Veterans Legislation Signed Into Law

VFW National Veteran Service Director Ryan Gallucci was in attendance when President Biden signed into law four VFW-supported bills. The Protecting Moms Who Served Act 2021 will structure VA’s maternity care coordination programs to provide community maternity care providers with training and support for veterans’ unique pregnancy and postpartum needs. The Hire Veteran Health Heroes Act of 2021, will create alternative pathways for veterans to attain gainful employment after leaving active duty. The Colonel John M. McHugh Tuition Fairness for Survivors Act of 2021 will finally close the loophole for survivors using their Chapter 35, Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) tuition benefits and ensure institutions charge in-state tuition to these students. Lastly, S. 1031 will require a study on disparities associated with race and ethnicity with respect to certain benefits administered by VA.

Remembering Our Fallen at Pearl Harbor

On the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the VFW solemnly honors the men and women who died in the devastating attack on Dec. 7, 1941. VFW National Commander Matthew “Fritz” Mihelcic, along with VFW Auxiliary National President Jean Hamil, will travel to Pearl Harbor on Tuesday to lay a wreath in remembrance of the 2,008 sailors, 109 Marines, 218 soldiers, and 68 civilians tragically lost without warning. Additionally, Mihelcic will attend a private interment service for a group of 33 sailors recently identified from the USS Oklahoma. We ask every American to take a moment to remember and pay respects to these patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice.

TRICARE Open Season Closing Soon

TRICARE open season will close on Dec. 13, 2021. This is the last week for beneficiaries to enroll in or change their health care, dental, and vision coverage. Any changes will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022. If you are satisfied with your current plan then your coverage will continue automatically for 2022, as long as you remain eligible. Beneficiaries should verify their information is up to date and those making benefit changes need to set up an allotment with their regional contractors for enrollment coverage to begin Jan. 1, 2022. Individuals who do not set up their allotment by the deadline will be unenrolled due to nonpayment.

POW/MIA Update

33 USS Oklahoma sailors identified from World War II were assigned to the battleship, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft on Dec. 7, 1941. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including these 33 sailors. This group’s remains will be buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu on Dec. 7, 2021, the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Navy Seaman 1st Class Buford H. Dyer, 19, of Barberton, Ohio, was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. He will be buried on April 11, 2022, in Seville, Ohio.

Army Sgt. James N. Stryker, 20, of West Nanticoke, Pennsylvania, was assigned to Company L, 3rd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. He was reported missing in action on May 18, 1951, when the enemy attacked his unit near Han’gye, South Korea. Stryker will be buried in San Antonio. The date has yet to be determined.

Army Master Sgt. James L. Quong, 30, of Norman, Oklahoma, was assigned to Company D, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. He was reported missing in action on Dec. 2, 1950, when his unit was attacked by enemy forces near the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea. Quong will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. The date has yet to be determined.

*Till next week praying for all service members.