VFW Action Corps Weekly
November 9, 2018
1. Veterans Day in Washington: VFW National Commander B.J. Lawrence will be commemorating Veterans Day in our nation’s capital along with thousands of veterans, service members, their families and supporters. Visitors to Washington are invited to join in a number of Veterans Day commemorations starting on Saturday at 6 p.m. with a candlelight ceremony at the Vietnam Women’s Memorial. On Sunday there will be Veterans Day ceremonies at the National World War II Memorial at 9 a.m., followed by Arlington National Cemetery at 11 a.m., the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at 1 p.m., the National World War I Memorial Site at Pershing Park at 2 p.m., and the Korean War Veterans Memorial at 4 p.m. In addition, VFW’s National Veterans Service directorate will be operating a service officers booth on the National Mall on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. just east of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The National World War I Centennial Commission will also be holding a number of events from today through Nov. 12. More details here.
2. TRICARE Prime and Select Open Season: On Nov. 12, TRICARE will kick off its first open season where Prime and Select beneficiaries can enroll in or change their health care coverage plan for 2019. The open season period will last until Dec. 10 and any changes made during this period will become effective on Jan. 1, 2019. If you are satisfied with your current plan then your coverage will continue automatically for 2019, as long as you remain eligible for coverage. Find out more about the open season and how to modify your existing health plan.
3. TRDP and FEDVIP Update: The current TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP) will end Dec. 31, 2018, and will be replaced by the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) dental coverage options. Vision plans will also be available to eligible TRICARE beneficiaries through FEDVIP. The first opportunity to enroll in FEDVIP is during the 2018 Federal Benefits Open Season, which runs from Nov. 12, 2018, through Dec. 10, 2018. Coverage begins on Jan. 1, 2019. In general, retired uniformed service members and their families who were eligible for TRDP in 2018 are eligible for FEDVIP dental coverage, and if enrolled in a TRICARE health plan, FEDVIP vision coverage, beginning in 2019. Family members of active-duty uniformed service members who are enrolled in a TRICARE health plan are eligible for FEDVIP vision coverage. Learn more.
4. VA Launches New VA.GOV: As part of a multi-year digital modernization effort, VA has reformatted VA.gov to consolidate information about VA programs. The consolidated website enables veterans to use their HealtheVets, DS Logon, or ID.me account to track the status of benefits and claims, refill prescriptions, message their doctors, and request a Veterans ID Card. Visit the new website.
5. Shop Amazon, Support the VFW Foundation: With the holidays quickly approaching, online shoppers have the opportunity to assist America’s veterans, service members, and their families by shopping at AmazonSmile and selecting the VFW Foundation as their charity of choice. Amazon will donate 0.5 percent of the total purchase price to the Foundation upon checkout. Items eligible for donations are indicated on the products’ pages. Donations to the VFW Foundation support many vital troop support programs, such as financial grants to help military families during emergencies, veterans’ scholarships, assistance with filing VA claims, and more. You can even select the VFW Foundation as your AmazonSmile charity of choice after the holidays are over. Call the Foundation at (816) 968-2720 if you have any questions.
6. MIA Update: This week, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced one new identification, and the burial date and location for four previously identified servicemen. Returning home with full military honors are:
— Army Air Forces Pfc. Joseph I. Natvik, 20, of Madison, Wis., whose remains were previously identified, will be buried Nov. 25 in Columbus, Wis. Natvik was a flight engineer assigned to the 1330 Army Air Force Base Unit, Air Transport Command. On July 17, 1945, his aircraft crashed in a remote area en route from Jorhat, India, to Hsinching, China. All four passengers were declared deceased after an extensive search effort failed to identify the crash site. Read about Natvik.
— Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Robert L. Zehetner, 19, of Brooksville, Fla., whose remains were previously identified, will be buried Nov. 30 in Bushnell, Fla. Zehetner was a member of Company F, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll. Zehetner died on the first day of the battle, Nov. 20, 1943. His name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the Punchbowl, in Honolulu, along with others who are missing from World War II. Read about Zehetner.
— Marine Corps Sgt. Dwight W. Randall, 22, of Fresno, Calif., whose remains were previously identified, will be buried Nov. 20 in his hometown. Randall was a member of Company C, 2nd Amphibian Tractor Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, in an attempt to secure the island. Over several days of intense fighting at Tarawa, approximately 1,000 Marines and sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded, but the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Randall died on the first day of the battle, Nov. 20, 1943. Read about Randall.
— Navy Molder First Class Kenneth B. Armstrong, 36, of Seattle, whose remains were previously identified, will be buried Nov. 30 in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. Armstrong was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when Japanese aircraft attacked his ship on Dec. 7, 1941. Armstrong was one of 429 crewmen killed in the attack. Read about Armstrong.
— Navy Seaman 1st Class Kirby R. Stapleton was stationed aboard the USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft on Dec. 7, 1941. The battleship sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Stapleton. Interment services are pending. Read about Stapleton.
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