Browsing articles in "National VFW News"
Mar 21, 2013
Network Admin

VFW Now Accepting Entries into 2013-2014 Scholarship Competitions

Kansas City, Mo. – VFW announces it is now accepting entries into next year’s Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen scholarship competitions. The announcement comes just two weeks after students from across the globe took home their share of nearly $3 million dollars in scholarships and awards from last year’s competitions.

VFW’s Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen essay competitions are dedicated to promoting patriotism among our nation’s youth. Students are asked to submit an essay in response to a question or statement on a subject which prompts them to consider how democratic ideals and principals apply to their lives.

This year’s Voice of Democracy theme asks students to explain, “Why I’m Optimistic About Our Nation’s Future.” The Voice of Democracy scholarship competition is an audio-essay competition open to students in grades 9-12. Students are asked to record their statement in response to the theme and submit their entry to their local Posts. The national winner will receive the $30,000, T.C. Selman Memorial Scholarship Award. Click here for more information.

The Patriot’s Pen competition is open to students in grades 6-8. This year, students are asked to reflect on the statement, “What Patriotism Means to Me.” The national winner will receive a $5,000 award. Click here for more information.

The deadline for submissions is November 1, 2013.

Mar 1, 2013
Network Admin

VFW Says President Is Keeping His Promise

Hamilton and Obamam smallThe national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. left the Oval Office this [yesterday] morning knowing that President Obama shares his same concerns for properly caring for military veterans, service members and their families.

“It was a very positive meeting and we’re grateful for the opportunity,” said John E. Hamilton, a combat wounded Vietnam Marine Corps rifleman from St. Augustine, Fla., who is in Washington for the VFW’s annual legislative conference, which includes presenting the organization’s top legislative priorities before a joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees on Tuesday.

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Feb 22, 2013
Network Admin

VFW Washington Weekly – February 22, 2013

In This Issue:

1. Sequestration a Week Away
2. Others Want New Medal Ranked Lower
3. VFW Attends DOL Update
4. IB Lays Out VA Budget Needs
5. Nominate a Woman Veteran
6. VFW Discusses Student-Veterans in Higher Ed

1. Sequestration a Week Away: The Defense Department is pulling no punches in letting Congress and the American public know the serious impact mandatory sequestration will have on the force. With very exceptions, 800,000 DOD civilians will be forced to take a three-week furlough beginning in late April. That roughly means one day a week, per week, through the end of the current fiscal year, which will lower civilian pay by 20 percent. The mandatory sequester will kick in March 1, and barring a last minute agreement by Congress it will force the Pentagon to cut more than $46 billion in current year spending by Sept. 30, just seven months away. The automatic cuts would be in addition to the $487 billion in planned defense spending reductions over the next 10 years, as mandated by the Budget Control Act passed in 2011. As mentioned previously, planned reductions include:
* Slashing noncombat flying, sailing and driving hours.
* A hiring freeze and cut back on installation, facility and contract maintenance.
* Requesting a 1 percent military pay raise for fiscal year 2014 instead of the planned 1.7 percent.
* Requesting another base realignment and closure round.
* And possibly increasing military dependent and retiree Tricare health program fees, and changing the current military retirement system for future generations.
DOD is guaranteeing, however, that deployed forces will be protected, but forces in garrison and not “on deck” to deploy will be impacted. Read more about the potential furlough at http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=119337.

2. Others Want New Medal Ranked Lower: More veteran and military service organizations have joined with VFW in opposing the placement of the new Distinguished Warfare Medal, which if left unchanged will rank it the ninth highest in the order of precedence—higher than the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. The VFW has been joined in our call to lower the ranking by the Military Order of the Purple Heart, National Association of Uniformed Services, and the Military Officers’ Association of America, among others. The new medal, announced by Defense Secretary Panetta on Feb. 13, would be awarded to drone pilots and cyber warriors who are having a significant impact, but who are not required to be physically present on the battlefield. “The VFW fully concurs that those far from the fight are having an immediate impact,” said VFW National Commander John Hamilton, “but medals that can only be earned in direct combat must mean more than medals awarded in the rear.” The VFW continues to urge the Department of Defense and now the White House to reconsider the new medal’s placement in the military order of precedence.

3. VFW Attends DOL Meeting: This week, VFW attended a Department of Labor Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS) update for VSO’s on how the agency is working to deliver employment resources to veterans. Newly-confirmed Assistant Secretary of Labor for VETS, Keith Kelly discussed how he wants to improve VETS by soliciting feedback from veterans’ advocates like the VFW to make sure the agency’s programs succeed. The meeting also included briefings from other senior VETS leaders on programs like Jobs for Veterans State Grants, or JVSG, enhanced outreach to separating service members, data-sharing agreements with DOD, unique challenges for female veterans in the workforce, Family Medical Leave Act provisions for veterans, and usage of the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program. VFW will continue to monitor DOL resources for veterans, to stay up to date, click here for the blog posting: http://thevfw.blogspot.com/2013/02/department-of-labor-hosts-veterans.html

