Dec 14

VFW Washington Weekly – December 14, 2007

In This Issue:
1. House VA Committee Hearings
2. SVAC Approves Peake Nomination
3. FY 2008 NDAA

1. House VA Committee Hearings: The House Veterans Affairs Committee held a hearing Wednesday on suicide and mental health issues facing veterans. VFW-supported legislation, The Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Bill, which was recently signed into law, is already being implemented. VA announced it has made suicide prevention a priority and has developed a program based on increasing suicide awareness, prevention, and training to improve the recognition of suicide risk by its healthcare staff. Congress authorized a national suicide prevention hotline and suicide prevention coordinators program has been put in place in each VA medical center. Witnesses believed that these efforts are a good first step, but more must be done with regard to research on TBI and PTSD, as well as substance abuse which often leads to homelessness. The Committee plans to hold further hearings in the next session on this subject.
• Also on Wednesday, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation held a hearing to examine outpatient waiting times within VA Medical Centers. Several witnesses were on hand to discuss VHA performance in scheduling outpatient medical appointments. According to a recent audit by the Inspector General, the goal for scheduling outpatient appointments is defined as the earliest date that the patient or clinician specifies the patient needs to be seen. In addition, VHA policy established a goal of scheduling appointments within 30 days of the desired appointment but not more than four months later. The IG found that the methodology in reporting wait times was inconsistent among many of the medical centers, and that there is sufficient evidence to support that only about 75% of veterans had been seen within 30 days of the requested appointment date. Subcommittee Chairman Harry Mitchell (D-AZ) said "When our veterans' encounter long waiting times, their conditions go undiagnosed and serious disease go untreated. Until we have a clearer picture about waiting times, the VA can't improve the situation because we can't identify problem facilities or effectively allocate resources.
For more information on either hearing visit the House VA website at:

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Dec 12

Veterans Airlift Command – Helps Wounded Vets; Needs Your Support!

The following was originally published by the Department of Wisconsin:


The Veterans Airlift Command provides free air transportation to wounded warriors, veterans and their families for medical and other compassionate purposes through a national network of volunteer aircraft owners and pilots.

VFW Posts throughout the country are urged to consider supporting this unique and worthwhile operation.

The VAC priority is on the veterans of Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). As capacity allows, their mission will expand to serve veterans of other conflicts.

The VAC (Veterans Airlift Command) is headquartered in Minnesota, but serves our wounded warriors nationally.

Please take a look at the VAC web site to learn more about who they are and what they do.

The Veterans Airlift Command deserves your post's consideration of recurring support, because of the ongoing nature of their mission.

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Dec 11

The American Veteran – December Edition and Vice President Video

From The Pentagon Channel:

Also, the following video is of Vice President Dick Cheney's remarks before the VFW last week as presented earlier.

If the videos do not appear in the boxes above, you may need to download the latest free version of the Flash Player by Adobe

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Dec 11

"Honor a Veteran" Winners

In case you missed it last month, the winners of the VFW's "Honor a Veteran" video contest were announced on Veteran's Day.

Winning the Grand Prize trip to Orlando was James Renfroe of Mansfield, TX and his video "Honor a Vet".  Click to watch it below.

Second Prize winners:

Lloyd Tremmel of Racine, WI
Video Title: Veteran's Day 2007 – A Tribute to All Veterans

Julie Bradbury of Oak Lawn, IL
Video Title: Patriotic Child

Third Prize winners:

Jesse Simpkins of Peru, IL
Video Title: Tribute to Veterans

Bob Cook of Benson, MN
Video Title: Thank a Vet-1

To view all of the entries, visit the "Honor a Veteran" website.

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Dec 10

Vice President Chides Congress, Praises Troops in VFW-Hosted Event

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Dec. 7, 2007 — Vice President Dick Cheney today, in a speech before Veterans of Foreign Wars members and Kansas City-area active-duty troops at the National World War I Memorial, touted the recent military successes in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as chided Congress for failing to end the budget debate for the wartime defense-spending bill.

In a largely military audience, Cheney told the 250 invited guests that it is every American’s duty to recognize the sacrifices made by today’s military in defeating a “ruthless and determined” enemy. The vice president also spoke of the recent successes in Iraq’s Anwar Provence, which until recently, was a hotbed of terrorists activities.

Now, Cheney said, instead of Anwar leaders protecting the terrorists, tribal leaders are now working in conjunction with U.S. authorities to root out the terrorists and return a sense of normalcy and security back to the province.

Cheney, who said he was speaking more as a civilian than the vice president, also chided Congress for playing partisan politics by not passing a wartime defense-spending bill that is now in its 11th month of debate.
"I don't believe the people of the nation want to use defense appropriations as a bargaining chip in some kind of political debate," he said. “People in the military should be given all the resources they need to do the job with the tools and equipment they need.”

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Dec 07

VFW Washington Weekly – December 7, 2007

In This Issue:
1. Senate VA Committee Holds Hearing on Peake Nomination
2. VFW Testifies in Support of Vietnam Education Center
3. House Passes Small Business Legislation for Vets
4. Army Hotline Puts Soldiers First


1. Senate VA Committee Holds Hearing on Peake Nomination: On Wednesday, the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee heard testimony from VA Secretary Nominee Dr. James Peake. Peake, a retired Army lieutenant general and the former Army surgeon general from 2000 to 2004, was nominated by President Bush in October after then VA Secretary Nicholson resigned.
The committee members questioned Peake on his positions on several critical issues facing today's VA to include VA funding, claims backlog, mental health, GI Bill, seamless transition and updating the VA ratings schedule.
A vote to confirm Dr. Peake by the Committee and full Senate has not yet been schedule but is expected to occur before Congress adjourns for the year.

