VFW Action Corps Weekly
October 9, 2020
In This Issue:
1. The VFW Podcast is Here
2. Some VA Benefit Services to Resume In-Person
3. Women Veterans and VA Benefits
4. VA #FightFlu Initiative
5. MIA Update
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1. The VFW Podcast is Here: The VFW has begun its next journey of communicating with veterans, service members, and military families through The VFW Podcast, its newest communication platform. “The VFW Podcast will feature one-of-a-kind perspectives and insightful conversations concerning veteran legislation, educational and financial assistance programs, national veterans’ services, and critical initiatives from our lens,” said VFW National Commander Harold “Hal” Roesch II. The VFW Podcast will be available the first Wednesday of each month for the remainder of 2020 and will be found on all major platforms to include Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, Deezer, Stitcher, Pandora, and on the VFW website. Beginning in 2021, The VFW Podcast will air the first and third Wednesdays of the month. The slated guest list will consist of congressional leadership, Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs senior officials, VFW national leaders, and everyday veterans doing amazing work in their communities. Listen to the podcast.
2. Some VA Benefit Services to Resume In-Person: VA announced the reopening of in-person benefit services in select locations. Currently, 11 regional offices are open to the public. The reopening of other regional offices will depend on local conditions. They will follow CDC guidelines to include social distancing, face coverings, hand sanitizer, and asking sick individuals to stay home. Veterans can still access VA online or by phone. Check the status of your regional office.
3. Women Veterans and VA Benefits: Women veterans are the fastest growing veteran demographic. A wide variety of VA benefits are available to eligible women veterans. These benefits include disability compensation, pension, education and training, health care, home loans, insurance, vocational rehabilitation and employment, and burial. VA also has Center for Women Veterans, Women Veteran Coordinators, health care for women veterans, and benefits for survivors of military sexual trauma. Learn how to get started with Women Veterans Health Services. Women Veterans Call Center can assist with further information through their online chat, text, or call 1.855.VA.WOMEN.
4. VA #FightFlu Initiative: VA has expanded the options eligible veterans have on where they can receive a seasonal no-cost flu shot. Veterans can now receive a standard-dose or high-dose flu shot at their local VA health care facility, in-network community retail pharmacy, or an urgent care location. If you are eligible, you only need to present a valid, government-issued ID at a covered location. Learn more about eligibility and location options.
5. MIA Update: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced one burial update and three new identifications for service members who have been missing and unaccounted-for from WWII and Korea. Returning home for burial with full military honors are:
— Marine Corps Reserve Pvt. Jacob Cruz, 18, of Los Angeles, was a member of Company D, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 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, while the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Cruz died on the third day of battle, Nov. 22, 1943. Cruz will be buried Nov. 13, 2020, in his hometown. Read about Cruz.
— Army Cpl. Robert C. Agard, Jr., 19, was a member of 2nd Platoon, 24th Reconnaissance Company, 24th Infantry Division. He was reported missing in action on July 19, 1950, while conducting a night recon patrol with his unit near Taejon, South Korea. He was never found, nor were any remains recovered that could be identified as Agard. He was declared non-recoverable in January 1956. Interment services are pending. Read about Agard.
— Marine Pfc. Henry E. Ellis, 22, was a member of Headquarters Company, 1st Service Battalion, 1st Marine Division. He was killed in action on Nov. 30, 1950, while defending the convoy of which he was a member near Koto-ri, North Korea. His body was not immediately recovered, though many deceased Marines were later recovered and buried in the United Nations Cemetery at Koto-ri as UN forces withdrew from the area. Interment services are pending. Read about Ellis.
— Marine Corps Cpl. Elmer E. Drefahl, 22, 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 Drefahl.. Interment services are pending. Read about Drefahl.
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