4. IB Lays Out VA Budget Needs: The VFW, along with its three Independent Budget (IB) partners- PVA, DAV, and AMVETS – have released what we believe to be the necessary funding for VA to continue to offer consistent high quality health care and services to all eligible veterans, their families and survivors. The comprehensive budget highlights the needs of older veterans and those young men and women returning from active duty to join civilian life. Funding information is provided after careful review of medical and administrative costs within VA which form the foundation of the recommendations. The Administration and Congress are expected to release their FY 2014 budget proposals sometime in March. Will continue to update you here as the budget and appropriations cycle moves along in the 113th Congress. We will continue to ask Congress and the Administration to provide sufficient funding to meet the health care and benefit needs of veterans in a timely and predictable manner.
IB Recommendations for FY 2014 include:
* $58.8 billion total for health care—$1.3 billion more than what the Administration recommended ($57.5 billion) in their advance appropriation last year.
* $2.4 billion for the Veterans Benefits Administration—approximately $226 million more than the expected FY 2013 appropriated level.
* $2.25 billion for all construction programs—approximately $900 million more than the expected FY 2013 appropriated level, and well below the true funding needs of construction projects.
* $611 million for medical and prosthetic research, approximately $28 million more than the expected FY 2013 appropriated level.
For the full FY 2014 Independent Budget recommendations, http://www.independentbudget.org/

5. Nominate a Woman Veteran: The White House Champions of Change program highlights the stories of citizens across the country who are moving their communities forward. This March, they want to highlight the many contributions made by women veterans, especially those who served in Iraq or Afghanistan. Examples of their work within the veterans’ community may include:
* Improving healthcare services available to women and children;
* Helping women veterans transitioning into the workforce;
* Leading programs to improve the well-being of young women;
* Developing a program to support victims of domestic violence or trauma;
* Helping engage and support Wounded Warrior transitioning;
* And providing services and support to eliminate homelessness, among many others.
There is no limit to the number of women veterans you can submit, but all nominations must be received by midnight, February 26. For more information or to nominate, go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/champions.

6. VFW Discusses Student-Veterans in Higher Ed: This week the New York Times published an op-ed by VFW Deputy Legislative Director Ryan Gallucci, highlighting the good work of student-veterans on college campuses across the country, but also explaining why potential student-veterans need to be armed with quality information before choosing a school. To read the full story, click here: http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/13/how-to-help-veterans-succeed-in-college/. Your VFW has standing invites to contribute these kinds of issue-based narratives to the Times and other major military and general news media outlets. If you would like to share a story of yours, please send it to vfwac@vfw.org.

Mar 16, 2012
Network Admin

New VFW Promotional Video

The National Veterans of Foreign Wars has unveiled their first video in their new “No One Does More For Veterans” campaign.  Click below to view it.

Nov 23, 2011
Network Admin

What Does Super Committee Failure Mean to VFW?

 The congressional Super Committee has thrown in the towel and admitted they cannot reach a bipartisan agreement to cut a minimum of $1.2 trillion from the federal budget over the next decade.  Under the law passed this summer, mandatory cuts will now take place across all federal departments and agencies beginning January 2013.   

Where and how much, however, is still to be determined. 

Each cabinet secretary will decide where the cuts will be made after the White House Office of Management and Budget identifies which, if any, programs are exempt.  Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare have been mentioned as being exempt, as have veterans programs, but no one has yet identified which veterans programs. 

The VFW believes that veterans’ healthcare programs and benefits will be exempt from any cuts.  Questions remain, however, about increased co-payments for visits and prescriptions, as well as charging VA category 7 and 8 veterans an annual enrollment fee.  We will continue to monitor and report any new developments as they occur. 

Over at the Defense Department are recommendations to change the pay and benefits of those currently serving and military retirees.  The threats include changing the military retirement system for future enlistees, limiting retiree healthcare program enrollment, and imposing or increasing healthcare fees on all TRICARE programs, regardless of age.  These proposals are in addition to possible reductions in force and cuts to other quality of life programs.  The budget crisis has also forced defense hawks to choose between supporting people programs and new weapon systems development.  Sadly, some have forgotten that it still takes people to occupy territory and to operate their shiny new aircraft, ships and tanks. 

Our nation hollowed out its force after Vietnam and again after the first Gulf War.  If the past 10 years have proven anything, it is that the All Volunteer Force works, but it comes with a price and a promise to maintain the quality of life programs for those few who serve.  Since 9/11, many of the less than 1 percent of the population who volunteered to serve their nation have been deployed into the fight numerous times.  The service-connected disabilities thousands have already received will require a strong and viable military healthcare system to return them to duty, and a strong and viable VA healthcare system to meet their lifetime care needs.   

Traumatic Brain Injury, Post-Traumatic Stress, amputations, and the risk of suicide are predominate issues of a military force at war.  The preservation of military and veteran benefits, improved quality and accessible healthcare, and continued medical research into alternative treatments is how our nation can properly repay those who go into harm’s way.   

Over the next year, many in Congress as well as thousands of registered lobbyists will be working hard to protect their special interests and programs.   We must all work hard to protect the Department of Veterans Affairs health, benefits and cemetery administrations, as well as all military quality of life programs for the troops, their families and military retirees. 

