Saturday, February 28, 2009

Join Us In DC For Meeting and Congressional Breakfast


"Forgotten Heroes of the Cold War, Day of Remembrance 2009" and ACWV Convention.

April 30-May1

April 30: ACWV National Meeting

May 1: Congressional Breakfast

LOCATION: Senate Hart Building - SH-902
CITY: Washington, DC
TIME: 08:00 AM to 10:00 AM
GROUP: American Cold War Veterans, Inc.

May 1: (0900-1500) Congressional Offices Blitz

Followed by ceremony for the Forgotten Heroes at Arlington National Cemetery.


Details at American Cold War Veterans

Jerald Terwilliger
National Vice Chairman
American Cold War Veterans, Inc

Monday, February 23, 2009

Army Emergency Relief Fund Hoards Millions

AP IMPACT: Army charity hoards millions

By JEFF DONN, AP National Writer Jeff Donn, Ap National Writer – Sun Feb 22, 5:35 pm ET

FORT BLISS, Texas – As soldiers stream home from Iraq and Afghanistan, the biggest charity inside the U.S. military has been stockpiling tens of millions of dollars meant to help put returning fighters back on their feet, an Associated Press investigation shows.

Between 2003 and 2007 — as many military families dealt with long war deployments and increased numbers of home foreclosures — Army Emergency Relief grew into a $345 million behemoth. During those years, the charity packed away $117 million into its own reserves while spending just $64 million on direct aid, according to an AP analysis of its tax records.

Tax-exempt and legally separate from the military, AER projects a facade of independence but really operates under close Army control. The massive nonprofit — funded predominantly by troops — allows superiors to squeeze soldiers for contributions; forces struggling soldiers to repay loans — sometimes delaying transfers and promotions; and too often violates its own rules by rewarding donors, such as giving free passes from physical training, the AP found.

AER was founded in 1942 to soften the personal financial hardships on soldiers and their families as the country ramped up its fight in World War II.

Today, AER's mission is to ease cash emergencies of active-duty soldiers and retirees, and to provide college scholarships for their families. Its emergency aid covers mortgage payments and food, car repairs, medical bills, travel to family funerals, and the like.

Instead of giving money away, though, the Army charity lent out 91 percent of its emergency aid during the period 2003-2007. For accounting purposes, the loans, dispensed interest-free, are counted as expenses only when they are not paid back.

During that same five-year period, the smaller Navy and Air Force charities both put far more of their own resources into aid than reserves. The Air Force charity kept $24 million in reserves while dispensing $56 million in total aid, which includes grants, scholarships and loans not repaid. The Navy charity put $32 million into reserves and gave out $49 million in total aid.

AER executives defend their operation, insisting they need to keep sizable reserves to be ready for future catastrophes.
"Look at the stock market," said retired Col. Dennis Spiegel, AER's deputy director for administration. Without the large reserve, he added, "We'd be in very serious trouble."

Navy- and Air Force-sponsored charities also are deeply intertwined with their services, but they impose controls that help safeguard their independence.

Officers in those services are expected to keep their noses out of requests for aid. Sailors should "be comfortable coming to us without any fear that the command is going to be involved," says retired Rear Adm. Jan Gaudio, executive vice president of Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.

Meanwhile, civilian charities for service members and veterans say they are swamped by the desperate needs of recent years, with requests far outstripping ability to respond.
According to 2007 U.S. Census Bureau figures, 1.3 million veterans — or 6 percent — lived in poverty, with 537,000 unemployed.

"I have so many people who are losing their homes, they're behind on their mortgage payments, they're losing their jobs because of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) or the medication they're taking — and the Army Emergency Relief can't help them," says Outreach Director Sema Olson at U.S. Welcome Home Foundation, which finds aid for combat veterans.
While independent on paper, Army Emergency Relief is housed, staffed and controlled by the U.S. Army.
That's not illegal per se. Eric Smith, a spokesman for the Internal Revenue Service, said the agency can't offer an opinion on a particular charity's activities. But Marcus Owens, former head of IRS charity oversight, said charities like AER can legally partner closely with a government agency.

However, he said, problems sometimes arise when their missions diverge. "There's a bit of a tension when a government organization is operating closely with a charity," he said.
Told of AP's findings, civilian charities and watchdog groups said AER isn't acting charitably enough under the Army's sway. They challenged how fairly it fundraises and how generously it gives back.

Some smaller charities said AER sometimes refers clients to them. Yet the American Institute of Philanthropy says AER holds enough reserves to last about 12 years at its current level of aid.
Most charity watchdogs view 1-to-3 years of reserves as prudent, with more than that considered hoarding.

Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy, said that AER collects money "very efficiently. What the shame is, is they're not doing more with it."

When challenged, some AER administrators acknowledged being overly prudent with charitable funds in the past. Janice Gamel, a civilian who runs AER at Fort Bliss, says some military staffers "have the philosophy 'this is my money' and hold on too tight." National administrators say they've tried to loosen the purse strings. The most recent yearly figures show a tilt by AER toward increased giving.

Still, Borochoff's organization, which grades charities, gives the Army charity an "F" because of the hoarding. "It's as if the group is more concerned about its own stability and longevity than the people it purports to serve," says Borochoff.

The AP findings include:
• Superior officers come calling when AER loans aren't repaid on time. Soldiers can be fined or demoted for missing loan payments. They must clear their loans before transferring or leaving the service.
• Promotions can be delayed or cancelled if loans are not repaid.
• Despite strict rules against coercion, the Army uses pushy tactics to extract supposedly voluntary contributions, with superiors using language like: "How much can we count on from you?"
• The Army sometimes offers rewards for contributions, though incentives are banned by program rules. It sometimes excuses contributors from physical training — another clear violation.
• AER screens every request for aid, peering into the personal finances of its troops, essentially making the Army a soldier's boss and loan officer.

"If I ask a private for something ... chances are everyone's going to do it. Why? Because I'm a lieutenant," says Iraq war veteran Tom Tarantino, otherwise an AER backer. "It can almost be construed as mandatory."

It's "offensive" to raise funds this way, says Rich Cowles, executive director of the independent Charities Review Council of Minnesota.

Neither the Army nor Sgt. Major of the Army Kenneth Preston, an AER board member, responded to repeated requests for comment on the military's relationship with AER.
When fresh personnel arrive at Fort Bliss, on the edge of El Paso, they soon march over to AER for a mandatory briefing.

The program, they learn, is about "helping the Army take care of its own," as the charity's leaflets say.
"You can do better when you know your soldiers," says Col. Ed Manning, commander at the base of about 17,000 soldiers. He refers to AER in the first person as "we."
"This is a commander's program," Gamel tells an AP reporter during a tour. "If a soldier is in financial distress, it could affect his work."

AER pays just 21 staffers, all working at its headquarters at Army Human Resources Command in Alexandria, Va. AER's other 300 or so employees at 90 Army sites worldwide — such as Gamel — are civilians paid by the Army. Also, the Army gives AER office space for free. For example, Gamel operates out of the Fort Bliss Army Community Service Center.

AER's treasurer, Ret. Col. Andrew Cohen, acknowledged in an interview that "the Army runs the program in the field." Army officers dominate its corporate board too.

Charities linked to other services operate along more traditional nonprofit lines. The Air Force Aid Society sprinkles its board with members from outside the military to foster broad views.

The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society pays 225 employees and, instead of relying on Navy personnel for other chores, deploys a corps of about 3,400 volunteers, including some from outside the military.

Army regulations say AER "is, in effect, the U.S. Army's own emergency financial assistance organization." When a soldier gets into financial trouble, the path to AER starts with a visit to his or her supervising Army officer. Under Army regulations, officers must recommend whether their soldiers deserve aid. Company commanders and first sergeants can approve up to $1,000 in loans on their own say-so.

Army officers also are charged with making sure their troops repay AER loans. That means when an active-duty soldier misses loan payments, he's in trouble with his employer: the Army.
"If you have an outstanding bill, you're warned about paying that off just to finish your tour of duty ... because it will be brought to your leadership and it will be dealt with," says Jon Nakaishi, of Tracy, Calif., an Army National Guard veteran of the Iraq war who took out a $900 AER loan to help feed his wife and children between paychecks.

In his case, he was sent home with an injury and never fully repaid his loan.
Nakaishi tells of another guardsman with an unpaid AER loan. "He was not overpressured in a bad way — just reminded he wasn't going to be able to get a promotion," says Nakaishi, who spoke up to defend AER's practices.

The Army also exercises its leverage in raising contributions from soldiers. It reaches out only to troops and veterans in annual campaigns organized by Army personnel.

For those on active duty, AER organizes appeals along the chain of command. Low-ranking personnel are typically solicited by a superior who knows them personally. While banning coercion, an Army handbook coaches campaign solicitors to aggressively push for donations: "How much will you donate to help your fellow soldiers?"

Spiegel, the AER administrator, said he's unaware of specific violations but added: "I spent 29 years in the Army, I know how ... first sergeants operate. Some of them do strong-arm."
In interviews with the AP, several soldiers said that when they were asked for an AER donation, they believed that AER was a branch of the Army.
Army regulations ban base passes, training holidays, relief from guard duty, award plaques and "all other incentives or rewards" for contributions to AER. But the AP uncovered evidence of many violations.

