Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Day for Korean Vets : Hagel Speaks at Anniversary of Korean Armistice Ceremony

07/27/2013 05:08 PM CDT

Two Korean War veterans pose with the U.S. wreath after President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke at a ceremony to mark the 60th anniversary of the armistice ending the Korean War at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., July 27, 2013.

Sean P Eagan

Veterans Advocate

ACWV Inc. 

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Friday, July 26, 2013

HVAC Markup Schedule July 29 – August 2

HVAC Markup Schedule July 29 – August 2  

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Chairman Jeff Miller (FL-01) today released the markup schedule for July 29 – August 2. The following events are open to the press:

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Markup of Pending Legislation (Legislation TBD)

House Committee on Veterans' Affairs

(10:00 am – 334 Cannon and streaming at


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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sailors Posthumously Receive National Intelligence Medal

Sailors Posthumously Receive National Intelligence Medal

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

MCLEAN, Va., July 24, 2013 - Two fallen Navy petty officers became the 18th and 19th recipients of the National Intelligence Medal for Valor in a July 22 ceremony at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence here.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, left, posthumously awards the National Intelligence Medal for Valor to Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jared Day's parents, Karolyn Kimball Day and Sam Day of Salt Lake City, in a ceremony at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in McLean, Va., July 22, 2013. Day, a tactical communicator, and Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Strange, an information operations operator, were assigned within Naval special operations when they were killed Aug. 6, 2011, in Afghanistan in a helicopter crash following a rocket-propelled grenade attack. DOD photo by Terri Moon Cronk

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The families of Petty Officers 1st Class Jared W. Day and Michael J. Strange received the posthumous awards.

Calling Day and Strange "two young heroes who gave the last full measure of devotion to their country," Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper presented the medals in front of a standing-room-only gathering of families, friends and shipmates.

Day, a few days shy of his 29th birthday when he died, was a tactical communicator, and Strange, 25, was an information operations operator. Both were assigned within Naval special operations when they responded Aug. 6, 2011, to enemy forces escaping from a nearby raid in an enemy-contested valley of eastern Afghanistan, the award citations read.

Knowing the valley served as an enemy safe haven with no sustained coalition force presence, and knowing that their mission was to interdict and ambush an armed enemy force, Day and Strange volunteered to pursue an enemy known to have attacked and killed coalition forces with plans for future attacks, the citations said.

Both "selflessly chose to interdict the fleeing enemy when [they] boarded the helicopter with [their] teammates," the citations said, but the aggressive mission ended tragically when their helicopter was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade, causing it to crash and killing all on board.

Twenty-eight other Americans, eight Afghans and a military working dog were en route to assist an Army Ranger unit engaged in a firefight with Taliban forces west of the Afghan capital of Kabul, Clapper added.

"For each of them, the courageous choice to ride to the sound of gunfire was one they'd made many times before," he told the audience.

The accident was the largest single loss of American life during the Afghanistan campaign and the greatest single loss of life ever suffered by the U.S. Special Operations community, Clapper said.

The U.S. intelligence community looks up to Day and Strange for their heroism and for "setting the example for our entire community," Clapper said. "They served at an amazing nexus of the Navy, special operations and the intelligence community."

Serving with the Navy SEALS, he added, Day and Strange were unique, elite and truly remarkable young men.

"We continue to look to them as selfless examples of service to this great nation," Clapper said. "They were the best of us."

Both men are now part of the history of this country, he said, calling them "a legacy of sacrifice toward something larger than just oneself."

Sam Day and Karolyn Kimball Day of Salt Lake City received the medal for valor for their son.

"He was just amazing," Elizabeth Kimball Day said of her son, adding that he was only 6 years old when he declared he wanted to join the Navy, and did so when he was 19.

"He was always the funny one" she said. "He always got up with a smile, and went to bed with a smile. He always took the underdog under his wing."

"[The National Intelligence Medal for Valor] is a great honor, and it shows how much Michael was appreciated," said Elizabeth Strange of Philadelphia, who accepted the medal on his behalf.

Michael Strange also joined the Navy at a young age, his mother said, adding that she and Michael's father had to sign papers when he was 17 to allow him to go into the Navy when he graduated from high school at age 18.

