VFW: MIA Searches in Vietnam ‘Great News’

(via AP) Joe Davis, the Director of Public Affairs for the VFW, said Monday that the three new sites being opened in Vietnam to search for MIA remains is great news for the families of missing soldiers waiting for closure three decades later. (video)

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New Initiative a Positive Step for Transitioning Military

The nation’s oldest and largest major combat veterans’ organization is calling President Obama’s new “We Can’t Wait” initiative an extremely positive step that will help thousands of service members with manufacturing and other high-demand skills receive civilian credentials and licenses.

Today’s announcement tasks the Defense Department’s new Military Credentialing and Licensing Task Force to focus on industries and career fields that have an identified need for more skilled workers, such as in manufacturing, emergency response, healthcare, information technology, transportation and logistics. Within a year, the Task Force will identify military specialties that can readily transfer to these high-demand jobs; work with civilian credentialing and licensing associations to address gaps between military training programs and civilian credentialing and licensing requirements; and provide service members with greater access to necessary certification and licensing exams.

“This will be extremely beneficial for transitioning service members and hopefully their spouses, too,” said Richard L. DeNoyer, a retired Marine and Vietnam combat veteran, who leads the 2 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and its Auxiliaries.

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VFW Washington Weekly, April 20, 2012

In This Issue
1. Soldier to Receive Posthumous MoH
2. VFW Testifies on Disability Claims Process
3. VFW Testifies on VeteranIs’ Health Bills
4. House Subcommittee Clears Vets’ Bills
5. VOW Act Website Launched
6. Two Korean War MIAs Identified

1. Soldier to Receive Posthumous MoH: Army Spc. 4 Leslie H. Sabo Jr., a rifleman with the 101st Airborne Division during the Vietnam War, will posthumously receive the Medal of Honor in a White House ceremony next month. Sabo is credited with saving the lives of several of his comrades in Company B, 3rd Battalion, 506th Infantry, when his platoon was ambushed near the Se San River in eastern Cambodia on May 10, 1970. Sabo shielded a comrade from an enemy grenade and silenced a machine-gun bunker before he was killed. Sabo’s unit nominated him for the Medal of Honor, but the paperwork was lost until a fellow veteran and writer for the Screaming Eagle Association magazine came across a thick file on Sabo while on a research trip to the National Archives military repository in College Park, Md. Read more at http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=67965.

2. VFW Testifies on Disability Claims Process: This week, the VFW testified as part of a panel of experts on the role of veterans’ representatives throughout the VA disability claims process. Speaking before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, our remarks centered on the importance of having a claim representative help veterans obtain benefits from VA. Currently, VFW has 1,300 accredited individuals providing assistance to veterans and survivors.
We also spoke about our VA accredited training program and the critical need for a thorough understanding of the complexities of the disability claims process and rating system.
Other panelists included DAV, the American Legion, VA and a local law firm that does litigation on behalf of veterans. To learn more about the hearing and to view the archived webcast, click here: http://www.vfwonthehill.org/2012/04/watch-live-vfw-to-testify-on-va-claims.html.

3. VFW Testifies on Veterans’ Health Bills: On Monday, VFW testified before the House Subcommittee on Health on an array of veterans health care related bills. The Committee appeared most interested in H.R. 3279, legislation which clarifies a serious illness as being eligible for caregiver benefits and H.R. 1460, which would direct VA to automatically enroll service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan into the VA health care system. The VFW also testified on H.R. 3016, which requires VA and DOD to operate a joint Federal Recovery Coordination Program, H.R. 3337, which establishes a burn pit registry for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who may have been exposed to toxins overseas and others. For our complete testimony and listing of all the bills, or to view the recorded webcast visit: http://www.vfwonthehill.org/2012/04/icymi-vfw-testifies-on-veterans-health.html.

4. House Subcommittee Clears Vets’ Bills: The House VA Subcommittee on Disability and Memorial Affairs cleared several VFW- supported bills out of committee. They now move to the full committee for a vote. They included:
H.R. 4142, which would automatically adjust the cost-of-living increase for veterans to the same percentage as social security COLA, thereby eliminating the need for legislation every year.
H.R. 2051, which provides burials for unclaimed veteran remains identified by the Missing in America project.
For a listing of all of the bills, visit the House VA Committee website at: http://veterans.house.gov/markup/markup-of-hr-4114-ans-to-hr-4142-ans-to-hr-2377

5. VOW Act Website Launched: On April 17, VA launched the VOW to Hire Heroes Act website. VFW played a critical role in getting this critical employment legislation passed into law. The site provides comprehensive information on all aspects of the VOW Act to include details about the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP), tax credits for employers, vocational rehabilitation services, the transition assistance program, and Department of Labor resources for veterans. Qualified veterans will be able to apply for the VRAP program which offers 12 months of retraining assistance directly from the site starting on May 15, 2012. VFW highlighted the new website on our blog, which you can read about here: http://www.vfwonthehill.org/2012/04/va-introduces-vow-to-hire-heroes-act.html. For more information on the new programs and benefits, click here: http://www.benefits.va.gov/VOW/

6. Two Korean War MIAs Identified: The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced the identifications of remains belonging to two soldiers who had been missing in action since the Korean War. Returned home are:
* Army Pfc. Richard E. Clapp, 19, of Seattle, Wash. On Sept. 2, 1950, Clapp and C Company, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, came under fire near Yulchon, South Korea. Clapp was killed in action, but the Army was unable to identify his remains at the time, and he was buried as “Unknown” in a military cemetery on the Korean Peninsula, then reinterred in “The “Punchbowl” National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.
* Army Cpl. James N. Larkin, 34, of Kirkwood, Mo. On Feb. 11, 1951, Larkin and his unit, known as “Support Force 21” from the 2nd Infantry Division, were attacked by Chinese forces near Changbong-ni, South Korea. Following the battle, Larkin was listed as missing in action. It was later learned he had died in April 1951 from battle wounds and malnutrition while held captive in the Chinese operated POW camp known as “Bean Camp” located in North Korea.
Read more at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/news/news_releases/.

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President Signs Veterans’ Jobs Bill Into Law

The VFW joined President Barack Obama and leaders in veterans’ advocacy at the White House yesterday [Monday] to sign the VOW to Hire Heroes Act into law. This comprehensive piece of veterans’ jobs legislation passed both houses of Congress with unanimous bipartisan support before reaching the president’s desk thanks in large part to the advocacy of the VFW on the issue of veterans’ unemployment.

Over the last few years, the VFW has consistently passed a resolution at the VFW National Convention calling on Congress to address the ever-growing unemployment crisis among veterans, particularly the men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. VFW then testified in support of comprehensive veterans’ jobs legislation before both the House and Senate in the lead-up to the compromise bill that the president signed yesterday [Monday].

Both Republican and Democratic leaders, like House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Fla., and Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., joined the president, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden at the White House to mark the bipartisan victory that will help veterans become more marketable employees in a cut-throat jobs market.

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