Sunday, August 3, 2008

Iraqi Freedom Veteran treated like second class citizen at local VFW

To whom it may concern,

My name is Joseph G. VanDyck and I am a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army Reserve and a member of VFW Post 2031 in Statesville North Carolina. I have served 2 back to back tours in Iraq, to include a 3 month extension last fall. I am currently here in Pennsylvania working my civilian job. One of my coworkers who is a Vietnam Veteran and a member of the Fred Barley VFW Post 5667 told me about the great PrimeRib dinners, the cold beer, and the friendly members and staff at the VFW post. I went there last night to have dinner. Everything went great until they found out I wasn't a member of their post. I was then rudely moved to the back banquet room out of view of everyone. I was also told that I could not order anything else sinceI wasn't a member. I produced my current VFW membership card and my military id card. They really didn't care about this.

This is the first time I have ever felt like a second class citizen for having been away from my family and done 2 back to back tours of Iraq. This is to include being medevacced from theater during my first tour for injuries received. If this is how the local VFW Post treats out of town combat veterans, I never want to return to this area again. I travel quite frequently for my career and have been to many VFW Posts with out being made to feel like this. I am writing a formal complaint letter to Post 5667's Commander, my Post's Commander, and the National Commander of the VFW in Kansas City.

I just wanted to let the people of Elizabethtown and Hershey know how a veteran from out of state is treated at a local VFW Post. Thank you for letting me express my point of view.


Joseph G. VanDyck

I’ve known Joe VanDyck since November 2006 when he along with his (NPTT) National Police Transition Team arrived from the states to conduct a (RIP-TOA) relief in place-transfer of authority with an Army (SPTT-NPTT) Special Police Transition Team-National Police Transition Team (Commandos) that I was attached to as a civilian police adviser.

I had three Army teams and one Marine SPTT, pronounced (Spit’s) teams. I spent twenty years in the Marine Corps, (16) in Reconnaissance before retiring and becoming a High Point Police Officer. I am currently a police officer with Guilford Technical Community College . We trained, advised and ran missions with the Iraqi’s on a daily basis. This was very dangerous work and long before the “Surge”.

I spent 18 months straight in Iraq and left in January 2007. I have included four pictures of myself and Joe who is in each of these. I’m the guy in (Mar-Pat) Marine-Pattern digital camouflage. Joe is to my left in three of the four photos. Also there is one photo that he sent me while he was in Iraq after I went home. Yes, that is General Petraeus reenlisting Joe in Baghdad . I looked quickly for these photos and I’m sure there are many more that I haven’t located as of this e-mail. In-fact, I don’t think Joe has ever seen these pictures that were taken of us.

I have been in contact with Joe often over the last 20 months and am saddened to hear from him about this incident that recently happened to him and another VFW member. I have been a VFW member since I returned from Vietnam many, many years ago and I have never received this kind of treatment from any VFW post I ever visited or attended. I have absolutely no reason not to believe what Joe wrote in this e-mail.

We are veterans and have served this great country in war. We above all others know what service means! This must never happen to one of our own. Please take the time to read Joe’s e-mail and then pass it on to other VFW members and for that matter any other veteran across this country. If we don’t look out for each other, then who will?

Johnny M. Russo
VFW Post 9899
High Point , NC

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