"It was a decision he made, and he was really determined," she added.

Strange's family didn't believe he wanted to join the military at first. His mother said he wasn't one to arrive at school on time, but he scored very high on tests and was excited when the Navy told him about the jobs he could perform.

"He meshed well with the Navy, [and] I couldn't believe it," his mother said. "He excelled at it."

James R. Clapper

Related Articles:
Leaders Offer Condolences in Wake of Helicopter Crash



 Sean Eagan

 Life Member VFW NY Post 53
 American Cold War Veterans, Inc.
Blog: Cold War Veterans Blog
Phone:  716 720-4000 
Network: My Fast Pitch! Profile

Stratcom Braces for 'Readiness Avalanche' from Sequestration By Donna Miles American Forces Press Service WASHINGTON, July 24, 2013 - Recognizing that the services have made tough choices to ensure U.S. Strategic Command can maintain its deterrence mission in the face of sequestration, the Stratcom commander said he has grave concerns about the "readiness avalanche" that's ahead. The nuclear triad and Stratcom's space, cyber and other essential activities have not felt the day-to-day readiness impact of across-the-board budget cuts, Air Force Gen. C. Robert Kehler told reporters today at a Defense Writers Group breakfast roundtable. "Not yet," Kehler emphasized. "Because of the nature of Strategic Command's missions, the services have given us preferential treatment," he explained. "So far the services have been able to scrape together readiness money to keep it on things like the dual-capable bomber force," reprogramming funds as possible to cover those costs. "They are not going to

Stratcom Braces for 'Readiness Avalanche' from Sequestration

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 24, 2013 - Recognizing that the services have made tough choices to ensure U.S. Strategic Command can maintain its deterrence mission in the face of sequestration, the Stratcom commander said he has grave concerns about the "readiness avalanche" that's ahead.

The nuclear triad and Stratcom's space, cyber and other essential activities have not felt the day-to-day readiness impact of across-the-board budget cuts, Air Force Gen. C. Robert Kehler told reporters today at a Defense Writers Group breakfast roundtable.

"Not yet," Kehler emphasized.

"Because of the nature of Strategic Command's missions, the services have given us preferential treatment," he explained. "So far the services have been able to scrape together readiness money to keep it on things like the dual-capable bomber force," reprogramming funds as possible to cover those costs.

"They are not going to be able to sustain that," Kehler said. "If sequestration continues, it is not going to continue."

Kehler saw evidence of that during his recent visit to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., home of Global Strike Command. Walking the floor of the maintenance dock and talking to the flight crews, Kehler said he was struck by reactions to the sound of aircraft operations.

"Everyone commented that they had not heard any flying activity for two or three days," he said. "They were motivated again, hearing aircraft fly."

Those sounds reflected the Air Force's conscious decision to continue nuclear certification for B-52 Stratofortress aircraft crews, he said, recognizing that the funds came at the expense of something else.

"I know, behind the scenes, both the Air Force and the Navy have had to make a lot of decisions" to be able to support Stratcom, he said.

"I am worried about readiness," Kehler said. "It is like watching an avalanche where you see it start small, and if you ignore readiness accounts and the momentum builds, then eventually you have a readiness avalanche."

Kehler said he's particularly concerned about "the human dimension" of sequestration and the long-term impact it could have on the Defense Department. While military units reduce flying hours and stand down units, civilian workers experiencing furloughs are reassessing their futures with DOD, he said.

"I am worried that those [civilians] near retirement age will not hang on, because they will not be confident in us," Kehler said. Equally concerning, he said, is the discouraging impact sequestration is having on younger civilian workers who represent the command's and department's future.

Kehler pointed to Stratcom's successful internship program that attracts talented young employees to the command.

"Some [interns] have said they won't stay [because they] don't see the future here," he said. "So I am very concerned about the human dimension of all this."

Air Force Gen. C. Robert Kehler

Related Sites:
U.S. Strategic Command
Special Report: U.S. Strategic Command

Related Articles:
Kehler Lauds Capability, Credibility of Nuclear Enterprise



 Sean Eagan

 Life Member VFW NY Post 53
 American Cold War Veterans, Inc.
Blog: Cold War Veterans Blog
Phone:  716 720-4000 
Network: My Fast Pitch! Profile

DAV Legislative Alert : Important Bill Would Expand Residential Care Choices for All Severely Disabled Veterans

DAV Legislative Alert 

Take Action!

