Leadership and QM Manual available online at VFW.ORG

For your information, the 2013-14 VFW Leadership Reference materials, that include the Commander’s and Quartermaster’s Manuals, are now available on-line. As with last year, you’ll need to Login at www.vfw.org.  Once logged in they are housed under “My VFW”.  Please let me know if you have any questions

Kevin C. Jones
Director, Administrative Operations
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States
406 W 34th Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64111

VFW’S Memorial Day Message

VFW’s Memorial Day Message

     

The VFW asks all to pause and remember

     

May 22, 2013

           

 

Many Americans have forgotten the true meaning of a holiday that we as veterans hold so close to our hearts. For too many, Memorial Day now signifies nothing more than the start of summer and is celebrated with holiday sales. Trips to the lake and shopping extravaganzas have replaced memorial visits, remembrance ceremonies or simply put, a day to reflect upon all of the luxuries—like freedom—that we as Americans enjoy daily.

As proud veterans, we know the true meaning of Memorial Day.

On Memorial Day, we honor our fallen comrades of the United States military in the form of remembrance. And with that, comes a deep sense of appreciation for both their selflessness in protecting the land of the free, and for their sacrifice in ensuring it stays that way.

Each and every American owes a great debt to the courageous men and women who have given their lives to protect our way of life. While giving back to the extent they deserve is impossible, today, we merely attempt our repayment in the form of remembrance. We dedicate this day to them.

As we go about our activities, we should take the opportunity to not only remember the sacrifices of our fallen and mourn their departure, we should celebrate the spirit with which they served and reflect upon their contributions in making America, truly, the land of the free.

The VFW thanks all service members, veterans and their families for their contributions and service to the United States of America.

Washington Weekly May 24, 2013

VFW Washington Weekly
May 24, 2013
In This Issue:
1. Stolen Valor Act Headed to President
2. Obama Vows to Close Guantanamo
3. House VA Committee Evaluates Claims Initiative
4. House VA Subcommittee Discusses Health Care Bills
5. VFW Joins Discussion on Military Credentialing
6. HASC Subcommittee Clears Personnel Bill
7. VFW in Israel for Fact-Finding Mission
8. WWII Soldier Recovered
9. Memorial Day 2013
 
1. Stolen Valor Act Headed to President: The VFW is applauding Congress this week for passing the Stolen Valor Act of 2013, introduced by Rep. Joe Heck and Sen. Dean Heller, both from Nevada. H.R. 258 was passed overwhelmingly in the House on Monday by a vote of 390-3, and the Senate passed its companion, S. 210, Wednesday night by unanimous consent. The legislation now heads to the White House for the president’s signature. VFW National Commander John Hamilton said Congress followed the roadmap laid out by the U.S. Supreme Court when they overturned the original Stolen Valor Act last year. In their writings, the high court suggested any future legislation had to be narrower in focus than just to penalize people for simple lying, which they ruled as protected speech in a 6-3 decision. “Now the new language is bullet-proof,” said Hamilton, “because the focus is on the intent to profit from the lie, to obtain money, property or something of a tangible benefit, which is what con artists have been doing throughout history.” Not every combat award is covered, but the ones most worn by wannabe heroes will be protected once the bill becomes law. VFW advocates were able to reach all 100 Senate offices in record time after the House passed their bill, encouraging the Senate to take action. It is because of you that the Senate bill passed so quickly! Read about the VFW’s reaction at http://www.vfw.org/News-and-Events/Articles/2013-Articles/Stolen-Valor-Act-Passes-Congress!/. To send a thank you to your Senators, click here.http://capwiz.com/vfw/issues/alert/?alertid=62685126.
2. Obama Vows to Close Guantanamo: The president yesterday vowed again to close the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and tasked the Defense Department to locate a site in the U.S. where military tribunals can be held. The VFW is firmly against both proposals by national resolutions approved by delegates attending our past three national conventions. Guantanamo serves a purpose: it keeps our most dangerous enemies off the battlefield, out of America, and provides an extremely secure and controlled environment for the military court system.
 
