U.S. Air Force Marks 70 Years

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The United States Air Force celebrated its 70th birthday today, Sept. 18. Their motto is Aim High…Fly-Fight-Win. President Harry S. Truman signed into action the National Defense Act on Sept. 18, 1947. The authorization created a new centralized and independent branch of Military Aviation Authority – The U.S. Air Force.

VFW Fall Legislative Conference Presses Priorities

Nearly 100 VFW and Auxiliary members, primarily from the VFW’s National Legislative Committee, were in the nation’s capital this week to talk with lawmakers about VFW priorities. With sequestration continuing to strangle the budget and blocking needed funding for the military and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the discussion revolved around the impact of this law and the need to repeal it. VFW members also urged their members of Congress to oppose harmful increases to TRICARE cost shares, which seek to balance the budget on the backs of military retirees. Our push for those needed changes continues and all VFW members and supporters are encouraged to contact their members of Congress and urge support for the VFW’s legislative priorities.

National POW/MIA Recognition Day

The VFW joined in ceremonies at the Pentagon last week to honor our nation’s former prisoners of war and to remember nearly 83,000 other Americans who remain missing and unaccounted-for going back to World War II, as well as their families. The nation sets aside the third Friday in September to recognize and remember former POWs and our MIAs. However, for nearly 700 military and civilian men and women assigned to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, every day is another opportunity to recover, identify and return a fallen American home to a loving family that still waits.

POW/MIA Update

Updates of 26 American servicemen who had been missing in action from World War II and the Korean and Vietnam Wars:

Marine Corps Reserve Pvt. Donald S. Spayd, 19, of Los Angeles, whose identification was previously announced, was buried Sept. 13 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C.

Navy Fireman 1st Class Charles R. Casto, 20, of East Liverpool, Ohio, whose identification was previously announced, was buried Sept. 14 in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

Marine Pfc. Roland E. Schaede, 19, of Maywood, Ill., whose identification was previously announced, was buried Sept. 14 in Elgin, Illinois.

Marine Corps Cpl. Raymond C. Snapp, 24, of Bonita, Texas, whose identification was previously announced, was buried Sept. 15 in Keithville, La.

Army Cpl. Clarence R. Skates, 19, of Los Angeles, whose identification was previously announced, was buried Sept. 15 in Riverside, Calif.

Marine Corps Reserve Pvt. Alberic M. Blanchette, 19, of Caribou, Maine, whose identification was previously announced, was buried Sept. 18 in his hometown.

Navy Fireman 1st Class Charles R. Ogle was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. Interment services are pending.

Navy Fireman 1st Class Gerald H. Pirtle was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. Interment services are pending.

Navy Seaman 1st Class John E. Savidge was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. Interment services are pending.

Navy Fireman 2nd Class John D. Wheeler was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. Interment services are pending.

Navy Seaman 2nd Class Frank Wood was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. Interment services are pending.

Navy Reserve Chief Water Tender Paul R. Wright was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. Interment services are pending.

Army Pfc. Billy R. Ball was a member of Headquarters Detachment Philippines Department. Interment services are pending.

Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Manuel Menendez was a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Division. Interment services are pending.

Marine Corps Pvt. George F. Patrick was a member of Company D, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division. Interment services are pending.

Marine Corps Pfc. Harold V. Thomas was a member of Company F, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division. Interment services are pending.

Marine Corps Sgt. William D. Ball was a member of Company B, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force. Interment services are pending.

Marine Corps Reserve Assistant Cook Frank L. Masoni was a member of Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Division. Interment services are pending.

Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Donald E. Underwood was a member of the 38th Bombardment Squadron, (Heavy), 30th Bombardment Group. Interment services are pending.

Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. Roy F. Davis was a member of the 13th Bombardment Squadron, 3rd Bombardment Group. Interment services are pending.

Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Clarence L. Dragoo was a member 716th Bomber Squadron, 449th Bombardment Group. Based on this information, Dragoo was reported missing in action.

Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. Thomas M. McGraw was a member 716th Bomber Squadron, 449th Bombardment Group. Based on this information, McGraw was reported missing in action.

Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Robert L. Mains was a member of the 714th Bombardment Squadron, 448th Bombardment Group, 2nd Bombardment Division. Interment services are pending.

Army Pfc. James J. Leonard was a member of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. Interment services are pending.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Elmore B. Goodwin was a member of Company G, 2nd Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. Interment services are pending.

Navy Capt. James R. Bauder was a member of Fighter Squadron Twenty One, USS Coral. Interment services are pending.

Till next week, praying for all service members.

– Charles Castelluccio