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VO-67 Scholarship
Scholarship Grant

In 2004, the V0-67 Association ("Association") established a scholarship fund in recognition of the increasing cost of higher education.

Members of this unique United States naval air squadron, formed during the Vietnam War, seek to continue to "Make a Difference". This special arm of the VO-67 squadron, the VO-67 Association, includes both Charter squadron members and Associate members who agree with the purposes of the Association.

The scholarship grant is awarded annually in recognition of all VO-67 squadron members both living and deceased.

One scholarship will be available annually in the amount of $1500.00 (One Thousand Five Hundred Dollars) to assist covering the costs of post-secondary education (i.e., tuition based vocational school, community college, four-year college/university or graduate/professional school). Future awards may be increased in number or amount as the budget permits. In addition, scholarship criteria may be subject to change in the future.

Judging of essays is done by impartial scholarship readers using a double blind method. Total scores are known only to the committee co-chairman.

Applicants must be a family member of an active VO-67 Association member. This includes Charter, Associate, Life or Honorary Life members.

Requirements and Application form can be downloaded from this VO-67 web page. Please distribute copies to any V0-67 Association family members and encourage those eligible to apply for the scholarship.

Please consider joining the VO-67 Association. An Application is available at: VO-67 "A Brotherhood"

If you have any questions regarding the scholarship, please contact the scholarship chairman

Jack Valenty, at C:858-805-5799 or jackvalenty@att.net

*The 2019 competition is now underway*

Deadline August 8, 2019


America's 'war on terror' has cost the US nearly $6 trillion and killed roughly half a million people. Is there an end in sight? If so, how will peace be accomplished? Is the world doomed to endless war?

VO-67 2019 Scholarship Application

Scholarship purpose, amount, requirements, criteria, selection process, etc.

VO-67 2019 Scholarship Requirements
104 KB PDF

Jack Valenty
V0-67 Association
Scholarship Chairman
309 Mt. Airy St.
Cantonment, Fl 32533


Contact Jack Valenty
C:858-805-5799 or E-Mail jackvalenty@att.net

Committee Members:

Richard DeCuir - Col. Jimmie Butler - Tom Craven
George Hilkens - Mansour and Lisa Salahu-Din - Dennis and Janet Gandolfo - Ralph Womack

2019 Winner
VO-67 Scholarship
Rachelle Rivera

America's 'war on terror' has cost the US nearly $6 trillion and killed roughly half a million people.
Is there an end in sight? If so, how will peace be accomplished?
Is the world doomed to endless war?

Cyber Warfare In The United States
By Rachelle Rivera

Cyber warfare is now a real threat to our national security. This is war and it's important for our US Government to take this threat seriously to ensure the safety of Americans on our land. It's a frightening reality of what hackers as well as terrorists groups can accomplish on the internet. Breaching top secret information, military intelligence, personal information, data bases, and really just about anything you can think of. This information can be used to access our borders or our buildings as well as to attack Americans because their personal information is in the wrong hands. It can be a life and death situation.

Other countries, such as Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea are hacking into the US database and gaining confidential information. The federal government suffered 61,000 cybersecurity breaches in 2014 alone. The hackers gained Social Security numbers, job assignments, and performance evaluations of US government employees. Not only are they hacking to get information, they also use cyber warfare to plan operations such as the attempted Times Square Bombing in May, 2010. The invaders who tried to plan this used public webcams and filesharing sites to discuss sensitive details about their operation.

The internet is not a safe place. Hackers find their way into classified information. Al Qaeda, ISIS, and other terrorist groups are recruiting more people through the internet. They use propaganda to gain the interest in Americans as well as other adults worldwide. They target young teens because they know they are vulnerable and do not have the ability to understand the seriousness of their involvement once they are drawn in and committed to fight for these terrorist groups.

Fighting in a physical battlefield isn't the only way to protect our country and our rights.

With terrorists groups and other invaders hacking into federal systems and gaining information, the US should make it a priority to fight them. The government should create an "Army" of cyber soldiers who make it their job to search and find potential threats on the internet. The best soldiers for this type of job would be individuals who are very highly educated and trained to know how the breaches are made through the internet to create safeguards so that our most important data online is secured and cannot be hacked.

Other US cyber soldiers should go undercover and pose as the type of individual that a terrorist would try and seek out. They could do this by seeking out groups as well as individual people online who are promoting anger towards the US and wanting to cause harm. I would call this a cyber spy.

Perhaps the US Government should limit some of the information that is stored online.

In this day and age of technology it does sound absurd, however if they could make some information accessible in the physical sense only then accessing it online would be impossible and this could help the US by limiting potential cyber threats.

I believe that most Americans are very cautious and if they were to observe a group or someone who comes across as a possible threat through the internet that they would report that information if there was a task force that was established by the Government. I also think that anyone on American land that performs a terrorist act that all of their rights are taken away.

Their phones, their computers, their personal information, and any physical items that were in their homes should be accessed by the Government without having to go to court. The quicker the government can access this information, the safer we are in our own country.

In conclusion, I believe cyber warfare is a very serious issue that needs to be controlled by the US government. With issues involving other countries gaining confidential information by hacking into the US database, terrorist groups using the internet to recruit people worldwide or scam people into benefiting themselves, and multiple other threats towards the government and US. The government should gather highly educated and trained individuals to help protect and secure any potential threats against the US and its people. The US government should take more precautions towards cyber warfare because as time advances more and more technology is being used by everyone, everywhere. This is going to cause more and more problems towards the US via internet war if we do not take more measures.

2018 Winner
VO-67 Scholarship
Trevor W. Womack Jr.

More and more states are legalizing recreational Marijuana. With every idea there are always unintended consequences.
Employers need dependable employees. Educators need students who focus on what is being taught.
The criminal justice system already deals with many young criminals who were high during their offense.
Considering these and other issues, what do you see are the unintended consequences of legalizing Marijuana
and what would you suggest be done to mitigate them?

