Action Corps Weekly

July 1, 2016

In This Issue:

1. Senate Hearing on Pending Legislation

2. Military Construction and VA Appropriations Bill Blocked

3. Recognizing National PTSD Awareness Day

4. Congress Prepares For Summer Recess

5. Senate Confirms New Leadership

6. MIA Update

1. 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

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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. Marine Forces Central Command. Read his bio here: http://www.jcs.mil/Leadership/Article-View/Article/572011/lt-gen-thomas-d-waldhauser/.

  -- Army Reserve Maj. Gen. Charles D. Luckey will be promoted to lieutenant general and become the new chief of the Army Reserve, as well as commanding general, U.S. Army Reserve Command. The general currently serves as the chief of staff of U.S. Northern Command. Read his bio at: http://www.northcom.mil/Leadership/Article-View/Article/578785/major-general-charles-d-luckey/.

  -- Air Force Maj. Gen. Maryanne Miller will be promoted to lieutenant general and become the next chief of the Air Force Reserve, where she currently serves as its deputy chief. She is a command pilot, primarily in tankers and transport aircraft, with 35 years’ service. Read her bio at: http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/Biographies/Display/tabid/225/Article/108440/major-general-maryanne-miller.aspx.

6. 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.

To sign up new veterans’ advocates, click here: http://capwiz.com/vfw/mlm/signup.htm.

As always, we want to hear your advocacy stories. To share your stories or photos with us, simply email them directly to vfwac@vfw.org.