Before leaving active duty in 2006, Philip Aubart, who then went to Reserve Officer Training Corps at Dartmouth College, admits he gave to AER partly to be excused from push-ups, sit-ups and running the next day. For those who didn't contribute the minimum monthly allotment, the calisthenics became, in effect, a punishment.

"That enticed lots and lots of guys to give," he noted. He says he gave in two annual campaigns and was allowed to skip physical training the following days.

USA Cares charity founder Roger Stradley, a command sergeant major who helped run AER campaigns before retiring in 2000, says whole units were sometimes excused from a long run to reward high participation.

Others spoke of prizes like pizza parties and honorary flags given to top cooperating units. Army rules ban those too, saying awards will not be given to units or commanders "for goal accomplishment or percent of participation."
Make no mistake: AER, a normally uncontroversial fixture of Army life, has helped millions of soldiers and families cope with emergencies, as well as college costs. Last year alone, AER handed out about $5.5 million in emergency grants, $65 million in loans, and $12 million in scholarships.

But the AP encountered considerable criticism about AER's hoarding of its treasure chest. Prolonged and repeated war deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan have put many military families on the financial edge.

Many strain to stay on track while a parent is away. Others grapple with emergency medical or travel costs when their soldier comes home broken. Also, the nation's mortgage troubles have challenged some military families who live off base.

However, AER's management says it hasn't felt a need to boost giving in recent years. "I don't necessarily think the need is any different than it was four or five years ago," says Spiegel.
Jack Tilley, a retired sergeant major of the Army on AER's board from 2000 to 2004, said he was surprised by AP's findings, especially during wartime. He was particularly disturbed by the relatively low number of grants, as opposed to loans.

"I think they could give more. In fact, that's why that's there," said Tilley, who co-founded another charity that helps families of Mideast war veterans, the American Freedom Foundation.
By contrast, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society says it has augmented relief to satisfy needs heightened by frequent combat deployments of Marines.

Reservist John Shea, of New York, an Iraq veteran who has contributed to AER, said he thought it gave more in grants, given its mission of helping desperate soldiers with personal emergencies. "Certainly, a lot of people think that's what they're donating to," he added.

Many say they need AER's help today. "I think the situation is pretty catastrophic right now," says Cheryl Lynch, of Pace, Fla., who also believes AER should give more grants.

Lynch's son fell from a building during an Army training exercise in France eight years ago. At the time, she went to AER for help covering her expenses while she tended to her brain-injured son at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. "They actually kind of blew me off to the Red Cross," Lynch says.
What does AER do with its retained wealth? Mostly, it accumulates stocks and bonds.
AER ended 2007 with a $296 million portfolio; last year's tanking market cut that to $214 million, by the estimate of its treasurer.

Sylvia Kidd, an AER board member in the 1990s, says she feels that the charity does much good work but guards its relief funds too jealously. "You hear things, and you think, "`They got all this money, and they should certainly be able to take care of this,'" she said. She now works for a smaller independent charity, the Association of the United States Army, providing emergency aid to some military families that AER won't help.

Though AER keeps a $25 million line of bank credit to respond to a world economic crisis, it has decided to trim back relief in the face of the recession.
Its board has decided to lop off a third of its scholarship money this year. "We're not happy about it," Spiegel says.

Posted by Jerald Terwilliger

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Russia Can Launch ICBM In A Minute

MOSCOW, February 11 (RIA Novosti)

- Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) in service with the Russian Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) could be launched within a minute if Russia's security is threatened, the SMF commander has said.

"Over 6,000 servicemen are on 24/7 combat duty, and at least 96% of all missile systems are ready for deployment within several dozen seconds. It is the highest readiness level among the components of the Russian nuclear triad," Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov said in an interview published on Wednesday by the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper.

At present, six types of silo-based and mobile ICBM systems of the fourth and the fifth generation, including the heavy Voyevoda (SS-18 Satan), capable of carrying 10 warheads, and the Topol-M (Stalin) systems, are on combat duty with the SMF.

According to open sources, the total arsenal of Russia's SMF comprises 538 ICBMs, including 306 SS-25 Topol (Sickle) missiles and 56 SS-27 Topol-M missiles.
"The fifth regiment at the Tatishchevo Missile Division, which is armed with silo-based Topol-M complexes, was fully staffed in 2008, and there are now 50 silo-based Topol-M systems on combat duty," the general said.

