Action Corps Weekly

 
 October 6, 2017

In This Issue:
1. VFW Attends Theater of War With Pentagon Leadership
2. VFW Hosts Roundtable Discussion on Toxic Exposures
3. Veterans ID Cards Update
4. VA Hosts Monthly Women Veterans Meeting
5. Puerto Rico Support
6. National Day of Honor Recognition
7. MIA Update

1. VFW Attends Theater of War With Pentagon Leadership: VFW National Commander Keith Harman attended a Theater of War performance at the National War College at Fort McNair Wednesday night with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller, Commander of U.S. Pacific Command Adm. Harry Harris, and Sergeant Major of the Army Daniel Dailey, among many other senior military and Defense Department officials. Theater of War is a traveling production of select readings from the ancient Greek general and playwright Sophocles that depict the timeless challenges of warriors returning home from their wars. Ancient Greek drama was a form of storytelling, communal therapy, and ritual reintegration for combat veterans by combat veterans. Using Sophocles’ plays forges a common vocabulary for openly discussing the impact of war on individuals, families and communities. Learn more about Theater of War.

2. VFW Hosts Roundtable Discussion on Toxic Exposures: On Tuesday, the VFW hosted a discussion on the efforts of several veterans and military service organizations to tackle issues related to toxic exposures faced by military veterans. The VFW was joined by the Association of the U.S. Navy, Military Officers Association of America, Vietnam Veterans of America and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. The goal of the meeting was to find common ground, share information on efforts and discuss barriers to success. The VFW has a long history of working with other veterans organizations on major legislation. Future efforts on issues like Blue Water Navy, Agent Orange and burn pit exposure will be areas where collaboration will also help. Continue to follow the VFW Action Corps Weekly for updates on future work related to these issues and many more.

3. Veterans ID Cards Update: VA will begin issuing veteran identification cards to all honorably discharged veterans in November. The initiative is required by the Veterans Identification Card Act 2015, which ordered VA to issue a hard-copy photo ID to any honorably discharged veteran who applies. The card will be issued for free upon request, according to a Military.com article, and will contain the veteran's name, photo and a non-Social Security identification number. VA will provide additional information once finalized.

4. VA Hosts Monthly Women Veterans Meeting: On Wednesday, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Center For Women Veterans held their monthly meeting with the Department of Defense and veterans service organizations to discuss issues specific to women veterans. Topics included updates on VA’s program for in-vitro fertilization, the Service Women’s Action Network upcoming gender-specific mental wellness summit being held Nov. 13-14, the National Women’s Memorial anniversary activities being held Oct. 20-22 and legislative priorities. Learn more about the Center for Women Veterans.

5. Puerto Rico Support: More than 11,000 Defense Department personnel now are in Puerto Rico to help fellow American citizens recover from the wrath of Hurricane Maria in the areas of logistics, medical support and aviation. DOD continues to expand a comprehensive island-wide commodities distribution and medical support network in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Commanding the military effort is Army Lt. Gen. Jeff Buchanan, a Life member of VFW Post 8800 in Startzville, Texas. Learn more about the military's support.

6. National Day of Honor Recognition: Secretary of VA Dr. David Shulkin was the keynote speaker at yesterday’s inaugural commemoration of the National Day of Honor for American Veterans Disabled for Life. The commemoration took place at the American Veterans Disabled for Life memorial in Washington, D.C., exactly three years to the date of its opening. The memorial –– to which the VFW donated $100,000 toward construction –– recognizes the nation’s 4.2 million disabled veterans. The congressional resolution leading to the National Day of Honor was introduced by Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) and former House Committee on VA Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.). The resolution was included in the Veterans Health Improvement Act of 2016, which became law last December.

7. MIA Update: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has announced identifications of remains and burial updates of 15 American servicemen who had been missing in action from World War II and the Korean War. Returning home for burial with full military honors are:

  -- Marine Corps 2nd Lt. George S. Bussa, 29, of Chicago, whose identification was previously announced, will be buried Oct. 10 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. Bussa was assigned to Company F, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division. On Nov. 20, 1943, Bussa's unit landed on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll against stiff Japanese resistance. Bussa was killed on the first day of the battle, one of approximately 1,000 Marines and sailors killed in the intense fighting. Read about Bussa.  

  -- Army Air Forces Tech. Sgt. Earl P. Gorman, 23, of Lynn, Mass., whose identification was previously announced, will be buried Oct. 13 in Valatie, N.Y. Gorman was a member of the 718th Bombardment Squadron, 449th Bombardment Group, based in Grottaglie, Italy. On April 23, 1944, Gorman was serving as the radio operator for a B-24 aircraft on a bombing mission against targets near Schwechat, Austria. While en route over Yugoslavia, they were attacked by German planes. Struck during the attack and critically wounded, Gorman was put into a parachute by his crewmates and bailed out of the plane before they bailed out themselves. All of the crewmembers except Gorman survived. Read about Gorman.

