The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United is saluting today’s [last week’s] decision by the Department of Veterans Affairs to begin accepting disability claims from veterans potentially exposed to Agent Orange-contaminated aircraft in the post-Vietnam era. The decision by VA Secretary Bob McDonald could now benefit as many as 1,500 to 2,100 Air Force and Air Force Reserve personnel who might suffer from any of 14 presumptive medical conditions that have been determined to be related to Agent Orange exposure.

The VA secretary made the decision to expand benefits following a 2015 report by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine on Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft. The report found evidence that those who served aboard or worked on the C-123 aircraft were exposed to the herbicide, both during and after Vietnam, when many of the aircraft remained in service for aeromedical transportation or in a mosquito abatement role back in the U.S.

“The VFW has been pushing for this decision for years,” said VFW National Commander John W. Stroud, “because something inside these aircraft was making people sick years after the plane last flew a defoliating mission in Vietnam. We thank the Institute of Medicine for determining a contributing link between exposure and the 14 medical conditions, and Secretary McDonald for making a quick call to care for more veterans.”

All airmen who were assigned to flight, ground or medical crew duties at Lockbourne/Rickenbacker Air Force Base in Ohio (the 906th and 907th Tactical Air Groups or 355th and 356th Tactical Airlift Squadrons), at Massachusetts’s Westover AFB (the 731st Tactical Air Squadron and 74th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron), or with the 758th Airlift Squadron in Pittsburgh, during the period 1969 to 1986, and who may have developed an Agent Orange-related disability, are encouraged to file a disability compensation claim through the VA’s eBenefits web portal (https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/), or to seek the free and expert assistance of a national VFW Service Officer at http://www.vfw.org/NVS/.

Read more about the today’s [last week’s] decision at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/20825/va-expands-disability-benefits-for-air-force-personnel-exposed-to-contaminated-c-123-aircraft/.

(via VFW.org)

WASHINGTON — The national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States said the U.S. House of Representatives is set to penalize disabled veterans this week if it votes to reduce the Department of Veterans Affairs budget request by more than $1.5 billion.

“The nationwide crisis in care and confidence that erupted in the VA last year was caused in many ways by a lack of adequate resourcing that only Congress is authorized to provide,” said John W. Stroud, who leads the 1.9 million-member VFW and its Auxiliaries. “That’s why the VFW is demanding that the House amend this bill to appropriate a funding level that fully funds VA.”

In its current form, the fiscal year 2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill makes across-the-board cuts to all VA discretionary accounts, and drastically underfunds medical care, major construction and Information Technology accounts. Stroud said across-the-board cuts to discretionary spending is what Congress created back in 2011, but by another name, sequestration. Now the House wants to impose its own sequester on a federal department whose sole mission is to care for wounded, ill and injured veterans.

“The VA cannot fulfill its mission without proper funding, but the House for whatever reason now wants to ration care, eliminate infrastructure projects, and stop improving upon the programs and services that the VA was created to provide,” said the VFW national commander. “This bill is bad for veterans and any vote for it is unconscionable, which is why we want veterans and advocates everywhere to get involved by urging their elected officials to fully fund the VA.”

Make your voices heard here.

via VFW.org

Washington – The federal initiative to provide timely decisions on disability payments to Veterans has crossed a major milestone in its final sprint to eliminate the backlog of Veterans’ benefits claims.

The major transformation effort to apply new technology and process solutions has paid off at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  It reduced its inventory of backlogged claims from a high of 611,000 claims in March of 2013 to fewer than 200,000 this week, while at the same time improving decision quality.

“Make no mistake, we’re not slowing down short of the finish line,” said Under Secretary for Benefits Allison Hickey. “Our goal is to eliminate the claims backlog by the end of 2015 – meaning all Veterans will receive timely and accurate decisions on their disability claims.”

Hickey credited a combination of factors for the 67-percent drop in backlog: first, the extra hours of work put in by dedicated benefits claims processors across the nation, who have worked evenings, Saturdays and Sundays to drive the backlog down; as well as procedural efficiencies backed by powerful automation tools and paperless claims processing. In addition, she cited the transformation of Veterans Benefits Administration’s training and quality assurance programs resulting in steady increases in the accuracy of decisions.

Just a few years ago, claims processors handled 5,000 tons of paper annually, an amount equivalent to 200 Empire State Buildings. In less than two years, VA converted claims processing to a 21st Century digital environment where claims for VA benefits and services can be submitted and processed, and benefits delivered, online.

Veterans increasingly are filing claims electronically from the start at https://www.ebenefits.va.gov.  Veterans can submit their applications online, upload their supporting documentation, and check the status of their claim through a multi-channel Web portal boasting nearly 60 self-service features.

