MIA Update

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Office announced the identification of the remains of three sailors and one Marine who had been missing in action since World War II. Returning home for burial with full military honors are: — Navy Seaman 2nd Class Vernon N. Grow and Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Alfred F. Wells, had been missing since Dec. 7, 1941, when the battleship USS Oklahoma they were aboard suffered multiple torpedo hits and capsized as it was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Wells, 32, will be buried June 11 in his hometown of Syracuse, N.Y. — Marine Corps Pfc. John Saini and Navy Pharmacist’s Mate 3rd Class Howard P. Brisbane, had died fighting on the Pacific atoll of Tarawa on Nov. 20, 1943. Saini, 20, was assigned to Company H, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, and will be buried June 11 in his hometown of Healdsburg, Calif. Brisbane was assigned to Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division.  

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USPS Unveils New Service Cross Stamp

The U.S. Postal Service released its new “forever” stamp this week to honor recipients of our nation’s second highest medal for valor, the Service Cross Medals — the Army Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross, the Air Force Cross and the Coast Guard Cross. The DSC was first established in 1918, followed the next year by the Navy Cross, the Air Force Cross in 1960, and the Coast Guard Cross in 2010. To learn more or to place orders, go to: http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2016/pr16_041.htm.

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D-Day Commemoration

Visitors to Washington can help commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the D-Day landing at 10 a.m., June 6, at the National World War II Memorial. Wreaths will be placed at the Atlantic Arch in memory of the 9,000 Allied soldiers killed or wounded during the invasion. Aside from local area veterans, also expected to attend are more than two dozen WWII veterans on an Honor Flight trip from the San Francisco Bay area. To learn more or RSVP, go to http://www.wwiimemorialfriends.org/.    

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Check Your Voter Registration

Election season is upon us, and veterans and their families are a key voting bloc. Ensuring that you are properly registered to vote is a priority. If you have moved, changed your name, changed party affiliation, or have not voted in more than a year, you may need to update your voter registration. It is very simple to do, but deadlines and requirements vary depending on the state or territory in which you live. Time is of the essence as General Election Day is November 8. The website https://vote.usa.gov is the best way to find all the information you need to ensure you are properly registered to vote in your state or territory. 

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TRICARE Pharmacy Emergency Procedures in Texas

TRICARE has instituted emergency prescription refill procedures in several counties in Texas due to severe flooding. Under this policy, TRICARE beneficiaries may refill their prescriptions at any TRICARE retail network pharmacy. Emergency prescription refill procedures are in place from June 2 – July 2, 2016. For a list of affected counties or for more information, visit: http://www.tricare.mil/Resources/DisasterInfo/DisasterAlerts/6_2_16_TX_Flooding?utm_source=GovD&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Test.

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VA Announces Partnership to Empower Women Veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ Center for Women Veterans has announced a partnership with a nonprofit organization for female veterans. The organization, LeanIn.Org, was founded by Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg as a tool to empower women working to achieve their ambitions. Now partnering with VA, the website has a chapter dedicated to women veterans comprised of two pilot programs. The Veteran-to-Veteran program is a virtual program that allows female veterans to participate in the site regardless of their physical location. The second program is a face-to-face pilot circle that is a mix of women veterans and non-military members. “For many years, women veterans have expressed to us that they need to have a mechanism to engage with their fellow women veterans to make a difference in their community and we believe this is the perfect match,” explained Kayla M. Williams, director of VA’s Center for Women Veterans. “VA is pleased to be a part of these two pilot programs.” To read VA’s press release, visit: http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=2796. To visit the newly partnered website, visit: http://leanincircles.org/chapter/lean-in-women-veterans.

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SECNAV Signs New Administrative Separation Policy

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus signed a new policy, effective immediately, making the Navy and Marine Corps the first branches of the military to assure mental health conditions such as PTSD and TBI are considered before a service member is given an involuntary administrative separation. This new policy will protect Marines and sailors who have mental health conditions contributing to their misconduct, whereas before the misconduct took priority over diagnosed mental health conditions. The National Defense Authorization Act has had numerous amendment proposals which would not only expand mental health conditions to include sexual assault survivors, but also mirror Mabus’ policy. The VFW supports these proposals. To learn more about the new naval policy, visit: http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=94996.  

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VFW Responds to McCain Attack

In regards to Veterans Choice Program improvements, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) accused the VFW, Disabled American Veterans and the American Legion of being obstructionists last week because we oppose unrealistic proposals that promise unlimited choice, which is unsustainable, and could force millions of veterans to potentially lose their VA care and force them out into the economy. In a joint response, VFW Washington Office Executive Director Bob Wallace said “Senator McCain was factually wrong when he said our organizations oppose the Choice Program, which all of us supported as part of the VA Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 to address an emergency access to care crisis. The senator also appears unaware of the many reform proposals we have since offered to expand access to community care, improve quality inside the VA health care system, and strengthen accountability throughout the entire VA.” Read the full response at: http://www.vfw.org/News-and-Events/Articles/2016-Articles/VFW,-DAV,-Legion-Respond-to-McCain-Attack/.

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No Confused Politics at VFW

In defending his administration’s handling of the economy, President Obama took a swipe at the VFW on Wednesday by linking our opinion on the economy to rightwing media that’s “pumped into cars and bars and VFW halls all across America,” he said. In response, VFW National Commander John Biedrzycki said “I don’t know how many VFW Posts the president has ever visited, but our near 1.7 million members are a direct reflection of America, which means we represent every generation, race, religion, gender, and political and ideological viewpoint. We don’t have confused politics, we don’t need left or rightwing media filters telling us how to think or vote, and we don’t need any President of the United States lecturing us about how we are individually affected by the economy.” Read the full response at: http://www.vfw.org/VFWtoObamaNoConfusedPoliticsHere.

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