Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cold War Times

The November 1 issue of the Cold War Times is now posted for viewing online at

Dear Friends and Supporters of The Cold War Museum,

It is hard to believe that The Cold War Times has been published quarterly for the past 10 years. During that time, The Cold War Museum has made great strides in honoring Cold War veterans, preserving Cold War history, and educating students about this unique part of world history.

The Cold War Museum Update

I am pleased to report that the building remodel is well underway at Vint Hill. Over the past six months we have been working diligently to prepare and submit our architectural plans and interior museum designs to Fauquier County for review during the permitting process. Even though design firm, Studio Ammons (, has completed the artist renditions as part of their $70,000 in-kind donation of architectural and design services, we need to continue with our fundraising efforts in order to be within budget for the museum build out. Now is the time I truly need your help and support. Please consider a year-end tax-deductible donation to The Cold War Museum. As a 501(c)(3) charity, donations are tax deductible as permitted by law.


The Cold War Museum
P.O. Box 861526
Vint Hill, VA 20187

In preparation for our new home, The Cold War Museum recently updated its website online at The website update was made possible by a grant from the Virginia Tourism Corporation ( and the redesign was done by C. Liston Communication (

Our most recent Public Service Announcement can be viewed online at --

Earlier this month The Cold War Museum received a JH Resolution from the Commonwealth of Virginia for our efforts to locate The Cold War Museum at Vint Hill. It was a great honor to be presented with the Resolution by Bruce Jamerson, Clerk of the House of Delegates, and L. Scott Lingamfelter, Delegate for the 31st District, who represents the Vint Hill area. The resolution can be found online at

Artifact Loans, Mobile Exhibit, and Spy Tours

The Cold War Museum continues to work with the Diefenbunker Museum in Ottawa, Canada, the Atomic Bunker in Harnekop, Germany, and the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC to display some of its artifacts until the Vint Hill site is ready. The mobile exhibit on the U-2 Incident, the "Spies of Washington Tour," and related educational activities continue to generate interest and support. The EAA Museum ( in Oshkosh, WI will host the mobile U-2 Incident exhibit through December 31, 2010. The educational Spy Tour of Washington ( is starting to book tours for the spring. Email for more info on the mobile exhibit schedule or to book a Spy Tour.

The Cold War Museum continues to expand its efforts through the creation of Museum Chapters staffed by volunteers. Visit for additional information. If you would like to help open up a museum chapter in your state or country, contact

Locating at Vint Hill is a very exciting development for The Cold War Museum. The Museum will fill a substantial void in the interpretation of post-WWII history. The Museum's goal of educating current and future generations about this critical period in international relations seeks to fulfill one of the most important tasks of the study of history, which will provide a tangible setting to explore this topic within historical contexts.

Please consider a year-end tax deductible contribution that will help us prepare for our new home. Your gift will ensure future generations remember Cold War events and personalities that forever altered our understanding of national security, international relations, and personal sacrifice for one's country. To make a contribution, please visit Together we can make this vision a reality. Thank you for your continued interest and support.

Very truly yours,

Francis Gary Powers, Jr.
The Cold War Museum
P.O. Box 861526
Warrenton, VA 20187
P-(703) 273-2381
F-(703) 273-4903

Friday, October 29, 2010

New York City Councilman wants to give Cold War Veterans Tax Break

New York City Councilman wants to give Cold War Veterans Tax Break

New York city councilman Vincent J. Gentile is introducing a bill that would give about 24,000 Cold War Veterans the same exemption on property taxes that are given to veterans of other wars.

A fifteen percent exemption on property taxes would be available for all Cold War Veterans for 15 years and would be capped at $39.000. The period September 2, 1945 through December 26, 1991 is considered the Cold War Era by the legislation. A discharge or separation of honorable conditions

In 2009 New York State gave cities, towns, villages and counties the option to grant this exemption to Cold War Veterans. Councilman Gentile said "My legislation would have New York City opt into the
 state tax exemption to make sure all our veterans are given the respect and courtesy they deserve."

It is our hope that more states take the same course and provide recognition to all Cold War Veterans.
Small steps, taken a few at a time, but we would like to see it turn into a groundswell to finally say
"Thank You" to the Cold War Veterans.

Jerald Terwilliger
National Chairman
American Cold War Veterans
"We Remember"

Fighters Escort Suspicious Aircraft

NORAD Dispatches Fighters to Escort Suspicious Aircraft

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 29, 2010 - The North American Aerospace Defense Command ordered four fighter jets today to escort a civilian aircraft with suspicious cargo.

NORAD diverted two Canadian CF-18s to track the aircraft as it flew into and over Canadian airspace, NORAD officials said in a statement. The civilian aircraft was passed to two U.S. F-15s as it transited into U.S. airspace and its ultimate destination at John F. Kennedy International Airport, they added.

NORAD dispatched the planes "out of an abundance of caution," the statement said.

Related Sites:
North American Aerospace Defense Command

Visit The Cold War Museum


A Game Changer: Veterans Week 2010 Can a baseball game change your life?

A Game Changer: Veterans Week 2010
Can a baseball game change your life?

My name is Sherman Watson, Jr. I'm a three-tour Iraq veteran with the
Marine Corps, and a proud member of IAVA. I never guessed that setting
foot in Dodger Stadium last July would have such an impact on my life.

When I came home after my last tour, I had a tough time. I didn't want
to go out in public or face the realities of civilian life. But all
that changed when I joined over 500 fellow Iraq and Afghanistan
veterans at Dodger Stadium to watch the Los Angeles Dodgers play the
Florida Marlins.

For the first time since coming home, I found support, camaraderie and
a community of my fellow vets who have my back no matter what. Thanks
to IAVA, I got connected with new GI Bill resources, tips to navigate
the VA and mental health support. And I got my free tickets to that
game through The Rucksack, IAVA's online tool that connects new vets
with rewards.

This Veterans Week, I want to help as many vets as possible learn
about The Rucksack so they can experience what I did. Will you join

Text VETSMARCH to 69866 to be the first to know when you can join the
Veterans Week Online March on Facebook and show our nation's newest
generation of veterans that we've got their back.

March online with IAVA this Veterans Week so every single Iraq and
Afghanistan veteran can enjoy the benefits of The Rucksack - just like
I did.

Semper Fi.

VA Going to World Series

Department Will Use Mobile Vet Centers for Outreach at Game Four

ARLINGTON, Texas (Oct. 29, 2010)- The Department of Veterans Affairs
(VA) is partnering with the Texas Rangers and Major League Baseball to
provide outreach and readjustment counseling to Veterans attending game
four of the World Series Oct. 31.

"VA's mobile Vet Centers improve access by providing counseling and
outreach services where Veterans are going to be," said VA Secretary
Eric K. Shinseki. "With thousands of Lone Star Veterans on hand to see
the Rangers try for their first World Series championship, this will be
a great venue to reach out. VA is thankful to Major League Baseball for
this opportunity."

The mobile Vet Centers will be located on Nolan Ryan Boulevard between
the Home Plate and First Base gates on the west side of Rangers Ballpark
and will be on site the entire day of the game for Veterans and their
families to stop in for confidential counseling or to inquire about
other VA services.

