Deborah Sampson Act Passes in The House

On Wednesday, the VFW-supported H.R. 3224, Deborah Sampson Act, which would expand the availability of women’s health services at VA to include expanding and improving counseling and treatment services for women who have experienced sexual trauma and providing training on women veterans health care providers, was passed in the House. The Senate version, S. 514, still awaits consideration by the full Senate. The legislation takes a forward-looking focus by examining changes VA must implement to improve services for women veterans.

House Passes Multiple Veteran Bills

Last week, the House overwhelmingly passed more than a dozen veteran-centric bills. “It was good to see the House come back after Veterans Day and immediately pick back up working for veterans,” said VFW National Legislative Service Deputy Director Pat Murray. The bills passed improve education benefits, address VA overpayment issues, and address gaps for rural and under served veterans. The VFW urges the Senate to quickly pass important VFW-supported legislation still awaiting Senate consideration.

Some Veterans Will Not Have Access to Military Installations by Jan. 1, 2020

The Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018 expanded eligibility for commissary, military exchanges, and morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) services to include Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war, and veterans with VA documented service-connected disability ratings of 0-90 percent. Veterans who are 100 percent service-connected already had access to commissary and MWR services. Eligible persons will need to have a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHID) from VA in order to gain entry to Department of Defense and/or Coast Guard installations. Those who are covered under this act and do not have a VHID will not be allowed access to the installations on Jan. 1, 2020, but will have access to online exchanges and American Forces Travel. Caregiver eligibility will be limited to caregivers who are designated as the primary family caregiver of an eligible veteran under the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers and will need to show an acceptable credential, along with their eligibility letter.

POW/MIA Update

U.S. Army Cpl. Jackey D. Blosser, 21, was a member of Dog Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. He was reported missing in action Dec. 2, 1950, in the vicinity of the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea. Interment services are pending.

Army Cpl. Kenneth E. Ford, 18, of Albia, Iowa, was a member of Company C, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment. He was reported missing in action on Dec. 2, 1950, in the vicinity of the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea. Interment services are pending.

Army Air Forces Tech. Sgt. Max. W. Lower, 23, of Lewiston, Utah, was assigned to the 345th Bombardment Squadron, 98th Bombardment Group (Heavy), 9th Air Force. On Aug. 1, 1943, the B-24 aircraft crashed. Lower will be buried Nov. 23, 2019, in his hometown.

Army Cpl. Joe T. Avant, 20, of Greenwood, Mississippi, was a member of Heavy Mortar Company, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, 31st Regimental Combat Team, engaged in intense fighting near the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. Avant will be buried Dec. 13, 2019, in his hometown.

Army Pfc. Karl L. Dye, 17, of Marion, Ohio, was a member of Battery B, 52nd Field Artillery Battalion, 24th Infantry Division, engaged in combat operations against North Korean forces, near Taejon, South Korea, in July 1950. Dye will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. The date has not been set.

Army Cpl. Leon E. Clevenger, 21, of Durham, North Carolina, was an infantryman with Company K, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division. He was reported missing in action on July 11, 1950, while involved in combat operations against the North Korean People’s Army. Clevenger will be buried in Mims, Florida. The date has not been set.

Marine Corps Pfc. Jack B. Van Zandt, 22, of Danville, Illinois, was a member of Company A, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force. Van Zandt landed on the island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands. Van Zandt will be buried in Danville, Illinois. The date has not been set.

Till next week, praying for all service members.


– Charles Castelluccio