Open Letter to NH Delegation: Veterans Support Keystone Pipeline

Dear New Hampshire Congressional Delegation:,

We are writing to you to express our support- and to solicit yours – for construction of the Keystone XL (KXL) Pipeline.

Though our support is multifaceted, our primary focus as military veterans is on the national security benefits of this project.

We know from the study of military history and from personal experience that national security depends on energy security.

Our enemies will not supply the fuel we need to fight them in times of conflict, and it would be foolhardy to count on them even in peacetime.  Only by developing our own natural resources or by contracting with dependable allies can we be certain of a steady supply of the fuel we need.

Canada is a dependable ally, and the KXL Pipeline could contribute mightily to the energy security we need to ensure national security.  We share the world’s longest peaceful border with Canada, and the world’s largest trading partnership.  The KXL Pipeline could safely and securely deliver 830,000 barrels of additional Canadian oil to U.S. refineries every day.

It’s also true that the pipeline will give a tremendous boost to our state and national economies, its construction creating more than 15,000 high-paying U.S. jobs and adding $20 billion to our national economy.  And most of the money we spend on Canadian oil will come back to us iin Canadian purchases of U.S. goods and services.

Ask our friends in Teamsters Local 633, UA Local 131, and IBEW 490 why they support the pipeline and they’ll explain all the economic benefits to you even better than we can.

What motivates us most is our conviction that the Keystone Pipeline will make a major contribution to our national security, allowing us to import more oil from allies and less from undependable and unfriendly sources.

That means less chance of hostilities breaking out, few American lives placed in harm’s way, and the freeing up of funds formerly dedicated to defending our access to unstable energy sources (to be redirected to other pressing needs in a dwindling defense budget).

Think how the threat of an interruption in oil exports from the Middle East has loomed so large over the last five decades, and how the situation in that part of the world is now more perilous than ever.  How could we possibly ignore an opportunity to lessen our dependence on resources from a region so volatile?

Here’s the executive summary:  We cannot keep depending on unreliable energy sources.  To continue doing so, leaving both our national economy and our national security in jeopardy, is irresponsible.  The Keystone XL Pipeline could help liberate us from that dangerous dependence, so why not build it?

The U.S. has already surpassed Saudi Arabia as the world leader in oil production.  Energy independence is on the horizon for us.  Increased oil imports from Canada and increased production here at home could supply all of our liquid fuel needs for the next decade, by which point we may very well be a net oil exporter.

That’s good news for all Americans, but especially for our service men and women.

The Canadian pipeline company, TransCanada, applied to the U.S. State Department for permission to build the pipeline six years ago.  The Department concluded multiple times, after multiple consecutive environmental impact assessments, that the project would have no significant adverse impact.  A majority of Congress and nearly two-thirds of the American people support the pipeline.

All that’s lacking is President Obama’s approval.  We ask you – we urge you – to join us in petitioning him to give the go-ahead.

Yours Respectfully,

Paul Chevalier, USMC
Hudson

Other Veterans & Military Signers Below

 

ADD YOUR SIGNATURE

[contact-form-7 id=”4600″ title=”Veterans Support for the Keystone Pipeline”]

 

Open Letter to NH Delegation from Veterans Supporting Keystone XL Pipeline

Dear New Hampshire Congressional Delegation:,

We are writing to you to express our support- and to solicit yours – for construction of the Keystone XL (KXL) Pipeline.

Though our support is multifaceted, our primary focus as military veterans is on the national security benefits of this project.

We know from the study of military history and from personal experience that national security depends on energy security.

Our enemies will not supply the fuel we need to fight them in times of conflict, and it would be foolhardy to count on them even in peacetime.  Only by developing our own natural resources or by contracting with dependable allies can we be certain of a steady supply of the fuel we need.

Canada is a dependable ally, and the KXL Pipeline could contribute mightily to the energy security we need to ensure national security.  We share the world’s longest peaceful border with Canada, and the world’s largest trading partnership.  The KXL Pipeline could safely and securely deliver 830,000 barrels of additional Canadian oil to U.S. refineries every day.

It’s also true that the pipeline will give a tremendous boost to our state and national economies, its construction creating more than 15,000 high-paying U.S. jobs and adding $20 billion to our national economy.  And most of the money we spend on Canadian oil will come back to us iin Canadian purchases of U.S. goods and services.

Ask our friends in Teamsters Local 633, UA Local 131, and IBEW 490 why they support the pipeline and they’ll explain all the economic benefits to you even better than we can.

What motivates us most is our conviction that the Keystone Pipeline will make a major contribution to our national security, allowing us to import more oil from allies and less from undependable and unfriendly sources.

That means less chance of hostilities breaking out, few American lives placed in harm’s way, and the freeing up of funds formerly dedicated to defending our access to unstable energy sources (to be redirected to other pressing needs in a dwindling defense budget).

Think how the threat of an interruption in oil exports from the Middle East has loomed so large over the last five decades, and how the situation in that part of the world is now more perilous than ever.  How could we possibly ignore an opportunity to lessen our dependence on resources from a region so volatile?

Here’s the executive summary:  We cannot keep depending on unreliable energy sources.  To continue doing so, leaving both our national economy and our national security in jeopardy, is irresponsible.  The Keystone XL Pipeline could help liberate us from that dangerous dependence, so why not build it?

The U.S. has already surpassed Saudi Arabia as the world leader in oil production.  Energy independence is on the horizon for us.  Increased oil imports from Canada and increased production here at home could supply all of our liquid fuel needs for the next decade, by which point we may very well be a net oil exporter.

That’s good news for all Americans, but especially for our service men and women.

The Canadian pipeline company, TransCanada, applied to the U.S. State Department for permission to build the pipeline six years ago.  The Department concluded multiple times, after multiple consecutive environmental impact assessments, that the project would have no significant adverse impact.  A majority of Congress and nearly two-thirds of the American people support the pipeline.

All that’s lacking is President Obama’s approval.  We ask you – we urge you – to join us in petitioning him to give the go-ahead.

