Day Two


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Day two of the VVA Board of Directors and Conferencen of State Chapter Presidents meeting, Silver Spring, MD. Very moving and useful. Great opportunities for oral histories here.

The VVA is worrying about its longevity. Some years ago it decided to be a ‘last man standing’ organization. How long can it hold out? If the decision is made to close down, how will this be done? The VVA has assets that will have to be disposed of. But, even as discussion about this issue grows, membership numbers are increasing nationally; VVA now has 78,816 members, an all time high. 

Academic speculation

Listening to VVA board of directors committee reports: is it reasonable to understand this organization and its goals as class-based resistance? An effort to make the country accountable for the damage it did to an entire generation of working class soldiers?

VVA Board of Directors Meeting April 8, 2016

imageAttending the national meeting of the Board of Directora of the Vietnam Veterans of America in Silver Spring, MD.

National President of VVA John Rowan says Clinton, Sanders and Trump support Toxic Exposure Research Act. Both Dems and Repubs have active Veteran’s committees. Encourages political activity by all members. Organization is of course nonpartisan.

Combat to Campus: Veterans at CUNY/CUNY TV Program Description

From the CUNY TV web site:

On this month’s show, we look at veterans and veteran’s services across the CUNY spectrum. The Office of Veterans Affairs offers many things to CUNY vets, and we look at the center as well as four veterans who have benefited from CUNY veterans services. Brooklyn College’s Philip F. Napoli wrote an oral history on the Vietnam War that disputes the stereotype of Vietnam war vets as debilitated, and we chat with him and two of the vets from the book, one of whom is a BC graduate as well. Jane Katz, a 50-year teaching ‘vet’ of CUNY and former US Olympic medal winner, talks about her new swim therapy program for vets, W.E.T.S. for Vets. Barry Mitchell visits with ex-Marine and now high school math teacher, Ana Mojocoa of Queens College. And we revisit the story of Garen and Anna Marshall – Garen defused bombs in the Iraq War and went on to graduate from Baruch College.

Broadcast Schedule:

  • Wednesday, April 30 – 8:00am, 2:00pm, 10:00pm
  • Saturday, May 3 – 3:30pm
  • Sunday, May 11 – 8:00am, 8:00pm
  • Wednesday, May 14 – 8:00am, 2:00pm, 10:00pm
  • Saturday, May 17 – 3:30pm

Chanel 75 on time Warner Cable in Manhattan.

Eventually, video will be available here.

For the Confused

I have begun to get hate mail from people confused about my identity.

A news story from February 28, 2014 (here is one example) indicated that “Philip Napoli from Fordham University” participated in or contributed to a “Federal Communications Commission plan to have government contractors question journalists about editorial decisions and practices.”

I teach at Brooklyn College — not Fordham. I had no involvement with that study, and have no connection to Fordham.

I work on 20th Century US social and public history, not communications policy.

My most recent book is about New York City’s Vietnam veterans.

To see my CV, click here.

The Lobotomy Files

I’m sick to my stomach. According to a story in the Wall Street Journal today:

“The U.S. government lobotomized roughly 2,000 mentally ill veterans—and likely hundreds more—during and after World War II, according to a cache of forgotten memos, letters and government reports unearthed by The Wall Street Journal. Besieged by psychologically damaged troops returning from the battlefields of North Africa, Europe and the Pacific, the Veterans Administration performed the brain-altering operation on former servicemen it diagnosed as depressives, psychotics and schizophrenics, and occasionally on people identified as homosexuals.”

http://projects.wsj.com/lobotomyfiles/?ch=one

Anouncement

CONVERSION: A German-American Chogeography

Funded through the Doppelpass-Program by the German Federal Cultural Foundation 2013–2015

The Search

In the course of our research work in Heidelberg regarding the closing of all US military installations in the city, we are looking for German and US citizens, who have any kind of connection to the presence of the American troops in Heidelberg between 1945 and 2013.

This connection may have been established through service in the US Forces, private or professional contacts, family members, friends or other encounters. Also we would like to get in contact with American and German military personnel or veterans who have served in Afghanistan in order to conduct an interview in or around their home or workplace.

