1. Army SFC to Receive Medal of Honor:
President Obama is scheduled to present the Medal of Honor on July 12 to Army Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Arthur Petry for extraordinary heroism in Afghanistan in 2008. Petry is an Army Ranger now assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Ga. He has deployed eight times, with two tours to Iraq and six in Afghanistan. He will be the ninth servicemember to receive the Medal of Honor after almost 10 years of combat in Afghanistan and eight in Iraq. All but one other received it posthumously. His presentation will increase the total number of living recipients to 85. Read more at http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=64137
3. House VA Committee Hearings:
The House Veterans Affairs Committee met Wednesday to discuss how to get veterans back to work. Witnesses from both the private and public sectors testified on the effectiveness of current job training programs, the need to bridge the gap between employers and veterans, and to improve the overall system. Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (D-FL) spoke about his ambitious goal to help 400,000 veterans find jobs within two years, a move that would reduce the overall veteran unemployment rate for from 8.3 percent today to about 4.5 percent.
* The Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity met Thursday on the Transition Assistance and Vet Success programs. The subcommittee recently sent staffers to visit four TAP sites in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, and to several Vet Success programs on campuses. What they found were inadequate facilities and materials for those attending classes. Witnesses expressed their views that the Departments of Labor, Defense and the VA, plus state workforce agencies, need to take a harder look at the overall quality of the TAP program.
* The Subcommittee on Disability and Memorial Affairs also met Thursday to discuss underperforming VA Regional Offices. VFW testified that the quality of disability claims processing has slipped significantly in the past few years, which has led to a 25-percent increase in appeals. We offered concrete suggestions on how to improve quality now, to include requiring a second review of all rating decisions, increase access of veterans' service officers to VA decision makers (which is currently limited in some ROs), and aggressive steps to replace management at offices with the worst quality, along with retraining of staff and other measures. Committee members asked questions that focused on production and the reasons why disability claims take so long to be correctly adjudicated. During Q&A, we said quality will suffer as long as Congress and VA supervisors remain focused solely on production. Both must be accomplished simultaneously. Read VFW's testimony at http://www.vfw.org/VFW-in-DC/Congressional-Testimony/
For complete information about any of the above hearings or to watch recorded webcasts, visit the House VA Committee website at http://veterans.house.gov/legislation/hearings
4. Korean War MIA Identified:
The Defense POW/MIA Office announced the identification of remains belonging to Army Cpl. Harold B. Moore, 19, of Wood County, W.Va. Moore's unit, the 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, was occupying a defensive position in North Korea when enemy attacks collapsed their perimeter and forced a fighting withdrawal on Nov. 1, 1950. Almost 600 men were reported missing or killed in action following the battle. Read more at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/news/news_releases/