May 21, 2010

A War Zone in Emmonak Alaska?

Joshua Saul reporting from the Alaska Dispatch,
Spring comes late to Emmonak, a muddy village of 800 on the Yukon River delta not far from the Bering Sea.

About 85 military veterans live in "Emo," and on Monday a crew of volunteers flew 500 miles from Wasilla to make sure the vets are getting the services they deserve...
Maurice Bailey, a veteran of the Vietnam War, founded VAO in 2003. He chose Emmonak as one of the group's first destinations this year. The village has suffered because of the decline of the fishing industry, and Bailey figured the village's vets, especially the elders, could use a hand..

The VAO volunteers would leave the next day the way they came, on an airplane bound for that world known to most Americans, the world of fast food and discount malls. They left behind some of what they'd brought to the village -- boots and blankets for veterans and some food.
Blood, boots, blankets and some food.Fuck that sounds like shit they hand out to you when I was in the field. Oh let me spell that "field" means to the layman. Wanna Read how our Emmonak Brothers are Living? Click here...

It's either rained all day and your poncho is soaked, oh and you've been running all day in your combat boots, which by the way...are wet, get this--you have been carrying about 60-100 pounds of gear and ammo the whole time on a 60 mile trek through an old growth German Forrest! Don't forget your fucking rifle soldier!!!

Or it is, it is 110 degrees outside of your huge iron mechanized vehicle and 140 degrees on the inside where I had to stay to be battle ready. Oh yeah, I had on a MOPP suit (chemical protective suit--and full winter gear for some), plated armor on myself-yes, metal the heavy kind, AND lets not forget the fire retardant suit with a full neck and head sock!!
Or it could be rural veterans with their livelihood having been destroyed by mother nature. In Alaska, if you need anything. If it cannot fit on an airplane it does not get there or back. Native Alaskan Veterans are not being taken care of as they deserve. My point is, when we start thinking that boots, blankets and some food have become a luxury then your living conditions have similarities to combat. How can a struggling veteran stay afloat in a sea of hopelessness

America we can do better for all of our Emmonak veterans; who allowed by shear will alone, have afforded you the opportunity to ignore them. We who have afford you the opportunity to ignore us, can you hear me?

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