Monday, October 31, 2011

DOD Press Release : Study Finds No Evidence of Health Problems From Burn Pits

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31, 2011 – An Institute of Medicine study released today found no evidence between exposure to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan and long-term health problems.

A 14-member committee of the institute, the nonprofit health research arm of the National Academy of Sciences, could neither prove nor disprove that service members' exposure to burning trash piles in Iraq and Afghanistan could cause long-term health problems, and recommended that more studies be done, a summary of the report says.

The report further states that ambient air pollution may pose greater health risks than the abundance of chemicals emitted from military burn pits.

The study was done at the request of the Veterans Affairs Department after some service members, veterans and Congress members expressed concerns about the safety of people who were in the vicinity of the burn pits, especially in the early days of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, when the contents of the pits were less regulated.

The committee focused its research on air samplings from a burn pit in Balad, Iraq, where safety questions were raised. The samplings were taken in 2007 and 2009. Because there is virtually no data on health outcomes from the chemical mixtures found at the pit, the committee sought information on similar chemical exposures to people most like those in the military: firefighters -- including those with exposure to wildland and chemical fires -- and incinerator workers. They determined, however, that the information still was insufficient to draw a conclusion about an association between the air samplings and long-term health outcomes.

The issue has been studied extensively in the past few years and there has been no finding of a causal relationship, R. Craig Postlewaite, the department's chief of health assurance, said in an Oct. 27 interview with American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel.

"The toxicology isn't there; the science isn't there," he said.

Still, Postlewaite said, the department is committed to studying the matter, and will do further studies with VA to provide for longer follow up with exposed troops, a better assessment of exposures, and to fill in data gaps.

"We acknowledge there could be short-term, acute health effects" from the burn pits, he said, and it is plausible that some people could be adversely affected in the long term -- but the studies have yet to show that.

The military stopped using burn pits in Iraq in 2009, Postlewaite said, and is drawing down the number in Afghanistan. In both areas, he said, no other options were available for waste removal, especially early on in military operations there. "We now have strict regulations about what can go into burn pits and where they are located," he said.

The committee found that local air pollution may be more of a factor in health problems than the burning pits.

"The committee's review of the literature and the data from [Balad] suggests that service in Iraq or Afghanistan -- that is, a broader consideration of air pollution than exposure only to burn pit emissions -- might be associated with long-term health effects, particularly in highly exposed populations such as those who worked at the burn pit or susceptible populations -- for example, those who have asthma -- mainly because of the high ambient concentrations of particulate matter," the report says.

The Defense Department routinely analyzes air, water and soil samples before troops deploy, but sometimes that is not enough, Postlewaite said.

"We send our people all over the world, … and sometimes they end up in situations where there is a potential [environmental] health risk we have little control over," he said.

R. Craig Postlewaite

Related Sites:
Institute of Medicine Burn Pit Study Institute of Medicine

Related Articles:
DOD Continues to Study Dust, Burn Pit Health Effects

Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans
Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000

Happy Halloween Army Strong Style

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Veterans to receive COLA in pensions

Veterans and their families will receive a 3.6 percent increase thanks to legislation passed by
the Senate. Since the House has already approved a slightly different plan, the House will now
have to approve the Senate version before it can be sent to the President.

Increases will be given for disabled veterans' compensation, additional compensation for
dependents, clothing allowance, dependent compensation for spouses and children.

The first increase since 2009 is scheduled to become effective Dec. 1st so that the larger
checks will arrive in January.

Veterans' benefits are not tied to the Consumer Price Index the way Social Security and federal
civilian retirement programs. Benefits for veterans must be approved by Congress.

It is not a large increase, but one that is justified and very much past due. Thank you Congress
for finally doing something right for our veterans.

Social Security and Social Security Disability payments will also be increased by 3.6 percent,
this is also the first increase in these payments since 2009. Our seniors need this increase
to maintain their life styles.

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

Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans
Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000

Imagine This Halloween Scream, Huntington W.V. as a Cold War Ground Zero

 Considering thoughts of prophecy intruding from "wars and rumors of war," earthquakes and other events, for a little over a month in 1962, well, it w like the first week following September 11, 2001.

John F. Kennedy had the Commander in Chief position , but the young handsome President had two in his face failures --- the U.S. had tried to overthrow Fidel Castro, the Cuban dictator, at the Bay of Pig and Operation Mongoose. Shortly thereafter, Cuba entered into an agreement with the Soviet Union for bases to be constructed on the island for medium range ballistic missiles. Russia would send the nuclear weapons by sea.

Thus, on Oct. 14, 1962, the Cold War began a period of likeliness to become World War III.

A little wee recall injects a tyke asking his federal employee father about the President's speech. The "classified" site on the INCO property was not revealed, but the city's place on Cuba and Russia's Top Ten targets was known.

"Where will we go?"

A bunch of pamphlets brought in after work detailed procedures for building fallout shelters, avoiding radiation, and discussing prospects of mutually assured destruction.

