VFW Washington Weekly, July 13, 2012

In This Issue:
1. Obama, Romney Coming to VFW Convention:
2. House Passes Two VFW-Supported Bills
3. VFW Education Package Moves in House
4. VFW Reacts to Military Compensation Survey
5. VFW Calls For International Treaty for Disability Rights
6. MIA Recovery Operations to Resume in India
7. Ten MIAs Identified
 
1. Obama, Romney Coming to VFW Convention: It was announced this week that both President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney will address the 113th VFW National Convention in Reno on July 23 and 24, respectively. VFW National Commander Richard DeNoyer said he was grateful to both the president and governor for honoring a long standing VFW tradition that provides a platform for those seeking the nation’s highest office to address issues of importance directly to veterans, military service members and their families. Read more at www.vfw.org.
 
2. House Passes Two VFW-Supported Bills: Congress returned from the Fourth of July recess this week to pass two VFW-supported bills that would increase cost-of-living allowances, or COLA, for veterans in 2013 (H.R. 4114) and direct federal agencies to recognize military training for federal licenses (H.R. 4155). The Senate later in the week passed H.R. 4155, which means the bill now awaits the President’s signature. To learn more about each of these bills and the VFW’s efforts to get them approved, go to http://www.vfwonthehill.org/2012/07/house-passes-two-veterans-bills.html.
 
3. VFW Education Package Moves in House: The House VA Committee hosted a mark-up this week and passed three major pieces of veterans’ legislation supported by the VFW, to include a veterans’ education package directly inspired by VFW advocacy efforts. The three bills were the Improving Transparency of Education Opportunities for Veterans Act (H.R. 4057); the Veterans Fiduciary Reform Act (H.R. 5948); and the Military Family Home Protection Act (H.R. 5747). Each bill was extensively amended to include more than a dozen other VFW-supported legislative proposals. To learn more about each of the bills and to find links to VFW testimony on each of the issues, click on http://www.vfwonthehill.org/2012/07/vfws-education-package-among-veterans.html.
 
4. VFW Reacts to Military Compensation Survey: The VFW was on hand at the National Press Club to hear the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments unveil its report from a recent survey of service members, veterans, military families and retirees about military compensation. The VFW was harshly critical of the proposed survey when it was announced in January, and continues to voice concerns over how the Pentagon will receive the results. To read the survey, VFW’s reaction or learn more about the press conference, click here: http://www.vfwonthehill.org/2012/07/vfw-reacts-to-survey-on-military.html.
 
5. VFW Calls For International Treaty for Disability Rights: The VFW was on hand this week for a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the Senate ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Immediately following the hearing, VFW Legislative Director Ray Kelley joined Senators John McCain and Dick Durbin for a press conference, calling for the treaty. Learn more about CRPD and this week’s press conference at http://www.vfwonthehill.org/2012/07/vfw-calls-for-international-treaty-for.html.
 
6. MIA Recovery Operations to Resume in India: The U.S. and India have agreed to resume remains recovery activities this fall in parts of Northeastern India. The Defense Department believes there are approximately 400 unaccounted-for service members from some 90 aircraft crashes in India during World War II. The U.S. possesses information on eighteen known crash sites and continues to develop information on others.  Read more at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/news/news_releases/2012/release_remains_recovey_in_india.pdf.
 
7. Ten MIAs Return Home: The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced the identification of remains belonging to 10 servicemen missing from World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Returned home are:
·         Marine Corps Tech. Sgt. James A. Sisney, 19, of Redwood City, Calif. On April 22, 1944, Sisney was aboard a PBJ-1 aircraft that failed to return from a night training mission over the island of Espiritu Santo, in what is known today as Vanuatu. None of the seven Marines on the aircraft were recovered at that time.
·         Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Warren G. Moxley, 23, of Charleston, Mo. On March 15, 1945, Moxley was flying an F-6C aircraft when he crashed near Asbach, Germany. Another American pilot flying in the same mission witnessed the crash but did not see a parachute deploy.
·         Army Cpl. Pryor Gobble, 18, of Jonesville, Va. In late November 1950, units of the 31st Infantry Regiment were advancing along the eastern banks of the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea, when enemy forces overran their position. After the battle, Gobble was reported missing in action on approximately Dec. 6, 1950.
·         Air Force Col. Joseph Christiano, 43, of Rochester, N.Y.; Col. Derrell B. Jeffords, 40, of Florence, S.C.; Lt. Col. Dennis L. Eilers, 27, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Chief Master Sgt. William K. Colwell, 44, Glen Cove, N.Y.; Chief Master Sgt. Arden K. Hassenger, 32, of Lebanon, Ore.; and Chief Master Sgt. Larry C. Thornton, 33, Idaho Falls, Idaho. On Dec. 24, 1965, the crew was aboard an AC-47D aircraft nicknamed “Spooky” that failed to return from a combat strike mission in southern Laos. A “mayday” signal was sent, but all contact was lost with the crew, and the ensuing search was unsuccessful.
·         Air Force 1st Lt. Robert E. Bennett III, 25, of Springfield, N.J.. On Dec. 13, 1967, Bennett and another officer were flying an F-4C Phantom II aircraft that crashed during a close-air support mission in Tra Vinh Binh Province, South Vietnam. Both men ejected and were seen landing in the Co Chien River. The other officer was rescued immediately by a nearby U.S. Navy patrol boat, but Bennett sank and presumably drowned.
Read their individual recovery stories at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/news/news_releases/.

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