Please Write to Your Representative Today!
On July 18, 2013, Chairman Jeff Miller, of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, introduced H.R. 2726, the Long-Term Care Veterans Choice Act, to enhance and improve VA's existing Medical Foster Home (MFH) program.

Established in 2000, a VA-certified MFH is a private residence where a VA-approved caregiver provides 24-hour support to eligible veterans. A VA-participant home cannot accept more than three veterans, and veterans are eligible for these placements when their care would otherwise need to be met in institutional settings. The MFH program is a humane alternative to nursing home placements. Health care for these residents is supervised in the home by VA's Home-Based Primary Care program or VA spinal cord injury home care program.

Currently, the MFH program requires participating veterans to pay approximately $1,500 to $4,000 per month for this 24-hour caregiver supervision, including room and board. Even a veteran who is otherwise entitled to VA nursing home care at no expense must pay to reside in a VA-approved MFH.

H.R. 2726 would authorize VA to enter into a contract or other agreement with a VA-certified MFH and would pay the full cost of this residential care of service-connected veterans if they are eligible for VA-funded nursing home care. Under this bill, as a component of such care, eligible veterans would also receive VA home health services at no cost.

This is an important bill that would give priority to service-connected disabled veterans, and would give them an important alternative to nursing home care. DAV strongly supports this bill based on a long-standing national resolution approved by our members.

Please use the prepared message, or draft your own personal one, to urge your Representative in Congress to co-sponsor and support passage of this important bill, and to ask that it be brought to the House floor for a vote and enacted as soon as possible.

Thank you for all you do for veterans and their families, for your support of DAV, and for your active participation in DAV CAN.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Lights in Korea

Look at the contrast between North and South Korea via this NASA photo.

HVAC to Examine MST Care

WASHINGTON, D.C.— On Friday, July 19, 2013, at 10:00 a.m. in room 334 of the Cannon House Office Building, the Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing to examine Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense medical care and treatment options for survivors of military sexual trauma.


Military sexual trauma, or MST, refers to experiences of sexual assault or repeated, threatening acts of sexual harassment. DoD estimates that 26,000 service members experienced some form of MST in 2012, and according to VA, about one in five women and one in 100 men seen by the Veterans Health Administration report having experienced some form of sexual trauma during their military service. While MST rates are higher among women, the majority of victims are men, according to DoD.


The effects of MST do not disappear once a victim leaves military service, and can have long-term physical and mental health consequences. The purpose of this hearing is to examine VA and DoD capabilities for treating MST within the active duty and veteran populations as well as any gaps in care and services that may exist in order to help ensure a structured, competent and coordinated continuum of care for MST survivors.

The following event is open to the press:

WHO:             Subcommittee on Health

WHAT:          Hearing: "Safety for Survivors: Care and Treatment for Military Sexual Trauma"

WHEN:          10:00 a.m., Friday, July 19, 2013

WHERE:        Room 334, Cannon House Office Building and streaming at


The witness list is as follows:


Panel 1

Victoria Sanders

Veteran, MST Survivor


Lisa Wilken

Veteran, MST Survivor


Brian Lewis

Veteran, MST Survivor


Tara Johnson

Veteran, MST Survivor


Panel 2

Michael Shepherd M.D 

Physician, Office of Health Care Inspections

Office of the Inspector General

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs


Accompanied by:


Karen McGoff-Yost LCSW

Associate Director, Bay Pines Office of Healthcare Inspections

Office of the Inspector General

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs


Jonathan M. Farrell-Higgins Ph.D.

Chief, Stress Disorder Treatment Program

Colmery-O'Neil VA Medical Center, VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System

Veterans Integrated Service Network 15

Veterans Health Administration

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs


Carol O'Brien Ph.D.

Chief, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Programs

Bay Pines VA Healthcare System

Veterans Integrated Service Network 8

Veterans Health Administration

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs


Panel 3

Rajiv Jain M.D.

Assistant Deputy Undersecretary for Patient Care Services

Office of Patient Care Services

Veterans Health Administration

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs


Accompanied by:


David Carroll Ph.D.

