Jun 02

Panel Recommends TriCare Fee Increase

By Kelly Kennedy – Staff writer – ArmyTimes.com

After months of hearings in which lawmakers have repeatedly declared their opposition to increasing Tricare fees for some beneficiaries, an interim report from a Defense Health Board task force recommends just that.

The report from the Defense Department’s Task Force on the Future of Military Healthcare recommends:

•Increasing drug co-pays for those who don’t use the Tricare Mail Order Pharmacy program or generic prescription drugs.

•Increasing costs for those who get their prescriptions filled outside the military system.

•Raising out-of-pocket expenses for retirees under age 65 — but giving them a one-time increase in retired pay to offset part or all of the higher expenses.

•Index annually the premiums and deductibles paid by under-65 retirees to account for inflation, and increase military retired pay to help with those higher costs.

•Increase premiums and cost shares for under-65 retirees to a level comparable to private-sector health insurance plans.

•Create a tiered-payment system for under-65 retirees based on their retired paygrades.

Read more

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/panel-recommends-tricare-fee-increase/

Jun 01

Scammers Targeting Military Families

WASHINGTON, May 31, 2007–The American Red Cross is warning military spouses about a new identity-theft scam that targets family members of deployed troops.

The Red Cross was alerted of the scam earlier this month, said Devorah Goldburg of the Red Cross.

The scam involves a person with an American accent calling a military spouse, identifying herself as a representative of the Red Cross, and telling the spouse that her husband was hurt in Iraq and was medically evacuated to Germany. The caller then says that doctors can't start treatment until paperwork is completed, and that to start the paperwork they need the spouse to verify her husband's social security number and date of birth.

It is hard to determine how many spouses have been targeted by this scam, Goldburg said, as there are many ways for spouses to report problems like this. However, one confirmed report was enough for the Red Cross to act, she said.

Read more

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/scammers-targeting-military-families/

May 31

Military Records Available for a Limited Time

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/military-records-available-for-a-limited-time/

May 26

VFW WASHINGTON WEEKLY – May 25, 2007

In This Issue:
1. Congress Passes FY07 Emergency Supplemental
2. House Passes FY08 Defense Bill
3. FY08 VA Budget/Appropriations Update
4. VFW Testifies at Senate VA Health Hearing
5. House Passes 6 Veterans’ Bills
6. House Committee looks at VA Claims Solutions


1. Congress Passes FY07 Emergency Supplemental: The House and Senate passed the FY07 Emergency Supplemental yesterday, and the bill is being sent to the president for his signature. The $120 billion package omits the artificial troop withdrawal timelines but keeps benchmarks for the Iraqi government to meet. The package would also increase veterans’ health care programs by almost $1.8 billion, military construction by almost $1.7 billion and homeland security by more than $1 billion. The Senate cleared the bill by a vote of 80-14; the House vote was 280-142.

2. House Passes FY08 Defense Bill: The House passed the FY08 National Defense Authorization Act by a vote of 397-27. The $503 billion bill passed with several amendments. The Senate is expected to take up its version in June. Highlights of the bill include a 3.5% pay increase for all servicemembers; increases in family support and mental health services for National Guard and Reserve personnel; a Traumatic Brian Injury Initiative to provide technology and treatment opportunities for TBI research; expanding CRSC to include Chapter 61 military retirees with minimum 15 years and 60% VA disability rating; and prohibits any increases in TRICARE and pharmacy fees for servicemembers and retirees.
For a complete run down of the bills provisions, go to: http://armedservices.house.gov/pdfs/ndaafy08/HASCFY08NDAARelease.pdf.


