VA Establishes MyVA Advisory Committee


Highly Respected Group of Outside Leaders to Advise VA Secretary


Washington – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced the establishment of the MyVA Advisory Committee (MVAC). The Committee brings together skilled experts from the private, non-profit and government sectors to assist in reorienting the Department to better meet the needs of Veterans. This Committee is charged with advising the Secretary of Veterans Affairs with a focus on improving customer service, Veteran outcomes and setting the course for long-term reform and excellence.


The Advisory Committee will meet multiple times per year and will engage in periodic reviews to ensure the Department achieves the goals of MyVA.  The Committee will provide advice on competing short-term and long-range plans, priorities and strategies to improve the operational functions, services, processes and outputs of the Department, and will also advise on appropriate levels of support and funding necessary to achieve objectives. Further, the Committee will review implementation of recommended improvements and suggest any necessary course corrections.


Members of the Committee have extensive experience in customer service, large- scale organizational change and advocacy for Veterans.


“The success of MyVA will be Veterans who are better served by VA, so the work of this committee is incredibly important,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald.  “The collective wisdom of our committee members is invaluable and each of them understands that VA must improve customer service and focus the Department on the needs of our Veterans. They are dedicated to that mission and I am grateful for their principled service to our Veterans.”


The biographies of Committee members are below. The group will hold their first meeting in April.


MG Josue “Joe” Robles Jr., US Army (Ret.)

Mr. Robles retired from the U.S. Army as a Major General after 28 years in service and joined the United States Automobile Association (USAA), where he assumed the position of President and CEO in December 2007. In 2009, The Christian Science Monitor named Mr. Robles the “No. 1 Veteran in Business,” and American Banker named him “Innovator of the Year.”  Mr. Robles retired from USAA in February 2015. He will serve as Chairman of the MyVA Advisory Committee.


Michael Haynie, PhD, Vice Chancellor, Syracuse University

Dr. Haynie provides strategic leadership within the University’s campus-wide portfolio of Veteran and military-connected programs, partnerships and research – and works to develop new initiatives across the institution.  He is an Air Force Veteran and serves as the Chairman of the Secretary of Labor’s Advisory Committee on Veteran Employment, Training, and Employer Outreach.  Dr. Haynie serves as Executive Director of the University’s Institute for Veterans & Military Families, and he is the founder of Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities program.  He will service as Vice Chairman of the MyVA Advisory Committee


Herman Bulls, International Director, and Chairman Public Institutions, Jones Lang LaSalle

Bulls has vast experience in executive oversight of teams in real estate development, investment management, asset management, facilities operations and business development/retention. He serves on corporate boards including USAA, Tyco International, Comfort Systems and Exelis. Additionally he serves as a director of the West Point Association of Graduates and the Military Bowl, an NCAA sanctioned post season football game.  An Army Veteran, Bulls is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and Harvard Business School.


Teresa Carlson, Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector Amazon Web Services

Ms. Carlson brings more than 20 years of experience as a business executive driving innovation and change, and producing successful business results.  She is a leader in the information technology field.  Prior to joining Amazon, Ms. Carlson served as Vice President of federal government business at Microsoft.  She has 15 years of experience in the health care field and was recently named to Washingtonian Magazine’s “100 Most Powerful Women,” among other awards.


Richard H. Carmona, M.D., M.P.H, FACS, 17th Surgeon General of the United States

Dr. Carmona is a combat decorated and disabled U.S. Army Special Forces Vietnam Veteran.  He is currently a Distinguished Professor at the University of Arizona, holds numerous public and private leadership positions and has extensive experience in public health, clinical sciences, health care management, national preparedness and a commitment to prevention as an effective means to improve public health and reduce health care costs while improving the quality and quantity of life.


Delos “Toby” M. Cosgrove, M.D., CEO and President, Cleveland Clinic

Dr. Cosgrove has emphasized patient care and patient experience in his leadership of the Cleveland Clinic, including the reorganization of clinical services. Dr. Cosgrove has launched major wellness initiatives for patients, employees and communities. He was ranked in Modern Healthcare’s “100 most powerful people in healthcare” and “most powerful physician executives.”  He is a Veteran of the U.S. Air Force.


Laura Herrera, MD, Deputy Secretary for Public Health, Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene

Dr, Herrera has served as Chief Medical Officer for Maryland and assisted the Secretary of Health on implementation of innovative health delivery reform structures in the state system.  She served as a Medical Officer in the U.S. Army Reserve, National Director of Women’s Health and the Acting Deputy Chief Officer of Patient Care Services in the VA’s Veterans Health Administration.


Chris Howard, DPhil, President, Hampden-Sydney College

Mr. Howard currently serves as president of Hampden-Sydney College. In addition, he was nominated and confirmed as a member of the National Security Education Program Board.  Mr. Howard is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Council on Education and has served as Vice President for Leadership & Strategic Initiatives at the University of Oklahoma. He is a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel.


Nancy Killefer

Ms. Killefer served as a Senior Director in the DC office of McKinsey & Company. During her career, Ms. Killefer has focused on strategy, marketing and organizational effectiveness and efficiency issues with an emphasis on consumer-based and retail industries. Ms. Killefer also founded and led McKinsey’s global public sector practice. She is a former Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer and Assistant Secretary for Management at the United States Department of the Treasury, and has previously chaired the IRS Oversight Board. Ms. Killefer now serves on a number of corporate Boards and is the Vice Chair of the Defense Business Board.


Fred Lee

Mr. Lee is a nationally recognized expert and consultant in the patient and family experience.  He is the author of the best-selling health care leadership book, “If Disney Ran Your Hospital, 9 ½ Things You Would Do Differently.”  His career in hospital management and expertise in quality improvement has changed the language of patient satisfaction in hospitals, and introduced experience based improvement to change management and staff engagement.


Eleanor “Connie” Mariano, M.D., Founder, Center for Executive Medicine

Dr. Mariano was the first female director of the White House Medical Unit and the first military woman to become a White House Physician to the President.  Dr. Mariano joined Mayo Clinic’s Executive Health Program upon departure from the White House, and has since founded the Center for Executive Medicine. Dr. Mariano is a retired Navy Rear Admiral.


Jean Reaves

Ms. Reaves is a Vietnam Era Veteran who has been a Veteran Advocate for the last 20 years.   She is a member of AMVETS and several other Veteran Service Organizations.  She is currently President of North Carolina AMVETS Service Foundation.  Ms. Reaves also served as Veteran Liaison for United States Senator Kay Hagan. She also is the wife and mother of Veterans.


Maria “Lourdes” Tiglao, Director of Outreach and Resource Development, The District Communications Group

Ms. Tigalo is a Veteran of the U.S. Air Force and was a co-founder of the first USAF Critical Care Medical Attendant Team in the Pacific.  Ms. Tigalo currently serves as Regional Communications Manager for Team Rubicon, a Veteran disaster response service organization.


Robert E. Wallace, Assistant Adjutant General and Executive Director, Veterans of Foreign Wars

Mr. Wallace is a Vietnam Veteran and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of VFW activities in Washington, DC.  Mr. Wallace’s VFW service follows a successful career in banking, and positions in New Jersey state government in Veterans Affairs and Employment and Training commission.





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Action Corps Weekly


                                                                           March 13, 2015


In This Issue:

  1. VFW to Meet with President in Phoenix
  2. Choice Card Survey
  3. VFW meets with VA Research and Development Leadership
  4. DoD Authorizes GWOT-EM for Freedom’s Sentinel
  5. Seven Korean War Soldiers Identified


  1. VFW to Meet with President in Phoenix: President Obama is visiting the Phoenix VA Medical Center today and VFW National Inspector General Ray Thomas is expected to join him in a roundtable discussion on veterans’ health care issues. In a newspaper interview, Thomas said most of the veterans he’s talked with seem pleased that patient wait times have improved substantially, but that there is still an issue with specialists, especially cancer specialists. Last year, the VFW championed the passage of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act to help counter the nationwide crisis in care and confidence that Phoenix ignited—but now in hindsight could have been started at a different facility anywhere. The VA still has an uphill climb to fix what’s broken, to hold employees accountable, and to restore the faith of veterans in their VA.
  2. Choice Card Survey: The VFW has commissioned a second survey to poll members on their experiences accessing the Veterans Choice Program. Thank you to those who have taken the second survey. Your participation has allowed the VFW to continue to keep its finger on the pulse of this important program and evaluate progress as the Veterans Choice Program enters its fifth month. If you took our first survey, but have not taken the second survey, which went live on February 6, 2015, please help us track any changes in your experiences. If you are taking this survey for the first time, your input is critical to holding VA accountable for delivering timely non-VA care options to veterans.