The first two Topol-M mobile missile battalions, equipped with six road-mobile systems, have already been put on combat duty with the 54th Strategic Missile Division near the town of Teikovo, about 150 miles (240 km) northeast of Moscow.

The deployment will continue in 2009 and the division will be up to full strength by 2010, Solovtsov said.

The Topol-M missile, with a range of about 7,000 miles (11,000 km), is said to be immune to any current and future U.S. missile defenses. It is capable of making evasive maneuvers to avoid a kill using terminal phase interceptors, and carries targeting countermeasures and decoys.
It is also shielded against radiation, electromagnetic pulses and nuclear blasts, and is designed to survive a hit from any known form of laser technology.

Solovtsov also said that in 2009 the SMF would start bringing into service systems equipped with new-generation (RS-24) intercontinental ballistic missiles, bearing multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) warheads.

"Making this missile system operational will help bolster the SMF's combat capabilities to overpower missile defense systems, thus strengthening the nuclear deterrence potential of the Russian nuclear triad," Solovtsov said.

Posted by Jerald Terwilliger

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Still Hope For Cold War Medal

While the battle last year ended up ended with defeat during the House and Senate Armed Forces committee
conference meetings;. The provision for a Cold War Victory Medal was stripped from the House version of the
National Defense Authorization Act.

The second skirmish a bill in the Senate: S.1097 was left to gather dust in the Senate Armed Services Committee,
languished for months and then died on the table at the end of the 110th Congress.

The American Cold War Veterans continue to petition both houses of the 111th Congress in hope of garnering
more support this year. Taking nothing for granted, we face the challenge and push on.

It is a long, slow process, fraught with disappointments and disillusions. Many of our letters and faxes go
unanswered, or we receive the standard reply "I will keep your thoughts in mind". This can become very
frustrating, but we do not give up quite that easy.

This year we hope will be the year that finally our nation recognizes the Cold War Veterans, who for 46
years defended our country from Communist aggression. This year marks 20 years since the fall of the
Berlin Wall, and 17 years since the demise of the Soviet Union.

Now would be the perfect time to bestow the long overdue recognition and honor due to these brave and
dedicated Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers, Marines, and Coast Guard men and women.

Congressman Joe Sestak (D-PA 07) has voiced support for a Medal. Congressman Sestak, himself a
Cold War Veteran who rose to the rank of three star Admiral, also stated he would support legislative
action to create a medal.

We also hope that Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME), who has expressed interest in a bill will
introduce legislation and insert it into the House Armed Services Committee. Congresswoman Pingree
was a very large help to have Maine become one of only two states to declare May 1st as "Cold
War Victory Day" in perpetuity.

Both Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) were cosponsors of last years S.1097,
The bill was introduced by Senator Clinton, additional cosponsors were Senator Mary Landrieu (LA) and
Senator Charles Schumer (NY).

We hope and ask for their continued support this year.

We do of course understand the financial problems our country faces at this time. We also fully know
that the Department of Defense will attempt to block the medal citing costs of $28 million. Our figures
suggest possible a cost of $3 million. DOD will also pose opposition as "duplicate of awards", which
is another fallacy. Many men and women served their tours and received no medal or award of any type.

As the Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter said in 2006 "Many Americans died in operations
that remain, even to this day, unacknowledged, entailing heroism and loss that have yet to be revealed to
a grateful nation. We should remember and honor those who sacrifices brought about a victorious
conclusion to the Cold War, to the enormous betterment of the United States and the world"

So please everyone contact your elected officials, ask the to introduce legislation, or to cosponsor
legislation, to authorize and direct DOD to issue a Cold War Medal.
Picture shows Jerald Terwilliger placing flower on grave of General James Van Fleet, May 1, 2008

Jerald Terwilliger
National Vice Chairman
American Cold War Veterans
"We Remember"

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Good News For Cold War Medal

This is possibly the best news this year concerning the Cold War Medal.
Congressman Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania has said he would back efforts for
a medal
February 15, 2009

Dear Mr. Terwilliger,

Jason Marmon of my staff shared with me your email regarding the Cold War Medal. Two years ago I supported a proposal to establish such a medal. The language passed the House in the FY 2008 National Defense Appropriations Act (NDAA) but was ultimately stripped following President Bush's veto.

Last year, it did not make it to the floor last year due to budgetary concerns and competing priorities and that fact that it has faced opposition from several Senators. Senator Clinton and Rep. Andrews have been driving it these past two years.

My staff has learned that there is an effort to work with the Obama Administration to have the medal added as a part of the defense budget. I have voiced my support for such an effort. Should that effort fail, I will support a legislative effort to have it added.

So the hunt goes one, everyone contact your elected officials. Tell them
to introduce or cosponser legislation for a Cold War Service Medal.

