Aug 21

Vice President to Speak Monday at VFW Convention

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20, 2010 – Vice President Joe Biden has accepted an invitation to speak Monday at the 111th National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. The annual convention of America's oldest major veterans' organization starts Saturday in the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.

"It is a time-honored tradition for the president or vice president to address the national convention of America's largest organization of combat veterans," said VFW National Commander Thomas J. Tradewell Sr., a combat-wounded Vietnam veteran from Sussex, Wis.

"We are grateful to Vice President Biden for taking the time to speak to us on issues that are vitally important to our nation's veterans, her military and their families."

Almost 13,000 VFW and Ladies Auxiliary delegates will represent the 2.1 million-member organization at the weeklong convention. Their mission will be to approve new national priorities to guide the organization's advocacy efforts in Congress on behalf of the nation's 23 million veterans, 2.2 million servicemembers and their families. Advocacy issues include military and veterans' healthcare, benefits, and Quality of Life programs, as well as military readiness, national defense and homeland security.

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Aug 21

Second Annual Live Stream of VFW National Convention

KANSAS CITY, MO., August 12, 2010 – VFW is pleased to announce — for the second year in a row, this year's 111th VFW National Convention will stream live on from the Indianapolis Convention Center.

Streaming is set to begin at 8:00 a.m. (EDT) on Monday, August 23st, during the call to order of the VFW/Ladies Auxiliary, Joint Opening Session. The stream will continue for the duration of the session, including presentations of the VFW Eisenhower Distinguished Service Award to General David H. Petraeus, the VFW Hall of Fame Award to Keni Thomas, as well as appearances by many other notable guests.

Streaming of the VFW General Sessions will continue live August 24-26 beginning at 8:00 a.m. Replays will run from approximately 1 p.m. until 8:00 a.m. the next day.

Don't miss the installation of our next VFW Commander-in-Chief, Richard Eubank, and more event coverage from the comfort of your own computer!


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Aug 09

Thanks a Million Campaign

Have you thanked a Veteran today? Here's your chance. We are looking for a million ways to thank our Veterans and our Troops for their service to our Country. Thank a hero, past, present, future. You can share your story, idea or inspiration here.

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Aug 01

VFW Washington Weekly – July 30, 2010

In This Issue:
1. Stop-Loss Vets to Lose Retroactive Payments
2. VA to Investigate Life Insurance Practices
3. Arlington National Cemetery Hearing
4. VA Funding Clears House
5. House VA Committee Hearings
6. Help VFW Win the Pepsi Refresh Grant

2. VA to Investigate Life Insurance Practices: The VA is investigating what may be a legal yet shameful life insurance industry practice of putting veterans' death benefits into corporate accounts instead of making lump sum payments to survivors.  Prudential Financial Inc. and MetLife Inc. are among the companies to be investigated, according to Bloomberg Markets magazine.  Another industry practice to be investigated is the payment of uncompetitive interest rates to survivors.  In 2008, for example, Prudential paid survivors 1 percent interest on their accounts, while it earned a 4.8 percent return on its corporate funds, according to Bloomberg.  Such accounts are not FDIC protected.  House VA Committee Chairman Bob Filner (D-CA) said he was "outraged" that insurance practices appear to result in "corporations retaining the assets in corporate accounts, profiting from the interest, and failing to pass accrued interest to surviving families." 
3. Arlington National Cemetery Hearing: Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight Chairwoman Claire McCaskill (D-MO) used in her opening statement parts of VFW-submitted testimony to describe the mismanagement of Arlington National Cemetery as "a national disgrace."  Witnesses included the former cemetery superintendent and his deputy, as well as two civilian deputy assistant secretaries of the Army and the newly-appointed director of Army National Cemeteries.  The intent of the hearing was to uncover potential fraud, waste and abuse in the cemetery's failed effort to electronically upgrade its paper-based burial filing system.  The Army Inspector General revealed in June that $5.5 million had been spent on numerous IT projects that never materialized.  At the hearing, it was mentioned that the amount spent may have exceeded $8 million, and that the number of unmarked or improperly marked gravesites could number upwards of 6,000.  The IG report disclosed only 211 known sites.  In testimony submitted for the record, the VFW said failure at Arlington National Cemetery does not rest solely on the shoulders of the former superintendent and his deputy, both of whom retired earlier this month.  The failure was allowed to occur by a hands-off attitude by those more senior in the chain-of-command, who may have regarded their oversight responsibility more as an additional duty than a primary mission. To view video of the hearing and read witness testimonies, go to

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Jul 26

Retroactive Stop Loss Pay Deadline Approaching

Those eligible must submit a claim by Oct. 21, 2010.

The 2009 War Supplemental Appropriations Act established Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay (RSLSP), providing $500 for each month/partial month served in stop loss status. Service members, veterans, and beneficiaries of servicemembers whose service was involuntarily extended under Stop Loss between Sept. 11, 2001 and Sept. 30, 2009 are eligible for RSLSP.

To receive this benefit, those who served under stop loss must submit a claim for the special pay. Throughout the year, the services have been reaching out to servicemembers, veterans and their families through direct mail, veteran service organizations, and the media. But there is still money left to be claimed, and the deadline is approaching. The average benefit is $3,700.

