Thousands of motorcycle riders rally to raise awareness of POW/MIA issues; call for release of only current living American Prisoner of War


Meredith, NH – Thousands of Laconia Motorcycle Week attendees are expected to attend the Northeast POW / MIA Network’s Freedom Ride and vigil on June 13th to raise awareness of POW/MIA issues and honor the only current living American Prisoner of War, United States Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl of Sun Valley, Idaho. For the past 20 years motorcycle riders from across the country have commemorated missing and captive American soldiers with a ride and vigil the Thursday of Laconia Motorcycle Week. The Freedom Ride will begin in Gilford and conclude with a vigil at Hesky Park in Meredith. Information on the Freedom Ride, sponsored by Laconia Harley-Davidson, can be found at


The Northeast POW/MIA Network gained nationwide attention some 25 years ago when a small group of veterans began holding weekly Thursday night vigils in Meredith to honor servicemen and women missing in Vietnam. Through basking heat, ridged rain storms and mid-winter snows, this small group has held a weekly vigil each and every Thursday night to gain recognition for the members of our armed forces who were unaccounted for. The vigil was quickly embraced by Laconia Motorcycle Week attendees and has grown into what is now the Freedom Ride, drawing thousands of supporters each year.


“Our primary focus this year is to dedicate our vigil to Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and his family,” said Bob Jones, vice-president of the Northeast POW/MIA Network. “We need to do everything necessary and raise awareness so we can bring this American soldier home.”

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was captured in Afghanistan in 2009 and is believed to be held by the Haqqani network, an insurgent group affiliated with the Taliban, likely somewhere in Pakistan. Sgt. Bergdahl recently “celebrated” his 27 birthday unwillingly as an American Prisoner of War.


Sgt. Bergdahl’s status is classified as Missing/Captured or MIA-C, a severe injustice according to Jones. “International law and the Geneva Convention do not make any mention of the Missing/Captured status, thus it does not provide Sgt. Bergdahl privileges of care and treatment afforded to someone that is classified as an official Prisoner of War,” said Jones. “We are calling on the United States government to officially change Sgt. Bergdahl’s status to POW so he can obtain the protection and international recognition he deserves. Those responsible for sending Sgt. Bergdahl into harm’s way are equally responsible to protect him and to bring him home.”


The Freedom Ride begins at 5:00pm on June 13th in the Lowe’s parking lot located on Route 11 – 1407 Lakeshore Road in Gilford. At 6:00pm they will make the scenic seven mile ride along Daniel Webster Highway around Lake Winnipesaukee and meet for a vigil at New Hampshire’s Original POW/MIA Memorial, “The Rock” at Hesky Park in Meredith.


“The Freedom Ride is one of the most powerful aspects of Laconia Motorcycle Week,” said Anne Deli, owner of Laconia Harley-Davidson. “It is important that as a community, we extend our hand to the Northeast POW/MIA Network and Bergdahl family and let them know that Bowe, and all past and future Prisoners of War will not be forgotten.”


About Northeast POW/MIA Network

Northeast POW/MIA Network is a volunteer organization comprised of veterans and non-veterans using awareness, communication, education, legislation, and compassion to assuage the pain associated with one of the most devastating outcomes of service to one’s country. The Network honors POW/MIAs who have returned home and are still waiting to come home and aggressively pursues means to return the missing and protect those serving. For more information about Northeast POW/MIA Network, please visit:


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.
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:
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

Ex-POW Alan Gavan Funeral April 17th

he Funeral Service for former POW, Allan Gavan, will be held at the State Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen on Friday, May 17th at 11:30 AM.
Allan helped review genealogical records and break red tape to posthumously honor 59 POWs from New Hampshire with Purple Hearts.
He was remembered at our POW Recognition Day Ceremony back in April – and now will be laid to rest. I hope you will be able to join with me and his Family on Friday morning. Many thanks to the Derry Firing Squad who will be on hand as well.
Thank you ……
  Yours in Comradeship, Service & Patriotism                         Greg 
Gregory P. Lynch  Dept. of NH VFW Commander

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:   For more on VA’s major and minor construction needs in the IB click here,
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:   For VFW’s April testimony on the bills, click here:
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:
To read VFW’s submitted testimony click here:

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

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


VFW Washington Weekly 3 May 2013

May, 3 2013

In   This Issue:
1. New Student   -Veteran Support Program
2. VFW Joins Discussion on Credentialing
3. Congress returns to   Busy May Schedule
4. Vietnam MIAs Buried

1. New Student-Veteran   Support Program: In partnership with Student Veterans of   America, the VFW launched   to provide direct assistance to student-veterans on 800 college and   university campuses who may experience problems accessing their GI Bill or   other earned benefits provided by VA. Said VFW National Commander John   Hamilton, “Student-veterans will now have a place to turn to for   reliable and timely help when they encounter problems with the VA.” Read   more at,-SVA-Launch-New-Initiative-to-Help-Student-Veterans/.

2.   VFW Joins Discussion on Credentialing: This week, VFW   spent some time at the White House for a series of roundtable discussions on   military professional credentialing and academic credit for military training   and experience. The discussion is part of First Lady Michelle Obama, and Dr.   Jill Biden’s Joining Forces initiative. Hundreds of stakeholders across the   federal government, private industry, military and the veterans’ community   were on hand to discuss ways to improve the portability of military training   for civilian professional licenses and credentials as well as academic credit   toward a college degree. VFW has been and will continue to be a vocal   advocate on both of these issues. We have helped champion legislation in the   last Congress to improve career portability and academic preparedness for   transitioning service members and veterans. We will continue to work with the   White House, VA, the Pentagon and Congress to ensure that separating service   members have access to quality careers after leaving the military. For more   on the event and the Joining Forces campaign visit our blog at:

3. Congress Returns to Busy May Schedule: Congress returns   to Washington next week for a busy month of bill hearings, appropriation   wrangling and mark-ups. Some of the bills that will be debated in committee   are those VFW has been monitoring since the beginning of Congress. They cover   a wide- range of topics to include homeless veteran programs, chiropractic   care, caregiver expansion, research sharing, and improvements to women   veterans’ health care within VA. Check back next week for full coverage of   the bill hearings and our testimony.
For our blog postings, click here:
For the Senate VA Committee website, click here:

4. Vietnam MIAs   Buried: On July 19, 1967, Navy Lt. Dennis W. Peterson of   Huntington Park, Calif., was the pilot of an SH-3A helicopter that took off   from the USS Hornet on a search and rescue mission of a downed pilot in Ha   Nam Province, North Vietnam. A concealed enemy 37mm gun targeted the   helicopter as it flew in. Also aboard were Ensign Donald P. Frye of Los   Angeles, and Aviation Antisubmarine Warfare Technicians William B. Jackson of   Stockdale, Texas, and Donald P. McGrane of Waverly, Iowa, all of whom had   been previously identified. The reunited crew was buried as a group on May 2   at Arlington National Cemetery. Read more at

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



April 26, 2013

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 Assistance 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:
Bills cleared by Subcommittee on Disability Assistance 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:
For a list of all the bills and subcommittee action, visit the House VA Committee Website at:

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:

For pictures and the Democratic Press release click here:

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:

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:

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 and

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:

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

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


The Dept of NH District #5 VFW and Ladies Auxiliary will host our annual POW-MIA Remembrance on Sunday, September 23th, 2012 starting @ 11:00 AM on the Common in Fitzwilliam.

This ceremony is open to the public, all veterans and their families.  It will be a remberance for our lost comrades.  All are welcome.  Please try to attend and not let our POW-MIA’s be forgotten.  Only through you are they remembered.  Remember what they have lost so we can be here today.

Representatives from the Dept of NH VFW and Ladies Auxiliary, local Veterans Organizations and other representatives will also be in attendance. The opening ceremonies will include the “Posting of Colors”, the National Anthem and Invocation.

There will be a reading of New Hampshire’s POW-MIA’s, as well as readings offered as a tribute to our “Fallen Heroes” who have gone before.

After the closing ceremonies, there will be a reception held at Fitzwilliam VFW Post #10289. All are welcome to join us there in celebration and remberance.

