Thursday, April 17, 2014

VFW Action Corps Weekly

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VFW Action Corps Weekly
April 17, 2014

In This Issue:
1. VFW Counters 'Crazy Vet' Editorial
2. VFW Discusses Issues with Recovering Warrior Task Force
3. Medal of Honor to Go to OEF Soldier
4. Tricare Prime Update
5. Field Report: Alaska Discusses Veterans' Issues with Senator Begich
6. Veterans Legislation Needs Your Help
7. Two WWII MIAs Recovered 

1. VFW Counters 'Crazy Vet' Editorial: VFW National Commander Bill Thien is asking all members and advocates to flood the New York Times with good news stories to counter an opinion editorial published this week that uses accused triple murderer Frazier Glenn Miller as the focus of a piece, entitled Veterans and White Supremacy. "The First Amendment protects the free speech and expression rights of this young author, and the rights of the New York Times to publish it, but it also protects my right to disagree with the message," he said. "The 'crazy Vietnam veteran' label isn't talked about much these days, yet despite 40 years of moving on with our lives and successfully reintegrating into our communities, we all know the potential is just another headline away," he wrote in a letter to membership. "The shooting on Sunday in Overland Park, Kan., was as senseless as it is tragic, but we cannot allow political pundits, the media or our academicians to use the failings of one to once again paint all of us as damaged goods," he said. "That is why I am asking that you send your personal comments directly to the New York Times, but in a positive manner, such as 'I am a proud Vietnam veteran who came home from war, went to work, raised a family, and continues to help give back to my community and country. I am not damaged goods.' Let them hear our voices by writing today to letters@nytimes.com."

2. VFW Discusses Issues with Recovering Warrior Task Force: This week, VFW was given the opportunity to present our views on issues being discussed as part of DOD's Recovering Warrior Task Force (RWTF). The RWTF was mandated as a part of the FY 2010 National Defense bill and is tasked with providing DOD with recommendations on policies relating to wounded warrior organizations and the care provided them as they transition back to civilian life. The VFW's testimony centered on the issue of improperly diagnosing service members with psychiatric disorders during discharge. Recent DOD data (2001-2010) shows that over 32,000 service members were diagnosed with a Personality Disorder or an Adjustment Disorder at the time of their discharge. DOD's own directives call on the military branches to send the service member through the disability evaluation process. VFW is concerned that those improperly discharged who may suffer from PTSD or other mental health disorders will not have access to the services they need. For complete information on the RWTF and our testimony, click here:
http://rwtf.defense.gov/Meetings/FY2014BUSINESSMEETINGS/2014m21.aspx

3. Medal of Honor to Go to OEF Soldier: The president will award the Medal of Honor to former Army Sgt. Kyle J. White on May 13 for conspicuous gallantry while serving in Afghanistan on Nov. 9, 2007. Then-Specialist White was a platoon radio telephone operator assigned to C Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade. He will become the seventh living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. White separated from the Army in July 2011 and now lives in Charlotte, N.C., where he works as an investment analyst. Read more at http://www.stripes.com/news/us/former-army-sgt-kyle-j-white-to-receive-medal-of-honor-1.278118.

4. Tricare Prime Update: Later this month, many military retirees and family members who lost access to TRICARE Prime when Prime Service Areas changed last October will be eligible to re-enroll in Prime. OnApril 28th, TRICARE will begin sending out letters to all affected beneficiaries who live within 100 miles of a Military Treatment Facility (MTF) with instructions on how to get back into Prime. Retirees will have until the end of June to decide whether to make the switch and those who wish to remain on Standard will not have to take any action. This re-enrollment window was made possible by a VFW-supported provision in the 2014 NDAA. Approximately 76,000 beneficiaries will receive the letters explaining their new benefit options. For more information, visit: http://www.tricare.mil/Welcome/CurrentTopics/ChangestoPSAs.aspx

5. Field Report: Alaska Discusses Veterans' Issues with Senator Begich: This week, VFW leaders in Alaska attended a Town Hall meeting with Senator Mark Begich. Begich, a member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee spoke at length about S. 1982, comprehensive legislation that will provide critical benefits and services to veterans and their families. He also addressed his support for ending Sequestration and the harm it continues to pose for DOD and VA programs. To read more about the Town Hall in Kenai, AK; visit our blog at: 
http://thevfw.blogspot.com/2014/04/field-report-alaska-discusses-veterans.html

6. Veterans Legislation Needs Your Help: As we enter into the second week of congressional recess, we ask all of you to continue to advocate for S.1982, the, "Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014. This legislation addresses many of the VFW's legislative priority goals and will expand health care and other critical services to all generations of veterans, but it needs your help. Congress returns to Washington on Monday, April 28 so continue to visit, call and email your Senators and urge them to support and pass S. 1982 when they return to DC. To Take Action, click here: http://capwiz.com/vfw/issues/alert/?alertid=63187016

7. Two WWII MIAs Recovered: The Defense POW/MIA Office announced the identification of remains belonging to two Americans who had been missing and unaccounted-for since World War II. Identified are:
* Army Pfc. William T. Carneal, 24, of Paducah, Ky., who will be buried April 25 in his hometown. In mid-June 1944, the 27th Infantry Division landed on Saipan as part of the Allied strategic goal of securing the Marina Islands. Carneal was reported killed in action on July 7, 1944.
* U.S. Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Verne L. Gibb, 22, of Topeka, Kan., will be buried April 23 in Leavenworth, Kan. On Oct. 23, 1945, Gibb was piloting a C-47B Skytrain on a routine cargo mission from Burma to India. The aircraft, along with three other crew and two passengers, was never seen again. 
Read more about their recovery stories at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/news/news_releases/

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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
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