Acting Chief Consultant, Mental Health Services

Office of Patient Care Services

Veterans Health Administration

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs


Stacey Pollack Ph.D.

National Mental Health Director of Program Policy Implementation

Mental Health Services, Office of Patient Care Services

Veterans Health Administration

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs


Karen S. Guice M.D., M.P.P

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs

Office of Health Affairs

U.S. Department of Defense


Statements for the Record

The American Legion


Disabled American Veterans on Behalf of the Independent Budget


Indiana Coalition against Sexual Assault


Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network


Servicewomen's Action Network




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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Panama Seizes Radar and Weaponry From North Korean Flagged Ship

Updated July 17, 2013 14:28:20

Cuba says it owns weapons seized aboard a North Korean cargo ship in Panama.

Yesterday the president of Panama said the cargo ship had been caught trying to smuggle sophisticated missile equipment through the Panama Canal.

But Havana says the weapons are obsolete and defensive and include Soviet-era anti-aircraft batteries and disassembled rockets that were being sent for repair in North Korea.

The shipment could constitute a violation of strict United Nations arms sanctions imposed on North Korea over its nuclear program and further sour relations between the US and Cuba.

A Cuban government statement said the repair of the weapons was important for "our defensive capacity in order to preserve national sovereignty".

"Cuba reiterates its firm and unwavering commitment with peace, disarmament, including nuclear disarmament and respect for international law," the statement said.

Panama president Ricardo Martinelli tweeted a photo of the contraband haul, which experts have identified as an ageing Soviet-built radar control system for surface-to-air missiles.

His government said the contraband munitions were hidden under thousands of bags of sugar aboard the North Korean-flagged Chong Chon Gang, which was stopped on suspicion it could be transporting drugs.

Panama's security minister, Jose Raul Mulino, told RPC radio the affair was now a matter for UN investigators, while the US hailed the Panamanian action.

The magazine IHS Jane's Defence Weekly said on Tuesday that the photo tweeted by Mr Martinelli appeared to show a "RSN-75 'Fan Song' fire-control radar system".

The weapons were developed in 1957 and frequently used during the Vietnam War.

Cuba said the shipment contained 240 tonnes of weaponry "manufactured in the mid-20th century".

But Panamanian officials said the crew resisted searches and that the ship's captain attempted to commit suicide after the vessel was stopped.

"The manner in which the cargo was concealed, and the reported reaction of the crew, strongly suggests this was a covert shipment of equipment," Jane's Defence Weekly said in a statement.

Mr Martinelli said the ship, which was sailing from Cuba with a crew of about three dozen, was targeted on Friday by drug enforcement officials as it approached the canal and was taken into port in Manzanillo.

After a search, officials found the contraband missiles hidden in a shipment of 100,000 kilograms of sugar.

A Panama government spokesman said an examination of the ship by weapons specialists may take a week.

"The world needs to sit up and take note: you cannot go around shipping undeclared weapons of war through the Panama Canal," Mr Martinelli told Radio Panama on Monday.

The vessel was being held in a restricted zone and the crew has been detained, officials said. No drugs have been found on board.

UN sanctions bar the transport of all weapons to or from North Korea apart from the import of small arms. Several of the country's ships have been searched in recent years.

In July 2009 a North Korean ship heading to Myanmar, the Kang Nam 1, was followed by the US navy due to suspicions it was carrying weapons. It turned around and headed home.

Pyongyang has yet to comment on the latest incident.

Five per cent of the world's commerce travels through the century-old Panama Canal and that is expected to increase following the completion of a major expansion project.

Sean P Eagan

Veterans Advocate

ACWV Inc. 

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

VA Grants Will Expand Transportation in Highly Rural Areas


Veterans to Have Easier Access to Health Care


WASHINGTON (July 10, 2013)– Veterans will have improved access to health care under a Department of Veterans Affairs initiative that supports new transportation services for those living in highly rural areas.


VA began accepting applications this month for grants to help state Veterans Service Agencies and Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) operate or contract for transportation services to transport Veterans to VA medical centers and other facilities that provide VA care.  A new regulation establishes the program that will administer these grants.  Transportation will be provided at no cost to Veterans.