(via VA Press Release)

Veterans may also visit their local VFW Post for assistance with their claims process.

The winners of the 2014-2015 National Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen scholarship competitions were named earlier this month at the National Legislative Conference in Washington DC.

Adam Densmore from the Department of Colorado was named the first-place winner of the $30,000 Voice of Democracy T.C. Selman Memorial Scholarship Award.  This year’s theme was “Why Veterans are Important to our Nation’s History and Future.”  Densmore was sponsored by VFW Post 3631 and Ladies Auxiliary in Aurora, Colorado.

YouTube Preview Image

The second-place winner, Jaycie Schenone, sponsored by VFW Post 6604 and Ladies Auxiliary in Folsom, California, received the $16,000 Charles Kuralt Memorial Scholarship Award. The third-place winner, Mackenzie Leishman, sponsored by VFW Post 2350 and Ladies Auxiliary in Elko, Nevada, received the $10,000 VFW Scholarship Award.

Ethan Schroeder from the Department of Pennsylvania was named first-place winner of a $5,000 award for his submission on this year’s theme “Why I Appreciate America’s Veterans.”  Schroeder was sponsored by VFW Post 92 and Ladies Auxiliary in New Kensington, Pennsylvania.

YouTube Preview Image

The second-place winner, Jordyn Mies, sponsored by VFW Post 7824 and Ladies Auxiliary Vancouver, Washington, will receive a $4,000 award. The third-place winner, Tracy Kruse, sponsored by VFW Post 2966 and Ladies Auxiliary in Scotland, South Dakota, will receive a $3,500 award.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 24, 2014

 New Process Will Reduce Processing Times and Improve Quality

 The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced that it is introducing a uniformed disability claims form to better serve Veterans, families and survivors. Standardizing the process by which Veterans file claims and initiate appeals will make it easier for Veterans and their survivors to clearly state what benefits they are seeking from VA and provide information that is necessary to process their claims and appeals. The new forms eliminate applicant guesswork, which often leads to delays in decisions and ultimately delays in receiving benefits. The new regulations go into effect in late March 2015.

“We must do everything that we can to make it as fast and easy as possible for Veterans and their survivors to file for and receive an accurate decision on their claim,” said VA Secretary Robert McDonald. “Our Veterans and survivors will know, at the outset of the claims process, what is needed, which removes subjective interpretation from the process. We want to eliminate any barriers that make it difficult for our Veterans or survivors to receive benefits to which they are entitled.”

In the past, a Veteran or survivor did not have to use a certain form to seek compensation or other benefits from VA.  Claims or appeals (Notice of Disagreement) could be submitted on any piece of paper which caused delays due to missing information.

By using standard forms for all disability claims, VA can more quickly and accurately identify what the Veteran is claiming or appealing. This will allow VA to immediately move on to next steps in the evidence-gathering and decision-making process, which saves administrative processing time and speeds the delivery of earned benefits.  The existing process is also inconsistent with most, if not all, other government and non-government application processes, such as applying for social security, applying for a driver’s license, applying for a job or filing for an income tax refund.

“These days, government agencies and private businesses rely on standard forms to deliver faster and more accurate customer service,” said Under Secretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey.  “VA’s ability to deliver better customer service requires the use of standard forms as well. That is why we worked extensively with our partners in the Veterans community to streamline the way we process claims while  preserving the effective date rules concerning informal claims through the creation of a new intent to file a claim process.”

The updated process also includes standardizing the traditional informal claims process by employing a new “Intent to File a Claim” process which affords the Veteran or survivor one year to compile the necessary documentation or evidence to support the claim while preserving an effective date of claim.

More information about VA Forms 21-526EZ, 21-527EZ, 21-534EZ or VA Form 21-0958, Notice of Disagreement, may be found at www.ebenefits.va.gov or www.va.gov/vaforms/.

Stroud speechKANSAS CITY, Mo. (July 24, 2014) — The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States concluded its 115th national convention yesterday with the election of the new VFW National Commander, John W. Stroud.

Stroud served in the U.S. Air Force from 1976-1997, including a tour in Korea in 1992-1993 with the 51st Fighter Wing at Osan Air Base as a Flight Operations Superintendent. His decorations include four Meritorious Service Medals, three Air Force Commendation Medals, three Air Force Achievement Medals, the Korea Defense Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.

He is a resident of Hawthorne, Nev., and a Gold Legacy Life Member of Post 2313, and has served the VFW in a number of leadership positions including Nevada Department Commander and Chairman of the National Veterans Service Committee.

During his acceptance speech, Stroud addressed the recent VA crisis stating, “the VA is a health care system worth saving that right now must identify and fix what’s broken … that needs to hold people appropriately accountable to the fullest extent of the law … and a system that must restore the faith of veterans in their VA. He added that he is confident Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson and nominee Bob McDonald—if confirmed—will not make the same mistake as the previous VA Secretary who simply trusted his employees to the point of his demise.

Stroud recounted his first experience with the VFW, stopping in Post 10047 in Las Vegas, Nev., after seeing a sign that read ‘Active Duty Military Welcome.’ Dressed in fatigues, he entered the Post and was immediately welcomed. Surrounded by his comrades, he learned of the organization’s many programs and services, and he knew he wanted in.

“Comrades, I share my story to encourage you to tell your own stories to others.  A great part of the VFW story involves the relevance between different generations, and the ability to educate others about who we are, what we do, and who we do it for,” he said.

Stroud had high praise for members’ work and VFW programs, citing several outstanding instances of disaster relief, troop support and veterans resource efforts. He commended those who worked with the U.S. European Command to operate a Visitor’s Center for hundreds of American D-Day veterans and thousands of visitors who were in Normandy for the 70th anniversary of the landing, and praised the Ladies Auxiliary for its donations to cancer research which now total $30 million.   

“One of the best things about being a National Officer is I get to brag about the VFW wherever I go … to the troops, to veterans, their families, nonveterans and politicians, too,” he said.

Continue reading

02. July 2014 · Comments Off on General Orders – July 2015 · Categories: General Orders

GENERAL ORDER NO. 1

2014-2015 SERIES

 

  1. Having been duly elected at the 79th State Convention on June 8, 2014 and properly installed as Commander, Department of Alabama, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, I Calvin Underwood hereby assume command.

 

  1. The following officers having been duly elected and installed will be accorded the proper recognition:

Sr. Vice Commander – Johnny Waller, Post 4572, Wetumpka, AL

Jr. Vice Commander – Walter Dempster, Post 6226, Arab, AL

Quartermaster – Charles Stephens, Post 3128, Ft Payne, AL

Judge Advocate – Wayne Dial, Post 924 Anniston, AL

Surgeon – Max Hyatt, Post 6226, Arab, AL

Chaplain – Valentin “Val” Obregon, Post 3568, Bay Minette, AL

Immediate Past Commander – Greg Usrey, Post 2702, Huntsville, AL

District 1 Commander – John Schmitz, Post 5162, S Huntsville, AL

District 2 Commander – George Jones, Post 6073, Scottsboro, AL

District 3 Commander – Martin Kiewel, Post 1762, Bessemer, AL

District 4 Commander – Alvin Morrow, Post 4758, Pell City, AL

District 5 Commander – James “J W” Vaught, Post 5180, Ft. Mitchell, AL

District 6 Commander – Luther Parden, Post 5106, Thomasville, AL

District 7 Commander – Michael Naro, Post 3073, Dothan, AL

District 8 Commander – Ronnie Doege, Post 5658, Elberta, AL

 

3       The following appointments are hereby announced:

Adjutant – Johnny Waller, Post 4572, Wetumpka, AL

Chief of Staff – Jerry Anger, Post 6173, Brookside, AL

Inspector – Stephen Connolly, Post 6837, Boaz, AL

Sgt.-at-Arms – Don Collum, Post 10774, Falkville, AL

Department Service Officer – Lorenzo Landrum, Post 10366, Montgomery, AL

Convention Committee Chairman – Charles Stephens, Post 3128, Fort Payne, AL

 

  1. All previous appointments are hereby null and void.

 

  1. All other appointments are posted on the website at www.alvfw.org. These comrades will be accorded the proper recognition.

 

  1. GENERAL ORDERS: All material in State General Orders are directive in nature and will be read to the membership at the Post regular membership meetings each month.

 

  1. ATTENTION COMMANDERS: all levels are directed to Section 703 of the National By-Laws which requires that each accountable employee and officer(s) be bonded with an Indemnity Company in the sum at least equal to the amount of liquid assets for which he/she may be accountable.

 

  1. The next Business Session of the 2014-2015 Council of Administration will be July 11, 2014 at 4:00 PM at the Birmingham Marriott. Any member having any item(s) to come before the Council should contact their representative and provide them with the information.

 

  1. ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES VISITS: All Commanders are required to notify the Department as soon as possible and no later than 72 hours after any contact by phone, letter or visit by Federal, State or Local Enforcement Officers of the ABC Board, IRS Office, local Sheriff, Police Departments or any other agencies of their visit and any violation, request noted or any information requested.

 

  1. CONTROL OF UNITS: National By-Laws Section 709 states, “No Post, County Council, District or Department and no activity, clubroom or holding company or unit sponsored, conducted or operated by, for or on behalf of any Post, County Council, District or Department may own any property jointly or in common with any individual, firm, partnership, association, corporation or other business or charitable entity, including veterans organizations nor may they participate in any arrangement whereby the funds of such Post, County Councils, District or Department or activity clubroom, holding company or unit sponsored, conducted or operated by, for or in its behalf are expended on property held by another entity for the joint used of such Post, County Council, District and Department and other individuals, firms, partnership, associations, corporation or other business or charitable entities, including veterans organizations.”

 

  1. Any VFW Post loaning, renting, leasing or allowing use of in anyway their VFW Post facilities or property to any civic, military or other Veteran’s organization will have a signed rental or lease agreement if for one (1) time or for a year with a hold harmless agreement included in the signed document. A copy of the agreement must be submitted to the State Commander at Headquarters at least seventy two (72) hours prior to the use of the facilities by the other party to insure proper compliance.

 

  1. WEARING OF HATS: Attention of Commanders, at all levels, are directed to action of the National Council of Administration prohibiting the wearing of VFW sport caps and/or western style caps at VFW meetings in place of the regulation cap of the VFW official uniform as set forth in Section 803 of the National By-Laws and Manual of Procedure. This prohibition is in accordance with previous directive of Commanders-in-Chief that it is held to be objectionable and contrary to accepted rules of order and proper decorum implicit in the ritual of the Veterans of Foreign Wars to permit the wearing of other than the official VFW caps at VFW meetings. This also applies to informal meetings.

 

  1. POST DUES RESERVE: Attention is directed to Section 218, Manual of Procedure, which mandates Post Quartermasters to maintain a dues reserve fund to which shall be credited no less than one/half of the Post’s part of the current year’s dues paid by each member prior to July 1, except dues remitted by the post. No post Quartermaster shall disburse, nor shall an obligation be incurred against this fund until after July 1, at which time it shall be transferred to the Post General Fund and be available for expenditure.

 

  1. ATTENTION OF POST COMMANDERS: are directed to Section 218, Manual of Procedure, Duty of Trustees, which states that Post Trustees shall prepare and submit quarterly, through their Post Commander, a Post Trustees Report of Audit (Supply Department Stock No. 4212) to the Department Quartermaster. The first report is due at the close of the Quarter June 2014. Post must have audit to Department Headquarters no later than 31 July 2014. Do not mail these reports to National Headquarters.

 

  1. BUDDY POPPY: 2014-2015 Buddy Poppies will cost $65.00 for 500 and $130.00 for 1,000. This includes postage. Minimum order is 500. Order early for Veterans Day. Support the disabled veterans in the VA Hospitals that make Buddy Poppies by having a great program for 2014-2015.

 

  1. A House Committee is elected to act as management for the business affairs at the club. State VFW Club Regulations for Alabama Organizations and By-Laws explains in detail their overall responsibilities.

 

  1. NOTICE: National By-Laws Article II Section 213 requires that the office of Quartermaster be bonded, that the Post be properly insured and that all trustee audits be submitted on time. Failure to comply will subject your Post Charter to suspension.

 

  1. MANDATORY: National By-Laws and Manual of Procedures Article II Section 218 (a) (1) K requires the Commander, and in his absence the Sr. Vice and in the absence of both of the them the Jr. Vice Commander to attend all properly called District meetings. There will be no exceptions to this requirement.

 

  1. The Congressional charter “An Act” Section 5 and the National By-Laws Article 1 Section 101 describe in detail the requirements for membership in the VFW and it does not allow for any type of Honorary or Associate membership, PERIOD.

 

  1. All members are required to follow the proper chain of command prior to calling or writing National Headquarters. A copy of the letter written to National must be sent to State Headquarters.

 

  1. All Posts must participate in the core programs listed in the Roster and Program book. Programs, especially membership, are the VFW and not the canteen. Without doing the programs it is not the VFW and there will be no canteen.

 

  1. National Special Order No. 324, dated June 19, 2014 ordered that Cynthia J Watson, Life member no. 9371286, Wiregrass Post No. 3073, Dothan, Alabama ordered Cynthia J Watson not be allowed to hold a Post or District office for two (2) years, a State office for three (3) years or the Office of State Quartermaster or State Adjutant for ten (10) years in the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.

 

 

BY ORDER OF:

                                                                                                            CALVIN UNDERWOOD

                                                                                                            STATE COMMANDER

            OFFICIAL:

               Johnny Waller

            JOHNNY WALLER

            STATE ADJ-QM

Page 1 of 612345...Last »