Unintended Consequences of Legalizing Marijuana

In 2012, Colorado was the first state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, followed closely by Washington (1). Marijuana is a schedule 1 controlled substance, placing it on par with drugs such as heroin, LSD, and peyote (2). A schedule 1 drug, is described by the high potential for abuse and the potential to create severe psychological or physical dependence (2). As of January 2018, nine states have legalized the use of recreational marijuana, including Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, Colorado, Maine, Alaska, and Vermont, with more states looking to join them (3). As with any decision, there will be unintended consequences and advantages as marijuana becomes recreationally legalized throughout the United States, and it is our duty to mitigate the unwanted effects as much as possible.

Since the 2012 legalization of recreational marijuana, there have been substantial increases in marijuana use in adults in Colorado. In 2014, 12.7% of the population of Colorado, or 350,000 adults, used marijuana on a monthly basis, compared to the 11.3% seen in 2011 (5). This means that a higher amount of the population in legal states are using marijuana on a monthly basis at the least. In 2012, there were 8 arrests total for public consumption of marijuana, in 2014, the number skyrocketed to 891 arrests (5). The case has been made that legalization allowed the justice system to allocate resources to more serious or violent crimes, but according to the arrest rate, the opposite seems to be true. How much time and money will be used on arrests for marijuana related incidents in the next 5 years, when those resources could have been directed to solving a murder?

One of the largest cases made for marijuana legalization is the amount of tax money the sales from dispensaries will produce for the state. The total tax revenue collected the first year of legal sales in Colorado was $699.2 million, from marijuana sales alone (4). This money could be used in all areas of the state, from road repair, to schools, and even marijuana abuse prevention, but does the amount of money generated justify the amount of harm done to the public because of legalization? In 2014, 12% of arrests made for Driving under the Influence (DUI) were due to driving under the influence of marijuana. With no determinate way to test a driver for blood THC levels, more and more drivers could be on the road, handling vehicles under the influence, with no way to detect them unless they hurt somebody or themselves. Money is a large driving factor for why many laws get passed, but public health and safety must always trump the tempting tax revenue increases.

Marijuana is most known for its plant form, but in this new age of legalization and dispensaries, marijuana laced "edibles" or foods are on the rise. It is easy to spot marijuana from its looks or distinctive smell, but it's difficult to determine if a chocolate bar or sour candy has marijuana in it. How do police officers determine whether or not an individual - especially a child - has homemade cookies, or marijuana laced treats bought from a dispensary? Marijuana taking the form of candy and sweets not only provide more problems for law enforcement, but put children in danger. "Twice as many kids visited the Children's Hospital Colorado emergency room per year in 2014 and 2015 as did in years prior to the opening of recreational marijuana stores (6). Legalization of marijuana may be for adults, but it's the children who are now bearing the worst of the consequences. Who is looking out for their best interests?

In conclusion, we must consider both the benefits and negative consequences of marijuana legalization, drawing hidden consequences to properly decide whether or not it is a just and moral decision to allow adults this freedom. On one hand, the money generated from legal sales of marijuana far exceeds expectations, allowing states to use money not previously collected in years before legalization and fill revenue gaps suffered since the Great Recession. Perhaps also as the amount of drug related incidents decreases statewide and use becomes more commonly accepted, this will allow people to realize they have a problem and seek treatment in lieu of potential arrest and incarceration. On the other hand, law enforcement must find new ways of detecting people under the influence, whether on the road or in public, which strains already over-stretched resources. Children are feeling the consequences too; second hand smoke and marijuana edibles present a real danger to the health of children and pets. Only time will tell whether legalization will produce greater advantages or disadvantages, and it is the duty of all Americans to discern which is which.

2017 Winner
VO-67 Scholarship
Trevor W. Womack Jr.

"War can no longer be fought only on the physical battlefield. Cyber warfare is
now a real threat to our national security". Describe and assess the threat to our
security that cyber-attacks pose and what we need to do to defend against them."

Cyber Security and the United States

Cybercrime is defined as any crime that is committed using a computer network or hardware device and can, unlike other crimes, harm both civilians and government. In the past decade, cybercrime has been the fastest growing form of crime, and has used modern day reliance on technology to establish its foothold in the United States. Crimes that can be committed through the internet or over cyberspace include but are not limited to fraud, theft, child pornography and abuse, and these crimes could be unstoppable, if not for the actions taken by the U.S. to defend and fight against cyber criminals.

Cybercrime is a growing problem not only in the U.S., but throughout the whole world, and affects everyone that uses or is connected to the internet daily. "As Americans become more reliant on modern technology, we also become more vulnerable to cyberattacks such as corporate security breaches, spear phishing, and social media fraud (DHS)." Corporate security breaches are some of the biggest cyber-attacks, and include the 2011 PlayStation Network Outage, where account information and personal details were stolen from 77 million different users, and was 'one of the largest data security breaches in history' (CBC). Phishing is another example of how cybercrime affects civilians, where an email is disguised as something important, stating that the victim needs to confirm their identity or verify their information through a link that leads you to an unsecure site, which allows the scammer to steal bank or personal information and use it for themselves. The average civilian has little protection against cybercrime besides becoming knowledgeable as to the types of threats and remaining vigilant online.

