Action Corps Weekly – October 16, 2015
In This Issue:
1. No COLA in 2016; Higher Part B Premiums Possible
2. New Medal of Honor Recipient Announced
3. Grants Awarded to Train Veterans as Commercial Drivers
4. VA Launches Mobile App to Answer General Benefits Questions
5. Veterans Day in Washington
6. MIA Update
1. No COLA in 2016; Higher Part B Premiums Possible: The government announced this week that there will be no cost-of-living (COLA) adjustment next year for millions of military and federal civilian retirees, Social Security recipients, and veterans and survivors receiving Department of Veterans Affairs checks. COLA increases are tied to the Consumer Price Index, which has been flat due to low gasoline prices. Even so, some Medicare Part B enrollees — those who delayed receiving Social Security and those who aren’t eligible — could see their premiums increased by more than half, from the basic $105 per person per month to $159. Higher earners would pay more. A White House spokesman acknowledged that the potential premium increase was an unintended consequence resulting from calculating COLA adjustments. There have been Part B premium increases in the past, but a 52-percent increase in one year is unprecedented. Congress is working to prevent this from happening.
2. New Medal of Honor Recipient Announced: The White House announced this week that President Obama will present the Medal of Honor on Nov. 12 to retired Army Capt. Florent A. “Flo” Groberg for tackling a suicide bomber in Afghanistan’s Kunar province three years ago. He was serving at the time as a personal security detachment commander for Task Force Mountain Warrior, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. According to an Army Times article, the bomber’s explosive vest detonated, as did one worn by a second suicide bomber, killing four Americans and wounding several others. But, had it not been for Groberg’s quick recognition and reaction to a threat, the planned simultaneous detonations could have caused far more casualties. Groberg, 32, is a naturalized U.S. citizen born in France who had spent the past three years recovering from his wounds at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. He was medically retired in July. He becomes the 10th living and 17th overall recipient of the nation’s highest award for valor for actions in Afghanistan or Iraq. Read more at: http://www.armytimes.com/story/military/2015/10/11/embargo-embargo-4th-id-captain-receive-medal-honor-valor-asadabad/73656708/
3. Grants Awarded to Train Veterans as Commercial Drivers: The Department of Transportation recently announced that it has awarded $2.3 million in grants to 13 technical and community colleges around the country to train veterans and their families to get jobs in the high demand field of commercial truck driving. The recipients of the largest grants were given to the North Carolina Department of Transportation and to the Central Technical Center in Drumright, Oklahoma. The total grant amount of $2.3 million is double that of 2014. For more information including a complete list of grant awardees, click here: https://www.transportation.gov/briefing-room/fmcsa-awards-23-million-grants-help-train-veterans-jobs-commercial-truck-and-bus.
4. VA Launches Mobile App to Answer General Benefits Questions: VA has launched “311 Vet,” which allows veterans to ask questions regarding VA benefits through a mobile app or text messages. If a veteran’s question is in VA’s database, the answer will appear instantly. Questions not in VA’s database are routed to benefits specialists, who VA says will respond within minutes. For more information, visit: http://www.311vet.com/.
5. Veterans Day in Washington: VFW Posts everywhere will be recognizing Veterans Day on Nov. 11. Visitors to Washington can join in the national salute starting at the World War II Memorial at 9 a.m., at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery at 11 a.m., and at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at 1 p.m. More updates will be posted on the respective websites at: WWII Memorial, http://www.wwiimemorialfriends.org/news-and-events/news-events; Arlington, www.arlingtoncemetery.mil; and The Wall, http://www.vvmf.org/2015-veterans-day-rsvp.
6. MIA Update: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has announced burial dates for four Korean War soldiers whose remains had been previously identified and returned to their families. To be buried with full military honors are:
– Army Cpl. Grant H. Ewing, 28, will be buried Oct. 19 in his hometown of Fort Lupton, Colo. Ewing was assigned to Battery C, 38th Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, which was deployed north and east of the town of Kunu-ri, North Korea. On Nov. 25, 1950, his division was attacked by Chinese forces, which forced them to withdraw south through a series of Chinese roadblocks known as “the Gauntlet.” Ewing was reported missing in action. It would be later learned he was captured by Chinese forces, but died in a POW camp in February 1951. Read more at:http://www.dpaa.mil/NewsStories/NewsReleases/tabid/10159/Article/622614/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-accounted-for-ewing.aspx.
– Army Cpl. George H. Mason, 19, will be buried Oct. 20 in his hometown of Byhalia, Miss. Mason was assigned to 2nd Reconnaissance Company, 2nd Infantry Division, which was deployed near Chuam-ni, South Korea, when their defensive line was attacked by Chinese forces and forced to withdraw south to a more defensible position. Mason was reported as missing in action on Feb. 14, 1951. Read more at:http://www.dpaa.mil/NewsStories/NewsReleases/tabid/10159/Article/623136/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-accounted-for-mason.aspx.
– Army Cpl. Robert V. Witt, 20, of Bellflower, Calif., will be buried Oct. 24 in Whittier, Calif. Witt was assigned to 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 31st Regimental Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division. The 31st RCT, historically known as Task Force Faith, was deployed east of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea when it was attacked by overwhelming numbers of Chinese
forces. Witt was reported as missing in action on Dec. 2, 1950. It was later learned he had been captured, but died in a North Korean prisoner of war camp on Jan. 31, 1951.
– Army Cpl. Robert E. Meyers, 21, of Greencastle, Pa., will be buried Oct. 26 in Arlington National Cemetery. Meyers, who was assigned to Company A, 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, was declared missing on Dec. 1, 1950, after his unit was involved in combat operations in the vicinity of Sonchu, North Korea. His remains were among those returned after the war, but unidentifiable at the time, and subsequently buried as an “unknown” in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii, also known as the “Punchbowl.” Read more at:http://www.dpaa.mil/NewsStories/NewsReleases/tabid/10159/Article/622619/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-accounted-for-meyers.aspx.