"VA wants to be sure that all Veterans, including those who live in rural and remote areas, can receive the health care they have earned through service to our country," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.  "State Veterans Agencies and VSOs will now be able to employ innovative approaches to transportation services for Veterans in our highly rural areas.  The end results will include better service and better health care for Veterans."


VSOs and State Veterans Service Agencies may apply for grants up to $50,000 to fund transportation of Veterans to and from VA medical centers and other facilities that provide VA care.  If specified in the application, the services may be provided under agreements with contractors, such as private bus or van companies.


A highly rural area is defined as a county or counties with a population of fewer than seven persons per square mile.  Many highly rural areas are found in the western and southwestern United States but at least half of the states have at least one highly rural area.


One of Secretary Shinseki's top three priorities is increasing access to VA care and services for Veterans wherever they live.  VA is expanding access in a three-pronged effort that includes facilities, programs and technology.  Veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan are eligible for an extended period of eligibility for health care for 5 years after they have left the service.


For more information, please see the Federal Register.


# # #

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Friday, July 12, 2013

New VA Grants Target Homeless, At-risk Veterans, Families

From a Department of Veterans Affairs News Release

WASHINGTON, July 11, 2013 - Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki today announced the award of nearly $300 million in grants that will help approximately 120,000 homeless and at-risk veterans and their families.

The grants have been awarded to 319 community agencies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

"With these grants, we are strengthening our partnership with community non-profits across the country to provide veterans and their families with hope, a home, and a future," Shinseki said. "The work of Supportive Services for Veteran Families program grantees has already helped us prevent and end homelessness among tens of thousands of homeless veterans and their families, but as long as a single veteran lives on our streets, we have work to do."

Under the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program, VA is awarding grants to private non-profit organizations and consumer cooperatives that provide services to very low-income veteran families living in -- or transitioning to -- permanent housing. The SSVF program supports VA's efforts to prevent at-risk veterans from becoming homeless and rapidly re-house those who have recently fallen into homelessness.

Thanks to the SSVF grants, those community organizations will provide a range of services that promote housing stability and play a key role in connecting veterans and their family members to VA services such as mental health care and other benefits.

Community-based groups can offer temporary financial assistance on behalf of veterans for rent payments, utility payments, security deposits and moving costs.

This is the third year SSVF grants have helped veterans and their families find or remain in their homes. Last year, VA provided about $100 million to assist approximately 50,000 veterans and family members.

In 2009, President Barack Obama and Shinseki announced the federal government's goal to end veterans' homelessness in 2015. The grants are intended to help accomplish that goal. According to the 2012 Point-in-Time Estimates of Homelessness, homelessness among veterans has declined 17.2 percent since 2009.

Through the homeless veterans initiative, VA committed over $1 billion in fiscal year 2013 to strengthen programs that prevent and end homelessness among veterans. VA provides a range of services to homeless veterans, including health care, job training, and education.

Related Sites:
VA Homeless Programs
Veterans Families Program
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

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In This Issue:
1. VFW Testifies at Joint Economic Hearing on Vet Employment
2. VFW Testified on House Healthcare Bills
3. White House Kicks Off Mental Health Summit
4. House Armed Services/ VA Committees Discuss Transition Issues
5. VA Releases Second Women Veterans Sourcebook
6. Salute the Korean War 60th
7. Every Name Needs a Photo
8. Vietnam MIA Identified

1. VFW Testifies at Joint Economic Hearing on Vet Employment: This week your VFW testified before the House and Senate Joint Economic Committee on the current employment situation for veterans. The Joint Economic Committee is a bicameral committee equally comprised of Republicans and Democrats charged with studying the U.S. economy, and Wednesday's hearing was the committee's first since 9/11 that specifically addressed veteran unemployment. VFW Deputy Legislative Director Ryan Gallucci presented the VFW's thoughts on issues like military transition, civilian licensing and credentialing, and higher education, alongside leaders from the Texas Veterans Commission and Xcel Energy, a top veterans' employer. To learn more about the hearing and to view an archived webcast, click here:

2. VFW Testified on House Healthcare Bills: On Tuesday VFW testified before the House VA Health Subcommittee on a series of pending veterans' health care related bills. Bills of particular interest included the Veterans Transportation Service Act which would provide transportation to seriously disabled vets for VA rehabilitation, examination, treatment, and counseling, the Safe Housing for Homeless Veterans Act which would require that veterans' transitional housing facilities to meet local building codes, and the Tinnitus Research and Treatment Act which would prioritize the study of tinnitus by VA. All the bills now move to subcommittee mark-up, which your VFW will watch closely. To view a full list of witnesses, read their prepared remarks, and watch an archived webcast of the hearing, click here

3. White House Kicks Off Mental Health Summit: Yesterday, the VFW was on hand as the White House announced its upcoming veterans and military mental health summit. The summit looks to bring together mental health professionals, Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs), Military Service Organizations (MSOs), military family organizations, and representatives from DoD and VA to discuss how to better serve veterans and military in regards to mental health. Denis McDonough, White House Chief of Staff provided opening remarks on the importance of participation in the upcoming summits, acknowledging that mental health services within VHA has risen in the past seven years. He also discussed partnerships with DoD and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration alongside VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. Robert Petzel. The White House and VA are asking for support from communities, VSOs, MSOs and others to make the summits successful. Kick off for the summit will be July 24 and will run through September 15, 2013. More information can be found on the White House website at: or by visiting the VA website here:

4. House Armed Services/ VA Committees Discuss Transition Issues: This week, the House Armed Services and Veterans Affairs' Committees held a rare joint hearing to discuss efforts to ease the transitioning process for service members. The hearing brought together the committees who often collaborate on issues in which both have authority to make change. The main topic discussed was the status of a single, joint integrated electronic health record or IEHR. Committee members expressed frustration with the progress on the system and its effect on the ongoing backlog of disability claims. Witnesses included leaders from both VA and DOD in the areas of IT, health, personnel and benefits. Discussion centered on implementation and increased accountability and oversight within both Departments and a sense of urgency to get a system in place as more and more service men and women leave the military. VA Committee Chairman Jeff Miller and Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon both commented that they are tired of hearing excuses from both departments every year as to why it's taking so long to get the project finished. The House Armed Services Committee has included an amendment in their annual defense authorization bill mandating completion of an integrated health record by October 2016. VFW will continue to monitor progress on all aspects of the transitioning process and the IEHR and will keep our readers updated.
For complete statements by all the witnesses and the recorded webcast of the hearing, click here:

5. VA Releases Second Women Veterans Sourcebook: The Department of Veterans Affairs has released Volume 2 of their Women Veterans Sourcebook. Some details:
* Healthcare Usage: The number of women VA healthcare nearly doubled over the past decade, from 175,698 in fiscal year 2001 to 316,903 in FY10. Women veterans now comprise 6% of VA patients. They also use outpatient care more than men.
* Age Distribution: A decade ago, the age distribution of women veterans showed two peaks, at ages 44 and 77. In FY10, a third peak appeared, at age 27. In FY10, 42% of women veteran patients were 18-44 years old, 45% were 45-64 years old, and 13% were older than 65.
* Residence: More women veterans resided in urban areas than rural areas in FY10 (urban 64%; rural 36%).
The 78-page sourcebook is now available in PDF format on the VA website at

6. Salute the Korean War 60th: VFW Posts nationwide can help commemorate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the armistice by hosting a "Pancakes for Patriots"-type event on July 27 to salute the service and sacrifices made by so many of our VFW members and their families. The 10 a.m. (Eastern) ceremony at the Korean War Veterans Memorial will be carried live on the national networks, with coverage of pre-ceremony events beginning as early as 8 a.m. on the Pentagon Channel, as well as stream live on their website at The Korean War Commemoration Committee is especially interested in VFW Posts hosting the breakfast events in Washington, D.C.; the Hampton Roads area of Virginia; La Crosse, Wis.; and in Austin, Birmingham, Louisville, Minneapolis, Nashville, San Antonio and Tucson. A breakfast planning guide is on the VFW website at More information about the 60th anniversary is at

7. Every Name Needs a Photo: "Call for Photos" is a national campaign by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation to collect at least one photograph of all 58,000 men and women whose names are inscribed on The Wall. To date, only 26,000 individual photographs have been submitted for display in the new Education Center at The Wall, as well as online on The Virtual Wall. For more information or to submit photos, go to