Cybercrime is not only a threat to civilians, but also the newest and broadest battlefield for modern day war, with the potential for devastating effects. Stuxnet is an example of a cyber-attack that resulted in damage being done to the hardware and software of Iran's nuclear weapons program. 'Stuxnet' is the name of malware that was used to destroy centrifuges separating nuclear material for Iran's nuclear program, effectively delaying their progress towards creating nuclear weaponry (Holloway). Although this attack did not directly affect America or its people, it shows the possibility of something equally or more destructive happening within the U.S. Cybercrime can affect any and all systems that use a computer, and especially ones that are connected to the internet. In the U.S., systems such as our nationwide electrical grid are run through and controlled by computers, and if another country wanted to attack us, they need only to secretly implement a Stuxnet-like program and cripple us from the inside. Cybersecurity is a relatively new field that resulted from cybercrime, and it is imperative for our national security that the U.S. government be ahead of all others in this area.

Cybersecurity is handled by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which includes the Secret Service and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The DHS, Secret Service, and ICE investigate and solve cybercrimes on U.S. and international soil, and together raise the public's awareness of cybercrime. "The Department of Homeland Security works with other federal agencies to conduct high-impact criminal investigations to disrupt and defeat cyber criminals, prioritize the recruitment and training of technical experts, develop standardized methods, and broadly share cyber response best practices and tools (DHS)." The DHS runs the NCCIC or the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, where they connect and share information on cyber-attacks and cybersecurity to law enforcement, the private sector, and the intelligence community. This center continuously assesses and responds to breaches in cybersecurity and shares information about these breaches with the rest of the nation, preventing similar attacks and effectively making the entire safer. Another way that the DHS raises awareness for cybercrime is their program 'Stop.Think.Connect' that works together with private institutions and non-profit organizations to educate Americans on how to recognize and avoid cybercrime (DHS). Giving the average citizen knowledge about how to protect themselves is the first step to preventing it all together.

With multiple government agencies and programs to raise awareness, the nation has a greater understanding of the implications and dangers of cybercrime, but what are the steps everyday people can take to protect themselves from cybercrime? The first and foremost is to keep passwords diverse with numbers and capital letters and never keep two identical passwords. Secondly, don't click on links from emails or from untrusted online sites, as they can infect your computer with malware and allow cyber-criminals to steal your personal and financial information. Although it may seem easy to protect against cybercrime in the public, in this vast new domain of modern warfare, it is very difficult. Employees of the government and large corporations receive special training on how to prevent cybercrime, and often will hire experts in the field to encrypt and protect the valuable data and systems that make up the infrastructure of the U.S. This new virtual battlefield is still ever-changing and evolving at an extremelyrapid pace. Just as the United States has mastered and dominated traditional land, sea, and air battlefields; we must now stay at the forefront of virtual warfare to protect U.S. interests and keep Americans safe.

2016 Winner
VO-67 Scholarship
Samantha Rivera

"Patriotism does not mean you believe your country is perfect or always right however,
young men and women continue to willingly risk their lives to protect it.


Men and women of the United States willingly risk their lives everyday fighting for our country. Without the United States military, there would be no America. Our soldiers protect our country and are the reasons we can call America the land of the free. We live in a country where we are free and have the opportunity to achieve anything we put our mind to. Patriotism is a feeling of pride to be an American. The men and women who put their lives on the line have a strong sense of patriotism and that is their driving force for doing what they do. They love their country, even with its imperfections, and know that it represents way more good than bad.

Patriotism can be seen in many different ways throughout our country. It's our military fighting the enemies of our nation. To stand and fight in honor of those who did not make it back home. For the ones in combat support hospitals recovering or living with the physical and emotional wounds from war. It can be seen by the men in blue who go out every day to protect their communities and stand for something bigger than themselves. To carry out and enforce the laws set forth in our Constitution. For the thousands who died in New York on September 11th who just simply went to work one Tuesday morning. Why do these people constantly put their lives on the line when there is both good and bad in our world? It's because they believe in the good. They believe in the vision our Founding Father's had when they came to this country. To be a place where freedom and democracy ring truer than true.

In America, everyone has the right to freedom and the right to pursue happiness. Freedom is not free, and instead comes at a very heavy price. American soldiers sacrifice their lives every day for the freedom every American holds. One of the greatest rights we have as Americans is the right to vote. Living in the United States, we have the honor to decide who represents our country. This is one of the many things that make our country great and why so many men and women continue to fight for our freedoms.

America is not a perfect country, but we are the best. In many other countries such as Iran, there is no freedom of speech, religion, no gender equality, and no right to vote. Our country represents something special and unique. This is a country where people from all over the world come because of what our country stands for, freedom and democracy. God has blessed our country with the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights. Men and women choose to risk their lives every day to cherish and maintain our country for our future children and grandchildren. Their sense of patriotism keeps them going and keeps fighting to protect and preserve all that our country stands for.

2015 Winner
VO-67 Scholarship
Marissa Womack

"The power of failure. We all fail at times, however, it can actually be a blessing as we learn and adjust our thinking.

What advice would you give to a new leader who has failed to meet their goal when it comes to leading others?"

Failure is the inability to reach a desired goal. The word carries a negative connotation, but I believe that failure is actually a blessing in disguise, and necessary for its counterpart: success. There are many types of failure, but failure in leadership can sometimes be the most devastating. A failure in leadership means one has let down not only themselves, but their team as well. Successful leadership is a skill that does not come from a single achievement or failure but rather from a continuous process of trial and error. Failure can actually fuel some of our most valuable learning experiences. I recently had my own such experience that taught me a lesson in the art of leadership.

For two years, I've had an on campus job while in school. I work alongside a great group of students to keep an office and front counter running smoothly. Recently, I was promoted to student supervisor. My hard work had paid off, and I was ecstatic. With a pay raise and fancy title, who wouldn't be? For my first act as supervisor, I made a new shift schedule for the upcoming academic quarter. As the first week of the quarter rolled around, and customers poured in, my schedule was put to the test. Unfortunately, it was not the glowing success I had hoped for. Some shifts conflicted with student's classes and we were understaffed. I misjudged the ability of newer employees to work alone, leaving them in situations they were unprepared to handle. The office did not run efficiently, and the resulting mistakes created more work for everyone.

