VIETNAM VETERANS OF AMERICA, INC
LZ WEBBER BENNINGTON CHAPTER 601
P. O. BOX 4146
BENNINGTON, VERMONT 05201
NEWSLETTER 167 A NOT-FOR-PROFIT VETERANS SERVICE ORGANIZATION April 1, 2009
CHAPTER OFFICERSJOHN J. MINER - PRESIDENT - PHIL YOUNG -VICE PRESIDENT ADMINISTRATION -JAMES DAWSON - VICE PRESIDENT OPERATIONS -DENNIS GAUTHIER - TREASURER - BOB FRITZ - SECRETARY - TOM MCDONOUGH - CHAPLAIN -BRIAN VESPER - CHAPTER COORDINATOR -MIKE DIMONDA - JIM SWEET - BILL CANNAVAN - AT - LARGE BOARD MEMBERS - SUE COOK AVVA ASSOCIATE CHAPTER LIAISON - BRUCE NILES - MIKE DIMONDA -- DELEGATES TO VERMONT STATE COUNCIL THE PRESIDENTíS REPORT My report this month will be brief, as we have much news coming out of Washington and in our area. Remember this monthís meeting is election of new officers for the coming year. Also we must have a very special meeting at that time for our work on the Honor Roll. Read that report to see what I mean.April 21, 2009 at the Vermont Veterans Home Mutli-Purpose room at 7:00 PM
Following is an open letter to Veterans from Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki:"My name is Ric Shinseki, and I am a Veteran. For me, serving as Secretary of Veterans Affairs is a noble calling. It provides me the opportunity to give back to those who served with and for me during my 38 years in uniform and those on whose shoulders we all stood as we grew up in the profession of arms.
"The Department of Veterans Affairs has a solemn responsibility to all of you, today and in the future, as more Veterans join our ranks and enroll to secure the benefits and services they have earned. I am fully committed to fulfilling President Obamaís vision for transforming our department so that it will be well-positioned to perform this duty even better during the 21st Century. We welcome the assistance and advice of our Veterans Service Organizations, other government departments and agencies, Congress, and all VA stakeholders as we move forward, ethically and transparently, so that Veterans and citizens can understand our efforts.
"Creating that vision for transforming the VA into a 21st Century organization requires a comprehensive review of our department. We approach that review understanding that Veterans are central to everything VA does. We know that results count, that the department will be measured by what we do, not what we promise, and that our best days as an organization supporting Veterans are ahead of us. We will fulfill President Lincolnís charge to care for ". . . him, who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan . . ." by redesigning and reengineering ourselves for the future.
"Transforming any institution is supremely challenging; I know this from my own experience in leading large, proud, complex, and high-performing organizations through change. But the best organizations must be prepared to meet the challenging times, evolving technology and, most importantly, evolving needs of clients. Historically, organizations that are unwilling or unable to change soon find themselves irrelevant. You and your needs are not irrelevant.
"Veterans are our clients, and delivering the highest quality care and services in a timely, consistent and fair manner is a VA responsibility. I take that responsibility seriously and have charged all of the departmentís employees for their best efforts and support every day to meet our obligations to you. Our path forward is challenging, but the President and Congress support us. They have asked us to do this wellófor you. Veterans are our sole reason for existence and our number one priorityóbar none. I look forward to working together with all VA employees to transform our department into an organization that reflects the change and commitment our country expects and our Veterans deserve.
"Thank you, and God bless our military, our Veterans, and our Nation."
Signed: Eric K. Shinseki
BENNINGTON HONOR ROLL REPORT
Last month I told you that I had to go in front of the Veteransí Home Board of Trustee to get the okay to go ahead with the placement of two of our monuments. On March 11 on went before them and gave them a report of what we wanted to do. General Carter then made a motion to give us the go head to place these monument on May 25, it was approved .
Then on Monday March 16th Phil Young and I meet with Mike McDonough the architect giving him the finally pictures of what we wanted and he was to contact both Mahar and Walbridge to get prices that we could choose to have it done by. I hope that most of you will be there on Memorial Day at the Veteransí Home to see this unveiling of these two special monument.
