VFW Action Corps Weekly – June 17, 2016
In This Issue:
- Tell Your Members of Congress to Improve VA Health Care
- House Hearing on VA Paper Record Management
- House Hearing on Strategies for Veterans Seeking Jobs
- Senate Passes Defense Authorization
- White House Summit on United State of Women
- VFW Supports Expanding Fertility Treatment Options for Veterans
- SCOTUS Rules for Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses
- Women Veterans Sought for Registry
- MIA Update
- Tell Your Members of Congress to Improve VA Health Care: Politicians, pundits and politically-motivated organizations are using the national crisis in access to care at the Department of Veterans Affairs as justification to dismantle and privatize the VA health care system, with some even proposing that veterans be charged for their service-connected care. The VFW says no! Contact your members of Congress and let them know that VA health care reform must be based on the needs and preferences of veterans, not political rhetoric: http://capwiz.com/vfw/issues/alert/?alertid=72925626.
- House Hearing on VA Paper Record Management: The House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs held a hearing on Wednesday to discuss the management of paper records within the Veterans Benefits Administration. The hearing was called after the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General investigated 438,000 documents that regional offices had been shredding. According to VAOIG, 155 of those documents were related to veterans’ claims, and 130 of them were inappropriate to shred and either affected or could have affected someone’s claim. VBA defended itself by saying the issue was a human error, while VAOIG argued it was a systematic error. To watch the hearing, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7OC7Sk0C4U.
- House Hearing on Strategies for Veterans Seeking Jobs: The House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity held a hearing Wednesday to discuss innovative ways to help veterans seeking employment in the modern world. Last month, the committee discussed how to better place veterans in technologically based jobs. This month was a continuance of that discussion, but was more focused on the holistic approach of how to best place veterans successfully into the economy. To watch the hearing, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLsIOr3fzFI.
- Senate Passes Defense Authorization: On Tuesday, the Senate passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017. While S. 2943 calls for $206 billion in spending, it also calls on retirees to pay more for their health care, provides less housing assistance to married military couples, and provides only a 1.6 percent pay increase for our active force. The bill also requires women to register with the Selective Service System, and includes language that would require discharge review boards to give liberal consideration to petitions to discharge status if the service members have PTSD, TBI or related conditions to their military service. It is clear that sequestration and arbitrary budget caps are forcing DOD and Congress to push cost burdens onto our military families and retirees. As the differences between the Senate and House versions are negotiated through the conference process, the VFW will work to mitigate the financial burdens placed on our service members, their families and retirees.
- White House Summit on United State of Women: Over 5,000 women gathered on Tuesday and Wednesday this week in Washington, D.C., for the first ever White House Summit on The United State of Women. In attendance at the event were President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Oprah Winfrey, Amy Poehler and many more. Throughout the two-day event, panel discussions were held on important topics for women, including health care, education, violence against women and women in the military. Dr. Jill Biden, who was not able to attend, recorded a video discussing women in the military, issues they come across and the amazing things they do for our country. Following her video, Gen. Lori Robinson, commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command, made remarks to the crowd regarding her experiences and pride toward females who serve our country. To learn more about the summit, visit: http://www.theunitedstateofwomen.org/. To watch Gen. Robinson’s remarks, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQpi2Bpvclw.
- VFW Supports Expanding Fertility Treatment Options for Veterans: On Monday, the VFW sent a letter to the members of the conference committee currently deliberating the differences between Senate and House appropriations bills for military construction and VA. In the letter, the VFW made clear that it is unacceptable for veterans to incur debt to start a family or forgo having children altogether simply because VA is prohibited from treating their service-connected infertility. To read the letter, visit: http://www.vfw.org/News-and-Events/Articles/2016-Articles/VFW-Supports-Expanding-Fertility-Treatment-Options-for-Veterans/
- SCOTUS Rules for Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses: The Supreme Court of the United States ruled unanimously against the Department of Veterans Affairs yesterday for failing to comply with a law aimed at increasing the number of federal contracts awarded to disabled veteran-owned small businesses. The eight justices sided with Kingdomware Technologies, a disabled veteran-owned contractor based in Maryland, which VA did not consider as a potential contractor when it awarded a contract to a company that did not qualify as a veteran-owned small business. Federal law requires government agencies to use a bidding process if two or more disabled veteran-owned companies can offer service at a fair and reasonable price. A federal appeals court ruled VA did not have to follow the “Rule of Two” if it otherwise met the government’s goal of awarding between 7 and 12 percent of all contracts to veteran-owned small businesses. In overturning the lower court ruling, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said meeting annual benchmarks does not allow VA to ignore a mandatory contracting rule; that it applied to all contract determinations. Read the 16-page ruling at: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/15pdf/14-916_6j37.pdf.
- Women Veterans Sought for Registry: The Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation is reaching out to the public to raise awareness and support for its memorial, education center and registry. Its 33,000-square-foot building opened in 1997 at the gateway to Arlington National Cemetery. Its mission is to recognize all women who served in the armed forces. It is the only major national memorial to honor all of our nation’s 3 million service women, yet its registry only lists less than 10 percent of those who have served or are serving. Register at: www.womensmemorial.org/Membership/reg.html.
- MIA Update: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced burial updates and the identification of remains of six soldiers and two Marines who had been missing in action from World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Returning home for burial with full military honors are:
— Army Sgt. 1st Class Alan L. Boyer, 22, of Chicago, will be buried June 22 in Arlington National Cemetery. On March 28, 1968, Boyer was a member of an 11-man reconnaissance team on a classified mission inside Laos when they were attacked by enemy forces and requested emergency extraction. The Air Force CH-3 extraction helicopter came under heavy fire, and after recovering seven team members, began pulling away. Boyer was reportedly climbing the rope ladder when it broke. A search team was inserted into the area four days later but found no evidence of Boyer or the three other team members. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/NewsStories/NewsReleases/tabid/10159/Article/801292/soldier-missing-from-vietnam-war-accounted-for-boyer.aspx.
— Marine Pvt. Palmer S. Haraldson, 31, of Lincoln, Neb., will be buried June 22 in Fort Dodge, Iowa. In November 1943, Haraldson was assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands. Haraldson reportedly died on the third day of the battle, Nov. 22, 1943.
— Army Master Sgt. Richard Davis, 30, of Black Lick, Pa., will be buried June 24 in Blairsville, Pa. In early November 1950, Davis was a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, deployed near Unsan, North Korea, when it was engaged by an overwhelming number of Chinese forces. Davis was reported missing in action as a result of the battle on Nov. 2, 1950.
— Army Cpl. Charles B. Crofts, is scheduled to be buried July 9 in Shelley, Idaho. In late November 1950, Crofts was a member of Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, deployed east of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea when it was engaged by an overwhelming number of Chinese forces. Crofts was reported missing in action on Dec. 2, 1950.
— Army Cpl. Frederick G. Collins Jr., from California, died in a Japanese POW camp in the Philippines on Nov. 19, 1942. He was assigned to the 263rd Quartermaster Company, Quartermaster Corps. Burial details to come.
— Marine Pfc. Roland E. Schaede, 22, of Maywood, Ill. In November 1943, Schaede was assigned to Company M, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands. Schaede reportedly died on the first day of the battle, Nov. 20, 1943. Burial details to come.
— Army Pfc. William R. Butz, of Clark County, Wash., died fighting in North Korea on Dec. 12, 1950. He was assigned to Company K, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. Burial details to come.
— Army Sgt. Harold L. Curtis, died fighting in North Korea on Dec. 12, 1950. He was assigned to Company I, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. Burial details to come.