Oct 24

POW/MIA Update: October 23, 2007

AMERICANS ANNOUNCED AS ACCOUNTED FOR:  There are now 1,767 US personnel listed by the Department of Defense as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.  Within the last few days, DPMO has released the names of six US personnel as now being accounted for, including:

Major Perry H. Jefferson, USAF, MIA 4-3-69, SVN, CO
Airman 1st Class George W. Long, USAF, KIA/BNR 5-12-68, SNV, KS
CAPT Warren R. Orr, USAR, MIA 5-12-58, SVN, IL
LTjg Norman L. Roggow, USNR, KIA/BNR 10-8-67, SVN, IA
LTjg Donald f. Wolfe, USNR, KIA/BNR 10-8-67, SVN, MT
LTjg Andrew G. Zissu, USNR, KIA/BNR 10-8-67, SVN, NY

This brings to 816 the number of US personnel returned since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.  90+% of 1,767 still missing and unaccounted-for were lost in Vietnam or in areas of Laos and Cambodia under Vietnam’s wartime control.  

UPDATE ON 101st Joint Field Activity (JFA) OPERATIONS:  The 101st Joint Field Activity (JFA) in Laos is now ongoing, with four excavations at sites in the two southern Lao provinces of Khammouan and Attapeu.  Multiple investigations will also be conducted in this area during the 30-day operation, plus in Savannakhet Province, also in southern Laos.  One excavation is underway in Cambodia, begun on October 14th, and expected to conclude on November 27th.  In Vietnam, the 90th JFA began on October 19th and will extend over the agreed 45 days until December 2nd.  Operations will occur in 11 provinces, plus Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), with four excavations and investigations into numerous cases.  There was a ten-day advance period of preparation by a smaller joint team.

Regarding WWII incidents, operations have recently taken place in the Netherlands, Hungary, Austria, France (including an underwater investigation on the Island of Corsica), Luxembourg, Italy and Germany.   Two JPAC teams began further operations in Europe on October 15th.  A recovery team will excavate a site, possibly two sites, in Germany.  The investigation team will look into several cases in Poland and France, concluding on November 29th. (Read and Discuss Rest of POW-MIA Update Here)
 
via (NC Department of POW/MIA Affairs)

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/powmia-update-october-23-2007/

Oct 24

VFW Post Insurance: Is Your Post Incorporated?

It was a typical day… Jim returned from work and started sifting through the mail. There was the usual bills and junk mail, but something else; an envelope from a law firm. He quickly recognized it was not his lawyer's office. With great curiosity Jim opened the letter, read it, and sat in astonishment and confusion. His wife Mary approached and asked what was the matter.

“Do you remember that incident at the Post last year when Paul’s son drank too much?”

Mary nodded, everyone remembered that night. The barely 21 year old had drunk too much and gotten into an accident a few blocks from the Post injuring both passengers in another vehicle.  And even though no one wanted to admit it, it was obvious he had been over-served.

“Well, a lawsuit has been filed against the Post for negligence… and against the members of the Post… that means us!”

“What?” Mary exclaimed, “how could there be a lawsuit against us?”

“The letter says something about ‘incorporation’…I guess the Post isn’t incorporated. Does that make a difference? I’m going to call our lawyer to figure out what’s going on.”

After Jim spoke with his lawyer, he had his answer: without incorporation, there was no legal difference between the Post and its membership. When the judgment exceeded the Post’s liability insurance, the members became liable; Jim and all the other members were required to pay $1000 out of pocket to cover the expenses.

Incorporating your Post can be an effective method of protecting your members’ assets, but the decision to incorporate your Post should be made only after consulting with your legal counsel to determine if it’s the best option for your Post. Another way to insulate your members from costly suits or insurance claims is to make sure that that you have adequate insurance coverage. Common sources of claims, situations involving liquor are protected by liquor liability insurance.

Find comprehensive insurance for VFW Posts at a competitive price. Insurance policies tailored to protect your Post's unique property and liability exposures including its volunteers, members, Auxiliary and home associations.

Coverage includes:

  • Property Coverage for Post homes and contents
  • Commercial Liability
  • Liquor Liability (Dram Shop)
  • Auto Liability
  • Workers' Compensation
  • Employee Dishonesty Bonds
  • Special Events Coverage
  • Umbrella Liability
  • Tax and Gambling Bonds

Call the VFW Post Insurance Program at 1-800-829-8390 to make sure that your have an adequate limit of coverage you need for your VFW Post. Your members will thank you.

