VFW WASHINGTON WEEKLY
November 2, 2012
In This Issue:
1. Protecting Our House from Military Quality-of-Life Cuts
2. Election Just Days Away
3. VFW Fires Back Against False Drop-Out Report on Student-Veterans
4. VA Facilities Closed from Aftermath of Sandy
5. VFW Co-Hosts Wounded Warrior Dinner
6. New Military Family Survey Begins
7. JPAC Welcomes New Commander
8. Two MIAs Identified
1. Protecting Our House from Military Quality-of-Life Cuts: This week, the progressive think tank, the Center for American Progress, published a report once again recommending cuts to military pay increases and retiree health care as a way to save money after mortgaging more than a decade of war. The VFW will continue to advocate against these kinds of proposals and adamantly opposes any cuts to military quality-of-life benefits; particularly while our military men and women continue to serve in harm’s way. Last year, the VFW was the first major veterans’ organization to call attention to drastic proposed cuts to military quality-of-life programs through our “10 for 10” campaign. We have also addressed military budget cuts in our talking paper on budget sequestration. We recognize that our nation must make difficult budget decisions in the coming months, but balancing the budget on the backs of disabled veterans, those in uniform, their families, and military retirees is not a solution. Please join us in letting those in Washington know that the VFW will not tolerate any plan that requires those who serve and sacrifice the most to do even more.
To learn how you can make your voice heard in Washington, click here: http://capwiz.com/vfw/issues/?style=D&
To read the report and VFW’s full analysis on our Capitol Hill blog, click here: http://thevfw.blogspot.com/2012/11/here-we-go-again-protecting-our-house.html
2. Election Just Days Away: The 2012 Election is just days away. VFW encourages all members and veterans’ advocates to get out and vote. Help your members who may need transportation to the polls by arranging car pools and local pick-ups in your area. Remember to check our website to see how your members voted on critical veterans issues when they reached the floor of the House and Senate. Before heading to the voting booth, take a look at what your members have done to improve the lives of veterans, our active duty and their families. To view our vote analysis, visit the VFW website at http://www.vfw.org/VFW-in-DC/ and use the Connect to Congress box on bottom right.
As always, if you have a unique program that helps veterans get out to vote this election day, please share your stories with us for the Capitol Hill blog, www.thevfw.blogspot.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. VFW Fires Back Against False Drop-Out Report on Student-Veterans: Last week the Huffington Post reported that nearly 88 percent of veterans going to school on the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill drop out. After reading the story, the veterans’ community balked at the baseless allegation and started firing back. To the VFW, this latest story of abysmal student-veteran performance is a disservice to the nearly 850,000 veterans currently enrolled in school through the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, especially since nobody in higher education or VA currently tracks student-veteran drop-outs or completions. The VFW believes that we have an obligation to today’s veterans to ensure they have access to the quality education we promised them, and has been working diligently over the last four years to improve and protect the benefit. To read the VFW’s full response to the erroneous story and to learn about ways the VFW is working to maintain the integrity of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, click here: http://thevfw.blogspot.com/2012/11/protecting-gi-bill-perception-is-reality.html
4. VA Facilities Closed from Aftermath of Sandy: The Department of Veterans’ Affairs announced several facilities closed due to the effects of Sandy in the Northeast and parts of West Virginia. Facilities with closures include:
- VISN 2: Bath, NY (Mansfield CBOC)
- VISN 3: Hudson Valley (Monticello & New City)
- VISN 3: New Jersey (Outpt at Lyons and Newark; Hackensack, Hamilton, Jersey City, Morristown, Tinton Falls; East Orange plastic surgery)
- VISN 3: New York Harbor (all open except Manhattan)
- VISN 3: Northport (all clinics closed thru Friday, no DAV transportation)
- VISN 4: Clarksburg (Tucker County CBOC)
- VISN 4: Coatesville (No MRI Wed/Thurs)
- VISN 4: Philadelphia (Ft. Dix closed; Gloucester limited phones)
For more information click on the facility link above or visit the VA website at: http://www.va.gov/
5. VFW Co-Hosts Wounded Warrior Dinner: The VFW is joining the Aleethia Foundation to co-host a Wounded Warrior Dinner this evening at the National Press Club in Washington. What makes this dinner extra special is it will bring military personnel recuperating from their wounds at nearby Walter Reed National Military Medical Center together with 30 Marines who have moved on from their injuries to complete a USMC Wounded Warrior Cycling Camp at MCB Quantico. The VFW has been a strong supporter of these weekly wounded warrior dinners ever since they were created in October 2003 by fellow VFW member Hal Koster, who received the VFW Citizenship Award in 2007.
6. New Military Family Survey Begins: The 2013 Military Family Lifestyle Survey is now available online for veterans, service members and their families. The survey is open through December 3, and should take approximately 20-25 minutes to complete, depending on your responses. Go to the Blue Star Families website to participate at http://www.bluestarfam.org/Policy/Surveys/Survey_2013.
7. JPAC Welcomes New Commander: Air Force Maj. Gen. Kelly McKeague assumed command of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command yesterday in change of command ceremonies at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii. He replaces Army Maj. Gen. Steve Tom, who will be retiring after serving our nation for 40 years, and who was able to address the 113th VFW National Convention in Nevada in July. Read more at http://www.jpac.pacom.mil/index.php?page=press_center&size=100&ind=0&fldr=PressImageArchive&file=2012-10-31_ChangeofCommand.
8. Two MIAs Identified: The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced the identification of remains belonging to two soldiers who had been missing-in-action from the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Identified are:
- Army Pfc. James C. Mullins, 20, of Dunham, Ky. On July 22, 1950, Mullins and his unit, H Company, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, were fighting enemy forces near Yugong-ni, South Korea. Mullins was declared missing after the battle.
- Army Maj. James L. Whited, 42, of Norman, Okla. On Nov. 19, 1966, Whited was the co-pilot of an OV-1A Mohawk that crashed while conducting a daytime reconnaissance mission over Attapu Province, Laos. No parachutes were seen exiting the aircraft, and heavy enemy presence in the area prevented recovery efforts.
Read more about their stories at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/news/news_releases/.