3. FY08 VA Budget/Appropriations Update: The House Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee's effort to dramatically increase funding for veterans’ health care is a major victory for America’s veterans. The fiscal year 2008 legislation, which was marked up by the Subcommittee and now moves to the full Appropriations Committee, includes a record $43.3 billion in discretionary VA funding, which is an historic $6.7 billion increase over last year's funding level. The proposal fully meets the health care budget recommendations the VFW made as part of the Independent Budget.
The legislation also provides funding for 1,000 extra disability claims raters to enable VA to manage the growing backlog of claims. It also dramatically increases maintenance and repair funding for VA's aging infrastructure. The VFW commends Subcommittee Chairman Chet Edwards (D-TX) for his leadership in crafting the measure, as well House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt (D-SC), Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey (D-WI), and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for their leadership in support of additional funding for veterans’ programs.

4. VFW Testifies at Senate VA Health Hearing: VFW Legislative Director Dennis Cullinan testified this week before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee on a variety of health-related veterans’ bills. Some of the VFW-supported legislation includes extending VA health care eligibility from two years to five years for those serving in combat in the Persian Gulf; authorizing a comprehensive mental health plan that would train VA providers to identify suicide-risk factors among veterans; and enhancing homelessness services and traumatic brain injury rehabilitation treatment.

For the complete testimony, go to: http://www.vfw.org/index.cfm?fa=caphill.leveld&did=3702.

For more on the hearing, go to the Senate VA Committee’s website at: http://veterans.senate.gov/.

5. House Passes 6 Veterans’ Bills: The House passed six bills this week to expand benefits and services for veterans. The bills now move to the Senate for consideration. A brief description is provided below:
– HR 67 establishes a grant program for state veterans outreach activities.
– HR 1660 directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish a national cemetery for veterans in the southern Colorado region.
– HR 612 extends eligibility for health care for combat service in the Persian Gulf or future hostilities from two years to five years after discharge or release.
– HR 1470 requires VA to provide chiropractic care and services at all medical centers by 2011.
– HR 2199 authorizes five new research centers for the treatment of individuals with traumatic brain injuries. It also authorizes $7.5 million for a pilot program of mobile veterans’ centers to improve access to readjustment counseling for returning veterans.
– HR 2239 expands eligibility for vocational rehabilitation benefits to servicemembers awaiting medical discharge.

6. House Committee looks at VA Claims Solutions: The VFW participated in a roundtable discussion held by House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner (D-CA). The discussion centered on what can be done to improve the claims backlog situation at VA. The Committee is looking for ideas on ways to streamline and simplify the system. More than two dozen stakeholders were invited to speak. The VFW and other VSOs acknowledged the need for more training, accountability and funding for VA. Others attending included County Veterans Service Officers, legal groups, Professor Linda Bilmes of Harvard University, the GAO, VA, AFGE, and Congressional members on the Committee. All agreed that changes must be made to improve the current process for all veterans entering the system.

Congress is on recess for the Memorial Day Holiday – both House and Senate is expected back to Washington the week of June 4th.

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-washington-weekly-may-25-2007/

May 26

Live Webcast of Memorial Day Ceremony

Live webcast of VVMF 's 2007 Memorial Day
Ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, 1 pm, May 28, 2007

The webcast of Memorial Day ceremonies at the Vietnam Memorial will include a special tribute by Tell America to honor merchant mariners who served America during the Vietnam War.

Vietnam Veterans of America, Rolling Thunder® Motorcycle Rally, Veterans,
Family Members and Singer Keni Thomas to Take Part

On the 25th anniversary of The Wall, thousands of veterans, families and friends from around the country will come to Washington, D.C. for the annual Memorial Day Observance at The Wall. The annual Memorial Day ceremony is hosted yearly by the Memorial Fund and the National Park Service to pay tribute to members of America’s armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam and in all conflicts.

Read more and watch ceremony

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/live-webcast-of-memorial-day-ceremony/

May 26

VFW Applauds War Supplement Passage

WASHINGTON, May 25, 2007–The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is applauding Congress for the passage of a 2007 emergency war supplemental spending bill that funds the troops without setting artificial withdrawal timelines.

“Congress did the right thing by omitting the withdrawal language and retaining the benchmarks for the Iraqi government to reach,” said VFW National Commander Gary Kurpius, a Vietnam veteran from Anchorage, Alaska. “I also appreciate the additional funding for veterans, military construction and homeland security programs.”

