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Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, December 24, 2015, Page 11


Specialist James Allen Brand joined the United States Army in March of 1968 and completed basic at Ft.Bliss, TX.

He then went to Jump School at Ft. Benning, GA and Rigger School at Fort Lee, VA. He was then sent to Viet Nam in March of 1969.

Jim was assigned duties as a cargo rigger at a small fire base called LZ Uplift in Central Viet Nam. His job was to prepare cargo or equipment for airlift and then attach lifting cables from the helicopters to the cargo. Little did he know at the time how much damage to his health this duty would create.

Jim was not only exposed to the rigors of combat and agent orange but was biten by a (two-stepper) venomous snake and was shocked numerous times from the static charges that are created by the helicopters. The rotors of the helicopters create static electricity something like a generator as it turns. The pilot was supposed to discharge the electricity prior to Jim touching the lifting cables but that did not always happen. Of course it would then discharge to the ground when Jim grabbed the cables. This produced a lot of exciting moments for Jim during his tour of duty.

Jim survived all these hazards and left Viet Nam in 1970 and returned to Mount Ayr where he has lived since. Jim is an avid sports fan and has been a strong member of the Mount Ayr American Legion.

Most recently Jim has started serving his fellow veterans as their driver for medical appointments at the Veteran's medical center in Des Moines.

During the last two years Jim has made over 100 trips to Des Moines to take veterans who cannot drive to their medical appointments. Jim not only drives them but drops them off at their appointment locations within that maze at the Des Moines VA Center.

He has also become a splendid ambassador for the Ringgold Veterans as he gets to know and politics with the staff at the center who make the life for our veterans much better.

Denny Akdisson, Veteran Affairs Director, stated that Jim is like a right arm that makes his job much easier and assures that brother veteran receive the care thay deserve.

  Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, May of 2016

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