Action Corps Weekly

 

March 24, 2016

 

This issue of the VFW Action Corps Weekly is being delivered early in observance of the Easter holiday.

In This Issue:

1. VFW Stands With Belgium

2. Appropriations Subcommittee Markup

3. House Hearing on Choice Program Networks

4. Telephonic Health Care Enrollment

5. Congress Extends Foreclosure Protections for Transitioning Service Members

6. Free Training Program for Veteran Entrepreneurs

7. Vietnam War Commemoration

8. VFW Calls on Vietnam Veterans for Help

9. MIA Update

1. VFW Stands With Belgium: VFW National Commander John Biedrzycki said the VFW stands with ally Belgium as it mourns in the wake of a vicious and cowardly attack on Tuesday by radical Islamic extremists who are “hell-bent on destroying us and our entire way of life." The Chief called America vulnerable because it has porous borders, a broken immigration system, and elected and appointed officials who refuse to recognize this enemy as a threat to national security. He also said America is weakened by a Congress that still refuses to eliminate sequestration, which takes a meat cleaver to the budgets of national defense, intelligence and homeland security. Biedrzycki said America has been caught sleeping twice, on Dec. 7, 1941, and on Sept. 11, 2001. "There must not be a third time," he said, “and that's why the VFW will do what we must to force Washington to wake up and destroy this enemy before they strike our homeland. There is no higher nor more immediate national priority." Read more at: http://www.vfw.org/News-and-Events/Articles/2016-Articles/VFW-Stands-With-Belgium/.

2. Appropriations Subcommittee Markup: On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs held a markup to discuss and advance the fiscal year 2017 MilConVA appropriations bill that sets funding levels for VA and DOD’s military construction accounts. The bill would provide $73.5 billion for VA’s discretionary accounts. It includes resources to improve VA’s medical services, disability claims process and oversight. Similar to VA’s budget request, this bill would woefully underfund VA major construction funds. The bill also includes $170.3 billion in advanced appropriations. The bill now awaits consideration by the full House of Representatives. Stay tuned to the Action Corps Weekly for updates on this important bill. To read statements or view a video of the markup, visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/calendararchive/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=394471.

3. House Hearing on Choice Program Networks: On Tuesday, the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health held a hearing to discuss VA’s proposal to establish tiered networks under the Choice Program. Subcommittee members discussed how tiered networks would impact veterans’ ability to schedule appointments with community care providers. VA testified that its tiered networks would allow veterans to choose from any provider in the Choice Program networks, but VA would use the tiered networks to recommend providers with higher health quality outcomes. TriWest and HealthNet testified on ways they are working to improve the current program. To view a video of the hearing, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2ynIfRl9uQ&feature=youtu.be.

4. Telephonic Health Care Enrollment: Last week, VA announced that post-9/11 combat veterans are now able to complete their VA health care enrollment applications by calling VA’s Health Eligibility Center (1-855-488-8440) without the need for a signed paper application. VA plans to expand this option to all veterans by July 5, 2016. This change increases the ways veterans can enroll in VA health care. However, veterans can continue to enroll by submitting paper copies of VA form 10-10EZ, or enroll online at: https://www.1010ez.med.va.gov/.  

5. Congress Extends Foreclosure Protections for Transitioning Service Members: On Monday, the House of Representatives passed the Foreclosure Relief and Extension for Servicemembers Act of 2015, restoring the one year protection from mortgage foreclosure for recently separated veterans. In 2012, Congress temporarily extended the protection period from nine months to one year, in order to give veterans more time to gain financial stability without the fear of losing their homes after they separate from service. That authority lapsed at the end of last year, making the reauthorization necessary. The VFW supports the two year extension provided by this bill, but believes the protection should be made permanent. Having already passed the Senate, the bill now heads to the president for signature.

6. Free Training Program for Veteran Entrepreneurs: The Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University is currently accepting applications for the 2016 Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV). This program offers training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans who have or are seeking a service-connected disability rating. The EBV is free and does not require the use of GI Bill benefits. It includes 30 days of online training, a nine-day residency at one of several locations across the country, and one year of ongoing support and mentorship. Interested veterans are encouraged to apply soon. For more information, visit: http://ebv.vets.syr.edu/. To apply, click here: http://ebv.vets.syr.edu/apply-to-the-ebv/.

7. Vietnam War Commemoration: The president proclaimed May 28, 2012, through Nov. 11, 2025, as the “Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War.” During this span of time, more than 9,700 commemorative community partners throughout the country will be sponsoring events to welcome home all Vietnam veterans, and to thank them for guaranteeing that future generations of war veterans are properly recognized and receive the welcome home their generation did not receive. One such ceremony will be at 8:30 a.m., March 29, when the Department of Veterans Affairs conducts a solemn wreath laying ceremony at the Vietnam Wall in Washington. Other VA facilities and veterans’ and civic organizations will sponsor different events as the commemoration continues. All VFW Posts are highly encouraged to become a commemorative partner. Learn more at http://www.vietnamwar50th.com/.

8. VFW Calls on Vietnam Veterans for Help: The VFW is calling on Vietnam veterans to search their wartime memorabilia for any artifacts that might help Vietnam to determine the fate of its estimated 300,000 MIAs. Being requested are photos and sketch maps of battle sites or burial locations, as well as personal artifacts that contain names, family photos and personal letters. No weapons, please! Veteran-to-veteran initiatives generate goodwill and further assist the U.S. government’s own efforts to investigative and recover Americans missing from the war. Please mail your memorabilia to Joe Davis, Public Affairs Director, VFW Washington Office, 200 Maryland Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20002. Everything collected will be turned over to the Vietnamese Embassy in Washington.

9. MIA Update: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced burial updates of three soldiers formerly missing in action since the Korean War, and the identification of remains of two other servicemen who died during World War II and the Vietnam War. Returned home are:

  -- Army Cpl. Davey H. Bart, 18, of Houston, will be buried March 26 in Humble, Texas. He was assigned to Company K, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, when lost fighting in North Korea on Nov. 2, 1950. It would be later confirmed he died in captivity. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/NewsStories/NewsReleases/tabid/10159/Article/698707/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-accounted-for-bart.aspx.

  -- Army Sgt. 1st Class Raymond K. McMillian, 20, of Axton, Va., will be buried March 26 in Martinsville, Va. He was assigned to Medical Company, 3rd Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, when lost fighting in South Korea on Feb. 12, 1951. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/NewsStories/NewsReleases/tabid/10159/Article/698714/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-accounted-for-mcmillian.aspx.

  -- Army Cpl. Eldon W. Ervin, 21, of Wyandotte, Okla., will be buried with full military honors on March 29 in Seneca, Mo. He was assigned to Headquarters Battery, 57th Field Artillery Battalion, 7th Infantry Division, when lost fighting in North Korea on Nov. 28, 1950. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/NewsStories/NewsReleases/tabid/10159/Article/701832/soldier-killed-in-korean-war-accounted-for-ervin.aspx.

  -- Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Frederick W. Langhorst, of Yonkers, N.Y., was assigned to the 1130 Army Air Force Base Unit, Air Transport Command, when lost over India on July 17, 1945. He will be buried with full military honors on a date and location to be announced.

  -- Army Sgt. 1st Class Alan L. Boyer, 22, of Missoula, Mont., was assigned to the Command and Control Detachment, 5th Special Forces Group, when lost in Laos on March 28, 1968. He will be buried with full military honors on a date and location to be announced.

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