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News For ALL Veterans
That is honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.
Per information received from 8th & I Marine ROBERT "MUSTANG" CAPECI, 1955-1958 / USMC 1950-1970, Brooklyn, NY, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, a new guide is now available to assist in navigating the Department of Veterans Affairs bureaucracy. This guide was prepared by Veterans For America. You may download this guide for FREE by clicking on this link
New law signed permits active duty military members and veterans to salute out of uniform
A law included in the Defense Authorization Act of 2009, which President Bush signed Oct. 14, now allows veterans and active-duty military not in uniform to render the military-style hand salute during the playing of the national anthem.
The new provision improves upon a little known change in federal law last year that authorized veterans to render the military-style hand salute during the raising, lowering or passing of the flag, but it did not address salutes during the national anthem.
Last year's provision also applied to service members while not in uniform.
Traditionally, members of the nation's veteranís service organizations have rendered the hand-salute during the national anthem and at events involving the national flag while wearing their organization's official head-gear.
The most recent change, authorizing hand-salutes during the national anthem by veterans and out-of-uniform military personnel, was sponsored by Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, an Army veteran. The earlier provision authorizing hand-salutes for veterans and out- of-uniform service members during the raising, lowering or passing of the flag was contained in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008, which took effect Jan. 28, 2008. [Source: VA News]
DoD Revises Purple Heart Eligibility Criteria To Allow Award To POWs Who Die In Capivity.
The Department of Defense announced recently that it has expanded the Purple Heart eligibility criteria allowing prisoners-of-war who died in captivity to receive the award.
The revised department policy presumes, for service members who die in captivity as a qualifying prisoner-of-war, that their death was the "result of enemy action," or the result of wounds incurred "in action with the enemy" during capture, or as a result of wounds incurred as a "result of enemy action" during capture, unless compelling evidence is presented to the contrary.
The revised policy allows retroactive award of the Purple Heart to qualifying prisoners-of-war since Dec. 7, 1941. Posthumous award will be made to the deceased service member's representative, as designated by the secretary of the military department concerned, upon application to that military department.
Each military department will publish application procedures and ensure they are accessible by the general public. Family members with questions may contact the services: Army: Military Awards Branch, (703) 325-8700; Navy: Navy Personnel Command, Retired Records Section, (314) 592-1150; Air Force: Air Force Personnel Center, (800) 616-3775; Marine Corps: Military Awards Branch, (703) 784-9340.
VA Announces Online Claims Applications
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced on July 16th, 2008 that online
applications are now being accepted from veterans, survivors and other claimants
filing initial applications for disability compensation, pension, education, and
vocational rehabilitation and employment benefits without the additional
requirement to submit a signed paper copy of the application.
At a recent detachment meeting, we had the pleasure of meeting Lynn Schaefering the Chief of Staff to N.Y. Assemblyman Thomas McKevitt. The Assemblyman was scheduled to address our meeting. However, due to a scheduling conflict (having nothing to do with recent events in Albany ;^) the Assemblyman sent Lynn to our meeting in his place. Lynn spoke with us about current legislation concerning veterans that is in the pipeline up in Albany. One piece of legislation which (now) ex gov. Spitzer signed at the beginning of 2008 gives municipalities throughout N.Y. the authority (if they choose) to give "Cold War" veteran's the same tax benefits and excemptions that veterans of shooting wars receive. Here, taken directly from the web site of the N.Y.S. Board of Real Property Services, is an exerpt of what the law says;
"Section 458-b of the Real Property Tax Law authorizes a limited exemption from real property taxes for real property owned by persons who rendered military service to the United States during the Cold War (defined as September 2, 1945 to December 26, 1991), provided such property meets the requirements set forth in the law. The task of administering this law lies primarily with local assessors who are required to pass upon each application for exemption. Section 458-b of the Real Property Tax Law of the State of New York authorizes an exemption from real property taxation for qualified residential real property owned by Cold War veterans or certain members of their family based on a percentage of assessed value. The exemption is applicable to general municipal taxes, but not school taxes, special ad valorem levies or special assessments. Each county, city, town and village has the option of deciding whether to grant the Cold War veterans exemption. You should check with your assessor to determine whether the exemption is available for your property." For further details and information, check out their web site: here.
