{This blog is not affiliated with the VA. Though a Veteran, four yrs. all shore in Navy last year In-Country Vietnam, I don't work for the VA}

The present Veterans Administration is the most pro-active one in my lifetime, lets keep it that way, as it always should have been! The Countries Responsibility is to Fully Fund!

Survey Finds Few Veterans on Congressional Staffs - Group says Congress should set example by hiring more vets

TX-19 Congressional Candidate Neal Marchbanks - Veteran: 28 March 2014 - "Congress controls the budget for the VA and it is the fault of Congress that the VA does not have enough employees and that the facilities are too small."

Congress, in Veteran Marchbanks statement, are the people served and who representatives work for, or are supposed to!

“We are dealing with veterans, not procedures—with their problems, not ours.” —General Omar Bradley, First Administrator of the Veterans Administration

"If military action is worth our troops’ blood, it should be worth our treasure, too — not just in the abstract, but in the form of a specific ante by every American." -Andrew Rosenthal 10 Feb. 2013

"12 years also is a long time. We now have a lifetime responsibility to a generation of service members, veterans and their families." Dr. Jonathan Woodson 11 Sep. 2013: With 9/11 Came Lifetime Responsibility
{two tax cuts, especially for the wealthy, came with these two recent unpaid for wars, nor the results of, DeJa-Vu all over again from the previous decades and wars from! Ignore the many issues, by those served, no need to fund!}

Sen. Bernie Sanders told Republicans: “If you can’t afford to take care of your veterans, than don’t go war. These people are bearing the brunt of what war is about, We have a moral obligation to support them.” February, 26th, 2014

How We Could Do More For Our Vets: "We need to go into debt to pay our debt to U.S. veterans to make sure they get the care and services we owe them."

“Why in 2009 were we still using paper?” VA Assistant Secretary Tommy Sowers “When we came in, there was no plan to change that; we’ve been operating on a six month wait for over a decade.” 27 March 2013


Presidential Proclamation -- Veterans Day, 2013: "As we pay tribute to our veterans, we are mindful that no ceremony or parade can fully repay that debt." read more>>>

Read about now,
Bush Institute aims to identify best resources for vets' transition ,for it's archived and never to be heard about again!

And more disturbing, under both bushes, in relation to even before and through the early years of the Afghanistan, quickly abandoned missions of, and Iraq occupations, this:

ProPublica and The Seattle Times Nov. 9, 2012 - Lost to History: Missing War Records Complicate Benefit Claims by Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans
"DeLara's case is part of a much larger problem that has plagued the U.S. military since the 1990 Gulf War: a failure to create and maintain the types of field records that have documented American conflicts since the Revolutionary War."

Army Says War Records Gap Is Real, Launches Recovery Effort

The War On Military Records

12/10/2013 - The era of big data has arrived on the battlefield and we need to find new ways to deal with it.

Add in the issues of finally recognizing in War Theater and more Veterans, by this Veterans Administration and the Executive Administrations Cabinet, what the Country choose to ignore from our previous decades and wars of: The devastating effects on Test Vets and from PTS, Agent Orange, Homelessness, more recent the Desert Storm troops Gulf War Illnesses, Gulf War Exposures with the very recent affects from In-Theater Burn Pits and oh so so much more! Tens of Thousands of Veterans' that have been long ignored and maligned by previous VA's and the whole Country and through their representatives!

How does a Country HONOR It's Fallen, by Their Own 'Sacrifice' in Taking Care of the Brothers and Sisters They Served With!!

"You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today." - Abraham Lincoln

"To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan" - President Lincoln

Are You Concerned About a Veteran? The Veterans Crisis Line Can Help>>>

For our sisters: National Women Veterans Hotline, call 1-855-VA-WOMEN (1-855-829-6636) New Hotline now up and running


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ohio GOP Legislator Insults Veterans' { DeJa-Vu all over again, and again.....}

Ohio GOP Legislator Accused of Insulting Veterans In Hearing
04/24/2014 - A Republican lawmaker in Ohio insulted veterans in a hearing he led this month on renewable-energy standards, according to a veteran in attendance.

Iraq War veteran Dan Sawmiller, who is also the Sierra Club's senior campaign representative for Ohio and Kentucky, wrote a letter to the state Senate president on April 14 criticizing Sen. Bill Seitz (R), the Public Utilities Committee chairman, for calling the hearing a "Bataan Death March." From Sawmiller's letter:

On April 9, 2014, I testified as a representative of the Sierra Club in front of your Senate’s Public Utilities Committee, chaired by Senator Bill Seitz. Just before my testimony, the Senator referred to Ohio’s existing clean energy law as a “Bataan Death March.” In case you’re not familiar, the Bataan Death March consisted of 80,000 American and Filipino soldiers who were victims of a heinous war crime where captured troops were forced to march 80 miles through the jungle of the Philippines. They were starved, physically abused, tortured and brutally murdered. As many as 650 American soldiers were killed during the march alone. Those who made it through were tortured as prisoners of war and killed on Japan-bound ships. The selfless service of these veterans is something to be honored, not mocked.

