VFW Action Corps Weekly, April 17, 2014

In This Issue:
1. VFW Counters ‘Crazy Vet’ Editorial
2. VFW Discusses Issues with Recovering Warrior Task Force
3. Medal of Honor to Go to OEF Soldier
4. Tricare Prime Update
5. Field Report: Alaska Discusses Veterans’ Issues with Senator Begich
6. Veterans Legislation Needs Your Help
7. Two WWII MIAs Recovered

1. VFW Counters ‘Crazy Vet’ Editorial: VFW National Commander Bill
Thien is asking all members and advocates to flood the New York Times
with good news stories to counter an opinion editorial published this
week that uses accused triple murderer Frazier Glenn Miller as the
focus of a piece, entitled Veterans and White Supremacy. “The
First Amendment protects the free speech and expression rights of this
young author, and the rights of the New York Times to publish it, but
it also protects my right to disagree with the message,” he said.
“The ‘crazy Vietnam veteran’ label isn’t talked about much these
days, yet despite 40 years of moving on with our lives and successfully
reintegrating into our communities, we all know the potential is just
another headline away,” he wrote in a letter to membership.
“The shooting on Sunday in Overland Park, Kan., was as senseless
as it is tragic, but we cannot allow political pundits, the media or
our academicians to use the failings of one to once again paint all of
us as damaged goods,” he said. “That is why I am asking that
you send your personal comments directly to the New York Times, but in
a positive manner, such as ‘I am a proud Vietnam veteran who came home
from war, went to work, raised a family, and continues to help give
back to my community and country. I am not damaged goods.’ Let them
hear our voices by writing today to letters@nytimes.com.”

2. VFW Discusses Issues with Recovering Warrior Task Force: This week,
VFW was given the opportunity to present our views on issues being
discussed as part of DOD’s Recovering Warrior Task Force (RWTF). The
RWTF was mandated as a part of the FY 2010 National Defense bill and is
tasked with providing DOD with recommendations on policies relating to
wounded warrior organizations and the care provided them as they
transition back to civilian life. The VFW’s testimony centered on the
issue of improperly diagnosing service members with psychiatric
disorders during discharge. Recent DOD data (2001-2010) shows that over
32,000 service members were diagnosed with a Personality Disorder or an
Adjustment Disorder at the time of their discharge. DOD’s own
directives call on the military branches to send the service member
through the disability evaluation process. VFW is concerned that those
improperly discharged who may suffer from PTSD or other mental health
disorders will not have access to the services they need. For complete
information on the RWTF and our testimony, click here:
http://rwtf.defense.gov/Meetings/FY2014BUSINESSMEETINGS/2014m21.aspx

3. Medal of Honor to Go to OEF Soldier: The president will award the
Medal of Honor to former Army Sgt. Kyle J. White on May 13 for
conspicuous gallantry while serving in Afghanistan on Nov. 9, 2007.
Then-Specialist White was a platoon radio telephone operator assigned
to C Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne
Brigade. He will become the seventh living recipient to be awarded the
Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. White separated from
the Army in July 2011 and now lives in Charlotte, N.C., where he works
as an investment analyst. Read more at
http://www.stripes.com/news/us/former-army-sgt-kyle-j-white-to-receive-medal-of-honor-1.278118

4. Tricare Prime Update: Later this month, many military retirees and
family members who lost access to TRICARE Prime when Prime Service
Areas changed last October will be eligible to re-enroll in Prime. On
April 28th, TRICARE will begin sending out letters to all affected
beneficiaries who live within 100 miles of a Military Treatment
Facility (MTF) with instructions on how to get back into Prime.
Retirees will have until the end of June to decide whether to make the
switch and those who wish to remain on Standard will not have to take
any action. This re-enrollment window was made possible by a
VFW-supported provision in the 2014 NDAA. Approximately 76,000
beneficiaries will receive the letters explaining their new benefit
options. For more information, visit:
http://www.tricare.mil/Welcome/CurrentTopics/ChangestoPSAs.aspx

5. Field Report: Alaska Discusses Veterans’ Issues with Senator Begich:
This week, VFW leaders in Alaska attended a Town Hall meeting with
Senator Mark Begich. Begich, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs
Committee spoke at length about S. 1982, comprehensive legislation that
will provide critical benefits and services to veterans and their
families. He also addressed his support for ending Sequestration and
the harm it continues to pose for DOD and VA programs. To read more
about the Town Hall in Kenai, AK; visit our blog at:
http://thevfw.blogspot.com/2014/04/field-report-alaska-discusses-veterans.html

6. Veterans Legislation Needs Your Help: As we enter into the second
week of congressional recess, we ask all of you to continue to advocate
for S.1982, the, “Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and
Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014. This legislation
addresses many of the VFW’s legislative priority goals and will expand
health care and other critical services to all generations of veterans,
but it needs your help. Congress returns to Washington on Monday, April
28 so continue to visit, call and email your Senators and urge them to
support and pass S. 1982 when they return to DC. To Take Action, click
here: http://capwiz.com/vfw/issues/alert/?alertid=63187016

7. Two WWII MIAs Recovered: The Defense POW/MIA Office announced the
identification of remains belonging to two Americans who had been
missing and unaccounted-for since World War II. Identified are:
* Army Pfc. William T. Carneal, 24, of Paducah, Ky., who will be buried
April 25 in his hometown. In mid-June 1944, the 27th Infantry Division
landed on Saipan as part of the Allied strategic goal of securing the
Marina Islands. Carneal was reported killed in action on July 7, 1944.
* U.S. Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Verne L. Gibb, 22, of Topeka, Kan., will
be buried April 23 in Leavenworth, Kan. On Oct. 23, 1945, Gibb was
piloting a C-47B Skytrain on a routine cargo mission from Burma to
India. The aircraft, along with three other crew and two passengers,
was never seen again.
Read more about their recovery stories at
http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/news/news_releases/

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