No nuclear or cold war film had Huntington or Charleston, WV as ground zero. However, the thoughts of better bomb shelters for everyone in the back yard are only for the upper class turned thoughts of middle class children to , hey, where do we go in Huntington? The orange and black designated fallout shelter signs (some still remain) had locations storing medical supplies and food.

Although the tunnel between the Veterans Administration Hospital and the Recreation Hall appeared the destiny for government employed families, other awesome hideouts to wait for the radiation to drop would have been the concrete fortified Keith Albee basement, the hard shelled original basement of the Marshall University Science Building, or even, the bowling alley that occupied the lower level of The Arcade.

Movies of the era focused on either a pre-bomb scenario or a after-the explosion scenario. Without CGI special effects, none of the studios could replicate a feature on a "War of the Worlds"/"Independence Day" magnitude. Instead, "Five (1951) ," "Panic in Year Zero (1962)," "This is not a  Test" (1962) and "In the Year 2889 (1967)" flickered on drive in screens, while studio budgets landed long runs for "On the Beach," "Fail Safe," "Ice Station Zebra" and "Dr. Strangelove."

The "B" indie nuclear holocaust film often selected a lucky group of survivors who by fate or location survived either the end of the world or the first nuclear bombs that destroyed the large cities. "Panic" features Ray Millland rushing his family to a rural hunting area, where they sit out the worst of the battle, actually has resemblance to "Run for the Hills" (1952), where a man turns a cave into a fallout shelter for his family. However, the war leads to insurrection and rouges searching for gas, girls, and food.  

Gregory Peck's "On the Beach" (1959) had Australia as the last inhabitable continent and a U.S. submarine fleet heading to San Francisco. They are receiving mysterious code messages. It's the same climax as "Fail Safe (1964 ) and "Dr. Strangelove" (1964), only the reality factor is hyped up considerably.

Political tension and sensitive spy operations to stop pushing of the "button," range from Hitchcock's  Paul Newman classic, "The Torn Curtain (    )," to "Seven Days in May" "Telefon" and "The Odessa File."

Another  mutually assured destruction post apocalyptic style  included "The World, the Flesh and the Devil," which followed three nuclear war survivors, a white man, a black man and a white woman. The original , "I Am Legend" featured Vincent Price. Titled "The Last Man on Earth," this 1964 flick had Dr. Robert Morgan (Price) killing vampires by day in a post-plague, post-atomic world. The 1954 Richard Matheson novel also spawned, "The Omega Man" starring Charleton Heston in 1971.

Returning to the Cuban crisis  premise, the TV movie, "The Missiles of October" (1974)  relied on Robert Kennedy's "Thirteen Days," which was re-made in 2000 under that title and starring Kevin Costner.

These flashbacks to the worries of nuclear fallout and nuclear air raids prompted several civil defense documentaries containing the now infamous duck and crouch school room and school hallway drills brought about by our need for nuclear dominance following "The Manhattan Project," which itself became the topic of a movie.

Of course, little did we know , that a facility manufacturing parts for nuclear cores and reactors sat in the middle of Guyandotte. A direct hit would not have meant a fallout avoidance scenario (stay inside in a secure shelter until the majority of the radiation from a far off blast dropped), no, it would have been a hit more like , "The Day After," for which the science fiction inspired "Triumph" by Phillip Wylie would have been the solution. In that novel, a multi millionaire constructed an underground facility akin to the one hidden below ground at the Greenbrier for his family, friends, neighbors and others who happened to make it to the secret location.

Survival below?  Those types of flicks did not surge, except  for the vampire mutant premise, which failed to address the impact of safe, underground intimacy for many , many half lives.

Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans
Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000

Friday, October 28, 2011

VA/DoD PTSD Coach App Wins FCC Award

WASHINGTON (Oct. 28, 2011) - The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Coach smartphone application, jointly developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD), is being honored today as one of seven recipients of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman's Awards for Advancements in Accessibility.

"We are honored to be named as a recipient of this prestigious communications award," said Under Secretary for Health Dr. Robert A. Petzel.  "The PTSD Coach app has already helped more than 30,000 users connect with important mental health information and resources.  It is a truly innovative tool which has revolutionized the way Veterans receive health care."

The goal of the FCC Chairman Awards is to encourage technological innovation in communication-related areas and recognize annually those outstanding efforts in the public and private sector as well as public-private partnerships advancing accessibility.  This includes the development of individual mainstream or assistive technologies introduced into the marketplace, the development of standard or best practices that foster accessibility, or the development of a new consumer clearinghouse of disability-related products and services.
"One of our key goals for the PTSD Coach app all along has been accessibility.  Our team works to get useful tools to Veterans whenever and wherever they need them. We are thrilled to have this recognition that we have hit our target," said Julia Hoffman, Psy.D. mobile applications lead, VA National Center for PTSD.

