Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Are Atrocities Part of War? | Military.com

Disabled American Veterans Kick Off 2012 Legislative Season

Rep. Diane Black (TN) and Commander Samuels


WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, during a joint hearing, the members of the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees heard testimony from the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) on its 2012 legislative priorities with concerns over VA's budget and the specter of sequestration at the top of the list.


"The largest issues facing VA, and all American veterans, are the threat of sequestration and possibility of devastating budget cuts for VA," stated Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. "This issue arises due to an ambiguity in the law and the Obama Administration's refusal to answer basic questions on whether VA would be part of this historic cut. For months I've been trying to get clarity about this issue to no avail, and that is why I want to thank you, Commander Samuels, and all members of the DAV, for joining other veterans groups in pleading with the President to direct OMB to give us, and the nation, the Administration's interpretation of the conflicts in law so we can protect veterans healthcare and benefits."


"The DAV calls upon the members of these Committees to ensure that our government fulfills its promises to our nation's disabled veterans," said National Commander of the DAV, Donald L. Samuels. "We also call upon these Committees to vigorously provide oversight of VA to ensure that it is properly carrying out its mission to our nation's sick and disabled veterans and their families and survivors."


DAV will continue its focus on the growing VA claims backlog, which is now over 800,000 pending claims, in 2012. Commander Samuels also expressed concern for the burgeoning VA bureaucracy, stating "some VISNs employ hundreds of administrative personnel and have occupied enormous buildings to serve as their permanent headquarters. We urge the Committees to carefully examine the growth of VISNs and the increasing share of the budget that they currently consume, versus the value they add to the delivery of VA health care."


"I thank each member of the DAV who joined us here today to talk discuss the important issues facing VA this year, and in the future," Miller said. "I would also like to thank my colleagues from across the Capitol for joining us today. This hearing is a testament of our commitment to work in a bipartisan manner to benefit our veterans and their families."


Photos from the hearing can be found here.


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Sean P Eagan

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

Hall of Valor Founder Gives Testimony on Stolen Valor Act

A friend of the Blog testified in front of HVAC today. HOV database founder Doug Sterner contacted us in effort to track down some info on some Cold War citations that he added to his data base . He now has a blog at www.militarytimes.com .

From Doug:

Military Times
recently provided me with a new online blog for our "Hall of Valor." Please visit
www.militarytimes.com/blogs/hall-of-valor to keep up-to-date on our database progress, information on levels of completion, interesting numbers and statistics, as well as interesting citations and personal stories I uncover as I continue to build the HOV database.

Testimony :


C. Douglas Sterner

Curator, Military Times Hall of Valor
6338 Wingate Street, #203
Alexandria, VA 22312
(703) 717-9437

I am attaching his statement as he prepared it for the committee today. Doug's testimony is on Stolen Valor Act

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

Monday, February 27, 2012

Faith-Based and Community Resources First Line of Defense for Returning Veterans


WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, the Subcommittee on Health held a hearing to examine the partnerships, or lack thereof, between VA and faith-based and community organizations entitled, "Building Bridges Between VA and Community Organizations to Support Veterans and Families." The hearing focused on the need for greater community support of returning veterans, especially OIF/OEF veterans seeking mental health care who often opt for non-VA programs.  


"While the primary responsibility for caring for our veterans should and does lie with VA, faith-based and community groups are playing an increasingly key role in supporting the varied needs of our servicemembers, veterans, and their families," stated Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Health. "Members of the clergy in particular are often the first point of contact with a veteran grappling with both the visible and invisible wounds of war.  Data from the VA National Chaplain Center indicates that four out of ten individuals with mental health challenges seek clergy assistance, more than all other mental health providers combined."


Buerkle held a Veterans Mental Health Symposium for faith-based providers last December in Syracuse, New York, and found that many of the faith-based and community resources had not been contacted by VA to help returning veterans transition to civilian life. "It is a shame, most of all for our veterans, that there is a lack of communication, collaboration, and coordination between VA and critical community resources," Buerkle said.


"Veterans and the ways they are served has changed significantly over the last decade, resulting in the need for changes in the way our country, in turn, serves them. The veterans of today tend to be more geographically dispersed and more mobile than previous generations," stated Andrew Davis, an Army veteran and founder of the community organization, Saratoga County Veterans Resource Initiative (New York). "There is not a one-size fits all support system that can be created nationwide. We must garner community support and use community resources to serve our Veterans and their families completely."


A greater focus on local initiatives and resources is what the Subcommittee hopes to bring to the attention of VA officials as well as veterans seeking help.


"We already know that these groups can be effective in supporting the day-to-day needs of the veteran population," stated Buerkle. "Where partnerships exist, they need to be strengthened. Where they don't, they need to be fostered. For a veteran or loved one in need, every door should be an open door."



#Vets should have access to a range of resources & programs in their communities: http://veterans.house.gov/press-release/faith-based-and-community-resources-first-line-of-defense-for-returning-veterans


#Faith-based and community resources often first line of defense for returning #vets: http://veterans.house.gov/press-release/faith-based-and-community-resources-first-line-of-defense-for-returning-veterans


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Sean P Eagan

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

Military Connection Newsletter


I have the honor of serving on California's Interagency Council on Veterans (ICV). ICV brought together more than 130 representatives from federal, state, and local organizations to discuss ways in which to make it easier for veterans and their families to claim the benefits and services they have earned through military service. The ICV motto says it all: "Working together to serve all who have served."

