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Post 3274
VETERANS
Group One
VFW PHOTO ALBUM
VFW POST 3274 MESSAGE BOARD
Friday, 29 April 2016
ACTION CORPS
Now Playing: Rprinted from Ann Markel
Topic: VETERANS
                                           April 29, 2016
 
In This Issue:
1. Army Retains SFC Martland
2. FY 2017 Defense Bill Overview
3. VFW Lauds Senate VA Committee Efforts
4. House Markup of Health Care Legislation
5. VFW Supports Continued Research for Gulf War Illness
6. New Four-Star Leadership
7. V-E Day Commemoration
8. MIA Updates
 
1. Army Retains SFC Martland: The Army announced yesterday that Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland will be allowed to continue his career in the Army. The decorated Green Beret had been fighting an involuntary discharge after confronting an Afghan police officer in 2011 for sexually abusing a small boy and assaulting his mother. VFW National Commander John Biedrzycki said in a statement that the VFW was pleased to hear that SFC Martland will continue to serve our great nation in uniform. “He is an outstanding soldier who did the absolute right thing for the right reasons, and we are very pleased that Army leadership agreed,” he said.
 
2. FY 2017 Defense Bill Overview: The House Armed Services Committee passed its fiscal year 2017 defense authorization bill draft by a vote of 60-2 early Thursday morning. The full House still has to vote on the $610 billion package, plus differences have to be worked out with a Senate version that is still in committee. Some of the troop strength and quality of life programs contained in the HASC bill include:
-- A 2.1 percent pay raise, which is a half-percent higher than the Administration’s request.
-- Halting most planned troop drawdowns by adding 25,000 more soldiers to the Army National Guard and Reserve, increasing the active Army by 5,000, adding 1,000 more Marines and 285 Airmen.
-- Retain Tricare Prime and create a new Tricare Preferred program out of the current Standard/Extra programs. Current fee structures would remain in place, but could change in 2020 if the Pentagon can meet certain standards for patient access and care. All personnel now serving or who will retire before 2018 will stay in current Tricare fee structures, with enrollment fees adjusted to the cost of living, as mandated by law. Anyone enlisting after Jan. 1, 2018, would pay an annual fee for services.
-- Require military treatment facilities to extend their normal business hours to improve patient access, and realign military health facilities under the Defense Health Agency, which is a step closer to the VFW-supported goal of a joint military medical command.
-- Require women to register with the Selective Service System.
-- Extend by one year the Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance of $310 per month through Sept. 30, 2018, as well as eliminate the different treatment under the Survivor Benefit Plan accorded to members of the Reserve Component who die from an injury or illness incurred or aggravated in the line of duty during Inactive-Duty training.
-- Amend the Uniformed Service Former Spouse Protection Act by eliminating the “windfall provision,” which currently grants divorce awards based on expected retirement pay, not on the actual paygrade at the time of divorce. This is another longtime VFW-supported goal. Former spouses would still benefit from annual COLA increases as approved by Congress.
 
3. VFW Lauds Senate VA Committee Efforts: On Thursday, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee unveiled its version of a comprehensive veterans package, known as the “Veterans First Act.” The VFW is encouraged that the committee has addressed some of the VFW’s priority goals, including expanding caregivers benefits to pre-9/11 veterans, expansion of the Yellow Ribbon Program to Fry Scholarship beneficiaries, and reducing VA’s use of high-dose opioids to treat and manage chronic pain. The VFW lauds the committee for its progress on this bill, and while there are key omissions, we call upon the full Senate to quickly pass it so that the House and Senate can compromise on a final bill. As the bill is conferenced, the VFW will strongly urge both chambers to include a consolidated community care payment provision, as well as to provide expanded urgent care options for veterans, postnatal care for new mothers, expanded childcare options at VA facilities, and an increase in the VA home loan guarantee amount. The VFW looks forward to working with the committees to pass this much needed bill, as well as finding a way forward to implement appeals reform that improves the process and reduces the current backlog of pending appeals. For a summary of the bill, visit: http://www.veterans.senate.gov/newsroom/majority-news/isakson-blumenthal-unveil-groundbreaking-veterans-legislation-to-change-culture-at-va.
 
4. House Markup of Health Care Legislation: Today, the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health held a markup of several health care bills, many of which the VFW supports, including expansion of adult day care services and establishing a program to afford transitioning combat medics and corpsmen the ability to use their combat medical experience to become VA physician assistants. The bills await action by the full committee. To view the webcast of the markup, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxtPdbO_T0E&feature=youtu.be.
 
5. VFW Supports Continued Research for Gulf War Illness: On Thursday, VFW Senior Legislative Associate Carlos Fuentes participated in a panel discussion at a VA Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans Illnesses meeting on how VA can improve health care and benefits for Gulf War veterans. Fuentes urged the committee to continue researching the causes of Gulf War Illness and to work with VA to develop a single disability benefits questionnaire for Gulf War Illness disability claims. For more information on the research advisory committee, visit: http://www.va.gov/rac-gwvi/.
 
6. New Four-Star Leadership: The Senate Armed Services Committee approved the nomination of the first female officer to lead one of the military's nine combatant commands, as well as two other four-star generals to lead U.S. forces in Europe and Korea. The full Senate is expected to confirm all three nominations. Approved this week was Air Force Gen. Lori J. Robinson to be commander of U.S. Northern Command. She is a life member of VFW Post 541 in Prescott, Ariz., and currently the commander of Pacific Air Forces. Also approved were Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti to lead U.S. European Command and Army Gen. Vincent K. Brooks to lead U.S. Forces Korea. Scaparrotti is currently the USFK commander and will succeed retiring Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove. Brooks, a life member of VFW Post 2979 in Washington, D.C., is currently the commander of U.S. Army Pacific.
 
7. V-E Day Commemoration: A public ceremony to commemorate the 71st anniversary of Victory in Europe Day will be held at the National World War II Memorial in Washington on Mother’s Day, May 8, at 11 a.m. All WWII veterans are invited to attend and be recognized for their service and sacrifice. The WWII Memorial has very few disability parking spaces, and street parking could be limited since it’s the tourist season. Taxis to the memorial are plentiful and recommended. The two closest Metro stations, Federal Triangle and Smithsonian, are both about a half-mile away. Learn more about this and other events at: http://www.wwiimemorialfriends.org/.
 