VA has a fleet of 50 mobile Vet Centers to support readjustment
counseling for combat Veterans and their families throughout the U.S.
where area facilities may not be close by. The mobile Vet Centers
complement 270 Vet Centers across the Nation that exist as walk-in
support centers, providing counseling and connection to local services
for Veterans adjusting to civilian life after combat. The mobile Vet
Centers are customized vehicles outfitted to house two mental health
counseling offices and a small waiting room. They can also be converted
with portable exam tables to provide basic medical care and are
outfitted with litters, a wheelchair lift and rear doors to provide
emergency patient evacuation capabilities.

Three mobile Vet Centers responded to the Fort Hood shooting tragedy
Nov. 5, 2009. With augmented staff, more than 8,200 Veterans, active
duty Servicemembers and families were provided readjustment counseling.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

VA Honors Psychologist with Olin Teague Award

Washington (Oct. 28, 2010) - A psychologist for the Department of
Veterans Affairs (VA) in Charleston, S.C., has been recognized with the
Olin Teague Award for his achievements treating Post Traumatic Stress
Disorder (PTSD) in combat Veterans.

VA psychologist Peter Tuerk, Ph.D., was awarded the Department of
Veterans Affairs 2010 Olin E. Teague Award, a national award that
recognizes contributions in an area critical to the rehabilitation and
improvement in the quality of life of war-injured Veterans.

"Approximately 15 percent of Veterans who served in Operation Enduring
Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom are diagnosed with PTSD," said
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "Dr. Tuerk's work
exemplifies the strides VA is taking in understanding and treating this

Tuerk, who works with the Charleston VA Posttraumatic Stress Clinical
Team and is an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences
at Medical University of South Carolina, runs the first VA clinic in the
country to offer Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PET) via telehealth or
video teleconferencing technology to rural Veterans.

This evidence-based treatment for PTSD has significantly improved
outcomes for Veterans suffering from PTSD who may not live close to a VA
medical facility. Tuerk broke new ground in VA providing this specialty
telehealth treatment to Veterans who might not otherwise have access,
while proving its effectiveness in several research studies that were
published in top-tiered national journals including the American Journal
of Psychiatry and the Journal of Traumatic Stress. Tuerk's VA clinic
was also the first clinic anywhere in the U.S. to provide and publish
research on in-home exposure therapy for Veterans with PTSD.

The award is named in honor of the late Olin E. Teague, a disabled World
War II Army war hero and Texas congressman of 32 years, who spent 18
years chairing the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Medical Forms Will Streamline Veterans Claims Process

Physician Questionnaires to Boost Disability Exam Efficiency

WASHINGTON (Oct. 26, 2010) - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has
released three new disability benefits questionnaires for physicians of
Veterans applying for VA disability compensation benefits. This
initiative marks the beginning of a major reform of the physicians'
guides and automated routines that will streamline the claims process
for injured or ill Veterans.

"This is a major step in the transformation of VA's business processes
that is yielding improvements for Veterans as we move to eliminate the
disability claims backlog by 2015," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Eric K. Shinseki.

These new questionnaires are the first of 79 disability benefits
questionnaires that will guide Veterans' personal physicians, as well as
VA physicians, in the evaluation of the most frequent medical
conditions affecting Veterans.

Accurate and timely medical evaluations are a critical element of VA's
continued commitment to high-quality and prompt decisions about the
nature and degree of conditions afflicting Veterans. Streamlining this
process by directly involving Veterans' treating physicians in providing
specific information needed to evaluate their claims will lead to
completeness in the examination and faster compensation decisions.

VA's goal is to process all claims in fewer than 125 days with a
decision quality rate no lower than 98 percent, a mark Secretary
Shinseki has mandated by 2015. The physician questionnaire project is
one of more than three dozen initiatives actively underway at VA,
including a major technology modernization that will lead to paperless
claims processing.

The disability benefits questionnaires are part of VA's automated health
records system which prompts VA physicians conducting disability
examinations to include precise information in a standardized way to
assist claims adjudicators in ensuring

Veterans receive the benefits they deserve as quickly as possible.
These VA examination results are electronically available to claims
adjudicators in VA regional offices.

For Veterans who receive their care from private physicians, VA has
placed the disability benefits questionnaires on its Internet site
( with instructions for physicians
to submit examination results on Veterans' behalf.

The first three questionnaires cover B-cell leukemia (such as hairy-cell
leukemia), Parkinson's disease and ischemic heart disease. VA recently
published a final regulation to be implemented Oct. 30 that will
establish the presumption of eligibility to VA disability compensation
benefits for Veterans with one of these three conditions who were
exposed to Agent Orange, a herbicide agent used extensively in Vietnam.

In practical terms, Veterans who served in Vietnam during the war who
have a "presumed" illness do not have to prove an association between
their illnesses and their military service. This "presumption"
establishes eligibility to VA compensation if their condition is
disabling to a compensable level.

Monday, October 25, 2010

VA Designates 54 Regional Vet Day Sites


October 19, 2010

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Designates  54 Regional Veterans Day Observances

WASHINGTON – Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced today the designation of 54 regional Veterans Day observances. These sites are recognized as model events for the observance of Veterans Day on November 11.
"On Veterans Day we celebrate the lives and legacy of America's 23 million living Veterans," said Shinseki. "From the National Veterans Day observance to regional celebrations nationwide, I encourage all Americans to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank our Veterans for their service."

Shinseki is Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee, which is comprised of representatives from 41 organizations dedicated to serving and supporting America's Veterans. Founded in 1954, the committee's mission is to promote the observance of Veterans Day nationwide. Each year, the committee recognizes regional observances – including parades, ceremonies and concerts – that are dedicated to celebrating and honoring America's Veterans of all eras.

The 2010 Veterans Day Regional Sites are: Birmingham, Mobile, and Montgomery, Ala.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Palm Springs and Sacramento, Calif.; Loveland, Colo.; Hartford, Conn.; New Castle, Del.; Brevard Community College-Coco Campus, and Weirsdale, Fla.; Atlanta and Dawson County, Ga.; Emporia, Leavenworth and Valley Center, Kan.; Bossier-Shreveport, Bossier City and Slidell, La.; Brunswick, Md.; Sherborn, Mass.; Detroit, Farmington Hills, Mason, and Lansing, Mich.; Inver Grove Heights, Minn., Biloxi and Kosciusko, Miss.; St. Louis, Mo.; Northfield, N.J.; New York, N.Y.; Charlotte, Fayetteville, Morehead City and Warsaw, N.C.; Columbus and North Olmsted, Ohio; Ponca City, Okla.; Albany and Portland, Ore.; Indiantown Gap National Cemetery, Penn.; North Charleston, S.C.; Gatlinburg and Nashville, Tenn.; Austin, Bonham, Dallas and Houston, Texas; Virginia Beach, Va.; Auburn, Port Angeles, Vancouver and West Richland, Wash.; and Milwaukee, Wis.

For more information about the Veterans Day regional site program, including an application for the 2011 observance, log onto the Veterans Day Web site at

Vets Week 2010

Dear Sean,

On November 11th, how are you showing new vets you've got their backs?

Earlier this year, IAVA unveiled The Rucksack - a ground-breaking tool that connects new veterans with free stuff. Over 10,000 vets have already used The Rucksack to claim everything from free business suits to baseball tickets.

But that's only the beginning.