Yours Respectfully,

Paul Chevalier, USMC
Hudson

Other Veterans & Military Signers Below

 

ADD YOUR SIGNATURE

[contact-form-7 id=”4600″ title=”Veterans Support for the Keystone Pipeline”]

 

VFW Washington Weekly May 17, 2013

In This Issue: 1. VFW Attends DOJ Veterans Fraud Discussion 2. House Committee Clears VA Funding Bill 3. Senate VA Hearing Postponed 4. Korean War 60th 5. Three MIAs Identified
1. VFW Attends DOJ Veterans Fraud Discussion: This week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) hosted a meeting with veterans’ leaders to discuss ongoing efforts to prevent fraud against service members, veterans and their families. VFW joined in the conversation alongside officials from DOJ, the Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and several other veterans’ organizations. Discussion centered on tools used across the agencies to collect consumer complaints, identify trends, alert law enforcement and track results. The VFW has watched this issue closely as issues of potential fraud within higher education; mortgage lending and credit reporting have become heightened within the veterans’ community during difficult economic times. We suggested that DOJ host similar quarterly roundtables to keep the veterans’ community up to date on trends and potential solutions to ensure companies cannot take advantage of veterans. For more on the event and to stay informed on this issue, visit our blog at.http://thevfw.blogspot.com/2013/05/justice-department-hosts-veterans-fraud.html
2. House Committee Clears VA Funding Bill: The House Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Military Construction/Veterans Affairs approved its FY 2014 funding bill which would provide $63.1 billion for VA programs and $9.9 billion for military construction. Overall, the bill calls for $147.6 billion to include a $1.4 billion dollar increase over FY 2013. Members of the Committee spoke at length about VA’s disability claims backlog and requested as part of the funding bill about $344 million for a single DOD-VA electronic health record and $155 million for the Veterans Benefit Management System or VBMS, a paperless claims process system. They also included $136 million for the Veterans Claims Intake Program, which aims to eliminate the paper-based system by digitally scanning existing paper health records. VA has testified that they believe VBMS will help to eliminate the backlog by 2015. The bill now moves to the full Appropriations Committee for approval.
3. Senate VA Hearing Postponed: The VFW was scheduled to testify this week before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee on a series of veterans’ benefits bills. However, a series of votes forced the committee to postpone the meeting to Tuesday, June 5 at 10 a.m. Eastern. On June 5, the VFW plans to discuss a variety of bills like in-state tuition equity for GI Bill recipients, economic opportunity, sexual assault prevention and cost of living allowances. For more details about the hearing, visit the committee’s website here: http://www.veterans.senate.gov/hearings.cfm?action=release.display&release_id=04a17e8c-da3d-4584-8e39-7f8d6e1d3728
4. Korean War 60th: Plans are being set to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Korean War armistice in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, July 27. Thousands of veterans from across the nation, as well as representatives from other UN nations, are expected to be present at the Korean War Memorial for the 9:30 a.m. ceremony. The event will be broadcast live, and VFW Posts are encouraged to share in the commemoration by hosting “Pancakes for Patriots”-type events to honor and help educate local communities about the service and sacrifices made by so many of our VFW members and their families. The current June/July issue of VFW Magazine is dedicated to Korean War veterans, plus highlights our $600,000 donation towards building their national memorial—tops among all veterans’ organizations. More information regarding how your Posts can help share the day will be provided as the anniversary draws nearer.
5. Three MIAs Identified: The Defense POW/MIA Office recently announced the identification of remains belonging to two soldiers from the Korean War and one Marine, who was lost during the ill-fated SS Mayaguez rescue operation in 1975. Recovered are: * Army Pfc. James L. Constant, 19, of Beach Grove, Ind. In late 1950, Constant and elements of 2nd Infantry Division were defending the Naktong Bulge, near Changnyong, South Korea, when they were attacked by enemy forces. Constant and many other service members were reported missing. Remains were later recovered and buried, reburied, and eventually transferred and reburied again as an “unknown” in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. * Army Sgt. Charles Allen, 23, of Mineola, Texas. In late November 1950, Allen and elements of Company C, 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, were deployed north of the Ch’ongch’on River in North Korea when their unit was encircled and attacked by enemy forces. Allen was captured but died in captivity on March 31, 1951. An exchange of remains after the war failed to identify Allen, so he buried as “unknown” at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.  * Marine Pfc. Daniel A. Benedett, of Seattle. On May 12, 1975, Khmer Rouge gunboats captured the S.S. Mayaguez in international waters off the coast of Cambodia and took the civilian vessel to Koh Tang Island. After efforts to secure the release of the ship and crew failed, a rescue mission was launched that resulted in heavy U.S. losses. Benedett was aboard a helicopter that was shot down with 26 men aboard, only half of whom were rescued. Benedett was buried May 15 at Arlington National Cemetery in a mass grave containing the remains of his 12 other previously recovered crewmates. Theirs are the last names on the Vietnam Wall, Panel 1 West. Read more at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/news/news_releases/

VFW Washington Weekly
May 10, 2013

In This Issue:
1. VFW Testifies on VA   Construction Process
2. House Committee   Clears Veterans Bills
3. Senate VA Committee   Discusses Healthcare Bills
4. Two MIAs Identified