8. MIA Updates: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced the identification of remains of four American servicemen who had been missing in action since World War II and Korea. Returning home for burial with full military honors are:
-- Navy Lt. Julian B. Jordan, 37, from Georgia, and Seaman 2nd Class Rudolph V. Piskuran, of Ohio, had been missing since Dec. 7, 1941, when the battleship USS Oklahoma they were aboard suffered multiple torpedo hits and capsized as it was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. They will be buried on dates and locations yet to be announced.
-- Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Leonard R. Farron, 23, will be buried May 4 in his hometown of Tacoma, Wash. On Oct. 15, 1942, Farron was piloting a P-39 Airacobra that failed to return to base after a strafing mission over Tassafaronga, Guadalcanal. He was assigned to the 67th Fighter Squadron, 347th Fighter Group, 13th Air Force. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/NewsStories/NewsReleases/tabid/10159/Article/743794/airman-missing-from-world-war-ii-accounted-for-farron.aspx.
-- Army Cpl. David J. Wishon Jr., 18, of Baltimore, will be buried May 6 in Arlington National Cemetery. Wishon was declared missing in action after his unit was heavily attacked by enemy forces in the vicinity of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea on Dec. 1, 1950. He was assigned to Medical Company, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/NewsStories/NewsReleases/tabid/10159/Article/744912/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-accounted-for-wishon.aspx.
 
 
To sign up new veterans’ advocates, click here: http://capwiz.com/vfw/mlm/signup.htm.

Posted by vfwpost3274 at 1:25 PM MDT
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Friday, 15 April 2016
ACTION CORPS
Now Playing: reprinted from Ann Markel
Topic: VETERANS
                                         April 15, 2016
 
In This Issue:
1. VFW Testifies at Two Bill Hearings
2. House Holds Hearing on IT
3. Military Construction and VA Bill Advanced by Congress
4. VA’s Commission on Care to Hold Public Meeting
5. Puerto Rican Regiment Receives Congressional Gold Medal
6. Top VFW & Auxiliary Volunteers
7. Veterans in Public Office
8. MIA Update
 
1. VFW Testifies at Two Bill Hearings: On Wednesday, April 13, Deputy Legislative Director Aleks Morosky presented VFW’s position on pending legislation before the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs. If enacted into law, these bills will provide special compensation to veterans who lost the use of their reproductive organs, authorize a COLA increase for 2017, improve burial benefits and protect surviving spouses from repaying VA for certain overpayments. To view this hearing click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9UOA-YJ2o8&feature=youtu.be. On Thursday, April 14, Morosky presented testimony before the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity. This bill hearing focused on legislation that will provide additional educational benefits to veterans in STEM programs, expand GI Bill usage for certain pre-apprenticeship programs, and make permanent the Vets Success on Campus program, along with other meaningful legislation. To view this hearing, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBQLbXWay8w.
 
2. House Holds Hearing on IT: On Thursday, April 14, the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation held a hearing to examine VA’s work to improve and implement needed improvements to its IT to support the Choice Program. The committee heard directly from VA Under Secretary for Health, Dr. David Shulkin, and Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology, LaVerne Council, on issues surrounding VA’s IT scheduling and community care provider claims processing system, as well as the new system that will support the consolidation of community care networks. To view this hearing, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEvhAk2YcMo.
 
3. Military Construction and VA Bill Advanced by Congress: Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee held a markup to discuss and advance the fiscal year 2017 MilConVA appropriations bill that sets funding levels for VA and DOD’s military construction accounts. The bill would provide $74.9 billion for VA’s discretionary accounts. The bill also includes two provisions that are important to VFW members. It would expand VA fertility treatment options for veterans who have lost their ability to start a family due to their military service. The bill would also prohibit VA from interfering with the medications of veterans participating in state-approved medical marijuana programs. The Senate bill’s VA discretionary appropriations are $1.4 billion above the House’s MilConVA bill’s, which was also reported out of its respective committee this week. Both bills await consideration by their respective congressional chambers. Stay tuned to the Action Corps Weekly for updates on this important legislation.
 
4. VA’s Commission on Care to Hold Public Meeting: VA announced that its Commission on Care will host a meeting open to the public on April 18 and 19, 2016.  The commission was established by the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 and is responsible for recommending ways to better deliver health care to veterans for the next 20 years. The meeting will be held in Washington, D.C., and those who cannot attend in person can register to dial into the meeting. For more information on the meeting and how to attend by phone, visit: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/04/07/2016-07919/commission-on-care-meeting-notice.
 
5. Puerto Rican Regiment Receives Congressional Gold Medal: A Puerto Rican Army regiment, the 65th Infantry Regiment known as the “Borinqueneers,” was honored with the Congressional Gold Medal during a ceremony inside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. The VFW-supported recognition comes more than 50 years after the unit was disbanded, and the effort was largely due to the leadership of Congressional Gold Medal Alliance chairman Frank Medina, who is a member of VFW Post 3822 in Panama. Learn more at: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2016/04/13/congressional-gold-medal-awarded-to-puerto-rican-army-regiment/.
 
6. Top VFW & Auxiliary Volunteers: In recognition of National Volunteer Week, the VFW is saluting two of our own for representing the VFW and the Auxiliary in the Department of Veterans Affairs volunteers of the year award. Dale Henry, of VFW Post 8884 in Vinton, Iowa, has contributed almost 2,100 volunteer hours over the past four years with the Iowa City VA Healthcare System. Mariann Hamann, of VFW Post 7546 Auxiliary in Dearborn Heights, Mich., has volunteered more than 700 hours to Ann Arbor’s VA Healthcare System, as well as serving as secretary/treasurer of the local VA Volunteer Service (VAVS) Executive Committee. From its beginning in 1946, VAVS volunteers have served alongside VA staff to provide quality care and compassionate service to all veterans. The initial group of eight national organizations has grown to more than 7,400 national and local community organizations and 75,000 active volunteers. Last year, more than 6,100 VFW volunteers donated 700,000 hours to 159 VA medical facilities, which according to the nonprofit coalition Independent Sector would equate to almost $16.5 million in salary had they been paid.
 
