Monday, October 24, 2011

Veterans to receive COLA in pensions

Veterans and their families will receive a 3.6 percent increase thanks to legislation passed by
the Senate. Since the House has already approved a slightly different plan, the House will now
have to approve the Senate version before it can be sent to the President.

Increases will be given for disabled veterans' compensation, additional compensation for
dependents, clothing allowance, dependance compensation for spouses and children.

The first increase since 2009 is scheduled to become effective Dec. 1st so that the larger
checks will arrive in January.

Veterans' benefits are not tied to the Consumer Price Index the way Social Security and federal
civilian retirement programs. Benefits for veterans must be approved by Congress.

It is not a large increase, but one that is justified and very much past due. Thank you Congress
for finally doing something right for our veterans.

Social Security and Social Security Disability payments will also be increased by 3.6 percent,
this is also the first increase in these payments since 2009. Our seniors need this increase
to maintain their life styles.

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

---------------- "And so the greatest of American triumphs... became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades." -- Robert M. Gates, 1996

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Search for Korean War MIA's to Renew

On Friday Oct. 21 the Department of Defense announced that the United States and the
Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) agreed to resume the search and recovery
of remains of American service members missing in action from the Korean War.

U.S. teams will work in two sections of North Korea. Approximately 60 miles north of
Poyongyang in Unsan County. The other area is in the Chosin/Jangjin Reservoir, where it is
believed more than 2,000 Marines and soldiers are buried.

The agreement includes logistics and matters to help ensure the safety and effectiveness of the
teams working in the DPRK.

The search is expected to begin next year as a humanitarian effort, and will be the first since
2005, when relations and increased tensions on the Korean Peninsula forced the American
teams to halt their search.

The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command had teams conducting searches in the country
for ten years before the halt. It is believed that the remains of 225 servicemen have been
recovered since 1996.

More than 7,900 Americans are missing from the Korean War, more than 5,500 are believed
to have been lost in North Korea.

Our country must continue to search with every means available to locate and repatriate the
remains of every MIA. We must demand the full accounting of all those who are MIA.

The families of those who are still missing deserve nothing less than our full, complete and
concentrated effort. Those who are missing must be found to bring closure to the loved ones
of those who never came home.

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

---------------- "And so the greatest of American triumphs... became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades." -- Robert M. Gates, 1996

Friday, October 21, 2011

American Cold War Veterans Visit White House Staff

On Friday Oct. 14 members of American Cold War Veterans leadership had a meeting in the Old Executive Office Building of the White House with members of the White House Staff:

Dorian Paige from the office of the President.
COL. Bobbi Doorenbos, Special Advisor for Defense Policy and Intelligence Programs at the office of the Vice President
Matt Flavin White House director of veteran's and wounded warriors policy/DOD
Kevin Secor Veterans Affairs Office
Jerald Terwilliger, National Chairman American Cold War Veterans
Scott L'Ecuyer, Membership Director American Cold War Veterans
Dr. Robert Kamansky, CAPT. U.S. Army (Ret)

 This meeting was to discuss the Cold War Service Medal. The meeting went very well and everyone seemed to understand our position and goal: To authorize and issue a Cold War Service Medal
to those who served in the military during the Cold War.

When questioned about cost of the medal, we disagreed with the DOD estimate of $440 million. We quoted the Congressional Budget Office scoring of SEC. 581 of the Senate National Defense Authorization Act 2012 (which would authorize a Cold War Service Medal) cost of $13 million over the 2012-2016 period; with a first year cost of approximately $2 million.  When asked why such a huge difference and we told them we could not answer that, we were unsure how DOD came to that cost.

Another question was  what VSO's have adopted the medal and what the feeling was in general. We told them that ACWV, Army-Navy Union, and Military Order of Foreign Wars have adopted it; also that the VFW, American Legion, Amvets, Retired Officers and other VSO's have passed resolutions at their annual conventions supporting the Cold War Medal. Also that the state of Louisiana authorized the Cold War Victory Medal to be issued to the National Guard, and the state of
Alaska has authorized a Cold War Victory Medal for their National Guard.

Other points of discussion were would veterans be willing to pay a partial cost of the medal, which of course we  said yes most vets would probably purchase their own once it was approved.

There was also mention of the possibility of other existing medals, including the American Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, or extending dates of the National Defense Service Medal. The reply to this question was that these medals had all been discussed in our organization and some members might be agreeable, but that we would all prefer The Cold War Service Medal.

Once again the Cold War Appreciation Certificate was mentioned. We informed them
that  since it's inception in 1998 only about 3.4 million people have applied for the certificate,
that  the certificate makes no mention of military service; and that anyone who worked for the government during that period is eligible. Thus many veterans do not consider the certificate
as true recognition of their service to our country, and the sacrifices they made.