Visit VFW Insurance  to learn more about the great offerings.

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-post-insurance-is-your-post-incorporated/

Oct 23

VFW Departments Activate AdMemex Network Sponsorship Sales

The VFW Departments of North Carolina, Virginia, Missouri, New Hampshire, Alabama, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin have begun accepting advertisement and sponsorship support on their VFW WebCOM Networks through the AdMemex Advertising Network.

Mountain Grove, Missouri VFW Post 3770 is leading the way with the first sale. (Read Story Here)

Advertising/Sponsorship opportunities are in place through hundreds of cities and towns for ad campaigns  to directly support and connect with VFW Posts and members within their communities. In addition to supporting the Departments internal and external internet communication protocols 50% of the local revenue generated stays with the active Posts within the Network. Those advertisers wishing to offer a larger level of sponsorship and reach a broader membership base can advertise across complete State Networks.

The VFW Departments are retaining complete advertorial control and will maintain final approval on all ads submitted. Acceptance and display of Advertising/Sponsorship inventory, unless otherwise noted, should not be considered in any way an endorsement of displayed campaigns, businesses, products and services. Go here for: VFW WebCOM Network Advertisng/Sponsorship Policies.

Political advertising for Local, State and National candidates is being permitted in specifically indentified zones. The VFW is a non-partisan organization that does not endorse candidates. Appearance of political advertising content on any site in the network is provided for informational and discussion purposes only and can in no way be inferred as an endorsement of a candidate or their views.

To find a local VFW Post to sponsor near you go to: http://vfwwebcom.org/postdirectory/, locate and visit nearby VFW Post's weblog, then click on the link at the top of the zone where you would like your advertisment to appear and place your order.

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-departments-activate-admemex-network-sponsorship-sales/

Oct 23

VFW: Troops Need Funds, Not Further Debate

WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2007–Congress' nonchalant attitude towards President Bush's war funding request yesterday is not what the national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. expected from a wartime Congress.

"Our nation is at war, yet congressional leaders would rather continue to debate the administration's policies than fulfill their obligation to support the troops with adequate and timely funding," said George Lisicki, a Vietnam combat veteran from Carteret, N.J.

“Our men and women in uniform are doing everything within their power to succeed in Afghanistan and Iraq,” he said. “Their families are keeping the home front functioning so that their loved ones can stay mission focused. The administration has new military leadership with a new plan that is working. The only part of the team that isn’t pulling its weight in this war is Congress.”

The new funding request for $196.4 billion is in addition to the Defense Department’s fiscal year 2008 budget, which is among the 12 major spending bills that the House and Senate have approved separately but have yet to consolidate for the president’s signature. The federal government’s new fiscal year began Oct. 1. It is currently operating on a temporary stopgap measure that expires Nov. 16.

Read more

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-troops-need-funds-not-further-debate/

Oct 18

VFW Urges Congress to Immediately Pass DOD, VA Budgets

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18, 2007–The national commander of America's largest organization of combat veterans is urging Congress to immediately pass two key funding packages so that the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs can begin bringing the recommendations made by a pair of wounded veterans' benefits commissions into reality.

"The two most important issues in America today are the war and the care of our wounded veterans," said George Lisicki, a Vietnam veteran from Carteret, N.J., who leads the 2.3 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and its Auxiliaries.

"But Congress has yet to pass any fiscal year 2008 funding bill, to include the VA's, which Congress has touted as the largest VA budget increase in history," he said. "You can't brag about something until you finish the job, and that means consolidating the two House and Senate versions into one bill for the president's signature."

This marks the eighth consecutive year the VA started a new fiscal year without an on-time budget. The federal government's new fiscal year began Oct. 1.

The VFW wants the DOD and VA budgets passed so that some of recommendations made by the two commissions – the Veterans' Disability Benefits Commission and the President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors – can be accomplished without the need to seek additional appropriations.

Read more

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-urges-congress-to-immediately-pass-dod-va-budgets/

Oct 16

Imagine……

Picture America’s troops and veterans without quality medical care … with no way to care for their families … with no way to call home … with no hope for a brighter future …

With the generosity of concerned friends like you, we won’t have to imagine such a world. I know we’re constantly telling you how much your support means to our heroes, but without your help, the VFW’s mission would fail.

