Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Nine Soldiers Officially Named to 2014 U.S. Olympic Team

Nine Soldiers Officially Named to 2014 U.S. Olympic Team

By Tim Hipps
Army Installation Management Command

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Jan. 27, 2014 - Nine soldiers in the U.S.
Army World Class Athlete Program are members of the U.S. Olympic Team
that will compete at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, scheduled for Feb.
7 through 24 in Sochi, Russia.

The U.S. Olympic Committee officially announced the team today.

The soldier-athletes named to Team USA are 2010 Olympic gold medalist
in four-man bobsled Sgt. Justin Olsen, 26, of San Antonio; 2010
Olympic bobsledder Capt. Christopher Fogt, 30, of Alpine, Utah; 2010
Olympic bobsledder Sgt. Nick Cunningham, 27, of Monterey, Calif.;
bobsledder Sgt. Dallas Robinson, 31, of Georgetown, Ky.; 2006 Olympic
luger Sgt. Preston Griffall, 29, of Salt Lake City; and luger Sgt.
Matt Mortensen, 28, of Huntington Station, N.Y.

Three WCAP coaches also will represent the U.S. Army in Russia. Team
USA luge coach Staff Sgt. Bill Tavares, 50, of Lake Placid, N.Y., will
be making his sixth appearance in the Olympics, including once as an
athlete and five times as a coach. Team USA skeleton coach Sgt. 1st
Class Tuffield "Tuffy" Latour, 45, of Saranac Lake, N.Y., will make
his fourth trip to the Olympics. He has coached U.S. and Canadian
men's and women's bobsledders to Olympic medals. Team USA assistant
bobsled coach 1st Lt. Michael Kohn, 41, of Myrtle Beach, S.C., is a
two-time Olympic competitor who will make his Olympic coaching debut
at the Sochi Games. He won a bronze medal in four-man bobsled as a
WCAP athlete at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

USA-1 bobsled driver Steven Holcomb, 33, of Park City, Utah, is the
reigning Olympic champion in the four-man event. He spent seven years
in the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program.

The 230-member team is comprised of 105 women and 125 men - the
largest athlete delegation for any nation in the history of the
Olympic Winter Games. The United States will be represented in all 15
disciplines across seven sports, and up to 94 of the 98 medal events
that will be contested in Sochi.

"We are thrilled to announce the 230 athletes who will represent Team
USA in Sochi," said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. "This is the largest team
we have ever sent to an Olympic Winter Games, and I'd like to commend
all of those who helped support our athletes in the pursuit of their
Olympic dreams.

"Most of all," he continued, "this is a time to celebrate our
athletes, who have made countless sacrifices and dedicated themselves
to being their best, both on and off the ice and snow. I am very
excited to watch them compete as they represent our nation with
excellence and distinction on the world stage."

The 2014 U.S. Olympic Team features 106 returning Olympians -
including one five-time Olympian, two four-time Olympians, 10
three-time Olympians and 23 two-time Olympians. Returning from the
2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, where the U.S. finished first
in the overall medal count with 37 medals, are 99 U.S. Olympians.
Overall, among the veterans are 49 Olympic medalists, 13 of whom are
Olympic champions.

Nordic combined skier Todd Lodwick becomes the first American to
compete at six Olympic Winter Games. The two U.S. Olympians headed to
their fifth Olympic Games are Billy Demong (Nordic combined) and Bode
Miller (alpine skiing). Only four other athletes in U.S. Olympic
history, including Lodwick, have competed in five or more Olympic
Winter Games.

Additionally, women's bobsled push athletes Lolo Jones - a two-time
Olympic hurdler - and Lauryn Williams - a three-time Olympic sprinter
- become the ninth and 10th Americans to compete at both the winter
and summer editions of the Olympic Games.

Highlighting this list of accomplished U.S. men's athletes are Miller
and long track speedskater Shani Davis. A five-time Olympic medalist,
Miller needs three medals to match U.S. short track speedskater Apolo
Anton Ohno as the most decorated U.S. Olympian in history on the
winter side.

Davis is making his fourth Olympic appearance after winning
consecutive Olympic gold and silver medals in the 1,000- and
1,500-meter events in 2006 and 2010. Both Davis and snowboarder Shaun
White will have the opportunity to become the first American man to
win three gold medals in the same event at consecutive Olympic Winter

Headlining the list of U.S. women's athletes are three-time Olympic
medalists Julie Chu (ice hockey) and Julia Mancuso (alpine skiing).
Mancuso already is the most decorated U.S. Olympic female alpine
skier, with one gold medal and two silver medals, while Chu is looking
to help Team USA reclaim the top podium spot for the first time since
women's ice hockey debuted at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games.