Additionally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who have contacted us to express your appreciation for the monthly newsletter. Also, thanks to those of you who have sent  valuable information for us to pass on to our audience. We endeavor to put together a comprehensive newsletter that contains information we hope is of value to our readership, with something of interest for all readers.

Warm regards,

Debbie Gregory, CEO

A Celebration of Service

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Give an Hour, a national nonprofit organization providing free mental health services to the military and veteran communities will host a black-tie inaugural gala, A Celebration of Service, in Washington, D.C., on May 23, 2012 at the Mandarin Oriental.  Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation, will be honored for her life's work, which exemplifies the theme, A Celebration of Service. While Give an Hour's current focus is on the military community, the gala will highlight additional aspects of service and voluntarism, including honoring GAH's thousands of volunteer mental health professionals.  In addition Give an Hour will honor two veterans who have worked to raise awareness about the issues facing military men, women and their families:  Justin Constantine, OIF Veteran and Jennifer Crane, OEF Veteran.  World renowned journalists Cokie and Steve Roberts will serve as the evening's Masters of Ceremony.  Tickets start at $250.  For additional information, visit www.giveanhour.org.

We Salute You

We Salute You

Those Who Serve Our Veterans

We want you to know that we at MilitaryConnection.com consider it an honor to work with you. We applaud all of you...

  • Transition Assistance Officers of all Services Branches,  Nationwide
  • Veteran Service Officers, Nationwide
  • Veterans' Employment & Training Officers, Nationwide
  • Veterans' Vocational Officers

...who work so hard to help those who serve transition, find jobs and training - We want to hear from you!

Gary Sinise Foundation & the Lt. Dan Band

Gary Sinise Foundation

Gary Sinise has been a huge supporter of those who serve. He is the "Bob Hope" of our generation and gives generously of his time and resources. Gary and the Lt. Dan Band perform for our troops at over 40 bases annually. On Thursday, March 1st, the Lt. Dan Band will perform in a Benefit Concert for 27 year old Lance Cpl. Juan Dominguez in Temecula, CA. Cpl Dominguez, a triple amputee, was severely injured by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. The proceeds from this concert will be a key part of the fundraising effort to build a specially-equipped "smart home" in Temecula for Cpl. Dominguez, who has already endured 23 surgeries. For ticket information, click here

Veteran Friendly
Featured School

Intercoast Colleges

Reach your career goals at InterCoast Colleges.  With locations in California, Maine and New Hampshire, Intercoast Colleges offer Veteran and MyCAA approved programs including medical, legal, business and technology programs. Whether you are a working professional with a full-time job and family or someone that is just looking for a little freedom in their schedule, InterCoast can help you get your career on target! InterCoast makes it possible to serve your country and continue your education at the same time. Ask about your GI bill and how to enroll online for courses.

Check out your benefits!

Post 9/11 GI Bill

The Post 9/11 GI Bill covers

Check out our Education Area including our Veteran School Directory & thousands of scholarships.

eKnowledge Supports Military


Free SAT/ACT Test Prep Software for Military Families
eKnowledge™ has introduced the next generation of advanced Test Prep and multi-media eLearning programs. The test prep software includes more than 11 hours of video instruction, thousands of sample questions and practice tests, resulting in highly improved learning performance and superior test achievement. To thank them for their sacrifices,  eKnowledge is continuing their test prep software donation program for military families. To order online click here.   For more information,  call 951-256-4076.
*There is a nominal charge of $17.55 per program for the cost of materials, streaming, support & shipping

Man's Best Friend

Description: http://www.freedomdogs.org/images/HP5b_02.jpg

Freedom Dogs

Non-profit Freedom Dogs is devoted to helping our wounded military members returning from armed conflict with PTSD and physical limitations. The Partner Program pairs a wounded warrior with a Specialty Service dog and their trainer on a short term, intermittent status. The Partner for Life Program permanently places the Specialty Service Dog with the wounded warrior. Both of these programs are offered at no cost to the military personnel. For more information, visit them on the web.


Free Government
Resource Sites

Veteran Government Resource Sites

Attention All Veterans!

There are a large number of websites that provide information on Veterans benefits and how to file and/or ask for them. Accordingly, there are many sites that explain how to obtain books, military/medical records, information and how to appeal a denied claim with the VA. Most of this information is free and available to all veterans, but you have to ask for it. We invite you to look over the list of websites in the event that one or more of them will be advantageous to you. We also recommend that you bookmark the page for future use.

Check out our Veteran Government Resource Sites Directory

Follow Military Connection

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We have reached 99,000+ followers on Twitter, follow us! http://twitter.com/thegotosite.

Also follow & like us on Facebook!

Featured Employer

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Johnson Controls

Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and industrial leader that creates quality products, services and solutions that make essential contributions to the modern world in which we live, work and travel.   With careers from finance to engineering to administration, Johnson Controls' employees have the opportunity to learn and develop, to grow and perform to their fullest potential. They work in an environment that values their ideas, teamwork and personal safety. Their 162,000 employees create quality products, services and solutions to optimize energy and operational efficiencies of buildings; lead-acid automotive batteries and advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles; and interior systems for automobiles. In 2011, Corporate Responsibility Magazine recognized Johnson Controls as the #1 company in its annual "100 Best Corporate Citizens" list.
To view current open positions, click here.  

Military Connection.com Job Board

Thousands of Jobs

Visit our Job Area - Check out our Job Board with thousands of jobs in many occupational areas. Register as a Job Seeker and upload your resume so that Employers can find you. You should also check out our Virtual Job Fair of top jobs, and all the valuable employment resources we provide.

