October 7, 2016
In This Issue:
1. MyVA Transformation
2. VFW Women Veterans Visit Capitol Hill
3. Veterans Preference Restriction Opposed
4. Mobile Apps for Veterans
5. TRICARE Sets Hurricane Emergency Pharmacy Rules
6. VFW and SVA 2017 Legislative Fellowship Program
7. World War One 100 Cities/100 Memorials Initiative
8. MIA Update
1. MyVA Transformation: This week, the MyVA Advisory Committee met in Pittsburgh, Pa., to discuss progress the Department of Veterans Affairs has made in the past two years to improve veterans programs and services. VFW Deputy Legislative Director Carlos Fuentes informed VA leaders that many veterans have noticed an improvement in their experiences, but much work remains in order to restore veterans’ trust in VA. For a summary of the meeting and more information on the MyVA transformation, visit: http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/31698/success-of-myva-advisory-committee-members-meet-in-pittsburgh/.
2. VFW Women Veterans Visit Capitol Hill: This week, four VFW past Department commanders who are women veterans traveled to Washington, D.C. During their visit they worked on legislative issues pertaining to female veterans, primarily focusing on preventive medicine within the Department of Veterans Affairs, military sexual trauma and homelessness. Meetings were held with leadership from Congress, the Department of Labor’s Veteran Employment and Training Service and Department of Defense’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. The focus of these meetings came as the result of a survey of women veterans the committee put together and analyzed in January 2015. With over 1,900 respondents, they were able to categorize where legislation is most needed for the female veteran community –– health care, outreach, recognition and homelessness. For more information on what the VFW is doing for female veterans, please visit: http://www.vfw.org/women-veterans.
3. Veterans Preference Restriction Opposed: Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain is now saying he will oppose a controversial proposal that would restrict veterans preference to a one-time use when applying for work within the federal government. The restriction, which the VFW has opposed since its introduction, is buried deep inside the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017. The VFW wants the current veterans preference program kept intact. The misperception by veterans and misinterpretation by federal hiring authorities is that veterans preference is a job guarantee, wherein fact the only “guarantee” is the veteran applicant gets to advance to the interview stage where he or she must still distinguish themselves as the best qualified candidate. Congress will revisit this issue when it reconvenes after the November elections.
4. Mobile Apps for Veterans: VA has launched a number of mobile apps aimed at improving the lives of veterans and making VA more accessible. Currently, VA has 16 apps available through the Apple store and 6 apps available on Android’s Google Play. These apps help veterans manage their PTSD, pressure ulcers, preconception care and other aspects of their health care. Many of the applications are also available for download on desktops and laptops. VA is currently field testing 11 more applications that will be released soon, including a self-scheduling application, an app to help veterans track their health care by receiving notifications from their health care team, and sending health information, such as blood pressure and other vital signs back to their health care team. For more information, visit: https://mobile.va.gov/appstore.
5. TRICARE Sets Hurricane Emergency Pharmacy Rules: Due to the impact of Hurricane Matthew, TRICARE has established emergency rules for those needing to refill their prescriptions. The rules will last through November 2, 2016. For more information, click here:http://www.tricare.mil/Resources/DisasterInfo/DisasterAlerts/10_04_16_HurricaneMatthew.
6. VFW and SVA 2017 Legislative Fellowship Program: The application process for the 2017 VFW-SVA Legislative Fellowship is open and will close on October 21, 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/studentfellowship/.
7. World War One 100 Cities/100 Memorials Initiative: In observance of the upcoming centennial of World War I, 100 matching grants of up to $2,000 apiece will be awarded for the restoration of 100 World War I memorials across the United States. Any municipal government, individual or organization may apply. Likewise, any individual, organization or company can become a sponsor of the effort. Learn more here:https://www.worldwar1centennial.org/index.php/2016-07-06-00-52-42.html.
8. MIA Update: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Office has announced the identification of remains belonging to six Americans who had been missing and unaccounted for since World War II and Korea. Being returned home for burial with full military honors are:
— Navy Seaman 2nd Class Rudolph V. Piskuran, 19, will be buried Oct. 14 in his hometown of Elyria, Ohio. On Dec. 7, 1941, Piskuran 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 resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/News-Releases/Article/967866/uss-oklahoma-sailor-from-world-war-ii-accounted-for-piskuran/.
— Army Sgt. 1st Class James P. Shunney, 19, of Woonsocket, R.I., will be buried Oct. 14 in Blackstone, Mass. In early November 1950, Shunney was a member of Company I, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, when his unit was forced into a fighting withdrawal from their position near Unsan, North Korea. Shunney was declared missing in action on Nov. 2, 1950.
— Navy Fireman 3rd Class Edwin C. Hopkins, 19, will be buried Oct. 15 in his hometown of Keene, N.H. On Dec. 7, 1941, Hopkins 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 resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/News-Releases/Article/967875/uss-oklahoma-sailor-from-world-war-ii-accounted-for-hopkins/.
— Army Cpl. Milton T. Bullis, 21, is scheduled to be buried Oct. 21 in Holly, Mich. In late November 1950, Bullis was a member of Medical Company, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division that was fighting a delaying action against Chinese forces near Kunu-ri, North Korea. He would be declared missing in action on Dec. 1, 1950. Read more at:http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/961704/soldier-killed-in-korean-war-accounted-for-bullis/.
— Army Pfc. William W. Cowan was a member of Company M, 3rd Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, when he was reported missing in action on Feb. 12, 1951, after his unit attacked an enemy road block near Hoengsong, South Korea. It would be later learned he had been captured but died in captivity in a POW camp in North Korea. Interment services are pending. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/956305/soldier-killed-in-korean-war-accounted-for-cowan/.
— Marine Field Music 1st Class Warren G. Nelson was assigned to Company E, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, which landed against stiff enemy resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands. Over several days of intense fighting, approximately 1,000 Marines and sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded; the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Nelson died on the first day of battle, Nov. 20, 1943. Interment services are pending. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/965980/marine-missing-from-world-war-ii-accounted-for-nelson/.
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