Jerald Terwilliger
Vice Chairman
American Cold War Veterans, Inc.
"We Remember"

Monday, February 16, 2009

Congressman Joe Sestak (PA07)

A very nice and encouraging letter I received from Congressman Joe Sestak (PA-07)
February 15, 2009

Dear Mr. Terwilliger,

Jason Marmon of my staff shared with me your email regarding the Cold War Medal. Two years ago I supported a proposal to establish such a medal. The language passed the House in the FY 2008 National Defense Appropriations Act (NDAA) but was ultimately stripped following President Bush's veto.

Last year, it did not make it to the floor last year due to budgetary concerns and competing priorities and that fact that it has faced opposition from several Senators. Senator Clinton and Rep. Andrews have been driving it these past two years.

My staff has learned that there is an effort to work with the Obama Administration to have the medal added as a part of the defense budget. I have voiced my support for such an effort. Should that effort fail, I will support a legislative effort to have it added.

Please do not respond to this email.
To send an email to Congressman Sestak, please

When Will It End?

Somethimes life just seems to be too much to handle. The little things just grow
and grow, leaving one to wonder; why even try?

The last three years have been almost unbearable. At 65 I had acute appendicitis
and had to have emergency surgery, the doctor told me later it was starting to
leak; so it could have been a lot worse.

Then my wife had her gall bladder removed, not quite an emergency but she certainly
had to put up with a lot of pain before it was finally removed.

Less than a month later she was operated on for squamus cell cancer. It appears
all was removed and that we thought was it.

Two years ago my mother passed away, she was 92 and had a good life up till the
last year or so. My brothers and sister were all with her at the end. That was
very hard.

My brother, who had been taking care of Mom for 20 years moved in with us for a while. He had visited several times and said that when Mom passed away he would
move here.

Well that did not work out very at all. I found him using my wife's computer looking
at things he should not have been. We asked him to leave and find a place of his own.
He had been living with free room and board, all meals just about anything he wanted.

This caused a huge fight with my sister, who had always looked after him and
fought his battles. She ignored all his short commings, which were many. She said
"its just the way he is".

She had wanted him to stay close to where she lived, instead of a nine hour drive away. She was aware of what he was doing and said nothing. But it was my fault
some how, as she said "I Lose and you win, you throw him out of your house and I
still lose.

Last year I had my gall bladder taken out, then about a month and half later I had
some basal cell carcinoma on my neck removed.

This year my wife found another spot and had it checked and it was squamus cell again. Her doctor removed most of it and she is treating it with an onitment.
Then she had a pap smear that came back with atypical cells.

The oncologist checked it and said it was nothing, and it was fine. He also looked
at the cancer spot and said it looks good, but to continue with the treatment.

On the good side, we have each other, and our love is strong. We also have
4 dogs and 5 cats which keeps us busy. We love our fur babys and the give us back
so much love ahd joy.

I have a great little grandson, a cute happy little boy. Don't get to see him as
much as I would like. It would be a two day drive,and who can afford the gas, or
plane fare.

Our faith is strong and as someone told me one time God may squeeze, but He will
never choke. But he sure can squeeze hard now and then. We just have to put
our faith in Him, and turn our troubles over to Him.

It could be worse!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Today In History

1945 USS Batfish (SS-310) sinks second Japanese submarine in three days
1947 First launching of guided missile (Loon) from a submarine USS Cusk
1948 1st Lt. Nancy Leftenant becomes first black woman in Army Nursing Corps
1950 Sen. Joe McCarthy claims to have list of 205 communist government employees
1950 Albert Einstein warns against hydrogen bomb
1953 USSR breaks ties with Isreal
1955 President Eisenhower sends first US advisers to South Vietnam
1960 Chinese army kills 12 Indian soliders
1965 Nuclear test in Pacific
1973 1st US POW's in North Vietnam released 116 of 456 flown to Philippines
1976 US nuclear test at Nevada test site
1979 Soviets launch Kosmos 107 first oceanographic satellite
1982 US performs nuclear test at Nevada test site
1991 North and South Korea form joint team for table tennis tournament

Reported Missing In Action
1967 Martin J. Sullivan REFNO 0592 VF 96 1973 status Killed/Body not recovered
1967 Paul V Carson Missing
1967 Courtney E. Weissmuller
1968 Jerry L Roe These four men were flying in a UH1H that dissapeared
1968 Harry W. Brown from radar contact. It is not know if they survived
1968 Wade L. Groth and were captured, but in 1969 and 1979 reports said
1968 Alan W. Gunn they were alive. U.S. government does not believe them
1969 John B. Fisher Released 3/11/69 by SIHANOUK
1969 Laird P. Osburn Released 3/12/69 by SHIANOUK
1969 Robert J. Pryor Released 3/11/69 by SHIANOUK
1970 Robert S. Bradshaw III In 1973 status KIA-BNR
1970 Michael Breeding Status 1973 KIA-BNR
1971 Arthur E Mcleod Remains identified 8/27/99
1971 Clyde D. Wilkinson Remains identified 8/27/99

