That is not the case. If you served in the mil­i­tary, even dur­ing peace time, and were hon­or­ably dis­charged, you likely qual­ify for VA care.  Even if you don't meet those require­ments, spe­cial cir­cum­stances might apply, like Viet­nam ser­vice, expo­sure to Agent Orange and house­hold income. The best way to find out if you qual­ify is to sub­mit an appli­ca­tion for health ben­e­fits. 

You can fill one out online or at a VA Med­ical Cen­ter.  If you are an Iraq or Afghanistan Vet­eran, there are spe­cial com­bat Vet­eran ben­e­fits from VA, like tem­po­rary access to den­tal care and guar­an­teed access to Pri­or­ity 6 for five years (unless you are eli­gi­ble for a higher pri­or­ity group).  See the pri­or­ity enroll­ment groups here.

Also, if new reg­u­la­tions are estab­lished regard­ing health ben­e­fits, VA will auto­mat­i­cally reassess your case if it's on file.


Myth Num­ber Two - I can only receive care for ser­vice con­nected injuries.

Sta­tus: False -
You can receive VA hos­pi­tal and out­pa­tient care for any ail­ment, ser­vice con­nected or not if you are enrolled in the VA health­care sys­tem, but you may have to pay a copay­ment. For exam­ple, if a Vet­eran is service-connected for a bad knee, any VA hos­pi­tal and out­pa­tient care and med­ica­tion for the knee is free of charge. How­ever, if the same Vet goes into surgery to remove an appen­dix and it's not ser­vice con­nected, he may be sub­ject to a co-pay depend­ing on the amount of his dis­abil­ity rat­ing and other fac­tors. Famil­iar­ize your­self with co-pay guide­lines and rates.

A small num­ber of Vet­er­ans, such as those with bad con­duct dis­charges that VA has deter­mined were issued under con­di­tions other than hon­or­able and who are not sub­ject to cer­tain statu­tory bars to ben­e­fits, can only be treated for their ser­vice con­nected dis­abil­i­ties and noth­ing else. If one of those Vets is ser­vice con­nected for their left foot, they can only use VA health care for their left foot and noth­ing else.


Myth Num­ber Three - I make too much money to qual­ify for VA health care.

Sta­tus: It depends -
If you do not have a ser­vice con­nected dis­abil­ity, you may want to use VA's finan­cial cal­cu­la­tor to see if you qual­ify for free VA care, med­ica­tion and travel ben­e­fits.  If your income is too high (over a max­i­mum income level set every year), you may have to pick up the tab for trav­el­ing and receive your care and med­ica­tion by pay­ing a co-pay.  Recently, the rules have been changed for Pri­or­ity 8 Vet­er­ans to per­mit more of them to enroll for VA health care.    Go here for more infor­ma­tion and an income cal­cu­la­tor to see if you qual­ify under the new rules.


Myth Num­ber Four - I can't use VA health care if I have pri­vate health insur­ance.

Sta­tus: False -
From VA's Health Eli­gi­bil­ity Cen­ter Direc­tor Tony Guagliardo:

"We strongly encour­age Vet­er­ans to receive all your health care through VA.   How­ever, if you choose to receive treat­ment from pri­vate doc­tors, VA will work with them to meet your health care needs and coor­di­nate effec­tive treat­ment.  We call this Co-managed Care or Dual Care - which means that your VA and pri­vate doc­tors will work together to pro­vide safe, appro­pri­ate, and eth­i­cal med­ical care."


Myth Num­ber Five - If I'm 100 per­cent dis­abled, that means I'm per­ma­nently dis­abled

Sta­tus: False -
You could have a 100 per­cent dis­abil­ity rat­ing as a tem­po­rary sta­tus while you undergo surgery, and have it reduced to its pre­vi­ous rat­ing after you heal.  100 per­cent doesn't nec­es­sar­ily stay with you.

Tid Bits


  TRICARE beneficiaries suffering from Major Depression, also known as clinical depression, can receive extra help through the TriWest Healthcare Alliance, which manages the TRICARE military healthcare entitlement on behalf of the Department of Defense (DoD) for 21 western states. The program has a number of services to help beneficiaries including a health coach who works with the beneficiary and the primary care manager to tailor an action plan. TriWest also works alongside the Military Health System to offer additional behavioral health resources to support those in need, including the TRICARE Assistance Program (TRIAP). For more information, visit the TriWest Online Care webpage and the TRICARE website. 

Tax Statement Release Schedule

  Servicemembers, retirees and annuitants, and federal civilian employees paid by the Defense Finance Accounting Service (DFAS) can obtain their 2010 tax statements up to two weeks earlier by using myPay. DFAS has released its schedule for posting and mailing 2010 tax statements such as W-2s, 1099Rs and 1099INTs that customers will need to file their annual tax returns. DFAS customers who have forgotten their user name and password, or who wish to open a myPay account, may do so on the myPay website. View the DFAS 2010 Tax statement release schedule.

Best Military Retirement Spots

   USAA and Military.com announced today that Waco, Texas heads the first-ever "Best Places for Military Retirement" list. USAA and Military.com commissioned a study to create the list to pinpoint places in the U.S. that offer a high quality of life and help maximize

Veterans Save with ASMBA

  The Armed Services Mutual Benefit Association (ASMBA), established in 1963, provides comprehensive, affordable life insurance coverage to military personnel and their families. For example, you can get an extra $100,000 worth of coverage for only $19 a month. It's an inexpensive way to have half a million dollars worth of coverage.
USMC @ the Pentagon
    To enhance the Division of Public Affairs communication efforts, it has prepared the HQMC-approved "CPG External Brief," based on the Commandant's Planning Guidance. The brief describes the Future Security Environment, the Role of the Corps, and lists the Commandant's Priorities. The Brief includes text, images, and speaker tips, all of which you can use for your own briefs, speeches or presentations to external audiences.

  The Brief is available for download on the Strategic Communication Website here:

  If you're not registered for the Website, visit https://slsp.manpower.usmc.mil/stratcomm/login.aspx to set up an account. If you have any questions about the site, e-mail schelpdesk@usmc.mil

  As always, I welcome your feedback on the CPG Brief and other communication topics.

Semper Fidelis!

Colonel Bryan Salas
U.S. Marine Corps Public Affairs
The Pentagon, Rm 4B548
Wk (703) 614-1492
direct (703) 695-8512
Bb (571) 432-8713
Hm (571) 918-4072
In This Issue
Hero's Corner
Auction, K-Bar
Ontos History
Obit, Wm. "Dee" Duty
VA Myths
Tid Bits
USMC @ Pentagon


Owner & Publisher:

Marine Corps Vietnam Tankers Historical Foundation


President & Editor:

LtCol Raymond A. Stewart USMC (ret.)




Archivist in Residence

Kyle Decicco-Carey



Marketing & Production:

Richard 'Dick' Carey




Web Master:

Lloyd 'Pappy' Reynolds




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In Memory
Lance Corporal
Robert Hugh Gage
1st Marine Division
1st Tank Battalion
1st Anti-Tank
Alpha Company

03 July 1966
PP/ Staff Sergeant
 30 September 1974