Annual Northport VA BBQ & Agent Orange Awareness Rally

Apr 07, 14 Annual Northport VA BBQ & Agent Orange Awareness Rally

625692_139990582841823_245024101_nOn March 14th, 1970, during a Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol mission in the Duc Lap area of the Quang Duc Province of South Viet Nam, a UH-1P helicopter carrying Capt. Dana A. Dilley, Capt. Marvin R. Loper, SSgt John A. Thorburn, and A1c David A. Carpenter was shot down by enemy ground fire. Staff Sergeant Thorburn, along with fellow gunner A1C Carpenter, suffered serious injuries. Captain Dilley lost his life in the crash, and Captain Loper sustained broken bones in one of his feet. An Army helicopter on the same operation was able to rescue the surviving crew and bring them to Cam Ranh Bay, where they received treatment for their injuries. Upon receiving treatment, they were brought back to the U.S. Despite being badly injured, Thorburn ultimately survived the incident.

By the end of his service, SSgt Thorburn had served in both the Army and Air Force.  He had been assigned to the 101st Airborne and the Green Berets.  He was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart, and the Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, along with several other citations and commendations.  Most importantly, he had survived the war.

Upon his return home, however, a new battle awaited.  SSgt Thorburn learned that he had been exposed to Agent Orange, a powerful herbicide used by the United States during the Viet Nam War.  Agent Orange exposure is known to cause several diseases in those exposed, including Parkinson’s, diabetes, several forms of cancer, neurological problems, and more (click here to visit the VA’s public health site for Agent Orange exposure).  Perhaps more sinister is the fact that Agent Orange exposure leaves behind a terrible heritage that is passed on to the children of those exposed, causing several forms of birth defects.  In addition to his own concerns, two of SSgt Thorburn’s children were affected by his exposure.  His son, Maxx, and daughter, Dee-ann, were both born severely mentally and physically handicapped.  Maxx died at age 10.  Dee-ann lived until 2007, when she passed at the young age of 27.  On January 7th, 2010, SSgt John Thorburn departed this world.

In Honor of SSGT John Thorburn, and in order to help raise awareness about Agent Orange, its effects, and the need for those affected to get tested, BOTG-NY is hosting the 5th Annual “Run to the VA” on Saturday June 14th, 2014.  Ride staging begins at Boots on the Ground NY – Veteran Activity Center located at 2184 Pond Road, Ronkonkoma.  This 75 mile ride run, beginning promptly at 10:00 AM, ends at the Northport VA Hospital, where BOTG-NY will provide a BBQ for those who attended the run as well as for the residents of the VA hospital.  Any donations raised from this ride will benefit hospitalized Veterans of the Northport VA.  BOTG-NY purchases supplies and lunch for patients throughout the year during our monthly visits.  We will also be collecting items at staging for hospitalized patients such as socks, underwear, t-shirts, pay-phone cards & toiletries which will be brought to the wards after the BBQ

We are looking for event sponsors to cover the cost of the food & t-shirts for this event. This will be a free event with only donation jugs out.



Open to Cars, Trucks, and Motorcycles.

Start: “The VAC” Boots on the Ground NY Veterans Activity Center, 2184 Pond Rd, Ronkonkoma, NY 11779

Staging begins at 0900 – KSU: 1000hrs

BBQ & Live Music by Schroeder’s Ghost

For info contact: Frank Bania – 631.615-2200 /

Anyone with literature or info regarding the after effects of Agent Orange, please feel free to bring to the event for distribution.

The residents of building 92 look forward every Father’s Day weekend to this visit, the company, the bikes, the BBQ and their annual free t-shirt.  Anyone wishing to sponsor the event t-shirt please contact us or visit the Sponsorship link in our store.


Can’t make the event? You can still make a donation on our website:

Have you been screened for Agent Orange?

Contact the VA :


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