"This distinguished group of athletes represents the largest
delegation in the history of the Olympic Winter Games, which is a true
testament to the growing number of winter sport opportunities across
the United States," said Alan Ashley, chief of the U.S. mission and
USOC's chief of sport performance. "With 106 returning Olympians, this
year's team is an exceptional blend of youth and experience, and
represents the finest our nation has to offer. During the Games, we
will continue to support our athletes, coaches and National Governing
Bodies in every way possible to succeed."

The 2014 U.S. Olympic Team roster may still be adjusted due to injury,
illness or exceptional circumstances up to the technical meetings for
each sport.

Contact Author

Related Sites:
Special Report: On the Road to Sochi


Sean Eagan

Life Member VFW NY Post 53
American Cold War Veterans, Inc.
Web: http://americancoldwarvets.org/
Blog: Cold War Veterans Blog
Email: Sean.Eagan@gmail.com
Phone: 716 720-4000
Network: My Fast Pitch! Profile

Want to know why Wilmington's VA compensation case backlog keeps growing? So would we

by Bill McMichael

The News Journal

January 24, 2014


Today marks the 38th day since I asked the Dept. of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C., for an on-the-record official to discuss why disability compensation cases were being transferred from Baltimore and Philadelphia to Wilmington and other northeast Veterans Benefits Administration offices last year, increasing Wilmington’s backlog – which continues to grow despite an overall national trend in the opposite direction.

We went to VA in Washington because Wilmington is essentially a satellite of the larger Philadelphia office and has no spokesman. Philadelphia does, but the office is only occasionally responsive and has been completely non-responsive on the why of this issue.

On Dec. 17, a VA public affairs officer in Washington offered me an off-the-record background briefing on the issue. That means I couldn’t quote anything said. More to the point, it meant that I might learn a lot but that VA was not going to offer up an official to publicly account for the growing backlog at Wilmington.

Agencies in Washington love to offer background to reporters, who will often take it in the absence of nothing to give their readers. Backgrounders, however, lack the credibility the words gain coming from an identifiable public official from an agency.

In VA’s case, it’s the height of arrogance – and a lack of responsiveness that is an insult to every veteran left waiting at Wilmington.

The backlog is an important issue. Veterans waiting for Wilmington to process their compensation cases are having to wait even longer because the caseload has grown. These are folks who are claiming service-related injuries or maladies that in many cases interfere with their ability to fully function – to hold a job, among other challenges. For them, compensation isn’t some sort of bonus. It’s part of the nation’s payback for their service – absent which they wouldn’t have the injury or malady.

When I asked in mid-November for an explanation, Wilmington’s backlog had grown from 654 to 903 since March 30, a span of time when VA’s national backlog had fallen from 569,547 to 382,473. (It’s since ticked up again, to 400,546.)

According to the latest weekly report from VA, dated Jan. 21, Wilmington’s 903 has grown over the past two months to 1,050.

Last summer, VA told me that a major reason for the growth at Wilmington was that 774 cases were “brokered” – government-speak for transferring cases from one VBA to another – to Wilmington from Baltimore (262) and Philadelphia (512) during fiscal year 2013. (I was also told by the Philadelphia Regional Office that 300 cases with pending appeals were sent to Philadelphia because Wilmington lacked a proper review officer.) According to e-mails provided by the Philadelphia Regional Office, Baltimore brokered cases to five other VBA offices as well. Its backlog fell between March 30 and mid-November from 15,661 to 6,608.

It’s apparent that VA doesn’t want to talk about this.

My most recent query on the backlog issue topic was sent to VA in Washington Nov. 19. That got an immediate reply: “We’ll find out.” On Nov. 25, I was sent some background on the practice of brokering and a promise that “we’re checking now to see who could be available to talk.” On Dec. 3, I asked again for that interview. On Dec. 17, I was sent a note with an apology for not getting back to me “last week,” and the background briefing offer. I countered that I wanted an accountable official who could talk on the record.

I, and our readers, are still waiting.




