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www.huh?/Vietnam Vets on the 'Net

By Doug Gillert
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 16, 1998 – Vietnam veterans Tom Holloway and Chris Shepard have never met. Yet, together, they created and now maintain a home page on the World Wide Web that helps people learn about Americans killed in action in Vietnam.

Holloway, an Army linguist during the war who now works for a Georgia computer firm, began reorganizing an on-line KIA bulletin board he discovered in 1992. He made the listings easier to use simply by alphabetizing the names. It was his way of honoring Americans who died in the war.

In Bailey, Colo., Shepard eventually discovered Holloway's listings and offered to help build a web site with the names and other resources. Together they built The Vietnam Casualty Search Page at www.no-quarter.org. The site contains vital statistics on nearly every American killed in the Vietnam War.

The database contains 58,169 entries, compared to the 58,202 names listed on "The Wall" -- the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. The site provides a query form and instructions for searching the database by province, KIA date, home of record or "all fields." The free site receives some 100,000 hits a month.

There is so much the Internet offers to veterans and others seeking information about veteran issues and programs. Sources are both federal and private and include the following:

o Department of Veterans Affairs (www.va.gov): contains benefits and program information provided by the federal government to eligible military veterans.

o Gulf Vets (www.va.gov/health/environ/persgulf.htm): the VA home page for Gulf War illnesses registration, treatment and research information.

o GulfLINK (www.gulflink.osd.mil): DoD's Gulf War illnesses home page, with current news, case narratives describing investigative findings for reported chemical weapons detection during the war, and sources of help for veterans.

o Vietnam Veterans Home Page (grunt.space.swri.edu): an interactive, on-line forum for Vietnam veterans and their families and friends to exchange information, stories, poems, songs, art, pictures and experiences in any publishable form. The site also provides links to other sites and databases containing information about scheduled unit reunions, veterans organizations and support groups and a tribute to deceased veteran Lewis B. Puller Jr., a double-amputee during the war and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning autobiography, "Fortunate Son."

This is just a smattering of sites containing information about veterans. These sites provide hypertext links to related sites. You also can use any search engine (Yahoo or Alta Vista, for example), and type in "Veterans" or "Vietnam."

Whether you're a veteran of Vietnam or any other conflict or period of service, a friend or family member of a veteran, current service member or DoD civilian employee, these sites are worth checking out. If nothing else, you'll probably learn something you didn't know about our nation's military history. On the other hand, not to know and understand history is, as the philosophers say, to repeat it.

Questions or comments? E-mail djgille@hq.afis.osd.mil.

Addendum: In a recent column, I gave you the wrong web address for "Planning Your Future A Federal Employee's Survival Guide." The correct address is safetynet.doleta.gov. Do not type the "www" identifier before "safetynet."

NOTE: Joint Ethics Regulation (DoD 550.7-R, section 2-301) spells out legal and illegal use of federal communications resources while on the job. In general, the restrictions that guide office telephone use also govern Internet use. See your supervisor or local computer policy experts for details.

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