  -- Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Clarence L. Dragoo, 21, of Sandyville, W.Va., whose identification was previously announced, will be buried Oct. 14 in his hometown. Dragoo was a member 716th Bomber Squadron, 449th Bombardment Group. On Feb. 28, 1945, Dragoo and ten other B-24J Liberator aircrew took off from Grottaglie Army Air Base, Italy, as part of a mission to target the Isarc-Albes railroad bridge in northern Italy, which was part of Brennan Route, used by Germans to move personnel and equipment into and out of Italy. After the bombing run, the other aircraft moved toward the rally point and witnessed one aircraft skim the mountain tops with at least two damaged engines. The plane was last seen near Lake Wiezen in Austria and no parachutes were reported exiting the aircraft. Based on this information, Dragoo was reported missing in action. Read about Dragoo.

  -- Storekeeper 3rd Class Wallace E. Eakes was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when Japanese aircraft attacked his ship on Dec. 7, 1941. Eakes was one of 429 crewmen killed in the attack. Interment services are pending. Read about Eakes.

  -- Seaman 1st Class Clifford G. Goodwin was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when Japanese aircraft attacked his ship on Dec. 7, 1941. Goodwin was one of 429 crewmen killed in the attack. Interment services are pending. Read about Goodwin.

  -- Seaman 1st Class Joseph M. Johnson was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when Japanese aircraft attacked his ship on Dec. 7, 1941. Johnson was one of 429 crewmen killed in the attack. Interment services are pending. Read about Johnson.

  -- Storekeeper 3rd Class Eli Olsen was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when Japanese aircraft attacked his ship on Dec. 7, 1941. Olsen was one of 429 crewmen killed in the attack. Interment services are pending. Read about Olsen.

  -- Marine Corps Pfc. Harold P. Hannon was assigned to Company E, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division. Hannon’s unit landed on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll on Nov. 20, 1943, against stiff Japanese resistance. Hannon was killed on the first day of the battle. Interment services are pending. Read about Hannon.

  -- Army Air Forces Tech Sgt. John F. Brady was a B-17 crew member assigned to the 323rd Bombardment Squadron, 91st Bombardment Group (Heavy), Eighth Air Force. On Nov. 2, 1944, Brady’s B-17 was hit by flak while on a bombing run to Merseburg, Germany and then attacked by German fighters. Witnesses reported that the B-17 burst into flames and crashed southwest of Barby. Brady was declared missing in action. Interment services are pending. Read about Brady.

  -- Army Air Forces Tech Sgt. Allen A. Chandler was a B-17 crew member assigned to the 323rd Bombardment Squadron, 91st Bombardment Group (Heavy), Eighth Air Force. On Nov. 2, 1944, Chandler’s B-17 was hit by flak while on a bombing run to Merseburg, Germany and then attacked by German fighters. Witnesses reported that the B-17 burst into flames and crashed southwest of Barby. Chandler was declared missing in action. Interment services are pending. Read about Chandler.

  -- Army Air Forces 1st Lt. John H. Liekhus was a B-17 crew member assigned to the 323rd Bombardment Squadron, 91st Bombardment Group (Heavy), Eighth Air Force. On Nov. 2, 1944, Liekhus’s B-17 was hit by flak while on a bombing run to Merseburg, Germany and then attacked by German fighters. Witnesses reported that the B-17 burst into flames and crashed southwest of Barby. Liekhus was declared missing in action. Interment services are pending. Read about Liekhus.

  -- Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. Robert O. Shoemaker was a B-17 crew member assigned to the 323rd Bombardment Squadron, 91st Bombardment Group (Heavy), Eighth Air Force. On Nov. 2, 1944, Shoemaker’s B-17 was hit by flak while on a bombing run to Merseburg, Germany and then attacked by German fighters. Witnesses reported that the B-17 burst into flames and crashed southwest of Barby. Shoemaker was declared missing in action. Interment services are pending. Read about Shoemaker.

  -- Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. Bobby J. Younger was a B-17 crew member assigned to the 323rd Bombardment Squadron, 91st Bombardment Group (Heavy), Eighth Air Force. On Nov. 2, 1944, Younger’s B-17 was hit by flak while on a bombing run to Merseburg, Germany and then attacked by German fighters. Witnesses reported that the B-17 burst into flames and crashed southwest of Barby. Younger was declared missing in action. Interment services are pending. Read about Younger.

  -- Army Pfc. Willie E. Blue was a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. In August 1950, his unit was defending the Naktong Bulge portion of the Pusan Perimeter. Blue was admitted to the 2nd Clearing Station, 2nd Medical Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division in Yong-san, South Korea. After admission, Blue could not be accounted for. When no additional records could be found showing his disposition and the 8076th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital could not provide any information, the Department of the Army declared him deceased on March 3, 1954. Interment services are pending. Read about Blue.

  -- Marine Corps Reserve Sgt. Johnson McAfee, Jr., was assigned to Company F, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force. In late November 1950, McAfee’s unit was fighting against Chinese forces in the vicinity of the Chosin Reservoir at the Marine outpost known as Fox Hill. McAfee was killed in the action and was buried alongside others at the base of Fox Hill prior to the evacuation of the outpost. Interment services are pending. Read about McAfee

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