Jerry Bibb’s hunger strike

| May 8, 2018

According to the Baxter Bulletin, Mountain Home, Arkansas veteran 71-year-old Jerry Bibb has begun a hunger strike to become a veteran of the Vietnam War even though he never set foot in Vietnam or heard a shot fired in anger;

Bibb, a U.S. Air Force veteran who served overseas on Okinawa Island in Japan, said he is staying on the plaza until he hears from either U.S. senator or the president. Bibb said he is also on a hunger strike, having avoided all food and water since Sunday afternoon.

“I think I’ve got about three days (before I will die) out here with no water,” Bibb said Monday afternoon. “I’m not afraid of dying. If it takes me dying to get the attention this deserves, I’m willing to do it.”

Bibb joined the Air Force in 1965 out of high school. He was trained as an inertial navigation repairman and serviced B-52 bombers and KC-135 tanker planes in Okinawa.

“I was working on the planes that were fighting in the war,” he said. “I’ve had other veterans tell me, ‘If it wasn’t for your work, we would have lost more boys over there.’ ”

He recently discovered that he is considered by the federal government to be a Vietnam-era veteran and not a Vietnam War veteran, a distinction determined by where he served during the war.

Bibb says that he won’t move from his protest until his Senator or President Trump contact him.

Bibb said his protest was not about himself, but about the Vietnam-era veterans being recognized as actual war veterans.

“There’s not a lot of us left,” he said. “The government won’t do it because of money, because of the additional benefits they would have to give out. We can give tax breaks to the rich, but we can’t give these benefits to our veterans?”

I’m not sure what benefits he thinks that he’ll get, that he doesn’t already get. It looks like he has been stocking up on calories, so Bibb will last longer than a few days.

Thanks to one of our ninjas for the link.

Category: Veterans in the news

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  1. In The Mailbox: 05.08.18 : The Other McCain | May 8, 2018
  1. akpual says:

    He could get one of those medals that were discussed here a little while back.

    • stewburner says:

      I was station in Naha, Okinawa Aug 1967 to Feb 1969 and we were the largest C130 base outside the USA. There were NO KC135s or B52s on Okinawa. And P3s with the NAVY at Naha. (SSGT-USAF) There was a B52 from Glum, that came in for a day or 2 and taking off at Kadina, it crashed at the end of the runway, all were lost – that was in 68.

      • akpual says:

        Caused a lot of consternation among the locals I heard. But, I was there afterwards. Maybe March 69 to July 69. The off to the Viet of Nam. Geez my memory of the dates is fading. Left Okinawa right around moonman time.

      • James Pritchett says:

        I was there at Kadena 66 to 68. Lots of KC 135s and some SR 71s. B52s from Guam now and then. In 64 or 65 a KC135 crashed off the end of the runway and hit just below a “weapons storage” facility. The burn scars were still visible. 824th. Security Police Sqdn.

  2. Carlton G. Long says:

    no fool like an old fool … pathetic attention hound

  3. Boomer Sooner says:

    UNPOPULAR OPINION ALERT:

    I think it’s possible Bibb could be considered a veteran of the Vietnam War…possible! The distinction needs to be made by the command during operations in support of combat operations. A unit that dedicates 50% or greater of its resources to direct support of an operation (fixing aircraft which are being used for combat operations) should be considered a valuable war support unit, thereby deserving of the Vietnam War moniker.

    There are many paper pushers who never set foot outside of a South Vietnam friendly base who are considered Vietnam War vets who did far less for the effort than units in Okinawa actually repairing aircraft used in sorties. Okinawa was one of (if not the) closest large scale repair facility at that time and no doubt saw a huge spike in Vietnam damaged aircraft.

    Unfortunately, it is also too late to go back and certify these missions as essential to the Vietnam effort.

    I think veterans have to be careful when dealing with when/where people served. To suggest a CAR or CIB is mandatory to be considered a war vet is vain and denigrates a huge section of the military. Although I have my CAR, there is no doubt I needed someone passing up bullets and beans to keep fighting and I consider those that drove in the convoys and kept us supplied as equal war veterans. I suppose the guys who kept the planes flying are just as important to those pilots, too.

