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Monday, January 17, 2011

Have you thanked a Veteran for the Freedoms you enjoy Today?

Welcome to the Veterans - POW/MIA Newsletter.
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The information compiled in this newsletter is gathered from news publications on and off line. The information in no way suggests the views of the editor compiling the information; nor is she responsible for the contents. This eZine is just informational containing news from other sources which are credited for the origin.
Thank you!
Ask Your Representative to Support H.R. 186 to Restore Concurrent Receipt of Retired Pay Without Offset by VA Disability Compensation for Those Retired Under Chapter 61
HR 186 Would Restore Concurrent Receipt of Retired Pay Without Offset by VA Disability Compensation Take Action!
H.R. 186 Will Enfranchise Nearly 500,000 Ch61 Retirees with Less than 20 Years Service!
On the first day of the 112th Congress, Representative Joe Wilson, the new Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Personnel Subcommittee, submitted H.R. 186 which would restore concurrent receipt of retired pay without offset by VA disability compensation to those medically retired under Chapter 61 with less than 20 years of service regardless of disability rating. In the 11th Congress a similar provision was stripped from the House’s version of the NDAA. With H.R. 186 bill we resume this initiative.
Please click the above Take Action link to send an editable message asking your Representative to co-sponsor and support H.R. 186.

Airmen Missing From Vietnam War Identified
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
Air Force Col. James E. Dennany, 34, of Kalamazoo , Mich. , and Maj. Robert L. Tucci, 27, of Detroit , will be buried as a group Jan. 14, in the Dallas-Ft. Worth National Cemetery .
n Nov. 12, 1969, Dennany and Tucci were flying the number three aircraft of three F-4Ds escorting an AC-130 gunship on a night strike mission over Laos . After the gunship attacked six trucks and set two of them on fire, the AC-130 crew's night vision equipment was impacted by the glow from the fires. They requested that Tucci attack the remaining trucks. During the attack, gunship crew members observed anti-aircraft artillery gunfire directed at Tucci's plane followed by a large explosion. No radio transmissions were heard from the F-4D following the attack and no parachutes were seen in the area. An immediate electronic search revealed nothing and no formal search was initiated due to heavy anti-aircraft fire in the area.
Beginning in the mid-1990s analysts at DPMO and the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) developed case leads they collected from wartime reporting and archival research.
In 1994, a joint U.S.-Lao People's Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) team led by JPAC analyzed leads, interviewed villagers, and surveyed five reported crash sites near the record loss location with negative results.
In 1999, during another joint survey, officials in Ban Soppeng, Laos , turned over remains later determined to be human, two .38 caliber pistols and other crew-related equipment that villagers had recovered from a nearby crash site. Between 1999 and 2009, other joint U.S.-L.P.D.R. teams pursued leads, interviewed villagers, and conducted three excavations. They recovered aircraft wreckage, human remains, crew-related equipment and personal effects.
JPAC scientists used forensic tools and circumstantial evidence in the identification of the remains.
With the accounting of these airmen, 1,702 service members still remain missing from the conflict.

Susan McCrea
VA Intergovernmental Affairs
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Enhanced VA Health Care Enrollment Opportunity Closing for Certain Combat Veterans
WASHINGTON (Jan. 10, 2011) – Certain combat Veterans who were discharged from active duty service before Jan. 28, 2003 have until Jan. 27, 2011 to take advantage of their enhanced health care enrollment opportunity through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
“While there is no time limit for Veterans to apply for the VA health care they earned with their service, I highly encourage this group of combat Veterans to take advantage of the enhanced enrollment window to use their health care benefits through this simplified process,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “VA has health care eligibility specialists online and at every medical center eager to help Veterans take advantage of this opportunity.”
The enhanced enrollment window was provided for in Public Law 110-181, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008. That law gave combat Veterans who served after Nov. 11, 1998 but separated from service before Jan. 28, 2003, and did not enroll before Jan. 28, 2008, three years, beginning on Jan. 28, 2008, to apply for the enhanced enrollment opportunity.
These Veterans will still be able to apply for health benefits with VA after Jan. 27, but will have their status for receiving VA health care determined under normal VA procedures that base health care priority status on the severity of a service-connected disability or other eligibility factors. This would mean some Veterans could face income or asset-based restrictions, as well as delays in establishing their VA health care eligibility while their disability status is determined.
Since the inception of the enhanced enrollment opportunity, VA has sent more than 750,000 personal letters to eligible Veterans and hosted thousands of outreach efforts through OIF/OEF and enrollment coordinators stationed at every VA medical center.
Since June 2010, VA sent another 194,000 personal letters to give every eligible Veteran a chance to take advantage of this opportunity, but to date only 13,000 of these Veterans have enrolled.
The law does continue to provide the enhanced health care enrollment window to combat Veterans who were discharged or released from active service on or after January 28, 2003. For these Veterans, the five-year enrollment period begins on the discharge or separation date of the service member from active duty military service, or in the case of multiple call-ups, the most recent discharge date.
Veterans can apply for enrollment online at, by contacting VA at 1-877-222-VETS (8387) or with the help of a VA health care eligibility specialist at any VA medical center. Go to for locations. For more information regarding enrollment, visit VA’s eligibility site at

