Blue Water Navy Legislation Moves Forward

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H.R. 299, The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2017, as amended, passed the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs last Tuesday. The VFW-supported bill, which must still be approved by the full House and Senate before going to the president, would restore benefits to thousands of Vietnam veterans; expand inclusive dates to those who served along the Korean DMZ; require VA to report on research related to a broad range of conditions possibly connected to service in Southwest Asia; and benefit children born with spina bifida due to a parent’s exposure to Agent Orange-related herbicides in Thailand. Further, VA will be required to conduct an outreach campaign to those Blue Water Navy sailors who were denied benefits in the past and make retroactive payment of benefits for those previously denied. The vote on this legislation comes 16 years after benefits were lost due to a regulatory change in the Agent Orange Act. The VFW is proud to have worked with this committee to ensure passage without any cuts to other benefits.

VFW-supported Bill to Aid Veteran Farmers

Last week, Senators Debbie Stabenow and Pat Roberts introduced the Farmer Veteran Opportunity Act of 2018, which would expand support for veteran farmers. This bill would provide disaster relief, crop insurance, technical training and many other important benefits for farmers, ranchers and growers. The VFW is proud to support this important piece of legislation that would offer relief, assistance and empowerment for veterans across the country. We applaud Senators Stabenow and Roberts for their continuing efforts to aid veterans in their pursuit of meaningful careers in agriculture.

VA Health Care Rated Same or Better than Private Sector

The RAND Corporation recently published the results of a study that found VA either performs to the same standard or outperforms the private sector a majority of the time. The study compared each VA facility to three non-VA facilities with similar geographic settings, size and complexity of care, and based analysis on safety, effectiveness and patient-centered care. VA inpatient care performed the same or significantly better than private sector inpatient care centers on 21 of 26 measures. VA also performed significantly better than commercial and Medicaid Health Maintenance Organizations on 28 of 30 measures. The study also found that, while there is a wide variation in performance from one VA facility to another, variation is even wider within the private sector.

POW/MIA Update

Army Maj. Donald G. Carr, a Vietnam veteran, 32, of San Antonio, whose identification was previously announced, was buried May 11 at San Antonio National Cemetery.

Army Cpl. Albert E. Quintero, a Korean War veteran, 23, of Los Angeles, whose identification was previously announced, was buried May 14 in Long Beach, Calif.

Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class William G. Payne, a Korean War veteran, 41, of Springfield, Mo., whose identification was previously announced, was buried May 11 in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

Marine Corps Cpl. John V. McNichol, a WWII veteran, 20, of Altoona, Pa., whose identification was previously announced, was buried May 14 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C.

Navy Radioman 2nd Class Quentin J. Gifford, a WWII veteran, 22, of Mankato, Minn., whose identification was previously announced, was buried May 12 at Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minn.

Navy Seaman 1st Class Clifford G. Goodwin, a WWII veteran, 24, of Diamond, Mo., whose identification was previously announced, was buried May 12.

Navy Seaman 1st Class Natale I. Torti, a WWII veteran, was stationed aboard the USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. Interment services are pending.

Navy Fireman 2nd Class George C. Ford, a WWII veteran, was stationed aboard the USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. Interment services are pending.

Navy Shipfitter 3rd Class John M. Donald, a WWII veteran, was stationed aboard the USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. Interment services are pending.

Till next week, praying for all service members.

 

– Charles Castelluccio