Veterans Resources

By Mitch Cota




Mitch Cota





I am humbled by the gratitude that everyone has shown me and many other veterans for our service to this country. But, serving in the military was not always considered an honorable thing to do as it is today. The Vietnam War mortified our military members as they returned and as a nation we really never welcomed them home. I say this to enlighten those who were born after 1975 and has never lived through or seen the unkind acts Americans displayed against their service members.

2015 has two special meanings for Vietnam veterans. First, it marks the start of the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War fifty years ago. Second, it’s the fortieth anniversary of the war’s end and our returning service men and women. 2,709,918 Americans served in Vietnam from the war’s declared beginning early in 1965 until its end in August 1975. There are still 1,626 Americans unaccounted for from this conflict.

So please continue to thank our veterans who patrolled the walls of liberty, our service members who are standing guard today to protect the gates of freedom, and the sons and daughters who will take our place upon the line, keeping the flames of hope burning throughout the world.

Vietnam Wall “In Memory” Program: I lost an uncle in South Vietnam, his name, Ernest K. Cota, who has been Missing-In-Action (MIA) since May 14, 1968 and will probably never be found in the muddy rivers of that country. He will forever have a place on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall as long as it stands. More than 58,000 names meet the Defense Department’s criteria to be etched into the Wall, but those who survived the war — and who later died as a result of their service — are not. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund acknowledges their service and sacrifice through an online “In Memory” Honor Roll. Causes of death that fit the criteria for inclusion in the program include exposure to Agent Orange, PTSD-related illnesses/events, cancer, diabetes, heart attacks, etc. The program is free and the application process is simple. To honor a loved one, you only need to submit the veteran’s DD214 to show their proof of service in the Vietnam War, a copy of their death certificate, and a photograph. The application deadline for inclusion in the 2016 ceremony is in March. For information or to submit applications, go to: http://www.vvmf.org/InMemoryProgram.

While the Wall shows the names of those soldiers who died in the war, veterans who suffered from medical issues caused by their service in Vietnam – exposure to defoliant spray and psychological wounds – remain absent from The Wall. VVMF believes that all those who serve should be honored. Therefore, the In Memory program began in an effort to acknowledge the hardships these veterans and their families went through and the strengths they possessed after the war ended. The In Memory program honors the sacrifices these veterans and their families made. The In Memory Day ceremony has become a place where families who faced similar hardships gather and help each other begin or continue their healing processes. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s In Memory program honors those who died as a result of the Vietnam War, but whose deaths do not fit the Department of Defense criteria for inclusion upon the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

All of the items below do fit the criteria for inclusion in VVMF’s In
Memory program:
• PTSD related illnesses / events
• Exposure to Agent Orange and similar chemicals
• Diabetes
• Cancer
• Heart Attack
• Cholangiocarcinoma
(To fill out or download the application go to www.vvmf.org)
• Fill out an online application or Download the In Memory application
If you have a question about the program or are experiencing difficulty with the application, contact VVMF at (202) 393-0090 or via e-mail at inmemory@vvmf.org.
– See more at: http://www.vvmf.org/InMemoryProgram#sthash.1XZoRiUl.dpuf
Archives.gov to request “DD214” and “Other Records”:
Military personnel records are primarily administrative records and can contain information such as:
– enlistment/appointment
– duty stations and assignments
– training, qualifications, performance
– awards and medals
– disciplinary actions
– insurance
– emergency data
– administrative remarks
– separation/discharge/retirement (including DD Form 214, Report of Separation, or equivalent) and other personnel actions.
Detailed information about the veteran’s participation in military battles and engagements is NOT contained in the record.
If you as a veteran or someone who has lost veterans and you are in need of a copy of the DD214 form go to:

Click on: Veterans Service Records
Click on: request Personnel and/or Medical Records Online

(Follow the instructions)

If you have any questions please contact me at mitchellcota@dcc.edu or mitchcota@mitchcota.com.

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