VFW Action Corps Weekly, July 2, 2015

In This Issue:
1. VA Programs for Veteran Families
2. Debt Relief for Corinthian Colleges Students
3. VA to Grant Benefits
4. Arkansas Purple Hearts Awarded
5. Neller Nominated to Lead Marine Corps
6. Tarawa Remains Recovered
7. Korean War MIA Identified
 
1. VA Programs for Veteran Families: A veteran’s family is vital to his or her recovery from physical or mental wounds. VA offers an array of programs and benefits to families who want to assist their veterans. Coaching into Care is a VA program created to provide a coaching service for family and friends of veterans who see that their veterans are in need of help. This program helps veteran families find ways to motivate their veterans to seek care and services for physical and mental health conditions. The service is free and provided by licensed clinical social workers and psychologists. The goal of the service is to help veterans and family members find appropriate services in their community. To learn more, visit: http://www.mirecc.va.gov/coaching/index.asp.
 
2. Debt Relief for Corinthian Colleges Students: Over the past six years, the VFW has worked to provide veterans with improved education consumer protections, and the federal and state governments have taken unprecedented actions to establish tougher regulations to prevent misleading claims by career colleges. They have cracked down on bad actors through investigations and enforcement to hold colleges accountable in order to improve the value of their programs, protect students from abusive colleges, and safeguard the interests of taxpayers. Most recently, the federal government forced Corinthian Colleges to shut their doors. In response to these closings, the Department of Education has launched some important changes with regard to debt relief for students who have attended the now defunct Heald, Everest and Wyotech colleges/universities, all part of the Corinthian Colleges consortium of schools. This information may be useful to service members, veterans, and family members who were enrolled and took on student loan debt at one of these schools. 
 
For more information on qualifying, go to: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/about/announcements/corinthian.
For the forms you need to turn in to your student loan servicer, go to:
3. VA to Grant Benefits: In response to the recent Supreme Court decision, the Department of Veterans Affairs will now grant marital benefits to veterans who are legally married, regardless of state residency. This move will provide previously denied disability, survivor and burial benefits to same sex couples. VA is currently writing the rules for the effective date for claims. The Action Corps Weekly will keep you updated as VA publishes its guidance regarding these benefits changes.    
 
4. Arkansas Purple Hearts Awarded: Purple Hearts were awarded Wednesday to the family of Army Pvt. William Andrew “Andy” Long, 23, of Conway, who was killed, and to Pvt. Quinton I. Ezeagwula, now 24, of Jacksonville, who survived after being shot nine times by Abdulhakim Muhammad outside a Little Rock military recruiting center on June 1, 2009. Prior to a recent change to federal law, Purple Hearts could only be awarded to military members killed or wounded by a foreign combatant. The American-born Muhammad, formerly known as Carlos Leon Bledsoe, pled guilty and is now serving a life sentence. Read more at: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/arkansas-soldiers-receive-purple-hearts-2009-attack-32158268.
 
5. Neller Nominated to Lead Marine Corps: Lt. Gen. Robert Neller has been nominated to become the 36th Commandant of the Marine Corps, succeeding the current Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford, who is expected to become the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  Neller is currently the commander of Marine Corps Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., and Marine Corps Forces Europe. He is a veteran of Iraq, Somalia and Panama. Read more at: http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/story/military/2015/07/01/neller-to-be-tapped-for-commandant/29567019/.
 
6. Tarawa Remains Recovered: Remains believed to belong to up to three dozen Marines killed during the 1943 World War II Battle of Tarawa have been recovered and are being returned to the U.S. for identification. One of the Marines is believed to be 1st Lt. Alexander “Sandy” Bonnyman Jr., 33, of Knoxville, Tenn., who would be posthumously awarded a Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during the four day battle, fought Nov. 20-23, 1943, which saw more than 1,000 Marines killed in action. The remains were recovered by History Flight, a Florida-based nonprofit organization that is assisting U.S. government MIA search and recovery efforts through an expanded public-private partnership opportunity. Read more at: http://www.military.com/daily-news/2015/07/01/long-lost-medal-of-honor-recipients-remains-be-returned-family.html.
 
7. Korean War MIA Identified: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced the identification of remains belonging to Army Sgt. Joseph M. Snock Jr., 21, of Apollo, Penn., who will be buried July 6 with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery. Snock was assigned to the Heavy Mortar Company, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, 31st Regimental Combat Team, historically known as Task Force Faith. He would be reported missing in action on Nov. 29, 1950, as his unit was conducting a fighting withdrawal to positions south of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. Read more at: http://www.defense.gov/Releases/Release.aspx?ReleaseID=17365.