 Sean Eagan

 Life Member VFW NY Post 53
 American Cold War Veterans, Inc.
Web: http://americancoldwarvets.org/
Blog: Cold War Veterans Blog
Email: Sean.Eagan@gmail.com
Phone:  716 720-4000 
Network: My Fast Pitch! Profile

Thursday, January 23, 2014

VFW Legislative Alert

VFW Legislative Alert

Take Action!

Background:  Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman, Bernie Sanders introduced the Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Resotration Act of 2014. The bill, S. 1950, is the most comprehensive veterans legislation to be introduced in decades. It addresses many of the VFW's legislative priority goals, including a full repeal of the military retiree one percent COLA reduction that penalizes working-age military retirees and their families.
If signed into law, this sweeping legislation would expand and improve health care and benefit services to all generations of veterans and their families. Most notably, it would expand the current caregiver law to include all generations of veterans and provide advance appropriations to ensure monthly compensation and pension as well as education payments are protected from future budget battles.  The bill also offers in-state tuition protection for recently transitioned veterans, improves access to mental health and treatment for victims of sexual assault in the military, and authorizes construction of more than 20 Community Bases Outpatient Clinics to serve veterans in rural and remote communities.
Action Needed:  Call and email your Senators today. urge them to pass S. 1950, the Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Restoration Act of 2014. Tell them that this historic legislation will provide vital services to all generations of veterans and their families. Remind them that past, present and future veterans have earned the critical services this legislation will provide.
To read VFW Commander-in-Chief Bill Thien's letter of support click here:
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 Sean Eagan

 Life Member VFW NY Post 53
 American Cold War Veterans, Inc.
Web: http://americancoldwarvets.org/
Blog: Cold War Veterans Blog
Email: Sean.Eagan@gmail.com
Phone:  716 720-4000 
Network: My Fast Pitch! Profile

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

-1% COLA Unacceptable

Background:  Congress has agreed but not voted on a spending bill that would fund the federal government for the remainder of FY 2014 -- the package contains a provision that will repeal the Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) penalty for Chapter 61 medical retirees, as well as thousands of Survivors Benefits Program recipients, but it does not include the more than 800,000 military retirees under age 62.  This would affect tens of thousands in the grade of E-7, who earn $25,200 in taxable retirement pay, which for a family of four is borderline poverty level.
The proposed appropriations omnibus package protects disabled retirees and survivors from the one percent COLA cut, but a full repeal for all retirees is still needed. To do anything less than full repeal is a breach of faith with our military service members, retirees and their families.
"The Omnibus Bill doesn't go far enough to protect the earned retirement benefit of all military retirees," said VFW National Commander Bill Thien, "and the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States will continue to work to fix this injustice."
Action Needed: Call and email your legislators today. Tell them that the appropriations omnibus package doesn't go far enough to protect ALL retirees from the one percent COLA reduction, and to support full and immediate repeal of the COLA penalty.



 Sean Eagan

 Life Member VFW NY Post 53
 American Cold War Veterans, Inc.
Web: http://americancoldwarvets.org/
Blog: Cold War Veterans Blog
Email: Sean.Eagan@gmail.com
Phone:  716 720-4000 
Network: My Fast Pitch! Profile

ICBM Launch Officers Implicated in Cheating Probe

34 ICBM Launch Officers Implicated in Cheating Probe

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 15, 2014 - Thirty-four intercontinental ballistic missile launch officers at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., have been implicated in cheating on the ICBM launch officer proficiency test, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said today.


The revelations emerged during an investigation into alleged illegal drug possession, James said. The officers range in rank from second lieutenants to captains, and the alleged cheating occurred in the August and September timeframe.

James and Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, Air Force chief of staff, clearly were disturbed by the allegation as they briefed Pentagon reporters on the matter, but said they are confident the nuclear mission itself was not compromised by the incident.

"This was a failure of some of our airmen. It was not a failure of the nuclear mission," James said.

Welsh reiterated that confidence. The nuclear mission requires airmen to meet the highest of standards, the general said, and most of the missileers do. "There's absolutely no excuse for the breach of integrity," he said.

Air Force Office of Special Investigations officials were examining allegations of illegal drug possession when evidence surfaced that a missile launch officer at the 341st Missile Wing electronically shared the answers to monthly missile launch officer proficiency tests with 16 other officers. Air Force officials subsequently approached the entire missile crew force at Malmstrom, and 17 other officers admitted to at least being aware of material that had been shared.

"We don't yet know how or if each of those officers used that material, but we do know that none of them reported the incident to their leadership," Welsh said.