Do The Right Thing

Veteran Tax Credits

Receive Tax Credits & Gain Viable Employees


On November 21st, President Obama signed into law Returning Heroes & Wounded Warrior Tax Credits

  • The Returning Heroes Tax Credit is a new hiring tax credit that will provide an incentive for businesses to hire unemployed veterans of $2,400 to $5,600.
  • The Wounded Warrior Tax Credit will double the existing tax credit for long-term unemployed veterans with service-connected disabilities up to $9,600.

For more information on these tax credits & to reach an audience of viable Veterans in occupational areas across the board, contact us by email or call 800-817-3777, ext. 124.
To check out our Employment Area, click here.

Featured Employer

Description: Gwinnett County Government

As Georgia's second largest county, Gwinnett is a family of lively, growing communities and a great place to live. Known for its laid-back lifestyle and unique town centers, Gwinnett offers the best of all worlds: family-friendly communities and big city amenities the Atlanta region has to offer. If you are looking for a career in Law Enforcement, Public Administration or Technology, Gwinnett County is hiring. Click here to view job openings.


Iraq Star

The Iraq Star Foundation, now in its fifth year, provides free aesthetic surgery for soldiers wounded in the Iraq and/or Afghanistan wars.  265 Board Certified surgeons in 44 states are providing their skills to remove shrapnel, treat burn scars, revise artillery scars,  implant eyebrows, tooth restoration, etc.  If you have suffered a disfiguring wound,  call the Iraq Star Foundation at 310.245.6775 or 760.568. 4039 or contact us via email. Iraq Star's Mission is to prevent the Iraq and Afghanistan wars from permanently disfiguring young lives, please let them help you. Visit www.iraqstar.org and view videos of events and news coverage of Iraq Star wounded receiving their life changing surgeries.

Column of Interest

Ted Puntillo

The Most Common Disability

Ted Puntillo, the Director of Veteran Services for Solano County, shares with us the most common disability that occurs in the Veteran population, and what it means to those who have it. To read more about it, click here. When it comes to Veterans' benefits, Ted Puntillo is one of the most knowledgeable people on the planet! The former Deputy Director of CalVet and current Director of Veteran Services for Solano County, Ted will be sharing important information on topics such as Veteran benefits, disability, compensation, etc. through his columns on MilitaryConnection.com.

Join Team Fisher House

John Freer


Fisher House Marathons

Team Fisher House has opened registration for the 2012 Fundraising Teams for both the Marine Corps Marathon and the Air Force Marathon, with the Army and Navy registration opening soon. Fisher House Foundation's "comfort homes," built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers, enable family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful times - during the hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease, or injury. There is at least one Fisher House at every major military medical center to assist families in need and to ensure that they are provided with the comforts of home in a supportive environment. No family ever pays to stay at any Fisher House! Join the team to raise funds and awareness for Fisher House Foundation - Join the Champions for Military Families team! Go to TeamFisherHouse.org/AFM to get more registration details.

Membership is Free

VAMBOA - Veteran and Military Business Owners Association

Veteran Business Owners

VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association working to ensure the development, growth and prosperity of Veteran Owned Businesses, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Businesses of all sizes. VAMBOA will serve the needs of the veteran and military business communities by uniting veteran and military business owners for collaboration, connections and contracts with both private corporations and government agencies. Join today and take the survey to let them know what issues are important to you. Membership is Free!  You have honorably served our nation. VAMBOA is here to serve you and be your voice.

The Mission Continues

At The Mission Continues, they've long believed that the five million men and women who have worn our country's uniform since 9/11 are assets. When veterans find a way to channel their ethic of service, skill sets, and leadership abilities at home, our communities flourish. They also know that many veterans struggle to find purpose at home without the structure, mission and camaraderie of a military unit. By empowering them to serve as civic leaders, their service gives them purpose and aids them in successfully transitioning home. To date, The Mission Continues has engaged nearly 250 post-9/11 veterans in six month fellowships in local nonprofit organizations, mentoring at-risk youth, training guide dogs for disabled Americans, coordinating housing builds or doing disaster preparedness work. They have seen these communities improve as a result of their efforts and seen those veterans grow and successfully transition to meaningful careers, further education or an ongoing role of service.To apply click here or call 314-571-6157.

Attention New York Vets

Through little know legislation, you may be able to audit Vocational classes at no cost to you. Thanks to the years –long efforts by our friend Wolf Popper, Educational Law A05670 was amended to allow honorably discharged Veterans to audit vocational education classes. There are a few restrictions based on space and availability. To read the actual bill, click here


Saluting Volunteers

Description: http://www.supportourribbons.com/custom-magnet-image/19957-custom-ribbon-magnet-sticker-Support+The+Troops%3A+Volunteer+at+a+VA+Hospital.png

Thanks go out to Sid Hull, one of the volunteers at the VA Outpatient Clinic in Austin, Texas.  Sid is part of a much larger group of veterans and civilians who devote their time to serving our veterans in Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics throughout the country.  Retired from the US Army after 20 years of active duty, Sid has been volunteering at the Austin clinic for over seven years. He wanted to spread the word that there are thousands of volunteers throughout the VA system as members of Veterans Affairs Voluntary Services (VAVS), but they can always use help. For more information, visit VAVS on the web.