The House and Senate approved the $120 billion package yesterday. The president had requested $103 billion, but Congress added additional spending requirements to increase veterans’ health care programs by $1.8 billion, military construction and realignment by almost $5 billion, and homeland security by more than $1 billion. Also tacked on was almost $5 billion in domestic spending programs, as well as $6 billion for FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers, and for Gulf Coast recovery operations.

Read more

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-applauds-war-supplement-passage/

May 26

Veterans Encouraged to Wear Military Medals on Memorial Day

Nicholson: Show Pride, Teach Younger Generations

WASHINGTON?– To show their pride in military service and teach younger generations about the value of serving our nation, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson urged veterans across the country to pin on their military medals on Memorial Day, May 28.

“Wearing their medals demonstrates the deep pride our veterans have in their military service,” said Nicholson.??“It also reminds all American citizens — especially the young — about the sacrifices our veterans have made for their freedom.”

He encouraged veterans to display their medals no matter what they are doing on Memorial Day, but especially when attending public events.??Nicholson said he believes the movement will become a tradition.??Nicholson first urged veterans to wear their military decorations last Veterans Day under a program called “Veterans Pride Initiative.”?

Read More

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/veterans-encouraged-to-wear-military-medals-on-memorial-day/

May 18

One of the Last to Fall

Special to VFW WebCOM:

On one of my visits this year to our family's cemetery plot in Henderson, North Carolina, I happened to notice the headstone in the adjacent plot, which had the name Lt. E. Cedric Harris,  81st Division, 321st Infantry, MG, with his 1899 birthdate and a date of death of November 11, 1918.   I knew WWI ended on that day but it seemed so unlikely that it would be the date of death of anyone I would encounter in any circumstance  (not to mention that I would have never have noticed it anytime in the half century of years I have walked by it), that I soon thereafter began searching the internet for something further on Lt. Harris. 

I found this:  

[HARRIS, EDWARD C.]

        HARRIS, EDWARD C., 2nd Lt., M. G. Co., 81st Div. 321st Inf. Born in Vance County; son of Edward W. and Meta Earl Harris. Entered service April, 1917, at Wendell, N. C. Went to Ft. Oglethorpe, Ga. Sailed for France Aug. 5, 1918. Wounded in France Nov. 11, 1918. Died Nov. 12, 1918. An exceptionally brave officer. Carried his machine gun through wire entanglement and put it in position under violent fire from three enemy machine guns. Fatally wounded, but commanded his men to leave him and continue fighting. Received Croix de Guerre with Palm and D. S. Cross for heroism at Grimancourt, France. Graduated from Trinity College, 1917. 


 (from page 64, http://docsouth.unc.edu/wwi/graham/graham.html)


I confirmed that Lt. Harris is, indeed, a listed recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross.  I found accounts of his division, the 81st, and the 321st, both in training in the U.S., and in France in combat.  I found the divisional citation upon which I am sure the Croix de Guerre with Palm award was based.   I found that he had been a student at Trinity College, which became Duke University in the 1920s, but the 1918 student Yearbook was not published because so many students left for military service, and it is quite unlikely that a 19 year old would have completed four years of college.  I found the record, in the same source, of a fellow solider who is surely his older brother, Talton, an artilleryman who apparently survived the war, and I think must have been older because Edward Cedric Harris was so young; he enrolled only after the U.S. Government, the preceding December, expanded the enlistment ages downwards to include 19 year olds, and Edward Cedric Harris enrolled as soon as the law permitted. 

I don't know if Lt. Harris is in fact buried beneath his large headstone, or if he is in France. I don't know whether he left behind any letters or pictures, or if any of his family yet remain, or if they would object to the attention that posting this information might bring. For one reason I have is, indeed, to encourage anyone with information about Lt. Harris to share it here, as I will share anything further I discover.  

The other reason is to honor him and through him his fellow veterans from all times and services.