7. Veterans in Public Office: An American Enterprise Institute article released on Tuesday provides a detailed breakdown of veterans serving in federal and state elected offices. Nationally, veterans made up 72 percent of the U.S. House of Representatives and 78 percent of the U.S. Senate in 1971. Today, those percentages are 18 and 20 percent, respectively, which still doubles veterans’ representation in Congress despite being only 9 percent of the general population. Veteran status averages about 14 percent in the state legislatures, with the top five being New Hampshire (23 percent), Nevada and Alabama (22), and North Dakota and Tennessee (21), and the bottom five being Utah (5), California and Minnesota (6), and Massachusetts and Illinois (7). The article includes a political party breakdown, but does not go further into detail regarding names or congressional districts. Read more at: https://www.aei.org/publication/serving-after-serving-veterans-in-state-public-office/.
 
8. MIA Update: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has announced one burial update and the identification of remains of four sailors who had been unaccounted for since Dec. 7, 1941, when the battleship USS Oklahoma suffered multiple torpedo hits as it was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The attack capsized the ship, resulting in 429 casualties. Thirty-five sailors would be subsequently recovered and identified; the rest would eventually be buried as unknowns in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, better known as the Punchbowl. Being returned home for burial with full military honors on a date and location yet to be determined are Ensign Joseph P. Hittorff Jr., 25, of Westmont, N.J.; Chief Storekeeper Herbert J. Hoard; Fire Controlman 1st Class Paul A. Nash, 26, of Indiana; and Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Alfred F. Wells.
-- Army Cpl. Dudley L. Evans, 24, will be buried with full military honors on April 23 in his hometown of Greenville, Miss. He was assigned to Company G, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, engaged in a battle in the vicinity of Chipyong-ni, South Korea. It would be later learned he died in captivity after being taken prisoner on Feb. 15, 1951.
 
 
To sign up new veterans’ advocates, click here: http://capwiz.com/vfw/mlm/signup.htm.

Posted by vfwpost3274 at 1:31 PM MDT
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Friday, 8 April 2016
Action Corps
Now Playing: reprint from Ann Markel
Topic: VETERANS
                                   April 8, 2016
 
In This Issue:
1. VFW Set to Testify Next Week
2. VA Provides New Care to Migraine Sufferers
3. Army in State of High Risk
4. USAF Authorizes Gold Star Lapel Button Wear
5. MIA Updates
 
1. VFW Set to Testify Next Week: Next week, the VFW will testify at two hearings before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee where we will give our views on pending legislation. A Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, April 13, at 10:00 a.m.; and a Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity hearing is scheduled for April 14 at 2:30 p.m. Deputy Legislative Director Aleks Morosky will testify on behalf of the VFW at both hearings. For more information and to watch the hearings live, visit: http://veterans.house.gov/legislation/hearings.
 
2. VA Provides New Care to Migraine Sufferers: VA is now offering a new form of preventative care to patients suffering from migraine headaches. Cefaly is a new technology that uses electrodes to stimulate nerve cells which stop pain receptors from causing migraines. The device was approved by the FDA in 2014 and is suggested to be worn daily for a minimum of 20 minutes. Most patients report their migraines either completely end or at least drastically improve after consistent use of Cefaly. “It’s reduced the amount of meds I’m taking,” one patient said. “When you’ve had a headache for 14 days, you’re willing to try anything to get relief, and this thing works. If you’re having issues with headaches, it’s worth a try. It’s a comfort, having it here, knowing I can use it whenever I need it.” To read more, click here:
http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/26884/va-helping-migraine-sufferers-new-treatment/.
 
3. Army in State of High Risk: In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said Thursday that his service is in a state of “high risk,” which could spell disaster in terms of being able to respond when, where, and in sufficient strength to a major world crisis. He said another problem is the gap is closing in the U.S. military’s ability to outrange and outgun other major militaries. His current assessment doesn’t include what might happen if mandatory sequestration is restarted again next year, which would force the Army to drop from its planned 450,000 active-duty strength to 420,000. Eliminating sequestration has been a top VFW legislative priority ever since it was created by the Budget Control Act of 2011, not only because it slashes almost $1 trillion from Defense Department funding, but because the world has become far more dangerous and unpredictable since then. Five years ago the Islamic State didn’t exist, Russia wasn’t in Crimea, China wasn’t creating islands out of rocks, and North Korea and Iran weren’t pushing the limits of international patience as much as they are now. The VFW wants all members and veterans advocates to use this federal election cycle to force Congress to eliminate that which it created. Watch video of the hearing at: http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/hearings/16-04-07-posture-of-the-department-of-the-army.
 
4. USAF Authorizes Gold Star Lapel Button Wear: The Air Force is now allowing airmen to wear the Gold Star lapel button or the Next of Kin of Deceased Personnel lapel button on their dress coats, mess dress and service dress uniforms. Soldiers have been able to wear the pins on their dress uniforms since 2014. No decision has yet been reached for the Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard. Under federal law enacted in 1947, members of the armed forces who are issued the Gold Star pin include widows and widowers, parents, stepparents, children, siblings, and half- or step-siblings of those who died in combat. The Gold Star pin applies to conflicts from World War I forward. Those not eligible for the Gold Star pin could receive the Next of Kin pin, which applies to relatives who lost loved ones on active duty or were assigned to a Reserve or Guard unit on drill status. Learn more about both at: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2006-title32-vol3/pdf/CFR-2006-title32-vol3-sec578-63.pdf.
 
