Action Corps Weekly

December 09, 2016

In This Issue:

1. Pearl Harbor Day

2. Veterans Legislation Passes

3. VA Cemeteries Offering Pre-Enrollment for Eligible Veterans

4. MIA Update

1. Pearl Harbor Day: On Wednesday, VFW Posts across the country commemorated the 75th anniversary of the surprise attack that brought the United States into World War II. In Hawaii, dozens of attack survivors were present, to include four of the five remaining USS Arizona survivors. Also present were VFW National Commander Brian Duffy and VFW Auxiliary National President Colette Bishop, who attended commemoration ceremonies and presented a VFW wreath aboard the Arizona Memorial. The Chief would also meet with the senior leadership of U.S. Pacific Command, Pacific Air Forces, and U.S. Army-Pacific, and the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency to express our support of their missions, as well as to discuss the many troop and family support programs the VFW provides to military communities everywhere.

2. Veterans Legislation Passes: This week the House of Representatives passed nine bills, two of which have previously passed the Senate. The two that have passed both chambers of Congress and await the president’s signature are S. 3076, a bill to ensure that veterans with no next-of-kin or who lack the financial resources are provided with a casket or urn; and S. 3492, which will name a VA outpatient clinic in Michigan after Colonel Demas T. Craw.

The remaining bills await Senate action. They are: H.R. 6435 will allow independent investigations at VA medical centers; H.R. 5099 allows VA to enter into five public-private partnerships to offset the cost of building VA medical centers; H.R. 4298 directs the Secretary of the Army to place a memorial at Arlington National Cemetery honoring Vietnam era helicopter pilots and crews; H.R. 5399 will improve accountability of VA doctors; H.R. 4150 will allow VA to better schedule VA doctors’ work hours; H.R. 4352 calls for a pilot program to allow veterans to self-schedule their appointments; and H.R. 6416, a veterans omnibus package that will, among other provisions, allow for toxic exposure research, restore certain educational benefits for National Guard and Reservists and expand homeless veterans’ benefits.

Action Corps will provide you an update on the status of these and other bills that may pass in next week’s Action Corps Weekly.

3. VA Cemeteries Offering Pre-Enrollment for Eligible Veterans: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) this week announced it now provides eligibility determinations for interment in a VA national cemetery prior to the time of need. Through the Pre-Need Determination of Eligibility Program, upon request, individuals can learn if they are eligible for burial or memorialization in a VA national cemetery. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald said, “This new program reaffirms our commitment to providing a lifetime of benefits and services for veterans and their families.” Now veterans and their families can plan for their burial needs which will alleviate some of the burden later.

Interested individuals may submit VA Form 40-10007, Application for Pre-Need Determination of Eligibility for Burial in a VA National Cemetery, and supporting documentation, such as a DD Form 214, if readily available, to the VA National Cemetery Scheduling Office by toll-free fax at 1-855-840-8299; email to Eligibility.PreNeed@va.gov; or mail to the National Cemetery Scheduling Office, P.O. Box 510543, St. Louis, MO 63151.

4. MIA Update: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced the identification of remains of two Americans who had been missing in action from Korea. Returning home for burial with full military honors are:

  -- Army Cpl. David T. Nordin, Jr., 23, of Los Angeles, will be buried in Kent, Washington, on Dec. 16. Nordin was a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. He was declared missing Nov. 28, 1950, after his unit was attacked by Chinese forces while establishing a position near Unsan, North Korea, as part of a United Nations Command offensive. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/News-Releases/Article/1024527/soldier-killed-in-korean-war-accounted-for-nordin/.

  -- Army Sgt. Stafford L. Morris was a member of Battery A, 503rd Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division. His unit was operating just north of Kujang-dong, North Korea, when it was attacked by overwhelming Chinese forces and was forced to withdraw through an area referred to as “The Gauntlet.” Morris was declared missing on Dec. 1, 1950. Interment services are pending. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/1024636/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-identified-morris/.

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.