Quilts of Valor Foundation

The Quilts of Valor Foundation

The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover ALL combat servicemembers and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor. This foundation is not about politics. It’s about people.

Why Quilts of Valor?

Blue Star mom Catherine Roberts, began the Quilts of Valor Foundation (QOVF) from her sewing room in Seaford, Delaware.  Her son Nathanael’s year-long deployment to Iraq provided the initial inspiration, and her desire to see that returning warriors were welcomed home with the love and gratitude they deserved, provided the rest.

Quilts of ValorShe hit upon the idea that linking quilt-toppers with machine quilters in a national effort could achieve her goal of coverall all returning service men and women touched by war.  These wartime quilts, called Quilts of Valor (QOV’s), would be a tangible reminder of an American’s appreciation and gratitude.  Since 2003, QOVF has become a national grassroots community service effort, connecting the home-front with our wounded combat warriors and veterans.

QOV’s are stitched with love, prayers and healing thoughts.  Combat troops who have been wounded or touched by war are awarded this tangible token of appreciation that unequivocally says, “Thank you for your service, sacrifice and valor.”

A Quilt of Valor is a generous lap-sized quilt (minimum of 55 X 65) made by a quilt-topper (the piecer) of quality fabrics and beautiofully quilted by a longarmer.   After it has been bound, washed, labeled and wrapped in a presentation case, it is ready to be awarded.   Quilts are awarded at many different levels: they may go to military hospitals where Chaplains award them to service members; there may be presentations of QOV’s to entire service units returning from combat  deployments; they may be awarded at VA’s or presented individually.   But no matter how a Quilt of Valor is given, the impact it delivers is unequivocal.   As one recipient said “My quilt isn’t another military medal to be placed in a box and sit on my shelf. I was moved to tears.” – SSgt RC, US Army, Iraq ‘05

Just how much of an impact has the Quilts of Valor Foundation made? As of May 2012 there have been over 65,000 quilts awarded to service members/veterans.

So the answer to “Why Quilts of Valor?” is this:  It is a wonderful form of National Service and anyone can do it!

National Service starts at home. Make a Quilt of Valor! For more information visit our website. http://www.QOVF.org

Quilting to Honor and Comfort Our Wounded

Quilts of Valor

firebase116.org supports the Quilts of Valor Foundation, and ALL our Service Members and Veterans.  Please help QOV and support them by making a quilt or donating to them.

Click any of the graphics or links above to visit the Quilts of Valor Foundation web page.

QOVF is a 501c (3) non-profit organization

THE GODBEHERE PATROL (The Jere Beery Story)

THE GODBEHERE PATROL [The Jere Beery Story]

This 25 minute video is a 1992 rough-cut work-copy of a true story documentary film about the life and death struggle of 5 badly injured men ambushed by the Viet Cong in 1968. It is the intensely bloody, true, and untold story of combat on a river in the Mekong Delta as told by the men that where there.  You will hear the story of survival of a badly damaged PBR river patrol boat and her critically wounded crew.

ENDORSEMENT: “The intrepidity and courage of the Godbehere Patrol and the heroic story of the combat reported in this history had become legendary by the time I had become Commander of US Naval Forces, Vietnam, in September of 1968. The remarkable performance and the human tragedy involved in this experience are, in my judgment, most deserving of publication and of use in the production of a movie. It would be of great interest to the many millions who now understand the true nature of the Vietnam war and who increasingly revere the men who served in that war.” E. R. Zumwalt, Jr., Admiral, USN (Ret.)

STORYLINE: “Tonight we were under the command of one of our favorite officers, Lieutenant Richard Godbehere. The Lieutenant was in his early thirties and had been with River Section 511 for about eight months. During the period of time, the Lieutenant had encountered the Viet Cong many times, including having one boat shot out from under him, sunk. Because he was a “Mustang,” we all felt a little closer to him than some of the other officers, and his name ‘GOD-BE-HERE’ was considered good luck and sort of a divine blessing on our boats and our patrols”. I have recently decided to share this video at the request of many close friends and fellow veterans. This video is being shared with the full consent and permission of all parties appearing in the video.

For more information on THE GODBEHERE PATROL, visit: http://jerebeery.com/godbehere-patrol.

U.S.S. Westchester County

This post is dedicated to the 25 crew members and passengers of the USS Westchester County (LST-1167) who were killed by an enemy explosion, at 0322 hours, on November 1, 1968.

WESCO - LST 1167

In the predawn darkness of November 1, 1968, the USS WESTCHESTER COUNTY, LST-1167 (WESCO), was anchored on the My Tho River with several other support ships of River Assault Flotilla One.  LST-1167 was acting as a troop carrier and supply ship for a large number of Tango boats and Monitors used by the Army’s 9th Division, Mobile Riverine Force.  The WESCO provided berthing for approximately 250 U.S. Army personnel – in addition to her 140 crew and officers.  In her belly, she maintained a massive amount of supplies for the entire Flotilla.  Among the cargo on her Tank Deck, 350 tons of ammunition and explosives.