1.VFW Testifies on VA   Construction Process: This week, VFW testified before the   House VA Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, discussing   shortcomings in VA’s construction planning process. A recent GAO report   finding discrepancies in costs and delays averaging 35 months on critical   medical facility projects was also debated. Our testimony centered on how VA   could deliver new medical facilities in a timely manner with more accurate   cost projections. As the author of the IB section on VA major and minor   construction, we shared our thoughts on how VA should develop a master plan   for major medical construction projects, to include forecasting future needs   for veterans in certain areas. Other witnesses concluded that the process VA   uses to build its health care facilities has to be changed in order to avoid   delays in caring for veterans. We will continue monitoring and working with   all parties to ensure that major health care facilities can be delivered in a   timely manner to meet the health care needs of all veterans. For the hearing   specifics or to view the archived webcast, click here: http://thevfw.blogspot.com/2013/05/watch-vfw-testifies-before-house-on-va.html.   For more on VA’s major and minor construction needs in the IB click here, http://www.independentbudget.org/
2. House Committee   Clears Veterans Bills: Earlier this week, the House VA committee   cleared six pieces of veterans’ legislation. All of the bills now move to the   House floor for consideration and debate. Some of the VFW- supported bills   included:
HR 671, The Ruth Moore Act was amended to include more stringent reporting   requirements for VA which the committee hopes will pressure VA to update and   improve its sexual trauma regulations. VFW was disappointed that the bill did   not require a law change to aligned MST claims with combat PTSD regulations.
HR 357 included the original provision which requires public universities to   charge only what is equal to in-state tuition for veterans, and a   controversial amendment banning bonuses for senior VA executives for five   years. It also contains provisions of 6 other bills including HR 1405, HR 1305,   HR 844 HR 631, 562 and HR 1453.
HR 844 extends the eligibility period for veterans enrolling in vocational   rehabilitation programs from 12 years following discharge to 17 years.
For complete coverage of all the related bills visit the House VA website at:   http://veterans.house.gov/hearing/legislative-hearing-on-hr-569-hr-570-hr-602-hr-671-hr-679-hr-733-hr-894-and-hr-1405.   For VFW’s April testimony on the bills, click here: http://www.vfw.org/VFW-in-DC/Congressional-Testimony/HVAC-DAMA-Bill-Hearing/
3. Senate VA Committee   Discusses Healthcare Bills: The Senate Veterans Affairs’   Committee held a lengthy bill hearing examining a variety of healthcare   bills. Many of the bills would expand or extend existing programs for   veterans and their families. VFW provided testimony for the record and gave   our support to:
S. 851 which would expand the caregiver program and extend these services and   benefits to the caregivers of veterans of all eras.
S. 825, Homeless Veterans Prevention Act would improve and expand homeless   programs within VA.
S. 131, Women Veterans and Other Health Improvements Act would advance VA   programs for women veterans and their families by offering reproductive and   fertility services for service-connected veterans as well as require VA, DOD   and IOM to collaborate on research to improve the long-term reproductive   health needs of veterans. It also would provide child care assistance and   readjustment counseling in retreat settings for those seeking mental health   services.
S. 422, Chiropractic Care Available to All Veterans Act would require VA to   establish programs for chiropractic care and services in at least 75 medical   centers by December 2014.
For more on the hearing to include testimony and the recorded webcast click   here: http://www.veterans.senate.gov/hearings.cfm?action=release.display&release_id=784bc3b3-ec97-4437-b8a3-0fe3bf0c5e4d
To read VFW’s submitted testimony click here: http://www.vfw.org/VFW-in-DC/Congressional-Testimony/SVAC-Bill-Hearing/

4. Two MIAs   Identified: The Defense POW/MIA Office announced the   identification of remains belonging to:
* Army Sgt. William C. Knight, 20, of West Brookfield, Mass. In late November   1950, Knight and elements of the Headquarters Battery, 57th Field Artillery   Battalion, 31st Regimental Combat Team, known historically as Task Force   Faith, began a fighting withdrawal to a more defensible position south of the   Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. Knight would be reported missing during the   withdrawal.
* Navy Lt. Richard L. Laws, 26, of West Sacramento, Calif. On April 3, 1966,   Laws was strafing enemy targets in Thanh Hoa Province, North Vietnam, when   his F-8E Crusader was struck by enemy ground fire. His mission commander saw   his aircraft crash into a nearby hillside and explode. As a result, Laws   would be declared killed in action/body not recovered.
Read more about their individual recoveries at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/news/news_releases/.

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

 
 

VFW WASHINGTON WEEKLY APRIL 26

In This Issue:

1. House VA Committee Moves Vet Bills

2.  VFW Attends House Leadership Roundtable –Discusses Claims Backlog

3. Affordable Care Act and VA Debated

4. Armed Services Committees Discuss Cuts and TAP

5. New VA Hotline for Women Veterans

6. Support Tools for Military Kids

7. Korean War MIA Recovered

 

1. House VA Committee Moves Vet Bills: This week, the House Subcommittees on Disability and Memorial Affairs and Economic Opportunity moved several VFW-supported bills that would improve benefits and employment/transition options for veterans. All of the bills now move to the full committee for consideration.

Bills cleared by the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity include

HR 631 – A bill which was amended to now mandate participation in the new education TAP classes for service members who plan to use their GI Bill education benefits.

HR 357 – The GI Bill Tuition Fairness Act of 2013, which will require public universities to charge only what is equal to in-state tuition for veterans, and was amended to give states two years to comply.

HR 844 – A bill which extends the eligibility period for veterans enrolling in vocational rehabilitation programs from 12 years following discharge to 17 years.

Five other bills (HR 562, HR 1305, HR 1316, HR 1402, HR 1412, and HR 1453) cleared committee, which the VFW recently supported in testimony. To read VFW’s testimony on these bills, click here: http://veterans.house.gov/witness-testimony/mr-ryan-m-gallucci-1.

Bills cleared by Subcommittee on Disability and Memorial Affairs –

H.R. 570 – A bill to provide an automatic COLA (tied to social security and CPI) increase thereby ending the need for Congress to introduce a bill each fiscal year.
H.R. 671 – The Ruth Moore Act of 2013, which would relax evidential standards and make it easier for military sexual assault victims to receive VA disability benefits

H.R. 679, the Honor America’s Guard-Reserve Retirees Act, legislation which would recognize those men and women who choose to serve our nation in the Reserve component as veterans

To read VFW’s testimony on these bills, click here: http://www.vfw.org/VFW-in-DC/Congressional-Testimony/HVAC-DAMA-Bill-Hearing/

For a list of all the bills and subcommittee action, visit the House VA Committee Website at: http://veterans.house.gov/

 

2. VFW Attends House Leadership Roundtable – Discusses Claims Backlog: On Thursday, VFW attended a roundtable discussion hosted by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi as part of ongoing efforts between the VSO community and House leadership to address the critical issues facing veterans, service members and their families. The main topic of discussion was the disability claims backlog with a nod to the goal of eliminating the backlog by 2015 using the new electronic filing system –Veterans Benefits Management System or VBMS. VFW suggested that VA must be held accountable as we move closer to the 2015 goal, but Congress should ask for milestones moving forward and VA must provide results. Criticism directed at VA has been ongoing, but VFW commented that in order to fix the broken system, VA must receive the resources needed to achieve their self-imposed goal of providing quality and timely disability ratings. To learn more about what VFW had to say, click here: http://thevfw.blogspot.com/2013/04/vfw-discusses-claims-backlog-at-house.html.

 

For pictures and the Democratic Press release click here: http://www.democraticleader.gov/Pelosi_Holds_Roundtable_with_Veterans_Groups_to_Address_Disability_Claims_Backlog.