"Cheating or tolerating others who cheat runs counter to everything we believe in as a service," the general added. "People at every level will be held accountable if and where appropriate."

All 34 officers have been decertified and restricted from missile crew duty. The Air Force has suspended their security clearances, and the investigation continues. Two of the officers involved in the cheating scandal also are implicated in the illegal drug possession case.

"Every missile crew member in our other two missile wings will be questioned about involvement in or knowledge of sharing test material," Welsh said.

James ordered that all the members of the ICBM force be retested by close of business tomorrow.

"As of an hour ago, 100 people had completed that test -- that's about 20 percent of our missile crew force. Ninety-seven percent of them passed the test, and there were three failures," Welsh said. "That 97 percent pass rate matches our historical averages."

Air Force Global Strike Command will conduct a limited nuclear surety inspection focused on operation crew procedures in the near future. James and Welsh will visit all missile bases next week to ensure that airmen have no question about their expectations.

Welsh called the cheating "a violation of that first core principle of 'integrity first.'"

"Our actions as we move forward will be about making sure that every member of our Air Force understands that we will not accept or allow that type of behavior, that there is nothing more important to the nation than the integrity and the trustworthiness of the people who defend it and that anyone who doesn't understand that should find another line of work," he added.

Contact Author

Deborah Lee James 
Air Force Gen. Mark A. Welsh III 



 Sean Eagan

 Life Member VFW NY Post 53
 American Cold War Veterans, Inc.
Web: http://americancoldwarvets.org/
Blog: Cold War Veterans Blog
Email: Sean.Eagan@gmail.com
Phone:  716 720-4000 
Network: My Fast Pitch! Profile

Tuesday, January 07, 2014


Christmas celebrations denied at VA hospitals

By Patricia Kime

Military Times



Several incidents at Veterans Affairs medical centers over the holidays have prompted the House Veterans Affairs Committee chairman to question whether VA has violated the civil rights of veterans in its care.

In separate events at VA hospitals in December, administrators limited private donors, schools and veterans organizations from delivering Christmas-specific holiday cards, singing religious carols publicly and delivering gifts wrapped in Christmas paper.

The incidents sparked outcries from conservative groups and now have attracted the attention of at least two Republican lawmakers, House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida and Rep. Martha Roby of Alabama.

Each has sent letters to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki asking him to look into the incidents and provide copies of VA policies regarding the distribution of religious material and gifts.

In his letter to Shinseki on Friday, Miller argued that because Christmas is a federal holiday and also a religious day, VA may be violating veterans rights by denying them the right to celebrate a government-approved holiday as well as their own religious traditions.

He noted that President Obama celebrated Christmas publicly by lighting the National Christmas Tree with "well-chosen words" recognizing the lessons of Jesus Christ without "proselytizing or seeking to impose" them on anyone.

"In taking it upon themselves to restrict Christmas cards, carols and gifts in certain locations, VA officials clearly ignored longstanding federal government traditions, basic common sense and possibly a 2011 federal consent decree that ordered VA not to ban religious speech," Miller wrote.

The consent order Miller referred to is a 2011 judge's ruling that forbade VA officials at a Houston cemetery from "editing, controlling or excising ... the content of private religious speech and expression by speakers at VA-sponsored or non-VA-sponsored special ceremonies or events."

The ruling resulted from a lawsuit in which a pastor and several veteran families alleged they were told by the cemetery director that prayers at official cemetery events had to be nondenominational.

The same director also banned volunteer honor guards from having any religious elements in their burial rituals, according to the suit.

Miller's letter called attention to at least two incidents: one at the VA North Texas Health Care System in which a group of schoolchildren were not allowed to deliver handwritten cards containing phrases including "Merry Christmas" and "God Bless You"; and the enforcement of a rule at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta, Ga., that bans volunteer choruses from singing religious-themed carols in public hospital spaces.

A VA spokesman said Friday that the department does accept religious cards and Christmas carols "for our patients who celebrate Christmas, as we do for veterans who celebrate religious holidays of all faiths."

"Veterans entered the military to protect our freedoms, including the freedom to practice a religion of our choice. At VA, it is our duty to uphold and respect the honor and sacrifice of all Veterans, from all faiths and backgrounds," spokesman Drew Brookie said.

According to VA officials, the incident at the Texas facility resulted from a miscommunication and the facility "thanks all the students who took the time during the holiday season to write Christmas cards for the veterans we serve."