    • CA_SGT says:

      Said paper pushers were still under threat of attack though, Jerry was not. No one is saying his job wasn’t important, but he did not face even the most remote risk that those in country did. That’s the distinction. Its the same distinction VVA makes as well as the VFW.

      • akpual says:

        Yep

      • Mason says:

        I agree. Have a campaign medal? Then you were in an area deemed to be at risk even if not directly involved in combat.

        • desert says:

          I was on an aircraft carrier in the south china sea, we were sending aircraft into vietnam…the govt finally gave me an armed forces expeditionary medal vietnam….the VVA won’t sign me up because they say I wasn’t there in either 1962 or 1965, I can’t remember which….we were damned sure there, just too early for slow thinkers IMHO

      • Hondo says:

        CA_SGT: for the VFW, you are correct. For the VVA, not so much.

        Quoted (emphasis added) from

        https://vva.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Membership-Procedures-Guide.pdf

        Revised
        04/2016

        A Reference Guide to VVA and AVVA Membership Administration

        For Use by VVA Chapters and State Councils

        Membership Eligibility

        Who can be a member of VVA? Anyone who served on active duty (for other than training purposes) in the U.S. armed forces between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975 in the Republic of Vietnam (“in -country”), or in any duty location between August 5, 1964 and May 7, 1975.

        Bottom line: the VVA only requires in-country service in Vietnam for those who served there between 28 Feb 1961 and 4 August 1964. Per their own documentation, from 5 August 1964 until 7 May 1975, service anywhere in the world is in general A-OK for the purposes of VVA membership.

        • OWB says:

          Can confirm that at least one VVA Chapter/State Council is actively recruiting those of us who served during that time but never in VietNam. Had my arm twisted a few times.

          Guess I can understand them wanting to survive as a group and expand the definitions a bit, but I want no part of it. It will attract posers. ‘sOK, if that’s who you want to hang with, I suppose.

        • Green Thumb says:

          That strikes me as odd.

          What about the men that were drafted after the fact? It would seem that they should fall under the same pretext as the 61-64 cohort.

          • Hondo says:

            Follow the money, GT.

            Somewhat less than 1/3 of those serving during the Vietnam Era ever set foot in Vietnam. As I recall, the rough numbers are around 9M serving worldwide, and about 2.6M actually serving in-country in Vietnam, with an additional approx 0.5M qualifying for the VSM via meeting the criteria of performing missions within the VSM area of eligibility without being based in the RVN.

            Requiring actual in-country service would deprive the VVA of over 2/3 of it’s prospective dues-paying members.

            Regarding the date of 5 Aug 1964, I’m guessing that’s somehow tied to the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. In that case, a date of 2 Aug 1964 would make more sense as that’s the day the USS Maddox was attacked (the 2nd incident on 4 Aug 1964 is now generally held to have been an edgy ship’s crew firing at radar shadows).

            • Green Thumb says:

              I am a little slow.

              I get your point.

              Thanks.

              • Hondo says:

                De nada, amigo. Getting older kinda sucks, but beats the alternative. And I’m old enough (and enough of a student of the Vietnam War) to remember some of this stuff, and for certain dates to ring a bell.

                FWIW: I did a little more checking, and it turns out there is an argument for the 5 Aug 1964 date the VVA uses – not an argument I’d buy, but it does exist. That’s the date the US retaliated for the Gulf of Tonkin incident in Operation Pierce Arrow. It seems that they’re using that as their start date for the “major” phase of the Vietnam War for membership eligibility purposes.

        • desert says:

          Looking at those requirements, they have changed them, because I qualify under those regs? wtf is going on with VVA?

      • Green Thumb says:

        Except the VFW will let in clowns with General Discharges.

    • Perry Gaskill says:

      Boomer Sooner, I might sign off on your argument except I remember being in Cam Ranh Bay one day, and thinking at the time it was one of the safest places you could be in Viet Nam. That was until one night a few weeks later when the NVA rocketed the Cam Ranh POL yard, and you could see the flames and explosions from 30 miles away.

      I’d venture that those putting out the fire in Cam Ranh might find it difficult to agree that their duty station was the same as Okinawa.

    • Green Thumb says:

      Your opinion has merit until that group starts claiming combat engagements and status.

      If you actively patrol, for example, then you are a combat veteran (in my mind). If you patrol once or catch a ride from point A to Point B, then not so much. Unless, of course, you come into contact or get hit. That will change things.

