Make your own free website on Tripod.com
Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
View Profile
« May 2019 »
S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31
You are not logged in. Log in
Entries by Topic
All topics
Entertainment
General Information
Post 3274
VETERANS  «
Group One
VFW PHOTO ALBUM
VFW POST 3274 MESSAGE BOARD
Wednesday, 7 November 2018
Random 'Ritins
Now Playing: by Charlie......
Topic: VETERANS

RANDOM ‘RITINS NO 103 (Military cap)

 

                             THE MILITARY CAP

            I am a 95-year-old veteran who quite often wears a black and white baseball type cap labeled World War II.

            The label does proclaim I am a veteran of that war. It provokes two stories for me to talk about,  both questions posed recently, one to me as I dined at a restaurant., the other to a mother sitting within hearing distance at a different restaurant.

            The first question was a hurtful one posed by an unknown Vietnam War veteran sitting at a restaurant table near me.

            “Where did you fight in that war? Were you hurt?  Both questions were in a smiling, friendly opening conversation that quickly went sour when the Vietnam solder heard my reply.

            “I was not in combat, I was in supply, I said”.  The smile disappeared and was replaced by a sneer as the grunt replied “You ain’t no vet then.  And you can’t wear a cap that says you are !”

            “I was where the Viets were shooting at me and my guys and we  shot back and took out a few, maybe a lot. That’s combat,” he said.

            This sounded as if I was being accused of not serving our country and was just bragging about being a soldier. I was not going to walk away from that.

            This happened as my wife was away at a funeral. She was not present to place a restraining hand on me when she saw me seething and perhaps ready to get and lay a punch on the combat vet who spouted his achievements at places called An Ke and Plailku or something like that.

            In mentioning my wife, I must mention we are second spouses, wed after each other spouse passed away. Her earlier husband was a Purple Heart veteran of  D-Day combat, a friend who didn’t regard me as anybody but a veteran.

            Returning to the story, I probably was seething but I quietly told this guy that in World War II, I was one of the later-on suppy guys who made sure he and his guys  in  Vietnam had working gun and the ammunition he and his guys needed to use the gun.

            Now I will brag.   I think I might have made a good point and began to change that one man’s thinking.  I firmly believe that he isprobably is one of the many Vietnam veterans who are proud of their service but feels many Americans are their enemies.

Vietnam veterans are “Comrades In Arms” and I am proud to say to them “Thanks For Your Service.”

As a last comment on this subject, I often wonder I do not see “Vietnam Veteran” hatsand thefore cannot salute the with a handsake and “Thank Yu For Your Service”.

WHAT DOES WORLDAR II MEAN?

 

And now to a conversation that poses to me the question “Have schools, national and local, abandoned the teaching of history?”

In a different restaurant about the same time as in my previous story, a young girl about eight or nine, sitting wither mother at an adjacent table noticed my World WAR II cap and said to her mom “What Does World War II mean?:

That startled me and perhaps her mother. However, the mother promptly began in a low voice to explain a few things about that war and continued the conversation as they left the restaurant. Mother knew but her daughter didn’t.

That is the basis for my question about teaching. Are students now paying no attention to history if it is being imparted or are things like wars dropped from history.?”

 

 

 

ONE MORE THOUGHT

With all that off my mind now, there’s one more thing I’d like to explain. Do I always wear that WWII hat to gain “Thank You For Your Service” comments or handshakes?

NO !  At my age now, I like conversation when I am out and about. Making friends with people I might have liked to have known in my early years is stimulating and it is my way of  continuing to stay alert, healthy and keep an aging memory still working.                                           OK, now I’m done.    – 30 -


Posted by vfwpost3274 at 2:05 AM MST
Permalink
Thursday, 20 July 2017
VFW ACTION CORPS WEEKLY
Topic: VETERANS
July 20, 2017

In This Issue:
1. VFW on McCain’s New Fight
2. VFW National Convention Rolls into New Orleans
3. VFW Testifies in Support of New GI Bill Additions
4. House Democratic Round Table
5. DHA Working Group
6. Veterans Legislation Roundup
7. VFW-SVA Student Veteran Legislative Fellowship Opens Application Process
8. VA Renews Rural Veteran Transportation Program
9. MIA Update
 
1. VFW on McCain’s New Fight: The VFW extends our support and prayers for the Senator, a member of VFW Post 7401 in Chandler, Ariz. Read the VFW’s full statement here.

2. VFW National Convention Rolls into New Orleans: After a 26-year absence, up to 10,000 members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and its Auxiliary are set to roll into New Orleans this weekend to elect new leadership and to approve resolutions that will guide the national organization’s advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill and its veteran and military support programs across the country. The 118th VFW National Convention begins Saturday at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. A free two-day veterans walk-in claims clinic and health fair will be accessible to all veterans, service members and their families. Additionally, National Legislative Service will host a workshop on Sunday which will include a panel discussion with Congressional staff. Read more here.  