5. MIA Updates: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced the identification of remains of two Marines lost fighting in World War II, and burial updates of two World War II pilots and three Korean War soldiers. Returned home are:
-- Marine Corps Pfc. John F. Price, who was lost fighting on Tarawa on Nov. 20, 1943, will be buried with full military honors on a date and location to be determined. He was assigned to Company F, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division.
-- Marine Corps Pfc. Anthony Brozyna, of Hartford, Conn., who was lost fighting on Tarawa on Nov. 20, 1943, will be buried with full military honors on a date and location to be determined. He was assigned to Company G, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division.
-- Army Cpl. Robert P. Graham, 20, of San Francisco, is being buried today with full military honors in Colma, Calif. In February 1951, Graham was assigned to Company A, 13th Engineer Combat Battalion, 7th Infantry Division, which was engaged in a battle near Hoengsong, South Korea. His unit was ordered to withdraw south while under heavy attack. He was reported missing on Feb. 13, 1951. Learn more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/NewsStories/NewsReleases/tabid/10159/Article/711220/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-accounted-for-graham.aspx.
-- Army Air Forces Flight Officer Dewey L. Gossett, 23, of Spartanburg, S.C., will be buried with full military honors on April 11 in Wellford, S.C. On Sept. 27, 1943, Gossett was piloting an A-36A Apache in a flight of four searching for targets of opportunity when they encountered bad weather. Only three aircraft returned to base. He was assigned to the 527th Fighter Squadron, 86th Fighter Group, 12th Air Force. Learn more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/NewsStories/NewsReleases/tabid/10159/Article/714241/airman-missing-from-world-war-ii-accounted-for-gossett.aspx.
-- Army Pfc. Aubrey D. Vaughn, 20, will be buried with full military honors on April 12 in his hometown of Union, S.C. On April 23, 1951, Vaughn was assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 5th Regimental Combat Team, when his company's position was overrun by Chinese forces in North Korea. Vaughn was reported missing in action after the battle. Learn more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/NewsStories/NewsReleases/tabid/10159/Article/713796/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-accounted-for-vaughn.aspx.
-- Army Air Forces Capt. Arthur E. Halfpapp, 23, of Steelton, Pa., will be buried April 14 with full military honors in Annville, Pa. On April 24, 1945, Halfpapp was piloting a P-47 Thunderbolt that crashed during an armed reconnaissance mission southeast of Alberone, Italy. He was assigned to the 87th Fighter Squadron, 79th Fighter Group. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/NewsStories/NewsReleases/tabid/10159/Article/715567/airman-missing-from-world-war-ii-accounted-for-halfpapp.aspx.
-- Army Cpl. Dennis D. Buckley, 24, of Detroit, will be buried April 14 with full military honors in Rittman, Ohio. On Feb. 5, 1951, Buckley was assigned to A Battery, 15th Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, which was fighting in the central corridor of South Korea. Buckley would be reported missing on Feb. 13 after the Chinese counterattacked. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/NewsStories/NewsReleases/tabid/10159/Article/715592/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-accounted-for-buckley.aspx.
 
 
To sign up new veterans’ advocates, click here: http://capwiz.com/vfw/mlm/signup.htm.

Posted by vfwpost3274 at 11:09 AM MDT
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Sunday, 3 April 2016
Post Announces Patriot Pen Winner
Now Playing: reprinted from Hobbs New Sun 04/03/16
Topic: Post 3274

Posted by vfwpost3274 at 7:26 AM MDT
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Friday, 1 April 2016
Action Corps Weekly
Now Playing: reprinted from Ann Markel
Topic: VETERANS
                                    April 1, 2016
 
In This Issue:
1. VFW, VA Host Successful Women Veterans Facebook Q&A
2. Pentagon VSO/MSO Roundtable
3. Army Surgeon General Roundtable
4. 125,000 Post-9/11 Veterans Wrongly Denied VA Benefits
5. Vietnam Veterans Day
6. New Campaign Medal Approved
7. MIA Update
 
1. VFW, VA Host Successful Women Veterans Facebook Q&A: The VFW teamed with VA on March 22 for a live Facebook chat with women veterans. The chat provided the opportunity to ask VA subject matter experts direct questions regarding veterans’ health care and benefits. Veterans asked about current benefits, programs, and health care options and questioned VA on what it is doing to improve benefits and services for the fastest growing veterans population––women veterans. Over 100 questions were asked and VA responded to all of them. The VFW hopes to provide more opportunities for Facebook chats in the future. Read the #ExploreVA chat at: https://www.facebook.com/VFWFans/posts/10153328043837136:0. For a summary of the Q&A, visit: http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/26646/icymi-exploreva-women-veterans-facebook-chat/.
 
2. Pentagon VSO/MSO Roundtable: The VFW participated in a veteran and military service organization roundtable last Thursday with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, who was joined by Deputy Secretary Bob Work, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, as well as senior officials from the Operations, Comptroller, Health and Reserve Affairs directorates. Carter repeated his Top 5 concerns as being Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and the continuing spread of the Islamic State. He said an equally big concern is the unraveling of the Bipartisan Budget Agreement, which would be a return to 2011 Budget Control Act caps. He was very appreciative of the VFW’s leading role in continuing to push Congress to end sequestration.
 
3. Army Surgeon General Roundtable: The VFW participated in a veteran and military family organization roundtable last Friday with the new Army Surgeon General, Lt. Gen. Nadja West, who took over in December. High interest topics were suicide awareness and mental health counseling for soldiers and families, access to care, extending appointment bookings several months out, and maintaining medical readiness. Also discussed was the widespread concern that Other-Than-Honorable discharges were being used as an easy out, instead of delving deeper into why super troops all of a sudden weren’t anymore, and the need to create a truly interoperable Electronic Health Record in unison with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
 
4. 125,000 Post-9/11 Veterans Wrongly Denied VA Benefits: A recent study by the National Veterans Legal Service Program (NVLSP), Swords to Plowshares and Harvard Law School’s Veterans Legal Clinic found that 125,000 veterans with bad paper discharges have been wrongfully denied access to VA health care and benefits due to VA’s strict interpretation of character of discharge eligibility. Under current law, veterans who have been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable are eligible for VA benefits. While the law only requires VA to evaluate whether the service of veterans with a punitive discharge (bad conduct and dishonorable) meets the legal threshold of dishonorable, VA regulations also require claims adjudicators to conduct a character of discharge analysis for veterans who received an Other- Than-Honorable discharge. The report finds that 90 percent of character of discharge reviews result in the denial of benefits. To read the study, visit: https://www.swords-to-plowshares.org/2016/03/30/Underserved.
 