To see exactly how your support is helping our troops and veterans, watch our brief video, “Imagine a World…”. This powerful video highlights how your assistance is helping VFW’s continued commitment to those who have sacrificed so much.

Please watch, then forward our video on to your family, friends and co-workers to pass along our important message of gratitude.

More than 700,000 troops, veterans and their families turn to the VFW for help every year. See for yourself how much your support is helping the VFW change the lives of those heroes who have given up so much to defend our freedom.

The VFW's programs rely solely on the generosity of caring friends like you.

Let’s not imagine a world without the help and services offered by the VFW. Together, let’s keep these programs alive.

Donate
Now!
Watch the
Video!
Share with
a Friend!

I know you care about our troops, veterans and their families. I know you want to help. Thanks to you, our troops and veterans will never have to imagine a world with no VFW.

Thank you for supporting our troops and remembering our veterans.

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/imagine/

Oct 15

USPS Issues Holiday Mailing Deadlines

(via AirForceTimes.com)

If you want to get holiday gifts to a service member deployed overseas by Dec. 25, it’s time to start thinking about mail deadlines.

The first suggested deadline of Nov. 13 is for packages going by parcel post to deployed troops and those living on overseas installations, according to the U.S. Postal Service. Parcel post may be the slowest option, but it’s the cheapest, too. For packages to arrive by the start of Hanukkah, at sundown Dec. 4, they should be mailed by Oct. 23.

You can check the cost of mailing your package through different avenues on the Postal Service’s Web site.

If you miss the parcel post deadline, here are your options for getting mail to an APO/FPO address by Dec. 25 (subtract 21 days from these deadlines to ensure delivery in time for Hanukkah):

* Space Available Mail (SAM): Nov. 27.

* Parcel Airlift Mail (PAL): Dec. 4, except for ZIP codes starting with 093, which are all areas of contingency operations. The suggested deadline for those locations is Dec. 1.

* Priority Mail: Dec. 11 (093 ZIP codes, Dec. 4).

* First-class letters and cards: Dec. 11. (093 ZIP codes, Dec. 4).

* Express Mail Military Services: Dec. 18 (not available to 093 ZIP codes).

Read more and get additional mailing tips here

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/usps-issues-holiday-mailing-deadlines/

Oct 12

VFW Washington Weekly – October 12, 2007

In This Issue:

1. VA Appropriations on Hold

2. Disability Benefits Commission Testifies

The government’s fiscal year began Oct. 1 and none of the 12 appropriations bills have been finished, to include the VA funding bill. The separate VA funding bills passed by the House in June and the Senate last month include a $4.4 billion dollar increase above last year’s levels with broad bipartisan support. However, the two bills have not been conference, so the VA for the eighth consecutive year began a new fiscal year without an approved budget.

The VA is operating on a continuing resolution at the previous fiscal year’s funding level – a level that is already inadequate and $4 billion less than what the House and Senate have determined the VA needs to provide sufficient resources for healthcare, to reduce the claims backlogs, research, and a host of other program enhancements and benefits. VA cannot afford to have any more delays in funding. Timely funding is needed. The VFW calls on Congress to end the political games and do what is right for this nation’s veterans, especially those wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We urge all VFW members, and all concerned veterans’ advocates to call your representatives and senators today and tell them to pass the VA budget. This nation’s 24 million veterans are looking to them to do the right thing.
For a list of senators by state: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
For a listing of House members by Zip Code: http://www.house.gov/writerep

2. Disability Benefits Commission Testifies

The members of the Veterans’ Disability Benefits Commission testified before the House Veterans Affairs Committee this week. Commission Chairman retired Army Lt. Gen. James Terry Scott, spoke on behalf of the Commission, which released its final report to the public last week. The Commission held hearings for more than two years on VA and DOD’s disability benefits systems. They were tasked to study a wide-array of issues with respect to disabled veterans, disabled servicemembers, their survivors and families. Throughout the hearing General Scott answered questions concerning the Commission’s recommendations on ways to reduce the unacceptable disability claims backlog and how to improve PTSD services for veterans.

The VFW applauded the commission’s work and its 113 recommendations, 14 of which were considered to be priorities. For more on the hearing visit the House VA website at: http://veterans.house.gov/hearings/. For the VFW Press release, go to: http://www.vfw.org/index.cfm?fa=news.newsDtl&did=4244. For the commission's 18-page executive summary and full report, go to: http://www.vetscommission.org/reports.asp.