Army Mulls Women in Combat Arms Units
January 07, 2011
by Bryant Jordan
The Army is studying whether to open combat arms units to female Soldiers, the Army's top officer said Jan. 6.
"We're looking at revising the policy," Gen. George W. Casey Jr. told a breakfast gathering of the Association of the U.S. Army in Arlington, Va. "We've had some work going on for a while, and that'll double back up to the secretary, I would think, in the next couple of months."
Women are currently barred from infantry, armor and Special Forces branches, Casey said. He did not say whether the Army is considering opening up all three areas to women, but he did say the study looked at the possibility of women in infantry.
It is unclear which Army office is studying the issue. The Army did not respond to follow-up questions by post time.
While female Soldiers have engaged in combat, they have done so as members of combat support units -- transportation, maintenance and military police -- not infantry. This was highlighted early in the invasion of Iraq when a convoy of the 507th Maintenance Battalion came under attack.
Three of those wounded and taken prisoner by Iraqi forces were women: Pfcs. Jessica Lynch and Lori Piestewa, and Spc. Shoshona Johnson. Piestewa died of her wounds while a prisoner; Lynch was rescued in a controversial, reportedly staged-for-the-camera mission; and Johnson was subsequently rescued along with other members of her unit.
Since then, women have increasingly worked with infantry units on patrols -- even during nighttime operations to capture suspected insurgents -- in the event the operations require dealings with female civilians and detainees.
The frequency with which non-infantry Soldiers -- both men and women -- came under fire in Iraq and Afghanistan inspired the Army in 2005 to create the Combat Action Badge. Unlike the Combat Infantryman's Badge, which may only be awarded to Soldiers with an infantry military occupation specialty code, the CAB may be awarded to any Soldier who engages or is attacked by the enemy.
Whatever decision the Army makes on the issue, Casey -- who is due to retire in April -- said it will happen under the next chief of staff. During a press conference outlining the 2012 DoD budget, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he had nominated Gen. Martin Dempsey to be Casey's relief.
"When I get the recommendations back from the team [studying it], I'll take a look at it, but right now I wouldn't want to venture a guess and put my successor in a box," Casey said.
High Court Denies Obama Citizenship Case
January 11, 2011 Agence France-Presse
The U.S. Supreme Court refused Monday to take up the question of President Obama's citizenship, which a core group of skeptics continues to challenge despite presentation of his U.S. birth certificate.
The high court, without comment, rejected the request by Orly Taitz, a California lawyer who has emerged as a leader of the "birther" movement of mainly rightwing protesters who question where Obama was born.
She had asked the court to annul a federal judge's $20,000 penalty for filing a "frivolous lawsuit" by her client, a U.S. Soldier who refused to deploy to Iraq because she viewed the commander in chief as illegitimate.
The U.S. Constitution allows only "natural born" Americans to be elected to the presidency. Obama was born on Aug. 4, 1961, in the U.S. state of Hawaii.
Judge Clay Land in the southeast state of Georgia determined in October 2009 that Taitz's pursuit of the case was "breathtaking in its arrogance and borders on delusional," and scolded her for expressing "no contrition or regret regarding her misconduct."
She had filed a stay of deployment request on behalf of Capt. Connie Rhodes, an Army medic who challenged Obama's legitimacy as president. When Land threw the case out, Taitz publicly branded it "an act of treason."
In her petition before the Supreme Court, Taitz asked: "Is the whole nation de facto reduced to the level of slaves or serfs when one without valid vital records, without Social Security number of his own and without a valid long form of birth certificate is able to get in the position of president?"
On Monday, Taitz said she would not let the case rest.
"I will file a motion for reconsideration," she said on her website, adding that she has "evidence of highly suspicious activity in several federal courts."
"If we don't clean up corruption in the judiciary, in the White House, citizens of this country will have no trust in the system and will take justice in their own hands. This is dangerous," she wrote.
According to a survey early last year of 2,000 Republicans, 36 percent said they believed Obama, the country's first African-American president, was not born in the United States.
Several complaints on the subject have been filed in various U.S. courts but the motions have been rejected, although Obama's arch-conservative opponents continue to level the charges.