8. Vietnam MIA Identified: The Defense POW/MIA Office has announced the identification of remains belonging to Air Force Maj. Larry J. Hanley, 26, of Walla Walla, Washington. On Nov. 4, 1969, Hanley was attacking an enemy anti-aircraft position when the F-105D Thunderchief he was piloting crashed in Khammouan Province, Laos. The loss location would be unknown because his wingman and a forward air controller did not see the crash. Read more about his recovery at



 Sean Eagan

 Life Member VFW NY Post 53
 American Cold War Veterans, Inc.
Blog: Cold War Veterans Blog
Phone:  716 720-4000 
Network: My Fast Pitch! Profile

Thursday, July 11, 2013

PA Paper Forms Partnership to Help Veterans Find Jobs

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and local Department of Veterans Affairs teamed up in May 2010 to host Operation Troop Employment, a job fair for America's veterans and their families. The job fair also had a companion 12-page special section that was distributed through the newspaper and at the event. Image supplied

By Michelle Finkler | Associate Editor
Monday, January 3, 2011 9:54 AM CST

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has held job fairs in the past. So has the Allegheny County Department of Veterans Affairs. But when the two joined forces to host a job fair for America's servicemen and women in 2010, the event yielded the largest turnout the VA had ever seen and $46,000 in new revenue for the newspaper.

Tim Wirth, classified operations manager for the 188,243-circulation daily, said the veterans and job fair exhibitors were happy with the event.

"I talked to about a half dozen employers as they were packing up after the fair, and I got very good feedback," he said. "A few job-seekers stopped in said they had been to other job fairs and liked how we ran the event."

About 400 job-seekers and 29 exhibitors attended the Operation Troop Employment job fair, which was open to the public but marketed toward veterans and their families, Wirth said. The event was held May 11, 2010, at the county-run Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum at no cost to the newspaper through its partnership with the VA, he said. Another Operation Troop Employment job fair is planned for 2011, but if the event increases in popularity, Wirth said the organizations would need to find a larger facility.

Operation Troop Employment also had an official guide that ran as a special section in the Post-Gazette on the Sunday before the job fair.


The Post-Gazette initially contacted the VA with the idea in November 2009, Wirth said. The VA had hosted job fairs previously through partnerships with other organizations, but Wirth said working with the newspaper meant greater marketing impact for the event, and the VA was quickly on board. Additionally, the partnership included five booths for the VA to give to service organizations, such as the VA hospital, he said.

Operation Troop Employment is the first job fair that the Post-Gazette organized without the help of an outside job fair vendor, such as Minneapolis-based Personnel Strategies Inc., which Wirth said the newspaper had worked with before. The newspaper was able to minimize expenses by utilizing its marketing department to handle the logistics for the fair, such as arrangements with the hall for booth space, he said.

"Early on, the partnership [with the VA] was working out the details and sharing contacts," Wirth said. "We told them they wouldn't have to do a whole lot for us—it was turn-key. They assisted us in running the event. For the registration desk, they had some volunteer veterans who helped register everyone. But after the initial setup, we ran things."

Wirth said the VA also helped with promotion by spreading word about the fair to its database of veterans.


To find companies to participate in the job fair, Wirth said the Post-Gazette tapped its database of recruitment advertisers. The VA also shared with the newspaper a list of companies it had worked with during previous job fairs, he said.

Part of Wirth's strategy was to reach out to companies with a "predisposition to hiring veterans" through the use of fliers, newspaper promotions and phone calls. The paper used its database for an e-mail marketing campaign targeting recruitment advertisers, such as banks and auto dealers, he said.

"I had been the recruitment manager in the '90s, and when we had done job fairs in the past, ads in the paper had been good at getting people in the door but not at attracting vendors," Wirth said. "I was surprised that ads for Operation Troop Employment did so well at attracting vendors. I suspect a number of the vendors were very interested in helping veterans—maybe they were former veterans themselves or they were just very much in support of veterans."

Vendors were able to choose from three different sponsorship packages, which included a booth at the job fair, an ad in the guide, a classified ad on and inclusion in promotional materials, he said. Platinum, Gold and Silver packages varied in value and price, with Silver being the most popular, Wirth said. The Post-Gazette based the pricing structure off of other job fairs and from the newspaper's annual home show, which also is an event with booth space, he said.