3. VFW Testifies in Support of New GI Bill Additions: On Monday VFW Associate Director Pat Murray testified before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee on the largest addition to the GI Bill in almost 10 years. The changes will improve the benefit for hundreds of thousands of veterans now and in the future. “This bi-partisan effort is exactly how things in Washington should get done,” said Pat Murray. “We commend the Committee for continuing to show leadership and commitment toward veterans’ issues.” The main issues the VFW supports in this new legislation include giving full GI Bill eligibility to Purple Heart recipients, allowing access to the Yellow Ribbon Program for survivors and dependents of fallen service members, restoring benefits to Reservists activated without them, and restoration of lost GI Bill eligibility for students affected by school closures. Watch the hearing or read the testimony.

4. House Democratic Round Table: On Tuesday the VFW took part in a round table discussion with Democratic House leadership on VA’s Choice Program and GI Bill additions. Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Tim Walz hosted the discussion that was attended by numerous other interest groups that all held a stake in the future of the two programs. The VFW strongly supports the additions to the GI Bill as it would enhance the great program for hundreds of thousands of veterans. We also support the need for an immediate fix for the funding needed for VA’s Choice program. It is currently set to run out of funding much sooner than originally intended and Congress needs to step up and correct the funding issue. The VFW expects Congress to make sure these great programs are properly funded to ensure our commitment to veterans is fulfilled far into the future.

5. DHA Working Group: On Wednesday, the VFW participated in the monthly Defense Health Agency (DHA) MSO/VSO Working Group meeting led by DHA Deputy Director, Rear Adm. Colin Chinn. The meeting included an update on the rollout of DOD’s new electronic health record, MHS Genesis, which is expected to be fully implemented by 2022; a new transparency website, which allows users to compare military treatment facilities in their area; development of a demonstration project which would allow beneficiaries, specifically children, with a life-threatening illness to obtain hospice and curative care simultaneously; an update on the implementation of the FY 17 National Defense Authorization Act reforms; and changes to TRICARE’s pharmacy auto-refill policy, which will require beneficiaries to opt-in to the auto-refill program annually for each medication starting Sept. 1, 2017. Read more about the pharmacy policy change.

6. Veterans Legislation Roundup: the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Veterans’ Affairs met on July 19 to pass 11 pieces of legislation out of the committee, including the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, otherwise known as the “Forever G.I. Bill.” Also approved during the session was H.R. 95, the Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act, making the VA’s pilot program for child care a permanent program at VA for veterans who are receiving regular mental health services and other intensive health care services from VA; H.R. 918, the Veteran Urgent Access to Mental Health Care Act, which requires the VA to provide an initial mental health assessment, as well as follow on care, to former service members who received an OTH discharge, but only if they are combat veterans or victims of military sexual trauma and have applied for a character of service determination; and H.R.1690, the Department of Veterans Affairs Bonus Transparency Act, which would require the VA to submit an annual report to the pertinent congressional committees regarding performance awards provided to regional office directors, medical center directors, service network directors, and senior executive staff. The VA would also be required to provide the amount of each bonus awarded, the job title of each recipient, and the location of employment. These bill are expected to be considered for a full vote by the U.S. House as early as next week.

7. VFW-SVA Student Veteran Legislative Fellowship Opens Application Process: On Wednesday, the application process for the 2018 class of legislative fellows opened for the fourth year. The program, for VFW members who attend school on a campus with an approved SVA chapter, selects 10 student veterans for a semester-long program. Focusing on real policy issues faced by veterans, the military and their families, the capstone of the program is participation in the 2018 VFW’s National Legislative Conference. Find out more information on the program and apply here.

8. VA Renews Rural Veteran Transportation Program: The grant program supporting rural transportation options for veterans going to medical appointments has been reapproved. Currently, 11 states have a total of 104 counties where the population is seven people per square mile or less and the VFW is involved in this program for four of the states affected. Veterans who live in approved counties can contact the veterans’ service organization or state agency involved to receive transportation to VA medical facilities and VA authorized facilities. See if you live in one of the participating counties.

9. MIA Update: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced the identification of the remains of five Americans who had been missing in action from WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Returning home for burial with full military honors are:
-- Air Force Capt. Robert E. Holton, 27, of Butte, Mont., will be buried July 22 in his hometown. Holton was an F-4D pilot assigned to the 497th Tactical Fighter Squadron. On Jan. 29, 1969, Holton flew an armed reconnaissance mission over southern Laos. The flight lead cleared Holton to engage a target, and ordnance was seen impacting the ground. Aircrews reported seeing a large fireball on the ground in the vicinity of the target immediately thereafter. No radio transmissions were received, and no parachutes were seen. Efforts to make contact with the crew continued until the remaining planes were forced to leave the area due to low fuel. Holton was subsequently declared missing in action. Read about Holton.
-- Army Pfc. Charles C. Follese, 20, of Minn., will be buried July 25 in his hometown. Follese was a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment. On Nov. 29, 1950, Follese was part of a patrol sent to recover casualties near Hajoyang-ni, North Korea, when his patrol was ambushed. Follese could not be accounted for after the ambush and was declared killed in action on Nov. 30, 1950. Read about Follese.
 -- Marine Reserve Cpl. Raymond C. Snapp was assigned to Company F, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division. Snapp’s unit landed on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll on Nov. 20, 1943, against stiff Japanese resistance. Snapp was killed on the first day of the battle. Interment services are pending. Read about Snapp.
-- Marine Cpl. Anthony G. Guerriero was assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, 2nd Marine Division. Guerriero’s unit landed on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll on Nov. 20, 1943, against stiff Japanese resistance. Guerriero was killed Nov. 21, 1943. Interment services are pending. Read about Guerriero. http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/1247465/marine-killed-during-world-war-ii-accounted-for-guerriero/
-- Air Force Maj. James B. White was assigned to the 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron. On Nov. 24, 1969, contact with White’s F-105D was lost after a single pass attacking enemy troops in Laos. On November 28, wreckage thought to be from White’s aircraft was spotted by an Air America helicopter. A Laotian ground team searched the area and found only small pieces of wreckage. White was subsequently declared missing in action. Interment services are pending. Read about White.

