VFW Action Corps – September 4, 2015
In This Issue:
1. The VFW Fills the Room for Field Hearing and Town Hall Meetings
2. Pentagon VSO/MSO Conference
3. Vietnam Wall “In Memory” Program
4. Become a Vietnam War Commemorative Partner
5. Missing Medal of Honor Recipient Identified
1. The VFW Fills the Room for Field Hearing and Town Hall Meetings: The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a field hearing in Michigan this week to hear firsthand about the impact of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act. The hearing highlighted the difficulties that remain for those areas which are considered rural and showed that there is continued need to ensure veterans get quality care in a timely manner. The commander of VFW Post 3676, David Pearce, testified at the hearing about the issues that local veterans face.
During the August congressional recess, nearly 300 members of the VFW attended more than 50 town hall meetings, pressing their elected officials on major issues facing veterans today including sequestration, quality of life programs and toxic exposure, setting the tone for Congress to return to town on September 8 and finish important work that affects so many.
2. Pentagon VSO/MSO Conference: Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work hosted the VFW and other veteran and military service organizations at the Pentagon on Wednesday to discuss challenges and threats his department faces during a time of extraordinary budget uncertainty. He was joined by other senior defense officials to discuss people programs, health care, modernization efforts, and the potential impact on every program should Congress allow mandatory sequestration to return in fiscal year 2016, which begins next month. Ending sequestration continues to be DOD’s number one priority — as it is the VFW’s — as well as the proper care and treatment of wounded, ill and injured service members, the families of the fallen, and outreach efforts to the younger generation to encourage them to serve. Among the department’s many concerns is that the force still needs to be “right balanced” for the future, not only through the current downsizing initiatives but possibly in recruitment eligibility changes to give America’s best and brightest an opportunity to serve. Health care needs to be simplified. A new retirement program needs to be approved that can be maintained, grandfathered and contributory. Regarding modernization, DOD is looking to better its buying power and to maximize private industry technologies. The Pentagon also wants to merge appropriated fund commissaries with the military’s exchange systems, which are non-appropriated fund activities.
3. Vietnam Wall “In Memory” Program: More than 58,000 names meet the Defense Department’s criteria to be etched into the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, but those who survived the war — and who later died as a result of their service — are not. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund acknowledges their service and sacrifice through an online “In Memory” Honor Roll. Causes of death that fit the criteria for inclusion in the program include exposure to Agent Orange, PTSD-related illnesses/events, cancer, diabetes, heart attacks, etc. The program is free and the application process is simple. To honor a loved one, you only need to submit the veteran’s DD214 to show their proof of service in the Vietnam War, a copy of their death certificate, and a photograph. The application deadline for inclusion in the 2016 ceremony is in March. For information or to submit applications, go to:http://www.vvmf.org/InMemoryProgram.
4. Become a Vietnam War Commemorative Partner: In November 2012, the VFW National Organization became the first veterans’ organization to be recognized as a commemorative partner of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War Commemoration, and today, there are now more than 8,700 Commemorative Partners, including almost 300 VFW Posts and Auxiliaries. The Commemorative Partner Program is designed for federal, state and local communities, veterans’ organizations and other nonprofit organizations to assist a grateful nation in thanking and honoring our Vietnam veterans and their families. For more information or to sign up your VFW Department, District, Post or Auxiliary, go to: http://www.vietnamwar50th.com/.
5. Missing Medal of Honor Recipient Identified: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has announced the identification of remains belonging to Marine Corps 1st Lt. Alexander “Sandy” Bonnyman, 33, of Knoxville, Tenn., who would be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions fighting on the Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands, Nov. 11, 1943. He was assigned to Company F, 2nd Battalion, 18th Marines Regiment, 2nd Marine Division. His remains, and that of possibly three dozen other Americans, were recovered by History Flight, a Florida-based nonprofit organization that is assisting U.S. government MIA search and recovery efforts through an expanded public-private partnership opportunity. The lieutenant will be buried with full military honors on a date and location yet to be determined. Read more at:http://www.mcu.usmc.mil/historydivision/Pages/Who’s%20Who/A-C/Bonnyman_A.aspx.