 

3. Affordable Care Act and VA Care Debated: On Wednesday, the House VA Committee held a hearing entitled “Examining the Implications of the Affordable Care Act on VA Healthcare.”  The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or ACA became law in March 2010 and will be fully implemented in January 2014.  V.A.’s fiscal year 2014 budget proposal includes a request of $88.4 million to implement the provisions of the ACA and meet the department’s responsibilities as a provider of required essential coverage. The Committee asked Dr. Robert Petzel, Undersecretary of Health, Veterans Health Administration and a Ms. Lisa Zarlenga, Legislative Council, Department of the Treasury to discuss factors that may affect veterans.  Dr. Petzel discussed enrollment changes and funding levels for medical care and IT to help meet any increase in care.  He acknowledged to committee members that they have estimated about 66,000 new enrollees (based on VA surveys of veterans) who may use VA as their choice of health care under the new law. Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) and other members were skeptical of that number and believe that the influx of veterans who may choose VA for their health care needs will be much higher.  Confusion on health care coverage and choices for those veterans living in remote and rural areas was also discussed.  Ms. Zarlenga noted the Treasury and IRS worked side-by-side with VA and HHS to make sure the rule of law provided flexibility and clarity for veterans when deciding their health care coverage. For full hearing coverage and the recorded webcast, click here: http://veterans.house.gov/hearing/examining-the-implications-of-the-affordable-care-act-on-va-healthcare.

 

4. Armed Services Committees Discuss Cuts and TAP: This week your VFW was on hand as the House and Senate Armed Services committees hosted hearings to discuss proposed military cuts and the revamped military Transition Assistance Program, or TAP. The Senate hosted each service’s assistant secretary for manpower to discuss proposed cuts to TRICARE, military pay raises, as well as morale and readiness in the wake of sequestration. The subcommittee pushed hard for increases to TRICARE fees, which the VFW vows to oppose. The House hosted officials from the departments of Defense, VA, and Labor to discuss the ongoing roll-out of the new military TAP, which VFW has played a key role in evaluating. To learn more about each hearing and to view archived webcasts, click here: http://thevfw.blogspot.com/2013/04/armed-services-committees-discuss.html.

 

5. New VA Hotline for Women Veterans: The VA launched a new hotline, 1-855-VA-WOMEN or 1-855-829-6636, to respond to questions from women veterans, families and caregivers about the many VA services and resources available to women veterans. Women make up nearly 15 percent of today’s active duty military and 18 percent of Guard and Reserve forces. Yet even though the number of women using VA healthcare has doubled over the past decade to more than 350,000, women still only account for 6 percent of the total number of veterans seeking VA healthcare. “Many women who served don’t self-identify as veterans and therefore don’t think they qualify for VA benefits,” said Irene Trowell-Harris, director of VA’s Center for Women Veterans. “We need to correct existing misinformation and misperceptions so we can serve more women veterans with the benefits they’ve earned.” The new hotline joins numerous other VA hotlines that provide critical information and assistance to all veterans, such as those in crises or in danger of becoming homeless. Learn more at www.eBenefits.va.gov and MyHealtheVet.va.gov.

 

6. Support Tools for Military Kids: April is the Month of the Military Child, which recognizes the nation’s 1.8 million military children for their character, courage, sacrifices and resilience in the face of unique challenges — deployments that take parents away for months at a time; frequent moves that involve changing schools and leaving friends behind; and parents returning home with combat-related injuries. If you’re a service member with children, here’s a strong list of resources to help you help them cope with whatever military life might bring their way: http://www.dcoe.health.mil/blog/13-04-23/Support_Tools_for_Military_Families_Military_Kids.aspx.

 

7. Korean War MIA Recovered: The Defense POW/MIA Office announced the identification of remains belonging to Army Master Sgt. Robert A. Stein, 29, of Jamestown, N.Y. In late 1950, Stein and elements of the 31st Regimental Combat Team were engaged by vastly superior numbers of enemy forces east of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. Remnants of the 31st RCT, known historically as Task Force Faith, began a fighting withdrawal to a more defensible position south of the reservoir. Stein was reported missing Dec. 2, 1950. Read more at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/news/news_releases/.

 

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

DEFENSE BUDGET A BAD DEAL FOR RETIREES AND MILITARY FAMILIES

VFW vows to fight against meager pay raises and increased health care fees

WASHINGTON (April 11, 2013) – The Pentagon unveiled its budget proposal for fiscal year 2014 yesterday, outlining how the Obama Administration wants to fund the Department of Defense in the coming year. The national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. immediately fired back at the proposal, which he says breaks faith with our military retirees and their loved ones.

“The VFW recognizes that the Pentagon has tough decisions to make about its budget, but the proposals in this year’s budget breaks faith with our volunteers by further burdening our military retirees and our military families,” said John E. Hamilton, who leads the 2 million-member VFW and its Auxiliaries. “The VFW has long believed that trying to find savings from health care accounts and military pay threatens to hollow out the all-volunteer force, and we will not sit idly by and let these kinds of cuts take place.”

The proposed Defense budget for FY 2014 asks for a military pay raise of only one percent and asks for increases in TRICARE health care fees for military retirees and military families. At the 113th VFW National Convention, VFW members voted overwhelmingly to oppose any increases to TRICARE fees for retirees, and Hamilton said the VFW will continue to pressure the Pentagon and Congress to find savings through programs that do not affect military personnel, retirees or military families.

VFW officials also insisted that Congress must offer service members a reasonable pay raise comparable to the consumer price index.

“Our service members volunteer for a dangerous job with notoriously low pay, which is why the VFW believes a 1-percent pay raise simply doesn’t cut it,” said Hamilton. “We owe it to our brave men and women to at least offer a pay raise comparable to the civilian sector if we hope to recruit and retain the best and brightest to defend our nation.”

During the budget roll-out, senior Defense officials acknowledged that they sought to develop a budget that minimally affected service members and their families, and the VFW was encouraged to see a 2-percent increase in the military personnel budget that included increases in housing allowances, subsistence allowances and continued investment in military transition, suicide prevention and sexual assault prevention.

The VFW also was pleased to see that the Administration sought to fully fund the military’s Tuition Assistance programs in FY 2014. Services suspended enrollment in Tuition Assistance after budget sequestration took effect in March. In response, the VFW quickly mobilized to save the program as part of the FY 2013 budget resolution, generating more than 14,000 emails to Congress in only two days.

“The VFW sees military Tuition Assistance as a critical professional development and military readiness tool, which is why we are encouraged to see the Administration’s ongoing commitment to the program,” said Hamilton. “Education is critical to building strong military leaders, and the VFW will hold the military accountable for continuing to support Tuition Assistance.”