Got Heart, Give Hope

Hope for the Warriors

This Valentine's Day, Hope For The Warriors began accepting nominations for their annual Got Heart, Give Hope Gala to be held on May 23.  On this special evening, Hope For The Warriors honors the courage of our nation's wounded and fallen heroes and their families, focusing on the hope they inspire through their remarkable stories of recovery and achievement.  One man honored at last year's Gala was Christian Haerter, father of LCpl. Jordan Haerter, KIA.  Christian demonstrates everlasting love and devotion to his son through his commitment to his own nonprofit, and through his commitment to Hope For The Warriors®.  To learn more about Christian, other awardees and this year's gala, please visit www.hopeforthewarriors.org/gotheartgivehope.html.


The National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) is launching a new program to provide free representation to veterans applying for a new federal disability benefit – Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC). CRSC is available to veterans who are medically retired for disability (either because they are on permanent disability retirement or the Temporary Disability Retirement List (TDRL).  CRSC is not paid automatically-a veteran must submit a detailed application and supporting documents to receive this benefit.  Lawyers Serving Warriors®  screens information supplied by eligible veterans and, if they qualify, connect them with a volunteer attorney at no charge.  To be eligible for free legal assistance on a CRSC application through Lawyers Serving Warriors®, the veteran must currently be permanently retired for disability or on the TDRL; be entitled to service-connected disability compensation from the VA; and believe that the disabilities are combat-related. To request CRSC application assistance, visit www.nvlsp.org

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Coming Home Project

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The Coming Home™ Project is a non-profit organization devoted to providing expert, compassionate care, support, education, and stress management tools for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, service members, their families, and their service providers. Coming Home Project invites you to join with other student veterans and service members for a retreat near Yosemite National Park. The retreat, to be held March 28, 2012 - March 31, will offer students to support one another in the journey of return, share stories and experiences and learn stress and wellness management skills. Student will find comfort and strength in community with fellow student veterans and service members while enjoying vigorous recreational activity and renewing mind and body in a beautiful setting. For more information, click here. Lodging and meals are free.

Strengthen Your Military Marriage

Family Life Today is offering free marriage enrichment seminars to active duty military and their spouses. "A Weekend to Remember"  seminars are held throughout  the country, and provide attendees with marriage-changing principles that you can take home and apply to your daily lives that will strengthen your marriage. If you are interested in attending at no charge, you must pre- register by calling 800 358-6329. (Registrations done online will not be complimentary.)  Attendees will be responsible for any transportation, food and lodging charges, with discounted lodging available to those who register at least two weeks in advance. For dates and locations, click here.

Mom Talk

Description: Military Mom Talk Radio

Military Mom Talk Radio, co-hosted by Sandra Beck and Robin Boyd, with contributions by Doris Rivas Brekke, provides a powerful platform for women to discuss their ideas, issues, and concerns with respect to the military lifestyle. It encourages women to share their experiences as a military wife and mother. The program has interviewed medical specialists, military brass, military charities, military contractors and providers along with military authors, educating military families on the resources that are available in both the public and private sectors. Topics range from coping with PTSD, navigating government programs, and dealing with family issues, to the struggles of deployment along with being a working mother both in and out of the home. Military Mom Talk Radio airs every Monday from 2-3 PST. The shows are also available on iTunes under Military Mom Talk Radio. Pod rebroadcasts are available here and also on the Rock Star Radio Network.

Veteran & Military
Resource Fair

Description: http://www.swords-to-plowshares.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/CommunityCovenantSF-Logo-150x116.jpg

The San Francisco Armed Forces Community Covenant and Military and Veterans Resource Fair will be held at the San Francisco War Memorial Building on March 2, 2012. This event, a demonstration of the community's commitment to our servicemembers, will kick off the year‐round outreach that will develop a greater awareness of the needs of our Military members, veterans and their families. The full day Resource Fair will provide outreach by community based organizations and veterans service providers to connect and provide direct assistance to our servicemembers, their families and our veterans. There will also be a job fair, educational seminars and a Veterans Art Show. For more information, click here.

News From CalVet

Description: CalVet

Description: ICV Logo

Historically, CalVet's mission priority has been directed to building and providing high quality care in the veteran homes. Recently, there has been a shift to an emphasis on "veteran services," the processes that connect veterans to benefits and services they have earned. California veterans are currently taking advantage of their compensation and pension, health care and other benefits at a substantially lower rate than veterans in other states. Because it is anticipated that an additional 40,000 veterans will separate from military service and return to California over the next couple of years, it is imperative that delivery of services be better coordinated. For more information, click here.

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Sean P Eagan

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

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Panetta Supports ISAF Personnel Recall After Kabul Murders



By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2012 -  After learning this morning of the murders of two U.S. military officers serving in Kabul, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta backed the decision to recall International Security Assistance Force-Afghanistan personnel working in ministries there, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said today.

"This act is unacceptable and the United States condemns it in the strongest possible terms," Little said.

Initial reports indicate that an individual turned his weapon against ISAF service members in Kabul City, Afghanistan, killing two service members, according to an ISAF Joint Command statement.

It is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities.

In Kabul, ISAF Commander Marine Corps. Gen. John R. Allen made the decision to protect forces by instituting the recall.

"I condemn today's attack at the Afghan Ministry of Interior that killed two of our coalition officers, and my thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the brave individuals lost today," Allen said in the statement.

Earlier today, Little said, Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak offered condolences in a phone call with Panetta and apologized for the incident.

"Secretary Panetta appreciated the call and urged the Afghan government to take decisive action to protect coalition forces and curtail the violence in Afghanistan after a challenging week in the country," Little said.

Wardak told Panetta that Afghan President Hamid Karzai was assembling religious leaders, parliamentarians, justices of the Supreme Court and other senior Afghan officials to take urgent steps to take such action, Little added.

In Kabul, Allen met with Afghan Interior Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, who offered condolences to the families and apologies. The minister pledged his complete cooperation in investigating the tragedy and in taking stronger measures to protect ISAF personnel.

The general said an investigation is under way and officials will pursue all leads to find the person responsible for this attack.

"The perpetrator of this attack is a coward whose actions will not go unanswered," he said.

In an interview today from Kabul, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. John Kirby said neither the attack nor the personnel recall would deter the United States from its overarching mission in Afghanistan.

"All of the partnership and the training we're conducting with Afghan security forces continues," he said. "The very important work we are doing throughout the country in Afghanistan continues."

The nation remains committed to a partnership with Afghanistan, Allen said, and to reaching "our common goal of a peaceful, stable and secure Afghanistan in the near future."


Leon E. Panetta
Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen
George Little
Navy Capt. John Kirby
Well day late dollar short on the recall? Where is POTUS on this. Things going to hell fast over there fire Panetta we need real leadership. 
Sean P Eagan

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


VFW Washington Weekly

February 24, 2012

Join the Fight to Save All-Volunteer Military
VFW National Commander Richard DeNoyer is urging the entire military and veterans' community to "Join the Fight" to stop the Defense Department from penny-pinching service members to the point of dismantling the all-volunteer force. Along with plans to reduce the size of the active force by 100,000 over the next five years are scant military pay raises between 0.5 and 1.7 percent proposed for the next four years, plans to push more healthcare costs onto the backs of military families and retirees, and support to change the current military retirement system into a more corporate, contributory program. "There is no military personnel issue more sacrosanct than pay and benefits," said DeNoyer, who now asks everyone to join the fight and send a united voice to Congress to defeat these negative Quality of Life proposals. "A secure America needs a strong military," he said, "and whether one serves honorably for four years or 40, messing with military pay and benefits is a clear signal to the troops and their families that the budget is more important than people. That is going to seriously hurt recruiting and retention, and potentially end the all-volunteer force." Read more about what you can do to "Join the Fight."

Supreme Court Hears Stolen Valor Case
The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday on U.S. v. Xavier Alvarez, in which the VFW is lead co-signer of an amicus curiae brief to uphold the Stolen Valor Act of 2005. The principal issue is whether First Amendment free speech protections extend to lying. Xavier Alvarez was a local water board member in Pomona, Calif., who falsely claimed at a public meeting that he was a retired Marine and Medal of Honor recipient. He had never served in the military. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned his guilty verdict by a 2-1 vote, whereas in a different Stolen Valor case, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court's guilty verdict by a 2-1 vote. The VFW is scheduled to testify before the House Oversight Subcommittee on National Defense next week on what the government can do to better track the awards it presents. Click here for a transcript of Wednesday's Supreme Court hearing.

VFW Supports Closing GI Bill Payment Loophole
The VFW sent a letter of support this week to Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), whose bill, the Veterans Educational Equity Act of 2011 (H.R. 3483), would help student veterans who do not meet in-state residency requirements. As a result of recent policy changes, many student veterans who do not qualify for in-state tuitions face significant out-of-pocket costs to attend public schools of their choice, unlike their counterparts whose education at a private school may nearly be fully financed by the Post 9/11-GI Bill. By supporting the bill, the VFW hopes to ensure that student veterans have an equal opportunity to use their education benefits as intended. Click here to learn more about the bill and read the VFW's letter.

Physician Reimbursement Cuts Avoided
On Wednesday, the President signed H.R. 3630 into law to extend current physician payment rates under Medicare and Tricare through the end of the year. In 1997, Congress instituted a plan known as the Sustainable Growth Rate to keep Medicare and Tricare reimbursement rates in line with inflation; however, the cuts envisioned have never been instituted. The bill signing averted an "all-at-once" cut of 27.4 percent in the amount reimbursed to doctors, which could have prompted more physicians to opt out of accepting Medicare and Tricare patients.

VFW Advocates Discuss Coming to DC
On Saturday, March 3, VFW leaders from around the country and world will begin converging on the Nation's Capitol to meet with every congressional office prior to the VFW national commander's March 7 testimony before a special joint session of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees. In advance of the 2012 VFW Legislative Conference, we asked some of our advocates to explain why the annual Capitol Hill visits are important and why they chose to become involved in veterans' advocacy. The first two entries are posted on the VFW blog, with more to come next week. Read what the Department of Arizona's Jim Ellars had to say. To read the entry from Department of Connecticut's Bob Hunter, click here.

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Sean P Eagan

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

Soldier's death leaked through Facebook

Friday, February 24, 2012, 10:14 PM - News Stories
It's a tragic story being reported by WPSD Local 6.

Megan Born's husband Joshua Born was one of two American soldiers killed this week during a protest in Afghanistan.

Megan was not notified of his death by the military.  She found out through a text message after news had been leaked on Facebook.

"It's crazy how I found out," said Born.

Born can't stop thinking about the text message that changed her life.

"She got a text from an army wife on post who had heard," said Cindy Parker, Megan's mother.

She had heard the news Megan's Army husband Josh was dead.

He'd been shot to death in the chest near the military police post in Afghanistan where he worked.