Posted by vfwpost3274 at 2:22 PM MDT
Permalink
Tuesday, 4 April 2017
APRIL CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Now Playing: fwd from Laverne Lester
Topic: VETERANS

Friday, April 7th - Dart Tournament

Saturday, April 8th - Auxiliary workshop and Department President's homecoming - Clovis

Thursday, April 13th - House Committee meeting - 5:30

Friday, April 14th - Good Friday

Saturday, April 15th- VFW Garage Sale at the Post 

Sunday- April 16th - Easter Sunday

Tuesday - April 18th - Income Tax Day

Thursday, April 20th - VFW Meeting - 6:30


                                        Auxiliary meeting 5:00 -  Pack troop boxes 4:15

Saturday, April 23,2017 District 7 Convention, Hobbs NM Post #3274 

Friday, April 28th - National Arbor Day


Posted by vfwpost3274 at 12:38 PM MDT
Updated: Tuesday, 4 April 2017 12:43 PM MDT
Permalink
Monday, 13 March 2017
Maritime Injury Center.com
Now Playing: Thanks to Michael Egan
Topic: VETERANS
Good morning

" Maritime Injury Center's mission is to be the most comprehensive and accurate informational online resource for maritime workers (https://www.maritimeinjurycenter.com/). The goal of the site is to help educate workers, including their furthered understanding of risk(s) related to things like electrical failure, chemical exposure, hypothermia, and more. This also includes detailed information on rules/regulations, procedures and laws. For more information about the Jones Act, please visit https://www.maritimeinjurycenter.com/jones-act/. "

All the very best,

Michael
Semper Fi
Michael K. Egan
USN Petty Officer 3rd Class Disabled Veteran

Posted by vfwpost3274 at 1:03 PM MDT
Updated: Tuesday, 14 March 2017 4:15 PM MDT
Permalink
Saturday, 11 March 2017
ACTION CORPS Weekly
Topic: VETERANS


March 10, 2017


In This Issue:
1. Veterans Education Roundtable
2. Caregiver Benefits Legislation Introduced
3. HVAC Hearing on Future of Choice Program
4. Location for Gulf War National Memorial Approved
5. VA Mental Health Care for Vets with OTH Discharges
6. VA Offers Free Services for MST
7. HVAC Advances Five Important Veterans Bills
8. Military Quality of Life Hearing
9. FY2017 Defense Funding Bill Passes House
10. MIA Update

To view this week’s edition, click here: http://www.vfw.org/actioncorpsweekly.

Posted by vfwpost3274 at 6:46 AM MST
Permalink
Saturday, 4 March 2017
ACTION CORPS Weekly
Now Playing: fwd from Ann Markel
Topic: VETERANS
1. VFW National Commander Testifies Before Congress: VFW National Commander Brian Duffy testified on Wednesday before 23 members of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees on issues important to America’s veterans, service members and their families. Backed by a standing-room-only packed house of 500 fellow VFW comrades, the Chief stressed the need for this Congress to finally eliminate the budget ax called sequestration, and to continue transforming the Department of Veterans Affairs so that it can better provide timely access to quality health care and benefits that wounded, ill and injured veterans earned and deserve. Read the Chief's full testimony or view the hearing video.

 

2. IB Coauthors Release FY 2018 Budget Recommendations: The three Independent Budget (IB) coauthors (VFW, DAV and PVA) released a fiscal year 2018 recommendation today that calls for an 8.3 percent increase in medical care funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Administration has yet to release a FY 2018 budget request, which is normally presented the first week of February, but such a delay is not unusual in the first year of a new president. Highlights from new IB report include:

- $88.9 billion in overall discretionary budget authority for VA –– an approximate 10 percent increase over FY 2017;
- $76.9 billion for veterans’ medical care funding for FY 2018 –– a $5.9 billion or 8.3 percent increase over FY 2017;
- $82.8 billion for veterans medical care for FY 2019 advance appropriations –– a 7.6 percent increase over the IB’s FY 2018 recommendation;
- $3.1 billion for the Veterans Benefits Administration –– a $278 million or 9.7 percent increase over FY 2017;
- $2.5 billion for VA construction programs to repair, renovate, expand and replace VA’s aging infrastructure –– a $1.5 billion increase over FY 2017; and
- $713 million for medical and prosthetic research –– a $38 million or 5.6 percent increase over FY 2017, as well as an additional $75 million to support the Million Veteran Program.