The Project

After nearly 70 years of continuous presence in Heidelberg nearly 8.000 US soldiers and their families are leaving the city. This process marks the end of an era and has been the initial point of a two-year collaboration between the Hamburg based costa compagnie and the Theater and Orchestra Heidelberg.

Under the title CONVERSION the time of the U.S. military presence will be resear-
ched, analyzed and transformed into interdisciplinary performances. These will be staged at the former military installations as well as at the theater of Heidelberg itself. The current spatial conversion process within the city has created the initiating conceptual impulse for the project. The objective is to lay open the traces of this era, look into the stories of „the occupation force“ and „the occupied“, of neighbors and colleagues, of friends and fellows and approach the past 70 years of German-American history and partnership.

In the first year, we will follow the leads from Heidelberg back into the world and visit former US soldiers and their families in their hometowns in the United States.

There, we will collect individual stories and memories in form of interviews, as well as video footage and digital audio. This material will be the base for the artistic en devour.

In the second year of the project, research will take place in Afghanistan. The phase will focus on the local troop reduction of the allied German and American forces in 2014. The aim is to analyze current forms of military presence abroad and to look into an example for the development of the German-American relationship within the past 70 years.

Relevant overall questions along the phases are: How do Americans relate to the city of Heidelberg and their former posts? How has the German-American relationship developed in the past 70 years? Which traces does a military presence leave behind on both sides? Where do world politics meet everyday stories?

In July 2014, the first premiere will take place at a former US military installation in Heidelberg. In May 2015 a second large work is shown at the two main stages of the theater. The basis of the project will be formed by the two research trips, which are being accompanied by laboratories and workshops in Heidelberg. The collected material is also displayed to the public in form of lecture performances, an audio-walk through the barracks and academic symposia.

Who we are

The costa compagnie was founded in Hamburg in 2009 and consists of members from the areas of directing, choreography, music, performance, visual arts, video and drama. The independent group focuses on global transformation processes as well as on the individual facing disaster. In their recent work

“Fukushima, my love,” the group researched in Japan, collected many personal interviews and transformed the results into a dance-performance in Hamburg with subsequent shows in other national theaters.

The Theater and Orchestra Heidelberg was founded in the mid-19th century and celebrated its re-opening after three years of renovation and construction in November 2012. The house includes autonomous sections of opera, drama, dance, children’s theater and an own philharmonic orchestra. It stands for high-class ensembles, continuous support for contemporary authors and a keen interest in modern theater and opera forms.

For further information please visit: www.theaterheidelberg.de and www.costacompagnie.org

Contact:

Felix Meyer-Christian / Director
Mail: fmc@costacompagnie.org
Phone: +49.152.5364.2837

Stawrula Panagiotaki / Literary Adviser
Mail: dramaturgie@costacompagnie.org
Phone: +49.177.972.2379

Stawrula Panagiotaki / Literary Adviser
Mail: dramaturgie@costacompagnie.org
Phone: +49.177.972.2379

Interview with Joseph Giannini

Phyllis Italiano conducts an interview with Vietnam veteran Joseph Giannini on her program “The Democratic View.” The shows air on local East Hampton NY cable access channel 20 on Mondays at 9 am, Wednesdays at 8pm, Fridays at 4pm, and Saturdays at 10pm.

I tell Joe’s story in chapter 4 of my book Brining It All Back Home.

He mentions the Brooklyn Historical Society show I co-curated in 2007-2011.

Ed Blanco’s 1966 Birthday

Vietnam veteran Ed Blanco has placed a short video of his 1966 birthday party on YouTube. It is a wonderful visual reminder of the fashions of the mid-1960s.

In 1967, when Blanco was 19, he volunteered to be drafted.  He served with the 3rd 506 battalion of the 101st Airborne, and arrived in Vietnam in October 1967. Wounded by a grenade in March of 1968, he went back to duty after 40 days and volunteered to work with MACV.

I tell a portion of Ed’s story on pages 14-18 of my book Bringing It All Back Home.