The submissions were judged by a panel of seven FCC executives.  All winners are being honored today at an awards ceremony at the FCC headquarters in Washington, D.C.
#  #  #

Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans
Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000

IAVA Join a Veterans Day parade near you


We're two weeks out. Are you in?

This Veterans Day (11.11.11), we're bringing Americans together on the ground at some of the largest parades and ceremonies in the country. And we're capitalizing on an historic moment to show the entire nation that veterans are a smart investment in America's future.

Sign up to join IAVA this Veterans Day and ask the country to invest in our New Greatest Generation.

For ten years, Iraq and Afghanistan vets have led our country overseas. But now more than ever, America needs to invest in our troops coming home.

New veterans have the skills and experience to lead in business, government and in our local communities -- and we need opportunities to prove it. That's why we're marching in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, New York City and San Francisco to lay the groundwork for veteran career fairs over the coming year.

Can you help us build momentum? Join a Veterans Day parade near you to cheer for our veterans with your friends and family.

It's an historic day for our community, and we hope you'll step out on 11.11.11 to celebrate our nation's newest veterans--and invest in their future so they can continue serving at home.



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

Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans
Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000

Stay current on veterans' issues with VFW's Washington Weekly. IT's FREE!

Dear Sean,

Sign up to receive VFW's Washington WeeklyThank you for taking the time to sign VFW's "10 for 10" Petition protesting cuts in veterans' benefits!

It's people like you who help us hold Congress to their promises to veterans, service members and their families. And you can count on VFW to keep you updated in this issue as it progresses.

There's another way to stay abreast of veterans' issues and related activity on The Hill …

Since I know you care about legislation and issues that affect veterans, I want to invite you to sign up for VFW's Washington Weekly. It's a weekly rundown of legislation and initiatives on The Hill that affect our military, veterans and their families.
Sign Up for VFW's Washington Weekly

Again, your support of America's veterans is very much appreciated. Thank you for being an ally in our fight to stand strong for America's veterans.

Forward this to a friend

Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans
Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000

20 Ways Civilians Can Give Back to Veterans

 By Laura Reed Goodson

1% of Americans serve in our military. Don't just go to the mall this Veterans'
Day. Please be part of the 99% of Americans who actively give something back.

Twenty Ways for Civilians to Support & Thank Veterans & Military Families
(Listed in order of least to most involved ways to participate)

1 Put out an American flag on 11/11/11.
2 Go to ( ) to see lists of organizations who support vets
3 Help wounded warriors and put the veterans back in Veterans' Day through the Wounded Warrior Believe In Heroes" campaign ( ).
4 Say "thank you for your service" to people you know are veterans or soldiers.
5 Say "tha nk you" to military family members for their service as well.
6 If you're not sure if someone is a vet, risk asking them: "Are you a veteran, ma'am/sir?" and then thanking them if they say yes. Keep in mind that some vets do not want to make a big deal about their service, to be called a "hero" or to talk at length to someone they don't know.
7 Use social media such as Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter to express your thanks.
8 Use social media to ask vets in your life what they need.
9 Visit a veterans' cemetery, Arlington National Cemetery, or a Veterans' Memorial site.
10 Visit or donate to a veterans' museum. A wide array of museums are devoted to different populations (Special Ops/Women/Vietnam). Use a search engine to find them.
11 If you're near DC on 11/11/11, attend the "Women Veterans Rock!" Rally at the ARC Performing Arts Theater, 1901 Mississippi Ave, @ noon ( ).
12 If you're a season ticket holder/sports fan, donate tickets to local recruiting offices to be distributed between vets & active soldiers (to find them, pick a search engine & enter your city name, one of the Armed forces branches (ex: Army), & "recruiting office").
13 If you love music/play music, support what other musicians are doing for our troops by joining or donating to the USO ( ). Also check out ( ), ( ), and ( ) and consider becoming an active supporter of bringing hope and support into the lives of soldiers through music.
14 If you're an artist, support the Graffiti of War Project ( ) and the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum in Chicago ( ).
15 If you're a writer or want to support veterans who are sharing their stories online, read some military blogs ( ) and some poetry by vets ( ).
16 Follow and/or "Like" the Veterans Writing Project on Facebook & give them money.
17 Help veterans have their stories and service permanently honored and recorded in the Library of Congress through the Veterans History Project ( ).
18 Donate blood for injured troops ( ) and support disabled vets ( ), ( ) & ( ).
19 To help disabled vets near Fort Bragg, NC, email James Howard @
20 Help vets find a job – add job openings & opportunities at: ( ), ( ), ( ), or ( ).

Please pass these suggestions along and consider supporting these projects, organizations, & veterans after Veterans' day has ended. Thank you.

Compiled by L.R. Goodson, Words for Warriors (
*Many thanks to all of the veterans & advocates who responded with suggestions.