The three IB coauthors have presented budget and policy recommendations to Congress and the Administration for 30 years. The recommendations, which are supported by 27 other organizations, are meant to inform Congress and the Administration of the needs of all veterans, and to offer substantive solutions to address the many health care and benefits challenges they face. The IB serves as the veterans groups’ benchmark for properly funding VA so it can provide the timely delivery of quality health care, and accurate and appropriate benefits. View the new IB.

 

3. In Memory Program Deadline Today: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is accepting applications for Vietnam veterans to be honored at the 2017 In Memory ceremony on June 17 on the east knoll of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The In Memory program honors those whose lives were cut short as a result of their service, but do not meet the Department of Defense guidelines to be added to The Wall. Causes of death that meet the inclusion criteria include Agent Orange exposure, suicide, cancer, diabetes and heart attack, among others. The deadline for loved ones to apply to honor a Vietnam veteran at the ceremony is today. Learn more or submit an application.

 

4. Marine Reunion Web Page: The Commandant of the Marine Corps General Robert B. Neller is encouraging all Marines to “get connected … Reach out, catch up, and when needed, help others” by using a new Marine Corps web page designed to facilitate unit reunions. The “Year of the Reunion” page offers logistical advice for planning a reunion, as well as after action reviews of past reunions, a photo gallery and a list of upcoming reunions. Read about Year of the Reunion.

 

5. MIA Update: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced the identification of remains of five Americans who had been missing in action from WWII and Korea. Returning home for burial with full military honors are:

-- Army Sgt. 1st Class Robert R. Cummings, 20, of Manistique, Michigan, will be buried March 4 in Clarksville, Tennessee. In late November 1950, the 187th regiment was moved to positions along the Chongchon and Kuryong rivers in order to preserve lines of communication after an attack by approximately 300,000 Chinese soldiers. On Nov. 29, Cummings was sent out as part of a reconnaissance patrol. The patrol was ambushed near Hajoyang, North Korea, and Cummings was declared missing in action. Read more about Cummings. 
-- Navy Steward’s Mate 1st Class Cyril I. Dusset was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when Japanese aircraft attacked his ship on Dec. 7, 1941. Dusset was one of 429 crewmen killed in the attack. Interment services are pending. Read more about Dusset.
-- Navy Fireman 1st Class Lawrence H. Fecho was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when Japanese aircraft attacked his ship on Dec. 7, 1941. Fecho was one of 429 crewmen killed in the attack. Interment services are pending. Read more about Fecho. 
-- Navy Seaman 1st Class Paul S. Raimond was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when Japanese aircraft attacked his ship on Dec. 7, 1941. Raimond was one of 429 crewmen killed in the attack. Interment services are pending. Read more about Raimond.
-- Navy Fireman 1st Class Walter B. Rogers was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when Japanese aircraft attacked his ship on Dec. 7, 1941. Rogers was one of 429 crewmen killed in the attack. Interment services are pending. Read more about Rogers.

 

Do you know someone who wants to help us fight for veterans? Sign up new veterans' advocates today.

Posted by vfwpost3274 at 7:23 AM MST
Permalink
Friday, 24 February 2017
ACTION CORPS Weekly
Now Playing: fwd from Ann Markel
Topic: VETERANS
1. VFW Legislative Conference to Begin: More than 500 VFW members are converging in the nation’s capital this weekend to urge their members of Congress to continue transforming the Department of Veterans Affairs, so that it can more efficiently and effectively serve America’s veterans. Said VFW National Commander Brian Duffy, “The VFW is fully committed to working with Congress and the VA to change the way the department delivers health care, to include finding the best way to leverage what the VA provides with what public or private practitioners out in the community can offer, with the end goal being the delivery of the highest quality integrated care so that no veterans are ever stranded in line again.” The Chief will present the VFW’s legislative positions at 2 p.m., Wednesday, in testimony before a joint hearing of the Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs Committees in room G-50 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Along with fixing VA, Duffy will also demand that this Congress—the 115th Congress—finally eliminates sequestration. “When the 112th Congress created sequestration in 2011, Russia was not in the Ukraine, China was not building islands out of rocks, Iran and North Korea were not as emboldened as they are today, and the Islamic State did not exist,” he explained. “Yet here we are six years later, American forces are still in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and now in Syria, and our brave men and women in uniform must still operate under a budget ax called sequestration that is still the law of the land. Once again, the VFW demands that this Congress eliminate sequestration!” Read more here.