5. Vietnam Veterans Day: The VFW was present to witness Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald lay a wreath at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. By Presidential Proclamation, March 29 is set aside as Vietnam Veterans Day to commemorate the 1973 departure of America’s last combat troops from Vietnam. Read more about the day, including how to receive a commemorative lapel pin, at: http://www.stripes.com/news/veterans/carter-mcdonald-pay-tribute-to-vets-on-vietnam-veterans-day-1.401635.
 
6. New Campaign Medal Approved: On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter signed into creation the Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal (IRCM) to American service members battling terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria. To qualify, a member must have been present in Iraq, Syria, or the contiguous waters or airspace of either country, on or after June 15, 2014, for a period of 30 consecutive or 60 non-consecutive days. Service members who were killed or were medically evacuated due to wounds or injuries immediately qualify for the award, as do members who engaged in combat. The IRCM’s placement in the hierarchy of medals and ribbons will be after the Iraq Campaign Medal and before the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal. Learn more at: http://www.defense.gov/News-Article-View/Article/708382/carter-announces-operation-inherent-resolve-campaign-medal?source=GovDelivery.
 
7. MIA Update: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced burial updates of three servicemen, and the identification of remains of two others who died during World War II and Korea. Returned home are:
-- Navy Chief Petty Officer Duff Gordon, 52, was buried Wednesday with full military honors in his hometown of Hudson, Wis. On Dec. 7, 1941, he was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which suffered multiple torpedo hits as it was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The attack capsized the ship, resulting in 429 casualties, including Gordon. Thirty-five sailors would be subsequently recovered and identified; the rest would eventually be buried as unknowns in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, better known as the Punchbowl. Learn more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/NewsStories/NewsReleases/tabid/10159/Article/705928/uss-oklahoma-sailor-from-world-war-ii-accounted-for-gordon.aspx.
-- Marine Corps Sgt. John C. Holladay, 31, will be buried April 4 with full military honors in his hometown of Florence, S.C. He was assigned to Company B, 1st Marine Raider Battalion, 1st Marine Raider Regiment, when lost fighting in July 1943 as part of a joint U.S. Army-U.S. Marine Corps battle against Japanese positions in the invasion of New Georgia Island, British Solomon Islands. Learn more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/NewsStories/NewsReleases/tabid/10159/Article/706495/marine-from-world-war-ii-accounted-for-holladay.aspx.
-- Army Sgt. Wilson Meckley Jr., 22, of Lancaster, Pa., will be buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery on April 4. In November 1950, he was assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, and was assembled with other soldiers into the 31st Regimental Combat Team, historically known as Task Force Faith. During a fighting withdrawal from the Chosin Reservoir, he would be reported missing on Dec. 2. Learn more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/NewsStories/NewsReleases/tabid/10159/Article/706484/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-accounted-for-meckley.aspx.
-- Navy Fireman 3rd Class John H. Lindsley, of Illinois, was lost on Dec. 7, 1941, while assigned aboard the battleship USS Oklahoma in Pearl Harbor. He will be buried with full military honors on a date and location to be announced.
-- Army Cpl. Dennis D. Buckley, of Wayne, Mich., was lost fighting in South Korea on Feb. 13, 1951. He was assigned to A Battery, 15th Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, and will be buried with full military honors on a date and location to be announced.
 
 
 
To sign up new veterans’ advocates, click here: http://capwiz.com/vfw/mlm/signup.htm.

Posted by vfwpost3274 at 4:15 PM MDT
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Thursday, 31 March 2016
APRIL EVENT CALENDAR
Now Playing: Thanx Laverne
Friday, April 1st - Dart Tournament
                               April Fools' Day - Don't be fooled.
Thursday, April 14th - House Committee Meeting at 5:30 PM

Sunday, April 17th - District 7 Meeting at 11:00 AM in Hobbs with lunch to follow the meeting.
                                     VFW and Auxiliary members, please attend so that we have at least as many present
                                     as those attending from Carlsbad.  Please bring a side dish and/or a dessert.

Thursday, April 21st - VFW and Auxiliary meeting at 6:30 PM

Friday, April 22nd - Earth Day

Wednesday, April 27th, Administrative Professionals Day

Friday, April 29th - National Arbor Day - Plant a tree.

Posted by vfwpost3274 at 1:48 PM MDT
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Monday, 28 March 2016
VFW Patriot's Pen Essay Program Award Winner
Now Playing: Thanks Laverne!
Topic: Post 3274

Subject: VFW Patriot's Pen Essay Program Award Winner
 
VFW sponsors a national Patriot's Pen essay contest for 6th, 7th, 8th grade students. The winner for VFW Post 3274, in Hobbs, is Syliss Reynosa a 6th grade student of Mrs. Regina Reber at Houston Middle School.  He was awarded $100.00 and  a Patriot's Pen backpack from the Post and Auxiliary. His essay was  chosen from VFW District 7, which includes Hobbs and Carlsbad to be sent to the New Mexico finals.  He placed second in New Mexico and received $350.00.

Syliss is the son of Amparo Reynosa.  His family, mother, baby sister, cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents accompanied him to VFW Post 3274 for the awards presentation.

Picture #1 is Syliss Reynosa
Picture #2 is Syliss with Mrs. Reber
Picture #2 is Ted Oliver, VFW Chairman of Patriot's Pen program, Syliss, VFW Commander Edwardo Rodriguez and VFW Auxiliary President Lou Beth Allen.

 


Posted by vfwpost3274 at 1:37 PM MDT
Updated: Monday, 28 March 2016 1:42 PM MDT
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Thursday, 24 March 2016
ACTION CORPS
Now Playing: FWD BY: ANN MARKEL
                                                              March 24, 2016
 
This issue of the VFW Action Corps Weekly is being delivered early in observance of the Easter holiday.
 