Veterans Advocate Laura Reed Goodson compiled this guide and I thought it was fitting to pass it along with Veterans Day right around the corner. Pick one or pick them all they are all great ideas for expressing your thanks to our nations veterans.
Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans
Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

We Can’t Wait: Supporting Our Veterans | The White House

I think all Americans can agree that veterans shouldn’t have to fight for a job once they’ve come home from the fight overseas. But, all too often, those who have sacrificed so much for America struggle to find a job worthy of their talents. As the President has said, “if you can save a life in Afghanistan, you can save a life in an ambulance. If you can oversee millions of dollars of assets in Iraq, you can help a business balance its books here at home.” Ensuring our nation’s veterans get the opportunities they have earned has been one of President Obama’s top priorities as Commander in Chief.

That's why President Obama called for a new Returning Heroes Tax Credit of up to $5,600 for firms that hire unemployed veterans and a Wounded Warriors Tax Credit that will increase the existing tax credit up to $9,600 for firms that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities.These credits are included in the American Jobs Act. Unfortunately, these tax credits that could help companies hire veterans are held up in Congress.

While we will continue to work with Congress to bring up the American Jobs Act piece by piece, we will increase our focus on taking executive actions that fight for the middle class because the American people simply can’t wait. That’s why today, the Obama Administration is announcing two new initiatives to help create jobs for veterans.

1. Hiring 8,000 Veterans in Three Years: The Community Health Center Veterans Hiring Challenge

Today, the Obama Administration challenged Community Health Centers to hire 8,000 veterans – approximately one veteran per health center site – over the next three years. The National Association of Community Health Centers will also contribute to this effort and joined the Administration in announcing this Community Health Center Veterans Hiring Challenge.

2. Helping Veterans Become Physician Assistants

Under this initiative, the Administration will make it easier for veterans to use the training they have received in the military to become physician assistants. We will begin to give priority in physician assistant grant awards to universities and colleges that help train veterans for careers as physician assistants. In an effort to expand the number of training programs that accommodate veterans, the Administration also will identify model programs that offer expedited curricula for veterans and that offer enhanced veteran recruiting, retention, and mentoring services, and help bring these best practices to other programs.

These efforts build on previous Administration efforts to create jobs for veterans including sending 600,000 veterans back to school on the Post-9/11 GI Bill and hiring over 100,000 veterans into the federal government over the past year and a half. And just last week, First Lady Michelle Obama announced that the American Logistics Association (ALA) and their 270 affiliate companies committed to hiring 25,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2013. This commitment is part of the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden’s Joining Forces initiative to support veterans and military families. The ALA’s commitment will fulfill a quarter of the President’s challenge to the private sector to hire or train 100,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2013.

This work is also happening across the federal agencies.The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, are working closely with other agencies and the President’s economic and domestic policy teams, to lead a new task force to ensure that every member of the military receives the training, education, and credentials they need to transition to the civilian workforce or to pursue higher education. This initiative includes the design of a “Transition Boot Camp,” which will give service members additional counseling and guidance and help them depart their active duty service “career-ready.”

Over the weeks and months ahead, we’ll continue to take actions like these that will improve the economy and help middle class families including our nation's veterans because we simply can't wait.
Matt Flavin is the Director of Veterans and Wounded Warrior Policy

Message from DAV

Fall Banner 700px










Dear Sean,

Let Us Never Forget!
Troops 10.2011
You have shown great loyalty to America's heroes during long years of war.

This Veterans Day, let our heroes know you'll never forget their sacrifice as you give $25, $50 or $100 now!
Donate button blue

As talk turns toward withdrawing troops from Iraq, people start to imagine an "end" to today's wars. Yet for many who fought … the war will never truly be over.

Thankfully, you acknowledge the lasting impact of war each time you support disabled veterans through the DAV.

Today's conflicts will leave in their wake hundreds of thousands of young men and women who will carry war's burdens for the rest of their lives.

And when the war ends … that's when our responsibility truly begins, Sean.

For more than 90 years, the DAV has led the charge to care for our disabled veterans — to meet their needs and remember their sacrifice — in times of war and times of peace.

As Veterans Day approaches, let heroes know that you, too, are in it for the long haul as you show your loyalty through the DAV.

For decades to come, war will continue to take a heavy toll on today's disabled veterans. Their ranks will grow. Many face wounds that will worsen and consequences yet unknown.

  • Currently, 80,000 troops have come home with mysterious respiratory problems
  • Vets with PTSD face increased risk of heart disease and dementia.
  • Heroes with brain injuries are more prone to chronic depression.

All disabled veterans face uncertain futures. Make a promise to always be there in times of need as you make a special Veterans Day gift of $25 … $50 … $100 or more to DAV now!

Honoring a Lifetime of Sacrifice,


Arthur H. Wilson, National Adjutant
Disabled American Veterans

P.S. Do you or anyone you know need help receiving benefits earned by serving our country?











Since its founding more than 90 years ago, Disabled American Veterans has been dedicated to a single purpose: Building Better Lives for America's Disabled Veterans and Their Families.