      See the complexities of this shit? No wonder we have so many clowns running around posing and embellishing their service. It gives a bad name (and taste) to those whose job was to actively seek, defend or engage.

      • Ex-PH2 says:

        It’s the reason I avoid those groups. The DAV does the job they set out to do, but expect nothing from me. I get their notices about legislation for vets. That’s sufficient for me.

  4. Fat Loggy says:

    I am a Reserve Logistics Officer and a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. I never received a CAB because I did not engage or be engaged with the enemy. I was on a base that received a rocket but that “aint” being engaged. Heck it was luck to get to our tiny FOB in Kabul. I issued equipment to the Iraqi Army and the Afghan Army as an imbedded trainer. Eating, living and working with both armies. If I was shipping that same equipment from the states I would NOT be a combat veteran. Just my opinion. I love this site.

  5. timactual says:

    No one is suggesting a CAR or CIB is mandatory to be considered a war veteran.

    Where do you draw the line? What about all those folks in CONUS who provided vital support?

    • CA_SGT says:

      I draw the line at Campaign Ribbon.

      • Martinjmpr says:

        I concur with this. It makes a nice, “bright line” rule that’s easy to understand and easy to apply:

        Was your ass physically located within the boundaries of said country?

        If the answer is “yes” then you can legitimately claim to be a “veteran” of that war.

        I used to write for a gun blog and the creator of the blog once mistakenly referred to me as a “combat veteran.” I immediately emailed him and asked him to correct it because I was not a “combat veteran” as I had never been in actual combat.

        I consider myself a WAR VETERAN of Afghanistan, meaning I served in-country during a time of war, but never participated in “combat” except through a computer.

        To me it’s a simple distinction. Was your ass over there? Even if you spent all your time at Long Binh serving ice cream at the enlisted club, you were THERE and can legitimately call yourself a “Vietnam Veteran.”

        BTW wasn’t Little Jimmy Janos also an “Okinawa Vet” (snicker)

        • Hondo says:

          If I recall correctly Janos was based out of either Okinawa or the Philippines during Vietnam, but also as I recall he may have done an operational mission or two (at least as a Frogman onboard a ship) within the AO defined as qualifying for the VSM.

          • Yef says:

            Is that the guy that *could* have volunteered to change from UD to Navy Seal any time he wanted but didn’t, and now wears a Navy Seal T-shirt?

            I think he was in one of those old classic movies with the Terminator.

            • akpual says:

              Hey, those movies aren’t that old.

            • Martinjmpr says:

              Is that the guy that *could* have volunteered to change from UD to Navy Seal any time he wanted but didn’t, and now wears a Navy Seal T-shirt?

              He didn’t have time to bleed, apparently. 😉

              • rgr769 says:

                Janos was too busy chasing Olangapo whores to volunteer for the real fight against people who could send you home with the CMH (Casket, Metal, w/Handles).

          • Joseph Williams says:

            Olongago Pi for Scrufface. Joe

        • OldSoldier54 says:

          “Was your ass physically located within the boundaries of said country? “

          Bingo! Seems pretty clear cut to me.

    • Fat Loggy says:

      They can go home every night and enjoy sleeping in their own bed eating groceries you purchase at Wal-Mart. Soldiers in theater are on the ground, in CHUs, or big warehouses sleeping with 50 of their closest friends and for chow, it a compilation of menus and choices in a box or in a KBR chow hall. If your are not in the country we are engaged in combat with then common sense mandates you are not a combat veteran.

      • rgr769 says:

        For the first six months in the Viet of the Nam I slept in a hole in the ground that I dug with my entrenching tool, except for the nights we were in the rear on stand down (which were few and far between). So, I have no sympathy for this sorry ol’ fuck that can’t even qualify as a REMF of a Vietnam vet. Fuck him.

      • RM3(SS) says:

        I would agree except for one thing not mentioned. I have a friend that was a B/N on B-52’s out of Guam. He said they would commute to work and be home sleeping in their own beds the next day. He did 50 missions and lost a few friends. Technically he never ‘set foot” in Vietnam.

    • Green Thumb says:

      It should to be considered a combat veteran but these days many will argue otherwise.

      Bottom line: Everyone thinks they were in the shit. Or at least that it what they tell everyone.