Take the survey here: To learn more about the Veterans Choice Program or to share your stories with us, please visit:

  1. VFW meets with VA Research and Development Leadership: On Wednesday, the VFW hosted the VA’s Research and Development team for a discussion on the status of their research programs. VA has many promising research projects, including: women’s health, which will increase VA’s knowledge on best ways to deliver care for women; health disparities and access needs in minority populations; and the on-going Million Veteran Program (MVP), a genetic data collection and research program that lead to a better understanding of the relationship between genetics and diseases and military-related illnesses. To learn more about VA Research and Development or how to participate in the MVP program click here:


  1. DoD Authorizes GWOT-EM for Freedom’s Sentinel: Operation Freedom’s Sentinel is now a qualifying operation for award of the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. The Defense Department said the award is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2015. Service members deployed to Afghanistan for Operation Freedom’s Sentinel continue to be awarded the Afghanistan Campaign Medal. Troops deployed abroad in support of Freedom’s Sentinel, but stationed outside of the campaign medal’s area of eligibility, are now eligible for award of the GWOT Expeditionary Medal. Also now authorized are service stars on medals or ribbons to reflect multiple deployments. The GWOT-EM, as well as the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, are VFW membership qualifiers. Read more about the Pentagon’s policy change at:


  1. Seven Korean War Soldiers Identified: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has announced the identification of remains belonging to seven Army soldiers who had been lost and unaccounted-for since the Korean War. Returned home for burial with full military honors are:
  • Sgt. 1st Class Donald R. Strum, Company C, 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, who was lost in North Korea on Nov. 4, 1950.
  • Cpl. Robert Higgins, 21, of Bucks County, Penn. He was assigned to Battery C, 15th Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, when lost in battle in South Korea on Feb. 13, 1951.
  • Sgt. Floyd J.R. Jackson, 20, of Warrensburg, Mo., died while a POW in North Korea on Feb. 13, 1951. He was assigned to Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, which made up part of the 31st Regimental Combat Team.
  • Pfc. John R. Bowers, of Greenville, S.C. He was assigned to Company L, 3rd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, when lost in South Korea on Feb. 14, 1951.
  • Sgt. Arnold V. Andring, 25, of Gary, Minn., died while a POW in North Korea after being captured on Feb 14, 1951. He was assigned to Company L, 3rd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 8th Army.
  • Pfc. Lotchie J.R. Jones, 18, of Jasper, Tenn., died while a POW in North Korea on Feb. 28, 1951. He was assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division.
  • Cpl. Lindsey C. Lockett, 25, of Henrico, Va., died while a POW in North Korea on May 31, 1951. He was assigned to Medical Detachment, Headquarters Battery, 503rd Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division.


To sign up new veterans’ advocates, click here:


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:, or simply email photos and stories directly to


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Air Force Veteran Elected to Lead Veterans of Foreign Wars

Stroud speechKANSAS CITY, Mo. (July 24, 2014) — The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States concluded its 115th national convention yesterday with the election of the new VFW National Commander, John W. Stroud.

Stroud served in the U.S. Air Force from 1976-1997, including a tour in Korea in 1992-1993 with the 51st Fighter Wing at Osan Air Base as a Flight Operations Superintendent. His decorations include four Meritorious Service Medals, three Air Force Commendation Medals, three Air Force Achievement Medals, the Korea Defense Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.

He is a resident of Hawthorne, Nev., and a Gold Legacy Life Member of Post 2313, and has served the VFW in a number of leadership positions including Nevada Department Commander and Chairman of the National Veterans Service Committee.

During his acceptance speech, Stroud addressed the recent VA crisis stating, “the VA is a health care system worth saving that right now must identify and fix what’s broken … that needs to hold people appropriately accountable to the fullest extent of the law … and a system that must restore the faith of veterans in their VA. He added that he is confident Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson and nominee Bob McDonald—if confirmed—will not make the same mistake as the previous VA Secretary who simply trusted his employees to the point of his demise.

