Mental Health Bill for Transitioning Service Members

Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Joni Ernst (R-IA) introduced VFW-supported S. 4900, the Daniel J. Harvey Jr. and Adam Lambert Improving Servicemember Transition to Reduce Veteran Suicide Act. This important legislation would create a pilot program to incorporate mental health counseling into the Transition Assistance Program. This new training would inform separating service members of the resources available at VA health facilities to help them meet the challenges of transition from military to civilian life. This proposal was generated by a 2019 VFW-SVA Legislative Fellow and shows the importance of grass roots advocacy. The VFW thanks Sens. Brown, Blumenthal, and Ernst for introducing this important legislation and for their efforts to improve the mental health of veterans.

TRICARE Open Season

TRICARE Open Season is currently open through Dec. 14, 2020. This is the time when beneficiaries can enroll in or change their health care coverage. Any changes will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2021. This year it is important to note that TRICARE Select Group A retirees will be required to pay an enrollment fee beginning on Jan. 1, 2021. Beneficiaries must set up an allotment with their regional contractors for the enrollment fee to begin on Jan. 1, 2021. Individuals who do not set up their allotment by the deadline will be unenrolled due to nonpayment.

The Armed Services Blood Program

The Armed Services Blood Program (ASBP) is calling on all veterans with access to military installations to donate blood. The ASBP provides blood to active duty service members, veterans, and their families. Donations can be made at 20 locations across the nation, all of which are located on military installations.

Need Help with Your VA Claim?

The claims process can be confusing and one that you should not try to navigate alone. The VFW’s National Veterans Service is a nationwide network of VA accredited service officers and pre-discharge representatives who are experts in dealing with the VA and the key to your success. As skilled professionals, they assist in filing for disability compensation, rehabilitation and education programs, pension and death benefits, and employment and training programs. This is a service the VFW is proud to offer free of charge to anyone seeking assistance with the claims process. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many VFW service offices remain in a telework capacity, but the VFW’s network of service officers have the capability to continue assisting our veterans safely without face-to-face contact. The Erie VFW Field Service Claims Consultant Dept. of Pa. is Julie Hutchison. She can be reached by calling (814) 835-8494.

Important Dates in December

The month of December has many important days. Here are just a few:

Dec. 1 – Civil Air Patrol (USAF Auxiliary) birthday

Dec. 7 – National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

Dec. 13 – U.S. National Guard Birthday

Dec. 14 – National Wreaths Across America

Dec. 25 – Christmas Day

Dec. 31 – New Years Day

National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

On Dec. 7, 1941, aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Almost 2,500 military personnel were killed and more than 1,100 others were injured. Two battleships, the USS Arizona and the USS Utah, were sunk. Five other battleships, three destroyers, three cruisers and one minelayer were damaged. And 188 aircraft were also destroyed. On Aug 23, 1944, the United States Congress designated Dec. 7 as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Several hours after the attack, Canada became the first Western nation to declare war on Japan. On Dec 8, the United States followed and entered the WWII. In accordance with public law 103-308, the American Flag is to be flown at half-staff by a Proclamation of The President of The United States from sunrise to sunset.

Till next week, praying for all.


– Charles Castelluccio