P.O. Box 14301 | Cincinnati, OH 45250-0301
Please thank a disabled veteran for their sacrifice and service!

Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans
Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000

VA Updates Information Sharing Rule with DOD

Federal Rule Change Enhances Collaboration and Preserves Patient Privacy

WASHINGTON - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced that it is amending an agency rule in the Code of Federal Register (C.F.R.) to remove an inappropriate restriction on sharing of information about treatment for certain types of medical conditions with the Department of Defense (DOD).  This update to the regulation removes the restrictive VA provision and enhances VA's collaboration with DOD so Veterans can receive better and more timely treatment, services and benefits.

 "VA and DOD clinicians must have the most accurate and comprehensive data available to ensure they provide the highest quality care possible. We have discovered that, particularly in this age of electronic health records, this regulatory restriction created an impediment to maximizing this exchange of information," said Eric K. Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

This interim final rule removes a restriction that is not required by the statute, 38 United States Code (U.S.C.) § 7332, and is inconsistent with the intent and purpose of that statute.  This confidentiality statute was enacted before other privacy laws were in place to protect against the unauthorized disclosure of VA medical records relating to treatment for drug abuse, alcoholism or alcohol abuse, infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and sickle cell anemia.

Because Congress never intended the protection of such records to interfere with the treatment of Veterans, the statute contains an exception that permits VA to share the protected records with DOD.  38 U.S.C. § 7332(e).  However, when VA published the implementing regulation in 1995, 38 C.F.R. § 1.461, the rule further narrowed the exception to allow the interchange of only a subset of these records: those pertaining to a period when the individual was subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

A recent VA review of information sharing processes with DOD found that this restriction, which is narrower than the statutory exception, impedes VA's ability to share important medical information to coordinate the care and treatment of Veterans.  The updated rule removes this extra restriction and makes the agency rule consistent with statute.  It allows for the appropriate sharing of this treatment information and continues to preserve Veteran and patient privacy in accordance with § 7332 and other privacy statutes and regulations without obstructing the delivery of medical care to Veterans.

The interim final rule, which may be found at!documentDetail;D=VA-2011-VHA-0025-0001, is effective the date posted to the Federal Register. Written comments may be submitted through<>; by mail or hand-delivery to the Director, Regulations Management (02REG), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Ave., NW, Room 1068, Washington, DC 20240; or fax to (202) 273-9026. Comments should indicate that they are submitted in response to "RIN 2900-AN95-Sharing Information Between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense.

Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans
Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

opposition to the "10 for 10" Plan.

Having difficulty seeing the images in this message? View it online.

Join Thousands of Other Patriots in Saying NO! to &quot;10 f

Dear Sean,

10 for 10Recently, we let you know that Congress is considering cuts to Department of Defense and VA benefits in an effort to tighten its belt.

We need your help as VFW works tirelessly on The Hill to ensure any "reforms" that see the light of day don't harm you or your fellow veterans.

  1. Sign our petition right away letting us know you stand united with us in opposition to the "10 for 10" Plan. Join with thousands of other VFW members and help us create a groundswell of pro-veteran support right now!
  2. Please forward this email to five people—your friends, family and especially fellow veterans.
  3. Reach out to your friends on Facebook and Twitter and ask them to help you spread the word.

We can't let our nation break its promise to the men and women who have dutifully and honorably served this country. VFW members must unite to fight this injustice!

We must protect the benefits that protect veterans, service members and their families!

Thank you for taking action today by signing VFW's petition against the "10 for 10" Plan.

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Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans
Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000

Sean P Eagan

American Cold War Veterans logoAmerican Legion logoVFW logoVeterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) [over 2000 members!] logo

MilBlogger and Veterans Advocate

NY TIMES : While Veterans Wait

While Veterans Wait

The Veterans Affairs Department has devoted much effort and money to improve and expand its mental health care, especially for those coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder and brain injuries. But continuing reports of drug dependency, suicides and suicide attempts among veterans and active-duty soldiers suggest that urgent needs remain vast and unmet. So do persistent accounts from veterans who say they spend months waiting for mental health care.

* Veteran Affairs Department Survey Results (PDF)

Now Veterans Affairs' own health-care professionals say that the department's efforts are not enough.

After conducting hearings last summer on long waits for mental-health appointments, Senator Patty Murray of Washington, the chairwoman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, asked the department to survey its providers across the country to find out what the problems were. The results, released this month, show chronic inadequacies in access to care.

Only 29 percent of respondents — 272 psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses and social workers at dozens of hospitals and clinics — said their workplace had enough staff to meet demand. Nearly 40 percent said they could not schedule an appointment for a new patient within the two-week window the veterans department requires. Nearly 70 percent said they lacked enough space. And nearly half said some patients were being denied care because no appointments were available outside regular office hours.

