- The Washington Times - Monday, May 31, 2004

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

I am a veteran who served in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970. I resigned my commission and got out on Aug. 10, 1970. I do not have a copy of my DD214 or DD218 form, my military service discharge certificate, which I need to have in order to get my postponed retirement funds in the Federal Employees Retirement System. I served in the government for almost 19 years and I will be age 62 on the Fourth of July this year.

Would you please tell me to whom I have to write to get this DD 214 or DD218 form?

Thank you. I appreciate your great columns in The Washington Times.

Jim B.

via Internet

Dear Jim:

One of the most useful Web sites I’ve found for vets who are seeking DD Form 214s is https://www.archives.gov/facilities/mo/st_louis/military_personnel_records/standard_form_180.html.

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

I really appreciated your writing about Capt. Angeline Abraham Lazarus in your column of March 29. It is rare that I see an Asian with many American military awards. I guess there are others who chose to remain private. Please let me know.

Sincerely,

David A.

Baltimore

Dear David:

There are way too many to mention.

Shaft notes

cThe Sarge is looking forward to joining the Blinded American Veterans Foundation (BAVF), Rep. Michael Bilirakis, Florida Republican, and their guests at the 19th annual Congressional Awards reception from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on June 15, in Room 334 of the Cannon House Office Building. The event, held in conjunction with the foundation’s Flag Day observance, honors senators, House members, journalists and volunteers.

The recipients of the 2004 George “Buck” Gillispie Congressional Award for Meritorious Service are Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, Hawaii Democrat, and Rep. Walter B. Jones, North Carolina Republican.

The award is named in honor of the late “Buck” Gillispie, a blinded World War II veteran who devoted more than 40 years of service toward rehabilitation of visually impaired veterans.

The Carlton Sherwood Media Award, named for the Pulitzer- and Peabody Award-winning journalist and highly decorated Vietnam Marine, will be presented to George L. Skypeck, military poet and artist, and Allison Seymour, co-anchor of “Fox Morning News” on TV station WTTG.

This year’s recipients of the George Alexander Memorial Award for Volunteer Service are John F. Ciak, Visual Impairment Service Team coordinator at the VA Medical Center in Pittsburgh, and Donald Thorson of the Thorson Foundation. The BAVF’s Corporate Award will be presented to the Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Traning’s Message of Hope Choir.

The George Alexander Volunteer Service Award was created as a memorial to a friend of American veterans who was quite simply known as “Mr. Volunteer.”

Rarely in the limelight. Always there in the trenches. Never asking for credit, even when it was so truly warranted. Almost embarrassed when the richly deserved credit was given. No project was too small. No task was too unimportant that he would not put forth his total commitment and boundless energy.

For George Alexander, the miles have been traveled, the promises kept. May he sleep well, knowing that others, in his name, will continue to strive to match his standards of caring and dedication.

A Joint Armed Forces Color Guard will set the stage for the awards ceremony and the Marine Corps Brass Quintet will entertain guests with a medley of patriotic music.

The congressional reception follows the BAVF Flag Week picnic on June 13, in Silver Spring. As usual, the gregarious Chef Lakis will be preparing his famous hot dogs. Picnickers will be serenaded with live music by the Hula Monsters.

This year’s picnic will be in honor of Don Garner for his many years of service to our blinded vets. For additional information, call the BAVF at 202/462-4430.

• A congressionally authorized addition to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington will be unveiled at 10 a.m. on July 8 in a program to be conducted by the American Battle Monuments Commission.

The In Memory Memorial Plaque pays tribute to the men and women who died prematurely from noncombat injuries and emotional suffering caused directly by service in the Vietnam War, but whose names are not eligible to be added to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall.

The plaque’s inscription reads: “In memory of the men and women who served in the Vietnam War and later died as a result of their service. We honor and remember their sacrifice.”

The 2-by-3-foot granite tablet, recently placed in an extension of the plaza where the Three Servicemen statue is located, will be open for visits by the public after landscaping and repaving of the plaza are complete.

The In Memory Memorial Plaque Project Web site at https://members.aol.com/vietwarmem/plaque.htm provides construction updates and more information about the In Memory Plaque.

Expected to participate in the unveiling ceremony are Rep. Elton Gallegly, California Republican, and Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Colorado Republican, the two lawmakers who led the fight for the bill to add a new element to the District’s most-visited memorial.

Agent Orange widow and founder of the Agent Orange Widows Awareness Coalition, Genevieve Douglass, said, “This In Memory Memorial Plaque provides the honorable recognition of our loved ones’ ultimate sacrifices in service to our country and provides the solace and healing for the grieving families and friends, who continue to suffer.”

The national dedication of the Vietnam War In Memory Memorial Plaque will be held Nov. 10, on the eve of Veterans Day, in a 7 p.m. candlelight ceremony hosted by Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA). More on the dedication is on the VVA Web site at https://www.vva.org/PressReleases/2004/pr04-030.htm.

Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, PO Box 65900, Washington, D.C. 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330; call 202/257-5446; or e-mail sgtshaft@bavf.org.

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