VFW WASHINGTON WEEKLY
In This Issue:
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.
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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: