MIA Update

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced the identification of remains belonging to six servicemen who had been missing in action since World War II and Korea. All will be buried with full military honors. Returned home are: — Army Sgt. James L. Campbell, 18, is being buried today in his hometown of Waterford, Conn. On the night of Nov. 27, 1950, Campbell, who was assigned to the 31st Regimental Combat Team, was attacked and forced into a fighting withdrawal from their positions on the east side of the Chosin River in North Korea. He would be reported missing after the battle. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/News-Releases/Article/919610/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-accounted-for-campbell/. — Marine Pfc. James F. Mansfield, 19, will be buried Aug. 27 in his hometown of Plymouth, Mass. In November 1943, Mansfield was assigned to Company K, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands. Over several days of intense fighting at Tarawa, approximately 1,000 Marines and sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded, … Continue reading

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VA to Launch Service Animal Pilot Program

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced this week the creation of the first program specifically for veterans suffering with their mental health who may be eligible for a service dog. The pilot, created by the new VA Center for Compassionate Intervention, foresees being able to enroll up to 100 veterans. Individuals selected for the new program will be chosen based on their medical team’s belief that the veteran’s daily life would be improved by having a service dog. Veterans interested in the program are encouraged to talk to their health care provider or medical team. For more information, please view: http://www.militarytimes.com/articles/va-pilot-to-cover-service-dogs-for-mental-health-conditions.

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VA, DOD and NCI Create Targeted Screening Program

On Tuesday, VA, DOD and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) announced a partnership to tailor care for lung cancer patients based on the genes and proteins associated with their tumors. The Applied Proteogenomics Organizational Learning and Outcomes consortium, or APOLLO, is part of the wider national Cancer Moonshot initiative. This partnership will leverage the expertise and resources of the largest health care delivery and research systems in the country to significantly improve the efficacy of cancer treatments. The program has the potential of saving the lives of the 8,000 veterans diagnosed with lung cancer each year in the VA health care system alone. To learn more about the APOLLO, visit: https://medium.com/cancer-moonshot.

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VFW 2016 Federal Elections Survey

There are 2.2 million service members and 21 million veterans. Including spouses, surviving parents and voting age children, the estimated military/veteran voting bloc exceeds 100 million. However, America’s military/veteran population is politically and ideologically even, according to a CNN/Gallup/USA Today poll taken in 2004, which was the last time two veterans ran for president. With another federal election year upon us, the VFW believes it is important to survey our members to better understand how our community thinks. The 16-question survey will run through Sept. 12, 2016. Please take the survey and share with other comrades: https://www.research.net/r/VFW2016FederalElectionSurvey.

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Free Flu Shots

From now through March 31, 2017, all veterans enrolled in the VA health care system can receive free flu shots at any Walgreens or Duane Reade pharmacy. The joint outreach health initiative is designed to help serve veterans closer to where they reside. Veterans must bring their VA identification cards with them, as well as another photo ID, and complete a short four-question application, which will be used to automatically update their VA Electronic Health Records. No appointments are necessary.

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MIA Update

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced the identification of remains of one soldier and two sailors who had been missing in action from the Korean War and World War II. Returned are: — Army Pvt. Virgil B. Adkins, of Summers, W.Va., who is scheduled to be buried with full military honors on Sept. 3 in Hinton, W.Va. On July 17, 1953, Adkins was reported missing after his patrol came under attack north of the former Demilitarized Zone in North Korea. He was assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 65th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/914298/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-accounted-for-adkins/. — Navy Fireman 1st Class Jim H. Johnston and Seaman 1st Class Murry R. Cargile, were both stationed aboard the USS Oklahoma on Dec. 7, 1941, when the battleship suffered multiple torpedo hits and capsized as it was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. During salvage efforts, a large number of remains representing as many as 400 individuals were recovered and buried as unknowns at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. The remains were exhumed in 2015, … Continue reading

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Expanding Online Exchange Shopping Access

Military Times is reporting that the Defense Department’s Executive Resale Board is recommending that all honorably discharged veterans be authorized to shop online through military exchange store websites. The VFW-supported idea was first pitched two years ago by the Army & Air Force Exchange Service as a way to increase donations to respective service morale, welfare and recreation programs, as well as to thank the great majority of honorably discharged veterans who do not make the military a career. If approved, the new benefit would apply to online shopping only, not at traditional brick-and-mortar stores, where access will remain restricted to military ID card carrying service members, retirees, 100 percent disabled veterans, and their eligible family members.

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Help with Health Care Billing Issues

VA has established a toll-free phone number for veterans to call if private sector health care providers have improperly billed them for care that VA is required to pay. The VFW urges any veteran being pursued by collection agencies to seek VA’s assistance. VA will help you resolve adverse credit reporting and debt collection issues. Veterans who believe they have been incorrectly billed for their care should also call the billing call center to determine if VA is liable for the cost of the care. For assistance, call 1-877-881-7618 and press 1, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Eastern Time.  

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VA Adds New Women’s Chat Service

The VA’s Women Veterans Call Center is expanding its outreach to women veterans with a new online, one-to-one chat function. The new service enables women veterans to go online and anonymously chat via real-time text messaging with trained representatives, all of whom are women and many of whom are veterans themselves. The new chat feature, which is open extended hours Monday through Saturday, provides another avenue for women veterans to ask general questions about benefits, eligibility and services specifically related to them. Learn more at: http://www.womenshealth.va.gov/WOMENSHEALTH/programoverview/wvcc.asp.

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VFW, VA Host Successful Vet Center Tour and Q&A

On Wednesday, the VFW partnered with VA to host a live Facebook tour of the Annapolis, Md., Vet Center and a Facebook chat regarding the benefits and services available at the 300 Vet Centers and 80 mobile Vet Centers throughout the country. National Veterans Service Deputy Director Ryan Gallucci and Chief Officer for VA’s Readjustment Counseling Service Mike Fisher toured the Annapolis Vet Center and discussed the array of confidential health care and services one-stop Vet Centers provide to service members, veterans and their families. Following the tour, VA subject matter experts and VFW staff answered questions regarding Vet Center eligibility, community programs and how to find the nearest Vet Center. Many veterans also shared how Vet Centers have positively impacted their lives. The VFW urges VFW members and leaders to partner with local Vet Centers for community outreach and service projects. To learn more about Vet Centers, visit: www.explore.va.gov/health-care/vet-center-services. To view a video of the tour or read the questions and answers, visit: www.facebook.com/VFWFans.    

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