The VFW 100 State Convention held a Memorial Service on Wednesday evening, June 12, 2019, honoring Post and Auxiliary members, that have passed on. The district with the highest loss was District 29, Allegheny County, with 365 Post members and 30 Auxiliary members. District 28, which covers Erie, Crawford and Mercer Counties, was 5th highest with 222 Post members and 56 Auxiliary members. Business sessions were held Thursday and Friday. Karen O’Neal, the Erie VAMC Voluntary Service Chief & VISN 4 VAVS Liason chief, received the VA Healthcare System Employee of the Year award from the Pennsylvania Veterans of Foreign Wars during the convention Thursday. She was nominated by Titusville VFW Post 5958. The Chaplain Of The Year Award went to Charlie Castelluccio, 28th District Chaplain and Post 5958 Chaplain. He was given a picture of Jesus holding the Liberty Bell with a Eagle standing on top looking down, a plaque and a watch. Saturday were the final nominations and elections of state office. The results are: State Commander Wayne Perry from VFW Post 7505: Sr. Vice Commander Ron Peters from VFW Post 212; Jr. Vice Commander Nate Smith from VFW Post 7293; Reelected to State Quartermaster John Getz from VFW Post 3376; Reelected to State Chaplain Peter Hook from VFW Post 6393; Reelected Judge Advocate Frank McGovern from VFW Post 3460; Reelected State Surgeon Nelson Lowes from VFW Post 734; Appointed as Chief Of Staff Cecil Dennis from VFW Post 5958.
Senate Passes Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act
Last Wednesday, the Senate unanimously passed H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019. “We now urge the president to quickly sign the bill into law so that tens of thousands of Vietnam veterans can have their disability benefits restored, as well as an expansion of benefits to military dependents, veterans of the Korean DMZ, and those exposed to toxic hazards in Southwest Asia,” said VFW National Commander B.J. Lawrence. The bill was previously passed by the House with a vote of 410-0. The VFW thanks veterans and advocates who contacted their members of Congress in support of this important bill. Stay tuned to the VFW Action Corps Weekly for updates as the bill is enacted into law and implemented. If you need help filing a VA claim for disability compensation, get in touch with a credited Veterans Service Officer.
House Advances Defense Authorization Bill
Last Thursday, the House Committee on Armed Services approved H.R. 2500, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (NDAA) that authorizes $733 billion in defense spending, a 3.1 percent pay increase for all military personnel, and an end strength of 1.3 million for the Armed Forces – an increase of 6,215 for active-duty. The legislation includes a number of VFW-supported provisions that improve the quality of life for our service members and military families – $9.2 million for construction and improvement of military family housing, a $1,000 reimbursement increase for military spouses to obtain professional certifications and licenses after a PCS change, and authorizes financial assistance to civilian child care providers who care for the children of members who die in the line of duty. The VFW is pleased the legislation would also direct DOD to review the service records of World War I minority service members who were appropriately recognized for their valorous service, but denied the highest service medal because of racial bias.
Important Military Dates
This week there are several important military days. They are:
June 23 – Coast Guard Auxiliary Birthday
June 25, 1950 – Anniversary of the start of the Korean War. The Korean War began when some 75,000 soldiers from the North Korean Peoples Army poured across the 38th parallel. The boundary between North and South Korea.
June 27 – National PTSD Awareness Day: A day set aside to raise public awareness about issues related to PTSD.
Air Force Col. Roy A. Knight, Jr., was a pilot with the 602nd Tactical Fighter Squadron, assigned to Udorn Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand. On May 19, 1967, Knight’s aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire, severing the right wing. Interment services are pending.
Army Cpl. Robert L. Bray was a member of Company C, 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Regiment. He was reported missing in action on July 20, 1950. Interment services are pending.
Army Pvt. Ballard McCurley was a member of Company M, 3rd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, during the Battle of the Hürtgen Forest. Interment services are pending.
Till next week, praying for all service members.
– Charles Castelluccio