3. House VA Committee Evaluates Claims Initiative: The House VA Committee held a hearing to evaluate VA’s recent initiative to process claims pending over two years. VFW provided written testimony acknowledging that although the project did provide decisions to many who have waited a long time, more needs to be done to ensure VA creates a viable, effective and efficient system to develop and manage claims. VA Under Secretary for Benefits Allison Hickey spoke about the 34,834 claims that have been adjudicated within the last 30 days and how VBA will finalize the remaining 32,000 by the end of June. Committee members voiced concerns about current backlog numbers, employee training and performance reviews, and how VA plans to justify to veterans lengthy wait times for decisions. To learn more about the hearing and to view an archived webcast click here:http://veterans.house.gov/hearing/expediting-claims-or-exploiting-statistics-an-examination-of-va%E2%80%99s-special-initiative-to. To read the VFW’s testimony in its entirety, click here:http://www.vfw.org/VFW-in-DC/Congressional-Testimony/Expediting-Claims-or-Exploiting-Statistics—An-Examination-of-VA%E2%80%99s-Special-Initiative-to-Process-Rating-Claims-Pending-Over-Two-Years/.
4. House VA Subcommittee Discusses Health Care Bills: The House VA Subcommittee on Health hosted a hearing to discuss pending veterans’ health care legislation. VFW provided written testimony offering comments on bills regarding VA travel benefits, CHAMPVA regulations and medical research. Among the bills we supported is legislation (H.R. 984) that would establish an interagency task force on genitourinary organ trauma, or urotrauma – the technical terms for the loss or damage to reproductive organs. A recent study shows that 5 to 10 percent of battlefield injuries involve urotrauma, and that these injuries have been on the rise in Afghanistan. For more on the hearing and to read our complete testimony visit the blog at: http://thevfw.blogspot.com/2013/05/house-hosts-hearing-on-veterans-health.html
5. VFW Joins Discussion on Military Credentialing: This week the VFW joined Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine and Illinois Rep. Tammy Duckworth for a discussion on professional credentialing for military training. Kaine and Duckworth are the sponsors of the VFW-supported Troop Talent Act of 2013, a bipartisan bill that would improve the path to civilian professional credentials for service members trained by the military, ensure credentials are relevant to civilian industries, and increase access to high-demand industries for service members. To learn more about the discussion, click here:http://thevfw.blogspot.com/2013/05/vfw-joins-military-credentialing.html.
6. HASC Subcommittee Clears Personnel Bill: This week, the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel cleared its section of the FY 2014 Defense Authorization bill (HR 1960) by voice vote. Among the provisions is stricter language to combat military sexual assault, which would bar commanders from dismissing all but minor sexual offenses from a court martial, and prohibit them from reducing a guilty finding in a sexual assault case to a lesser offense. The language comes on the heels of recent reports from the Pentagon estimating that 70 sexual assaults take place every day in the military. Other provisions included a 1.8 percent pay raise for service members and strong rejections to any Tricare Fee increases. The full committee is expected to take up the bill sometime after the Memorial Day recess. Check back here for full coverage of the NDAA as it moves through Congress. For VFW statement on military sexual assaults, click here: http://www.vfw.org/News-and-Events/Articles/2013-Articles/VFW-Statement-on-Military-Sexual-Assaults/. To read the bill provisions, visit the committee website at http://armedservices.house.gov/index.cfm?p=fy14-subcommittee-marks.
7. VFW in Israel for Fact-Finding Mission: This week VFW Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief Bill Thien is in Israel to share ideas with our allies on issues like military personnel readiness and veterans’ issues like training, benefits, resiliency and access to mental healthcare. The VFW will also learn about the geopolitical issues facing Israelis and Palestinians in the volatile region. VFW National Legislative Director Ray Kelley accompanied Thien on the trip to provide updates. Click here for more information: http://thevfw.blogspot.com/2013/05/vfw-lands-in-israel-for-military-and.html.
8. WWII Soldier Recovered: The Defense POW/MIA Office announced the identification of remains belonging to Army Pvt. William Yawney, 23, of Freemansburg, Pa.. On June 15, 1944, U.S. forces were ordered into Saipan as part of an Allied strategic goal to secure the Mariana Islands. After a month of intense fighting, enemy forces conducted a final attack on the 105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division’s position. Elements of the regiment sustained heavy losses, to include Yawney, who was originally thought to have been buried in a military cemetery on Saipan. Read more at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/news/news_releases/.
9. Memorial Day 2013: National Commander John Hamilton will be representing the VFW in the White House Monday morning, as well as participate in Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  Locally, many of our 7,200 VFW Posts will be having similar ceremonies to honor our fallen. As we gather to remember the more than one million Americans who served and died in our nation’s conflicts going back to the Revolutionary War, please remember to keep our 83,000 missing and unaccounted-for servicemen—and their families—in your thoughts, as well as the men and women assigned to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, who are tasked with bringing them home from some of the most austere places on Earth. As of today, there are 73,661 missing from World War II; 7,918 from the Korean War; 1,647 from the Vietnam War; 126 from the Cold War; and 6 from our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. More information, plus loss statistics, are available at the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/summary_statistics/.
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.