For two years, I've had an on campus job while in school. I work alongside a great group of students to keep an office and front counter running smoothly. Recently, I was promoted to student supervisor. My hard work had paid off, and I was ecstatic. With a pay raise and fancy title, who wouldn't be? For my first act as supervisor, I made a new shift schedule for the upcoming academic quarter. As the first week of the quarter rolled around, and customers poured in, my schedule was put to the test. Unfortunately, it was not the glowing success I had hoped for. Some shifts conflicted with student's classes and we were understaffed. I misjudged the ability of newer employees to work alone, leaving them in situations they were unprepared to handle. The office did not run efficiently, and the resulting mistakes created more work for everyone.

I felt terrible about the chaos my own scheduling had caused. I had failed in leading my staff through the busiest week of the quarter. I worried that I would not be seen as an effective supervisor, both by my manager and employees. With the pain of failure still fresh, I turned for advice to people I trusted. With their words of wisdom, I was able to rectify my own situation, and can now call it a lesson learned. To a new leader who has failed at leading others, I would give them advice in the form of three steps.

The first step this leader must take is to acknowledge the failure. One must recognize and take responsibility for what has gone wrong. I call this "owning it". Receiving feedback from those involved is a valuable tool in determining causes of the failure. In my situation, I first admitted that the office problems were a result of my faulty schedule. While it may be easy to pass off blame to someone else, in the end a leader is the accountable for failures of their team.

The second step is solving the problem. It is here in the moment of failure that a leader decides what kind of leader they want to be. It is often tempting to cover up a failure dishonestly. However, people can tell the difference between a mistake and a lie, and while most people will forgive a mistake, they will not forgive a lie. As integrity is lost, so is trust and respect. Without these elements, a leader cannot be effective. In order to overcome my failure, I apologized honestly to my employees and worked with my staff and manager to ensure my next schedule was flawless. Soon my office was again a highly efficient operation, and I proved that I was a capable leader.

The third step is to move on from the mistake without allowing it to limit future progress. Winston Churchill said, "Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm". While this may seem difficult, enthusiasm in the face of failure actually comes naturally once one recognizes that it is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate one's character and capabilities. Once my own problem was dealt with, I moved forward with confidence. The experience taught me that I should take my time on making schedules, and give more attention to the experience levels of my employees.

My first months as a leader taught me so much, and in retrospect most of the wisdom I gained is embedded in my failures. While my lessons have been learned on a small scale, they carry over to any position of leadership. So, whether the failed leader is merely a student supervisor like me, the CEO of a company, or even the President of the United States of America, my advice to them would be to own the failure, correct the problem with integrity, and learn from the experience to move forward. In the end, when all is said and done, it is how we react in the face of failure that will show our true character as a leader, and inevitably determine our level of success.

2014 Winner
VO-67 Scholarship
Marissa Womack

"If you were elected President of the United States in the next election,
list in order of priority,
5 major challenges you would face and how you would go about addressing your number one priority."

The challenges and pressures that fall on the shoulders of the President of the United States, the leader of this great nation, are heavy and great at any time in history. Today this statement is truer than ever, as our government struggles to navigate our country through the muddy waters of economic recession, globalization, and party extremism. If I were to be elected President of the United States in the next election, I would have some incredible obstacles in my path as I strive to serve the American people in the best way I can.

One challenge that I would face would be our nation's dependence on foreign oil and its consequences on the environment. I would have a responsibility to think of the impending consequences of our oil consumption on America's natural environment. We and future generations must learn to take care of the environment by utilizing its resources sustainably. As president, I would face the problem of how to accomplish a future where America is not dependent on the oil of other countries, and eventually, not dependent on oil at all.

Another challenge I would face as President today is the immigration debate. Countless immigrants cross the border illegally, some bringing violence and crime. Employers get away with hiring undocumented workers. The pathway to legal citizenship is a complicated and outdated one. As the president, I would have a responsibility to deal with these challenges in a practical manner, not a political one, with a focus on this nation's future and the security of our people.

As a President trying to direct change, I would face the challenge of our divided and gridlocked government. A government in which one party controls the White House while the other dominates one or both houses of Congress has been favored since the 1970s. A divided government has the benefit of forcing compromise, yet it can cause gridlock that does not allow action in times of need. The government shutdown during the budget negotiations in November of this year is an example of the challenges a divided government can cause.

The shutdown is illustrative of another issue I would face as President, which is the national deficit. The national debt reached 1.4 trillion dollars in 2010. Although it has decreased recently, it will again skyrocket in 2022, as the aging population and rising health care costs put a strain on government programs. As president I would need to find ways to cut spending on temporary problem fixes and focus on real investments for our future.

When it comes to making investments for our future, I believe the ultimate investment is public education. America is the land of opportunity, yet without education, these opportunities are not attainable. In our elementary schools children fall behind because there are not enough teachers and resources to help them. They are falling through the cracks of an education system that is understaffed and outdated.

Our public universities, originally created for the purpose of providing affordable undergraduate education, are underfunded. Budget cuts have forced a reduction in faculty, while class size rises. The majority of college students are from middle class families and do not receive aid, yet cannot afford the increasing tuition. As a result they graduate with high student loans.

As president, ensuring a quality education for young Americans would be my priority. I would increase funding to our public schools at the elementary, high school, and university level. I would press for reform of the financial aid system. Students should be recognized for their hard work and good grades. If the government is going to fund a student's education, the student should be required to maintain their grades and stay out of trouble with the law. A combination of aid and loans should be implemented in various amounts based on student need. An educated America is a strong America, and a future generation of motivated and educated individuals will propel our country into a great future.

In facing each of these challenges, not only the President of the United States but also we, as a people, must always look for solutions that plan for the future. While I may not ever actually be president of the United States, I can still be a part of this progress by voting and staying informed on current issues. We all have a responsibility to do this. I firmly believe that we owe it to future generations to leave them a United States of America that is still the beautiful, strong and free land that I am proud to call home.

2013 Winner
VO-67 Scholarship
Laurel Allen

"With the problems we face in this country today, what questions would you ask our founding fathers to get guidance for the future?"

If given the opportunity to ask our founding fathers any questions queries would come rolling in like waves on the shore. The main question that comes to mind is; is the Constitution a living document? Our Constitution is one that other countries model their own after, and that is something to be proud of. We have so much going on in the country that we all call home, that we always reference back these ground rules for guidance. The freedoms that other countries envy were set by these men. They also have missed out on some of our greatest achievements due to technology and human drive to move forward. Were those original documents meant to stand the tests of time?

That being said, may it be time for an update? Would they be open to possibly rewriting the Constitution, using their core values as our foundation? We have more and more people seeking religious freedom and opportunities that are only available in our country. This country was founded on core values of religious freedoms, but we had owned slaves and took their freedoms. The statement, "That all men are created equal", was it meant for everyone, even now? It may have taken time but we, as a current nation, have overcome most segregation of the past. The bill of rights is now being offered to a wider group of cultures in our country.

This nation was founded on the belief of the ability to practice what you will, but to know that rules are what govern us, and that is what we will follow. It has been proven true and to be successful; to be taken too literally and to extremes also can cause strife within a nation. At this time, fathers, we are dealing with wars in other nations to bring them democracy so that they may live to life we do. Meanwhile at home, we as a nation are dealing with poverty, unemployment, tax arguments amongst our politicians, and grief upon those who depend on the aid of the government. Our vets , who have fought for the documents I am writing about today, are not being taken of the way they should for laying their lives on the line for us to enjoy our freedoms. How would you feel to hear how large our debt is at this present time? Would you even know how to help us make even a slight impact on it?

Our government has become more diverse than anyone could ever imagine. We have racial and gender differences fully represented in Congress and the Senate showing how diverse we are as a nation; it has brought a somewhat optimistic tone to the nation. We are still making strides to take this further, all due to the ideas of freedom you gave to us. What is often mentioned, especially in the parties of government, "What is your definition of the division of church and state?" Religion is a passionate topic for many, along with politics, that it has escalated the simplest of arguments in to wars. How would you feel about troops being sent overseas to fight against countries who believe so strongly in their way? That we lose many of our own troops just to try to deliver them freedom, democracy� choice?

Fathers, would you even want us to alter the Bill of Rights or the Constitution? We have made some amendments to the Constitution, but how many more should we add before we just think of revising or writing a new set of laws? Do you think it would be a good idea to allow just basic ground laws that all states abide by and are allowed then to make their own? I know we like to think we can, but states are still fighting for something that the federal government can easily take away from them and in turn break the state's laws. I'm not talking about slavery, religious persecution, or murder for just any reason being legal. I'm talking about the ability to decide is what they can tax to increase revenue or how many guns they can own. I was always taught that the ability to vote would give a group of people the ability to decide what makes them happy.

What I truly want to ask is how can we, as a nation, understand better what you intended by writing the Constitution and Bill of Rights? Are we on the path you intended us to be on?

2012 Winner
VO-67 Scholarship
Veronica Reynolds

"Renewing Patriotism in Young Americans"

The tragedies of 9/11 confirmed a level of patriotism that proved America is still the greatest country in the world and no matter what happens we'll rise to the occasion. Since then, we have seen dangerously low levels of pride in our country and patriotism, especially the loss of confidence in our elected officials. America is a country built on freedom, not free things and everyday people risk their lives and sometimes die to get into the US, not to escape it. Patriotism is a devotion to the ideals of our founding Fathers, as described in the Declaration of Independence. One of the best ways to renew your patriotism is to read the declaration again. It is all there, true patriotism is motivated by a sense of responsibility for one's self, their family, and the future of their country to resist government abuse of power. The best ways I would encourage my peers to renew their patriotism is to register to vote when they turn 18 and learn the laws and be informed, protect our civil liberties, visit their State Capital and US Memorials and most importantly, support the values America was founded on, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

One of the greatest rights we have in America is our right to vote. If we do not like the way our government representatives are running "our" country, it is our patriotic right and duty to vote them out of office. One of the biggest myths young people in America have, are their doubts that their one vote matters. All citizens, regardless of age, race, and culture or income level have a say in our America and I want to encourage my peers to get informed on the issues our country is facing and vote. All citizens have representation in the laws that govern our country, but only if we vote. What better way is there for us to show our patriotism, than to participate in the process of running our country?

I will encourage my friends and fellow students to protect our civil liberties, by revisiting and embracing with the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is the most important rights the citizens of a country have and are guaranteed by the laws of our country. These historic US documents prove how brilliant and uncompromised our founding fathers were in the creation of this great country. It is important to stay informed and exercise our rights and liberties. Freedom of free speech is one of the most important rights we have. To speak without the fear of persecution must always be protected. It is not un-patriotic to disagree with policies or voice our opinion, it is necessary. Never give into fear by allowing media or government to take away any of our liberties.

I think a fun way to renew patriotism in my peers would be to encourage them to visit their state capitals, visit US memorials, history museums and speak to veterans. There are so many stories of courage and bravery that protected the America Dream. I have never heard of another country that is described as "The Dream" other than America and we can't let it go. As young Americans, we need to embrace the foundation of our country was built on and buckle up, because it's never has been an easy ride and it never will be, but its well worth it. It still gives me goose bumps when I think about the spirit of scruffy starving rebels who were lightly armed, had little training, and usually no uniforms, kicking the butt of one of the world's super powers and well trained army, the Redcoats.