"Essentially, we tried to figure out where our price points needed to be to have an expectable margin," Wirth said. "It was a little difficult. We didn't want to get too expensive and be the most expensive job fair. I'm not sure we hit exactly the right price points. We'll probably revisit that a little bit this year. I think we're going to have an entry point that's a little lower. We had some resistance from companies. They wanted to be involved with veterans, but we need to find a better spread for them—a little lower entry point."

According to the 2010 Operation Troop Employment rate sheet, the packages started at $1,195 and went up to $2,595 for the Platinum sponsorship opportunity.

"The real key to this was an overriding sponsorship concept, and that came from a local bank," Wirth said. "The sponsorship came in at a high enough level that it pretty much covered our inside costs. Dollar Bank had some job openings, but that wasn't necessarily their main focus. They wanted to talk about VA loans and other types of services."

Because of the sluggish economy and many companies' inability to hire, Wirth said getting businesses on board with a sponsorship was a tougher sell for reps.

"We wanted to make certain that there were enough direct-hiring companies and a variety of companies," he said. "We didn't want just schools; we wanted companies looking to hire people."

Companies that participated included a social services organization, a hotel, a research and development laboratory and banks, to name a few. Wirth said selling sponsorships for Operation Troop Employment was open to inside sales staff, the dedicated recruitment advertising rep and the retail sales department.

"This was an all-hands-on-board effort," Wirth said. "Whoever had a contact that was viable, we encouraged them to go after it."

Special section 

The Operation Troop Employment guide ran as a tabloid in the Post-Gazette on May 9, 2010. The newspaper printed 300,000 copies of the 12-page special section to accommodate its Sunday circulation and an additional 1,000 copies for attendees to pick up at the job fair, Wirth said. The guide was also available on, he added.

The advertorial content for the section was written by one of the Post-Gazette's stringers and covered topics such as resources available to veterans, helping veterans with service-related disabilities re-enter the work force and education benefits available through the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

"We decided early on that the advertorial content would be focused on veterans, not advertisers," Wirth said. "Essentially, we wanted the section to look as editorial as possible without upsetting the editorial department."

Wirth said newspapers wanting to host a job fair for veterans in their markets should start the planning process at least three or four months ahead of time.

"The big key is advanced planning," he said. "Get out there in advance. Make sure you have a good combined effort between departments at your newspaper. Really, without the three departments—classified, retail and marketing—I don't think Operation Troop Employment would have been the success that it was."

Contact: Tim Wirth,

To view the Operation Troop Employment guide as a PDF, click here. 

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Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Military Wallet Newsletter July 9th

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The Military Wallet Newsletter
Is an Early Military Retirement a Good Option? A Look at TERA
New Law: Benefits for Same Sex Couples
July 9, 2013
Dear Sean,

With the War on Terror slowing down, the military is gearing toward a full-blown draw down. The different branches have used several methods to reduce their respective size of force, and last year, they received permission to start the Temporary Early Retirement Authority (TERA) after a nearly 10 year hiatus. TERA allows each branch to selectively allow servicemembers retire with 15-19 years of service instead of the usual 20 years. This is a retirement with full benefits, but it does reduce the veteran's pension. Click here to see if TERA is a good option for you.

Military Benefits for Same-Sex Couples

Parts of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) were overturned recently by the Supreme Court. Under the DOMA rules, the federal government did not recognize marriage between same-sex couples, making these persons ineligible for certain federal benefits. These changes will open the door for same-sex military spouses to receive the same benefits as other military spouses. The details are still rolling out for these changes, so be sure to stay tuned for updates. Click here to learn more about the benefits now available

Unemployment Benefits After Separating from the Military

Many current and recently separated servicemembers aren't aware that they are most likely eligible for unemployment benefits after leaving the military. In most cases, unemployment benefits are only available when you are let go from your job through no fault of your own. But a provision called the Unemployment Compensation for Ex-service members (UCX) is available for servicemembers, even if they voluntarily separate from the military. Click to learn more aboutunemployment benefits after separating from the military.

Thank you for reading our newsletter, and more importantly, thank you for your service! 


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