In This Issue:
1. VFW Stands With Belgium
2. Appropriations Subcommittee Markup
3. House Hearing on Choice Program Networks
4. Telephonic Health Care Enrollment
5. Congress Extends Foreclosure Protections for Transitioning Service Members
6. Free Training Program for Veteran Entrepreneurs
7. Vietnam War Commemoration
8. VFW Calls on Vietnam Veterans for Help
9. MIA Update
 
1. VFW Stands With Belgium: VFW National Commander John Biedrzycki said the VFW stands with ally Belgium as it mourns in the wake of a vicious and cowardly attack on Tuesday by radical Islamic extremists who are “hell-bent on destroying us and our entire way of life." The Chief called America vulnerable because it has porous borders, a broken immigration system, and elected and appointed officials who refuse to recognize this enemy as a threat to national security. He also said America is weakened by a Congress that still refuses to eliminate sequestration, which takes a meat cleaver to the budgets of national defense, intelligence and homeland security. Biedrzycki said America has been caught sleeping twice, on Dec. 7, 1941, and on Sept. 11, 2001. "There must not be a third time," he said, “and that's why the VFW will do what we must to force Washington to wake up and destroy this enemy before they strike our homeland. There is no higher nor more immediate national priority." Read more at: http://www.vfw.org/News-and-Events/Articles/2016-Articles/VFW-Stands-With-Belgium/.
 
2. Appropriations Subcommittee Markup: On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs held a markup to discuss and advance the fiscal year 2017 MilConVA appropriations bill that sets funding levels for VA and DOD’s military construction accounts. The bill would provide $73.5 billion for VA’s discretionary accounts. It includes resources to improve VA’s medical services, disability claims process and oversight. Similar to VA’s budget request, this bill would woefully underfund VA major construction funds. The bill also includes $170.3 billion in advanced appropriations. The bill now awaits consideration by the full House of Representatives. Stay tuned to the Action Corps Weekly for updates on this important bill. To read statements or view a video of the markup, visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/calendararchive/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=394471.
 
3. House Hearing on Choice Program Networks: On Tuesday, the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health held a hearing to discuss VA’s proposal to establish tiered networks under the Choice Program. Subcommittee members discussed how tiered networks would impact veterans’ ability to schedule appointments with community care providers. VA testified that its tiered networks would allow veterans to choose from any provider in the Choice Program networks, but VA would use the tiered networks to recommend providers with higher health quality outcomes. TriWest and HealthNet testified on ways they are working to improve the current program. To view a video of the hearing, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2ynIfRl9uQ&feature=youtu.be.
 
4. Telephonic Health Care Enrollment: Last week, VA announced that post-9/11 combat veterans are now able to complete their VA health care enrollment applications by calling VA’s Health Eligibility Center (1-855-488-8440) without the need for a signed paper application. VA plans to expand this option to all veterans by July 5, 2016. This change increases the ways veterans can enroll in VA health care. However, veterans can continue to enroll by submitting paper copies of VA form 10-10EZ, or enroll online at: https://www.1010ez.med.va.gov/.  
 
5. Congress Extends Foreclosure Protections for Transitioning Service Members: On Monday, the House of Representatives passed the Foreclosure Relief and Extension for Servicemembers Act of 2015, restoring the one year protection from mortgage foreclosure for recently separated veterans. In 2012, Congress temporarily extended the protection period from nine months to one year, in order to give veterans more time to gain financial stability without the fear of losing their homes after they separate from service. That authority lapsed at the end of last year, making the reauthorization necessary. The VFW supports the two year extension provided by this bill, but believes the protection should be made permanent. Having already passed the Senate, the bill now heads to the president for signature.
 
6. Free Training Program for Veteran Entrepreneurs: The Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University is currently accepting applications for the 2016 Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV). This program offers training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans who have or are seeking a service-connected disability rating. The EBV is free and does not require the use of GI Bill benefits. It includes 30 days of online training, a nine-day residency at one of several locations across the country, and one year of ongoing support and mentorship. Interested veterans are encouraged to apply soon. For more information, visit: http://ebv.vets.syr.edu/. To apply, click here: http://ebv.vets.syr.edu/apply-to-the-ebv/.
 
7. Vietnam War Commemoration: The president proclaimed May 28, 2012, through Nov. 11, 2025, as the “Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War.” During this span of time, more than 9,700 commemorative community partners throughout the country will be sponsoring events to welcome home all Vietnam veterans, and to thank them for guaranteeing that future generations of war veterans are properly recognized and receive the welcome home their generation did not receive. One such ceremony will be at 8:30 a.m., March 29, when the Department of Veterans Affairs conducts a solemn wreath laying ceremony at the Vietnam Wall in Washington. Other VA facilities and veterans’ and civic organizations will sponsor different events as the commemoration continues. All VFW Posts are highly encouraged to become a commemorative partner. Learn more at http://www.vietnamwar50th.com/.
 
8. VFW Calls on Vietnam Veterans for Help: The VFW is calling on Vietnam veterans to search their wartime memorabilia for any artifacts that might help Vietnam to determine the fate of its estimated 300,000 MIAs. Being requested are photos and sketch maps of battle sites or burial locations, as well as personal artifacts that contain names, family photos and personal letters. No weapons, please! Veteran-to-veteran initiatives generate goodwill and further assist the U.S. government’s own efforts to investigative and recover Americans missing from the war. Please mail your memorabilia to Joe Davis, Public Affairs Director, VFW Washington Office, 200 Maryland Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20002. Everything collected will be turned over to the Vietnamese Embassy in Washington.
 
