MIA Update

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has announced the identification of remains of six Americans who had been missing in action since World War II and Korea. Returning home for burial with full military honors are: — Navy Seaman 1st Class William E. Welch, 18, will be buried Oct. 29 in his hometown of Springfield, Ohio. On Dec. 7, 1941, Welch was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which capsized after sustaining multiple torpedo hits as it was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Welch. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/News-Releases/Article/981456/uss-oklahoma-sailor-from-world-war-ii-accounted-for-welch/. — Army Cpl. Joseph Trepasso, 20, will be buried Nov. 5 in his hometown of Fulton, N.Y. In late November 1950, Trepasso was a member of Company L, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, which was deployed on the east side of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. He would be declared missing in action on Dec. 12, 1950. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/News-Releases/Article/989134/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-accounted-for-trepasso/. — Army Pfc. Lavern C. Ullmer, of Montgomery, Ohio, will be buried Nov. … Continue reading

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Help A Hero Scholarship Campaign

Since 2013, the VFW and Sport Clips have helped nearly 600 service members and veterans achieve their educational goals without incurring excessive student loan debt through the “Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship.” Now through Veterans Day, you can help further their post-military education goals by making a donation when you get a haircut at one of the more than 1,500 Sport Clips Haircuts locations across the country. Sport Clips will also hold “The Biggest Haircut Day of the Year” on Veterans Day, when participating stores will offer free haircuts to service members and veterans. For more information on the “Sport Clips Help a Hero Scholarship,” visit: www.vfw.org/scholarship.    

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MyHealtheVet Update

This week, VA launched an updated version of its MyHealtheVet website to make it more user and mobile friendly. My HealtheVet is designed to help veterans track and manage their VA prescriptions, appointments and health care records. The VFW would like your views on the new design. Please visit www.myhealth.va.gov and tell us what you think by emailing us at vfwac@vfw.org. 

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TRICARE Removes Cost Barriers for Preventive and Mental Health

The Department of Defense (DOD) is improving the number of services and cost requirements for TRICARE’s preventive and mental health benefits. These changes, expected to be fully implemented by spring 2017, are being implemented to expand access and reduce financial barriers for beneficiaries. Effective Oct. 3 this year, DOD removed TRICARE limitations on mental health care and made out-of-pocket costs the same as other medical care. These changes improve care such as inpatient mental health and substance abuse admissions, group outpatient mental health visits, outpatient treatment for substance abuse, substance abuse detoxification, treatment of gender dysphoria, family counseling and much more. Beginning January 1, 2017, the expansion of preventive services will go into complete effect. Some of the no-cost services will be expanded to include free genetic counseling for patients who are high-risk for breast cancer, colon cancer screenings/stool DNA testing and laboratory services considered preventive for certain cancers. To learn more about the mental health and substance abuse benefit changes, click here: http://www.tricare.mil/About/News/Archives/09_29_16_MHSUD. For more information on the preventive health expansion, click here: http://www.tricare.mil/CoveredServices/BenefitUpdates/Archives/10_18_16_PreventiveServices.

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VFW Wants POTUS Involvement in Bonus Payback Crisis

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter this week ordered the Defense Finance and Accounting Services to suspend all efforts to collect reimbursements from affected California National Guard members, but VFW National Commander Brian Duffy said the suspension decision doesn’t go deep enough, and is now calling on President Obama to issue an executive order to eliminate the collection process altogether, to repay those monies already collected plus interest, and to restore any damaged credit ratings that resulted from a horrendous abuse of power and lack of oversight within the California Army National Guard. “The president must get personally involved and not leave it to a weak system of checks and balances that created a financial crisis that is tremendously impacting the lives of thousands of current and former Guard members,” exclaimed the Chief. “The president often touts that he has a phone and a pen and is not afraid to use either. This would be a good time to use both.” Read more at: http://www.vfw.org/news-and-publications/press-room/archives/2016/10/vfw-calls-on-potus-to-end-bonus-payback-issue-now.

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MIA Update

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has announced the identification of remains of three Americans who had been missing in action since World War II and Korea. Returning home for burial with full military honors are: — Army Cpl. Milton T. Bullis, 19, of Detroit, will be buried Oct. 21 in Holly, Mich. Bullis was a member of Medical Company, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, fighting a delaying action south from the Ch’ongch’on River to Kunu-ri, North Korea. He was declared missing in action on Dec. 1, 1950, but it would be later learned he died in captivity in early 1951. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/News-Releases/Article/973514/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-accounted-for-bullis/. — Navy Fireman 3rd Class John H. Lindsley, 22, born in the Philippines and raised in Waukegan, Ill., will be buried Oct. 25, in Arlington National Cemetery. On Dec. 7, 1941, Lindsley was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which capsized after sustaining multiple torpedo hits as it was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/News-Releases/Article/977243/uss-oklahoma-sailor-from-world-war-ii-accounted-for-lindsley/. — Army Cpl. Melvin R. Hill was one of 2,500 U.S. and 700 Republic of … Continue reading

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MIA Families Sought

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency is seeking families of missing American service members to attend informational update meetings and to collect DNA samples if one is not already on file. Learn more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/Families/Family-Events/.

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VFW-SVA 2017 Legislative Fellowship Program

The application deadline for the 2017 VFW-SVA Legislative Fellowship has been extended to October 28, 2016. First held in 2015, the program mentors 10 student veterans as they research policy areas affecting veterans and the military. Once their research is completed, the fellows will advocate for legislative and regulatory fixes related to their selected issues. Part of that advocacy includes attending the VFW’s National Legislative Conference in March where fellows will join more than 500 VFW members in promoting the VFW’s legislative agenda by meeting with members of Congress. Last year, fellows also briefed staffers from the White House and both the Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs Committees. The program, with all travel expenses covered, is for VFW members who attend a college or university with a Student Veterans of America chapter. For more information, including the topics for research and the application link, click here: http://www.vfw.org/community/student-veterans-of-america/student-fellowship.  

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New COLA Stays Stagnant

Military retirees, veterans receiving VA compensation, and some 70 million Americans on Social Security will see a 0.3 percent cost-of-living increase at the end of the year. Veterans’ benefits are not automatically tied to the Social Security increase, but Congress in July passed legislation to link them in 2017. The slight increase matches the 2016 raise, and marks the third consecutive year COLA has been less than a half percentage point.

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MIA Update

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has announced the identification of remains of seven Americans who had been missing in action since World War II and Korea. Returning home for burial with full military honors are: — Marine Sgt. Fae V. Moore, 23, will be buried Oct. 6 in his hometown of Chadron, Neb. In November 1943, Moore was a member of Company E, 2nd 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. Approximately 1,000 Marines and sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded; the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Moore died sometime on the first day of battle, Nov. 20, 1943. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/News-Releases/Article/958957/marine-from-world-war-ii-accounted-for-moore/. — Army Cpl. William H. Smith, 18, of Hornell, N.Y., will be buried Oct. 7 in Elmira, N.Y. In late November 1950, Smith was a member of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, when his unit was forced into a fighting withdrawal from their positions near Unsan, South Korea. Smith was reported … Continue reading

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