Veteran who served in Vietnam War ends hunger strike in Mountain Home
Written by: Caitlin Sinett
Published by: KY3
MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. – A veteran who served during the Vietnam War went on a hunger strike in a northwest Arkansas city to try to get legislators to make a change.
Jerry Bibb served in the U.S. air force in the late 1960s during the Vietnam War. He was stationed in Okinawa Island, Japan, and worked on navigation equipment inside of military aircraft used in the fight.
Bibb said, “I was very important to those guys on the ground because if they didn’t drop them in the right place, we could’ve had servicemen dead.”
But Bibb said he recently found out he is not considered a Vietnam War veteran. He’s considered a Vietnam-era veteran: someone who served during the war but not physically in Vietnam.
“Same as somebody who was on a base in Florida was down on the beach every day with a cute girl in a bikini on each side, and never went over,” Bibb said.
He reached out to U.S. legislators about including people who served in Japan, Thailand and Guam during the war as Vietnam Veterans, and decided to go without food or water until he heard back about making a change.
For more than 24 hours he camped out at the veteran’s plaza in Mountain Home. Monday afternoon a representative with U.S. Congressman Rick Crawford met up with Bibb.
“He said, ‘Mr. Bibb I understand exactly where you’re coming and said we’ll work on it.’ But he said, ‘Get off your hunger strike and everything because we need you alive.'”
Even though Bibb ended the strike for now, he will continue to push legislators to make a change.
“I just want to be classified something besides some guy here in the states who didn’t even go over there and do it. I did my part. And I should be a Vietnam War Veteran,” Bibb said.
In a statement, U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford said: “Last evening, a member of my staff spent several hours visiting with one of our nation’s heroes and learned about his concerns regarding the status of his and many others status who served during the conflict in Vietnam in support of those who were in active combat. I fully understand Mr. Bibb’s concerns and he certainly deserves to be heard. I pledge to Mr. Bibb and everyone like him who served during that time in support of those who were in active combat to fully examine the opinions and perspectives of those who would be impacted by any potential legislative or administrative change of their status. As a veteran – and the son of a veteran who served multiple deployments including Vietnam – our veterans deserve our respect and appreciation for all that they have done and I am happy to look in to this further on behalf of Mr. Bibb and those like him.”