In observance of Veterans Day, this week’s issue is being sent today.
In This Issue:
1. National Commander Duffy Lays out Expectations
2. Veterans Day in Washington
3. VFW on the Mall
4. MyVA Transformation Process
5. Extension of Presumptive Period for Gulf War Illness
6. VA and Social Security Partner for Faster Service
7. America Voted
8. MIA Update
1. National Commander Duffy Lays out Expectations: Today, at the National Press Club in Washington, VFW’s National Commander Brian Duffy laid out VFW’s expectations for the next president and Congress. First and foremost, Duffy stated, “the VFW expects effective leadership, management, and accountability from everyone who is charged with caring for veterans, service members and their families.” Quality delivery of health care and benefits hinges on VA’s ability to quickly and effectively hire quality employees and when necessary, fire bad employees. Ending sequestration and raising the budget caps so Congress can move forward with expanding and improving benefits and services has been and will continue to be a top priority. Duffy continued to explain the harmful effects that sequestration has on our military readiness and quality of life for our all-volunteer force. Duffy ended his opening statement by stating the next president and Congress must bring “action, patience and clarity” to their jobs so veterans, service members, and their families are cared for in the manner in which our nation expects. To read his full statement, click here: http://www.vfw.org/-/media/VFWSite/Files/Advocacy/CIC-Statement-111016.pdf.
2. Veterans Day in Washington: VFW Posts everywhere will be recognizing Veterans Day on Friday, 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. Representing the VFW at a White House breakfast will be National Commander Brian Duffy and his wife, Jean. The Chief will also lay wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery and the Vietnam Wall accompanied by VFW Auxiliary National President Colette Bishop and her husband, Dave. More information on the ceremonies can be found at: WWII Memorial, http://www.wwiimemorialfriends.org/news-and-events/news-events; Arlington, http://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil; and The Wall, http://www.vvmf.org/news/article=Free-Family-Tours-of-the-Vietnam-Veterans-Memorial-Set-for-Veterans-Day-Weekend.
3. VFW on the Mall: Tomorrow on Veterans Day, staff members from VFW National Veterans Service will be on the National Mall to provide information and answer questions. As part of VFW National Commander Brian Duffy’s Mental Wellness Campaign, VFW partners Give an Hour and PatientsLikeMe will also be on hand at the VFW booth to discuss mental wellness and share resources for veterans.
4. MyVA Transformation Process: This week, VA released a major update on the MyVA transformation –– Secretary McDonald’s effort to transform VA into the top customer service agency in the federal government. This third edition of the program’s semi-annual report details progress VA has made to improve trust, expedite health care appointments and disability claims, reduce veteran homelessness and other progress to provide veterans more services in better time. To read the full report, visit: http://www.va.gov/myva/docs/MyVA-3-0-v9-digital-11816.pdf.
5. Extension of Presumptive Period for Gulf War Illness: VA announced that it will extend to December 31, 2021, the date by which Gulf War veterans are able to apply for presumptive disability compensation for Gulf War Illness and other conditions associated with service in the 1991 Gulf War, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and functional gastrointestinal disorders. The presumptive period for these illnesses was set to expire on December 31, 2016. For information on research regarding the causes and effective treatments for Gulf War Illness, visit: http://cdmrp.army.mil/GWIRP.
6. VA and Social Security Partner for Faster Service: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) launched a new Health IT initiative that enables VA to share medical records electronically with Social Security Disability processors. This secure process will save time and money, resulting in better service for veterans and dependents who apply for Social Security Disability Benefits. For decades, SSA obtained medical records through a manual process. This new national initiative puts in place an automated process to obtain veterans’ medical records entirely electronically. “This SSA-VA partnership is another example of VA’s leadership in interoperability efforts among federal partners,” said VA Secretary, Robert McDonald. “Increasing federal partnerships to improve operation and resource coordination across agencies is among VA’s 12 Breakthrough Priorities for 2016.” To learn more about VA health care, visit: www.va.gov/health.
7. America Voted: On Tuesday, Americans went to the polls to cast ballots for president, 34 seats in the Senate, and all 435 seats in the House of Representatives. The VFW is committed to working with those who were elected to ensure that laws and regulations favor our military, veterans and their families. We encourage you to meet your members of Congress and to take the 2017 VFW Priority Goals with you to inform them of our position on issues. To view a printable version the 2017 VFW Priority Goals brochure, click here:
8. MIA Update: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has announced the identification of remains and burial updates for two Americans who had been missing in action since World War II and Korea. Being returned home for burial with full military honors are:
— Marine Pfc. Ben H. Gore, 20, will be buried Nov. 14 in his hometown of Hopkinsville, Ky. Gore was assigned to Special Weapons Group, 2nd Defense Battalion, Fleet Marine Force, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands. Over several days of intense fighting, approximately 1,000 Marines and sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded in securing the island; the enemy force of 4,700 was virtually annihilated. Gore died of his wounds on Nov. 25, 1943. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/News-Releases/Article/997584/marine-missing-from-world-war-ii-accounted-for-gore/.
— Army Pfc. Daniel Hunt is scheduled to be interred on Dec. 2 in Phoenix. Hunt was a member of Company A, 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, in the vicinity of Hill 1030, conducting operations in an area referred to as Heartbreak Ridge. He would be reported killed in action, body not recovered on Sept. 28, 1951. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/997596/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-identified-hunt/.