This Veterans Week, we're rallying all Americans to march online and on the ground to spread the word about The Rucksack.

Will you join us? If you haven't already, click here to "like" IAVA on Facebook and get ready to mobilize for the Veterans Week March.

'We've Got Your Back' isn't just a slogan – it's a declaration. And no matter where you plan to honor our nation's veterans this November 11th, we've got an easy way to show your support.

We'll be in touch over the next two weeks to create the biggest Veterans Week ever, but we need you to take the first step today - click here to "like" us on Facebook.

Thank you for having our backs.


Paul Rieckhoff
Executive Director and Founder
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

SENATOR BYRON DORGAN (D-ND) – Defense Department Inspector General’s Investigation on Soldier’s Exposure to Deadly Chemical in Iraq Finds DOD Response Still Falls Short – Video statement by Senator Dorgan (01:39). Click here to view or embed this video.


Inspector General's Report

               (WASHINGTON, D.C.) --- U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) said Friday a preliminary report of an investigation by the Department of Defense Inspector General confirms that the Pentagon dropped the ball in responding to the exposure of hundreds of U.S. troops to a deadly chemical in Iraq. Those failures left some exposed soldiers unaware that they had been exposed to the deadly chemical and without follow up health monitoring and treatment. Monitoring tests performed on other soldiers who were informed of their exposure were so inadequate that the agency that performed them now admits they have a "low level of confidence" in those tests.

               A second and more detailed Inspector General's report, originally scheduled to be released this month, has now been moved back to the end of the year, a development Dorgan said he finds "disappointing."

The Senate Armed Services Committee and Dorgan requested IG investigations after he chaired hearings by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee (DPC), in June 2008 and August 2009. The hearings revealed that troops from Indiana, Oregon, South Carolina, and West Virginia were exposed to sodium dichromate, a known and highly potent carcinogen at the Qarmat Ali water treatment facility in Iraq. The DPC hearings revealed multiple failures by the contractor, KBR, and the Army's failure to adequately monitor, test, and notify soldiers who may have been exposed of the health risks they may now face.

The IG is releasing two reports on its investigation, The first report was released in September. The second, expected to be a more detailed response to specific DPC concerns, was originally slated for release by late October.  But the Department of Defense Inspector General now states a draft of that report won't be available until the end of the year.

The first report provides no indication -- seven years after the exposure – that the Army ever notified seven soldiers from the Army's Third Infantry Division who secured the Qarmat Ali facility during hostilities that they had been exposed. It also confirms that the Army's assessment of the health risks associated with exposure to sodium dichromate for soldiers at Qarmat Ali are not very reliable. In fact, the organization that performed these assessments, the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventative Medicine (CHPPM), now says it has a "low level of confidence" in its test results for the overwhelming majority of those exposed.

Equally troubling, Dorgan said, is the report's finding that the Department of Defense is refusing to provide information to Congress about the incident, because of a lawsuit to which it is not a party.

"I am very concerned about the findings we now have, and I am disappointed in the delayed release of Part II of this report. The IG's investigation and its findings are very important to the lives of U.S. soldiers and workers who were at the site. Details and definitive findings will help us ensure accountability for this exposure and flawed follow up, but even more importantly, they will help ensure that all exposed soldiers receive appropriate notice and medical attention," Dorgan said.

SENATOR BYRON DORGAN (D-ND) – Defense Department Inspector General's Investigation on Soldier's Exposure to Deadly Chemical in Iraq Finds DOD Response Still Falls Short – Video statement by Senator Dorgan (01:39). Click here to view or embed this video.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

VA's 'Medical Team' Approach Reduces Operating Room Mortality Rates

WASHINGTON (Oct. 21, 2010)-  A Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) study
published October 20 in the Journal of the American Medical Association
concludes that a concept called Medical Team Training (MTT) improves
communication, teamwork, and efficiency in VA operating rooms, resulting
in significantly lower mortality rates.

"Patients can suffer inadvertent harm at times, despite care from
well-trained, experienced, and conscientious health care providers,"
noted Dr. Douglas Paull, a VA surgeon and co-director of the Medical
Team Training program at VA's National Center for Patient Safety in Ann
Arbor, Mich. "The cause in many such instances is faulty teamwork and

"Fortunately, teamwork and communication skills --often referred to as
non-technical skills-- can be measured, learned, practiced, and
enhanced," Paull continued.  "The MTT Program improves these
non-technical skills among providers, delivering on the promise of a
safer health care system."

VA's nationwide study involved the analysis of more than 100,000
surgical procedures conducted at 108 of its hospitals from 2006 to 2008.
MTT had been introduced at 74 of these hospitals. The study found that
the decline in the risk-adjusted mortality rate was 50 percent greater
in the MTT group than in the non-MTT group.

 "MTT is all about communication," said Dr. Lisa Mazzia, who runs VA's
Medical Team Training Program along with Dr. Douglas Paull.  "MTT
empowers every member of the surgical team to immediately speak up if
they see something that's not right."

 "When people talk and listen to each other, fewer errors occur in the
operating room. That's the bottom line," Mazzia added.

``    Julia Neily, associate director of VA's National Center for
Patient Safety Field Office in Vermont and one of the study's nine
authors, said conducting briefings prior to starting surgery, much like
pilot and crew work through a pre-flight checklist, proved to be a key
component in reducing mortalities because it gave the surgical team "a
final chance" to correct potential problems.

Post-operative debriefings also proved valuable, the study found,
because they led directly to the prompt resolution of glitches that
occurred during surgery.  Examples included fixing broken equipment or
instruments, ordering extra back-up sets of instruments, and improving
collaboration between the Operation Room and the Radiology Department
--all of which led directly to less delays while future surgeries were
in progress.

Pre-operative briefings and post-operative debriefings are a fundamental
component of VA's MTT program, which VA's National Center for Patient
Safety began developing in 2003-2004. VA began implementing a nationwide
MTT program in 2006.

To find out more about Medical Team Training, contact VA's National
Center for Patient Safety at 734-930-5884 or go to

#  #  #

V.A. Hospital Checklist
Thu, 21 Oct 2010 07:30:00 -0500

A basic checklist before surgery is saving lives at V.A. hospitals.

IAVA 2010 Congressional Report Card

Dear Sean,

Did your representatives make the grade?

IAVA Action Fund just released its 2010 Congressional Report Card – and we want you to be the first to check it out. This critical tool shows who in Congress took action for new veterans and who was full of hot air.

The grades are not good. The Report Card shows just how little Congress accomplished for Iraq and Afghanistan vets this year. Out of 535 legislators, only 20 legislators earned an A+, and more than a third of Congress earned Ds and Fs.

Check here to see if your Senators and Representative made the D List or the Dean's List.

Congress showed promise for vets in the first half of this session, but by the second half, everything went downhill.

They failed to achieve real reform in our three most critical areas: improving the outdated VA disability claims process, upgrading the Post-9/11 GI Bill and helping vets find jobs in a tough economy.

As we head into the midterm elections, Americans must hold Congress accountable for their voting record. Vets can't wait for the gridlock to clear in Washington. IAVA Action Fund is keeping our nation's lawmakers honest, and ensuring that Iraq and Afghanistan veterans remain a priority on Capitol Hill. This is what the Report Card is all about.