 

2. Military Health System Working Group: The VFW participated in a veterans and military service organization working group on Tuesday with Acting Deputy Director of the Defense Health Agency RADM Colin Chinn, who was joined by representatives of three service Surgeons General. Discussions focused on health care for military children, specifically hospice care and programs for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder; implementation of National Defense Authorization Act TRICARE changes; and the May 1 transition of the TRICARE dental program from MetLife to United Concordia. Read more about the dental transition.

 

3. Meeting the Needs of Female Veterans: On Tuesday, the VFW, alongside the Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Women Veterans and Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DOL) met with Forward Assist, a veterans group from the United Kingdom. The focus of the meeting was to discuss the successes in gender specific health care, transition from military to civilian life and other needs of female veterans in the United States. Since there is still more work that must be done for female veterans, leadership at Forward Assist traveled to research and discuss ways to begin addressing the needs of female veterans in the U.K. Learn more about Forward Assist and what the VFW is doing for women veterans.

 

4. General Dunford Talks Security: The VFW attended a Brookings Institute event yesterday to hear Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joe Dunford talk security, threats, challenges and opportunities. He said as a nation that thinks and acts globally, our military must also be balanced and fully capable of winning in all spectrums of warfare in a transregional environment. He discussed the Big 5 threats—Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and ISIS—and added a sixth, solvency, which he said extends beyond just budget stability, because it is the economic strength of a nation that allows for a strong military. Regarding a military plus-up, he said it’s important to get the strategy in place before resizing the force begins. Watch the hour-long program.

 

5. VA to Host Summit for Women Veterans: The Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Women Veterans is slated to host the Summit for Women Veterans in Dallas from April 19-20, with original dates pushed back for the intent of catering to as many people interested as possible. The summit will be the first national-level event for women veterans since 2011. Topics will include training, information and guidance particular to female veterans, regardless of VA enrollment. There will be lectures, panel discussions, exhibits and open forums promoting forward-thinking dialogue, collaboration with industry best practices and research. The target audience includes women veterans, public sector partners, academics and community partners. “Attendees will have an opportunity to hear from VA leadership, and participate in breakout sessions focused on employment, mental health, entrepreneurship, military sexual trauma, reproductive health, culture change and more. Additionally, plenary sessions will focus on VA care and benefits, partner organizations, and a special “Voice of the Veteran” panel,” said Kayla Williams, the director of VA’s Center for Women Veterans. Learn more about the summit.

 

6. Women’s History Month Art Exhibits: The Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Women Veterans has announced 10 VA Medical Centers that will display female veteran artists’ work throughout the month of March to celebrate Women’s History Month. The Center for Women Veterans partnered with Veteran Artist Program to select the 10 artists who will be featured. Find the location nearest to you and read more about the exhibits.

 

7. MIA Update: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced the identification of remains of two Americans who had been missing in action from WWII and Vietnam. Returning home for burial with full military honors are: 

-- Navy Fireman 1st Class Charles W. Thompson was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when Japanese aircraft attacked his ship on Dec. 7, 1941. Thompson was one of 429 crewmen killed in the attack. Interment services are pending. Read more about Thompson. 

-- Air Force Capt. Robert R. Barnett was a B-57B pilot with the 8th Bomb Squadron. While on a strike mission over Laos, Barnett’s aircraft reportedly crashed with no parachutes seen. The hostile threat in the area prevented a search and rescue mission and Barnett was declared killed in action on April 7, 1966. Read more about Barnett.

 

Do you know someone who wants to help us fight for veterans? Sign up new veterans' advocates today.
 
As always, we want to hear your advocacy stories. Email the VFW to share your stories or photos with us.

Posted by vfwpost3274 at 12:30 PM MST
Permalink
Saturday, 18 February 2017
ACTION CORPS Weekly
Now Playing: Reprinted article from Ann Markel
Topic: VETERANS
1. Senate Confirms Shulkin: By a vote of 100-0, the Senate Monday evening confirmed Dr. David Shulkin as the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs. “Veterans are very fortunate to have Dr. Shulkin voluntarily stay in what has evolved into the most scrutinized and criticized position in the country — and it should be,” said VFW National Commander Brian Duffy. "What he brings to the job is a love for veterans, for doing what's right, and for knowing what needs to be done to fix what's broken, to hold employees accountable, and to restore the faith of veterans in their VA. The VFW looks forward to working with him and his staff."

 

2. Hearing on VA Disability Claims Process: On Tuesday, the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs held a hearing to discuss how new processes and IT systems, specifically the National Query System, are impacting VA’s ability to process timely decisions for disability claims. VA reported the system is helping to alleviate backlog issues, but it is still a work in progress. VFW National Veterans Service Deputy Director Ryan Gallucci informed the committee about several issues with the new claims system, including one which severely limits the ability of VFW Service Officers to serve their clients. The VFW recommended some logistical fixes, many of which the committee members agreed with and will look to implement changes as soon as possible. View the hearing webcast.

 

3. Army VSO/MSO Roundtable: The VFW participated in a veteran and military service organization roundtable last Friday with Chief of Staff of the Army General Mark A. Milley, who was joined by senior officials from the Budget, Operations, and Legislative Liaison Directorates. Discussions focused on the impacts of budget instability, force disposition, and the Army’s FY18 congressional objectives.