Sawmiller also noted that Seitz opened a pack of cigarettes before leaving the room during one veteran's testimony.

"This behavior is completely devoid of any honor or respect, and is not becoming of the Ohio Senate or the State of Ohio," he added. read more>>> as it didn't stop there.

CBS NCIS "Are you ready for another powerful case?" Homeless Vets

You FOX watchers need not view, one of your lord and masters, O'Reilly, already laid out your meme's to be parroted far and wide and you all obliged, again, long ago, "there are no homeless veterans!"! And when he walked it back a tad, a very tiny tad, you all, once again, ignored that reality, but hey that's the norm now isn't it, on All issues the FOX and you throw out there and are then proven totally wrong!!

Sen. Bernie Sanders told Republicans: “If you can’t afford to take care of your veterans, than don’t go war. These people are bearing the brunt of what war is about, We have a moral obligation to support them.” February, 26th, 2014

'NCIS' season 11 episode 22 preview: A case involving homeless veterans
April 23, 2014 - That is what is coming up in next week's new "NCIS" episode, 11x22, "Shooter," for which CBS released a new sneak preview on Tuesday, April 22, after this week's re-run of Ralph Waite's last appearance as Jackson Gibbs. (The season finale, "Honor Thy Father," will pay tribute to Waite.)

Following "Alleged" and a look at personal assault among the ranks in the military, we have another important episode coming up with "Shooter," which is going to shine the light on homeless veterans. As we saw in the last episode, Abby (Pauley Perrette) reached out to the victim, and she's going to be reaching out again in next week's hour. Will she be successful in helping?

In this next "NCIS" episode, a Marine photographer disappear prior to providing his testimony in an Army court-martial hearing about a highly publicized Afghanistan murder case, and the case falls in Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and his team's hands. The agents have to investigate both the murder the photographer witnessed and his current piece on military veterans who are homeless in the D.C. area. Meanwhile, Abby tries to help a young homeless woman reconnect with her family. read more>>>

Present {DoD} DARPA Technologies Under Development

DARPA Officials Show Hagel Technologies Under Development
WASHINGTON, April 23, 2014 – Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program personnel demonstrated five technologies under development to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in the secretary's conference room yesterday.

DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar provided the secretary with a demonstration of the agency's latest prosthetics technology.

The wounded warrior demonstrating the device was Fred Downs Jr., an old friend of Hagel's who lost an arm in a landmine explosion while fighting in Vietnam. Hagel hugged him and shook his mechanical hand, with Downs joking, "I don't want to hurt you."

"He and I worked together many years ago," said Hagel, who earned two Purple Hearts during his service as an enlisted soldier in Vietnam. "How you doing, Fred? How's your family?"

Downs demonstrated how he controls movements of the arm, which appeared to be partly covered in translucent white plastic, with two accelerometers strapped to his feet. Through a combination of foot movements, he's able to control the elbow, wrist and fingers in a variety of movements, including the “thumbs-up” sign he gave Hagel.

It took only a few hours to learn to control the arm, Downs said.

"It's the first time in 45 years, since Vietnam, I'm able to use my left hand, which was a very emotional time," he said. read more>>>

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Jobs: Service Members, Veterans and Their Families

Helping Employers Connect to Job Seeking Service Members, Veterans and Their Families
April 23, 2014 - First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden joined the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell on Wednesday at a comprehensive Veterans Jobs Summit and Career Forum.

The First Lady and Dr. Biden’s message was clear: our commitment to our service members and their families does not end when their service does, which is why they launched Joining Forces three years ago this month.

Since then, companies who have made commitments to Joining Forces have hired over half a million (540,000) veterans and military spouses. Commitments from America’s biggest firms like UPS, who announced a doubling of their commitment to 50,000 new hires and Xerox who will has committed to hire 10,000 veterans and spouses over the next five years.

In June 2011, Dr. Biden launched the Military Spouse Employment Partnership with close to 60 companies. Today, Dr. Biden announced there are 228 partner employers with more than 1.8 million jobs posted on the MSEP Career Portal with more than 60,000 military spouse hires. read more>>>

Medicaid Expansions and Veterans

Medicaid expansion would cover 25,000 Va. veterans
Apr. 22, 2014 - As Virginia legislators continue to debate whether to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in the state’s two-year budget, some Medicaid expansion supporters claim more than 25,000 Virginia veterans and their spouses could receive health care coverage if the General Assembly allows expansion.