Thousands of military members are still missing and unacountted for. Please contact
your Congressperson ask the to cosponsor HR 111 and voe for passage.
You are not forgotten, bring them home now

Jerald Terwilliger
National Vice Chairman/Treasurer
American Cold War Veterans, Inc
"We Remember"

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Air Force To Bring Back Good Conduct Medal

The Air Force has decided to bring back the Good Conduct Medal. It appears they
did not go through Congress to authorize this.

Everyone contact your elected officials and the Secretary of Defense ask them to
authorize a Cold War Service Medal.

Welcome to U.S. Air Force AIM Points

UPDATED: February 12, 2009

Full Version

Air Force brings back Good Conduct Medal

BY: Jeff Schogol , Stars and Stripes

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Air Force Good Conduct Medal is back. The medal is being awarded retroactively to 2006, when it was discontinued, so airmen’s records are being updated "just exactly like that policy change never happened," said Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Rodney J. McKinley.

Enlisted airmen who have not had disciplinary problems over the past three years will be getting a new cluster on their Good Conduct Medals, and other airmen who joined the service since 2006 will be eligible for their first medal, McKinley said Wednesday.

"They will have the records updated today, and as far of actual presentation and pinning on, that’s at the command’s discretion," said Denise Harris, chief, Air Force awards policy and programs.

The award recognizes enlisted airmen who have demonstrated exemplary behavior for three years.

The Air Force Uniform Board initially recommended discontinuing the medal because the Air Force expects airmen to display good behavior all the time, McKinley said.

"That was not really vetted out to all the major commands and we didn’t really have a chance to really discuss whether or not it was the right thing to do to discontinue the Good Conduct Medal," he said.

In January 2008, the Air Force held an awards and decorations summit that recommended bringing the medal back, said Lt. Gen. Richard Y. Newton III, deputy chief of staff for manpower and personnel.

Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley ultimately approved reinstating the Good Conduct Medal in November, Newton said.

"We needed to give [Air Force Personnel Center] the time work out all the procedures and how we were going to go back and make this happen," McKinley said.

The decision to reinstate the medal was not "a slam" against the Air Force officials who decided to rescind the award, he said. Those officials had good intentions but rescinding the medal was seen as "taking something away from our airmen," McKinley said.

"And what was the Air Force’s gain for that? Did we get better? Did we improve Air Force capability by taking away the Good Conduct Medal? My answer is no. What we did is anger a lot of people," he said.

Jerald Terwilliger
National Vice Chairman/Treasurer
American Cold War Medal
"We Remember"

Thursday, February 5, 2009

POW/MIA's Let's Bring Them Home

On 2/3/2009 Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY3) introduced a bill H. Res. 111 to establish
a Select Committee on POW and MIA Affairs. There were 54 cosponsors to this bill,
and we need more Representatives to sign on as cosponsor.

This bill was introduced last year, with the same H.R. number, and met an untimely
end. It did not make it out of committee and just sat on the table untill the 110th
congress ended.

We can not allow this to happen again this year. This is a very important piece
of legislation that must be passed and acted upon.

The POW/MIA issue is one that The American Cold War Veterans feel to be very
important. Our brothers and sisters must be returned, and as soon as possible.

The United States should demand complete accounting from all countries involved
and the repatration of any and all persons or remains of those who perished.

You might ask how many are still missing, the latest information is:
World War II 78,000 still missing; 20,000 to 30.000 potentially recoverable.
Cold War 126 still missing; 20 potentially recoverable
Korea 8,100 still missing; 5,400 potentially recoverable
Vietnam 1,800 still missing; 1,000 potentially recoverable
1991 Gulf War 3 still missing; 1 potentially recoverable
Somalia 1 missing, believed KIA Body not returned
Gulf War II 3 missing

These POW/MIA are not forgotten, and must not be forgotten and ignored any longer.

What can you do to help? Contact both you Senators and Congressmen/women tell them
the families of the missing deserve to know the truth. They have waited too long.
If you are a family member of a missing military person, I urge you to contact
your service casualty office to find information on how to supply mtDNA samples.
These samples are used to help identify remains that otherwise might not be

For further information on mtDNA visit the Coalition of Families of Korea and Cold
War POW/MIA'S at
Robin Piacine, the president was very instrumental in starting this program; and
has worked non-stop with the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) to bring about
the return of all missing service personnel.

