House Holds Hearing on Burn Pits

Last Wednesday, the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs held a hearing to discuss airborne hazards in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations. During the hearing, members of the subcommittee focused on the findings of a recent study conducted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). The study, Respiratory Health Effects of Airborne Exposures in the Southwest Asia Theater of Military Operations, that was released on Sept. 11, 2020, found that limited or suggestive evidence exists linking exposure to burn pits and other airborne hazards and respiratory symptoms, such as persistent or recurring cough. At the hearing, Chairwoman Elaine Luria (D-VA) stated, “We have to accept the reality that we may not have all the answers about burn pits for a long time, if ever. But what we do know is that it’s making people very sick and I can’t tell these people to sit down and wait another ten years because, quite frankly, some of them might not have another ten years.

VA #FightFlu Initiative

VA has expanded the options eligible veterans have on where they can receive a seasonal, no-cost flu shot. Veterans can now receive a standard-dose or high-dose flu shot at their local VA health care facility, in-network community retail pharmacy, or an urgent care location. If you are eligible, you only need to present a valid, government-issued ID at a covered location.

Senators Letter Urges Agent Orange Provision in NDAA

Last Tuesday, 45 senators sent a letter urging members of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees to keep a provision to add bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and parkinsonism in the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (NDAA). The bipartisan letter was spearheaded by Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), who introduced an amendment to the NDAA that would add these conditions to the list of presumptive conditions associated with exposure to Agent Orange. The amendment was approved by a vote of 94-6 in July in the Senate. Although the measure was not approved in the House, it will be included in the final version of the NDAA if it is approved by a conference committee which will be comprised of members of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees. The VFW thanks the senators who signed this letter for their efforts to provide care and benefits to veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange.

Important Dates in October

Oct. 13: United States Navy 245th Birthday

Oct. 26: The Day of the Deployed

POW/MIA Update

Army Pvt. Donald A. Fabrize, 17, was a member of Company B, 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division. He was reported killed in action on July 16, 1950, during battle defending, then withdrawing from, positions along the Kum River in South Korea. Interment services are pending.

Navy Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class Alphard S. Owsley, 23, was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. Interment services are pending.

Army Pfc. Bobbie Ray Daniels, 17, was a member of Company F, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. He was reported missing in action on Aug. 16, 1950, during battle near Waegwan, South Korea. Interment services are pending.

Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Gabriel J. Eggud, 25, was a pilot assigned to the 110th Reconnaissance Squadron (Fighter), 71st Reconnaissance Group. On July 6, 1944 he was piloting a P-39 Airacobra fighter on a combat mission over Wewak, New Guinea. Interment services are pending.

Army Pfc. Oliver Jeffers, 31, of Huntsville, Tennessee, was assigned to Company L, 3rd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. His unit was engaged in battle with German forces near Germeter, Germany. Jeffers will be buried Oct. 7, 2020, in his hometown.

Till next week, praying for all service members.


– Charles Castelluccio