"We didn't quite believe that anything happened to him. We thought it was just a mix-up," said Parker.

Parker said she and her daughter started making calls.

They'd just talked to Josh hours before. He'd told them the violence was getting worse.

"Somehow it had leaked out and somebody told her on Facebook," said Parker.

Parker said another Army wife posted information about Josh's death on Facebook. That's how the news spread.

You can read the full story here.

OK this is getting to be b.s. some heads need to roll. I am thinking starting with Sec. Panetta it is his responsibility ultimately and the gaffe's over there are seeming to be more and more frequent. I have some theories about this Koran burning incident I will save it for another post. Accountability where is it.

Sean P Eagan

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

Friday, February 24, 2012

JOIN THE FIGHT! VFW says pay and benefits changes will end all-volunteer military

 WASHINGTON—The national commander of America's largest and oldest major combat veterans' organization is urging the entire military and veterans' community to "Join the Fight" to stop the Defense Department from penny-pinching service members to the point of dismantling the all-volunteer force. 

"There is no military personnel issue more sacrosanct than pay and benefits," said Richard L. DeNoyer, who leads the 2 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and its Auxiliaries. "Any proposal that negatively impacts any Quality of Life program must be defeated, and that's why the VFW is asking everyone to join the fight and send a united voice to Congress."  

The DOD budget unveiled February 13 recommends 1.7 percent military pay raises for 2013 and 2014, followed by a scant 0.5 percent increase in 2015, and 1 percent in 2016. Also announced were plans to almost quadruple Tricare Prime enrollment fees for some working age military retirees, impose Tricare for Life enrollment fees on those older than 65, and introduce enrollment fees and increased deductibles on Tricare Standard and Extra users. Included in DOD's healthcare revenue plan are increased pharmaceutical copayments for retirees as well as military dependents.  

DOD also recommends reducing the size of the active force by more than 100,000 troops over the next five years—mostly soldiers and Marines—through attrition, a reduction in force, mandatory retirements and high year of tenure separations, among others. In addition, DOD gave the White House the go-ahead to create a commission to examine overhauling the current military retirement system in a manner that would benefit the government more through savings than reward someone who first has to volunteer 20 or more years of their youth just to qualify.  

Ideas already floated include older programs such as High-3 Pay and the reduced retirement plan (Redux), as well as new ones that would delay the receipt of retirement pay till age 60 (similar to current National Guard and Reserve programs), or be contributory, 401(k)-type programs (similar to corporate America). Newly authorized are 15 year retirements, which accrue at the normal rate of 2.5 percent of base pay annually, minus a 1-percent penalty for every year below 20.  

"Those currently serving in uniform or already retired are grandfathered under the existing system," said DeNoyer, a retired Marine and Vietnam combat veteran from Middleton, Mass. "Our concern is for tomorrow's recruits, the young 18-year-old enlistees and new 22-year-old officers who will be fighting tomorrow's wars with the same force challenges as today—high operations tempos, too little dwell time, and not enough troops to meet worldwide threats and commitments."  

The VFW national commander said 10 years of war has produced a battle-hardened force that's extremely proud of their accomplishments but 100 percent aware of the general public's noninvolvement.  

"They and their families worry about getting paid on time," he said. "They worry about what will happen if the car breaks down or if a loved one should get hurt at home or during training exercises or real-world deployments. Most of all, especially with this defense budget submission, they worry about whether the folks who give all the orders really care about the troops who do all the fighting and sacrificing."  

DeNoyer wants America's 22 million veterans, 2 million service members and all their families to "Join the Fight" to make their voices heard loud and clear to the lawmakers who have the power to override these negative Quality of Life proposals.  

"A secure America needs a strong military," he said, "and whether one serves honorably for four years or 40, messing with military pay and benefits is a clear signal to the troops and their families that the budget is more important than people. That is going to seriously hurt recruiting and retention, and potentially end the all-volunteer force, because nobody wants to work for an ungrateful employer in a vocation as inherently dangerous as ours."  

Click on "Join the Fight" and help the VFW tell your elected officials that it takes people to win our nation's wars. Breaking faith with those who sacrifice the most will signal the end of America's all-volunteer force, which in this extremely volatile and unpredictable world, is one expense our nation cannot afford. 

Sean P Eagan

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

Thursday, February 23, 2012

White House Hosts "A Nation's Gratitude" Dinner to Honor Veterans of Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn

            The Department of Defense announced today the names of 78 service members who have been invited to attend the Feb. 29 White House dinner hosted by President and Mrs. Obama to express the nation's gratitude to, and recognize the significant contributions of, the men and women in uniform who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and/or Operation New Dawn, and the families who supported them.

            Service members who will attend come from across America; from diverse backgrounds, ranks; and from all services, including Guard and Reserve.  Most remain on active duty.  These service members and family members represent more than a million Americans and their families who served and made personal sacrifices in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn.

            Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey and the chiefs of the five services and National Guard and Reserve will also attend the dinner.

            The list below indicates each service member or veteran's home state and branch of service.  Please use the Public Affairs Contact number provided for more information about attendees or to arrange interviews.

            Alabama:  Staff Sgt. Shawon Tucker; Army; PA contact, McDonald Army Health Center, Fort Eustis, 757-314-7844.

            Alaska:  Maj. Shannon Thompson; Army; PA contact, Redstone Arsenal, 256-503-3726.

            American Samoa:  Chief Warrant Officer 4 John Nikolao; Army; PA contact, 101 Combat Aviation Brigade, Fort Campbell, 270-956-3489.