The Augusta, Ga., facility allows carolers to sing publicly from an approved list of songs and "is happy to provide more private areas for groups to sing [religious-based songs] for veterans who choose to participate," VA officials said.

Roby wrote to Shinseki on Thursday with concerns similar to Miller's, alarmed that one of her constituents had made more than 100 goodie bags and Christmas cards for veterans at the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System but was only able deliver fewer than 20 because they were the only ones to meet the facility's guidelines as secular gifts.

"My concern is that such a senseless policy exists to begin with, or, in the case that no such policy expressly prohibits mentioning Christmas in cases like this, that the culture of bureaucracy at the VA would encourage facility administrators to err on the side of suppressing religious expression and discouraging acts of kindness toward veterans," Roby wrote.

Brookie said VA has received the letters and will respond.

"VA greatly appreciates holiday donations and volunteerism by students and organizations on behalf of veterans of all faiths and backgrounds," he said.

The House Veterans' Affairs Committee is asking VA patients, employees or volunteers to report any perceived instances in which VA attempted to curtail the celebration of Christmas or other federal holidays to its tip line, varoi@mail.house.gov



Mike Siegel

Committee on Veterans' Affairs

U.S. House of Representatives

335 Cannon House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515




Please click here to subscribe to the Committee's eNewsletter to stay up-to-date on issues affecting America's veterans.





 Sean Eagan

 Life Member VFW NY Post 53
 American Cold War Veterans, Inc.
Web: http://americancoldwarvets.org/
Blog: Cold War Veterans Blog
Email: Sean.Eagan@gmail.com
Phone:  716 720-4000 
Network: My Fast Pitch! Profile

Friday, January 03, 2014

VFW Washington Weekly, January 3, 2014


January 3, 2014
In This Issue:
1. COLA Penalty Fight Continues
2. Compensation Commission to Meet in San Antonio
3. Join the VFW Action Corps Today
4. VFW Releases 2014 Priority Goals
5. ABMC Assumes Control of Clark Veterans Cemetery
6. VFW Attends SVA Conference
7. New Secretary of Air Force Sworn In

1. COLA Penalty Fight Continues: A two-year budget deal to fund the government and temporarily end the sequester was signed into law Dec. 26. Unfortunately, it also contained a provision that penalizes working age military retirees with reduced cost-of-living adjustments. The penalty, which also affects medically-retired troops, is an automatic one-percent reduction from annual COLA increases until age 62. The cumulative impact of this reverse compound interest on a 40-year-old E-7 retiring today would be the direct loss of $70,000 or more by the time he or she turns 62. The VFW is now working with allies in both the House and Senate to find a bipartisan solution to eliminate the penalty when Congress reconvenes, but the VFW still needs your support to contact your members of Congress while they are still at home on recess. Join the VFW Call to Action today by going to http://capwiz.com/vfw/issues/alert/?alertid=63034211.

2. Compensation Commission to Meet in San Antonio: The COLA penalty on military retirees isn't the only threat to service member and veterans' benefits. The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission is currently touring the country to gauge reactions to potential changes to military pay and benefits. Fort Sam Houston and San Antonio's VA Medical Center is their next stop with two public hearings and a town hall meeting on Jan. 6 and 7. The Commission is charged with examining how the troops are compensated while in uniform, in retirement and as veterans, and everything military or veteran-related is on their table, to include the 20-year retirement system, military pay and allowances, concurrent receipt, the GI Bills, military healthcare, exchanges, commissaries and schools, and transition and employment assistance programs, among many others. The VFW testified before the Commission in November and views their charter as a serious attempt to balance the budget on the backs of military families, retirees and veterans through an erosion of pay and benefits that will negatively impact recruiting and retention, and possibly threaten the continued viability of the All-Volunteer Military. San Antonio events are:
* Monday, Jan. 6: Public hearings from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the Fort Sam Houston Army Community Service Center, followed by a town hall meeting from 7-9 p.m. at the Audie L. Murphy Memorial VA Hospital.
* Tuesday, Jan. 7: Public hearings from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the Fort Sam Houston Warrior and Family Support Center.
The Commission is required to issue their report to the White House by May 1, 2014. For more information or to leave a public comment, go to http://www.mcrmc.gov/.