On April 21st at 7:00 PM at the Veterans Home Mutli-purpose room I would like to have all interested people in giving us time and equipment to move forward with the next phrase of this project. If you have any questions before this please contact me. Or if you know of some one who would donation time or equipment please ask them to come. We need to know before we get there what kind of in kind donation we can count on so that we maybe can cut the cost of this done a lot. I am also asking the architect to be there to take down names and phone number of anyone that comes to have it ready when we move forward on this project.
ALSO, remember your bottles and cans. Willyís Market on gage street will take them. Just tell them it is for the Bennington Honor roll. Last year we took in just over one thousand dollars from this small project. Let try and make it even bigger this year. Tell your friends too. Remember any questions before April 21 you can call me at 802-447-0407 or email me at email@example.com
VVA Praises Presidentís Budget Submission for Veterans Affairs;
Condemns Ill-advised Revenue Proposal
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) Ė "Despite our concerns about the ill-advised proposal to require veteransí healthcare insurers to pay for treatment by the VA for service-connected health conditions, Vietnam Veterans of America hails the budget submission of President Obama for its generosity in assisting all veterans and, particularly, disabled veterans," said VVA National President John Rowan.
"VVA joins fellow veteransí service organizations in condemning the proposal advanced by the Office of Management and Budget to raise revenue by charging a veteranís private health insurer for services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs for service-connected health conditions.
"However, as far as veterans are concerned, this is the best budget submitted by a President in the 30-year history of VVA." Rowan cited the proposed $25 billion increase above the baseline over the next five years; the restoration of health-care eligibility for veterans of modest incomes, which the administration predicts will enable half a million eligible veterans to access the VA health care system by 2013; and making highly disabled veterans who are medically retired from service eligible for concurrent receipt of disability benefits from the VA, in addition to the retirement benefits they receive from the Department of Defense.
"Given this administrationís unprecedented willingness to work with the veteransí community to make sure this budget will be one that all veterans can support enthusiastically," Rowan stated, "we feel comfortable that, with President Obama having met with veteran leaders yesterday in the White House and the willingness of senior staff to conduct follow-up meetings, they are receptive to our ideas on how to make this budget better for veterans.
"We look forward to working with the White House, now and in the future, to ensure that veterans donít have to fight and scrape for every additional dollar in the budget," Rowan added. "We call on Congress to make its adjustments and pass this budget, not only on time for the 2010 fiscal year, but early enough so VA managers will know what they can expect to receive so they can plan to accommodate the needs of the veterans they serve."
ABOVE & BEYOND
GRAHAM, JAMES A. *
Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Marine Corps, Company F, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division
Place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 2 June 1967
Entered service at: Prince Georges, Maryland
Born: 25 August 1940, Wilkinsburg, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. During Operation Union II, the 1st Battalion, 15th Marines, consisting of Companies A and D, with Capt. Graham's company attached launched an attack against an enemy occupied position with 2 companies assaulting and 1 in reserve. Company F, a leading company, was proceeding across a clear paddy area 1,000 meters wide, attacking toward the assigned objective, when it came under fire from mortars and small arms which immediately inflicted a large number of casualties. Hardest hit by the enemy fire was the 2nd platoon of Company F, which was pinned down in the open paddy area by intense fire from 2 concealed machine guns. Forming an assault unit from members of his small company headquarters, Capt. Graham boldly led a fierce assault through the second platoon's position, forcing the enemy to abandon the first machine gun position, thereby relieving some of the pressure on his second platoon, and enabling evacuation of the wounded to a more secure area. Resolute to silence the second machine gun, which continued its devastating fire, Capt. Graham's small force stood steadfast in its hard won enclave. Subsequently, during the afternoon's fierce fighting, he suffered 2 minor wounds while personally accounting for an estimated 15 enemy killed. With the enemy position remaining invincible upon each attempt to withdraw to friendly lines, and although knowing that he had no chance of survival, he chose to remain with 1 man who could not be moved due to the seriousness of his wounds. The last radio transmission from Capt. Graham reported that he was being assaulted by a force of 25 enemy soldiers; he died while protecting himself and the wounded man he chose not to abandon. Capt. Graham's actions throughout the day were a series of heroic achievements. His outstanding courage, superb leadership and indomitable fighting spirit undoubtedly saved the second platoon from annihilation and reflected great credit upon himself, the Marine Corps, and the U.S. Naval service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Statement from Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on the Presidentís Strong Commitment to Americaís Veterans:
The President has consistently stated that he is committed to working with veterans on the details of the 2010 VA Budget Proposal. The President demonstrated his deep commitment to veterans by proposing the largest increase in the VA budget in 30 years and calling VSO and MSO leaders into the White House for an unprecedented meeting to discuss various aspects of the budget proposal. In considering the third party billing issue, the administration was seeking to maximize the resources available for veterans; however, the President listened to concerns raised by the VSOs that this might, under certain circumstances, affect veterans and their familiesí ability to access health care. Therefore, the President has instructed that its consideration be dropped. The President wants to continue a constructive partnership with the VSOs and MSOs and is grateful to those VSOs and MSOs who have worked in good faith with him on the budget proposal.