I want to inspire my peers to support the values America was built on. In America "all people" have the right to freedom and human rights. The best way to renew patriotism is to never let anyone make you feel afraid and therefore take away your freedoms. What is the meaning of liberty, life and happiness to an American? Regardless of your philosophy or political outlook, being an American embodies certain rights and responsibilities, provided by our system of government and the way we choose to pursue our shared values.

In conclusion, I feel the best way to renew patriotism in my peers, is to get back to basics and revisit the foundations America was built on. We need to be reminded of the fight we had to become this great nation, the sacrifices and bravery of all Americans along the way to maintain our freedoms. We need to stay informed and engaged in the process of running our country. I know every time I hear the Star Spangled Banner, I cry just a little with a sense of pride and patriotism.

2011 Winner
VO-67 Scholarship
Marissa Womack

"Should all young Americans be required to serve our nation for at least two years in either a military or civilian capacity? Yes, or no and why"

I do believe that all young American's should be required to serve our nation for at least two years in either a military or civilian capacity. This is not only because every day about seven thousand of our nation's students become dropouts. Nor is it only because a disproportionate amount of the poor and minorities make up our enlisted military, and not even is it because it might take a crack at lowering our obesity rates, although these are all valid reasons. I believe this because I come from a family of service: my mother, the nurse who puts everything she has into her patients, my father, the police captain who truly cares about the people he protects, both my grandfathers, who have served in Vietnam, one as infantry, and the other in the navy, and my step grandfather, who devoted his whole life to helping people. I have grown up around and been shaped by people who have sacrificed themselves for something greater, just as the men of the VO-67 squadron did in 1968 as they flew above one of the most heavily guarded trails of the war, no doubt with the risk of death always looming around them. Compulsory service will benefit Americans both collectively and individually, as a nation and as people.

Every year my step grandfather organizes and helps with making Christmas food baskets for the poor in our community. Last year, he took me along to help out. Arriving at the warehouse before the sun came up, I saw the other people, from all ages and ethnicities, who were also there to help. I stood off to the side with my cousins and talked, not thinking too much about the other people there. When the work began we all made a large assembly line to fill the boxes with food. Somewhere amid bagging rice, counting apples, and hauling turkeys, I saw something amazing happen. The before separated and quiet group of people became one. We all laughed and talked, sharing stories and smiles as we worked together. It was as if service to others banded us together, and there was a sort of knowing in the air that we were doing something greater than just putting food in boxes. I will never forget this experience, and it taught me a valuable lesson: working together for a cause with others erases the boundaries between people, pulls them together and makes them stronger as a group. In the same way, compulsory military or civilian service will collectively strengthen us as a nation. Being brought together for a greater cause, regardless of race, ethnicity, or status will unify the deeply divided nation we are in today. Imagine our entire nation's youth all working together, regardless of differences. Whether it be fighting for our freedom abroad or fighting here to make America a better place, after two years our nation's youth will return stronger and more unified, ready to take on the problems of the future working together.

Mark Twain once said, "Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Having experiences outside of one's comfort zone broadens and textures the mind. My Grandpa told me about his experience in Vietnam, "You see things you don't always want to see� but it makes you who you are". I myself have acquired a broader view of the world just through working with a fourth grade class at an elementary school in a less fortunate area of town. Working with the kids for a semester, getting to know them personally and seeing another side of life really did open my eyes. I believe that everyone should have experiences such as this, and compulsory military or civilian service would do just that. Service shapes a person in two important ways. It strengthens character, and widens their view of the world. Our youth today need a healthy dose of both. I have personally seen how the work of many of my family members has made them into incredibly strong and resilient people. My father is one of the wisest people I know, and my mother faces obstacles with confidence and adaptability.

I think that America could use more people like these, people of service. I am proud of my family, and cannot wait to continue our history of service to others. I am proud of my country, and believe that at least two years of military or civilian service to our nation should be required of our youth. It would demand hard work, and heavy sacrifice. But, I also believe that for the benefit of the United States of America, it is well worth it.

2010 Winner
VO-67 Scholarship
Roy Taylor Gore

"Why Is Freedom Not Free"

When pondering the question why is freedom not free, many things came to mind. The first thing that popped in to my head was the fiscal cost of freedom, the money aspect of living in a free country. But as I began to think deeper and began to break down the cost, it was more then just capital that American citizens must pay to remain free of oppression. Payment is not taken only from the pocket, but from the heart and minds of the American public. The biggest loss that takes a heavy toll on all Americans regardless if you have a loved one in active duty is the lives taken in the constant fight for freedom during and after active duty. The loss of ones life in active duty is not the only detriment to a lone soldier fighting the battle for freedom. When done with active duty they are at times left with disruptive conditions that can affect them for the remainder of their civilian lives, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, loss of limbs or other vital human functions. The cost is not only left to the men and women serving, but also to their family and friends waiting for them at home. It is often that during wartime soldiers are forced to leave their needing families to serve their country.

The biggest toll taken on American soldiers is without doubt also the ultimate sacrifice that one could give to their country, their life. You could visit any memorial for any war that the United States have been involved in and have emotions evoked of sadness, distress, and pride. These feelings are without a doubt strong but hold no valor to the feelings that come directly from the deepest part of your heart when visiting any military cemetery. Fortunately, I have never experienced the loss of a loved one due to the struggles of war, and could only imagine the strength of feelings invoked by visiting military cemeteries. With the estimated numbers of lives lost in Vietnam being 50,000 these statistics will not allow anyone to say that there are no costs of freedom.

Even those that do return from war are often plagued with the detrimental physical and psychological aftermath of serving for this wonderful country that we have been given the privilege the live in. When a soldier returns with a missing limb or a paralysis from a damaged spinal chord their lives cannot return to the civilian lives that they previously held. These physical deformities inhibit veterans from returning to work and to their family and societal role. Just as common as physical problems that arise from serving in the military psychological problems come back to the United States such as post-traumatic stress disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, and numerous other stress disorders. These disorders not only affect the veteran plagued with the disorder but also their entire family, and the society that they are returning to.

