January 4, 2019
In This Issue:
1. VFW-SVA 2019 Legislative Fellowship Class
2. VFW 2019 Priority Goals
3. Veterans in 116th Congress
4. 2019 Military Pay Rates Released
5. MIA Update
1. VFW-SVA 2019 Legislative Fellowship Class: The VFW and Student Veterans of America
(SVA) announced the names of 10 VFW members and student veteran leaders who will
comprise the fifth VFW-SVA Legislative Fellowship class. Announced during the 11th annual
SVA National Conference, the program continues efforts by both organizations to train
grassroots advocates. The semester-long program includes policy research and six days in
Washington, D.C., for the VFW’s Legislative Conference.
The 10 selected fellows for 2019 are:
– Chad Baer, Army veteran, University of Pennsylvania
– Tammy Barlet, Coast Guard veteran, George Washington University
– Matthew Deller, Army veteran, The American University of Paris
– Christopher Lamy, Air Force veteran, Louisiana State University
– Alcides Lugo, Army veteran, Auburn University
– Angela Peacock, Army veteran, Washington University – St. Louis
– Chanel Powell, Army veteran, University at Buffalo
– Lobsang Salaka, Army veteran, Northeastern University
– Amy Sleath, Army veteran, Minnesota State University Moorhead
– Tom Wike, Marine veteran, Ohio State University
Learn more about the VFW-SVA Legislative Fellowship.
2. VFW 2019 Priority Goals: This week marked the beginning of the 116th Congress. The
VFW looks forward to working with the new and returning members of Congress to improve
care and benefits for veterans, service members, and their families. Read the VFW’s 2019
Priority Goals. Find your legislators.
3. Veterans in 116th Congress: A total of 96 military veterans were sworn in yesterday as
members of the 116th Congress. According to an Army Times article, 19 are serving in the
Senate and 77 in the House, for an overall veteran percentage of 17.9 percent. Four decades ago
the percentage of military veterans in Congress exceeded 70 percent. Of the 96 veterans, only 44
are eligible for VFW membership, with 28 currently being members in good standing. Other
– 48 served in the military after the year 2000;
– 30 are Democrats and 66 are Republicans;
– 19 are first-time lawmakers; and
– 7 are women
Read the Army Times article here.
4. 2019 Military Pay Rates Released: On Jan. 1, DOD released the monthly basic pay rates for
2019. The 2.6 percent raise is the largest since the 3.4 percent increase in 2010, and 0.3 percent
larger than last year’s raise. In terms of direct impacts on service members, junior officers and
senior enlisted can expect to see about $1,300 more a year, junior enlisted can expect to see
about $670 more a year, and senior officers with more than 12 years of service will receive
approximately $2,300 more per year. The increase is based on a yearly federal calculation that is
designed to keep military pay rates on par with private sector wages; however, the VFW has long
advocated for a more realistic calculation. Download the 2019 pay charts.
5. MIA Update: This week, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced six new
identifications. Returning home with full military honors are:
— Army Cpl. John G. Krebs was a member of Company L, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry
Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, and engaged in combat operations against the North Korean
People’s Army south of Chonui, South Korea, when he was declared missing in action.
Interment services are pending. Read about Krebs.
— Army Pfc. James C. Williams was a member of Medical Company, 34th Infantry Regiment,
24th Infantry Division, when he was killed in action near Taejon, South Korea. Fellow soldiers
returned Williams’ remains to the collection point. After his death, the 34th Infantry Regiment’s
Medical Company was ordered to withdraw, and his remains were left behind. Interment services
are pending. Read about Williams.
— Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Burleigh E. Curtis was a member of the 377th Fighter Squadron,
362nd Fighter Group. On June 13, 1944, the P-47D that Curtis was piloting crashed during a
dive-bomb attack near Briouze, France. Interment services are pending. Read about Curtis.
— Army Pfc. William F. Delaney was a member of Company A, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry
Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, when his battalion launched a massive firing demonstration
against a large pocket of German defenders near the town of Grosshau, in the Hürtgen Forest in
Germany. During the battle, an enemy artillery shell struck Delaney’s foxhole, and he died
before he could be medically evacuated. Due to ongoing combat operations, his remains were not
recovered at that time. Interment services are pending. Read about Delaney.
— Navy Machinist’s Mate 1st Class George Hanson was stationed aboard the USS Oklahoma,
which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft
on Dec. 7, 1941. The battleship sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly
capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Hanson.
Interment services are pending. Read about Hanson.
— Navy Steward 2nd Class Felicismo Florese was stationed aboard the USS Oklahoma, which
was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft on
Dec. 7, 1941. The battleship sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize.
The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Florese. Interment
services are pending. Read about Florese.
To sign up new veterans’ advocates, click here: http://capwiz.com/vfw/mlm/signup.htm.
As always, we want to hear your advocacy stories. To share your stories or photos with us,
simply email them directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.