MISSING WWII SOLDIERS ARE IDENTIFIED
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two U.S. servicemen, missing from World War II, have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
They are Pfc. Julian H. Rogers, of Bloomington, Ind, and Pvt. Henry E. Marquez, of Kansas City, Kan. Both men were U.S. Army. Rogers will be buried in the Spring in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C., and Marquez will be buried on May 30 in Kansas City, Mo.
Representatives from the Armyís Mortuary Office met with the next-of-kin of these men in their hometowns to explain the recovery and identification process and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the Secretary of the Army.
In November 1944, the 112th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division, was attacking east through the HŁrtgen Forest in an attempt to capture the German towns of Vossenack and Schmidt. On Nov. 4, the Germans counterattacked in what would become one of the longest running battles in U.S. history. Rogers and Marquez, both members of G Company, 112th Infantry Regiment, were reported killed in action near Vossenack on Nov. 4. Their bodies were not recovered.
In 2007, a German citizen searching for wartime relics in the HŁrtgen Forest uncovered human remains and military identification tags for Rogers and Marquez. He notified U.S. officials and a Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) team excavated the site later that year. The team recovered human remains and non-biological material.
Among dental records, other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA in the identification of the remains.
SOLDIER MISSING IN ACTION FROM THE KOREAN WAR IS IDENTIFIED
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
He is Sgt. Stanley E. Baylor, U.S. Army, of Webster, N.Y. His funeral will be held on Aug. 1 in Warsaw, N.Y.
Representatives from the Armyís Mortuary Office met with Baylorís next-of-kin to explain the recovery and identification process, and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the Secretary of the Army.
Baylor was assigned to Company L, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. On Nov. 1, 1950, the 8th Cavalry was occupying a defensive position near Unsan, North Korea in an area known as the "Camelís Head," when elements of two Chinese Communist Forces divisions struck the 1st Cavalry Divisionís lines, collapsing the perimeter and forcing a withdrawal. The 3rd Battalion was surrounded and effectively ceased to exist as a fighting unit. Baylor was reported missing on Nov. 2, 1950 and was one of the more than 350 servicemen unaccounted-for from the battle at Unsan.
Between 1991-94, North Korea gave the U.S. 208 boxes of remains believed to contain the remains of 200-400 U.S. servicemen. Accompanying North Korean documents indicated that some of the remains were exhumed near Chonsung-Ri, Unsan County. This location correlates with Baylorís last known location.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons in the identification of Baylorís remains, which were turned over in 1993.
5th ANNUAL VETERANS
MOTORCYCLE RIDE JULY 25, 2009
Last month I said that I would send out letter to business and Org about co-sponsoring our ride this year. I sent out 14 letters and so far as of this newsletter we have gotten back the following , The Pharmacy, Gardner Motor Sports, Whitmanís Feed Store, Hanson & Walbridge, American Legion, VFW, Budget Auto, Cushman landscaping, The Shea Monument Co. I know that we will hear from more before the time but no matter what if you go into these places please thank them for supporting what this chapter does. As I have said before Leader Soda is aborad again this year and of course the Veterans Veterans Home to. I will have the paper work ready next month for the ride. It will be only 10.00 per bike this year as a thank you to them for supporting us for the first 4 years of this ride.
