VFW Action Corps Weekly
December 4, 2020
In This Issue:
1. Remembering Our Fallen at Pearl Harbor
2. NDAA to Add Agent Orange Conditions
3. VFW Testifies Before House Committee
4. Latest VFW Podcast Available
5. New DFAS Survivor SBP Newsletter
6. Women’s Health Transition Training Program
7. VA Hosts “Faith in the Holiday Season” Webinar
8. TRICARE Select Enrollment Fee to Start Jan. 1
9. MIA Update
Download this week’s Action Corps Weekly in PDF format.
1. Remembering Our Fallen at Pearl Harbor: On the 79th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the VFW solemnly honors the 2,403 men and women who died in the devastating attack on Dec. 7, 1941. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremonies honoring the fallen will be held virtually this year. The Pearl Harbor National Memorial will hold a live Commemorative Ceremony on Dec. 7, 2020, at approximately 7:45 a.m. GMT-10. In addition, there will also be a virtual event, Beyond Pearl Harbor: Untold Stories of WWII that will run from Dec. 4 – 6, 2020. Learn more.
2. NDAA to Add Agent Orange Conditions: On Wednesday, the final text of S. 4049, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (NDAA) was released, which includes a provision to add bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and parkinsonism to the list of conditions associated with exposure to Agent Orange. The VFW thanks all our advocates who took action and contacted their elected officials to urge them to keep this provision in the NDAA. The next step is for the House and Senate to vote on this legislation. Please stay tuned to the VFW Action Corps Weekly for updates about any possible VFW Action Alerts on this important legislation. Learn more.
3. VFW Testifies Before House Committee: On Wednesday, VFW National Legislative Service Director Patrick Murray testified before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs regarding proposed legislation. Murray thanked Ranking Member Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) for his many years of service to the Committee in recognition of his retiring at the conclusion of this Congress. Murray reaffirmed the VFW’s support of VA eligibility expansion, but stated the VFW disagrees with the intent of the specific proposal to establish an eligibility commission and voiced concerns regarding the open-ended nature and lack of defined direction of the proposed commission. Watch the hearing.
4. Latest VFW Podcast Available: On Wednesday, the latest episode of The VFW Podcast entitled Working Together for Veteran Welfare was released. In this episode VFW Adjutant General Kevin Jones chats about the importance of giving during the holiday season and how the VFW utilizes charitable dollars to help veterans, service members, and their families. VA Senior Advisor and Director of Community Engagement Anthony Love talks about VA’s efforts to lower veteran homelessness nationwide. Student Veterans of America (SVA) President and CEO Jared Lyon discusses the organization’s priorities and how student veterans can get involved in SVA on their campuses and in the virtual space.
5. New DFAS Survivor SBP Newsletter: The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) has launched a new twice-yearly Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) newsletter. This newsletter is specifically for survivors and SBP annuitants to assist with understanding the SBP program and how they can ensure their accounts are kept current. The VFW-supported elimination of the Widow’s Tax that was finalized last year will be first phase of implementation 2021. This first issue of the newsletter has a detailed explanation of what will happen during each phase of the elimination that will continue over the next two years. Read the newsletter.
6. Women’s Health Transition Training Program: Female service members and veterans can enroll in the Women’s Health Transition Training Program (WHTT) to learn about the specific services available for women at VA health care facilities. The program focuses on the information necessary for women to transition from active duty health care to VA health services, increasing the ability for them to proactively manage their health care. The program is offered online 10 times each week. The sessions are run by women, are unclassified, and confidential. Read more.
7. VA Hosts “Faith in the Holiday Season” Webinar: VA Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiative (CFOI) will be holding a webinar on Dec. 8, from 12 – 1 p.m. EST, to discuss the role of Faith during the holiday season. VA has partnered with its colleagues to offer encouraging comments of faith to all veterans and their families. The webinar will be hosted by the Director of VA Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiative Conrad Washington who will be joined by a variety of other panelists. Click here to join the webinar.
8. TRICARE Select Enrollment Fee to Start Jan. 1: DOD announced that TRICARE Select Group A retirees will be required to pay an enrollment fee beginning on Jan. 1, 2021. Congress directed the Defense Health Agency in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 to implement TRICARE Select retiree enrollment fees, but delayed the implementation. Group A is comprised of retirees and their family members if the sponsor’s initial enlistment or appointment occurred before Jan. 1, 2018. The enrollment fee is waived for medically retired individuals and their family members, and for survivors of active-duty deaths. During TRICARE Open Season, running now to Dec. 14, beneficiaries must set up an allotment with their regional contractors for the enrollment fee to begin on Jan. 1, 2021. Beneficiaries who do not set up their allotment by the deadline will be unenrolled due to nonpayment. These individuals would have previously had 90 days from the termination date to request reinstatement. However, recently the Defense Health Agency has agreed to extend the reinstatement period to 180 days. Learn more.
9. MIA Update: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced four new identifications for service members and two burial updates who have been missing and unaccounted-for from World War II. Returning home for burial with full military honors are:
— Navy Fire Controlman 2nd Class Harold F. Trapp, 24, and Navy Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class William H. Trapp, 23. were assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft on Dec. 7, 1941. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including the Trapp brothers. Interment services are pending. Read about the Trapp brothers.
— U.S. Navy Chief Carpenter’s Mate Tedd M. Furr, 39, was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft on Dec. 7, 1941. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Furr. Interment services are pending. Read about Furr.
— U.S. Navy Bandmaster James B. Booe, 42, was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft on Dec. 7, 1941. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Booe. Interment services are pending. Read about Booe.
— U.S. Navy Seaman 1st Class Carl S. Johnson, 20, of Phoenix, Arizona, was assigned to the battleship USS West Virginia, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft on Dec. 7, 1941. The USS West Virginia sustained multiple torpedo hits, but timely counter-flooding measures taken by the crew prevented it from capsizing, and it came to rest on the shallow harbor floor. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 106 crewmen, including Johnson. Johnson will be buried Jan. 15, 2021, in his hometown. Read about Johnson.
— U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Louis S. Doddo, 30, of South Norwalk, Connecticut, was a member of the 105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division. He was killed July 7, 1944, during a massive Japanese attack against the 105th on the island of Saipan. His remains were not known to have been recovered. The Army issued a finding of death on July 8, 1945. Doddo will be buried May 2021 in his hometown. Read about Doddo.
Click here to sign up new veterans’ advocates.
As always, we want to hear your advocacy stories. To share your stories or photos with us, simply email them directly to email@example.com.
View current and archived editions of the Action Corps Weekly.