I ask each of you to contact your respective members of the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate to demand that these programs be protected.  State Commanders and members of the National Legislative Committee must arrange individual face-to-face meetings with every member of their Congressional Delegation to alert them to our concerns.  These meetings should be in addition to your visits to your Congressional delegations during the March 2012 Legislative Conference.  I also ask that you report the responses you receive back to the VFW Action Corps at vfwac@vfw.org.  

These meetings will be in addition to a massive outreach campaign to the entire U.S. Congress that I ask National Legislative Committee members to spearhead in each state and department.  We need Congress to be flooded with letters and phone calls to protect veterans’ programs and military quality of life programs from any cuts.  This is an obligation of every member of the VFW and their families to keep the faith with our comrades who need us to be their collective voice in Washington.  Please refer to the VFW website for constant updates and the "10 for 10" issues we have raised, along with sample letters for your use.   

The VFW needs you to make your voice heard now, because the most powerful message Congress can receive is from the folks who employ them — their voting constituents.  

Thank you for your continued support of America’s heroes. 

ROBERT E. WALLACE 
Executive Director 
VFW Washington Office

Sep 14, 2011
Network Admin

“This is My VFW” Membership Recruitment Video

Membership recruitment video shot at the 112th National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars August 27-September 1, 2011. Our thanks to all who participated in the production. Please share this video with all of your friends and veterans on your social networks. And of course, if you have not yet joined the VFW, click here to join today!

Sep 14, 2011
Network Admin

National Convention Wrap Up

America’s largest organization of combat veterans has elected a Vietnam War veteran to head the 1.5 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.

Richard L. DeNoyer, a resident of Middleton, Massachusetts, was elected VFW Commander-in-Chief on September 1, 2011, during the 112th VFW National Convention, held August 27 – September 1, in San Antonio, Texas.

Click here to read DeNoyer’s acceptance speech.

Also elected were John Hamilton, Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief, of
St. Augustine, Florida, and William Thien, Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief, of Georgetown, Indiana.

Several major measures affecting the operation of the Veterans of Foreign Wars were also approved during the business sesssion.  Click here to read a summary by North Carolina VFW Member Ken Sellers.  For more information on convention events, visit the VFW.org Summary page.

And finally, watch the slideshow below for some random photos from the convention.

Aug 2, 2011
Network Admin

VFW letter: the debt deal’s done, now what?

Dear VFW, Ladies Auxiliary and Supporters:

The president this afternoon signed congressional legislation to raise the federal debt limit and reduce government spending. The larger question is now how this all impacts veterans, service members, their families and survivors.

The measure passed by the Senate today and in the House yesterday will raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit by at least $2.1 trillion. An additional $500 billion could come in the fall, provided two-thirds of Congress approves. The final increase, expected early next year, would provide the Treasury enough borrowing power to pay its bills into 2013.

The deal also calls for sharp cuts in agency spending — about $917 billion over the next decade — starting with a $25 billion reduction in fiscal year 2012, which begins Oct. 1, with a second set of reductions coming later this year via a special committee charged with wringing at least $1.2 trillion more over the next decade. If the committee fails to act — or if Congress does not adopt its recommendations by Dec. 23 — government spending would be cut across the board by the same amount, with the reductions split 50:50 between security and non-security programs.

Either way, many DOD and VA programs and services could be negatively impacted, which would counteract everything the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. has worked hard to create over the past 112 years. The VFW and our supporters cannot let this happen.

On the VFW website is a list of 10 services and programs the organization believes are most vulnerable to being cut or curtailed in order to help pay for 10 years of war. The “10 for 10” list will form the basis of VFW’s legislative efforts and calls to action to its membership and grassroots supporters. Now is the time to re-engage with your members of Congress.

Yours in Comradeship,

ROBERT E. WALLACE
Executive Director
VFW Washington Office

Apr 16, 2011
Network Admin

VFW CheckPoint Magazine Mar/April 2011


VFW Checkpoint Magazine Mar/April 2011

Mar 12, 2011
Network Admin

VFW Washington Weekly – March 11, 2011

In This Issue:
1. VFW Legislative Conference Wrap-up
2. Caregiver Hearing
3. GITMO Trials to Resume
4. VFW Invited to Buckles Funeral
5. Five WWII MIAs Identified

1. VFW Legislative Conference Wrap-up: More than 600 VFW and Ladies Auxiliary members attended the annual VFW Legislative Conference in Washington, DC. Highlights ranged from the selection of Kelsey Woo from California as the 2011 Voice of Democracy winner to presentations from VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Gen. James Cartwright, USMC, as well as VFW members meeting with their U.S. representatives and senators. VFW National Commander Richard Eubank hosted 100 wounded warriors and their families to dinner, and met with the Coast Guard Commandant and Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, and with the Marine Corps Commandant and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, before testifying Tuesday before a joint hearing of the House and Senate VA Committees. He met with President Obama on Wednesday to discuss issues important to America’s veterans, servicemembers and families.

Continue Reading Washington Weekly

For more information, and other video, go to www.vfw.org.

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