Friday, May 27, 2016
Memorial Day Message
05/27/2016 03:00 PM CDT
Memorial Day Message
As written by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, May. 27, 2016
To all of the men and women of the Department of Defense, it is an honor to join you this Memorial Day in solemn remembrance of the long line of patriots who have given everything to the cause of freedom and liberty, and of the Gold Star families to whom we owe a debt that can never be repaid.
From the first Memorial Day observance at the close of the Civil War, to the heartfelt ceremonies taking place in every American community today, the people of our nation have always taken the time to reflect, and consider the price of freedom. We recall the names, and the faces, of those brave individuals who made the ultimate sacrifice, and made it possible for us to raise our children, dream our dreams, and live full lives.
It is a mission that you carry forward today. As Secretary of Defense, I have been privileged to witness your service in many parts of the world, and to stand with you in solemn remembrance of those who came before you. Know that as you gather today for Memorial Day ceremonies on every American ship and base around the world, the American people stand with you, support you, and will never forget you. Thank you for your service.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Rolls Royce Driving Employee runs a 29 million dollar Charity that gives 2 percent Zero Star Rates Charity to Vets
NOTE: When contacted by CNN, Burch asked that we not contact him at his job at the Department of Veterans Affairs, but he refused to answer phone calls placed to his home. CNN tried to confront Burch as he drove home from work in a black Rolls Royce, but upon seeing a CNN camera crew, Burch gunned the Rolls Royce down his suburban Washington, D.C. street and disappeared.
'Worst' charity for veterans run by VA employee
By David Fitzpatrick and Drew Griffin
May 16, 2016
At first glance, the National Vietnam Veterans Foundation is a roaring success. According to its tax filings, the charity has received more than $29 million in donations from generous Americans from 2010 to 2014 for what it calls on its website "aiding, supporting and benefiting America's veterans and their families."
But look a little closer on those same filings and you can see that nearly all of those donations have been cycled back to telemarketers, leaving less than 2 percent for actual veterans and veterans' charitable causes.
That's why Charity Navigator, one of the nation's largest and most influential charity watchdog organizations, has given the charity a "zero" out of four stars for those same four years.
"It's a zero-star organization and you can't go lower than that," says Michael Thatcher, Charity Navigator's CEO. "They don't have an independent board of directors, they actually don't even have a comprehensive board of directors -- only three members on the board at this point in time and some of them are family. So one can say, is this representative of an independent board? It's not."
The charity's most recently filed tax return, for 2014, lists a catalogue of expenses paid for by donations: including $133,000 for travel, $21,000 for unnamed "awards", $70,000 for a category described as "other expenses" and even a little more than $8,000 for parking.
Charity president works at VA
The CEO and founder of the National Vietnam Veterans Foundation, himself a veteran, is J. Thomas Burch, who is also a federal employee working as an attorney for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Burch is deputy director in the VA's Office of General Counsel, where he pulled down $127,000 in salary in 2014. That's the same year he drew a salary of $65,000 as head of his "zero-star" charity.
A VA spokesman told CNN Burch's position at the veteran's charity is not a conflict of interest "per se". But the spokesman added the VA is now "reviewing" the situation and that the agency's Office of Inspector General is handling that review.
When contacted by CNN, Burch asked that we not contact him at his job at the Department of Veterans Affairs, but he refused to answer phone calls placed to his home. CNN tried to confront Burch as he drove home from work in a black Rolls Royce, but upon seeing a CNN camera crew, Burch gunned the Rolls Royce down his suburban Washington, D.C. street and disappeared.
The charity's vice president, David Kauffman, said in an email that the NVVF was responsible for "feeding homeless and unemployed veterans by donating to food banks, sent personal care kits to hospitalized veterans and donated blankets, hats and gloves to homeless centers."
According to the charity's tax filings, though, it accounted for about $122,000 in cash donations to veterans, out of more than $8.5 million raised in donations in 2014. That is less than 2% of the charities cash donations being used to support veterans and their families.
House Committee on Veterans' Affairs
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Thursday, April 14, 2016
04/14/2016 04:16 PM
Marine Corps EA-6B Prowler aircraft have deployed to Turkey to support Operation Inherent Resolve, the effort to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Marine Corps photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Marine Corps Aircraft Deploy to Turkey for Operation Inherent Resolve
From a U.S. European Command News Release
STUTTGART, Germany, April 14, 2016 — EA-6B Prowler aircraft from Marine Corps Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 4 have deployed to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, to support electronic attack requirements in Operation Inherent Resolve, the effort to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
The deployment is planned to last through September, U.S. European Command officials said.
The Prowler provides an umbrella of protection to coalition aircraft and ground troops in the fight against ISIL by intercepting communications as well as denying the enemy's ability to communicate, officials said.
"The EA-6B Prowler is a force multiplier continuing to do what it has for the past 45 years: support warfighters flying in the air and fighting on the ground by giving them the electronic communications dominance to ensure a decisive win," a Eucom statement said
Monday, March 14, 2016
DoD Condemns 'Heinous Acts' of Terror in Turkey
By Lisa Ferdinando
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, March 14, 2016 — The Defense Department condemns yesterday's terrorist attack in Ankara, Turkey, as another horrific act committed against the Turkish people, the Pentagon's press operations chief said today.
"We stand with our Turkish allies in the face of these heinous acts and will continue to deepen our ongoing cooperation in the fight against terrorism," Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters. "We do strongly condemn the horrific terrorist attack in Ankara."
More than 30 people were killed in yesterday's car-bomb attack in the Turkish capital.
"We do offer our deepest condolences to the families of the victims," Davis said.
The attack is only the most recent of numerous attacks in Turkey, the captain said. A bomb attack in February killed more than two dozen people in Ankara. An attack at a peace rally in October in the Turkish capital killed more than 100 people.
(Follow Lisa Ferdinando on Twitter: @FerdinandoDoD)
Carter: Attack in Turkey Strengthens Resolve in Fight Against Terrorism
State Department Fact Sheet on Turkey
March 11, 2016In This Issue:1. Senate Military Personnel Hearing2. Veterans Given a Year to Close Incomplete VA Enrollment Applications3. Full Week of Testifying Ahead4. Senate Appropriations Hearing on VA Budget1. 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.To sign up new veterans' advocates, click here: http://capwiz.com/vfw/mlm/signup.htm.As always, we want to hear your advocacy stories. To share your stories or photos with us, simply email them directly to email@example.com.
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