Bridging the Divide

VFW Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief Brian Duffy joined a panel of mental health experts at the National Press Club this week to discuss the public’s perception—and employer perceptions—of military veterans transitioning back into their communities and workforce. The panel focused on the results of two surveys conducted recently by the George W. Bush Institute and the global public relations and marketing firm, Edelman. Survey results indicated 40 percent of Americans believe half of all veterans are experiencing mental health challenges, where in fact it’s one in five veterans, which matches the civilian sector. Also troubling was 92 percent of employers believe veterans need access to mental health care programs, and that the great majority of Americans and employers perceive veterans as heroes, but not as strategic assets, which is a disconnect between the civilian population and those who serve, according to Duffy. “We understand that in times of war there are heroes, but just because you went to war doesn’t mean that you came back a hero,” he said. “By calling everybody a hero, it devalues the term, plus it puts … Continue reading

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MIA Update

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced one burial update and the identification of remains of one sailor and one soldier who died fighting in World War II and Korea. Being returned home for burial with full military honors are: — Navy Fire Controlman 1st Class Paul A. Nash, 26, of Carlisle, Ind., will be buried July 9 in Sullivan, Ind. On Dec. 7, 1941, Nash was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which suffered multiple torpedo hits as it was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The attack capsized the ship, resulting in 429 casualties, including Nash. Read more here: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/News-Releases/Article/821260/uss-oklahoma-sailor-from-world-war-ii-accounted-for-nash/. — Army Chief Warrant Officer Adolphus Nava, of Queens, N.Y., was declared missing in action on Nov. 30, 1950, while fighting in North Korea. It would be later learned he had been captured but died in a POW camp on May 31, 1951. He was assigned to Battery B, 38th Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division. Burial details have yet to be announced.  

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Senate Confirms New Leadership

The Senate this week confirmed the next Air Force chief of staff, the new head of U.S. Africa Command, and the next leaders of the National Guard, Army Reserve and Air Force Reserve. Confirmed are: — Air Force Gen. David L. Goldfein, was confirmed as the next chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, where he currently serves as its vice chief. He is a command pilot, primarily in fighter aircraft, and has 33 years’ service. Read his bio at: http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/Biographies/Display/tabid/225/Article/108013/general-david-l-goldfein.aspx. – Air Force Lt. Gen. Joseph H. Lengyel will be promoted to general and become the next chief of the National Guard Bureau, where he currently serves as its vice chief. He is a command pilot, primarily in fighter aircraft, with 35 years’ service. Read his bio here: http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/Biographies/Display/tabid/225/Article/108432/lieutenant-general-joseph-l-lengyel.aspx. — Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser will be promoted to general and become the next commander of U.S. Africa Command. He is currently the director for joint force development at the Defense Department. He is the former commanding general of the I Marine Expeditionary Force and U.S. … Continue reading

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Congress Prepares For Summer Recess

As the summer begins, members of Congress will also begin their long summer recess on July 16, with many of them running for re-election. This is a great opportunity for you to meet them face-to-face in their home districts and promote issues important to the VFW. There are many resources at your disposal to assist you. Each week, the Department’s representative on the VFW National Legislative Committee is emailed information if a member of Congress in that state is having a town hall meeting. Additionally, you can visit the websites of your Senators and Representatives to learn about events.  Furthermore, the VFW Action Corps at the VFW’s Washington Office is able to generate talking points for you to use during town hall meetings. Visit http://www.vfw.org/VFWinDC/ for more information. You can email vfwac@vfw.org or call (202)608-8363 to contact the VFW Action Corps for more help.

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Recognizing National PTSD Awareness Day

Monday was National PTSD Awareness Day. Federal agencies who work with the military and veterans used the day to promote programs available for help and to end the stigma associated with seeking assistance. PTSD can be successfully treated, but service members and veterans must work to help each other overcome the hurdles it can impose. For information on PTSD treatments, how to help a loved one or to help spread the word, visit the VA’s National Center for PTSD website at: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/about/ptsd-awareness/index.asp.

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Military Construction and VA Appropriations Bill Blocked

On Tuesday, Senate Democrats blocked a conference agreement on an appropriations bill to fund military construction and VA service and programs through the end of fiscal year 2017 and to provide advance appropriations for fiscal year 2018. The bill is traditionally a non-partisan issue, but political differences on how to fund Zika prevention and research has derailed its progress. The bill’s future is uncertain and will likely require a second conference agreement before being considered again. Stay tuned to the Action Corps Weekly for updates on this important bill.

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Senate Hearing on Pending Legislation

On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held a hearing to consider 18 veterans’ bills, including legislation to expand disability compensation benefits to veterans who participated in classified mustard gas experiments, to reimburse veterans who have been defrauded by their fiduciaries, and to expand USERRA rights for Guardsmen and Reservists. VFW Deputy Legislative Director Carlos Fuentes offered the VFW’s support for most of the bills and made recommendations to improve others. Committee members discussed VA’s opposition to expansion of benefits for veterans exposed to mustard gas and veterans who were involved in the cleanup of atomic waste in Enewetak Atoll. To view a webcast of the hearing, visit: http://www.veterans.senate.gov/hearings/pending-legislation06292016. 

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