VFW WASHINGTON WEEKLY
August 19, 2011
In This Issue:
1. VFW Calls on Super Congress to Protect Vets
2. Military Retirement System Threatened
3. Saving Commissaries Gains Bipartisan Support
4. US Forces-Iraq Update
5. WWII 16mm Film Sought
6. WWII and Korean War MIAs Identified
7. TRICARE Questionnaire
1. VFW Calls on Super Congress to Protect Vets: Last week, VFW Executive Director Bob Wallace sent letters to each member of the new 12-member Joint Select Committee on Debt Reduction---also known as the "Super Congress"---that's been tasked with developing a bipartisan road map to reduce the national debt over the next few months. In his letter, Wallace asked each member to preserve military personnel programs and veterans' benefits, and offered the VFW's input in the process. Read the VFW's letter and learn more about the Super Congress by visiting the VFW's Voice on the Hill blog.
2. Military Retirement System Threatened:
The VFW remains very skeptical of Pentagon announcements that they have no plan to change the existing military retirement system. We believe they have embraced a Defense Business Board recommendation to end the automatic receipt of retirement and revert to a corporate 401(k)-style system that would provide more incentives for midcareer officers and NCOs to separate instead of staying 20 or more years. DOD just might be waiting to judge the amount of push-back from the military and veterans' communities. As a VFW spokesman was quoted saying Tuesday on FOX News, "this proposal is about money, not about people, and could signal an end to the All Volunteer Force, which is an expense this nation can ill afford to pay." The military retirement system is just one of 10 services and programs that the VFW believes Congress or the Administration want to reduce or eliminate to help pay for 10 years of war. Read more about the "10 for 10" plan http://www.vfw.org/News-and-Events/Articles/10-FOR-10--VFW-WON’T-STAND-FOR-BROKEN-PROMISES/
3. Saving Commissaries Gains Bipartisan Support:
Reps. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) and Susan Davis (D-Calif.) published a joint OpEd this week in the Washington Times explaining why maintaining the military's commissary system is critical to supporting military families. The VFW has been at the forefront of advocating to preserve military commissaries as part of our ongoing "10 for 10" campaign, and applauded Wilson and Davis for their support, and for garnering the support of more than 60 of their congressional colleagues. To learn more about the push to save commissary benefits, visit the VFW's Voice on the Hill blog: http://www.vfwonthehill.org/2011/08/bipartisan-support-to-save-military.html
4. US Forces-Iraq Update: The VFW Washington Office hosted a VSO meeting this morning to hear from Army Maj. Gen. Jeff Buchanan, the U.S. Forces-Iraq spokesman. Morale is high among the 46,000 troops currently stationed in-country, because consistently improving conditions on the ground will enable the great majority to redeploy by the end of the year. Now on his fourth tour in Iraq, Buchanan said there used to be 505 U.S. bases/operating locations to counter 145 daily attacks during the height of violence back in 2007. Today, as the overall security mission continues to transfer to Iraqi forces, the American footprint has been reduced to 46 locations and, more important, there are now only 14 daily attacks on average in a country the size of California.
5. WWII 16mm Film Sought:
Towers Productions, a documentary production company for A&E, History and Discovery Channel, is working on a three-hour World War II special for the National Geographic Channel to air sometime in mid-2012. They are on the hunt for rare and possibly never-before-seen combat footage---16mm color or B&W film at the front or overseas---as well as field audio. They are currently searching through a myriad of military collections, but believe many VFW members may also have a treasure trove of film canisters tucked away in attics and basements that they recorded personally while overseas. If interested, please contact David Cottrell at Towers Productions at (312) 601-4916 or by e-mail at email@example.com
6. WWII and Korean War MIAs Identified:
The Defense POW/MIA Office announced the identification of remains belonging to Army Pvt. Donald D. Owens, 19, of Cleveland, and Army Cpl. James S. Murray, 22, of Shinnston, W.Va.
* In late September 1944, Private Owens' unit, the 773rd Tank Battalion, was fighting its way to France's eastern border. On Oct. 9, 1944, in the final battle for control of the region, Owens and four other soldiers were attacked by enemy fire in their M-10 Tank Destroyer. Two men survived with serious injuries but three others, including Owens, were reported to have been killed.
* After the 1953 Korean War armistice, surviving POWs said Corporal Murray had been captured in January 1951 and marched north to a POW camp near Suan County, North Korea, but he died while in captivity during an allied air raid a few months later.
Read more about both recoveries http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/news/news_releases/
TRICARE Questionnaire: The TRICARE Beneficiary panel on communications and customer service is looking for feedback on how customers get their prescriptions filled to possibly help them save on medications taken regularly. Please be advised that this is a questionnaire, not a survey, and results will be shared with participants at a later date.
To participate in go here: https://tricare.inquisiteasp.com/cgi-bin/qwebcorporate.dll?idx=D9GAC7