Stroud recounted his first experience with the VFW, stopping in Post 10047 in Las Vegas, Nev., after seeing a sign that read ‘Active Duty Military Welcome.’ Dressed in fatigues, he entered the Post and was immediately welcomed. Surrounded by his comrades, he learned of the organization’s many programs and services, and he knew he wanted in.

“Comrades, I share my story to encourage you to tell your own stories to others.  A great part of the VFW story involves the relevance between different generations, and the ability to educate others about who we are, what we do, and who we do it for,” he said.

Stroud had high praise for members’ work and VFW programs, citing several outstanding instances of disaster relief, troop support and veterans resource efforts. He commended those who worked with the U.S. European Command to operate a Visitor’s Center for hundreds of American D-Day veterans and thousands of visitors who were in Normandy for the 70th anniversary of the landing, and praised the Ladies Auxiliary for its donations to cancer research which now total $30 million.   

“One of the best things about being a National Officer is I get to brag about the VFW wherever I go … to the troops, to veterans, their families, nonveterans and politicians, too,” he said.

Continue reading

VFW Legislative Alert: Oppose Budget Deal That Cuts Military Retiree COLA!

Here is info on a time sensitive issue that we need to call all of NH Congressional Representatives on:  (link provided at the end to automatically send e-mail)

VFW Legislative Alert: Oppose Budget Deal That Cuts Military Retiree COLA!

Background: The House and Senate Budget Committee have reached a deal within the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (H.J.Res 59) that includes a proposal to cut future cost of living adjustments (COLA) by one percent for military retirees under age 62.  VFW calculates that this will have a devastating impact on retirement benefits for retirees and survivors and jeopardizes the future value of military career benefits, and adversely effects recruitment, retention and our national security.

Action Needed:  Call and email your legislators today and urge them to oppose any provision in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (H.J. Res. 89), that tries to balance the budget on the backs of our military retirees. Tell them that current and future service men and women are watching.

Service Officer Out Reach

The VFW Department Service Office is pleased to announce

the following new addition to our schedule of

Outreach/Community Events:


Northwood Community Center

135 Main Street

Northwood, NH 03261


 12:00 NOON- 2:00 P.M. 

Your VFW Department Service Office will be conducting an informative 

class concerning benefits Widows of Veterans are  entitled to submit

VA Claims for, after the loss of their Veteran Spouse.All Veterans are invited

and encouraged to attend this event, which is designed to help those they

leave behind have a better understanding of what potential benefits are

available to them, and how your VFW Department Service Office can assist

you with submitting claims to the VA.

 Veterans do NOT have to be eligible for membership within the VFW

to attend this class… If you are a member, or are considering becoming

a member of our Veteran’s Organization, a portion of your Membership Dues

helps to fund Community Outreach Events like this one, and enables the

Service Office to continue to assist veterans and their widows across our

state in navigating through the VA Claims system.


Presidential Proclamation

Per Presidential Proclamation, the United States flag should be at half-staff onWednesday, September 11, from sunrise to sunset, in recognition of  “Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance, 2013.”

If you would like to review the proclamation please go to and click on Presidential Actions at the bottom of the page.  The proclamation should be posted prior to September 11th.

Thank you!

Tammy Beauchamp, Programs Coord.

Programs Department

VFW National Headquarters

Phone 816-756-3390 x 287

Fax 816-968-1149

Drive – Thru Flu Shots at Manchester VA

There will be Drive-Thru Flu Shots given at the Manchester VA Medical Center Monday September 9th and Monday September 16th.

Signs will direct you to building 7 at the back of the main building from 6:30am – 5:30pm both days.

The Walk-In clinics will be held in the T&E room on the first floor the week of September 30th – October 4th

Hours on Monday and Tuesday Sept. 30 and October 1 are 6am – 3pm

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday October 2,3,4 10 am – 6pm

Due to the construction at the center there is assistance available to assist you call 624-4366 ext 6197

Wheelchair escorts    Directions to your appointments

Handicapped Lift assistance    Parking Shuttle

John Rubery   VAVS rep

603-785-1116 ]