 

4. DOD Military Family Readiness Council: The VFW participated in the latest meeting of the Military Family Readiness Council, which was established to assess and make recommendations to the secretary of defense on the policy, plans, and programs impacting military family readiness. This meeting focused on: aspects of the Exceptional Family Member Program, including for transitioning service members and their families; Top Ten Initiatives of the Defense Liaison Office; and Pediatric Focused Activities of the Military Health System. The next meeting, which is open to the public, will be held April 27. Topics to be discussed are Community Partnerships, Education Benefits Transfer, and Military OneSource. Read more about the MFRC.

 

5. GI Bill Panel at NASAA Conference: The VFW, alongside the American Legion, Student Veterans of America and the Department of Veterans Affairs, partook in a panel discussion with the National Association of State Approving Agencies (NASAA) to talk about veterans using their GI Bill benefits and the role of state approving agencies. The most frequent topic of discussion focused on SAA’s being on the forefront of approving schools for accreditation, and the standards necessary for accreditation for institutions of higher learning to be eligible for GI Bill funding, as well as how to assure student veterans are informed consumers about the institutions they choose to attend. Learn more about NASSA.

 

6. Online Exchange Shopping to Open to Veterans: All honorably discharged veterans will soon be able to shop online on the websites offered by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, the Navy Exchange, the Marine Corps Exchange and the Coast Guard Exchange. The VFW has backed this proposal since it was first proposed in 2014, because it is a huge win for honorably discharged veterans and the MWR programs the exchange services support. According to an article published this week in Military Times, the new online shopping privilege will exclude from sale, however, all uniforms, alcohol and tobacco products. The exchanges will use existing Defense Department data to determine eligibility. Veterans whose records are incomplete or do not appear in the VA’s database will need to register through VA, according to a letter provided to congressional oversight committees. Read the Military Times article.

 

7. Legislation Clears the House: This week the House of Representatives passed H.R. 512, legislation which will grant congressional offices greater access to records held by VA when a veteran asks their member of Congress for help. The House also passed H.R. 974, which the VFW supports, and would allow the VA secretary to grant preference to companies who employ veterans in full-time positions. Both of these bills now go to the Senate for consideration. Continue to follow the Action Corps Weekly for more updates.

 

8. MIA Update: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced the identification of remains of one American who had been missing in action from World War II. Returning home for burial with full military honors is:

-- Navy Fire Controlman 3rd Class Robert L. Pribble was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when Japanese aircraft attacked his ship on Dec. 7, 1941. Pribble was one of 429 crewmen killed in the attack. Interment services are pending. Read more about Pribble.

Posted by vfwpost3274 at 6:42 AM MST
Permalink
Saturday, 11 February 2017
ACTION CORPS Weekly
Now Playing: fwd from Ann Markel
Topic: VETERANS
1. Assessing the VA IT Landscape: On Tuesday, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee held its first oversight hearing to discuss challenges VA faces with its IT infrastructure. VA highlighted recent changes to its process to expedite delivery of IT projects and improve the veteran’s experience, such as interoperability of electronic health records between VA and DOD through the Joint Legacy Viewer –– a new scheduling system to get veterans their appointments faster –– and improvements to the system VA uses to process disability claims to ensure veterans get faster decisions. VFW National Veterans Service Deputy Director Ryan Gallucci submitted testimony detailing steps VA must take to improve its claims processing system to ensure VFW Service Officers can track claims and better assist veterans and their families. Committee members and the VFW urged VA to purchase a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) electronic health care record system to replace its aging electronic health care record, VistA. VA’s Acting Chief Information Officer Rob Thomas agreed purchasing a COTS health care record system is the best approach and will propose VA do so. View a video of the hearing or read the testimony. 

 

2. House Veterans Affairs Roundtable: The House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity hosted a roundtable discussion with committee members and veterans service organizations to review a study conducted on student veterans using their GI Bill benefits. The study, conducted by Student Veterans of America, was a joint research project with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Student Clearinghouse. Their objective was to find a more in-depth understanding of how veterans perform in institutions of higher education while using the GI Bill in comparison to non-veteran students. The study report is set to be published next week. During the roundtable discussion, some data was presented to Subcommittee Chairman Jodey Arrington and Ranking Member Beto O’Rourke on how to preserve and enhance GI Bill benefits. Since 2009, student veterans have earned 453,000 degrees and certificates using the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and an expected 1.4 million more degrees will be earned in 10 years. These degrees are primarily in business, management, marketing, health professions and STEM –– all of which are areas in high demand for employment. Learn more about the study.