Department of Defense Rolls Out New Program
by Major Randall Gates State Family Program Director The Airmen, Soldiers and Family Readiness Program continues to grow and accept the myriad resources developed and supplied by the Joint Family Readiness Program at the National Guard Bureau. For anyone not wholly familiar with our Family Readiness Program, picture a sturdy tree with an ample trunk supporting three main branches. The first branch is family services and how our Family Assistance Centers help customers locate the services they need for a particular problem or difficulty. The second branch is our Outreach Program which encompasses our ongoing attempt to find all Vermont veterans and ascertain whether or not some may be coping with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Traumatic Brain Injuries. Finally, our last branch is the new Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program. The Yellow Ribbon Program, set in place by federal law in Section 582 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, mandates a series of seven planned events-per soldier-as a unit readies for deployment. These informational events are designed to cover a series of topics pertinent to the four phases of deployment: either pre-deployment, deployment, demobilization, or post deployment and reconstitution. Traditional obstacles to full spouse involvement are removed or greatly mitigated with this program as contracted childcare is provided at all events, travel costs (to include hotels in some cases) are covered, and a noon meal is provided. The cost of this program is factored with two attendees per soldier attending each event except the 90-day post-deployment. These additional family members can include a spouse, children, parents, grandparents, siblings, and or significant others.
Nearly seven years of deployments and redeployments have taught us the importance of having a family fully engaged during all four phases of deployment. The Yellow Ribbon Program addresses this need by creating a template for a one day event during an alert phase (after receipt of the Alert Order and during the Pre-deployment Phase) where topics such as legal issues, taxes, TRICARE, Family Care Plans, Identifying Special Needs, Military OneSource, VA benefits and the emotional trials of deployment are all discussed. Another one-day event is also required just prior to deployment. Some topics for this event may include rear detachment operations, Employer Support to the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) information, ID card preparation, Vet Centers, Pay and Finance, the role of Family Assistance Centers, and marriage enrichment. Two additional events, during deployment, will be offered. A combination of social event and learning opportunity, these events will feature topics that continue to enhance the resiliency needed by families as they continue to cope with the absence of their soldier. These events may include review of legal documents, spouse and family member employment and employer support, combat and operational stress prevention, local school involvement, and support available through religious communities. We envision Family Readiness Groups fully engaged in the planning and facilitation of these two "during" events. Events scheduled at 30, 60 and 90-day intervals after the return of a soldier provide the main focus of this program. Addressing emerging needs of battle weary soldiers compels us to offer instruction on topics such as suicide awareness and prevention, substance abuse, reemployment factors, traffic safety, marriage assessment, and domestic violence. These 30 and 60 day events are two days long and will require a stay in a paid for hotel at the venue location. A final 90-day out event is a two-day, soldier only event focused on health assessment, sexual assault prevention, group discussion on shared deployment experiences, and a discussion on BATTLEMIND which is a program developed to understand distress and suicide. The Vermont National Guard recently received two personnel resources to coordinate the logistical needs for this program. Our first Yellow Ribbon event is with the families of Team Stone and will take place on the weekend of our planned Adjutant General's Holiday Party. (We will report how the event transpired in our January 2009 Family Readiness Newsletter.) Our challenge for the program in 2009 will be to find venues large enough to accommodate battalion-sized (500-700 men) units. If a planned deployment of the Brigade becomes a reality, you can imagine the logistics requirement for up to 1,800 soldiers, and two attendees per soldier, attending two events before deployment. Our program is lucky to have so many community partners willing to help make this work out smoothly. The establishment of the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program is the maturing effort of the National Guard to address emerging concerns seen in redeploying soldiers. Our program will need the help of so many in order for this effort to be a success. If you have an idea you would like to share, or
if you have experience that can be utilized in some way during this process,I would like to hear from you. Please call me at (802) 338-3391 for more information and discussion. PHILíS KOFFEE KORNER
Over the last few months we have had many guests stop by and talk with us about one project or another. Our most recent guest was Ky Mitchell who is the program coordinator of BEYOND the Yellow Ribbon . The story above tells about the program. So If you find your self out and need a break stop by on Thursday Mornings at 10:00 AM at the DD across from Wal-Mart.
Again this month we have no new member to report. We do have one member who has become a life member, Peter Sweet. Also we had a member transfer to chapter 843 In Brattleboro. Donald Leazott he also has become our third state service officer. We wish him good luck.
This month we also have member who has not sent in his dues for this year, but we did have some who sent in their dues, Jay Iskowitz, Bruce Mears. Once again we thank you for your continuing support of what we due in our community, state and nation. Letís get our there and bring in a new member.
Until next month