Check out the Report Card now to find out if your elected officials flunked this session.

This Report Card brings veterans' issues back into the national dialogue before the midterm elections and shows Americans who really has our backs.


Paul Rieckhoff
Executive Director and Founder
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Action Fund (IAVA)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

VA Taking Life-Saving Campaign to Street

WASHINGTON (Oct. 19. 2010)- This week, nearly 1,200 life-saving
advertisements will go up on city buses, bus shelters, rail and subway
stations across the Nation displaying a message of hope for those who
have served their country and may be facing an emotional crisis. The
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is advertising its Suicide
Prevention Hotline through Jan. 9, 2011.

"I know of one Veteran who saw these signs on a bus shelter, called the
hotline, and came to VA for help that same day," said VA Secretary Eric
K. Shinseki. "That Veteran had been walking out to the desert to take
his own life. There are thousands of other Veterans like him who are
still with us today as a direct result of the hotline. It's important
that we get the word out to everyone who put their lives on the line in
defense of this Nation."

Since its inception in July 2007, VA's Suicide Prevention Hotline,
1-800-273-TALK (8255), has saved more than 10,000 Veterans and provided
counseling for more than 180,000 Veterans and their loved ones at home
and overseas. The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week
by trained mental health professionals prepared to deal with immediate
crises. The hotline also offers an anonymous online chat feature
available at
<> . (Look for the chat feature
in the upper right hand box.) While implemented for Veterans, any person
who calls the hotline and needs help will receive it.

VA has marketed the hotline through mass transit campaigns since summer
of 2008, increasing the number of calls and lives saved with each city
the campaign has reached. VA is partnering with Blue Line Media
( for the campaign, a transit advertising
<>  company
that specializes in helping business and government tell their stories
through transit advertising media, such as buses, bus shelters, benches,
subways, trains, airports, billboards and more.

VA has also promoted awareness of the hotline through national public
service announcements featuring actor Gary Sinise and TV personality
Deborah Norville. The transit advertisements and both PSAs are available
for download via You Tube and at

#   #   #

Monday, October 18, 2010

Homeless Veterans: Stand Down

Some veterans returning from Iraq or Afghanistan into the recession are finding themselves homeless. Scott Pelley reports on an annual encampment in San Diego where veterans can find hope, help and services.

Read more:

U.S-Turkish Alliance in Good Shape, Gates Say

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18, 2010 - The U.S.-Turkey alliance is built on fundamental common interests, and the defense partnership between the two nations is as close as it has ever been, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said here today.

Gates was the keynote speaker at the American Turkish Council Convention at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. The United States and Turkey are allies that have fought together in Korea, Kosovo and Kabul, and remain allies even when they disagree, he said.

"Even as our views and approaches on some issues may differ, we are allies, we share fundamental interests in the region, and our goals remain the same: A respect for sovereignty and rule of law; economic growth and development; and enduring stability and security," Gates said.

Turkey is a stalwart NATO ally and has 1,700 troops in Afghanistan. Gates thanked Turkey for leading the International Security Assistance Force in the past and for extending its command of the Kabul Regional Command for another year. Gates also complimented Turkey for its engagement with Iraq. He said Turkish leaders regularly work with Iraqis "to reinforce that nation's emerging democracy, encouraging national reconciliation initiatives and working to rebuild defense and security ties with the Iraqi Security Forces."

The secretary reaffirmed the U.S. pledge to confront the PKK -– a Kurdish terrorist group that has targeted Turkey, as well as its officials and military.

"In response to the rise in PKK terrorist attacks against Turkish military forces and civilians over the past year, the U.S. has increased its efforts to crack down on PKK criminal enterprises, enhanced its intelligence support, and reached out to our European allies to encourage them to freeze PKK assets in Europe," he said.

Gates also touched upon the need for NATO reform, and urged all NATO nations to support the new strategic concept that heads of state will discuss and vote on at next month's Lisbon Summit in Portugal.

The threats have changed over the years, Gates said, and NATO must change too. "Reflecting this strategic reality, NATO is now pursuing new missions far from its original geographic boundaries –- whether in the hills of the Hindu Kush or off the coast of Somalia," the secretary said.

NATO is changing operationally, Gates said. However, like the Defense Department, he added, the alliance requires structural reform.

"The alliance has long had too many committees, too many headquarters and too much bureaucracy overseeing too few deployable and properly resourced military capabilities," he said. "To some degree, the institutional reforms being pursued at NATO reflect many of the changes underway in our own Department of Defense -– all for the purpose of reducing overhead and shifting more resources to our fighting forces."

Gates also wants the NATO allies to agree to take up the phased adaptive approach to missile defense. Rogue states, such as Iran, can launch missiles against NATO allies, he said.

"Two-and-a-half years ago in Bucharest, NATO's heads of state and government recognized the need for an alliance-wide response to the threat of ballistic missiles in the hands of those who might seek to intimidate or harm NATO," he said. "We resolved then to develop options that could extend coverage to all European allied territory and populations, a resolution echoed at subsequent high-level meetings."

The phased adaptive approach, Gates said, offers a territorial missile defense system based on proven technologies that can be adapted to meet future dangers and protect a steadily increasing swath of NATO territory.

"As the threat from ballistic missiles grows, so will the scope and effectiveness of NATO's defenses against them," he said. "Our object is the fullest-possible coverage of NATO allies and, over time, to provide coverage for all of NATO."

The first phase becomes operational next year, Gates said, with sea-based SM-3 interceptor missiles deployed to areas where the threat is greatest. The second phase, due in 2015, involves placing upgraded, ground-based SM-3s in Romania as well as at sea.

"Phases three and four will deploy even more advanced interceptors, including a second land-based interceptor site in Poland," he said. "Overall, this approach provides the alliance with a great deal of flexibility to protect against the range of threats posed by ballistic missiles, and to adapt as new threats develop and old ones recede."

Gates said he wants to keep the U.S.-Turkish relationship on track.

"The United States and Turkey have wisely remembered our friendship during times of agreement and disagreement, and it is incumbent for us to continue to do so," he said. "There is too much at stake for us not to do so –- for our prosperity, for our security, and for the credibility of our alliance."

Robert M. Gates

Sunday, October 17, 2010

95-year-old NYC man gets medal for WWII rescue

In this Dec. 28, 1944 photo provided by the U.S. ...

In this Dec. 28, 1944 photo provided by the U.S. National Archives, OSS Capt. George Vujnovich, right, …

OSS Capt. George Vujnovich

In this Dec. 28, 1944 photo provided by the U.S. National Archives, OSS Capt. George Vujnovich, right, is stands in Bari, Italy with a group of Allied airmen he helped rescue after they were downed over Nazi occupied Serbia, the largest air rescue of Americans behind enemy lines in any war. Joining them are OSS colleagues who helped coordinate the rescue Nick Lalich, standing center, with moustache, and kneeling second from right, Arthur Jibilian. On Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010, George Vujnovich will be given the U.S. Bronze Star Medal in New York at the age of 95 for his work as head of the rescue effort, Operation Halyard, in what was then Yugoslavia

NEW YORK – The U.S. government has recognized the World War II architect of a mission to rescue more than 500 U.S. bomber crew members shot down over Nazi-occupied Serbia.

It was the largest air rescue of Americans behind enemy lines in any war.