Veterans Affairs says it's doing its best, and the Government Accountability Office confirms in a report that the department has expanded mental health care, adding staff and stretching its reach through crisis hot lines and "telemental health care," or therapy by video conferencing. The Veterans Affairs Department points out that its own data show waits for clinic appointments to be far shorter than Senator Murray's survey found. It says it is exploring ways to improve scheduling and access.

Still, too often, the response is too late. Veterans need better access to care in community outpatient clinics. They need clinics to be open early mornings and evenings. They need the Veterans Affairs Department to fill mental health staffing vacancies — now at 13.6 percent. If the question is money, the department and the White House need to fight for it in Congress. Acknowledging a mental health problem is a huge hurdle for stoic soldiers. It takes courage to ask for help. When they do, they should not have to wait for a response.

A version of this editorial appeared in print on October 25, 2011, on page A30 of the New York edition with the headline: While Veterans Wait.

Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans
Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000

Sunday, October 23, 2011

(AIVC) founder Kieran Michael Lalor will appear on Fox & Friends


Afghanistan & Iraq Veterans for Congress (AIVC) founder Kieran Michael
Lalor will appear on Fox & Friends tomorrow morning at 6:15 am to
discuss the White House's announcement that all troops would be out of
Iraq by the end of the year. The segment will be replayed durning
the 7 o'clock and 8 o'clock hours.

Afghanistan & Iraq Veterans for Congress PAC (AIVC) is a federally
registered political action committee supporting the congressional
campaigns of conservative veterans. AIVC looks for veterans who are
determined to become a voice for our troops, military families and
hardworking patriotic Americans who believe that our country, our
Constitution and our way of life are worth fighting for. AIVC was
founded in 2007 by Kieran Michael Lalor, a Marine Corps Veteran of
Operation Iraqi Freedom.

105 Stony Brook Road
Fishkill, NY 12524

Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans
Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000

U.S.-North Korea Conclude POW/MIA Talks

     The Department of Defense announced today that the United States and Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) officials reached an arrangement to resume recovering the remains of American servicemen missing from the Korean War.

     The three-day talks held in Bangkok were led by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/Missing Personnel Affairs Robert J. Newberry. His negotiating team included representatives from across the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the U.S. Pacific Command and the United Nations Command-Korea.

     The arrangement calls for U.S. teams to work in two areas in North KoreaUnsan County, about 60 miles north of Pyongyang, and near the Chosin/Jangjin Reservoirwhere more than 2,000 soldiers and Marines are believed to be missing. The arrangement includes details on logistics and matters that will ensure the effectiveness and safety of remains recovery teams operating in the DPRK. Accounting for Americans missing in action is a stand-alone humanitarian matter, not tied to any other issue between the two countries.

     The operations in North Korea are expected to begin next year and will mark the first since 2005, when the U.S. halted missions due to increased tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Prior to that time, U.S. specialists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command conducted operations in that country for 10 years, recovering remains believed to be more than 225 servicemen since 1996.

      Of the approximately 83,000 Americans missing from all conflicts, more than 7,900 are from the Korean War with 5,500 of those believed to be missing in the DPRK.

Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans
Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000

Secretary Panetta Notes 'Responsible End' to Iraq Mission

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

ABOARD A MILITARY AIRCRAFT, Oct. 21, 2011 - Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said President Barack Obama's announcement today that all U.S. troops would leave Iraq by year's end was "a real turning point from the last 10 years of war."

"At the end of this year, there will be a clear end to the U.S. combat presence in Iraq," the secretary told reporters traveling with him to Indonesia on the first leg of a three-nation overseas trip.

Since the war in Iraq began in 2003, hundreds of thousands of service members have deployed there. "As we know, 4,500 were killed in action, and some 32,000 were wounded," Panetta said.

The secretary said he is profoundly grateful to the U.S. military men and women who have served in Iraq, and to their families. They have borne a heavy burden and paid a great price, he added.

"I think it's a testament to their strength and to their resilience that we are now able to bring this war to a responsible end," he said. "Thanks to their service and thanks to their sacrifice, Iraq is ready to govern and defend itself, and to contribute to the security and stability of a ... vital part of the world."

The secretary said U.S. defense officials will now turn their "full attention" to pursuing a long-term strategic partnership with Iraq based on mutual interests and respect.

"Our goal will be to establish a normal relationship, similar to others in the region that focuses on meeting security and training needs for Iraq," he said.

Iraq is a sovereign nation that must determine its own future, and "we will help them in every way to do that," the secretary said, noting that the country has developed a "very good capability" in its own national defense.

"We've taken out of there, right now, about 100,000 troops," he said, "And yet the level of violence has remained relatively low." That, he added, reflects Iraqi forces' increasing capability to respond to security threats within their borders.

Iraq's recently announced plan to purchase 18 F-16 fighter jets from the United States will build that nation's air capability, Panetta said. "We will work with them to try to ensure they have the capability and training ... to use [them] to protect their own air space," he added.

When the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from Iraq is complete, Panetta said, "then I think we begin a process of negotiating ... what will be the nature of that relationship -- what kind of training do they need, what kind of security needs do they [have], and how can we provide it?"