In March, hundreds of people gathered at the Virginia State Capitol to rally in support of Medicaid expansion.

Mercedies Harris, a former Marine from Waynesboro, Va., spoke at the rally.

Harris, who does not have health care coverage and would benefit from Medicaid expansion, told the crowd he has glaucoma and struggles to pay more than $400 a month for his medication.

“Like all veterans, I was proud to serve our country,” Harris said. “So I’m asking you to please don’t turn your backs on us now. We have a shared responsibility to protect and expand opportunity for this generation and for the future generations. The time is now to close the coverage gap.” read more>>>

Seeking Public Questions on ‘Joining Forces’

First Lady, Dr. Biden Seek Questions on ‘Joining Forces’
WASHINGTON, April 22, 2014 – First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, are calling on Americans to submit questions via social media about “Joining Forces,” a national initiative they started three years ago that mobilizes all sectors of American society to support service members and their families.

Tomorrow, the first lady and Dr. Biden will mark the initiative’s third anniversary at Fort Campbell, Ky., where they will speak to service members, families and employers at the Veterans Jobs Summit and Career Forum and will answer some questions about the initiative.

White House officials have invited Americans to help in celebrating the anniversary by sharing a message or asking a question on social media, and by finding ways to get involved. read more>>>

Joining Forces Third Anniversary
April 11, 2014 - On June 7, 2012, Linda Mills received a phone call that changed her life forever: Linda’s husband, Army Staff Sergeant Andrew Mills, had been seriously injured when an IED exploded in Afghanistan.

Almost immediately, Linda quit her job to become Andrew’s full-time caregiver. In the weeks and months after the explosion, Andrew underwent more than 30 surgeries. The two of them moved from North Carolina to Virginia, so that Andrew can rehab at a state-of-the-art military hospital. And every single day, Linda has stood by her husband’s side, helping with physical therapy, assisting with daily personal care, and managing the family’s legal and financial responsibilities.

Today, after two years in her new role as a caregiver, Linda considers herself not just a military spouse, but a nurse, an advocate, a scheduler, and a coach. And as she often says, even a tragedy can lead to a new beginning – in a few weeks’ time, she and Andrew will welcome their first child into the world. read more>>>

Monday, April 21, 2014

American AO Decontamination in Da Nang Begins, Finally

US, Vietnam begin dioxin decontamination in Da Nang
April 20, 2014 - Decontaminating the Danang Airport will bury the consequences of the past and pave a road toward a good future between the US and Vietnam, Vietnam's Deputy Minister of Defense Nguyen Chi Vinh said Saturday.

Vinh was speaking as a team of US scientists began the process of using heat to remove the toxic defoliant, dioxin, from the contaminated soil of the former US airbase.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) says that about 45,000 of the airport's 73,000 cubic meters (2.58 million cubic feet) of soil have been excavated for thermal treatment at 335 degrees Celsius (570 degrees Fahrenheit).

The US$84-million project, funded by USAID, is expected to finish in late 2016.

US Senator Patrick Leahy, who attended the ceremony at Da Nang Airport during his Vietnam visit from April 16-20, said the US has been working to eliminate the danger dioxin poses to the people of Danang.

“After so many years, the United States did not ignore this problem. We returned and we are taking care of it… our two countries can work together to address a problem that for more than three decades was an obstacle to better relations,” he said.

Leahy said the US government also has a goal of improving services for “people with disabilities, regardless of the cause, including which those may have been caused by Agent Orange. read more>>>

Reducing Backlogs and Unnecessary Red Tape for Disabled Veterans

Social Security Launches Expedited Veteran Disability Process
WASHINGTON, March 18, 2014 – Social Security claims from veterans with a Veterans Affairs Department disability compensation rating of 100 percent permanent and total have a new process that will treat their applications as high priority and issue expedited decisions.

Carolyn W. Colvin, acting Social Security commissioner, said the new process is similar to the way the agency currently handles disability claims from wounded warriors.

“We have reached another milestone for those who have sacrificed so much for our country and this process ensures they will get the benefits they need quickly,” Colvin said. “While we can never fully repay them for their sacrifices, we can be sure we provide them with the quality of service that they deserve. This initiative is truly a lifeline for those who need it most." read more>>>

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Transitioning from military to civilian life, and from camaraderie to isolation

AFTER THE WARS: ‘Ugh. I miss it.’
April 19, 2014 - ROCK SPRINGS, WYO. — The only light in the vast Wyoming darkness came from the lit end of another 5:30 a.m. cigarette as Derric Winters waited alone for sunrise on the porch of his trailer. He never slept well, not anymore, so he smoked and stared across the three miles of barren landscape that separated him from town. He checked his voice mail, but there were no messages. He logged on to Facebook, but no one was awake to chat. The only company now was the hum of the interstate behind his trailer, people on their way from one place to the next. He walked out to his truck and joined them.