For more on the hearing go to the Senate VA website at:

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Dec 06

National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

Presidential Proclamation:

On December 7, 1941, our Nation was viciously attacked at Pearl Harbor, America's Pacific Fleet was battered and broken, and more than 2,400 American lives were lost. On National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, America honors those brave individuals who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our homeland, and we recognize those veterans who with strength and resolve defended our Nation and advanced the cause of freedom during World War II.

When it mattered most, an entire generation of Americans stepped forward to protect our freedom and to defend liberty. Their devotion to duty and willingness to serve a cause greater than self helped secure our future and our way of life. Liberty prevailed because of the sacrifice of these courageous patriots, and America and her allies preserved a world where democracy could flourish. Our Nation remains forever in the debt of these brave Americans.

From the unprovoked attack at Pearl Harbor grew a steadfast resolve that has made America a defender of freedom around the world, and our mission continues as our men and women in uniform serve at home and in distant lands. Today, as we defend our Nation's founding ideals, we pay special tribute to those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor, honor our veterans of World War II, and celebrate the liberty that makes America a lasting symbol of hope to the world.

The Congress, by Public Law 103 308, as amended, has designated December 7 of each year as "National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim December 7, 2007, as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. I encourage all Americans to observe this solemn occasion with appropriate ceremonies and activities. I urge all Federal agencies, interested organizations, groups, and individuals to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff this December 7 in honor of those who died as a result of their service at Pearl Harbor.

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



Pearl Harbor day attack video documentary:

See Pearl Harbor survivor stories at the Pearl Harbor Survivors Project.

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Nov 29

VFW TO CONGRESS: DoD Doesn't Bluff

WASHINGTON, Nov. 28, 2007–The national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is deeply concerned that the reluctance by congressional leadership to reach a compromise on Iraq war funding is going to seriously damage military readiness and quality of life programs at home installations.

George Lisicki, a Vietnam combat veteran from Carteret, N.J., said the sticking point in the $196 billion war supplemental is the inclusion of troop withdrawal timelines that some in Congress insist as a condition of passage.

The Defense Department had asked for the additional funding to purchase 7,200 new mine-resistant vehicles, to repair or replace damaged equipment, enhance roadside bomb countermeasures, fund military construction projects, and to improve medical and rehabilitation programs for wounded Iraq and Afghanistan servicemen and women.

But without dedicated funding, the military services are saying they will be forced to take drastic measures to fund the war using installation operations and maintenance budgets. The Pentagon already announced that as many as 200,000 civilian employees and contractors could be temporarily laid off by mid-February. Also being examined is the closing of military installations and facilities to free up additional funds.

Some in Congress are dismissing DoD's plan of action as an idle threat, but the VFW national commander is taking it very seriously.

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Nov 26

Send Some Cheer to Wounded Vets

(Originally posted by VFW Department of Wisconsin)



Veterans of Foreign


  Brighten the holidays for wounded heroes
at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, Florida
Holiday Card
Seasons Greetings VFW Supporter!

This year, send joyful wishes to brighten the holiday season for wounded troops. Don't let Christmas feel like just another painful day for our brave heroes who have already sacrificed so much. Thousands will spend the holidays recovering from devastating injuries … far from family and missing out on the many joys of the season.

Help make their Christmas brighter and join us in sending cheerful wishes to our heroes. VFW will be delivering a giant Christmas card to the wounded troops recovering at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, Florida, and we want your signature to be included. Simply sign the card now to have your name added.

Be sure to add your name to the giant Christmas card to let these brave men and women know that we are deeply grateful for their sacrifices.

We need all signatures by December 10th in order to deliver the card before Christmas. So, please sign the card today.

Every signature means so much. Last year, we had more than 20,000 patriotic Americans sign our Christmas card for the wounded heroes at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas. This year we are hoping for 25,000 signatures. So please pass this on to your friends and family so we can deliver the biggest Christmas card ever and show our heroes that we haven't forgotten them.

Thank you for supporting our troops and veterans.


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Nov 19

VFW Washington Weekly – November 19, 2007

In This Issue:
1. Senate Committee Moves Veterans Healthcare Bills
2. House Passes Tax Benefits
3. Americans Can Text "Thanks" to Troops
4. Bush Signs Defense Bill

1. Senate Committee Moves Veterans Healthcare Bills: The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee moved several VFW-supported healthcare bills forward on Wednesday. All of the bills aim to improve healthcare options for veterans. The bills now move to the full Senate for a vote.
— S. 2004, Epilepsy Centers of Excellence, would establish epilepsy centers of excellence in the VA.
— S. 2142, Veterans Emergency Care Fairness Act of 2007, would improve and clarify the reimbursement process for certain veterans who receive emergency care at a non-VA facility.
— S. 2160, Veterans Pain Care Act of 2007, would enhance and expand the VA's existing pain care management program.
— S. 2162, Mental Health Improvements Act of 2007 would improve the treatment and services provided by VA to veterans with post-traumatic stress and substance abuse disorders, and other mental health illnesses.
For more on the mark up or the bills, go to the Senate VA website at:

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