George Vujnovich (VOOY'-noh-veech) is credited with leading the so-called Halyard Mission in what was then Yugoslavia.

The 95-year-old New York City man was awarded the Bronze Star in a ceremony Sunday at Manhattan's St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral. He received a standing ovation from a crowd of several hundred.

He's long retired from his job as a salesman of aircraft parts.

Vujnovich says of the honor, "better now than never" — but he regrets most of the men on his wartime mission are no longer alive.

Gulf War Veterans...Why? Breakthrough on Gulf War Syndrome

Published on 17. Oct, 2010

U.S. Report Backs Veterans

By Camilla Louise Lyngsby

This summer marked the 20th Anniversary of the Gulf War, yet many veterans of that conflict continue to grow sicker.

A recent report released by the Institute of Medicine now provides scientific evidence to back up veterans' claims that Gulf War illnesses exist, and are associated with their deployment.

Still, the soldiers who served the nation from 1990-1991 have not been getting the health care, treatment and disability benefits they needed and earned.

Just before the beginning of this semester, this reporter attended a congressional hearing on the issue.

Donald Overton, Executive Director for Veterans of Modern Warfare who served in the Gulf War, receives benefits for his blindness because it's irrefutable, but not for his debilitating symptoms of Gulf War Syndrome.

"While some may view my injuries as devastating, particularly my blindness, I consistently contend I am one of the fortunate warriors that served during this conflict," said Overton. "My conditions unlike those of so many of my battle buddies, could not be refuted by the Veterans Benefits Administration, thus affording me access to Veterans Affairs healthcare and benefits program."

Of the 696,842 service members who served in the war, about 250,000 veterans suffer from the multi-symptom illness also, known as Gulf War Syndrome.

This is the same government that placed them in harm's way that is now unwilling to fulfill its obligations to protect them. Many of the soldiers who served in the conflict were wounded in the line of duty and suffering from a range of physical disabilities including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia which is the most common arthritis-related illness  and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. According to the Veterans of Modern Warfare, "We believe that these presumptions are appropriate and consistent with countless peer-reviewed scientific studies that have concluded that these conditions and symptom sets have high, unusual prevalence among veterans of the 1990 – 1991 Gulf War."

Gulf War veterans are heading down that same path as the Vietnam War veterans exposed to the herbicide Agent Orange, and who were denied disability compensation benefits for decades.

Soon after the Gulf War, veterans started to contact the American Legion Service Officers complaining about health issues stemming from their service in the country or upon their return from Southwest Asia. "The symptoms were wide-ranging, but fatigue, joint pain, skin rashes, memory loss appeared to be met with a common diagnosis ? "It is all in your head," or "It is stress-related," by both the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care professionals, said Ian de Planque, Deputy Director of Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Commission, American Legion. "We even learned of biases within the health care profession that found undiagnosed illness as simply a desire for disability compensation."

It's unclear how to treat Gulf War Syndrome, a cluster of symptoms that doesn't fit into current medical concepts of disease. There is now scientific consensus that Gulf War illness is real. And being sick is a fundamental reality to the veterans suffering from the war illnesses.

In order to be effective, Dr. Stephen Hauser, the medical doctor and chairman of the most recent Institute of Medicine panel on Gulf War illness research suggested that, large scale research models are needed much like government-sponsored programs that are performed in the same manner as a national effort to eradicate polio or government research efforts to eliminate HIV/AIDS.

Chairman James Binns of the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses said it is essential "to employ the best in American science, run by people who go to bed at night and wake up in the morning thinking about this problem, [but] this country is not doing that."

Congressional members routinely ask if the VA has adequate funding to carry out its obligations, and the VA's response is always that it has sufficient funds. However, the Government Accounting Office (GAO) has accused the VA of underestimating funding needs.

Since 2009, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki and his Gulf War Veterans Illness Task Force was charged with reexamining the disability claims of thousands of veterans. But, some skeptics say that problems remain at the VA. Paul Sullivan of the advocacy group Veterans for Common Sense said, "If VA Secretary Shinseki won't fix VA's Research Office, then Congress must intervene and place Gulf War research outside of their area of responsibility."

In November 2005, $75 million was appropriated for Gulf War illness research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. However In 2010, the VA cancelled the research program and is in the process of launching a new program. But apparently the VA staff is still funding research focused on "stress," as shown in a VA most recent announcement of $2.8 million for research widely criticized by Gulf War veterans.

To this day, the trail remains cold. There have been many speculations and disagreements about the causes of the Gulf War Syndrome and the health issues faced by thousands of soldiers. Some causes considered include soldiers' exposure to depleted uranium, chemical weapons, environmental hazards, anthrax vaccines given to deployed soldiers and infectious diseases. But many of these potential sources have been debunked. To date, research on the exposure to depleted uranium has not been launched.

The Gulf War Syndrome and related diseases are not unique to the U.S. Many coalition soldiers reported illnesses upon their return home. In particularly German and British soldiers are suffering from Gulf War illnesses. They are waiting for the U.S. to spearhead an investigation and research into what has caused them to be sick upon return from the war zone and to why they are suffering from undiagnosed ailments and medically unexplained chronic illnesses. But the key difference is that Germany and the UK are providing medical treatment and disability benefits. Unlike the United States, these countries are taking care of their own.

The Veterans of Modern Warfare is urging Congress to enact legislation to remove all sunset provisions so health care and benefits last for the for the lifetime of every Gulf War veteran and every surviving beneficiary. Gulf War veterans have pointed to the complexity of accessing benefits and gaining permission to the Veterans Health Administration.

Chairman Charles Cragin, Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans said, "Consider for a moment that all of the fine men and women were considered in excellent health and 'deployable' when they went to war and shortly after their return home, the veterans began complaining of feeling ill and seeking help. These veterans were not engaged in a massive, national conspiracy to defraud the government. Rather they were sick. The 'Process' became a wall rather than a door."

In 2009, the VA Task Force was responsible for conducting a comprehensive review of all VA programs and services that serve the Gulf War cohort of veterans. "Due to significant limitations in VA's Gulf War Veterans Information System and the reports generated from the various data sources used by the information system, it is extremely difficult to accurately portray the experiences of the 1990-1991 Gulf War cohort and their respective disability claims or health care issues," said Chief of Staff John Gingrich, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. That said, Gingrich continued, "This shortfall did not prevent the Task Force from identifying gaps in services as well as opportunities to better serve this veteran cohort."

The Gulf War Veterans Information System was corrupted. To date, the issues with this data system have not been addressed, said Cragin during the hearing, "If you don't have good data, you can't make good decisions."

Still, remarkably, the veterans don't regret their service.

"The most revealing comment we have heard from the ill Gulf War veterans that we have talked to," said Ian de Planque,  "was their answer to one simple question, "If you had it all to do over again and your unit was deployed to the Persian Gulf, would you go?"

The answer was unanimous ? 'Absolutely!'

These young men and women did not fail us ? We as a nation have failed them."

Camilla Louise Lyngsby is a second year Master of International Affairs student and SIPA News Editor for Communiqué.
Image on rotator is of the VMW SE Michigan Chapter 4 Moving Memorial.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Secretary Shinseki's Msg To GW Vets


August 2010 marks the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the Gulf War, launched with Operation Desert Shield and followed by Operation Desert Storm. VA honors this milestone with a renewed commitment to improving our responsiveness to the challenges facing Gulf War Veterans.

