Action Corps Weekly – August 21, 2015
In This Issue:
1. The VFW Wants to Hear from You
2. Political Candidates Court VFW Members
3. VA Announces New Rules Regarding Service Animals
4. VA Announces Two New Training Programs for Veterans
5. National POW/MIA Recognition Day 2015
6. Seeking MIA Family Reference Samples
7. Korean War MIA Identified
1. The VFW Wants to Hear from You: In our continued effort to better represent the needs of our membership on Capitol Hill, the VFW is asking you to take a short survey on what’s important to you when you seek health care. To take the survey, click here: https://www.research.net/r/VACareSummer15.
2. Political Candidates Court VFW Members: Election season is upon us and politicians know that veterans vote. Presidential candidates have begun scheduling events at VFW posts to explain why they deserve our vote and candidates for every office have rolled out plans that show their opinions on our issues. With nearly a dozen events related to veterans over the remainder of August still pending, it is vital that we fill the rooms with VFW caps to ensure our presence is felt and our issues are promoted. For more information on these events, contact your department’s National Legislative Committee member.
3. VA Announces New Rules Regarding Service Animals: On Monday, VA announced new rules regarding access allowed for service animals on VA property. The goal of the revised regulation is to keep VA in line with legal and sanitary requirements. It states that only dogs individually trained to perform work for an individual with a disability will be considered service animals. Other animals will not be permitted in VA facilities, unless expressly allowed as an exception under the regulation for activities, such as animal-assisted therapy or for other reasons such as law enforcement purposes. To read more, click here: http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=2723.
4. VA Announces Two New Training Programs for Veterans: This week, VA launched two new training programs, Accelerated Learning Programs (ALPs) and VA Learning Hubs, that will allow veterans to learn skills and earn credentials at no cost to help advance their civilian careers. ALPs will offer veterans training and certifications in the IT field. They will be held at various locations nationwide, and will include classroom and online instruction. This program is open to veterans of all eras and does not affect GI Bill eligibility. VA is now accepting ALP applications and veterans are encouraged to apply as soon as possible as space is limited. Learning Hubs will be launched in 27 cities this year and are available to all veterans and transitioning service members. Courses will offer training to improve veteran employability in various high demand fields, and will feature online and in person components. Following course completion, veterans will receive verified training certificates. To learn more about ALPs and Learning Hubs, veterans are encouraged to email inquiries to: VeteranEmployment.firstname.lastname@example.org. To visit the ALP website, click here:http://benefits.va.gov/tap/alp.asp.
5. National POW/MIA Recognition Day 2015: The third Friday in September is designated as National POW/MIA Recognition Day every year. This year it falls on Sept.18, and VFW Posts nationwide will be recognizing those who were captured and returned, as well as remembering the 83,000 Americans who have yet to return home from their wars and their families who continue to hope and pray. A suggested POW/MIA Recognition Day speech is now available online in the member’s only section of www.vfw.org, and 2015 posters are now available for order or download from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency at: http://www.dpaa.mil/Families/Posters.aspx.
6. Seeking MIA Family Reference Samples: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency is seeking the public’s help to find and encourage more MIA families to donate a DNA sample to help speed the identification process of recovered remains. Currently, 89 percent of the Korean War’s 7,800 MIAs have a family reference sample on file, 84 percent for the Cold War’s 126 MIAs, and 81 percent of the Vietnam War’s 1,600 missing. But for World War II, it’s a dismal 4 percent of the 73,500 who are still missing. Each military service and the State Department has a service casualty office that can explain how to donate. For more information, go to: http://www.dpaa.mil/Families/ContactInformation.aspx.
7. Korean War MIA Identified: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced the identification of remains belonging to Army Sgt. Christopher Y. Vars, of Amherst, N.H., who was assigned to Company E, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, when he died fighting at North Korea’s Chosin Reservoir on Nov. 29, 1950. He will be buried with full military honors on a date and at a location yet to be announced.