 

3. VSOs Release Independent Budget: The VFW, along with coauthors Disabled American Veterans and Paralyzed Veterans of America, released their 30th edition of the Independent Budget, which is a recommended budget guideline prepared by veterans for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The collaborative report was released Tuesday with the support of 27 other veteran, military, family and professional health organizations. Topping the list of six critical issues for the new 115th Congress to address is the need to strengthen, reform and sustain the VA health care system. Said VFW National Commander Brian Duffy, “Choice Act funding expires this year, so it is imperative that Congress and the administration incorporate what works into the VA’s standard operating procedures as we move forward. Through contracted care, the Choice Act enabled the VA to serve more veterans in more areas than ever before, but it also highlighted weaknesses, such as chronic employee shortages, especially in clerical staffing, which forces doctors and nurses to file paperwork instead of seeing more patients. The Choice Act also proved that contracted care can complement but never replace the continuity and continuum of care that the VA provides to America’s veterans.” Read other comments and download this year’s Independent Budget.

 

4. Military Struggling With Budget Instability: Ending sequestration has been a top VFW legislative priority ever since it was created by the Budget Control Act of 2011; yet six years later, America’s military is still at war in Afghanistan and Iraq, but now with the added threats posed by Russia, ISIS, China, Iran and North Korea. These points were hammered home Tuesday when the vice chiefs of the four military services testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Readiness has suffered from years of budget instability, statutory budget caps, temporary workarounds, personnel end-strength cuts and Congress passing nine consecutive continuing resolutions. Only one-third of Army brigade combat teams and one-fourth of combat aviation brigades are ready today. Eighty percent of Marine aviation units lack the minimum number of ready basic aircraft. The Navy can only satisfy 40 percent of regional combatant commander demand. Air Force pilots today are flying less than half the 15 sorties and 20 hours a month their predecessors flew in the 1970s, the decade the Air Force uses to define “hollow force.” There is hope the new administration and new Congress can begin making repairs. They have until April 28, when the current stopgap continuing resolution expires. Read testimony and watch the Senate hearing.

 

5. Pentagon RIF Meeting: Last week, the VFW expressed concern to the Department of Defense that its new reduction in force (RIF) policy –– which lowered veteran preference from second to fourth in importance –– demonstrated a lessening of Pentagon support to retain qualified veterans. As a result, DOD held a meeting with the VFW and other veteran organizations to discuss a potential RIF’s impact on veterans in DOD’s civilian workforce. DOD was required by the 2016 defense bill to create a new RIF policy that moved job performance to the primary retention measurement factor. The VFW awaits answers to questions on the full impact the new measure would have on veterans in the event of a RIF.

 

6. VA Nominee Gets Closer to Confirmation: On Tuesday, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee voted unanimously to advance the nomination of Dr. David J. Shulkin as Secretary of Veterans Affairs to the full Senate. While other nominees have faced a grueling nomination process, Dr. Shulkin’s nomination is not expected to face opposition. The VFW sent Senate leadership a letter on Wednesday supporting Dr. Shulkin’s nomination and urging a swift confirmation process. The Senate is expected to consider Dr. Shulkin’s nomination on Monday, February 13, 2017.

 

7. Women’s History Month Art Exhibits: The Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Women Veterans has announced 10 VA Medical Centers that will display female veteran artists’ work throughout the month of March to celebrate Women’s History Month. The Center for Women Veterans partnered with Veteran Artist Program to select the 10 artists who will be featured. Find the location nearest to you and read more about the exhibits.

 

8. MIA Update: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced the identification of remains of eight Americans who had been missing in action from World War II and Korea. Returning home for burial with full military honors are:

-- Navy Storekeeper 2nd Class Glenn G. Cyriack was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when Japanese aircraft attacked his ship on Dec. 7, 1941. Cyriack was one of 429 crewmen to be killed in the attack. Interment services are pending. Read more about Cyriack.

-- Fireman 1st Class Michael Galajdik was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when Japanese aircraft attacked his ship on Dec. 7, 1941. Galajdik was one of 429 crewmen to be killed in the attack. Interment services are pending. Read more about Galajdik.

-- Navy Seaman 2nd Class George T. George was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when Japanese aircraft attacked his ship on Dec. 7, 1941. George was one of 429 crewmen to be killed in the attack. Interment services are pending. Read more about George.

-- Navy Fireman 1st Class William H. Kennedy was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when Japanese aircraft attacked his ship on Dec. 7, 1941. Kennedy was one of 429 crewmen to be killed in the attack. Interment services are pending. Read more about Kennedy.

-- Navy Musician 1st Class Elliot D. Larsen was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when Japanese aircraft attacked his ship on Dec. 7, 1941. Larsen was one of 429 crewmen to be killed in the attack. Interment services are pending. Read more about Larsen.

-- Navy Gunner's Mate 1st Class Arthur C. Neuenschwander was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when Japanese aircraft attacked his ship on Dec. 7, 1941. Neuenschwander was one of 429 crewmen to be killed in the attack. Interment services are pending. Read more about Neuenschwander.

-- Fireman 3rd Class Robert N. Walkowiak was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when Japanese aircraft attacked his ship on Dec. 7, 1941. Walkowiak was one of 429 crewmen to be killed in the attack. Interment services are pending. Read more about Walkowiak.

-- Army Sgt. Donald D. Noehren was a member of Headquarters and Headquarters Service Company, 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division. While conducting a delaying action against Chinese forces south from the Ch’ongch’on River to Kunu-ri, North Korea, his unit encountered heavy fire and continuous enemy mortars. Noehren was captured during the withdrawal and was declared missing in action as of Nov. 30, 1950. Interment services are pending. Read more about Noehren.