First and foremost, VA is an advocate for Veterans – we are committed to finding innovative solutions to long standing issues and to empowering Veterans and other stakeholders to be a part of the solution.
VA recognizes and values the selfless service and sacrifice of Gulf War Veterans and their families, and continues our efforts to address the unique health needs of Gulf War Veterans.

Today, more than 250,000 Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield Veterans receive disability benefits from VA. VA has treated nearly 150,000 Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield Veterans for illnesses associated with their military service. We vow to reach more of these Veterans and have taken steps to do so. Earlier this year, VA proposed a new rule to make it easier for Gulf War-era Veterans to obtain disability compensation and related health care. This rule, once it takes effect, will grant presumptive service-connection for nine infectious diseases associated with military service in Southwest Asia and Afghanistan.

In addition, VA's ongoing Gulf War research and Task Force efforts continue to examine multisymptom illnesses, and other conditions associated with service in this conflict. VA continues to participate in Federal research efforts on Gulf War illnesses, contributing more than $158 million of the $406 million in total Federal commitment.

VA is taking bold steps forward in how we consider and address the challenges facing Gulf War Veterans as well as the challenges facing all Veterans. Our commitment to the Nation's Veterans is unwavering.

As your Secretary and fellow Veteran, I pay tribute to all of you who so bravely served and thank all Gulf War Veterans for their heroic efforts. Our Nation owes you a debt of gratitude. We acknowledge and honor the contributions of your service. Thank you.

--Eric K. Shinseki

Friday, October 15, 2010

No COLA Again

Retirees will get no COLA yet again in 2011

By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Friday Oct 15, 2010 10:48:46 EDT

For the second year in a row, there will be no cost-of-living adjustment in military and federal civilian retired pay, nor in veterans' disability and survivor benefits, in 2011.

"You have to look for the silver lining," said Steve Strobridge of the Military Officers Association of America, an expert in military compensation. "The reason there is no COLA is there is no inflation. Enjoy it while it lasts."

Annual adjustments in Social Security, government retirement and survivor benefits are calculated based on the Consumer Price Index, a measurement of a broad "market basket" of goods and services. Retirees saw a 5.8 percent COLA increase for 2009, the largest in 27 years, mainly caused by a sharp but temporary spike in energy and fuel costs in 2008.

But the stagnating economy made the index lag significantly in 2009, actually crossing into negative territory — "deflation" — and resulting in no COLA increase for 2010. Although the index has been very slowly edging upward in recent months, it still hasn't recovered to its previous peak, which it must do to trigger another COLA increase.

Strobridge said the situation is unprecedented in the 35 years that the current process has been in use. "Before last year, there was never a year when there was no COLA because there was no inflation," he said. "There also has never been a time when there was no COLA for two years in a row because there was no inflation."

There was no annual increase in retired pay in 1985 under a deficit-reduction program ordered by Congress, a one-time reduction that Strobridge fears might return because there is talk about capping or eliminating annual adjustments in Social Security and government benefits as a cost-cutting move to tackle the current deficit.

"That looks, in times of low inflation, like something that doesn't cause much harm, but it is really devastating in the long term," he said.

Retirees are likely to grumble that prices are increasing, not flat, but the formula set in federal law for deciding whether there will be a COLA compares average inflation in July, August and September of the current year to the previous year. The latest such comparison shows no change, largely because of drops in the cost of electricity, natural gas, apparel and non-food items, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which tracks consumer prices.

"People tend to focus on price increases and not price cuts," said Strobridge. "They think about the times that gas prices have gone up over the last two years but not when prices have gone down."

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Family Matters Blog: Suicide Survivors Turn to TAPS for Support

Fri, 15 Oct 2010 16:42:00 -0500

Family Matters Blog: Suicide Survivors Turn to TAPS for Support

By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 15, 2010 - I was hard-pressed to hold back my tears last week as I spoke to several amazing women who had lost a military loved one to suicide.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Miranda Kruse attends a Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors Suicide Survivor Seminar in Alexandria, Va., with her three children, from left, McKayla, Elizabeth and Tristan, Oct. 8, 2010. Kruse sought help from TAPS following her husband's death in January 2006. DOD photo by Elaine Wilson
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
They told me their stories in a hotel lobby, surrounded by strangers who were rushing past to meetings or hauling luggage to their rooms. But they barely noticed, lost in memories that triggered laughter, and tears, as they scratched away at the surface of their terrible loss.

These women, along with more than 200 other family members, had traveled to Alexandria, Va., for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors Suicide Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp. TAPS is a nonprofit organization dedicating to helping survivors of fallen military loved ones.

This seminar is the second one TAPS has dedicated to suicide survivors, and participants range from parent to spouse, sibling to battle buddy, but all lost a military loved one to suicide, some as recently as a week ago.

One of the women I spoke to, Miranda Kruse, had lost her Navy husband to suicide nearly five years ago after a long-term struggle with anxiety and depression. He was the "love of my life," she told me.

After his death, Kruse was gripped by the isolation and loneliness that so often follows a suicide. Her family and friends didn't know what to say to her or how to offer her support. Depressed and alone, she barely left her house for two years.

"Loneliness is so horrible after a suicide," she said, her eyes welling up with tears. "There's such a stigma and everyone wants to point a finger."

She eventually turned to TAPS, and found the comfort and support she so desperately needed. TAPS is founded on the concept of survivors helping survivors, and trains survivors who are a few years out from their loss to become mentors to others. And seminars, like the one Kruse was attending, offer an opportunity for people to learn coping skills from experts and, more importantly, form lasting bonds and support. TAPS "got me back on my feet again," she said.

Kruse is now committed to helping others avoid the same loneliness she felt in the days, and years, following her husband's death.

As we spoke, one of Kruse's best friends rushed up to her along with Kruse's three children, who picked at the plate of sandwiches and fruit she had gathered for them earlier. They gathered close, a newfound family, and a far cry from the isolation she had described just moments ago.

Near Kruse sat Judy Swenson, who had flown up from Texas to attend the seminar. Like Kruse, Swenson had suffered a similar terrible loss several years ago.

Her son, Army Spc. David P. Swenson Jr., mired in debt and depression, took his own life about five years ago.

The soldier had driven to his sister-in-law's house one night and his superior had called Swenson looking for him. She went to talk to him and explained he'd be absent without leave, or AWOL, if he didn't return that night. He told her he missed his old unit – he had recently transferred to a new one – and was just too tired to return.

Swenson talked to him of duty and responsibility and he conceded and left that night. That was the last time she saw him alive.

"One of the hardest things -- and there are many things that are hard -- is my son begged me, 'Please don't make me go back,' she said, the sadness and regret so evident in her eyes.

Her son shot himself that night.

Swenson was seized by grief and sought help from TAPS. TAPS is her family now, she said.

"TAPS is where I can talk about Davy," she said. "People care; they didn't know him, but they care. It's not just lip service -- it's heart. There's nothing like it anywhere."

Bonnie Carroll, TAPS founder, called the organization a "safe place." "This is our home, our reunion, our chance to be together," she said.