The question for the future U.S.-Iraq relationship is "not necessarily what we want, but what the Iraqis want ... to be able to provide for their security," he added.

Panetta will land in Indonesia tomorrow evening local time, tomorrow morning in Washington. His weeklong trip to Asia also includes visits to Japan and South Korea.

Leon E. Panetta

Related Sites:
Special Report: Travels With Panetta

Related Articles:
Obama: All U.S. Troops Out of Iraq by Year's End

Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans
Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000

Friday, October 21, 2011

Having difficulty seeing the images in this message? .VFW

First Amendment Will Prevail at Houston VA National Cemetery

Cemetery will not interfere with prayers or religious expression during burial services ... ? View it online.


Great news to share with you!

VFW declared victory today in the Federal Lawsuit (Rainey v VA) filed over allegations of religious hostility and unlawful censorship at the Houston National Cemetery.

Federal District Judge Lynn N. Hughes signed a consent decree ordering the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to:
  • lift the ban on prayer and the word "God" at national cemeteries
  • revoke national policies hostile to religion
  • reopen the Chapel at the Houston VA National Cemetery (Its identity had been changed to a "meeting facility.")
Read the full VFW press release.

Forward this email and share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter!

Forward to Your Friends

God Bless America!

Sean P Eagan
Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans
Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000

Gulf War Task Force Report Released

Draft Gulf War Task Force Report Is Released

Report Redefines How Care and Services Are Provided
to Gulf War Veterans

WASHINGTON (Oct. 21, 2011)- Today, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced that the Department's Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses Task Force has completed the draft of a comprehensive report that will outline how the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) addresses the concerns of Veterans who deployed during the Gulf War in 1990 and 1991.

"This report provides a roadmap for our continued enhancements in our care and services we provide to Gulf War Veterans," said Shinseki. "We will be applying lessons learned from this report to Veterans of all eras."

Notification of the draft written report is published in the Federal Register, and the draft written report addresses seven areas where VA provides services for this group of Veterans.

Over the past year, the task force has examined, evaluated, designated and adjusted the initial roadmap outlined in last year's report. VA has designated steps to improve care and services to Gulf War I Veterans and these improvements are becoming a part of our culture and operations.

This year's report focuses on improvements in the delivery of health care for Gulf War Veterans. One of the most substantial additions is modifications to clinical care models used for Gulf War Veterans, which is the most critical point of service VA provides. There are better linkages between specialty knowledge and services at the basic point of care. Clinical research and development is significantly contributing new concepts and methods to clinical practice and clinical education throughout VA.

Two new positions were established in the Office of Research and Development for deployment and Desert Shield and Desert Storm health-related issues. Both positions have been filled and are enhancing research efforts for Gulf War Veterans and will continue to do so in the coming years.

VA is also strengthening partnerships and medical surveillance to address the potential health impacts on Veterans from the environmental exposures on today's battlefield. Additionally, VA continues to use social media to improve communication with Gulf War Veterans.

The Chairman of the Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses Task Force is John R. Gingrich, chief of staff at VA, a retired Army officer who also served in the Gulf War.

"To ensure we are tracking the needs of our Veterans, we want to get feedback from Gulf War Veterans on this draft report," said Gingrich. "Their feedback is critical to our efforts to understand and serve their specific needs. Therefore, we hope they take advantage of one of the different opportunities to provide feedback that we have created for them."

As a first step, VA is seeking public comments on the draft written report before final publication. The public notice and instructions for how to submit electronic and comments via postal mail will be posted at<>, and the draft written report will be open for comment for 30 days. In addition, VA recognizes that a great number of Gulf War Veterans use the Internet on a daily basis to share their ideas and concerns, so VA has also created a public discussion board on the seven recommendations at:

To view the report without making recommendations, please visit VA's website at

Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans
Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Resources for Veterans Day 11.11.11

Great educational resources, plus a free poster download!

Veterans Day, November 11, is a great opportunity to teach students about the men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces. To help educators make the most of this opportunity, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Veterans Day National Committee provide a teacher's resource guide with suggested activities for students of all ages. The guide may be viewed and downloaded from the Veterans Day Web site at    

In addition to the teacher's guide, VA and the Veterans Day National Committee produce and distribute a Veterans Day poster to increase awareness of Veterans Day and the sacrifices Veterans have made to secure and defend our nation.  The poster is distributed to VA facilities, military installations, federal agencies, state veterans offices, veteran's nursing homes, and other locations.   

The 2011 Veterans Day poster was designed by John Magine, a Vietnam Veteran and visual information specialist at the VA Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Fla.  It is the second time his artwork has been featured on the national poster – his previous design appeared in 2008.  "It was a great honor to have my work selected again as this year's winning poster design," said Magine.  I attempted to create a design that reflected not only the unique year, month and day of the 2011 celebration, but the National pride, courage and sacrifice our Veterans represent:  the guardians of our freedom and liberty."  

