P.O. BOX 5653



The Speaker's Panel campaign was very successful except for the unexpected news that AmyJo Clark, history teacher at Thoreau Intermediate School, announced her retirement. The two Len's have spoken to her students for several years.

A first time speaking appearance was at Frost Intermediate School for Ms. Baxter's history class. Len Ignatowski and Brian McDonnell spoke to her students. She said that she learned about the service from an email that was sent to all Fairfax County Public School history teachers by AmyJo Clark.
The speakers provided individual accounts of their daily life in Vietnam. Len Funk, a draftee after college, served three tours, two as a MACV advisor and one as a State Department field officer since he learned to speak Vietnamese on his first tour. Brian, a high school draftee, served with an armored calvary unit, while Len, and Army ROTC "volunteer" served with an engineering unit. Each veteran had a unique story and a different perspective of the war. The questions ranged from "did you kill anyone", to "where was the bathroom".

What others are saying about 227's Speaker's panel:

"Your chapter has a great Speakers Program. Only wish we had such in VVA #617. I'm still working to get folks to the meetings. If I could get a number of folks to the meeting, then I wouldn't be embarassed to invite notable speakers to it. Thanks for the info."







Since 1987, members of VVA Chapter 227 have shared their Tour of Duty experiences with a multitude of audiences from elementary school students to senior citizens groups. Our speakers include nurses, Red Cross service personnel, and service men and women.

Let us share our experience with your group and help dispel the many "negative" myths about the Vietnam veteran. Listen to a veteran tell about receiving his draft notice while working at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, and having to fly to Washington D.C. to get his draft physical.

The agenda is flexible and educational. A typical program includes a slide presentation of life at a fire support base, personal experiences, and a question and answer period.

Speaking engagements include discussions at THE WALL and in the classrooms of Arlington, Fairfax, and Prince William Public Schools and to college and international students at Trinity College, the University of Maryland, George Mason University, and Northern Virginia Community College.

Members speak to Madison HS students..........

On June 9th, Len Ignatowski and John Vagnetti spoke to seven American History classes at the James Madison High School in Vienna, Virginia. John served as a Marine officer, while Len was an Army officer. Besides being Vietnam veterans, Len and John had sons that graduated from James Madison High School, and each one had a son that played soccer together. Ms. Lynne Dubin had extended the invitation after receiving one of the chapter's information flyers.

John served as a forward artillery observer near the DMZ while Len served with an engineering unit near Bien Hoa. Each veteran gave a different perspective of the war. John was a Marine officer that saw enemy action. His road to Vietnam started a few years earlier when he served as an enlisted Marine, but left for college just before his unit was sent to Vietnam. John wanted to re-enlist, but his senior NCO advised him to get his degree and come back as an officer, because this war was going to be a long one. Len's irony is that he was commissioned as an infantry officer despite graduating as a civil engineer. However, after attending jungle school, the Army recognized their "great" mistake and assigned Len to the road building efforts of the 169th Engineering Bn. Both veterans tour of duty were drastically different. John spent weeks in the jungle without clean clothes and hot meals. Len's unit operated from a roadside base camp that provided hot meals, hot showers, and clean clothes. But both veterans faced the daily unknown of serving in a war.

All the students showed a high degree of interest in each veteran's experience and asked very challenging questions. Some of the questions revolved around their opinion of draft dodgers, their coming home experience, how the war effected them. The chapter's "Living Wall" and Vietnam map were on display in the class. Dan Kirby's draft notice on the "THEN" panel received most of the attention of the three panels.

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