Defense officials recognized that the proposed budget sought to maintain American military  posture to support global operations in support of the Global War on Terror and ongoing tensions on the Korean peninsula, and that further investments would prioritize forward-deployed service members and wounded warriors.

The VFW believes that military quality-of-life is inextricably linked to morale and military readiness. In the coming weeks and months, the VFW will continue to advocate for a responsible Defense budget that not only protects America’s global interests, but also meets the needs of military personnel, retirees and their families.

VFW Washington Weekly

WASHINGTON WEEKLY

July 13, 2012

 

In   This Issue:

1.   Obama, Romney Coming to VFW Convention:

2.   House Passes Two VFW-Supported Bills

3.   VFW Education Package Moves in House

4.   VFW Reacts to Military Compensation Survey

5.   VFW Calls For International Treaty for Disability Rights

6.   MIA Recovery Operations to Resume in India

7.   Ten MIAs Identified

 

1.   Obama, Romney Coming to VFW Convention: It was announced this week that both President Barack   Obama and Governor Mitt Romney will address the 113th VFW National Convention   in Reno on July 23 and 24, respectively. VFW National Commander Richard   DeNoyer said he was grateful to both the president and governor for honoring   a long standing VFW tradition that provides a platform for those seeking the   nation’s highest office to address issues of importance directly to veterans,   military service members and their families. Read more at www.vfw.org.

 

2.   House Passes Two VFW-Supported Bills: Congress returned from the Fourth of July recess this   week to pass two VFW-supported bills that would increase cost-of-living   allowances, or COLA, for veterans in 2013 (H.R. 4114) and direct federal   agencies to recognize military training for federal licenses (H.R. 4155). The   Senate later in the week passed H.R. 4155, which means the bill now awaits   the President’s signature. To learn more about each of these bills and the   VFW’s efforts to get them approved, go to http://www.vfwonthehill.org/2012/07/house-passes-two-veterans-bills.html.

 

3.   VFW Education Package Moves in House: The House VA Committee hosted a mark-up this week and   passed three major pieces of veterans’ legislation supported by the VFW, to   include a veterans’ education package directly inspired by VFW advocacy   efforts. The three bills were the Improving Transparency of Education   Opportunities for Veterans Act (H.R. 4057); the Veterans Fiduciary Reform Act   (H.R. 5948); and the Military Family Home Protection Act (H.R. 5747). Each   bill was extensively amended to include more than a dozen other VFW-supported   legislative proposals. To learn more about each of the bills and to find   links to VFW testimony on each of the issues, click on http://www.vfwonthehill.org/2012/07/vfws-education-package-among-veterans.html.

 

4. VFW Reacts to Military Compensation Survey: The VFW was on hand at the   National Press Club to hear the Center for Strategic and Budgetary   Assessments unveil its report from a recent survey of service members,   veterans, military families and retirees about military compensation. The VFW   was harshly critical of the proposed survey when it was announced in January,   and continues to voice concerns over how the Pentagon will receive the   results. To read the survey, VFW’s reaction or learn more about the press   conference, click here: http://www.vfwonthehill.org/2012/07/vfw-reacts-to-survey-on-military.html.

 

5.   VFW Calls For International Treaty for Disability Rights: The VFW was on hand this   week for a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the Senate   ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.   Immediately following the hearing, VFW Legislative Director Ray Kelley joined   Senators John McCain and Dick Durbin for a press conference, calling for the   treaty. Learn more about CRPD and this week’s press conference at http://www.vfwonthehill.org/2012/07/vfw-calls-for-international-treaty-for.html.

 

6.   MIA Recovery Operations to Resume in India: The U.S. and India have agreed to resume remains recovery   activities this fall in parts of Northeastern India. The Defense Department   believes there are approximately 400 unaccounted-for service members from   some 90 aircraft crashes in India during World War II. The U.S. possesses   information on eighteen known crash sites and continues to develop   information on others.  Read more at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/news/news_releases/2012/release_remains_recovey_in_india.pdf.

 

7.   Ten MIAs Return Home:   The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced the identification of   remains belonging to 10 servicemen missing from World War II, Korea and   Vietnam. Returned home are:

  •   Marine Corps Tech. Sgt. James A.   Sisney, 19, of Redwood City, Calif. On April 22, 1944, Sisney was aboard a   PBJ-1 aircraft that failed to return from a night training mission over the   island of Espiritu Santo, in what is known today as Vanuatu. None of the   seven Marines on the aircraft were recovered at that time.
  •   Army Air   Forces 1st Lt. Warren G. Moxley, 23, of Charleston, Mo. On March 15, 1945,   Moxley was flying an F-6C aircraft when he crashed near Asbach, Germany.   Another American pilot flying in the same mission witnessed the crash but did   not see a parachute deploy.
  •   Army Cpl.   Pryor Gobble, 18, of Jonesville, Va. In late November 1950, units of the 31st   Infantry Regiment were advancing along the eastern banks of the Chosin   Reservoir, North Korea, when enemy forces overran their position. After the   battle, Gobble was reported missing in action on approximately Dec. 6, 1950.
  •   Air Force Col.   Joseph Christiano, 43, of Rochester, N.Y.; Col. Derrell B. Jeffords, 40, of   Florence, S.C.; Lt. Col. Dennis L. Eilers, 27, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Chief   Master Sgt. William K. Colwell, 44, Glen Cove, N.Y.; Chief Master Sgt. Arden   K. Hassenger, 32, of Lebanon, Ore.; and Chief Master Sgt. Larry C. Thornton,   33, Idaho Falls, Idaho. On Dec. 24, 1965, the crew was aboard an AC-47D   aircraft nicknamed “Spooky” that failed to return from a combat strike   mission in southern Laos. A “mayday” signal was sent, but all contact was   lost with the crew, and the ensuing search was unsuccessful.
  •   Air Force 1st   Lt. Robert E. Bennett III, 25, of Springfield, N.J.. On Dec. 13, 1967,   Bennett and another officer were flying an F-4C Phantom II aircraft that   crashed during a close-air support mission in Tra Vinh Binh Province, South   Vietnam. Both men ejected and were seen landing in the Co Chien River. The   other officer was rescued immediately by a nearby U.S. Navy patrol boat, but   Bennett sank and presumably drowned.

Read their individual recovery   stories at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/news/news_releases/.

 
 If   you no longer wish to receive e-mail from us, please click here.