His shirt read “ARMY,” his hat read “10th Mountain Division,” and his license plate read “Disabled Veteran.” Five bullets rattled on his dashboard as he swerved around another car with his right fist pressed against the horn. “Come on,” he said. “Go. Just go!” It had been five years since he returned from 16 months at war, and some days he still acted like he was back in Afghanistan. Many days, he wished that he were. read more>>>

"Do I clap for the returning Veteran, or hide my family?"

Breaking: Veterans are People too
April 16, 2014 - Recently, the Veteran community has been forced to fight back on a disturbing narrative: Veterans are dangerous, violent people that society should be wary of. It doesn’t take much for some media outlets to push this agenda either. It seems all they need is one person, who happened to serve in the military at any time, to commit a heinous act, and the sensationalist headlines driving high ratings start pouring in.

Today, The Opinion Pages of the New York Times posted a story by Kathleen Belew that claims “the return of [Veterans] from combat appears to correlate more closely with Klan membership than any other historical factor,” and linked the murder of three innocent people in Kansas by one man to a generation of Vietnam Veterans.

Even though she admits “the number of Vietnam [Veterans] in that movement was small” and “a vast majority of veterans are neither violent nor mentally ill” she continues disparaging Veterans in general. Ms. Belew interprets information from a nine-page Department of Homeland Security report, which essentially connects extremist views to disillusionment and warns that people who feel ostracized by society can be susceptible to recruitment by radical groups (something we see in other aspects of society), and uses it to promote her view that Veterans are inherently volatile due to their military service and have contributed to the growth of white-supremacist groups in the United States.

Of course hate groups with paramilitary ambitions seek out those with military experience to swell their ranks. I suppose it’s also worthy to mention that large corporations seek out IRS trained accountants to help them with taxes, or political lobbying firms recruit former government executives to help them pass legislation.

The question that Ms. Belew doesn’t ask is why these Veterans felt disillusioned in the first place, and were vulnerable to predatory recruitment. She ignores the social climate around them at the time of their return. She’s been studying these radical groups since 2006, but as a historian she should have dug deeper to find the root cause of this anomaly. Instead she opted for an alarming story.

Imagine, for a second, if she had done the same thing to any other group of people. What would that look like? read more>>>

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Championing Women Veterans

17 April 2014 - From DoL Newsletter: Women's Bureau Director Latifa Lyles

Two department officials recently were featured discussing employment opportunities for women veterans on the PBS program "To the Contrary." The show's segment noted that, with more women veterans leaving the service, a coordinated effort is underway to match their military skills to available jobs. Women's Bureau Director Latifa Lyles said the department has developed a program specifically focused on the needs of women veterans. Terry Gerton, assistant secretary for policy, Veterans' Employment and Training Service, said women veterans have many different experiences to offer potential employees, and they "don't come out of a cookie cutter." The show also highlighted how two women Marine and Navy veterans found and used employment services available at the state and federal levels. Watch the PBS Program>>>

Winding Down the Long Ago Abandoned Missions and Troops Sent, War

Abandoned with flag waving cheers of some 70%plus of the American population after 9/11. Neither long occupation war has yet to be paid for nor the now decades long results of.

Sen. Bernie Sanders told Republicans: “If you can’t afford to take care of your veterans, than don’t go war. These people are bearing the brunt of what war is about, We have a moral obligation to support them.” February, 26th, 2014

This is what it takes to pack up the war in Afghanistan

The logistics of moving a military back home are pretty crazy.

April 19, 2014 - As Afghans await the results of the April 5 presidential election, another historic transition is taking place — the full withdrawal of international coalition forces from the country by Dec. 31, 2014.

That’s when NATO’s combat mission expires, ending 13 years of foreign military presence in Afghanistan since US-led troops ousted the Taliban in 2001.

By joint agreement, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the US-led Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) are disengaging from combat activities and handing over security to Afghan forces.

They’re also shipping home over a decade’s accumulation of personnel and equipment. The logistical pull-out — known as a “retrograde” in military terms — is nearly unprecedented in scope. Foreign Policy explains:

“...in raw tonnage, it's the biggest single military logistical undertaking ever. For size and complexity, think of something in between D-Day and the moon landing.”

Here’s a look at what’s involved in sending (nearly) everything and everyone home from Afghanistan. read more>>>

TX-19 Congressional Candidate Neal Marchbanks - Veteran: 28 March 2014 - "Congress controls the budget for the VA and it is the fault of Congress that the VA does not have enough employees and that the facilities are too small."
Congress, in Veteran Marchbanks statement, are the people served and who representatives work for, or are supposed to!