Despite all precautions taken, including picket boats circling the ship and dropping concussion grenades at random intervals to ward off swimmers, LST-1167 fell pray to Viet Cong sappers.  At 0322, while most onboard slept, two very large mines were detonated on the starboard side of USS WESTCHESTER COUNTY directly under fuel and crew berthing compartments.  In the first few moments following the explosions, crewmen tried desperately to find their way to their battle stations through the dark, diesel-soaked, wreckage.  Crewmen showed up at their battle stations in their underwear, dazed and bleeding.  Five of the ship’s “key” First Class Petty Officers had been killed instantly.  In many cases much lower ranked personnel, without hesitation, manned damage control stations and assumed the responsibilities of their missing department heads.

The ship’s Commanding Officer, LCDR. JOHN W. BRANIN’S immediate concern was stabilizing the ship, as she was rapidly listing to starboard due to the massive flooding to the lower decks.  LCDR. BRANIN stated, “Just for a fleeing moment, I thought she might just keep on going over.”  Commander BRANIN would later credit his forward pump room person  (Rick Russell) with stabilizing the ship. (Rick Russell passed away in December 1995).

The danger of flash fires igniting the 350-plus tons of explosives and ammunition on the ship’s tank deck were of great concern to the captain, as the entire ship had become engulfed in an atomized cloud of diesel fuel.  There was no doubt in the Commander BRANIN’s mind any miscalculations at this point could result in a catastrophic explosion.  Which could not only cause the loss of the ship and all 400 aboard, but could result in death and destruction of anyone within a very large radius surrounding the ship, Ground Zero”. 

Battle stations remained at-the-ready for many hours, as it was not known if this was the beginning of a much larger attack, or if more unexploded charges were attached to the hull.  damage control teams worked frantically to suppress and control the flooding, while attempts were made to free trapped crewmen.  Most of those killed were crushed between the deck and the overhead while still in their bunks, making rescue and body recovery very difficult.  All damage control teams were instructed to conduct rescues and repairs without the use of cutting torches or welding equipment.

At on point, the ship’s Corpsman, HM1, JOHN SULLIVAN climbed down into the wreckage to locate and rescue two men pinned in the lower compartments. Although wounded himself, HM1, SULLIVAN administered medical attention to his injured shipmates and helped extract the two men. SULLIVAN would later be awarded the Silver Star for his actions and the Purple Heart for his wounds. (HM1, JOHN SULLIVAN passed away on October 2, 2006.)

As damage reports made their way to the Bridge, the names of the dead and missing began to add up.  17 – ships crew dead or missing, 5 – U.S. Army personnel dead, 1 – U.S. Navy Riverine sailor killed, 2 – Vietnamese military personnel killed, 22 others wounded. The USS WESTCHESTER COUNTY had suffered a great loss, and would remain in great danger for many more hours to come. One of the two explosions had breached the tank deck bulkhead and pallets of 155 artillery shell had been broken open and strewn about the lower deck. Her  350 tons of explosive cargo was very unstable and extremely venerable.

The 25 killed that morning have come to represent the “U.S. Navy’s Greatest Loss of Life in a Single Incident as the Result of Enemy Action During the Entire Vietnam War”. . .

This is merely a thumbnail sketch of the events as they occurred that November morning. Every man that survived that day has a story to tell. Twenty two of WESCO’s crew would later be awarded the Purple Heart for wounds suffered in  the sapper attack. WESCO was patched up and returned to her homeport at Yokosuka, Japan. LCDR. BRANIN would receive the Bronze Star for his leadership under fire, and continued his career in the Navy. (LCDR. JOHN BRANIN passed away in April 1998.)

For more information about the USS WESTCHESTER COUNTY ASSOCIATION, visit: WWW.LST1167.COM

Photos and text provided by Jere Beery a crew member of WESCO.  Please visit his webpage FIREBASE_ATLANTA at: http://jerebeery.com/

WE WILL NEVER FORGET!

National Center for PTSD – “PTSD Monthly Update”

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June is PTSD Awareness Month

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The VA’s National Center for PTSD encourages everyone to raise awareness throughout June in honor of PTSD Awareness Month.
Learn how to help anyone who has been through trauma, including the men and women who have served. VA’s National Center for PTSD invites you each week in June to come to www.ptsd.va.gov.

Meet Veterans Who Have Been There

People with PTSD are your neighbors, coworkers, and family. Each week in June, Veterans highlight a different topic to introduce you to important issues about PTSD and getting help. Visit www.ptsd.va.gov weekly and share what you learn with someone you know:
  • Week 1: How I knew I had PTSD
  • Week 2: My family suffered
  • Week 3: Hear how treatment helped me
  • Week 4: My advice: Don’t wait

Discover VA PTSD Resources

Be prepared to help if the need arises. See Where to Get Help for PTSD.

Help Us Raise PTSD Awareness Stay Updated

Post Information on PTSD

We hope you will join us in this important effort to raise PTSD awareness!
The Staff at the VA’s National Center for PTSD
National Center for PTSD – Executive Division
Visit our website: www.ptsd.va.gov