Respectfully offered

Robert Brewer Jr

Fort Worth, Texas

Thank you Mr. Brewer for sharing.


The VFW WebCOM Network is actively seeking your pictures, stories, videos, or recordings.  If you have Veteran related information you would like to share, please email
vfwwebcom@gmail.com.

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/one-of-the-last-to-fall/

May 18

One of the Last to Fall

Special to VFW WebCOM:

On one of my visits this year to our family's cemetery plot in Henderson, North Carolina, I happened to notice the headstone in the adjacent plot, which had the name Lt. E. Cedric Harris,  81st Division, 321st Infantry, MG, with his 1899 birthdate and a date of death of November 11, 1918.   I knew WWI ended on that day but it seemed so unlikely that it would be the date of death of anyone I would encounter in any circumstance  (not to mention that I would have never have noticed it anytime in the half century of years I have walked by it), that I soon thereafter began searching the internet for something further on Lt. Harris. 

I found this:  

[HARRIS, EDWARD C.]

        HARRIS, EDWARD C., 2nd Lt., M. G. Co., 81st Div. 321st Inf. Born in Vance County; son of Edward W. and Meta Earl Harris. Entered service April, 1917, at Wendell, N. C. Went to Ft. Oglethorpe, Ga. Sailed for France Aug. 5, 1918. Wounded in France Nov. 11, 1918. Died Nov. 12, 1918. An exceptionally brave officer. Carried his machine gun through wire entanglement and put it in position under violent fire from three enemy machine guns. Fatally wounded, but commanded his men to leave him and continue fighting. Received Croix de Guerre with Palm and D. S. Cross for heroism at Grimancourt, France. Graduated from Trinity College, 1917. 


 (from page 64, http://docsouth.unc.edu/wwi/graham/graham.html)


I confirmed that Lt. Harris is, indeed, a listed recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross.  I found accounts of his division, the 81st, and the 321st, both in training in the U.S., and in France in combat.  I found the divisional citation upon which I am sure the Croix de Guerre with Palm award was based.   I found that he had been a student at Trinity College, which became Duke University in the 1920s, but the 1918 student Yearbook was not published because so many students left for military service, and it is quite unlikely that a 19 year old would have completed four years of college.  I found the record, in the same source, of a fellow solider who is surely his older brother, Talton, an artilleryman who apparently survived the war, and I think must have been older because Edward Cedric Harris was so young; he enrolled only after the U.S. Government, the preceding December, expanded the enlistment ages downwards to include 19 year olds, and Edward Cedric Harris enrolled as soon as the law permitted. 

I don't know if Lt. Harris is in fact buried beneath his large headstone, or if he is in France. I don't know whether he left behind any letters or pictures, or if any of his family yet remain, or if they would object to the attention that posting this information might bring. For one reason I have is, indeed, to encourage anyone with information about Lt. Harris to share it here, as I will share anything further I discover.  

The other reason is to honor him and through him his fellow veterans from all times and services.

Respectfully offered

Robert Brewer Jr

Fort Worth, Texas

Thank you Mr. Brewer for sharing.


The VFW WebCOM Network is actively seeking your pictures, stories, videos, or recordings.  If you have Veteran related information you would like to share, please email
vfwwebcom@gmail.com.

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/one-of-the-last-to-fall-2/

May 18

The Meaning of Memorial Day

By VFW Commander-in-Chief Gary Kurpius at VFW.org


Has this special day of remembrance been lost on the American people?

It’s a sacred day to all war veterans: None need to be reminded of the reason that Memorial Day must be commemorated. But what about the general public, and more important, future generations? Do most non-veterans really recognize the importance of the day honoring their fellow Americans killed in war?

Judging from what Memorial Day has become—simply another day off from work—the answer is a resounding no. Perhaps a reminder is due then. And it is the duty of each and every veteran to relay the message.

Sacrifice is meaningless without remembrance. America’s collective consciousness demands that all citizens recall and be aware of the deaths of their fellow countrymen during wartime.

Read more

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/the-meaning-of-memorial-day/

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