 

Do you know someone who wants to help us fight for veterans? Sign up new veterans' advocates today.
 
As always, we want to hear your advocacy stories. Email the VFW to share your stories or photos with us. 

Posted by vfwpost3274 at 6:50 AM MST
Permalink
Friday, 3 February 2017
ACTION CORPS Weekly
Now Playing: fwd from Ann Markel
Topic: VETERANS
1. Vets Committee Holds Confirmation Hearing: On Wednesday, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a confirmation hearing to vet Dr. David Shulkin, President Trump’s nominee to head the Department of Veterans Affairs. Shulkin has served as VA’s under secretary for health for the past 18 months and has overseen the implementation of the Choice Program. Shulkin was grilled on what still needs to be done to improve access, what tools he needs to achieve accountability within the agency, and what steps need to be taken to improve the claims process –– specifically appeals. The hearing was cordial and Dr. Shulkin acquitted himself well. The committee will likely vote next week to approve his nomination, which will send the nomination to the Senate floor for a final vote. Watch the confirmation hearing.

 

2. Army Reserve VSO/MSO Roundtable: The VFW participated in a veteran and military service organization roundtable on Thursday with Chief of Army Reserve Lieutenant General Charles D. Luckey, who was joined by Assistant Chief of Army Reserve Mr. Stephen Austin, Deputy Chief of Army Reserve Major General Michael Smith, as well as senior officials from the directorates of legislative affairs, private-public partnerships, communications, and the WWI commemoration. Discussions focused on readiness, finding balance between military and civilian employment demands and the future of the force.

 

3. New Blended Retirement Training: On Tuesday, the Department of Defense released training on the new Blended Retirement System, set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2018. The new system combines a 20-year cliff vested defined benefit, similar to the legacy high-3 system, with a defined contribution and government matching benefit. Service members on or entering active duty before Dec. 31, 2017, will be required to complete the training before deciding whether to opt-in to the new system or remain in the legacy system. Access training and additional details on the BRS.

 

4. DOD Increases Discharge and Records Review Outreach: The Department of Defense is renewing its efforts to make more veterans aware of military discharge and records review opportunities. In a press release, DOD said it is reviewing and consolidating all related policies to reinforce its commitment to ensuring fair and equitable review of separations for all veterans. Whether the discharge or other correction is the result of PTSD, sexual orientation, sexual assault, or some other consideration, the department is committed to rectifying errors or injustices and treating all veterans with dignity and respect. Veterans who desire a correction to their service record or who believe their discharge was unjust, erroneous, or warrants an upgrade, are encouraged to apply for the review. Learn more about the DOD’s outreach efforts.

 

5. Iraqi Translators Now Welcome: Defense officials this week are welcoming an administration decision to allow Iraqi translators and interpreters with special documentation to come to the United States. The move was in response to a presidential executive order to temporarily halt the flow of immigrants from seven countries until a better individual vetting process could be created. DOD said embassies and consulates overseas will continue to process and issue special immigrant visas to qualified applicants, including Iraqis who often put themselves at great personal risk by supporting U.S. forces. Read more about the decision.

 

6. Veterans Day Poster Contest: The 2017 Veterans Day Poster Contest is now open for submissions from all artists. The selected poster will be distributed to all VA facilities and military installations, as well as serve as the cover of the official Veterans Day program at Arlington National Cemetery. The submission deadline is April 15. Get additional submission details and submit your entry today.

 

7. DeCA Announces Private Labels: The Defense Commissary Agency has chosen the names “Freedom’s Choice™” for its private label –– or store brand –– food products and “HomeBase™” for its private label non-food products. Items will begin appearing on commissary shelves in May, with the number and types of items available expected to grow over the coming years. Read the full press release.

 

8. MIA Update: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced the identification of remains of two Americans who had been missing in action from Korea. Returning home for burial with full military honors are: 

-- Army Cpl. Melvin R. Hill, 19, of Pomona, California, will be buried Feb. 4 in Alex, Oklahoma. In late November 1950, Hill’s unit was assembled with South Korean soldiers in the 31st Regimental Combat Team on the east side of the Chosin River, North Korea, when his unit was attacked by Chinese forces. After several days of intense fighting, approximately 1,300 members of the RCT were killed or captured in enemy territory. Hill was among those declared missing on Dec. 6, 1950. Read more about Cpl. Hill.

-- Army Master Sgt. Ira V. Miss, Jr., 23, of Frederick, Maryland, will be buried Feb. 8 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. Miss was a member of Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, operating in the area known as the Central Corridor in South Korea. Miss was reported missing in action on Feb. 13, 1951, after Chinese forces overran the roadblock he was manning. Read more about Master Sgt. Miss.

 

Do you know someone who wants to help us fight for veterans? Sign up new veterans' advocates today.

Posted by vfwpost3274 at 1:04 PM MST
Permalink

Newer | Latest | Older