For more on these amazing women and the TAPS seminar they attended, read my American Forces Press Service article, "Suicide Survivors Find Comfort With TAPS."

To comment on this blog, please visit the Family Matters blog.

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This service is provided to you at no charge by U.S. Department of Defense. Visit us on the web at

VA to Regain Trust of GWV

By Kelly Kennedy - Staff writer

As the 20-year anniversary of Desert Storm looms, one out of four veterans who served there are sick, even as veterans advocates and the Veterans Affairs Department still bicker.

It comes down to this: Veterans believe they have evidence showing that chemical exposure caused their ailments and that VA refuses to acknowledge those studies.

Veterans say VA instead continues to focus on studies that address Gulf War veterans' mental health issues, pursuing the idea that the illnesses are all in their heads.

"To date, VA has historically opted not to recognize our condition," said Donald Overton Jr., executive director of Veterans of Modern Warfare. "They are emphasizing stress versus science."

But VA officials say they are striving to be transparent, that their newest research is based on more than 400 studies, and that the "mindfulness" and "mood and memory" research they have proposed is not about mental health, but about trying to relieve the pain issues so many Gulf War veterans face.

The disagreements came to a head at a House Veterans' Affairs Committee hearing July 27.

Everyone at the hearing acknowledged that VA, as well as military officials, handled Gulf War veterans badly in the beginning by inferring that they were making up their illnesses or that their rashes and neurological issues were caused by post-traumatic stress disorder.

"Consider for a moment that all of the fine men and women were considered in excellent health and 'deployable' when they went to war," said Charles Cragin, chairman of VA's Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans. "In many instances, shortly after their return home, these veterans began complaining of feeling ill and seeking help. Many of them were turned away as 'malingerers' or having a 'psychosomatic illness.' "

In August 2009, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki asked his chief of staff John Gingrich to review how VA handles Gulf War vets. That led to a report, released in May, that recommended seven areas in need of attention. VA also recently released new training documents for doctors and claims adjudicators that explain environmental factors troops may have been exposed to, as well as how to document and get benefits for those veterans.

Some of the problems stem from misunderstandings, but those are rooted in 20 years of mistrust that is not easily dispelled. Now, any cancellation of a project, any support for stress studies, any bureaucratic delays in funding or research are seen as efforts to avoid providing benefits and care for Gulf War vets.

"VA staff is not listening to our concerns," said Paul Sullivan, executive director of Veterans for Common Sense and a former VA employee. "The two things we don't want are more false promises and more stress research. We've waited 20 years for answers about why we're ill."
New studies on the horizon

VA just announced three new Gulf War illness studies:

• A five-year study on the impact of resistance-exercise training to treat chronic musculoskeletal pain

• A four-year study on therapies to enhance mood and memory, aiming to improve cognitive function and reverse depressive and anxiety-like behaviors with anti-depressants, antioxidants and exercise.

• A two-year pilot on "mindfulness-based stress reduction."

Gingrich said those studies are aimed at reducing pain. He said his wife has fibromyalgia, and noted that learning how to reduce physiological stress could help her pain.

"We don't know the cause, so now we're looking at the symptoms," he said. "This isn't the only thing we're doing."

He also acknowledged why the advocates might not trust VA's take on the issue, using an analogy from his own time as a soldier during the Gulf War.

"When trust is broken, the unit is dysfunctional," he said. "The trust has been broken. We can't change 20 years of history. But I think Secretary Shinseki has made it very clear it is our job to be advocates for veterans 24-7."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Missing WWII Airman Identified

Missing WWII Airman Identified

            The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

            Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Arthur F. Parkhurst, of Evansville, Ind., will be buried on Oct. 16 in Dayton, Ohio.  On March 12, 1945, Parkhurst and five other crew members aboard a C-47A Skytrain departed Tanauan Airfield on Leyte, Philippines, on a resupply mission to guerilla troops.  Once cleared for takeoff there was no further communication between the aircrew and airfield operators.  When the aircraft failed to return, a thorough search of an area ten miles on either side of the intended route was initiated.  No evidence of the aircraft was found and the six men were presumed killed in action, their remains determined non-recoverable.

            In 1989, a Philippine national police officer contacted U.S. officials regarding a possible World War II-era aircraft crash near Leyte.  Human remains, aircraft parts and artifacts -- including an identification tag belonging to Parkhurst -- were turned over to the local police, then to U.S. officials.

            Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command used dental comparisons and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA -- which matched that of Parkhurst's brother and sister -- in the identification of his remains.

            At the end of the war, the U.S. government was unable to recover and identify approximately 79,000 Americans.  Today, more than 72,000 are unaccounted-for from the conflict.

            For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, call 703-699-1169 or visit the DPMO Web site at .

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


WHEREAS, millions of unrecognized American troops served overseas around the globe in waging and winning a clear-cut victory in the Cold War (1945-1991); and

WHEREAS, the VFW was in the forefront of the worldwide struggle to defeat international communism since its inception and actively promoted anti-communism as a tenet of membership; and

WHEREAS, membership eligibility already includes service in six separate areas that were Cold War flashpoints recognized by the Army of Occupation Medal, China and offshore waters under the China Service Medal (1945-1957), as well as 17 distinct military actions (1958-1983) covered by the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; and

WHEREAS, 382 Americans lost their lives in hostile incidents with Soviets and their surrogates, Chinese, North Koreans and Cuban-supported insurgents along the Iron, Bamboo and Cactus Curtains (over and above the full-fledged wars in Korea and Vietnam) and other combat endeavors as evidenced by the Cold War VFW magazine series (1996-98 and book in 2004); and

WHEREAS, uncounted numbers of the United States military enforced the containment policy in inhospitable environments ranging from the shores of Greenland, the barren Aleutian islands, North Pacific skies, depths of the Arctic Ocean, Latin American jungles to remote outposts stretching from Ethiopia to Pakistan, without official or public recognition; and

WHEREAS, an all-encompassing precedent (Public Law 104-3) as has been set with the universal opening of membership to all veterans of Korea war service regardless of direct exposure to enemy attack; and

WHEREAS, as a matter of fairness and a means of rectifying a continuing injustice to Americans who performed arduous duty during the Cold War in most cases equal to that of combat, closing this gap in Cold War recognition, is the right thing to do for our veterans; and,

WHEREAS, Congress has currently proposed legislation (S.2743 and H.R.4051) that provides for the award of a military service medal to members of the armed forces who served honorably during the Cold War and assisted in its final successful outcome; now therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, that we support the federal legislation to award a Cold War Service Medal to veterans who were involved in that historical endeavor.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Navy Birthday Remarks
Tue, 12 Oct 2010 14:29:50 -0500

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus talks about the upcoming 235th Navy birthday from onboard USS North Carolina in Wilmington, NC. The Navy's birthday is Wednesday, October 13th.

Obama Honors USS Cole Victims, Vows Continued Vigilance

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12, 2010 - President Barack Obama today remembered the 17 sailors lost a decade ago during the attack on the USS Cole by vowing to remain vigilant in working with Yemen and other global partners to counter the al-Qaida threat.

Obama said in a White House statement that the fallen Cole sailors "were serving their country and helping to maintain security in the Gulf region when al-Qaida launched this outrageous attack" on Oct. 12, 2000.