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-washington-weekly-october-12-2007/

Oct 09

Hello from VFW WebCOM

Welcome to Departments of the Veterans of Foreign Wars' VFW WebCOM Network. This Network is comprised of close to 10,000 pre-built, established sites for each of the 54 state and international Departments, their Districts and all 8,500 VFW Posts.  Each department now has an integrated internal and external communications system at their disposal for consideration of universal deployment in support of existing and planned communication protocols.

The Network has not been formally recognized by the National level of the organization at this time but is being aggressively rolled out through the eight VFW Departments of North Carolina, Virginia, Missouri, New Hampshire, Alabama, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

The network provides the organization the ability to push a button and broadcast, or syndicate, the same piece of information, whether it’s text, pictures, video or audio, across every site.  Departments also have the ability to push a button and accomplish the same thing across just the District and Post sites within their Department. Most importantly it enables a VFW Post to directly manage and publish information to the Internet for their local community and their organization as a whole..

Over 5 years in the making and built with the oversight and to the specifications of VFW Department leadership and membership, its objectives are to foster:

  • More efficient organizational communication to your members and potential members.
  • More efficient organizational communication to your communities.
  • More efficient organizational communication to your legislators.
  • Generate revenue and resources for the organization.

In support of the Network, we have added Department toolbars, a video-sharing platform, instant WebCHAT, a Membership Forum and pre-built 31,000 VFW Department-specific Officer e-mail accounts which are transferable to the next person filling the position. E-commerce storefronts for each post, online calendars and much more are in the works.

All identified product and services are provided at zero cost to the organization with the understanding that costs are to be covered through a revenue sharing agreement. The organization retains 100% control of all branding, 100% editorial control of your message on all levels of the Network and final approval authority on all advertising and e-commerce opportunities. If the Network should fail to generate enough revenue to cover our service and product-provider partners' cost of doing business, there is no cost liability to organization.

At this time advertising and e-commerce opportunities are only available for the eight aforementioned Departments.

While you are here take a moment to take a closer look at how you can support these efforts.

1) Do you have a website or a weblog that you could add a link to a local VFW or State site?  Do you have a few minutes to write about us and let people know what we are doing?

You can find a list of the 54 VFW Departments here: http://vfwwebcom.org/departments

You can find a local VFW Post close to you here:
http://vfwwebcom.org/postdirectory

2) If you are a VFW Member or Supporter, you can download your Department toolbar. The toolbar has lots of neat features; all the RSS (syndication) feeds for every site in the Network run through them, keeping you instantly connected to all the information moving through the Network. Plus every time you search the Internet using the tool bar you generate revenue for your Department.

You can go here to download your toolbar:
http://vfwwebcom.org/toolbars/

3) If you are a VFW Member or Supporter, you can join the conversations in the VFW Membership Forum and instant WebCHAT. There’s lots of good information and opportunities to meet new friends there.

You can go to the Forum here:
http://www.vfwwebcom.org/forum

4) If you are a VFW Member or Supporter, you can view and start sharing videos at VFW WebCOM Video Network.

You can check out the videos here:
http://video.vfwwebcom.org/

5) If you are a VFW Member or Supporter, do you know of a business that may be interested in supporting your local VFW Posts or Department by purchasing advertising on their site?  Prices start at $2.00 a day for one site and scale from there with opportunities to advertise across all sites in a Department.  (Again, at this time advertising and e-commerce opportunities are only available for the eight aforementioned Departments.)

You can go here to browse advertising opportunities:
http://www.admemex.com/vfwwebcom/

As you can see, there’s plenty to see and do on the VFW WebCOM Network with more still to come.  We thank you for stopping by and invite you back regularly to support and stay connected with your Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/hello-from-vfw-webcom/

Oct 06

VFW Washington Weekly – October 5, 2007

In This Issue:
1. Disability Commission Releases Final Report
2. House VA Committee Hearings
3. Senate Passes NDAA
4. Senate Includes Wounded Warrior Bill in NDAA
5. Predatory Lending Regulation


1. Disability Commission Releases Final Report: The Veterans’ Disability Benefits Commission issued its final report this week. The commission, established by Public Law 108-136 (FY2004 Defense Authorization Act) held hearings for more than two years on VA and DOD’s disability benefits systems. They were tasked to study a wide-array of issues with respect to disabled veterans, disabled service members, their survivors and families. The VFW applauded the commission’s work and its 113 recommendations, 14 of which were considered to be priorities. VFW Commander-in-Chief George Lisicki said that some in the veterans' community were initially skeptical because they thought the commission was formed to cut programs and benefits. "But there is no doubt from the report that the skeptics were wrong," he said. "The commission kept its promise to care for those who have borne the battle."