  6. The Stranger says:

    I read the article in his local paper and it mentions that he has a Bible and a rifle with him. The Bible I can sort of understand (keeping in mind that The Man Upstairs takes a dim view of liars, but still.) The rifle I truly don’t get. He was basically an electronics repairman, right? He should have brought out an oscilloscope or a soldering iron. There’s only a handful of AFSCs that are issued weapons, his isn’t one of them.

    • Hack Stone says:

      This is my soldering gun. There are many like it, but this one is mine….

    • rgr769 says:

      Actually, the latest article said he had a shotgun with him “to represent the men who gave their lives” in the Vietnam War. Well, him being nice and safe in the Air Force in Okinawa, he didn’t have to worry about that possibility. If he wanted to be a Vietnam Veteran, there was nothing preventing him from volunteering to serve there. There was no shortage of Air Force jobs in his MOS in the Viet of the Nam. I’m sure there was a slot for him at any of the major Air Force bases “in Country.” Then he wouldn’t have to claim credit for serving in a war he didn’t experience. There were plenty who volunteered to go and the service they were in sent them. Hell, one guy I know was refused another six month extension because he had already served continuously in combat units and a LRRP company for four years.

      • The Stranger says:

        I read the part about representing the men who gave their lives in the article. I don’t buy it because it’s too much like the phony with the SEAL hat who changes his story to “I wear it in honor of *fill in the blank*”. And seriously, a shotgun? This moldy old turd needs to blow away.

  7. 26Limabeans says:

    Give it up Bibbie. Have a sandwhich and a beer.
    You are not a vietnam veteran.

  8. Mark Lauer says:

    “Bibb said his protest was not about himself, but about the Vietnam-era veterans being recognized as actual war veterans.”

    I got two words for him; YES IT IS! It’s all about YOU you fuckin’ self centered, sanctimonious piece of shit.
    Trying to say you’re a “Vietnam War” veteran would be like me saying; “I served during the Cold War, so that makes me a veteran of Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm; all took place in that time period, and I was in Supply. I’m sure some of the stuff I ordered or inventoried was used in at least ONE of those conflicts, and the Ground Pounders couldn’t have done it without us Supply Guys. Yep; I can see where that makes me a Veteran of three wars.

    The guy is a class-A dipstick.

    • akpual says:

      Yep,you’ve been around.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      So I guess serving during the Cold War and having a company commander at RTC(w) who was a Korean War vet makes me a Korean War vet, too?

      Huh. Who knew?

  9. Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

    Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:
    May 8, 2018 at 10:31 am
    WTF; Hey Bibb, I was on the Lady of the seas (LPH-3) from 1963-1966 and got out before she left in 1967 for her new home port in San Diego and south east Asia. Now hear this, now hear this, I was a Viet Nam ERA Veteran from Queens NYC after I left the ship and did my monthly inactive reserve time. P.S. Since your on a hunger strike, I won’t mail you a bibb to wear

  10. Animal says:

    The Baxter Bulletin is reporting that he has ended his attention whoring protest.

  11. Jonn Lilyea says:

    Yeah, well;

    A veteran’s protest that lasted more than 24 hours, ended midday Tuesday after the protester met with a representative of U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford’s office and later agreed to return home.

    Jerry Bibb, 71, sat down next to the veterans statue in the plaza Monday morning to protest Vietnam-era military veterans that served in Okinawa, Thailand and Guam not being considered Vietnam War veterans. When interviewed Monday, Bibb said he was on a hunger strike and was prepared to die. At the time, he estimated he might make it three days without water.

    Stetson Painter of Mountain Home, field representative and director of veterans outreach for U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, met with Bibb on Monday evening at the veterans plaza.

    “We met for three hours and had an outstanding talk,” Bibb said Tuesday. “He said, ‘We’re going to work on that legislation, but we can’t do it in three days. I need you alive to help us.’ ”

    • OWB says:

      And we still don’t really know just what it is that he wants. Maybe someone some where will tell us some day.

    • RM3(SS) says:

      He wants a pat on the back, an atta boy, some face time on TV and maybe some PTSD money because he’s a “war veteran!”
      Attention whoring pays I guess.

  12. Martinjmpr says:

    I’ve obtained some exclusive video footage of the hunger strike: