May 22

VFW Commander Discusses Veterans' Issues with President

WASHINGTON,May 21, 2008 – The national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. met with President George W. Bush in the Oval Office this morning to discuss issues important to America’s veterans, servicemembers and their families.

George Lisicki thanked the president for his strong support of the troops and their families, and for personally hosting the VFW's Voice of Democracy winners during his tenure, but the Vietnam veteran from Carteret, N.J., also used the opportunity to voice the VFW's strong support of the new GI Bill for the 21st century that has been proposed by Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.).

"Creating a new GI Bill has been a long-standing national goal for the VFW," said Lisicki, who discounts criticism by some in the administration who say an enhanced education package would result in a mass exodus of first-term enlistees.

"People are leaving after their first enlistment because they are tired of being shot at, and their families are tired of the frequent deployments," he said. "Whether they stay in four years or 20, we owe this newest Greatest Generation the gift of education, and that's why the VFW is solidly behind Webb's bill."

The VFW national commander also addressed military quality of life issues, and concern for the proper care of returning wounded to the nation's military and Veterans Affairs medical facilities, as well as compensation and disability benefits.

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May 20

VFW Washington Weekly – May 19, 2008

1. House Passes New GI Bill/ Senate to Vote This Week
Despite the surprise defeat of the war supplemental funding package in the House last week, the VFW-backed GI Bill did pass in a separate vote by 256-166. This week, the Senate is expected to take up its version of the war supplemental – possibly Tuesday or Wednesday.

Please contact your Senators and urge them to include S. 22 in the War Supplemental – this language provides a GI Bill much like the WWII comprehensive education package. VFW has made this a priority goal. We are so close, but we need your help. Call your Senators today – tell them to vote YES in support of this GI Bill, S. 22. It is the right thing to do for today and tomorrow's veterans!


Use this link to find contact information for your Senators:

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May 10

VFW Washington Weekly – May 9, 2008

In This Issue
1. GI Bill Call to Action
2. House Holds Veteran Suicide Hearing
3. Senate Holds Hearing on Benefit Bills
4. Senate Committee Boosts Pay, Rejects Fees


1. GI Bill Call to Action: The VFW still needs you to urge your senators to support S. 22, and your representatives to support H.R. 5740, so that the VFW goal of creating a new GI Bill for the 21st century becomes a reality. As of this morning, 57 senators are supporting S. 22, a number that is unchanged from last week. Introduced by Jim Webb (D-VA), S. 22 has strong bipartisan support from fellow senators such as Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and John Warner (R-VA). Its companion bill in the House, H.R. 5740, increased by 27 to 293 co-sponsors, or 67% of the House. Introduced by Harry Mitchell (D-AZ), it, also has strong bipartisan support from fellow congressmen such as Bill Young (R-FL) and Chris Smith (R-NJ). America's newest Greatest Generation needs your help to bring educational benefits back in line with current day tuitions. Use this link to contact your members:

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May 08

May 9 – Military Spouses Day Proclamation

WASHINGTON, May 5, 2008 – Military spouses embody the courage, nobility of duty, and love of country that inspire every American. On Military Spouse Day, we pay tribute to the husbands and wives who support their spouses in America's Armed Forces during times of war and peace.

The legacy of military spouses began when colonial Americans were fighting for independence. Martha Washington boosted the morale of her husband's troops by visiting battlefields and tending to the wounded. Since then, members of our Armed Forces have served our Nation accompanied by the steadfast love and support of their spouses and families.

While our men and women in uniform are protecting our country's founding ideals of liberty, democracy, and justice, their spouses live with uncommon challenges, endure sleepless nights, and spend long periods raising children alone. Many military spouses are also committed volunteers, serving other military families and local communities. Our Nation benefits from the sacrifices of our military families, and we are inspired by their courage, strength, and leadership.

On Military Spouse Day and throughout the year, we honor the commitment spouses have made to freedom's cause. To learn about ways to support our troops and their spouses and families, I encourage all Americans to visit

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 9, 2008, as Military Spouse Day. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities and by expressing their gratitude to the husbands and wives of those serving in the United States Armed Forces.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-second.

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May 06

Past VFW National Commander Holt Dies at 85

Kansas City, Mo., May 4, 2009-Past VFW National Commander Cooper T. Holt passed away at his home on Friday, May 1, 2009. He was 85.

Cooper T. Holt was elected Commander-in-Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in 1956. At 32, he was the youngest Commander-in-Chief in the history of the organization.

A World War II veteran, he joined VFW Post 1289, Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1945 after having been a member-at-large for a year. He served as Post Adjutant, Senior Vice Commander and Post Commander. He went on to become Third District commander, Department Junior Vice, and Senior Vice and Department Commander. In 1954, he was elected National Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief; in 1955, National Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief.

After serving as Commander-in-Chief, Holt was appointed Executive Director of the VFW Washington Office in August 1963, following the 90th VFW National Convention in Las Vegas and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1989.

Past National Commander Holt was born in Chattanooga, Tenn., and graduated from the Edmondson School of Business. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1943 and served overseas with Company L, 164th Infantry, Americal Division. He earned the Asiatic-Pacific Theater ribbon, the Solomon Islands campaign battle star, the Combat Infantryman's Badge and the Bronze star.

He was a member of several civic and fraternal organizations. He and his wife, the former Betty Sivley of Chattanooga, have one daughter, Cynthia Pappas, one grandson and one great-grandson.


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Apr 30

VFW Demands Passage of New GI Bill for 21st Century

WASHINGTON, April 29, 2008 – The national commander of America's largest organization of combat veterans is demanding that Congress pass S. 22, the "Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act."

"A new GI Bill for the 21st century must be passed," said George Lisicki, who leads the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S., a veterans' service organization that includes more than 70,000 Afghanistan and Iraqi war veterans among its 1.7 million members.

"We have an all-volunteer force that has accomplished everything asked of them," said Lisicki. "We need to reward them for their service by helping them to reintegrate back into society with an educational package that meets today's cost of tuition. I join with the leadership of Congress and my fellow veterans' organizations to say that S. 22 is the right bill at the right time."

S. 22 was introduced by Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) to mirror the original World War II educational benefit. It would repeal the $1,200 enrollment fee, match tuition at the highest in-state rate, and provide for books and fees, and a living stipend. For those veterans accepted to private institutions, S. 22 would also provide a dollar-for-dollar tuition match for those colleges and universities who choose to participate in the program.

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Apr 28

VFW Washington Weekly – April 28, 2008

In This Issue:
1. Senate Passes Large Benefits Bill
2. House VA Committee Bills
3. Senate Hearing on VA/DOD Improvements
4. OIF/OEF Campaign Stars

1. Senate Passes Large Veterans Bill: The Senate passed 96-1 a large veterans' package that improves a wide-array of benefits, including life insurance, burial allowance and adaptive equipment grants. The package now moves to the House. Some of the VFW-supported provisions in S. 1315 would:
• Increase the maximum amount of supplemental Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance from $20,000 to $30,000.
• Expand eligibility for home improvement and structural alteration assistance to include permanently disabled servicemembers.
• Provide a specially-adapted housing grant to veterans and qualified servicemembers with severe burn injuries.
• Extend authority of the VA to assist individuals living temporarily in residences owned by family members.
• Provide automobile and adaptive equipment assistance to disabled veterans and servicemembers with severe burn injuries.
• Increase to $445 from the current $300 allowance for veteran burial plots.
• Provide a presumption of service-connection for osteoporosis for former POWs with post-traumatic stress disorder.
• Increase cost-of-living for additional dependency and indemnity compensation paid to certain surviving spouses with minor dependent children.
• Expand retroactive traumatic injury protection under SGLI (TSGLI) to include all servicemembers, not just those injured in Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom.
For a complete listing of S. 1315 provisions, visit the Thomas website at:

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Apr 23

Army Reserve Marks Century of Service to Nation

By Retired Army Col. Randy Pullen
Special to American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 20, 2008–The U.S. Army Reserve celebrates its 100th birthday on April 23, marking a full century of service in which Army Reserve soldiers have continuously answered the nation's call.

Army Reserve soldiers served in both world wars, the Cold War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War and the ongoing global war on terrorism. They also helped respond to countless other crises, emergencies, disasters, operations and expeditions.

That busy century of service to America all began when Congress established the Army's first federal reserve force on April 23, 1908. President Theodore Roosevelt signed Senate Bill 1424, creating the Medical Reserve Corps. The Reserve medical officers in the corps could be ordered to active duty by the secretary of war during times of emergency.

In June 1908, the first 160 medical professionals received Reserve commissions. This number grew to about 360 by 1909 and to 1,900 by 1916. The concept of bringing civilian professionals into the Army in a disciplined and quickly-accessible manner also expanded beyond the medical profession and beyond just officers.

Read more of the history of the Army Reserve

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Apr 18

VFW Washington Weekly – April 18, 2008

In This Issue:
1. House VA Committee Hearings
2. Senate Passes VA Home Package
3. New GI Bill Needs Your Help

1. House VA Committee Hearings:
On Tuesday, VFW testified before the Subcommittee on Health on several bills designed to enhance health care options for veterans and their families, such as Spina Bifida, epilepsy research centers, substance use disorder treatment and prevention, and dental care. The VFW has a resolution on the epilepsy research centers and strongly supported the bill, noting that the prevalence of brain injuries from the current war is likely to lead to an increased number of epilepsy and seizure disorders in the coming years.
On Wednesday, the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity held a hearing on 13 bills under consideration. The VFW testified in support of all the bills, which included several that would improve education benefits for servicemembers as well as Guard and Reserve members serving since 9/11. The VFW once again stressed support for a GI Bill that would cover the full cost of education for all veterans. Other bills discussed would improve transition benefits, make changes to USSERA, and enhance VA's adaptive housing and home loan guaranty programs to bring them more in line with today's markets.
– To read our testimony or for more on the hearings including the webcast visit the House VA website at:

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Apr 14

VFW Washington Weekly – April 14, 2008

In This Issue:
1. VFW Legislative Alert Supports GI Bill for 21st Century
2. House Hearings on Disability Claims, Homelessness
3. President's Statement on Iraq
4. VFW Travels to Southeast Asia

1. VFW Legislative Alert Supports GI Bill for 21st Century: We are arriving at a critical moment for the GI Bill for the 21st Century! This week, a new and improved S. 22, "The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2007," was introduced in the House of Representatives as H.R. 5740 to covers all education costs. Please call or visit your congressional district or Washington offices and urge your legislators to co-sponsor either S. 22 or H.R. 5740. A new GI Bill for the 21st Century is one of the highest VFW legislative priorities. For information about your elected official use the attached link: or find a listing of offices in your local phone book.

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