Last week during a symbolic reading of the U.S. Constitution in the House of Representatives, a woman screamed out "Except Obama! Except Obama!" when a lawmaker read the passage that spells out requirements for becoming president.
Hawaii has published the birth certificate of Barack Hussein Obama, which states he was born Aug. 4, 1961, at 7:24 p.m. in the maternity ward of Kapiolani hospital in Honolulu.
A Lawmaker’s MoH Push for WWII Icon January 11, 2011
by Bryant Jordan
A Texas congresswoman says she will soon file legislation to waive the statute of limitations on awarding the Medal of Honor in an effort to bestow the country's supreme valor award to one of the iconic figures of World War II.
It will not be the first time Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson has filed her bill on behalf of Doris "Dorie" Miller. Miller was the African-American mess attendant who took control of the machine gun on deck of the USS West Virginia on Dec. 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor; for some 15 minutes, he was fully exposed to the guns and bombs of attacking Japanese aircraft as he returned fire.
He was awarded the Navy Cross, but as early as 1942 lawmakers -- sensing racism played a part in the decision -- have pushed for the Medal of Honor.
Johnson believes Miller deserves the award, and she champions him as both a hometown hero and a national one.
"Doris Miller was a friend of my father's and a neighbor in Waco, Texas, when I was a little girl," said Johnson, who was 6 when Miller made his stand on the West Virginia. With so much time gone by, Johnson's bill seeks to have the time limit waived for awarding the Medal of Honor to Miller.
Miller's bill is not the only legislation seeking to have the Medal of Honor awarded to a hero of a past war.
Last year, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida submitted a bill to have President Obama award the medal posthumously to Army Capt. Felix Sosa-Camejo, who was killed in action in Vietnam during the 1968 Tet Offensive.
Sosa-Camejo braved enemy fire to pull a wounded private to safety, then rushed a pair of enemy bunkers under heavy fire. He silenced one, killing two enemy soldiers inside, but was killed while attacking the second one. For his actions he was awarded the Bronze Star for valor.
Former Rep. Todd Tiahrt of Kansas submitted a bill to have the medal awarded to Army Chaplain (Capt.) Emil Kapaun, who died while a POW after being captured by the Chinese during the Korean War. While a prisoner, he routinely gave what little food he had to other prisoners, and even stole food from the camp storage bin while guards were distracted, according to various accounts.
The effort on behalf of Kapaun also may not succeed, but it did get the attention of then-Army Secretary Pete Geren before he left the job last year. The Associated Press reported in October that Geren told Tiahrt that he believed Kapaun was deserving of the Medal of Honor and that Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen agreed.
A recommendation for a Navy Medal of Honor must be made within three years of the action and awarded within five, unless a waiver is granted. An Army or Air Force recommendation has to be made within two years of the action and the medal awarded within three years unless there is a waiver. The reason cited is that witnesses die and memories become less clear.
For his actions at Pearl Harbor, Miller was given a letter of commendation from the Secretary of the Navy, then the Navy Cross. Serving at a time when blacks could work only in the kitchen, Miller subsequently was promoted to Petty Officer, Ships Cook Third Class. He was aboard the USS Liscome Bay, an escort aircraft carrier, when the ship was hit by a Japanese torpedo on Nov. 24, 1943, which blew up the ship's bomb magazine and sank the ship.
On Dec. 7, 1943, two years to the day following his heroism at Pearl Harbor, the Navy notified Miller's family that he was dead.
Johnson continues to push for the Medal of Honor, believing that Miller was denied the nation's highest award for valor because he was black.
"I've heard many stories" about why the medal was denied, she said. "Most of them come down to him being African-American. At one time, he was threatened with a court-martial because he was not qualified to handle the gun" he fired on the West Virginia.
The Navy, while acknowledging that racist policies at the time kept black Sailors and Marines out of combat assignments where they could have earned valor awards, stands by its decision regarding Miller.
"The actions of Petty Officer Miller were determined not to have crossed the line between the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross," Navy spokesman Lt. Justin Cole said in an e-mail. "Specifically, the full knowledge of certain death in carrying out the heroic act was not present and therefore the award of the Navy Cross was the appropriate valor award."