            Arizona:  Capt. Brian D. Hartman; Army; PA contact, Joint Readiness Training, Fort Polk, 337-531-1392.

            Arkansas:  Cpl. Aaron Mankin; Marine Corps.

            Arkansas:  Staff Sgt. Joseph May; Marine Corps; PA contact, Training and Education Command, 703-432-0289.

            California:  Maj. Eldridge R. Singleton; Army; PA contact: student, California, 760-725-5799.

            Colorado:  Sgt. John-Mark Gladstone; Marine Corps; PA contact, Headquarters Marine Corps, 703-614-4309.

            Colorado:  Petty Officer 3rd Class Max R. Rohn; Navy; PA contact, Bureau of Navy Medicine, 202-762-3221.

            Connecticut:  Master Sgt. William Tomlin; Army; PA contact, Asymmetric Warfare, Fort Meade, 301-677-4935.

            Delaware:  Sgt. 1st Class Sebastian K. Ellis; Army; PA contact, Headquarters Brigade, Fort Bliss, 915-744-8492.

            District of Columbia:  Capt. Yolanda Lee; ARNG; PA contact, District of Columbia National Guard, 202-685-9862.

            Florida:  Master Chief Petty Officer Richard D. Lamoureux; Navy; PA contact, Naval Special Warfare Command, Group 2, 619-522-2824.

            Georgia:  Staff Sgt. J.H. Smith; Air Force; PA contact, Hurlburt Field, Air Force Special Operations Command, 850-884-7285.

            Georgia:  Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy; Rick West; Navy; PA contact, Chief of Information (CHINFO), 703-697-5342.

            Guam:  Spc. Janice Hernandez Flores; ARNG; PA contact, Guam National Guard, 671-735-0409.

            Hawaii:  Chief Master Sgt. Denise Jelinski-Hall; ANG; PA contact, National Guard Bureau, 703-607-2581.

            Hawaii:  Chief Warrant Officer 4 Nelson A. Visaya; Army; PA contact, 2nd Combat Aviation Battalion, Seoul, Korea, 01182-10-6455-6423.

            Idaho:  Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Mike Leavitt; Coast Guard; PA contact, Headquarters Office of Public Affairs, 202-372-4634.

            Illinois:  Gunnery Sgt Tawanda M. Hanible; Marine Corps; PA contact, Manpower and Reserve Affairs, 703-784-9047.

            Indiana:  Master Sgt. Jorge H. Perez; Army; PA contact, Headquarters and HQ Company, Fort Carson, 719-503-0071.

            Iowa:  Lt. Col. Beth Behn; Army; PA contact, United States Military Academy, 845-938-2006.

            Iowa:  Staff Sgt. Jesse Lee Wandling; Army; PA contact, 160th Aviation Company, Fort Campbell, 270-412-8108.

            Kansas:  Chief Petty Officer Joseph Castro; Coast Guard; PA contact, Headquarters Office of Public Affairs, 202-372-4634.

            Kansas:  1st Lt. Paul S. Gonzalez; Army; PA contact, 401st Engineer Company, Reserves, Oklahoma, 910-570-8329.

            Kentucky:  Senior Chief Petty Officer Christopher J. Henderson; Navy; PA contact, Naval Air Force Reserve Public Affairs, 757-322-5687.

            Louisiana:  Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia; Marine Corps; PA contact, Joint Staff Public Affairs, 703-697-4272.

            Maine:  Master Sgt. Jeremy G. Coombs; Air Force.

            Maine:  Master Sgt. Shane Lacaillade; Air Force; PA contact, Whiteman Air Force Base, Air Force Global Strike Command, 660-687-6122.

            Maine:  Col. Todd Scott Desgrosseilliers; Marine Corps, PA contact, Training and Education Command, 703-432-0289.

            Maryland:  Maj. Brian E. Wobensmith; Marine Corps; PA contact, Headquarters Marine Corps, 703-614-4309.

            Massachusetts:  Staff Sgt. Andrew Piirainen; Air Force; PA contact, Hill Air Force Base, Air Force Material Command, 801-775-3652.

            Massachusetts:  Gunnery Sgt. Deverson Lochard; Marine Corps; PA contact, 1st Marine Division, 760-725-8766.

            Massachusetts:  Sgt. Maj. of the Army; Raymond Chandler; Army; PA contact, Sgt. Maj. of the Army PAO, 703-697-5081.

            Michigan:  Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy; Air Force; PA contact, Office of the Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force, 703-695-0498.

            Michigan:  Master Sgt. Jessica R. Coombs; Air Force; PA contact, Kadena Air Base, Air Mobility Command, 011-81-6117-34-3813.

            Michigan:  Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald J. Riling; Army; PA contact, Headquarters Army Materiel Command, Fort Belvoir, 703-805-5001.

            Minnesota:  Staff Sgt. Benjamin N. Straubel; ARNG; PA contact, Minnesota National Guard, 651-268-8949.

            Minnesota:  Maj. John Michael Tate; Army; PA contact, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, student, 757-788-3400.

            Mississippi:  Staff Sgt. Harry Prassenos; Marine Corps; PA contact, Training and Education Command, 703-432-0289.

            Missouri:  Maj. Jennifer S. Parker; Marine Corps; PA contact, Training and Education Command, 703-432-0289.

            Montana:  Sgt. 1st Class; Kyle B. Lyon; Army; PA contact, Fort Campbell, 270-798-3468.

