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