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Jul 12

VFW Applauds New PTSD Claims Decision

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 12, 2010 – The national commander of America's largest combat veterans organization is applauding the Department of Veterans Affairs for eliminating a requirement for veterans to explicitly prove that a traumatic event directly caused their post-traumatic stress.

"From this point forward," wrote VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki in a statement released today, "VA will not require corroboration of a PTSD stressor related to fear of hostile military or terrorist activity, if a VA doctor confirms a diagnosis of PTSD and the stressful experience recalled by the veteran adequately supports that diagnosis."

Thomas J. Tradewell Sr., the national commander of the 2.1 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and its Auxiliaries, called the VA secretary's decision to ease PTSD claims requirements a sea-change in the mindset of the VA. It follows numerous other decisions that increased the list of presumptions for diseases associated with Agent Orange exposure; increased services and programs for women veterans, veterans who reside in rural areas as well as the homeless; and reduced the size of the claims form from 23 to 10 pages. Tradewell said even the VA's outreach to patients possibly exposed to improperly sterilized equipment at a small number of its hospitals reflects the department's proactive, veterans' first attitude.

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Jul 03

Operation Uplink's 4th of July Free Call Day!

This July 4th, troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait can call the U.S for free for a full 24 hours in honor of Independence Day, courtesy of Sport Clips, beginning at 12:01AM July 4, 2010 and ending at 11:59PM July 4, 2010 (Eastern Standard Time).

Free Call Days are available at more than 800 MWR internet cafes using SPAWAR located on military installations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait.

Dialing Instructions for Soldiers Overseas:
To place a call, use regular dialing procedures using your SPAWAR prepaid PIN, if you do not have a PIN number, you can obtain one from the cafe manager. You will hear the sponsor announcement informing you that your call is FREE.

Feedback is welcomed and encouraged from participants!

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Jun 25

VFW Washington Weekly – June 25, 2010

 In This Issue:
1. Senior Officer Changes
2. South Korean Presidential Thank You
3. Senate Discusses Military Suicides
4. House VA Committee Hearings
5. U.S.-Russia Joint Commission Update
6. WW I Marine Identified
7. Help VFW Win $250,000 Grant
1. Senior Officer Changes: The president on Wednesday nominated U.S. Central Command commander Gen. David Petraeus to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal as overall commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan.  The action was based on an in depth magazine article in which McChrystal and his senior staff were portrayed as being publicly insubordinate towards the White House and senior administration and diplomatic officials.  "I welcome debate, but I won't tolerate division," said the president.  Petraeus' nomination requires Senate confirmation.  A replacement for Petraeus at CENTCOM has yet to be named.
2. South Korean Presidential Thank You: Today marks the 60 anniversary of the start of the Korean War, and the Republic of Korea wants to personally thank every veteran of that war for their service and sacrifice on behalf of South Korea's freedom.  According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, almost 1.8 million servicemen and women served in-theater during the three-year war that resulted in 33,739 combat deaths and more than 103,000 woundings.  A letter signed by South Korean President Lee Myung-bako is available online at or by writing to: U.S. Branch, ROK 60th AKW Commemoration Committee, 2450 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20008.

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Jun 18

VFW Washington Weekly – June 18, 2010

In This Issue:
1. VFW National Commander Meets With President
2. House Subcommittee Meets on Claims Backlog
3. Senate VA Committee Discusses Rural Healthcare
4. Help VFW Win a $250,000 Grant
5. Pearl Harbor Sailor Identified
6. Four Vietnam MIAs Identified

1. VFW National Commander Meets With President: VFW National Commander Thomas J. Tradewell Sr. met with President Obama yesterday to discuss issues of importance to America's veterans, servicemembers and their families.  He thanked for the president for signing into law advanced appropriations for the VA and family caregiver legislation, and also expressed VFW concerns about the high military suicide rate, the huge VA claims backlog, unemployed veterans, and burial accountability problems that recently surfaced at Arlington National Cemetery.  "It was good meeting and I am grateful for the opportunity, because it is clear that the president shares our concerns to make things right, as does the first lady, and the vice president and Dr. Jill Biden," said Tradewell.  A VFW press release is at

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Jun 07

Help the VFW "Return the Favor"

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – the VFW Foundation is in the running to receive a $250,000 "Pepsi Refresh" grant.

But it all depends on you. Won't you help us win?

Please visit and vote!

Your vote for the VFW Foundation's "Return the Favor" project will support the unmet needs of U.S. military personnel and their families. For example, since 2004, the VFW Foundation has provided over $3,400,000 in direct free financial assistance to military families in urgent financial circumstances for rent, mortgage, utilities, vehicle repair, medical expenses and food/basic aid. In many instances, or intervention has stopped evictions and foreclosures. We constantly hold "welcome home" and "send off" events for troops to boost morale. We've distributed 10,000,000 long distance telephone cards and we pay for innovative Internet "Free Call Days" so our brave troops in Iraq and Afghanistan can call home on a regular basis.

You can vote once a day during the month of June.

The two organizations that receive the most votes win.

Tell friends and family, forward this email to everyone you know.

Won't you take a few seconds to show our troops and those they love how much our nation appreciates their service and sacrifice? They are counting on you, please don't let them down!

"They have done so much for us…Now let's Return the Favor"

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