During the recent election campaign Presedint Obama said that he would declassify
as much information as possible. He must be held to that promise.

Jerald Terwilliger
Natinal Vice Chairman
American Cold War Veterans, Inc
"We Remember"

See me at

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Veterans And Military Health Care To Take Large Hit?

This is something not just Cold War Veterans should be concerned with, this will effect every veteran
and current military member.

Reading the latest report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) I found some very interesting and
disheartening point. Something all military and veterans should be aware of. Everyone knows that the military
is not very well paid, and VA pensions do not allow you to live on easy street.

Some of the "proposals" if approved will hit you hard in the pocketbook. Many of these proposals have to
do with Medicare and Medicaid, but there are several affecting military and veterans. The plan is to increase
Tricare out -of pocket -costs for retirees.

One proposal would eliminate the Priority 8 and allow all veterans back into the VA. But another proposal
would eliminate Priority 7 & 8 which would dis enroll millions of veterans with non-service related injuries.

For working age retirees and family under 62 co-payments, fees and deductibles would be raised considerably.
For Tricare Prime now costing individuals $230.00 a year would go up to $550.00. Retired families now pay
$460.00 which would raise to $1,100. Co-pay now at $12.00 would go to $28.00 Tricare standard and extra
would pay $350.00 deductible for single and $700.00 for a family.

Congress has for the last three years not allowed these increases, but with the state of the economy now
who knows what will happen.

Active duty personnel and their dependents fare no better. Dependants enrolled in Tricare would pay
ten percent of the health care costs weather in a military treatment facility or by civilian providers. There would
be cap on total out of pocket charges. To help in this cost dependents would receive an annual $500.00
tax free payment. If not enrolled in Tricare the $500.00 could be used to offset personal health insurance.

The military supplement for medicare would also see higher costs if this is implemented. You would pay for
first $550.00 a year, plus one-half of the next $4,725.00 charged to medicare. That means a Tricare For Life
veteran would pay an additional $2,887.50 a year.

CBO admits that these charges may have an adverse effect and cause many to avoid seeking treatment.

Now if this does not seem fair and just to you, and it should not. This is the time to start contacting your
senators and representatives. Tell them this can not and must not happen. And do not just write or email
once, do it over and over again. Once is not enough, contact them again and again.

Jerald Terwilliger
National Vice Chairman
American Cold War Veterans
"We Remember"

400,000 VA Patients From Iraq and Afghanistan

Iraq, Afghanistan VA Patients Exceed 400,000
Thursday January 29th 2009
by Maya Schenwar, Truthout Report

Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) bring the horrors of the battlefield home. Twenty-six percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who seek care at the VA have PTSD.

As the number of veterans seeking health care continues to rise, the VA is straining to meet demands.

Amid talk of a drawdown of troops in Iraq, new statistics from the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) show that US casualties are still climbing quickly. Iraq and Afghanistan battlefield injuries and deaths number 81,361, up from 72,043 last January, according to data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by Veterans for Common Sense (VCS). Veteran patients - including those who didn't seek care until their return home - shot up to 400,304 (from 263,909 in December 2007).

For the thousands of soldiers flooding the VA, mental illness tops the list of ailments. Forty-five percent of VA patients have already been diagnosed with mental health conditions, including a startling 105,000 diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These data do not include the incalculable number of mentally ill veterans who have not received a diagnosis or haven't sought treatment at the VA.

Health care for veterans has improved substantially in the past year, mostly due to legislative changes and funding boosts, according to Raymond Kelley, legislative director of AMVETS. The recently passed Dignity for Wounded Warriors Act entitles veterans to up to five years of free health care for military-related medical conditions. Other legislative victories include improvements to VA facilities, increased mental health care research and a boost for the claims processing system, which has been vastly understaffed and overburdened throughout the "war on terror."

However, many barriers to adequate care and compensation remain, particularly for veterans filing for disability benefits. Delays and denials of those claims are routine. Among vets with PTSD, 59 percent have not been approved for benefits, meaning that their claims are pending or rejected - or that, due to any number of deterrents, they have not filed a claim.

According to Paul Sullivan, executive director of VCS, the average wait-time for veterans to receive an answer after filing for disability compensation is more than six months. A recent VCS lawsuit against VA showed that PTSD patients face even longer delays.