You may have heard rumors of late regarding a bill supposedly making the rounds in Washington so called The VETERANS DISARMAMENT BILL: To wit "An allegation is being passed around the Internet that a new law the President signed in JAN 08 would deny veterans diagnosed with PTSD or other mental health problems their constitutional right of gun ownership. The allegation is false; there is no legislation called the Veterans Disarmament Bill, and there are no validated instances of an otherwise eligible veteran being denied employment because of the new law, which signed 7 JAN 08. H.R. 2640 The NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 to improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and for other purposes was passed and became Public Law No: 110-180 A major supporter of H.R. 2640 was the nation's staunchest gun rights advocate, the National Rifle Association, who would have never backed a bill that overly restricted ownership rights. Bottom line: Gun ownership is a Second Amendment right, but exercising that right comes with inherent social responsibilities in a democratic society. If a court of law rules someone as mentally unfit and a danger to him/herself and to others, then the rights of society must outweigh individual rights. The new law is not anti-veteran legislation; it is common sense legislation. For articles of interest on this subject refer to this article, this article, and and this news release. [Source: VFW Washington Weekly 7 Mar 08 ++]
Recently, a new web site came online. It is an interactive Viet Nam Veteran's Memorial designed so anyone who desires can leave tributes, stories or even photos in an online archive. You can search the site data base for the names of any of the over 58,000 people listed on the wall. Searching can be done by name, service branch or even the person's hometown. Take a look for yourself. It really is very impressive. Interactive Vietnam Veteran's Memorial
If you served in the active duty military before January 2001 you can get up to $1200 a year earnings credit for the years you served. When you apply for Social Security bring your DD-214 to your local Social Security Office. You only get this benefit if you ask for it! To read more, go to the Social Security Website. You do not need to be a retiree to qualify for this benefit, so please tell you friends, neighbors etc...
Purple Heart Stamp
A U.S. postal stamp honoring the Purple Heart Medal was issued in 2003 as a $.37 stamp. Then the cost of a First Class Stamp changed. Then in 2006 a new Purple Heart was issued at $.39. And again the price of a first class stamp changed. In August of this year the stamp is being reissued at the $.41 rate. "The Retired Enlisted Association", in association with other VSOs and MSOs are pushing to make this a perpetual stamp. If you are interested you can write a letter of support to the Postmaster General: The Honorable John E. Potter, Postmaster General U.S. Postal Service 475 LíEnfant Plaza, Washington, DC 20260.
If you are a recipient of the Purple Heart Medal or if you know anyone who is, you may be interested in the following item.
National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Seeks Information from Purple Heart Recipients
On August 7, 1792, General George Washington established the Purple Heart Badge of Merit to recognize outstanding valor and merit of the common soldier. That tradition is carried on with the present day Purple Heart Medal, presented to Americans wounded or killed in combat in service to our country.
A National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is currently being constructed and set to open on November 10th as a place to honor these brave men and women and to preserve and share the stories of those who have earned this prestigious honor. The state-of-the-art hall will include interactive computer banks of Purple Heart recipients, theaters where veterans' stories can be shared and well as images and personal artifacts that will offer visitors a journey through military history and the opportunity for veterans to share their powerful stories.
An electronic registry of Purple Heart recipients, called the "Roll of Honor" will offer an extensive record of the more than 1.7 million Purple Heart recipients, searchable by a recipient's name, location of battle, or other criteria, that can be regularly and securely updated by visiting veterans and family members.
Purple Heart recipients are urged to share information about their heroic deeds and a photograph with the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor to be included in the "Roll of Honor." Recipients should send information to;
The Hall of Honor will be located in Vails Gate, Orange County, New York at the New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site. The location was the final encampment of George Washington's Army at the close of the War of Independence.
Follow-up, as of Sept. 2007
Hall visitors can access the list of Purple Heart recipients on the museumís 15 computers that chronicle photos and stories about those who have earned the medal.
The Defense Department does not keep an official database of Purple Heart recipients. Hall of Honor organizers hope their efforts will create as complete a list as possible of those who have earned the medal to ensure they are not forgotten, Morales said.
To register with the Hall of Honor, recipients must prove they received the medal by submitting the appropriate official documentation, including a DD-214, DD-215, WD AGO-53-55, General Orders or a Letter of Transmittal, Morales said.