M1 Garand Rifle Operation and Maintenance Guide

In response to recent reports of serviceability issues both with .30 Caliber Blank Ammunition and Maintenance Issues with Ml Garand Rifles that have led to both damaged weapons and personnel injury the U.S. Army Research Development and Engineering Command (ARDEC) Technical Community in the interests of improving safety for the user and better feedback concerning issues with both Ml Rifles and.30 caliber Blank Ammunition, has developed an Operations and Maintenance guide for use with the Ml Garand Rifle. This guide provides safety of use information, instructions for preventive maintenance checks and services, information about where to obtain assistance in the event of a mishap and information for ordering ammunition from JMC.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE M1 Garand Operation and Maintenance Guide- 2013

 

 

David E. Prohaska Deputy Director, Administrative Operations Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States 406 W 34th Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64111

VFW ACCEPTING DONATIONS FOR OKLAHOMA DISASTER

Dear Comrades,

In the wake of the devastation resulting from the tornadoes in Oklahoma, the VFW has dispersed funds to the state to assist fellow VFW members and their families seeking aid.

While the full extent of the damage is still being evaluated, we know there will be a need for financial assistance among our members and their families. Any assistance is much appreciated.

If any VFW Department, District, Post or individual wishes to make a donation to the Oklahoma Tornado Relief Fund, please click here.

Checks can be made out to “VFW” and mailed to:

Quartermaster General c/o VFW 406 W. 34th St. Kansas City, MO 64111

Any money received will be used for this purpose and should there be a surplus, it will be held in reserve for future disasters as was done with the VFW’s Hurricane Sandy and Katrina Relief Funds.

Update::

Dear Comrades,

I want to update you on our relief efforts in Oklahoma following the devastating storms that tore through the state this week.

In addition to Moore, the following towns have also been hit hard and need our help:

Arcadia
Bethel Acres
Carney
Edmond
Norman
Shawnee
Wellston

The VFW has dispersed funds to the state to assist fellow VFW members and their families seeking aid statewide.

We still don’t know the full extent of the damage, but we know there is a need for financial assistance among our members and their families.

Any assistance you can provide is much appreciated.

If any VFW Department, District, Post or individual wishes to make a donation to the VFW Oklahoma Tornado Relief Fund, please click here.

Checks can be made out to “VFW” and mailed to:

Quartermaster General
c/o VFW
406 W. 34th St.
Kansas City, MO 64111

Any money received will be used for this purpose, and should there be a surplus, it will be held in reserve for future disasters as was done with the VFW’s Hurricane Sandy and Katrina Relief Funds.

Yours in Comradeship,
Allen “Gunner” Kent
Adjutant General, Veterans of Foreign Wars

 

 

 

 

Yours in Comradeship,

Allen “Gunner” Kent Adjutant General, Veterans of Foreign Wars

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

Tractor Supply to Host Memorial Day Activities for Post

TRACTOR SUPPLY COMPANY TO HOST VFW EVENTS THIS MEMORIAL DAY

 

VFW Post and Department leaders: Don’t miss out on your chance to make it a community event!

 

Tractor Supply Company (TSC), the largest farm and ranch store chain in the United States with over 1,100 retail stores nationwide, is offering VFW a unique opportunity! This Memorial Day weekend, in conjunction with its “Salute Our Troops” program, TSC is inviting all VFW Posts and Departments to host events at your nearest TSC location, making this Memorial Day weekend a community event.

 

TSC’s generosity provides a great opportunity for VFW Post and Department leaders to recruit new members, distribute Buddy Poppies, network with their local communities, educate the public on the importance of Memorial Day and more!

 

All activities must be approved and coordinated with your local TSC store manager. Your onsite VFW activities may include:

-          Hosting a BBQ

-          Showcasing your Post’s accomplishments through a display

-          Setting up a Memorial Day display honoring our fallen heroes

-          A VFW Color Guard ceremony

-          Onsite raffles, drawings, and more!

TSC has made it easy to register your Post for participation. Simply call the VFW Registration Hotline at 877-234-0623. To ensure availability, please call the hotline as soon as possible. Once registered, the local TSC store manager will reach out to you to begin making arrangements.

 

We encourage all VFW Posts and Departments to take advantage of this incredible opportunity from our great friends at TSC. And please do not forget to tell store personnel that you appreciate their heartfelt support of U.S. troops, veterans and military families.

 

VFW Launches Action Corps

 

Sign-up for the VFW Action Corps

AND

Join us in our fight to Preserve Veterans’ and Military Benefits

 

By signing up for the VFW Action Corps you will receive the Washington Weekly e-newsletter and VFW Action Alerts.

The Washington Weekly keeps you informed of what VFW is doing for veterans, service members and their spouses on Capitol Hill. The Weekly notifies you of all key meetings and Congressional hearings in which the VFW is involved, linking you to the full hearing and our written testimony on issues like veteran health care and benefits, military transition issues, military benefits and many others.

Our Action Alerts provides you the opportunity to be a part of the loud and well respected voice of the VFW. These alerts give you immediate access to legislative battles that will effect current and future veterans benefits, and they provide you the tools to tell Congress where the VFW stands on issues and how we want them to vote. This is our strongest tool in preserving and advancing veterans benefits!

 

It’s time to be part of the solution. Take five minutes to sign-up and join our Advocacy Team today! Use the link provided here www.vfw.org/weekly