"We pay tribute on this day to the courage and sacrifice of those who lost their lives in this attack, and to their families," the president said. "We remain steadfast in our support for the brave men and women of our armed forces who continue to risk their lives around the world to defeat these terrorists and to keep our nation safe, and we stand with our military families who sacrifice so much to support them."

Obama said he will never forget meeting some of the victims' families in February 2009.

"I am deeply grateful to them for their sacrifice, and their efforts to keep the memory of this tragic event alive in our nation's conscience," he said. "The families and loved ones of those we lost are in our hearts and prayers, and the American people stand with them on this solemn day of remembrance."

Al-Qaida continues to use Yemen and other areas around the world as platforms to pursue a "murderous agenda," the president noted.

"We continue to work closely with our Yemeni and other global partners to counter the al-Qaida threat," he said. "As we do, we will always remember those we lost on the USS Cole, and we will honor their legacy of selfless service by advancing the values that they stood for throughout their lives."

Related Articles:
Navy Honors Killed, Injured in USS Cole Attack

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Friday, October 08, 2010

DOD: U.S./R.O.K Alliance Strong As Ever

U.S./R.O.K Alliance
Fri, 08 Oct 2010 12:37:32 -0500

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Republic of Korea Defense Minister Kim-Tae-young say the alliance between their two nations is as strong as ever.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

DAV News Letter

Dear Sean,

Even as combat operations shut down in Iraq, our veterans are just beginning to feel the lifelong fallout from seven years of war in that land. And still, in Afghanistan, the fight goes on.

In this time of crisis, I'm so grateful that you support vital DAV service that reaches into the lives of these heroes.

For Our Disabled Defenders!
Arthur H. Wilson,
Disabled American Veterans

 A Day in the Life of a DAV Member
  Frank Richards lost two uncles in World War II before joining the Navy. When injury cut his Navy days short, Frank continued to serve back home—flying his Uncle Red's flag and serving as a DAV chapter commander. When Frank found his uncle's flag in shreds, three fellow veterans put things right.

Wally Tyson Named DAV National Commander
  Serving disabled vets for 25 years brought Wally Tyson to election as DAV National Commander. Wally knows what it means to overcome disability, cherishes the community he found in the DAV, and humbly insists: "I never had any idea I'd do something like this. But I'm not one to back down from a challenge."
VA Makes Benefits Application Easier
Sad Soldier   The Department of Veterans Affairs recently took a step to remove a roadblock for veterans applying for health care. By eliminating the signature requirement for vets who apply online, the VA spared disabled vets days, even weeks of waiting for care they need.
Vets in Need as Volunteer Numbers Dwindle
  Blind and retired, Rubin Martinez is one among thousands of vets across America who rely on DAV volunteers to drive them to medical appointments. But now fewer rides are available as volunteer numbers dwindle. Fill this alarming gap as you consider volunteering with the DAV!
The Real Work Begins Now!
  The end of combat in Iraq is only the beginning of DAV's commitment to the heroes who served there. For years to come, these men and women will need assistance as they learn to live with war's permanent scars. Take the first step down a long road of service with your gift of $45 ... $60 ... $75 or more to DAV today!

Still Not Taking Burn Pit Exposure Seriously

The DAV is determined to expose the dangers of toxic military burn pits, and the treatment Iraq War vet Tim Wymore received from the VA illustrates the crisis we face. The problem, says DAV's Dave Autry, stems from government reluctance to admit that it put heroes in harm's way.

Support DAV today!


Dear Comrades-Veterans,

At these I kindly ask your attention for the IMOSSPHINX (inter allied
military organisation/association) Belgium.
Who can join, all Nato allied active or post
active-veterans-regular-conscripts armed forces personal,male - female
.We meet twice a year for the annual festivities held at BREDENE
Branch Belgium,on the coast,on a weekend.
Except on special occasions we meet several times more but is not an
obligation to participate on all gatherings.
We have many expats - soldiers from al around the globe as
member.Especially a large participation from the
UK-Belgium-Netherlands and the USA.

Any one who joins is entitled for a medal in several categories for
proven service which is officially recognised by the Belgian

It's an old and long existing organisation. Because their internet
site is still under construction in three languages, you can read more
about their history on the attached brochure.
Many KOVOM members like myself have joined.Last annual meeting was
held on the 17-18 september. On that
specific occasion some members were decorated with a medal,me included
(see pictures).
The annual membership fee is only 11,00 euro . I personally can
recommend this association with their commitment,dignity,gratefulness
for soldiers/veterans.
If you want to have more information about IMOS or want to join, please contact:


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Vets For NY Announce Endorsement of Palladino for Governor

VFNY Endorses Army Vet Carl Paladino For Governor
"Many New Yorkers now fighting the War on Terror bravely enlisted in
response to the attacks on 9/11. If Cuomo is elected they will return
to a stagnant economy and a mosque at Ground Zero. This is simply
-Kieran Michael Lalor, Iraq Vet and Founder of Vets For New York

Vets for New York Endorses Army Vet Carl Paladino For Governor

White Plains, NY - October 5, 2010: Today Vets for New York (VFNY)
announced the endorsement of Buffalo entrepreneur and former US Army
Captain Carl Paladino in the New York Governor's race.

Said VFNY founder Kieran Michael Lalor, "Carl Paladino tells it like
it is, he doesn't owe any favors and has shown time and again during
this campaign that he doesn't mind shaking up the status quo. This is
precisely the kind of leader we need to end the dysfunction and
runaway spending in Albany."

"Carl is the embodiment of voter anger over the way establishment
politicians on both sides of the aisle use taxpayer dollars for their
own political advantage and run up crushing levels of debt," continued

Of the VFNY endorsement Paladino said, "I'm honored and humbled to
have the support of my fellow veterans and Vets For New York. I
pledge to be an advocate for our veterans who have sacrificed so much
to preserve our way of life."

"Many New Yorkers now fighting the War on Terror bravely enlisted in
response to the attacks on 9/11. If Cuomo is elected they will return
to a stagnant economy and a mosque at Ground Zero. This is simply
unacceptable," said Lalor.

Concluded Lalor, "Cuomo is a career politician who benefited greatly
from the fact the he was born to a politically connected father.
Paladino is a self-made man who has business and military experience.
In these tough times, the choice between an entitled political legacy
and a soldier turned successful entrepreneur couldn't be clearer.
Andrew Cuomo is part of the establishment who got us into this mess.
Carl Paladino's energy, experience, independence and determination can
get us out."

VFNY Contact:

Kieran Michael Lalor

(845) 616-3509


Buffalo native Carl Paladino is a graduate of St. Bonaventure
University and Syracuse University College of Law. After serving as an
officer in the US Army, Carl practiced law in New York courts for
fifteen years. Carl built a real estate development company which, in
some of the most difficult economic periods, has been the only private
company building in Buffalo. Today, he directly employs hundreds of
workers and provides work to thousands across New York State.

PO Box 447, Buffalo, NY 14205


Vets For New York (VFNY) is a registered political action committee
supporting the campaigns of conservative Republican veterans running
for federal, state, county and local office in New York State. VFNY
looks for conservative Republican veterans who are determined to
become a voice for our troops, veterans and hardworking New Yorkers
who believe in limited government, free enterprise and traditional
values. VFNY was founded by Kieran Michael Lalor, an attorney and
Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.