Beware of Phone Scams

There has been a lot of talk about phone scams in the news. People are calling and saying they represent credit card and telephone companies, wanting personnel information. Do not answer your phone and say “yes” to any thing. On your caller ID, they look like local calls. They even know your name.

Applications for New Veterans ID Delayed

The high volume of applications for the new veterans ID card has caused VA to delay new applications. VA has established an email reminder system for veterans who have not been able to apply. Visit if you are interested in applying. VA has not indicated how long veterans will wait before being able to submit new applications or how soon those who have already applied will receive their ID cards. The Veterans Corner will have updates.

House Passes Accountability Bill

Last Wednesday, the House of Representatives unanimously passed S. 1266, the Enhancing Veteran Care Act, which would allow VA to contract with nonprofit organizations that accredit health care organizations to conduct investigations into alleged wrongdoing. As part of ongoing efforts to ensure accountability and transparency, this bill would allow the director of a Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) to begin investigations while still requiring the VISN director to notify the Office of Inspector General that an investigation has begun under this new authority. Having also cleared the Senate, the bill now heads to the President.

Education Information

All service members and veterans who want to use their GI Bill benefits to pursue their education goals should make use of VA’s GI Bill Comparison Tool, which allows you to compare different programs and institutions that accept the GI Bill. The GI Bill Comparison Tool provides information on the schools, such as accreditation, student outcomes and whether the institution participates in veterans-specific programs. It also allows you to view up-to-date complaints from current and past students and provides an estimate of the benefits you would receive. Using this VA-provided tool helps you to make informed decisions about where to attend school, and hopefully avoid programs that offer little to no value.

POW/MIA Update

Marine Corps Pvt. Archie W. Newell, 22, of Aberdeen, S.D., whose identification was previously announced, was buried Dec. 8 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C.

Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Sam J. Kourkos, 20, of Independence, Kan., whose identification was previously announced, was buried Dec. 9 in his hometown.

Navy Fireman 1st Class Samuel W. Crowder, 35, of Louisville, Ky., whose identification was previously announced, will be buried Dec. 9 in his hometown.

Navy Reserve Aviation Radioman 2nd Class Albert P. Rybarczyk, 21, of St. Joseph, Mich., whose identification was previously announced, was buried Dec. 11 in his hometown.

Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Albert Strange, 18, of Mammoth Cave, Ky., whose identification was previously announced, will be buried Dec. 13 in Cave City, Ky.

Marine Corps Pfc. Lyle E. Charpilloz was assigned to Company F, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division. Interment services are pending.

Marine Corps Pvt. Emil F. Ragucci was assigned to Company E, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division. His remains were buried in a battlefield cemetery on the island. Interment services are pending.

Till next week, praying for all service members.

– Charles Castelluccio