VFW and House Leadership Hold Virtual Meeting

Last week, the VFW Washington Office Executive Director B.J. Lawrence met virtually with the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-CA) to discuss VFW priorities, and to tell the chairman what our members are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the discussion, Lawrence thanked the chairman for his efforts in leading the charge to secure financial stability for student veterans during this crisis. In turn, Takano applauded the VFW’s role in helping hold together our local communities, “Your chapters have been answering the call — delivering food and caring for their communities. This is the pride of our country, that sense of service. So I want to extend my deep gratitude to all of your VFW members for what they’re doing for our country.” The VFW would like to thank Chairman Takano for taking the time to personally listen to our concerns. We look forward to working hand in hand with the chairman, and all the members of the committee, to uphold our promise to always take care of veterans, service members, and their families.

Complete the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry Immediately

All veterans who served in eligible locations should include their information in the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry. Participation in the registry is very important as it will allow VA to track burn pit exposure and draw inferences regarding associated adverse health effects. Exposure to burn pits may be associated with respiratory conditions such as asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). Recently, VA stated that veterans with underlying respiratory conditions may be at greater risk for developing complications related to COVID-19. Service members and veterans who have already signed up for the registry should make sure that their contact information, phone number, address, and email are up-to-date.

More Veterans Have Unlimited Data for Telehealth

VA has announced that veterans using VA Video Connect on their TracFone mobile phones through the T-Mobile network, will no longer pay for data while using video telehealth technology to connect and meet with their VA health care teams. TracFone Wireless, Inc., is the fourth major wireless carrier, after T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon, to partner with VA to support veterans who are using VA Video Connect. VA Video Connect enables veterans to video conference with their VA providers on their smartphone, tablet or computer from any location with an internet connection.

Armed Forces Day

Saturday, May 16, is Armed Forces Day. It is the conclusion of Armed Forces Week. Armed Forces Day was observed for the first time on May 20, 1950. The day was created on Aug. 31, 1949, to honor Americans serving in the five U.S. military branches. Armed Forces Day/Week was created in the wake of the consolidation of military services under the United States Department of Defense.

Peace Officers Memorial Day

Friday, May 15, is Peace Officers Memorial Day. It is held annually in the United States on May 15 in honor of federal, state and local officers killed or disabled in the line of duty. It is observed in conjunction with Police Week. American Flags are to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Peace Officers Memorial Day.

POW/MIA Update

Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Robert D. Jenks, 20, was a member of Company D, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio. Jenks died on either the third or fourth day of battle, Nov. 22-23, 1943. Interment services are pending.

Navy Seaman 1st Class Maurice V. Spangler, 20, was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. Interment services are pending.

Naval Reserve Seaman 1st Class James C. Williams, 20, was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. Interment services are pending.

Navy Fireman 1st Class Samuel C. Steiner, 20, was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft on Dec. 7, 1941. Interment services are pending.

Till next week, praying for all.


– Charles Castelluccio