3. Join the VFW Action Corps Today: In 2013, the VFW Action Corps generated well over 100,000 messages to every congressional office on critical issues like the budget, tuition assistance, military awards, healthcare and the new retiree COLA penalty, but more still needs to be done. Of tremendous assistance to the VFW's national legislative work is the grassroots advocacy provided by veterans and veterans' advocates who reside in every state and congressional district of all 535 members of Congress. In 2014 we must remain vigilant and remind Congress that cutting any benefits earned by veterans, service members and their families is not acceptable. Pass the word for others to join Action Corps and help us to create and protect those benefits, as well as to defeat those proposals we deem detrimental to veterans, service members and their families. Join Action Corps today at http://capwiz.com/vfw/mlm/signup.htm.

4. VFW Releases 2014 Priority Goals: The VFW's 2014 Legislative Priority Goals are now available on the VFW website for the second session of the 113th Congress. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the information, then provide copies to your congressional members and their professional staffs during office visits. Highlights from the 2014 goals include providing advance funding for all VA programs; protecting quality of life programs for military service members, retirees and their families; improvements in transition and employment tools for separating service members and veterans; and continued oversight and improvement to the VA disability claims system, among many others. To download and print copies of the 2014 Legislative Priority Goals, go to http://www.vfw.org/uploadedFiles/VFW.org/VFW_in_DC/2014%20Priority%20Goals%20brochure%20final%20pdf.pdf.

5. ABMC Assumes Control of Clark Veterans Cemetery: A VFW National Resolution was fulfilled Dec. 16 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Philippine and U.S. governments to allow the American Battle Monuments Commission to assume operations and maintenance of the Clark Veterans Cemetery. VFW Post 2485 had been the caretaker of the cemetery and its 8,000 non-World War II veterans and dependents for almost two decades after Clark Air Base was closed due to Typhoon Yunya and the Mount Pinatubo eruption. Resolution 431 was submitted by the VFW Department of Pacific and approved by delegates attending the 113th VFW National Convention in Reno, Nev. It called upon the United States government to resume full operational control of the Clark Veterans Cemetery. World War II remains are interred in the American Cemetery in Manila, which is one of 24 cemeteries ABMC operates overseas. Read more at http://www.abmc.gov/events/index.php.

6. VFW Attends SVA Conference: The VFW is participating in the 6th Annual Student Veterans of America National Conference in Phoenix. The SVA conference is focusing on social entrepreneurship, campus-based best practices, and upcoming policy changes in Washington. VFW joined in a legislative roundtable to urge a greater focus on consumer education tools and in-state tuition for all student-veterans. Past VFW Commander-in-Chief Jim Nier from Texas provided welcoming remarks yesterday to more than 600 student-veterans and supporters gathered for the three-day conference. For information on the conference and the agenda, click here: http://studentveterans.org/images/Documents/SVA-008%20Conference%20Agendakl1.31.pdf?utm_source=6NatCon+PR+Day+One&utm_campaign=NatCon+PR&utm_medium=email.

7. New Secretary of Air Force Sworn In: Deborah Lee James was sworn in as the 23rd Secretary of the Air Force on Dec. 20. She is the second woman to hold the position, after Dr. Sheila Widnall who served from 1993 to 1997. Ms. James brings with her 30 years of senior homeland and national security experience in the federal government and the private sector. She was previously the president of defense contractor SAIC's Technical and Engineering Sector, where she was responsible for 8,700 employees and more than $2 billion in revenue. She is now responsible for organizing, training, equipping and providing for the welfare of more than 690,000 active duty, Guard, Reserve airmen and civilians and their families, as well as overseeing an annual operating budget of more than $110 billion. Read her official bio at http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/Biographies/Display/tabid/225/Article/467806/deborah-lee-james.aspx.

As always, we want to share your advocacy stories on the VFW Capitol Hill blog. To share your stories either fill out our online form by clicking here, http://www.vfw.org/Forms/Capitol-Hill-Blog-Submissions/, or simply email photos and stories directly to vfwac@vfw.org.

To sign up new veterans' advocates to receive the Washington Weekly every Friday, click here: http://capwiz.com/vfw/mlm/signup.htm.
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 Sean Eagan

 Life Member VFW NY Post 53
 American Cold War Veterans, Inc.
Web: http://americancoldwarvets.org/
Blog: Cold War Veterans Blog
Email: Sean.Eagan@gmail.com
Phone:  716 720-4000 
Network: My Fast Pitch! Profile