 

VFW WASHINGTON WEEKLY NEWS

VFW WASHINGTON WEEKLY
June 29, 2012

In This Issue:
1. National Healthcare   Upheld
2. Stolen Valor Act   Overturned; What do you think?
3. VFW Supported Bills   Clear Subcommittees
4. Senate Reviews Health and Benefits Bills for Vets
5. VFW Applauds State AGs for Protecting Student-Vets

1. National Healthcare   Upheld: The Supreme Court upheld the Patient Protection and   Affordable Care Act challenge on Thursday, even though a reversal would have   had little to no impact on service-connected veterans served by the   Department of Veterans Affairs or on military members and retirees served by   military medicine or enrolled in TRICARE. This is because your VFW led the   fight back in March 2010 to get Congress to recognize all VA and Defense   Department health programs as meeting minimal acceptable coverage standards   as required by a proposed national healthcare bill that had failed to include   VA health programs for widows and disabled children, and almost 90 percent of   military TRICARE programs. With the strong support of then-House Armed   Service Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) and Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), and   the grassroots advocacy of thousands of VFW members and supporters, the new,   more encompassing legislation quickly passed Congress and was signed into law   by the president on May 27, 2010. Read the high court’s ruling at http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-393c3a2.pdf.

2. Stolen Valor Act   Overturned: The VFW was very disappointed to also learn   Thursday that the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Stolen Valor Act of 2005   in a 6-3 decision. Still, the high court did mention in their decision that a   more narrowly defined law in the future might perhaps survive a First   Amendment free speech trial. Despite the ruling, VFW National Commander   Richard DeNoyer said the “VFW will continue to challenge far-fetched   stories, and to publicize these false heroes to the broadest extent possible   as a deterrent to others.” Read the justices’ opinions at http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-210d4e9.pdf.
What do you think? Let us know what you think of the Supreme Court’s decision   on Stolen Valor by taking our poll and leaving comments on the blog: http://www.vfwonthehill.org/2012/06/what-do-you-think-supreme-court.html

3. VFW Supported Bills   Clear Subcommittees: This House VA Committee had a busy week   of mark-ups. A list of some of the bills cleared by subcommittees is below.   All of the legislation now moves to the full committee for a vote. To read   about the VFW-supported legislation and to read our complete testimony on   several of the measures passed, click here: http://www.vfwonthehill.org/2012/06/house-moves-series-of-vfw-supported.html

The Subcommittee on   Oversight & Investigation cleared –
* H.R. 3730, Veterans Data Breach Timely Notification Act would require VA,   within ten days of a data breach to notify Congress and each individual whose   sensitive personal information is involved in the breach
* H.R. 5948, Veterans Fiduciary Reform Act of 2012 would provide further   protections and more oversight over veteran fiduciaries to ensure the   veterans’ needs are being handled properly.

The Subcommittee on   Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs cleared –
* H.R. 5735 establishes a Tomb of Remembrance at Arlington National Cemetery
* H.R. 5880 authorizes VA to contract with private companies for examinations   to help in the processing of disability claims.
The Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity cleared —
* H.R. 4115, HIRE at HOME Act which requires states to consider some military   training received by a veteran as valid for certification — to include a   commercial driver’s license or a certification to be a nursing assistant or   certified nursing assistant, a registered nurse, or an emergency medical   technician.
* H.R. 4057 would direct VA to develop a comprehensive outreach and   transparency policy for veterans regarding information received about higher   education institutions.
* H.R. 5747 would prohibit the sale, foreclosure or seizure of property for a   year after a service member is discharged or deployed by the military. It   also provides credit protections and asks large mortgage companies to   maintain a toll-free number for answering any financial concerns.

The Subcommittee on   Health cleared –
* H.R. 3337 the Open Burn Pit Registry Act, would direct VA to create a   registry of all service members who have been exposed to open air burn pits   in Iraq and Afghanistan. As further research opens doors to new and improved   treatments for health issues related to toxic inhalations, this registry will   help VA target those resources to those who most need them.
* H.R. 4079, the Safe Housing for Homeless Veterans Act, will ensure housing   for homeless veterans meets safe living standards.
For more information on all the bills that were cleared, visit the House VA   Committee at: http://veterans.house.gov/
4. Senate Reviews   Health and Benefit Bills for Vets: This week, The Senate   Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a hearing to discuss over 25 health and   benefit-related bills still pending. Among the legislation discussed was   several VFW-supported provisions that would enhance services for homeless   veterans, improve access to VA mental health care, provide reproductive   services for catastrophically disabled veterans and authorize VA to include   immunizations as a part of preventive medicine within VHA. Other bills   included:
* S. 2259, Veterans Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act which   increases the rates of disability compensation for service-disabled veterans   and the rates of DIC for survivors (effective Dec 2012).
* S.1849, Rural Health Care Improvement Act legislation that requires VA to develop   a 5-year plan for improving access to and quality of health care services for   veterans in rural areas.
* S. 1391, legislation that would improve VA’s disability compensation   evaluation procedure for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder or mental   health conditions related to military sexual trauma
* S. 2320, Remembering America’s Forgotten Veterans Cemetery Act of 2012,   would give the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) authority to care   for Clark Cemetery.
For a complete list of all the bills considered or to view the recorded   webcast, click here: http://veterans.senate.gov/

5. VFW Applauds State   AGs for Protecting Student-Vets: The VFW applauded the work   of 20 state attorneys general, who announced this week that the Web site   GIBill.com had officially been turned over to the Department of Veterans   Affairs, and that the Web site’s owner, QuinStreet, would pay $2.5 million to   states as part of a settlement for fraudulent recruiting practices. To see   highlights from this week’s press conference, announcing the settlement, and   to learn about the VFW’s ongoing efforts to protect student-veterans, click   here: http://www.vfwonthehill.org/2012/06/vfw-applauds-state-attorneys-general.html

 
 If   you no longer wish to receive e-mail from us, please click here.