            Nebraska:  Sgt. Heather N. Wunderlich; ARNG; PA contact, Nebraska National Guard, 402-309-7302.

            Nevada:  Maj. Erik J. Jacobson; Air Force; PA contact, Headquarters Air Force, 703-697-9029.

            New Hampshire:  Staff Sgt. Anthony J. Ranfos; Army; PA contact, Sharonville, Ohio, U.S. Army Recruiting Command, 502-626-0167.

            New Hampshire:  Capt. Stephen M. McNeil; Marine Corps; PA contact, Manpower and Reserve Affairs, 703-784-9047.

            New Jersey:  Rear Adm. Frank Morneau; Navy; PA contact, Navy Office of Information, 703-697-5342.

            New Mexico:  Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry; Army; PA contact, Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, 910-432-3383.

            New York:  Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Micheal Barrett; Marine Corps; PA contact, Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps PAO, 703-614-8762.

            New York:  Col. Stephanie C. Smith; Marine Corps; PA contact, Headquarters Marine Corps, 703-614-4309.

            North Carolina:  Petty Officer 1st Class Jay Ho Choi; Navy; PA contact, Naval Special Warfare Command, Group 2, 757-763-2007.

            North Dakota:  Sgt. Richard Fiske; Marine Corps; PA contact, Training and Education Command, 703)-432-0289.

            N. Marianas Islands:  Staff Sgt. Leslieanne Wilkinson; Marine Corps; PA contact, Headquarters Marine Corps, 703-614-4309.

            Ohio:  Chief Warrant Officer 5 David Cooper; Army; PA contact, Spec Ops Aviation, Fort Bragg, 910-432-3383.

            Oklahoma:  Maj. Gen. Vaughn A. Ary; Marine Corps; PA contact, Headquarters Marine Corps, 703-614-4309.

            Oregon:  Sgt. Sarah Adams; Army; PA contact, Medical Company, Fort Hood, 254-287-9993.

            Pennsylvania:  Petty Officer 2nd Class; Lawrence Benson; Coast Guard; PA contact, Headquarters Office of Public Affairs, 202-372-4634.

            Puerto Rico:  Staff Sgt. Miguel Cruz; Army; PA contact, 687 Combat Support Sustainment Battalion, 910-570-8329.

            Rhode Island:  Sgt. Joshua R. Labbe; Army; PA contact, USA, Recruiting, W. Corvina, 502-626-0167.

            South Carolina:  Sgt. Nytayia D. Jamison; Marine Corps; PA contact, Headquarters Marine Corps, 703-614-4309.

            South Dakota:  1st Sgt. Christina Hunts Horse-May; Marine Corps; PA contact, Training and Education Command, 703-432-0289.

            Tennessee:  Petty Officer 1st Class Anthony H. Bozarth; Navy; PA contact, Naval Expeditionary Combat Command, 757-374-0995.

            Tennessee:  Master Sgt. Brian M. Blonder; Marine Corps; PA contact, Headquarters Marine Corps, 703-614-4309.

            Tennessee:  Senior Master Sgt. Donnie Bolton; Air Force; PA contact, Peterson Air Force Base, Air Force Space Command, 719-556-4698.

            Texas:  Staff Sgt. Eric Alva; Marine Corps.

            Texas:  Chief Warrant Officer 5 Kevin Purtee; ARNG; PA contact, Texas National Guard, 512-782-6856.

            Texas:  Lance Cpl. Steven Schulz; Marine Corps; PA contact, Headquarters Marine Corps, 703-614-4309.

            Texas:  Petty Officer 2nd Class TerryLee Thompson; Navy; PA contact, Naval District Washington Public Affairs, 202-433-2678.

            Utah:  Master Sgt. Kevin T. Bullivant; ANG; PA contact, Utah National Guard, 801-432-4407.

            Utah:  Sgt. 1st Class Robbi A. Stanton; Army; PA contact, Special Warfare Training Group, Fort Bragg, 910-396-9394.

            Vermont:  Col. Peter Newell; Army; PA contact, Rapid Equipping Force, Fort Belvoir, 703-704-2216.

            Virgin Islands:  Sgt. 1st Class James Gaston Sr.; ARNG; PA contact, Virgin Islands National Guard, 340-712-7750.

            Virginia:  Cpl. Kyle L. Taylor; Marine Corps; PA contact, Headquarters Marine Corps 703-614-4309.

            Virginia:  Chief Petty Officer William Castro; Coast Guard; PA contact, Headquarters Office of Public Affairs, 202-372-4634.

            Washington:  Chief Petty Officer Bradley A. VanHorn; Navy; PA contact, Headquarters, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, 202-685-1423.

            West Virginia:  Maj. Carter L. Price; Army; PA contact, Human Resource Command, Fort Knox, 931-472-5364.

            Wisconsin:  Tech. Sgt. Christian Bennett; ANG; PA contact, Wisconsin National Guard, 608-242-3050.

            Wyoming:  Staff Sgt. Rebekka Spanglerloch; Marine Corps; PA contact, Training and Education Command, 703-432-0289.

            Media representatives who have questions about service members without an individual public affairs point of contact are asked to contact the service public affairs offices at the numbers provided below:

            U.S. Army, 703-692-1580

            U.S. Marine Corps, 703-614-4309

            U.S. Navy, 703-697-5342

            U.S. Air Force, 703-695-0640

            U.S. Coast Guard, 202-372-4600

            Army/Air National Guard, 703-607-2586

Sean P Eagan

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