We also stated that we have been close in the past and that this year there are to two stand alone bills: S.402 The Cold War Service Act 2011, and a sister bill in the House H.R. 1968; and, there  is also
a provision in the Senate NDAA  2012 -SEC. 581 that would authorize a Cold War Service Medal.

We then asked that if these measures fail would the President consider an Executive
Order to create the Cold War Service/Victory Medal, mentioning the fact that at least
twice, then Senator Obama had said a Cold War Victory Medal would be an appropriate
honor and that he would sign the bill if it should cross his desk.

At the close of the meeting we were told that they would discuss what we had talked about and would let us know as soon as possible what, if any, conclusion is reached.

We came away from the meeting very impressed and with high hopes. Now it is the old "wait and see." This year, which is the 20th anniversary of the end of the Cold War, appears to be our best chance ever, and we hope to hear something very soon.

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

---------------- "And so the greatest of American triumphs... became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades." -- Robert M. Gates, 1996

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Veterans I.D. Card Act-H.R. 2985

Representative Todd Akin (R-MO-2) on Sept. 21, 2011 introduced H.R. 2985 Veterans I.D. Card Act.

This bill would direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to issue upon request, veterans identification cards to certain veterans, reads in part

Currently veterans identification cards are issued to veterans who have completed the time in service requirements for retirement from the armed services, or have  received a medical-related discharge from the armed services.

A veteran who has served a minimum obligated time in service, but does not meet the criteria described above does not receive a means of identifying the veterans status as a veteran other than using the official DD-214 discharge papers to demonstrate such proof.

Goods, services and promotional activities are often provided by public and private institutions to veterans who provided proof of service in the military but it is impractical for a veteran to always carry official DD-214 discharge papers to demonstrate such proof.

`Sec. 5706. Veterans identification card

    `(a) In General- The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall issue an identification card described in subsection (b) to any covered veteran who--
      `(1) requests such card;
      `(2) was discharged from the Armed Forces under honorable conditions;
      `(3) presents a copy of the DD-214 form or other official document from the official military personnel file of the veteran that describes the service of the veteran; and
      `(4) pays the fee under subsection (c)(1).
    `(b) Identification Card- An identification card described in this subsection is a card that--
      `(1) displays a photograph of the covered veteran;
      `(2) displays the name of the covered veteran;
      `(3) explains that such card is not proof of any benefits to which the veteran is entitled to;
      `(4) contains an identification number that is not a social security number; and
      `(5) serves as proof that such veteran--
        `(A) honorably served in the Armed Forces; and
        `(B) has a DD-214 form or other official document in the official military personnel file of the veteran that describes the service of the veteran.
    `(c) Costs of Card- (1) The Secretary shall charge a fee to each veteran who receives an identification card issued under this section, including a replacement identification card.
    `(2)(A) The fee charged under paragraph (1) shall equal an amount that the Secretary determines is necessary to issue an identification card under this section.
    `(B) In determining the amount of the fee under subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall ensure that the total amount of fees collected under paragraph (1) equals an amount necessary to carry out this section, including costs related to any additional equipment or personnel required to carry out this section.
    `(C) The Secretary shall review and reassess the determination under subparagraph (A) during each five-year period in which the Secretary issues an identification card under this section.
    `(3) Amounts collected under this subsection shall be deposited in an account of the Department available to carry out this section. Amounts so deposited shall be merged with amounts in such account and shall be subject to the same conditions and limitations as amounts otherwise in such account.
    `(d) Effect of Card on Benefits- (1) An identification card issued under this section shall not serve as proof of any benefits that the veteran may be entitled to under this title.
    `(2) A covered veteran who is issued an identification card under this section shall not be entitled to any benefits under this title by reason of possessing such card.
    `(e) Administrative Measures- (1) The Secretary shall ensure that any information collected or used with respect to an identification card issued under this section is appropriately secured.
    `(2) The Secretary may determine any appropriate procedures with respect to issuing a replacement identification card.
    `(3) In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall coordinate with the National Personnel Records Center.
    `(4) The Secretary may conduct such outreach to advertise the identification card under this section as the Secretary considers appropriate.
    `(f) Covered Veteran Defined- In this section, the term `covered veteran' means a veteran who--
      `(1) is not entitled to retired pay under chapter 1223 of title 10; and
      `(2) is not enrolled in the system of patient enrollment under section 1705 of this title
      That is how the bill is written.
      While several states have begun issuing veterans ID cards, not all are doing so at this time. A Federal ID Card would be a blessing to those veterans who do not have not retired or enrolled with the Department of Veterans Affairs. 
      Please contact your Representative asking them to cosponsor H.R. 2985 and vote for passage when it reaches the full House Floor.


---------------- "And so the greatest of American triumphs... became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades." -- Robert M. Gates, 1996