I agree with Jim. I think that there is an inherent issue with some Boatguys that runs deeper than with most units. Due to the attitude required to perform "back in the day", yet a hinderance with an association of any sort, is that "We or I was the best, why bother with the rest" thang. I would say that there are quite a few exceptions but getting it together appears to be an issue.
Learning from the gamewardens is an excellent point. Granted, there are more Gamewarden guys than there were ever SPECBOAT guys even to this day. Frankly, there seems to be a chasm between Gamewarden and Marketime (?) guys to this day as well. One can almost grind it down to boats. PBR guys, MRF guys and Swift guys. Hell, amongst most SPECBOAT guys, there is the Coastal/Riverine thing. I cant really see why grwon men cant get thier collective shit together but I feel the effort would be worth it. Maybe if we can demonstrate the ability to unspecialize an look beyond the chest thumping, we might even teach the other associations a thing or two.
Honestly, I am amazed at Gamewardens offer but as with everyone, mortality catches up. Who will carry thier legacy when they are gone? Some Gamewarden guys I know are 70.
I'm for joining them simply based on legacy alone. If we learn something, which I have no doubt we will, then we can form an assn or stay with the Gamewardens. It's a win-win situation. For both, if the Gamewardens play thier cards right.
The side benefit is that as I suspect active folks visit this site particularly but I'm sure Gamewardens as well to gleen information and opinions from some of our discussions. That's where the beef is here. You guys know that learning from the past and veterans of the past is a benefit to the units in the present and future. Even if it is to avoid past mistakes. The camaraderie is fantastic, even if it is just us few. But it is what we can share, directly or indirectly that is the true benefit of websites and associations. I wish the internet was running at this capacity when I was a pup. I would be lurking every site I could to learn. I 'm sure some of our young SWCC and Riverine guys are doing the same now.
Ok guys here is my 2cents and some history. I joined GWVN first because I was in TF116 (RIVDIV/NAVADGRP) and was in LCRK when they were a VA based org. I went to 2000 SDGO reunion and met a bunch of PBR sailors. GWVN has always billed itself as largest/oldest continously operating VN war organization - the big umbrella under which all types can come together. I have seen that at each of four reunions I have attended. The advantage is in numbers - a larger outfit means more capital and other resources.
After that the PBR sailors decided to have their own org PBR-FVA. It has different goals and organizataion and personalities. I am more in tune with PBF-FVA and like what they do and how they spend their funds.
There IS overlap in membership.
There are several considerations. 1st if one does NOT join some vets org, a lot of his experience will not be treasured or remembered. So I can goto GWVN events and relate to the PBR drivers in it. IF I only want to kick around PBR matters, PBR-FVA does that better for me.
The other issue is longevity. There have been a bunch of Vietnam vets orgs which have come and gone. Lets face it, we VN vets are dying off now. The same thing will eventually happen to post-Vietnam vets.
So one needs to join an org where one can meet similar interested vets and an org which has potential to live on beyond us.
It is not so much about the boats as about the shared experiences - past and present.
Guys, if you've been in combat, we're already brothers - whether we've shed some blood or whatever. Us Vietnam guys came home to getting beer cans thrown at us (hitchhiking a ride) or getting flipped off (also, while hitching a ride), so we learned back then to kind of become just a little invisible. Please don't mistake this for "having an attitude". The reasons are many. We just naturally avoided joining anything. We had a country & politicians that sold us out & said "we lost the war". Bullshit, but I digress. Us Vietnam-era guys don't look down our noses at the next generations. I'm absolutely sure that you all have had your own set of problems. You've had to earn your own place in the Spec. Warfare community.
It's true that we're losing brothers from the old days. Lost one myself not too long ago. Maybe I'm off-base, but I'm pretty sure that since we are still stuck here, nobody relates to one of us like one of us. So, as much as I tend to avoid "joining" anything, this assoc. might be a good thing. What the hell, I've done worse.
Hey, a thought, we've all have had a special C.O. Mine was (then LT) Adm. Bob Natter. I'm thinking that he, or someone he knows, could offer good
advice (or $; money would be really good :) ). Hey, I've had a few - friggin shoulder.
One thing is for sure - we're family, so give Jim Thomas's suggestion some thought, will ya. I will.
We are up and running with OUR own ASSC. www.combatantcraftcrewman.org . 50th Years ANNV is 1 Oct-5 Oct 2014 in Coronado, CA . It has taken a long time to get here but we are alive and well . Know few of the Old Guys will be there as well those who has followed the same path we started and the SWCC's are also doing the same. Please Join us in Oct. Yes we are losing the old guys due to age and health things. Thank You all , Jim Thomas