9. MIA Update: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced burial updates of three soldiers formerly missing in action since the Korean War, and the identification of remains of two other servicemen who died during World War II and the Vietnam War. Returned home are:
-- Army Cpl. Davey H. Bart, 18, of Houston, will be buried March 26 in Humble, Texas. He was assigned to Company K, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, when lost fighting in North Korea on Nov. 2, 1950. It would be later confirmed he died in captivity. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/NewsStories/NewsReleases/tabid/10159/Article/698707/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-accounted-for-bart.aspx.
-- Army Sgt. 1st Class Raymond K. McMillian, 20, of Axton, Va., will be buried March 26 in Martinsville, Va. He was assigned to Medical Company, 3rd Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, when lost fighting in South Korea on Feb. 12, 1951. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/NewsStories/NewsReleases/tabid/10159/Article/698714/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-accounted-for-mcmillian.aspx.
-- Army Cpl. Eldon W. Ervin, 21, of Wyandotte, Okla., will be buried with full military honors on March 29 in Seneca, Mo. He was assigned to Headquarters Battery, 57th Field Artillery Battalion, 7th Infantry Division, when lost fighting in North Korea on Nov. 28, 1950. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/NewsStories/NewsReleases/tabid/10159/Article/701832/soldier-killed-in-korean-war-accounted-for-ervin.aspx.
-- Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Frederick W. Langhorst, of Yonkers, N.Y., was assigned to the 1130 Army Air Force Base Unit, Air Transport Command, when lost over India on July 17, 1945. He will be buried with full military honors on a date and location to be announced.
-- Army Sgt. 1st Class Alan L. Boyer, 22, of Missoula, Mont., was assigned to the Command and Control Detachment, 5th Special Forces Group, when lost in Laos on March 28, 1968. He will be buried with full military honors on a date and location to be announced.
 
 
To sign up new veterans’ advocates, click here: http://capwiz.com/vfw/mlm/signup.htm.

Posted by vfwpost3274 at 1:19 PM MDT
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Friday, 18 March 2016
ACTION CORPS
Now Playing: fwd from Ann Markel
Topic: VETERANS
                                         March 18, 2016
 
In This Issue:
1. VFW, VA to Host Facebook Chat on Women’s Health Care and Benefits
2. House Hearing on Gulf War Illness
3. Senate Hearing on Pending Legislation
4. House Hearing on VA Hiring
5. House Hearing on VA Cybersecurity and IT Oversight
6. VA Requests Participation in Burn Pit Registry
7. Call Center Created to Handle VA Billing Issues
8. MIA Update
 
1. VFW, VA to Host Facebook Chat on Women’s Health Care and Benefits: The VFW has teamed up with VA to host a Facebook chat group on Tuesday, March 22, at 2 p.m. EST, to provide female veterans the opportunity to discuss and ask questions about women’s health care and benefits at VA. Participants can learn about how VA is working to enhance facilities, train staff and improve access to services specific to women veterans. Topics will include everything from primary care and cancer screenings, to maternity care coverage and mental health. It will be an opportunity for women veterans to ask questions and get direct answers from VA. The #ExploreVA event is open to all female veterans and will take place on the VFW’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/VFWFans.
 
2. House Hearing on Gulf War Illness: On Tuesday, the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittees on Oversight and Investigations and Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs held a joint hearing entitled, “Twenty Five Years After the Persian Gulf War: An Assessment of VA’s Disability Claim Process with Respect to Gulf War Illness.” The subcommittees wanted to explore why over 80 percent of claims for Gulf War Illness are ultimately denied. In his testimony, VFW Deputy Legislative Director Aleks Morosky stated that the main problem lies in the way that VA conducts separate exams for each symptom veterans are experiencing, leading to diagnoses other than Gulf War Illness. Since the individual diagnoses usually cannot be connected to the veteran’s service on their own, the claim is denied. The VFW believes that these veterans should receive one exam which considers all their symptoms as interconnected, leading to more accurate Gulf War Illness diagnoses. At the conclusion of the hearing, Chairman Ralph Abraham (R-LA) announced that the committee plans to send a letter to VA, asking them to implement the VFW’s suggestions immediately. To read the testimony or watch a webcast of the hearing, visit: http://veterans.house.gov/hearing/twenty-five-years-after-the-persian-gulf-war-an-assessment-of-va-s-disability-claim-process. To read the Stars and Stripes article about the hearing, click here: http://www.stripes.com/news/vfw-charges-va-with-working-to-deny-gulf-war-illness-claims-1.399391.
 
3. Senate Hearing on Pending Legislation: On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held a hearing to discuss legislation to consolidate VA’s community care programs, improve hiring and accountability of senior VA executives and improve the disability claims appeals process. VFW Senior Legislative Associate Carlos Fuentes offered the VFW’s support for consolidating VA’s community care program and improved accountability for VA’s senior executives. Fuentes cautioned the committee that an expressed appeals process must be accompanied by improved VA decision letters to ensure veterans understand why their initial claims were denied. To read the testimony or view a video of the hearing, visit: http://www.veterans.senate.gov/hearings/pending-legislation03152016.
 
4. House Hearing on VA Hiring: On Wednesday, the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittees on Health and Economic Opportunity held a hearing to discuss legislation to improve VA’s ability to hire and retain high quality health care professionals. VFW Senior Legislative Associate Carlos Fuentes offered the VFW’s support for several ideas being considered, such as expanding veterans’ preference to Guard and Reserve veterans. Fuentes urged the subcommittees to consider improving VA’s authority to quickly hire into high turnover positions, such as administrative clerks who help with scheduling and coordinating medical appointments. To read the testimony or view a webcast of the hearing, visit: http://veterans.house.gov/hearing/legislative-hearing-on-draft-legislation-to-improve-the-authority-of-the-secretary-of.
 
5. House Hearing on VA Cybersecurity and IT Oversight: On Wednesday, March 16, the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Technology held a hearing to examine the Department of Veterans Affairs’ progress on modernizing its IT systems and reviewed the implementation of the Federal Security Management Act and Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act. VA Assistant Secretary LaVerne Council announced that VA has begun a pilot of updated scheduling software, which includes a mobile application for veterans to self-schedule their appointments. To read the testimony or view a video of this hearing, click here: https://oversight.house.gov/hearing/va-cybersecurity-and-it-oversight/.
 