 

VFW WASHINGTON WEEKLY JUNE 15, 2012

VFW WASHINGTON WEEKLY
June 15, 2012

In This Issue:
1. Senate VA Committee   Discusses Education and Employment Bills
2. VFW Opposes   Retirement Commission; What do You Think?
3. Connect to Congress   Today
4. Detroit Veterans   Hiring Fair
5. Consumer Alert
6. National POW/MIA   Day Poster
7. Three MIAs   Identified
1. Senate VA Committee Discusses Education and Employment Bills: This week, the   Senate Veterans Affairs’ Committee held a hearing to discuss 18 pieces of   legislation introduced over the last year. VFW submitted testimony and was   particularly interested in three education bills introduced by Committee   Chairman Patty Murray, D-WA.; original World War II G.I. Bill recipient Sen.   Frank Lautenberg, D-NJ.; and Post-9/11 G.I. Bill champion Sen. Jim Webb,   D-VA. VFW also voiced support for bills to improve financial and job   protections for service members and clarifying state licensing procedures for   veterans: To learn more about the hearing and to view the webcast, click   here: http://www.vfwonthehill.org/2012/06/watch-live-senate-to-discuss-veterans.html

 

2. VFW Opposes Retirement Commission; What   do You Think?: As the Senate prepares to debate the annual   National Defense Authorization Bill, the VFW has found troubling provisions   that would potentially bring about serious changes to the military   compensation and retirement systems. As written, this bill would create the   Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission — a body with   the charge to “achieve fiscal sustainability” and with the   authority to suggest reducing or restructuring benefits. The VFW opposes   changes to the military retirement system.
What do you think? To learn more about the commission and to take our quick   poll, click here: http://www.vfwonthehill.org/2012/06/what-do-you-think-senate-seeks.html

3. Connect to Congress   Today: VFW has testified over 25 times this Congressional   cycle on an array of issues and legislation that affects veterans, service   members and their families. Some of the topics included mental and behavior   health, employment rights, education benefits and oversight on the VA claims   process. We also track how your members vote on those issues when they reach   the floor of the House and Senate. As we begin to wind down the 112th   Congress, take a look at some of the issues and bills we were asked to   provide comments and how your members have voted when those bills are called   up for a vote. To view both items, visit the VFW website at http://www.vfw.org/VFW-in-DC/ and   use the Connect to Congress box on bottom right.
To read our congressional testimony click here: http://www.vfw.org/VFW-in-DC/Congressional-Testimony/
To see how your members voted click here: http://capwiz.com/vfw/keyvotes.xc/?lvl=C

4. Detroit Veterans   Hiring Fair: More than 16,000 VA, federal, and private-sector   jobs across the country will be up for grabs at the free Veteran Hiring Fair,   June 26-28, in Detroit. Sign up online and request a customized coaching   session to help build a stronger resume and better prepare for interviews.   You can also schedule interviews with employers who are looking to fill jobs   immediately. And signing up also gets you a pass to the Veteran Open House,   which is also free. For more information or to sign up, go to http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/6989/vas-business-conference-and-hiring-fair-putting-vets-back-to-work/.

5. Consumer Alert:   A new email-based phishing scam is now targeting military members, retirees   and DOD civilian employees. The email appears to come from the Defense   Finance and Accounting Services and displays a “.mil” email   address. The email states that those receiving VA disability compensation may   be able to obtain additional funds from the IRS. Email recipients are then   asked to send various VA and IRS documents containing their personal and   financial information, such as copies of VA award letters or their income tax   returns, to an address in Florida. Don’t do it! This personal information is   then used by the scammers to commit identity theft. For more information on   phishing scams, go to http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=155682,00.html.

6. National POW/MIA   Day Poster: The new 2012 National POW/MIA Recognition Day   poster was unveiled yesterday at the 43rd annual meeting of the National   League of POW/MIA Families in Arlington, Va. The VFW also participated on a   veterans` panel to detail the tremendous support we have provided the Full   Accounting Mission since last year’s meeting. This includes successfully   urging (then) Russian President Medvedev to appoint a new cochairmen and 31   commissioners to the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs, easing access   restrictions for American researchers to Chinese military archives in   Beijing, and visiting Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command personnel at their   headquarters in Hawaii and in the field in Thailand and Vietnam. To request a   copy of the POW/MIA Day poster, go to http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/posters/

7. Three MIAs   Identified: The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office   announced the identification of remains belonging to three airmen who had   been missing in action from World War II and the Vietnam War. Returned home   are:
* Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Dwight D. Ekstam, 21, of Moline, Ill.. On April 22,   1944, Ekstam was a crewmember aboard a PBJ-1 aircraft that failed to return   from a night training mission over the island of Espiritu Santo, in what is   known today as Vanuatu. None of the crew were recovered.
* Navy Lt. William E. Swanson, 27, of Zimmerman, Minn. On April 11, 1965,   Swanson was piloting an A-1H Skyraider when it crashed while on an armed   reconnaissance mission over Khammouan Province, Laos. His aircraft was   reportedly struck by enemy fire. No parachute was observed.
* Air Force Capt. Virgil K. Meroney III, 25, of Fayetteville, Ark. On March   1, 1969, Meroney was aboard an F-4D Phantom II aircraft that crashed while on   night strike mission in Kahammouan Province, Laos. His aircraft was   reportedly hit by enemy fire. No parachutes were observed.
Read more about their individual recovery stories at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/news/news_releases/.

 
 If   you no longer wish to receive e-mail from us, please click here.

 

VFW Washington Weekly News May 18, 2012

VFW WASHINGTON WEEKLY
May 18, 2012

In This Issue:
1. Posthumous Medal of Honor Presented
2. VFW Testifies on Student Veteran Policy
3. VFW Discusses Vets’ Issues with House Dems
4. House VA Committee Discusses Prosthetics
5. NDAA Update
6. New Program to Retrain Unemployed Veterans
7. Google Student Veterans Summit
8. NY Times Wants to Share Your Memorial Day Traditions
9. Free National Park Passes for Military
10. Five MIA’s Identified

1. Posthumous Medal of Honor Presented: President Obama awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor to a 101st Airborne Division soldier who was killed 42 years ago in eastern Cambodia during the Vietnam War. Army Spc. Leslie H. Sabo Jr., is credited with saving the lives of several of his comrades in Company B, 3rd Battalion, 506th Infantry, when his platoon was ambushed on May 10, 1970. Sabo shielded a comrade from an enemy grenade and silenced a machine-gun bunker before he was killed. Accepting the medal Wednesday was his widow, Rose Mary Sabo-Brown. Read more at http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=116365.