To download a print-quality version of the 2011 Veterans Day poster, visit: 

Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans
Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000

32nd "Red Arrow" Division, Brigade commemorate Berlin Crisis


10/19/2011 02:45 PM CDT

Contact: Lt. Col. Jackie Guthrie
Office: 608-242-3050 or Cell: 608-516-1777

NEWS: 32nd "Red Arrow" Division, Brigade commemorate Berlin Crisis
Date: October 19, 2011

By Staff Sgt. Michelle Gonzalez
112th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Approximately 150 veterans of the 32nd "Red Arrow" Infantry Division and their guests joined Wisconsin National Guard leaders and Soldiers assigned to the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team at the 32nd Brigade headquarters in Camp Williams, Wis., Saturday (Oct. 15) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the year-long deployment spent in preparation for the 1961 Berlin Crisis.

The commemoration included historical displays, video footage from the mobilization, modern equipment displays, scrapbook sharing and culminated with a ceremony.

For many veterans, the event was an opportunity to reconnect with fellow service members and share their deployment experience from five decades ago to friends, family and current Red Arrow Guardsmen.

"I like to see the guys and reminisce," said Maum Rollie, a Soldier assigned to the 32nd Division's 732nd Ordinance Company from Tomah, Wis., as he looked over a display recounting a train crash he was a part of.

"There are so many of my friends in the 32nd who are gone," said George Rosholt, a mail clerk for Company A, 3rd Battle Group of the 127th Infantry from Milwaukee. "I'm lucky to be standing here today."

In September 1961, the 32nd Division received notice of possibly serving one year of active duty. The division began mobilizing October 15 of that year and reported to Fort Lewis, Wash., to train.

By February 1962, the division was declared Strategic Army Corps which meant the 32nd Division was prepared for joint Army and Air Force deployments to any trouble spot in the world on short notice.

"For that year, it was hell on earth for some Soldiers but after it all we were ready to deploy at a moment's notice," Rosholt said. "The Cuban Missile crisis happened shortly after the Berlin Crisis and I thought we'd be called again," he added.

During the ceremony, Wisconsin Guard leadership spoke to the differences between 1961 and 2011 Red Arrow Soldiers and applauded the service of 32nd Division veterans.

"Just like you did 50 years ago, Soldiers spend up to nine months on the ground executing the most difficult missions then come home and reintegrate like you did," said Col. Martin Seifer, 32nd Brigade commander. "They try to explain to their family and friends why they wanted to go back and in some cases why they even considered to serve."

"What you did was magnificent," said Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, adjutant general of Wisconsin. "I'm proud to be associated with you. I'm proud to stand here with you and I thank you for your service."

- 30 -

Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans
Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Veteran Employment Hindered In Local Communities By Ability to Reach Unemployed


WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity held two field hearings to discuss the employment problems facing veterans in local communities and how to solve those issues. The two hearings led by Subcommittee Chairman, Rep. Marlin Stutzman, and Ranking Member, Rep. Bruce Braley, were held in Waterloo, Iowa, and Fort Wayne, Indiana.


Iowa is home to 56 Army National Guard armories in 53 communities. Northeast Indiana has a veteran population of 48,000. Both communities have been active in supporting measures to help servicemembers transition to civilian life.


"We traveled to Iowa and Indiana this week to hear directly from the communities to learn more about the employment difficulties facing our National Guard, Reserve, and military," stated Rep. Marlin Stutzman, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Veterans' Affairs. "It is shocking that as many as 30 percent of returning members of the Guard and Reserves do not come home to a job in this country. We must find ways to help these men and women find meaningful employment after having served their nation."


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Indiana's overall veteran unemployment rate in September was 6.9 percent, while it was lower in Iowa at 5.8 percent. Yet, 35.6 percent of OIF/OEF veterans' aged 20 to 24 are currently unemployed—four times higher than the national average.


"We heard this week that one of the greatest obstacles to unemployed veterans in these communities is that many employers don't know where to go find veterans to hire," Stutzman said. "We need to look for new ways to connect veterans with employers. This week we heard some good ideas such as increasing the outreach to local employers, especially small businesses, to ensure they understand how to contact state agencies who can get them in touch with unemployed veterans."


Business leaders and members of the National Guard and Reserve in Waterloo and Fort Wayne both pledged to continue to work together to help lower veteran unemployment in their states.



RT @HouseVetAffairs: @RepStutzman & @BruceBraley hold series of #vets employment hearings in Iowa and Indiana.


RT @HouseVetAffairs 35.6% of OIF/OEF vets aged 20-24 are unemployed in Indiana & Iowa. #HouseVets explores options to fix this.


RT @HouseVetAffairs Midwestern #vets need jobs. @Repstutzman & @BruceBraley hold hearings to solve.


For more news from the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, please visit:


Find us on Facebook at: or follow us on Twitter at: @HouseVetAffairs


Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans
Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000