6. VA Requests Participation in Burn Pit Registry: Veterans Affairs Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry is asking eligible veterans and service members to join their registry. In doing so, participants will document their exposures and report health concerns through an online questionnaire. This is also printable for individuals to take to their medical appointments where they can discuss concerns with their healthcare providers. Currently, only two percent of eligible personnel with burn pit exposure are registered. Those who are eligible include individuals who served in Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Djibouti (after Sept. 11, 2001) and Southwest Asia (after Aug. 2, 1990). The questionnaire takes approximately 40 minutes to complete and can be completed in one sitting, or you can save it and return at a later time. You can check your eligibility and partake in the survey at: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/burnpits/registry.asp.

7. Call Center Created to Handle VA Billing Issues: A Community Care Call Center has been set up for veterans experiencing adverse credit reporting or debt collection resulting from inappropriately billed Choice Program claims. Veterans experiencing these problems can call 1-877-881-7618 for assistance. The VA acknowledges that delayed payments and inappropriately billed claims are unacceptable, and has caused much stress to veterans and providers alike. The new call center is the first step in addressing these issues. Read more at: http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=2764.
 
8. MIA Update: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced the identification of remains and burial updates of one sailor and two soldiers who had been missing in action since World War II.
-- Navy Ensign Lewis S. Stockdale, 27, of Anaconda, Mont., is being buried today with full military honors in Honolulu. On Dec. 7, 1941, Stockdale was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which suffered multiple torpedo hits as it was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor. The attack capsized the ship, resulting in 429 casualties, including Stockdale. Thirty-five sailors would be subsequently recovered and identified; the rest would eventually be buried as unknowns in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, better known as the Punchbowl. Learn more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/NewsStories/NewsReleases/tabid/10159/Article/692356/uss-oklahoma-sailor-from-world-war-ii-accounted-for-stockdale.aspx.
-- Army Pvts. John H. Klopp, 25, and Earl J. Keating, 28, both of New Orleans. In December 1942, Klopp and Keating were assigned to the Anti-Tank Company, 126th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Infantry Division, when their unit was involved in intense fighting in what is present-day Papua New Guinea. On Dec. 5, 1942, Klopp and Keating died repulsing a heavy Japanese attack, and were buried by fellow soldiers within the American perimeter. The American Graves Registration Service was unable to locate their remains after the war, however. Klopp will be buried March 23 in Arlington National Cemetery. Keating will be buried May 28 in his hometown. Learn more about their remains recovery and subsequent identification at: http://www.dpaa.mil/NewsStories/NewsReleases/tabid/10159/Article/695191/soldiers-missing-from-world-war-ii-accounted-for-klopp.aspx.
 
 
To sign up new veterans’ advocates, click here: http://capwiz.com/vfw/mlm/signup.htm.

Posted by vfwpost3274 at 1:36 PM MDT
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Friday, 11 March 2016
Action Corps
Now Playing: fwd by: Ann Markel
Topic: VETERANS
                                March 11, 2016
 
In This Issue:
1. Senate Military Personnel Hearing
2. Veterans Given a Year to Close Incomplete VA Enrollment Applications
3. Full Week of Testifying Ahead
4. Senate Appropriations Hearing on VA Budget
 
1. Senate Military Personnel Hearing: The VFW testified Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee regarding the Pentagon’s fiscal year 2017 budget submission as it applies to military personnel posture. The VFW can support a lot of initiatives currently on the table, such as Force of the Future, and better suicide and sexual assault prevention and response programs. Some initiatives we want tweaked, such as matching military pay raises to the Employment Cost Index, increasing the government’s Thrift Savings Plan contribution to 6 percent and extending it through retirement. Some initiatives the VFW opposes, such as starting the government’s TSP match in Year 5 instead of Year 3, dismantling TRICARE on the promise that better service will follow after enrollment fees are first created or increased, and anything that impacts morale, such as the continuation of sequestration, which remains the law of the land. Watch video of the hearing and read the VFW’s prepared statement at: http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/hearings/16-03-08-military-personnel-posture.
 
2. Veterans Given a Year to Close Incomplete VA Enrollment Applications: This week, VA announced that it will conduct intensive outreach to the 545,000 veterans with pending incomplete enrollment applications. In a year, VA will close incomplete applications, meaning veterans would have to reapply if they are not able to complete their applications within a year. The VFW will work with VA to ensure veterans who have incomplete applications are contacted and given the opportunity to complete their applications. If you would like to confirm the status of your enrollment application or would like to apply for VA health care, contact the VA Health Eligibility Center at: 1-877-222-VETS (8387).
 
3. Full Week of Testifying Ahead: The VFW will testify before Congress at three separate hearings next week. On March 15, at 10:30 a.m., Deputy Director, National Legislative Service, Aleks Morosky will testify before the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs, and Oversight and Investigations, at a joint hearing entitled “Twenty Five Years After the Persian Gulf War: An Assessment of VA’s Disability Claim Process with Respect to Gulf War Illness.” To watch this hearing, click here: http://veterans.house.gov/hearing/twenty-five-years-after-the-persian-gulf-war-an-assessment-of-va-s-disability-claim-process. Later that day at 2:15 p.m., Senior Legislative Associate, Carlos Fuentes will testify before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee regarding proposed legislation to improve access to VA health care, the disability appeals process and accountability. To watch this hearing, click here: http://www.veterans.senate.gov/hearings/pending-legislation03152016. On Wednesday, March 16, at 2:00 p.m., Fuentes will testify before the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittees on Health and Economic Opportunity to discuss draft legislation to improve VA’s hiring and retention of physicians. The hearing can be viewed here:  http://veterans.house.gov/hearing/legislative-hearing-on-draft-legislation-to-improve-the-authority-of-the-secretary-of.
 
4. Senate Appropriations Hearing on VA Budget: On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs held a hearing to discuss VA’s fiscal year 2017 budget request. During the hearing committee members discussed a number of issues facing VA, including issues with the Choice Program, accountability, and the recent investigation regarding misconduct by VA officials. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald detailed his plan to reform the department and asked the Senate to confirm Mike Missal, who has been nominated to become the next VA Inspector General. To view a video of the hearing, visit: http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/hearings/hearing-to-review-the-fy17-and-fy18-budget-requests-for-the-department-of-veterans-affairs.
 
 
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Posted by vfwpost3274 at 2:16 PM MST
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