For the VFW Press release, go to: http://www.vfw.org/index.cfm?fa=news.newsDtl&did=4244. For the commission's 18-page executive summary and full report, go to: http://www.vetscommission.org/reports.asp.

2. House VA Committee Hearings: The House Veterans Affairs Committee held two hearings this week:
On Wednesday, the full committee heard from several panels on “Funding the VA of the Future.” DAV testified on behalf of the Partnership for Veterans Health Care Reform, of which VFW is a member. Our testimony pressed the need for mandatory funding or some sort of funding mechanism that provides adequate levels of funding predictably and consistently on time. Again this year, Congress had failed to pass a VA funding bill by the time the government's new fiscal year began on Oct. 1, demonstrating that the current funding process does not adequately serve veterans.
On Thursday, the VA Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on VA Research Programs. The hearing examined current VA research programs as well as collaboration between VA and DOD, academic partners, and other public and private entities on how to better evaluate effective research for today’s veterans. Some of the ongoing research includes prosthetics, pain-management, eye-care, traumatic brain injuries and amputations. Subcommittee Chairman Michael Michaud (D-ME) stated that continued research is vital to improving healthcare, saving lives and improving the quality of life of the sick and injured, and he said it should remain a core mission of VA.

For more information on either hearing, visit the House VA Committee website at: http://veterans.house.gov/hearings/.

3. Senate Passes NDAA: On Monday, the Senate passed the FY2008 National Defense Authorization Act by a vote of 92-3 Record Vote Number: 359. Many VFW-sponsored initiatives were adopted; including a 3.5% military pay increase, a provision to lower the Reserve Component retirement pay age, GI Bill portability for Guard and Reserve members, and mandating no TRICARE fee increases. You can view the entire summary of the Act as passed by the Senate at: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/R?r110:FLD001:S12563. The House adopted their version of the NDAA in May. Both chambers will soon meet in conference to iron out their differences.

4. Senate Includes Wounded Warrior Bill in NDAA: The Senate passed their version of the National Defense Authorization Act late Monday night by a 92-3 vote. Included in the large authorization bill is VFW-supported legislation that addresses the care and treatment of wounded warriors. Originally passed as a stand-alone bill by both the House and Senate, The Dignified Treatment of Wounded Warriors Act is now a part of the Senate Defense bill. Some of the key provisions include extending eligibility for VA healthcare to combat veterans from two to five years after discharge, establishing a DOD/VA program to speed up implementation of a joint electronic medical record, $50 million for treatment and rehabilitation of Traumatic Brain Injury and PTSD, and ending the inconsistencies in ratings awarded for the same disabilities by DOD and VA.

For Wounded Warriors Provisions in the NDAA, visit the Thomas website at:
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:HR01585:@@@D&summ2=m&.

5. Predatory Lending Regulation: On Oct 1, the Department of Defense put into effect a new regulation that protects servicemembers and their families from high-cost, short-term loans. The regulation limits the fees and interest that creditors can charge on three specific types of loans: payday loans, vehicle title loans, and tax refund anticipation loans. These three products were targeted because they have high interest rates, coupled with short payback terms. Payday loan and vehicle title loans can often lead to a cycle of ever-increasing debt. Refund anticipation loans provide seven to 14-day advances on tax refunds, but at a high cost to the borrower.

The financial stress servicemembers and their families suffer in turn causes a decline in military readiness. The regulation limits the annual percentage rate charged to military servicemembers and their families on payday loans, vehicle title loans, and tax refund anticipation loans to 36 percent. The method for calculating the annual percentage rate encompasses all fees required at the time of obligation, with very few exceptions. All financial institutions – without exception – are subject to the new regulation. The regulation also requires that servicemembers and their covered family members receive both a written and oral disclosure statement informing them of their rights before they become obligated on a consumer credit transaction. The VFW supported this initiative as it made its way through Congress.

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-washington-weekly-october-5-2007/

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