Navy to probe lewd videos shown to carrier crew
NORFOLK, Va. — Videos just coming to light show the crew of a Navy aircraft carrier got an eyeful on shipboard TV: Gay slurs, suggestive shower scenes and mimicked masturbation in clips made not by some sailor run amok but by the ship’s second-most powerful officer.
The Navy said Sunday it will investigate the “clearly inappropriate” videos shown through the nuclear-powered ship Enterprise’s closed-circuit television system as part of an onboard movie night. The star of the videos, made in 2006 and 2007, is Capt. Owen Honors, who now commands Enterprise and was its executive officer when the videos were made. [ Read More ]

Influential vet’s body found in landfill
Police in Delaware have identified the body discovered on New Year’s Eve at the Cherry Island Landfill in Wilmington as 66-year-old John P. Wheeler III of New Castle.
Wheeler, an Army veteran who served in the Vietnam War, was a defense consultant in Washington, D.C., and had a long career in public service, working in the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. Wheeler was past chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, which built the memorial on the National Mall in Washington. [ Read More ]

New burn center will add much-needed capacity
SAN ANTONIO — The military’s only burn center is getting a new, bigger home that should be ready by this summer.
The Army’s Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center will move from the main building of Brooke Army Medical Center here to the fourth floor of a seven-story, 760,000-square-foot tower being added to the medical center, according to Army Col. (Dr.) Evan Renz, the burn center’s director. The moving date is scheduled for July. [ Read More ]

Marine gets 9 years for dropping, shaking baby
SAN DIEGO — A Camp Pendleton Marine will serve nine years in prison for repeatedly shaking and dropping his infant son, causing severe eye and brain injuries.
City News Service says San Diego Superior Court Judge Robert O’Neill sentenced 31-year-old James Lewis Charles on Monday. [ Read More ]

Marine gen.: Deal with tribe in Taliban area
KABUL, Afghanistan — The senior U.S. Marine general in Afghanistan says the leaders of the largest tribe in a Taliban stronghold in the southern Helmand province have pledged to halt insurgent attacks and expel foreign fighters. [ Read More ]

S. Korea opens door to diplomacy with N. Korea
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea’s president on Monday opened the door to possible peace talks with North Korea even as he vowed not to let Pyongyang “covet even an inch of our territory” — looking to strike a delicate balance between diplomacy and strength two days after the North called for better ties with Seoul. [ Read More ]

Arms dealer in Pentagon scheme may get prison
MIAMI — A 25-year-old self-described "gun runner" faces federal prison time for defrauding the federal government in a $300 million Pentagon ammunition contract. [ Read More ]

Health concerns probed near Fort Detrick
FREDERICK, Md. — Public health officials are preparing to offer new details on research into a possible cancer cluster near Fort Detrick in Frederick. [ Read More ]

WikiLeaks: German, U.S. spy project planned
OSLO, Norway — WikiLeaks documents published by Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten say that Germany and the U.S. are engaged in a $270 million satellite spying program that is causing friction in the European Union. [ Read More ]

Afghan violence leaves 5 civilians dead
Suicide bomber in Iraq kills 2 U.S. soldiers
Senator proposes permanent bases in Afghanistan
Military kids taking more psychiatric drugs
Humble MoH recipient Giunta adjusts to fame
Policy puts troops at risk for identity theft
20 sailors rescued near Marshall Islands
U.S. to bolster Afghan border, customs training
Afghan officials: Top Taliban commander killed
Tricare denies coverage of newer TBI treatment