The cost of freedom that most directly affects me personally is the single parent left to tend for the entire family. When my grandfather courageously left to serve over seas in the Vietnam War he was forced to leave my grandmother to take care of the affairs at home. She also took a courageous role and took four kids into adulthood. Stress was not only put on my grandmother but on my father and aunts. My father was put in the position of man of the house at a young age and with my grandfather only able to be a strong male presence for short periods of time, this task was a daunting one. Although my grandmother took the single parent role head on and still does very well keeping the family close, it has always been said that when he was able to see to his family matters, around the house went much smoother. We are all thankful for the sacrifices that my grandfather gave for the country that we are all proud to live in, however these stresses put on the families of soldiers is another cost in the high price of freedom.

The fact of it is, freedom is not free. The numerous costs noted only are a few that collect from the soldiers serving, the families of the soldiers, and the citizens of this wonderful country we all live in. These costs are inevitable and will forever be on the hearts and minds of every proud American for generations to come. Without them we will not be able to walk the soil of America with the freedoms that we do.

2009 Winners

VO-67 Scholarship
Tory Witt

"What does Veteran's Day mean to you?"

When any young adult is first asked "What does Veteran's Day mean to you?" the automatic answer is no school or work. But that is not what the holiday is about. Veteran's day was created to remember the end of World War I, but it has come to represent every war that has taken place since then. Thinking about how times have changed in ninety years is astounding, but one fact remains, the men and women who serve for our country still deserve to be honored for everything they give to our country. On Veteran's Day, we should reflect on how much sacrifice and loss some Americans go through to fight for our country. My grandfather served in the Korean War in the early 1950's and consequently, he missed the birth of his eldest child, who happens to be my mother. Not only did he miss the birth of his only daughter, my grandmother delivered and began to raise my mother on her own. When my grandfather returned home, his daughter was completely unaware of whom he was, but he was very conscious of all that he had missed. The sacrifices my grandfather made were to benefit his country. All veterans and their families went through some struggle when they were sent to war. Veteran's Day reminds me of how lucky I am for not having to deal with someone close to me go off to war. I have yet to deal with the stress or sadness of seeing a loved one go off to war, not knowing in what condition they will return. I am proud of all of those who have gone through this, though, because it takes a great deal of courage and strength. To leave behind your entire life to fight for America or to be able to let someone close do this is so selfless. In the big picture, it's one life fighting for millions. November 11th is just one day dedicated to our veterans, but the other three hundred and sixty-four days of the year should not go without recognizing them. Without these good people, none of our lives would be how they are. The veterans could have saved us from terrorists or from feuds with other countries. They have prevented destruction not only here, but in many other countries who needed a helping hand. Many have lost their lives for us and we should realize how lucky we are that those men and women are willing to do that for America. After writing this essay, I know that on this coming Veteran's Day, I will give thanks to the veterans who have given me the life I now live and for all the sacrifices they went through to allow me to live it.

Troy Witt

VO-67 Scholarship
Christine F. Williams

"A Nation to Build a Dream On"

To me, a student of conflict resolution and international studies, Veteran's Day represents an occasion to celebrate those who have devoted their time and energy to protecting our nation from physical and ideological violence. It is a day to honor those who have perished in service while cherishing those who continue to serve. As my personal experience with the military has increased over time, each Veteran's Day becomes more nuanced than those in years past.

As a young girl, Veteran's Day meant saluting the flag, spending time with family who served our country, and, very importantly, eating hot dogs. It was a day of sheer pride and joy that I knew in my heart was momentous, but did not yet fully appreciate for lack of experience. As I grew older, Veteran's Day came to represent a culmination of admirable feelings for the military and the young men and women who strive to maintain it. Those feelings have come to mean far more to me on Veteran's Day than the hot dogs of my youth.

In college I gained significant respect for the military. When I was an undergraduate, I saw the opportunities the Army afforded my best friend who decided to join the National Guard when he felt urged to serve his country. I watched him gain a strong sense of purpose and identity through cleaning up Hurricane Katrina's wreckage in Louisiana, and more recently through his deployment to Kuwait. The military has given him standards to live up to, and he lives up to those standards with flying colors.

This past semester I learned more about the structure of our military and its many roles. I was surprised to find that in addition to protecting our country from war, the military also helps with peacekeeping operations and humanitarian efforts. While I remember hearing about my friend's adventures with Hurricane Katrina, I was struck by his emotional progression and sense of community within his unit. Since I was so overwhelmed by his personal experience with the army, I did not stop to marvel at the versatility and logistical capabilities of the U.S. military! To call our military a well-oiled machine would do a disservice to those of us whose lives it has touched. However, with its increasing mandate to protect against all types of threats as well as its advanced technology, and organized, coordinated field operations, no wonder America remains safe from physical and ideological threat. If I was not convinced of the importance of the U.S. military before coming to this university, I certainly am convinced now.

This past Veteran's Day I was able to appreciate the military on so many levels. While my taste for hot dogs has waned over the past years, my admiration for our country continues to blossom. We civilians of the United States are extremely indebted to those who carry the torch for the United States, democracy, peace, and protection without ever letting its flame flicker.

Christine F. Williams

2008 Winner
VO-67 Scholarship
Cathryne M. Smith

"What is a Hero?"

