But there is another generation of veterans facing great challenges. This is a perpetually overlooked and forgotten class of heroes, admonished as they were while in the armed service and pushed aside for decades after to mend battle wounds on their own.
“I think that’s something we’re going to continually owe an apology for,” said Eddie Floyd, a local radio personality and host of Nevada Matters, of the way Vietnam veterans have been treated.
Many Vietnam veterans are now entering their senior years without access to the health care resources they need, particularly those soldiers exposed to Agent Orange and its cancerous aftermath.
“There’s big problems with the vets all over this country,” said Bob Primeaux, president of the Reno chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America.
Primeaux is widely recognized for his role in Hollywood flicks such as the 1997 film Rough Riders, alongside Tom Berenger.
He is also part Lakota Indian and an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North and South Dakota.
Native American vets like Primeaux face unique circumstances.
Those who live on reservations have serious difficulties accessing proper health care. Some must travel more than 600 miles to reach VA hospitals, Primeaux said, many of which are sub-par.
The VA hospital in Reno, however, is top notch, he added.
The need to address health care issues and current affairs related specifically to veterans has inspired Primeaux to start a new radio show with the help of Floyd and his marketing machine.
The show, called “Sit-Rep,” which is military jargon for Situation Report, has already recorded several episodes, the first of which will air on FOX News 99.1 FM Talk from 9 to 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 5, with weekly episodes to follow in that same time slot.
“His show is intriguing,” Floyd said. “Every day a vet has a situation report.”
Bill Thomas, a retired marine and Vietnam veteran, will co-host with Primeaux.
The show is currently working to attract sponsors from several Indian reservations across the country and is hoping to go national. It will continue to be presented by Nevada Matters.
In the first show, Primeaux will announce that the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVOA) will hold its 2011 national convention at the Silver Legacy Resort Casino in Reno from August 17 – 20. “Sit-Rep” will have exclusive access to the event and the president of the VVOA will be a featured guest in one of the first episodes of the show.