Hall officials also requested recipients send a written narrative of how they earned their medal, any newspaper articles written about them receiving the medal, and any photographs of them while in the service.
Although itís not required, recipients can also tape an interview at the Hall of Honor chronicling their service and the events that led to their Purple Heart. An unedited copy of the DVD is given to the recipient, while an edited version is kept at the Hall and stored with that individualís record, Morales said.
Recipients can contact the Hall of Honor at (845) 561-1765 and 1-877-28HONOR, or on its Web site. thepurpleheart.com
News from around the web
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that an electronic database listing the names of servicemembers still unaccounted for from World War II is now available for family members and researchers.
This new listing will aid researchers and analysts in WWII remains recovery operations. Prior to this three-year effort, no comprehensive list of those missing from WWII has existed.
This database, listing nearly 78,000 names, was compiled by researchers from DPMO and the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command. They used hard-copy sources including "The American Graves Registration Service Rosters of Military Personnel Whose Remains were not Recovered" from the National Archives II repository in College Park, Md., and "The World War II Rosters of the Dead". Once transferred into electronic formats, they used computer programs to compare the two lists and determined possible discrepancies among the entries. These differences were then resolved using additional sources from the National Archives and thousands of personnel files from the Washington National Records Center.
After more than three years of research and coordination to transfer information into an electronic format, efforts to gather more data on unaccounted-for WWII servicemembers continue. New names and information will be added as historical documents and personnel files are located. The names of servicemen whose remains are recovered and identified in the future will be removed as families accept the identification and inter their loved ones in cemeteries of their choice.
This WWII database, along with databases listing the missing from the Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War and Gulf War, are available on DPMO's Web Site. For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site or call (703) 699-1169.
WASHINGTON, Oct. 18, 2006
Leaders of major veterans organizations joined Veterans Affairs Secretary R. James Nicholson here today in launching an effort to "kindle a new spark of patriotism" by asking men and women who have served in the military to wear their medals on Veterans Day.
"We are announcing a 'Veterans Pride Initiative' to remind Americans of the pride and honor in the hearts of those who have served," Nicholson said at a news conference at VA headquarters. "We expect Americans will see our decorated heroes unite in spirit at ceremonies, in parades and elsewhere as a compelling symbol of courage and sacrifice on Veterans Day, the day we set aside to thank those who served and safeguarded our national security."
The campaign is modeled after a tradition in Australia and New Zealand, countries who honor the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps on April 25 each year, VA officials said. Nicholson said he hopes a U.S. tradition will ensue to emulate this pride in being a veteran and in honoring the nation's veterans.
VA is offering information about the campaign on a Web page Veteran's Pride where veterans also can obtain information
about how to replace mislaid medals and learn how to confirm the decorations to
which they are entitled.
From the March 5, 2007 issue of "Marine Corps Times":
March 25 will be National Medal of Honor Day under a resolution passed by the Senate on voice vote. "All veterans are honored on Veteran's Day, and we remember those who have fallen with Memorial Day. This year we will also honor the elite of the elite with their own day," said Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, a sponsor of the resolution designating the day. Craig, the former chairman of the Veteran's Affair Committee, co-sponsored the bill along with the current chairman, Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, D-Hawaii.
President Bush signed legislation recently to crack down on people who falsely wear or claim military decorations. The legislation, dubbed the "Stolen Valor Act", calls for up to six months in prison for anyone who falsely claims to have earned a military honor, and up to a year in prison for fraudulently wearing a Purple Heart, Silver Star or other high military honor.
Both crimes would also be classified as felonies, which can carry additional penalties such as limits on gun ownership and disqualification from certain public offices, depending on the state. It also makes it a crime to make false claims about military awards, such as on resumes.
Rep. Salazar, who sits on the House Veterans committee, hailed passage as a good way to protect and honor the country's heroes. "This day has been a long time in coming," Salazar said. "The brave men and women who have earned awards for service to our country should not have those honors tarnished by frauds."
The bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent in September and it sailed through a voice vote in the House of Representatives in early December.
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Marine Corps Ball History and CMC's 2010 Birthday Message |
National Museum of the Marine Corps Trip, June 2007 |
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