September 11, 2015
In This Issue:
1. Patriot Day
2. House Holds Hearing on Licensing and Credentialing
3. House Oversight Committee Investigates Army Childcare Program
4. The VFW Attends Warrior-Family Symposium
5. Every Name Needs a Photo
6. Vietnam MIA Identified
1. Patriot Day: Fourteen years ago today radical Islamic terrorists struck America hard, killing almost 3,000 Americans in New York City, the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pa. Their intent was to weaken America and dampen our spirit, but the attacks instead united our country. In what has truly become one of our finest hours, America refused to succumb to fear or despair. Today, in honor of Patriot Day and the National Day of Service and Remembrance, the VFW pauses to remember the 2,977 Americans who tragically lost their lives 14 years ago, and to offer our gratitude to America’s Newest Greatest Generation, who no one could have envisioned being able to fight a two-front war for 14 years with an All-Volunteer Force. The VFW encourages all Americans to take a moment to remember the victims of the 9/11 attacks and their families, and to give thanks to all who have and will continue to selflessly sacrifice themselves to ensure our way of life endures. Read more at: http://www.vfw.org/News-and-Events/Articles/2015-Articles/VFW-Offers-Its-Gratitude-to-America-s-Newest-Greatest-Generation/.
2. House Holds Hearing on Licensing and Credentialing: On Thursday, the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity held a hearing entitled, “A Review of Licensing and Credentialing Standards for Servicemembers and Veterans: Do Barriers Still Remain?” In his remarks, Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) made clear that Congress must continue to do all it can to ensure that the valuable skills that service members receive through their military training can be easily translated to civilian credentials necessary to enter many technical fields following service. A recurring theme during testimony, however, is that the federal government is limited in what it can do to facilitate this goal, since credentialing standards are established by individual state legislatures. View the hearing and possible solutions here: http://veterans.house.gov/hearing/a-review-of-licensing-and-credentialing-standards-for-servicemembers-and-veterans-do. The VFW will continue to do all we can to support solutions to this complicated problem, and encourage all Action Corps members to contact your state officials to find out what they can do to improve veterans’ access to professional licenses and credentials in your state.
3. House Oversight Committee Investigates Army Childcare Program: On Thursday, the VFW attended the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing concerning the program reimbursing Army families for childcare. The program has become wrecked with cost overruns and long wait times and has caused severe financial troubles for families. Nearly 10,000 Army families use the program which funds care when base services are not available. The program was shifted to a new contract shared by the Army and General Services Administration in an effort to save money, but cost an additional $4.4 million beyond its budget, and bad management allowed thousands of email and voicemail complaints to be deleted. For more information on the hearing, go to: https://oversight.house.gov/release/hearing-wrap-up-gsa-army-fee-assistance-program/.
4. The VFW Attends Warrior-Family Symposium: On Wednesday, the VFW attended the Warrior-Family Symposium hosted by the Military Officers Association of America and Wounded Warrior Project. Focusing on the mental health care needs of those who have served our nation and their families, there was intense discussion about the need to have robust VA capabilities connected with the communities where these families live. Senator Johnny Isakson spoke on the need to allow the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act to work without outside influences pressuring the program. VA Secretary Robert McDonald spoke on the impact of an aging veterans population and the strain it can cause on VA as a whole. To watch video of the symposium, go to: http://www.moaa.org/WFS/.
5. Every Name Needs a Photo: Since 2009, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation has been trying to collect at least one photograph of all 58,307 men and women whose names are inscribed on The Wall. To date, 42,000 individual photographs have been submitted for display in the new Education Center at The Wall, as well as online on The Virtual Wall. Six states —North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, New Mexico, Wisconsin and Minnesota — have found all of their photos, with many states having just a few photos left to find. VVMF can provide lists of names by region so that volunteers can look for photos of service members from their area. For more information or to submit photos, go to http://www.vvmf.org/Wall-of-Faces/.
6. Vietnam MIA Identified: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced the identification of remains belonging to Navy Lt. j.g. Neil B. Taylor, 26, of Rangeley, Maine, who will be buried in his hometown with full military honors on Sept. 14, exactly 50 years after the A-4C Skyhawk he was piloting crashed while on a bombing mission over Bac Lieu Province, Vietnam, on Sept. 14, 1965.
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As always, we want to share your advocacy stories on the VFW Capitol Hill blog. To share your stories, either fill out our online form by clicking here: http://www.vfw.org/Forms/Capitol-Hill-Blog-Submissions/, or simply email photos and stories directly to email@example.com.