The dictionary defines a hero as someone of distinguished courage or ability, admired for their brave deeds. When most people think of a hero, they think of the men and women serving in the armed forces, or the men and women who gave their lives in the attacks on September 11, 2001. For most people this is true. I, however have a somewhat expanded view of a hero. My expanded view of a hero is the many wives and husband who are married to service personnel. I grew up in a military family and my father was deployed away for months at a time. This is very trying on a young family, especially when the military family is so far away from their extended family. I can remember as a child the tears as my dad would leave wearing his flight suit and black boots carrying his duffle bag. These were very trying times for my mom, but we knew that this was the way things were, we were a military family. Running a household as a married single parent I saw my mom serving the role as mom and dad, caregiver and disciplinarian. This was the way that things had to be done. I give my mom a lot of credit, as well as the many other military spouses. This life is a difficult but rewarding life. My mom will be the first to tell you that she could not have seen this country if it were not for the military, although most of the sightseeing was done through a car window at about 60 mph. Who else could give you the adventure of having a toddler, a six month old baby, being pregnant with your third and a dog that just had puppies, and by the way your husband just came home with orders to move you across the county to California (you are currently in Massachusetts). Most wives would be freaking out with just half of this dilemma. Military wives take this situation as part of their way of life. They start packing up their good china, gathering health and school records, exchanging addresses with the other families who will eventually be doing the same thing she is doing. These moms also have to wipe the tears of their children as she tells them they can write to their new found best friend in the world. Mom will also be the one to reassure her children that there will still be McDonalds on the other side of the country and that you will make new friends at your new school. Mom will also be there when her children have to make the decision as to which toys will go into the moving van and which ones will fit in the car after all of the traveling necessities. Behind every military family there is one pillar that holds up the weight of their family, for me this would be my mom.

Cathryne M. Smith

2007 Winner
VO-67 Scholarship
Amanda Kennedy

"Is America still the best country in the world?"

Before one can answer the question of "Is America still the best country in the world?" one must first ask if America ever was the best country in the world. We can go back to 1492 when Columbus sailed the ocean blue and discovered this great new land. He took word back to Spain of a new land that could be conquered and used for trade routes and colonies. Over a century later the second successful settlement began by a group seeking religious freedom. This group, of course, was the Pilgrims who stumbled upon Plymouth Rock. From then the new land and population grew to support thirteen colonies who were ultimately under the control of the British. Despite being a very young union, in 1776 we declared our independence from one of the major world powers which lead to full out war on our own soil. Our brothers fought that war to defend those truths which they felt to be self evident; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those founding fathers envisioned a country of freedom, of opportunity, of prosperity. A country that had more regulations for the government than for the people. Their idea can be summed up in one word; democracy. From that moment on, America has made it a priority to make those ideas available to everyone world wide.

Over the past 230 years, it's not a stretch to say that many things have changed. However, the most noticeable are the superficial things like technological advances. As a nation, I believe our direction and vision have not changed all that much. The finest man to ever come from Illinois said it best in 1863 when, with a heavy heart he spoke out "�that government, of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth." To this day we still fight battles to make the world safe for democracy. We are a neighbor to the world, willing to lend our garden hose whenever needed. Not only are we a power to the world, but we are foremost a power to our people. Unlike many [socialist] countries, we offer endless opportunities for self improvement. It started back with the Pilgrims. The Indians didn't just give them fish, instead they taught them how to fish. Education (academic or vocational) has since become an intrinsic value in the American lifestyle.

Amanda Kennedy

"Amanda is now a Member of the Army National Guard"

VO-67 Scholarship
Amanda is the Niece of ATN-2 John Hartzheim Crew-7
KIA with VO-67

Amanda graduated from college in Dec 2009 and joined the guards in Feb 2010. She became the First Sergeant being in charge of 300 students after one week at Fort Lee after showing her great leadership abilities. She hopes to go on to become an officer. She wants to thank the VO-67 brotherhood for helping her with scholarship funds and for giving her the inspiration to become a soldier.

2006 Winner
VO-67 Scholarship
Jessica Squires

"How I Demonstrate my Patriotism and Love of Country"

Patriotism is a big part of my life. I have grown up in a very patriotic family. My great grandfather and grandfather served in WWII, while my other grandfather served in Vietnam. Now, my father is fighting in the Iraq War. These men in my life have shown their patriotism by fighting for our country. I demonstrate my patriotism in different ways. I may not be in the military, but I'm very proud of my country and my family for doing what they have done for this land. During high school, I started a letter campaign for our troops in Iraq, conducted a support our troops day, and participated in patriotic activities in my city.

I have always been very supportive and proud of the military. During my sophomore year in high school, I started a letter campaign for an Army Unit. I rallied all my friends and fellow students to write a letter to some of the soldiers fighting in Iraq. After I received all the letters, I sent them along with a box full of snacks and games for the troops in Iraq. I felt so proud of the troops. I was doing what I could do to show that I support them and support my country.

I ended up moving to a different city during high school. I was now living in a military town. Seeing all of the military around me got me thinking about how I could show my love and patriotism even more than I had been. So, I decided to conduct a day at my school to support our troops. I made a couple thousand yellow ribbons and handed them out during lunch time. It was a great feeling to walk down the hallways and see that just about everyone had a yellow ribbon on them, showing the love and gratitude for the military and our country. I love putting so much of my time and energy into showing my support.

I show my patriotism and love by participating in a lot of activities that my city offers. Every Memorial day, I will be found at a local cemetery where fallen men have been buried. I go there to show my gratitude for what these men fought for. They fought for the United States and I always want to show them that I appreciate what they have given to this country. I also go to the parades that honor our Veterans. It is always nice to go there and see all the men together who fought for this country that I love. It's a great feeling to look in the crowds and see a crowd full of flags blowing in the wind.

Patriotism is a feeling of pride that I feel inside. It's not only a feeling, but an action. To get up and show how much I love my country is one of the greatest sensations that I have ever felt. Patriotism will always be apart of my life because I love my country.

Jessica Squires.

2004-2005 Winners
VO-67 Scholarship
Doug Steffy - Jessica Squires - Staci Dillahunty


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