VFW Action Corps Weekly – September 18, 2015
In This Issue:
1. VFW Testifies at Senate Committee Hearing
2. House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Approves Several Bills
3. VFW Hosts Eisenhower Memorial Commission
4. Gulf War Vets Needed for Research
5. National POW/MIA Recognition Day
6. Train Attack Heroes Receive Medals
7. Four MIAs Identified
1. VFW Testifies at Senate Committee Hearing: On Wednesday, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a hearing to discuss pending legislation. VFW Deputy Legislative Director Aleks Morosky testified, offering the VFW’s comments. The bills on the agenda covered a wide range of topics including health care, survivors’ benefits, and the GI Bill. The Committee also focused on two bills that would create greater VA employee accountability. To read the VFW’s full statement and view a webcast of the hearing, visit: http://www.veterans.senate.gov/hearings/pending-legislation09162015.
2. House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Approves Several Bills: On Thursday, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs considered and approved seven bills related to programs and policies affecting the Department of Veterans Affairs. These bills include H.R. 677, which would allow for COLA increases to disability compensation to occur without needed action by Congress. H.R. 2915 would help end suicide by female veterans. H.R. 3106 would affect construction at VA by shifting larger projects to the Army Corps of Engineers for management and appointing a special Assistant Inspector General for construction related issues. The VFW will continue to monitor all seven of these bills. For more information on these bills and to watch the hearing, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhb8wcb1fCg&feature=youtu.be.
3. VFW Hosts Eisenhower Memorial Commission: The VFW hosted a meeting on Thursday so the Eisenhower Memorial Commission could update a dozen veteran and military service organizations about the progress of the memorial, which Congress authorized in 1999 as a tribute to the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe during World War II and the 34th President of the United States. Attending the meeting at the VFW Washington Office were the commission chairman, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.); the finance campaign chairman, retired Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.); and the 28th Commandant of the Marine Corps and advisory committee cochairman, retired Gen. P.X. Kelley. The VFW supports the memorial through the passage of resolution 306 at this summer’s 116th National Convention in Pittsburgh.
4. Gulf War Vets Needed for Research: The War Related Illness and Injury Study Center at the VA in East Orange, N.J., currently has several research studies focused on Gulf War veterans who deployed to Operation Desert Shield/Storm, as well as non-deployed veterans of the same era. If you are a veteran from the 1990-91 era, or if you have a Gulf War illness and would like to know more about the research, please call 1-800-248-8005 or visit their Gulf War Research page at: http://www.warrelatedillness.va.gov/research/volunteer/nj-wriisc.asp.
5. National POW/MIA Recognition Day: The VFW Washington Office was present at today’s National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremony at the Pentagon, joining VFW Posts across the nation in honoring and recognizing the service and sacrifice of almost 140,000 former American prisoners of war and the 83,000 Americans who continue to be listed as missing and unaccounted for from World War II forward. Read how one family continues to suffer the pain of unknowing here: http://www.military.com/daily-news/2015/09/14/list-of-troops-missing-since-wwii-still-tops-83000.html.
6. Train Attack Heroes Receive Medals: Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul Selva presented medals to the three Americans who stopped a radical terrorist on a Paris-bound train last month. At the Thursday ceremony, Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone received the Airman’s Medal and Purple Heart Medal, Army National Guard Specialist Alek Skarlatos received the Soldier’s Medal, and civilian Anthony Sadler received the Department of Defense Medal for Valor. The Airman’s and Soldier’s Medals rank ninth in the order of precedence, immediately above the Bronze Star. The Defense Medal for Valor was created soon after 9/11 to recognize government employees and private citizens who perform acts of heroism or sacrifice. The three childhood friends were on vacation Aug. 21 when they subdued, disarmed and hogtied a heavily armed gunman on a train heading from Amsterdam to Paris. France awarded all three Americans the Legion of Merit within days of the attack. After the Pentagon presentation, the three young men met with President Obama in the Oval Office.
7. Four MIAs Identified: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has identified the remains belonging to two World War II Marines and two Korean War soldiers. Being returned home for burial with full military honors at a time and date yet to be determined are:
– Marine Corps Pfc. James P. Reilly and Cpl. James D. Otto, who were both killed in action on Nov. 20, 1943, while fighting on the Pacific island of Tarawa. They were assigned to Company L, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division.
– Army Cpl. Robert E. Meyers, of Franklin County, Pa., was assigned to Company A, 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, when he died fighting in North Korea on Dec. 1, 1950.
– Army Cpl. George H. Mason, who was assigned to the 2nd Reconnaissance Company, 2nd Infantry Division, died while fighting in North Korea on Feb. 14, 1951.