2. VFW Testifies on Student Veteran Policy: On Wednesday, the VFW presented testimony before the House VA Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity regarding a recent Executive Order (#13607) that would better protect students using educational benefits. The executive order, entitled “Establishing Principles of Excellence for Educational Institutions Serving Service Members, Veterans, Spouses and Other Family Members,” comes after the VFW asked Congress and White House to improve consumer protections for veterans using their earned GI Bill benefits. The committee asked panelists their thoughts on the impact to the higher education community and ways to encourage reforms and responsible decision-making to protect veterans.
For our complete testimony or to view the recorded webcast, visit our blog at:
http://www.vfwonthehill.org/2012/05/watch-live-vfw-to-testify-on-protecting.html

3. VFW Discusses Vets’ Issues with House Dems: VFW Legislative Director Ray Kelley joined leaders from many of the nation’s top veterans’ organizations at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday for a roundtable discussion on military and veterans’ issues with House Democratic leadership. In his remarks, Kelley called attention to a recent report on VA’s failure to deliver timely mental health care to veterans suffering from invisible wounds like PTSD. To learn more about the roundtable and to see photos, visit our blog at: http://www.vfwonthehill.org/2012/05/vfw-discusses-veterans-issues-with.html

4. House VA Committee Discusses Prosthetics: This week, the House VA Subcommittee on Health held a hearing to examine VA’s current prosthetic program and its procurement process. Witnesses included VA, several VSO’s, the VA Inspector General Office and veterans discussing their personal experiences with VA’s ability to provide state-of-the-art care to veterans with amputations. The Committee heard testimony concerning VA’s proposal to change procurement processes for prostheses which could result in prosthetics funding being at the disposal of hospital directors to be used for other purposes. The VFW opposes any such change and will continue to monitor the procurement process for prosthetics.
For all of the testimony or to view the recorded webcast click here: http://veterans.house.gov/hearing/optimizing-care-for-veterans-with-prosthetics

5. NDAA Update: Today, the House cleared its version of the FY 2013 Defense bill (NDAA). As expected, the bill does not include any of the Administration’s proposed TRICARE health care fees but does make modest increases to the pharmacy program. Overall the bill authorizes $554 billion (a $3.6 billion dollar increase over the Administration’s request) in funding for DOD programs and $88.5 billion for the war in Afghanistan. VFW-supported provisions include:

**A 1.7% pay increase for military personnel and extensions of certain special pay and bonuses for active-duty and reserve personnel
**Increased oversight and new regulations and procedures for combating Military Sexual Trauma in the military
**$10.8 billion dollars for military construction and family housing
**No funding for any Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) activities
The Senate Armed Services Committee is scheduled to take up their bill next week, we urge you to contact your Senators today; let them know that shifting the cost of health care breaks faith with those who served and that you expect them to vote NO on any proposal that would harm our service members, retirees and their families. Click here to contact your members today: http://capwiz.com/vfw/callalert/index.tt?alertid=61313946
6. New Program to Retrain Unemployed Veterans: Unemployed veterans between the ages of 35 and 60 can now apply for new benefits to cover education costs for up to one year through a joint Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Labor program that focuses on retraining 99,000 veterans for high-demand jobs. As part of a provision of the VFW-supported Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, the Veteran Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) allows qualifying veterans to receive up to 12 months of assistance equal to the full-time Montgomery GI Bill active duty rate, which is currently $1,473 per month. Veterans can apply on a first-come, first-serve basis for VRAP for programs that begin on or after July 1. For more information or to apply, go to www.benefits.va.gov/VOW, or call the VA toll free at 1-800-827-1000. Veterans can also access the VRAP application through eBenefits at https://www.ebenefits.va.gov.

7. Google Student Veterans Summit: Internet powerhouse Google will select up to 20 student-veterans to attend an all-expense-paid Student Veterans Summit at their Mountain View, Calif., headquarters on July 16-17. The Summit will include a professional development curriculum geared towards your transition into the workplace, and possibly into the Google workforce. The application deadline is 11:59 p.m. PST, May 31. For more information or to apply, go to http://www.google.com/intl/en/jobs/students/proscho/programs/uscanada/veteran-summit/.

8. NY Times Wants to Share Your Memorial Day Traditions: The New York Times “At War” blog is asking for veterans and veterans’ advocates to share their Memorial Day traditions, honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation, leading up to the holiday. Share your stories in 200 words or less via email with atwar@nytimes.com or visit: http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/17/whats-your-memorial-day-tradition/.

9. Free National Park Passes for Military: The America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands annual pass ordinarily costs $80, but beginning tomorrow, Armed Forces Day, military personnel and their dependents can now get the pass for free, thanks to a new Department of Interior troop support program. Military personnel can get the passes at any national park or wildlife refuge that charges an entrance fee by showing their military Common Access card, and family members can get their own passes by showing their dependent IDs (or DD Form 1173). Read more at http://www.store.usgs.gov/pass/military.html.

10. Five MIAs Identified: The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced the identification of four soldiers and one Marine who had been missing-in-action since World War II and the Korean War. Returned home are:
* Army Pfc. Gerald W. Kight, 23, of White Salmon, Wash. In September 1944, Kight and the 82nd Division’s 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment were dropped in the vicinity of Nijmegen, Netherlands, as part of the allied invasion codenamed “Market Garden.” Kight was manning a machine gun near the town of Groesbeek, when his position was overrun by German forces.
* Marine Corps Cpl. Wayne R. Erickson, 19, of Minneapolis. Erickson was a crewmember aboard a PBJ-1 aircraft that failed to return from a night training mission over the island of Espiritu Santo, in what is known today as Vanuatu. None of the crew was recovered and in 1945 they were officially presumed deceased.
* Army Cpl. Clyde E. Anderson, 24, of Hamilton, Ohio. On Nov. 28, 1950, Anderson and elements of the 31st Regimental Combat Team, known as “Task Force Faith,” were advancing along the eastern banks of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea when they came under attack. Anderson was reportedly last seen driving a jeep in a convoy that was ambushed by Communist forces.
* Army Master Sgt. Elwood Green, 33, of Norman, Ark. In late November 1950, Green was a member of E Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, fighting Chinese forces near Samso-ri in North Korea. On Nov. 28, he was listed as missing-in-action. After the war, it was learned Green had been captured, but died of malnutrition in a Chinese POW Camp in North Korea in early 1951.
* Army Cpl. David L. Catlin, 19, of Lockney, Texas. In late November 1950, Catlin and elements of the 31st Regimental Combat Team, known as “Task Force Faith,” were advancing along the eastern banks of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea when they came under attack. On Dec. 2, Catlin was listed as missing-in-action. After the war, it was learned he had been captured, but died several months later as a result of malnutrition while being held as a POW near the northern end of the Chosin Reservoir in an area known as “Death Valley.”
Read more about their individual stories at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/news/news_releases/.