"That's wrong and it needs to get fixed now, especially during the recession when the veteran may also be out of work due to their disability," Sullivan told Truthout. "While veterans wait, their homes are foreclosed. Renters are evicted. Cars are repossessed. Some families often lack food or utilities while VA dawdles endlessly. Many veterans become homeless waiting for disability benefits."

More than 809,000 veterans (from all wars and peacetime) are currently waiting on pending claims.

Sullivan points to the case of Iraq veteran Scott Eiswert, who committed suicide after the VA rejected his PTSD disability compensation claim for the third time. After his death, the VA went further, denying Eiswert's life insurance benefits.

Jennifer Pacanowski, an Iraq veteran now living in Pennsylvania, waited two and a half years to receive a PTSD diagnosis, and nine months for her PTSD claim to be processed. In the meantime, her mother paid for all her medical care. Most of Pacanowski's efforts to utilize the VA yielded only frustration.

"Every time I reached out to the VA for help, they tried to have me admitted into the psych ward, which scared me, since all I needed was to talk to someone," Pacanowski told Truthout. "My family doctor from childhood tried to help with meds and treatment but [dealing with] combat veterans was a completely new thing for him, so it was hit or miss, with months of med changes and severe depression and anxiety, so I could not function."

Pacanowski still can't get all she needs from the VA. Since receiving her diagnosis, she has been eligible for full mental health benefits. However, the VA is overbooked, crowded and understaffed, and can only offer Pacanowski an appointment once every three weeks. So her family still shoulders much of the burden, paying for a private psychologist who can fill in the gaps.

According to Kelley, some claims are adjudicated quickly - usually those of recently discharged vets with very clear medical documentation of their condition. However, if a veteran doesn't visit the VA soon after returning home, or can't supply what the VA deems clear documentation, the claim could linger for years.

Moreover, the VA's intimidating bureaucracy deters some veterans from filing a claim at all. The process is arduous and sometimes convoluted, and, since a positive result is never guaranteed, vets sometimes abandon their attempts.

"We understand from speaking with veterans that some veterans are discouraged from filing claims because the claim form is 23 pages," Sullivan said. "I have watched veterans turn away in disgust when handed the stack of redundant forms VA requires."

The current, bulky method for filing claims also leaves a high margin for error, increasing the chances of denial. VCS suggests shortening the claim form to one page. According to Kelley, veterans should consult an officer from a veterans' service organization before filing a claim, to make sure it is correct and complete.

Pacanowski points to other reasons why veterans - especially those with PTSD - avoid the VA.

"I know many veterans with PTSD from all wars," she said. "Most are afraid to go to the VA because of fear of judgment and the constant run-around you get … The vets I know that don't go to the VA receive most help from fellow veterans. Or try and forget."

Self-medication, including drugs and alcohol, is also a popular alternative to the intimidating bureaucracy of VA treatment, according to Pacanowski.

With the advent of the Obama administration, veterans' organizations are hopeful that many of their long-sought goals will be realized. The House Veterans' Affairs Committee, too, is looking to make significant headway under the new president. According to Rep. Bob Filner, chairman of the committee, top priorities include providing the VA with "sufficient and timely funding," expanding access to health care for veterans in rural areas, and rebuilding the compensation and benefits system.

"We have a remarkable opportunity to make progress this year when it comes to veterans' issues," Filner told Truthout. "President Obama has laid out an ambitious agenda and the House Veterans' Affairs Committee is committed to bringing results to our veterans and their families."

Kelley points to the stabilization of VA funding as a key priority for the coming years. Under the current system, the VA budget remains uncertain each year until the annual appropriations bills are passed. This makes it difficult to plan long-term projects or expand ongoing initiatives.

"There has been a long-running problem with VA receiving a sufficient, timely and predictable budget," Kelley told Truthout. "AMVETS supports legislation that will allow Congress to provide advanced appropriations for VA healthcare, allowing VA to know well in advance of their budget so they can begin hiring personnel and planning infrastructure projects."

VCS is pushing for another measure to increase efficiency at the VA: automatic approval of disability claims for Iraq, Afghanistan and Gulf War veterans who have been diagnosed with PTSD. The extra claim-approval step often means months or years of painful limbo for ill veterans, and according to Sullivan, eliminating it would be a legally and scientifically sound move.

Filner confirmed that when it comes to the claims process, the VA has a long way to go. Moving into the new governmental climate, he stresses the urgency of addressing the issues keeping patients from receiving proper treatment.

"We must make progress in rebuilding the VA's broken benefits system," Filner said. "We need to thank veterans for their service by granting their claims and providing appropriate care."

Maya Schenwar is an editor and reporter for Truthout

Posted by Jerald Terwilliger
Vice Chairman
American Cold War Veterans, Inc.