Robert “Gunny” Brewster

Dept of NH VFW District 5 Cdr

72 Marlboro Rd   Troy   NH 03465

VFW 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


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


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


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:


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


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


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

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VFW Washington Weekly

July 6, 2012


In This Issue:

1. Canada Wants to Hire U.S. Vets

2. United Healthcare To Be New TRICARE West Contractor

3. Connect to Congress Today

4. Share Your Fourth of   July Stories

5. Stolen Valor Survey   Results

6. WWII MIA Returns Home


1. Canada Wants to Hire U.S. Vets: The   VFW proudly announced this week that its partly owned veterans jobs board has   secured an exclusive employment initiative with Alberta, Canada, that could   see thousands of skilled U.S. veterans heading north to work on their oil   pipeline. “Though America’s Keystone Pipeline is delayed, the Canadians are   moving forward on their side of the border and have an immediate need for   tens of thousands of workers,” said Ted Daywalt, founder and CEO of VetJobs.   There is an anticipated shortage of 114,000 workers in the Alberta area. The   positions being offered are long term, with many paying as much as 30 percent   more than similar industry positions in the United States. Some positions   will require a move to Canada, but many others will allow veterans to commute   — working several weeks in Canada, then one week back home. “This is a   fantastic opportunity and I’m proud of our affiliation with VetJobs,” said   VFW National Commander Richard DeNoyer. “Helping thousands of veterans to get   well-paying jobs in an important industry just further proves that no one   does more for veterans than the VFW.” To apply, go to,   click on Search Jobs, then type “opportunity awaits” into the company search   field. Additional job postings will be added in the coming months as the   Canadian pipeline project progresses. To read the VFW’s full statement on the   announcement, click here:

2. United Healthcare To Be New TRICARE West Contractor:   The Government Accountability Office (GAO) announced this week that it was   moving ahead with its decision to award the Tricare West region (T-3)   contract to United Healthcare. The contract had been held by TriWest   Healthcare Alliance who had filed a protest with GAO earlier this year.    TriWest currently serves 2.9 million beneficiaries including active duty   personnel, retirees and their families and has more than 175,000 health care   providers in its 21-state network. Their current contract continues through   March 31, 2013 after which United Healthcare will take over beginning April   1, 2013.  To keep informed about DoD’s transition plans, stay tuned to   the Washington Weekly for all the details.

3. Connect to Congress Today:    Congress remains on recess for a few more days and returns to a very busy   July schedule.  Now is a great time to take a look at what your VFW has   done during the 112th Congress. We have testified over 25   times on critically important 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    and use the Connect to Congress box on bottom right.

 4. Share Your Fourth of   July Stories:   Members of Congress were in their home districts this week, joining in   celebrations commemorating the birth of our nation and listening to the   concerns of their constituents.  We know many VFW advocates also took   this opportunity to discuss the VFW’s Legislative Priority Goals, urging   representatives to support the needs of the veterans’ community. If you   have advocacy stories you would like to share for publication on the VFW   Capitol Hill blog, simply fill out the online form available here:,   or send details and photos directly to

Without   the help of our advocates in communities from coast to coast, accomplishments   like the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Agent Orange presumption, veterans’ hiring   preference, advance health care appropriations and Family Caregiver benefits   would not have been possible. We hope that you will send us your stories and   help us inspire members to reach out to their representatives and take   action!

5.  Stolen Valor   Survey Results: Last   week, we asked you for your thoughts on last week’s Supreme Court ruling,   which found the Stolen Valor Act unconstitutional. Here are the results of   our poll asking, what do you think about the Supreme Court decision to overturn   the Stolen Valor Act of 2005?

  • It was the wrong        decision: 85% (349 votes)
  • I don’t like it, but I        guess it constitutes free speech: 8% (31 votes)
  • It was the right        decision: 3% (12 votes)
  • Other (leave        comments): 4% (18 votes)

Thank   you for reading, and thank you for leaving more than 100 comments on the   blog, Facebook, and poll website. To view the original posting, click here:

6. WWII MIA Returns Home: The   Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced the identification of remains   belonging to Navy Radioman 1st Class Harry C. Scribner, 20, of Seattle. On   Aug. 2, 1943, Scribner and two other men were aboard a TBF-1 Avenger aircraft   that crashed on the island of Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides—now known as   Vanuatu—while on a routine calibration flight. Sixteen days after the crash,   one crewman was rescued from the jungle but was unable to assist recovery   teams with locating the crash site. Read more at