Tuesday, November 15, 2011

VFW Washington Weekly

VFW Leaders in Washington
This week, VFW's top national leaders arrived in the Nation's Capitol to honor America's military at Veterans Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and the Vietnam Wall, as well as to represent the VFW at the 236th Marine Corps Birthday Ball. VFW National Commander Richard DeNoyer was also able to visit with wounded warriors at nearby Walter Reed National Medical Center, meet with Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment cadre at VFW Post 1503 in Dale City, Va., and receive a North Korean MIA recovery update briefing from the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office.

VFW Statement on Dover AFB Mortuary Affairs
VFW National Commander Richard DeNoyer conducted five television interviews Thursday regarding the improper handling of remains by the mortuary affairs unit at Dover AFB, Del. "Shock and anger" is how he described receiving the news that unidentified remains from fallen warriors were cremated and disposed of in a landfill. In a press statement, the Chief said, "What happened at Dover AFB exceeds, on many levels, the nationwide anger that resulted from reports of mistreated wounded at the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2007 and reports of lost or misplaced graves at Arlington National Cemetery in 2009. You only get one chance to return our fallen warriors to their families with all the dignity and respect they deserve from a grateful nation — and that mortuary affairs unit failed." Read his full statement.

President Announces New Vets' Employment Tools
The VFW attended a press conference at the White House this week to support the President's unveiling of three new veterans' employment tools, and to urge Congress to pass a veterans' jobs bill that would double employer tax credits to help put veterans and disabled veterans back to work. The new tools are the Veterans Gold Card for local employment counseling; My Next Move for Veterans, which would help match military qualifications with civilian occupations; and the Veterans Job Bank, which would post job openings by employers who want to hire veterans. Click here to learn more about the initiatives.

Senate Passes Vets' Jobs Bill
On Thursday, by a vote of 95-0, the Senate passed the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, a comprehensive veterans' jobs bill that will help veterans compete in a cut-throat job market. The VFW has been instrumental in pushing for legislation in both the House and Senate that would boost employment opportunities for veterans. Language from the House-passed Veterans Opportunity to Work Act was included in the compromise bill passed by the Senate. The VOW to Hire Heroes Act includes a variety of provisions VFW has strongly supported, such as mandatory Transition Assistance Program attendance, extended educational and training opportunities, and tax credits for hiring veterans. The House should vote on the compromise bill when they return to Washington next week.

Vietnam MIAs Identified
The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced the identification of remains of three soldiers missing in action from the Vietnam War. They are Army Capt. Arnold E. Holm, Jr. of Waterford, Conn.; Spc. Robin R. Yeakley of South Bend, Ind.; and Pfc. Wayne Bibbs of Chicago. On June 11, 1972, Holm was the pilot of an OH-6A Cayuse helicopter flying a reconnaissance mission in Thua Thien-Hue Province, South Vietnam, with Yeakley as his observer and Bibbs as the door gunner. After a second pass over a ridge where enemy bunkers had been sighted, their aircraft exploded and crashed. Read more.

Sean P Eagan

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