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In Country Vets Motorcycle Club

Written by  May 31, 2004

Today, many Americans are trying to make some sense out of the war we are fighting in Iraq. Some are looking to draw parallels between the war fought in Vietnam and now in Iraq. Most citizens only know what they see and hear through government information releases and the various news media. All are very misleading, sensation seeking and self-serving to their needs. Every combat veteran, from any past or present war, police action or conflict knows you have to dig much deeper to weed out the inaccuracies and find out the real truth. Various veteran groups use their collective synergy to voice past and present challenges, which thousands of veterans face daily.

This month I was fortunate enough to obtain an interview with In Country Vets Motorcycle Club - Kentucky Chapter. Their voice is one that the government would rather not hear and that the press generally ignores. However, people are starting to listen and understand, as the Iraqi War is beginning to affect all families across the United States, much like the Vietnam War affected a generation of people and returning unsung patriots. Spider, the State Representative for Kentucky, provided the responses to this interview and I pulled most of the article photographs from the various states and national/international In Country Vets Motorcycle Club websites. So, let’s jump into this interview and see what the In Country Vets Motorcycle Club is all about.

CC: When and where did your motorcycle club first get its start?

Spider: The motorcycle club was first organized in Illinois in 1994.

CC: Why was the club formed?

Spider: The club was founded by a group of in country Vietnam veterans who wanted to ride together in a motorcycling brotherhood with a desire to support and assist each other, other veterans, veterans’ widows and dependents and other members of the community. The club is wholly benevolent in purpose and organization. We extend to our members and other Vietnam veterans the 'Welcome Home' that the American public as a whole failed to give to returning Vietnam Vets.

CC: What is the significance of the name?

Spider: The name of the club signifies that every member served in Vietnam or its' territorial waters.

CC: Is it a national club? If so, where is the headquarters located and in which states do you have active chapters?

Spider: We are a national/international club with chapters in numerous states and Germany.

CC: What message does your club want to send out to fellow veterans and the community?

Spider: Our motto is 'Vets Helping Vets' and our purpose is to provide moral, mental and physical support to our brothers and sisters as well as other veterans, their families, widows and children. We may also assist other members of the community who need financial, emotional and personal support.

CC: Who leads the National Organization, a President or Director? What are the qualifications and election procedures?

Spider: We have a National/International President, Brother Animal, with a full contingent of national/international officers. Each state has a State Representative who serves as a liaison between the chapters and the national/international. Each chapter elects their own officers.

CC: Any exclusions: motorcycles, age, or gender?

Spider: Motorcycles must be 500 CC or larger, any brand is acceptable, street legal, licensed, insured, registered and owned by the member. Only veterans who actually served in Vietnam or its' territorial waters and were awarded the Vietnam Service Medal or the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal Vietnam and are motorcyclists are eligible for membership. Each chapter is authorized to have one Vietnam Veteran non-riding member who is unable to ride due to illness or injury. We also permit members to belong to other veteran organizations such as the American Legion or VFW just to name a couple.

CC: Does your club have any special rules the members MUST follow?

Spider: Members must not embarrass the club and honor the protocol for patched motorcycle clubs.

CC: What is the cost to become a member?

Spider: A processing fee, initial cost of patches and first year dues are payable upon joining the club, which is currently $120. Annual dues are $10 and an additional $10 is collected for the Brothers Assistance Fund.

CC: Do you have a special club patch or badge?

Spider: We wear trademarked colors which consist of a top rocker (In Country Vets), a center patch which depicts the Vietnam Service Medal, a bottom rocker that indicates that particular member's unit in Vietnam and the Motorcycle Club patch.

CC: How do you become a member?

Spider: Interested Vietnam Veterans who are motorcyclists may contact any member to inquire about membership. Applications are normally turned in to the appropriate State Representative and forwarded to the National Secretary once the packet is complete.

CC: Do you have any local or national famous club members?

Spider: We currently do not have a member who would be considered 'famous'. All of our members are heroes and ranged from privates to field grade officers during their military service.

CC: Do you have both open and closed events/activities which you sponsor or support?

Spider: Each chapter is required to actively support a veterans cause and chapters are free to support local charities and events. Each chapter also conducts fundraisers throughout the year to finance their veterans cause and other community activities.

CC: In the last 12 months, what single event displayed the essence of your club?

Spider: During the 2003 National Meeting in Minnesota, we visited and supported a severely disabled child.

CC: What is the major intent of your web site?

Spider: We do not actively recruit for members, therefore our national and chapter web sites provide the opportunity for veterans and others to be aware of our existence and our purpose, in addition to seeing members in public. Each web site affords visitors a means to contact us either through e-mail or guest books.

CC: What else should I share with our readers about your club?

Spider: We are a dinosaur club meaning that when the last member has passed we will be no more. This is important to us to remain solely a club of In Country Vietnam Veterans and to maintain the bond and comradeship of being In Country Vietnam Vets.

CC: Some may see the reference to being a dinosaur club, as being a bit sad. However, that is more from the truth. This membership style club is designed to retain its’ camaraderie, focus and usefulness. The In Country Vietnam Vets Motorcycle Club will exist as long as it is needed and has a support purpose. Many other dinosaur clubs and organizations have paved the way for them and many other clubs, which exist today. In turn, they will help set the bar for future veteran motorcycle clubs to obtain and surpass. This is an unspoken tradition within our armed forces, making it better for the next one who must step up to the call. These Vietnam Vets have proudly answered the call to duty again, this time taking care of fellow brothers and their families.



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