American Veteran News 05.13.16

MARYLAND SAILOR KILLED IN PEARL HARBOR ATTACK IDENTIFIED — MILCOM — HONOLULU — The U.S. military has identified the remains of a sailor from Maryland who was killed in the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency says Navy Chief Petty Officer Albert Hayden served on the USS Oklahoma. The agency says the 44-year-old is due to be buried next Wednesday in Morganza, Maryland near his hometown of Mechanicsville.

Japanese planes hit the Oklahoma with multiple torpedoes 75 years ago, causing the battleship to capsize quickly. The military wasn’t able to identify most of the 429 men killed on the Oklahoma and buried hundreds as “unknowns.”

The agency began digging up their remains last year, saying advances in forensic science and technology have made identification more feasible.

The first Oklahoma unknown to be identified was buried in March.


AMERICAN WWII VET WHO HELPED LIBERATE DACHAU REUNITES WITH SURVIVOR — CBS — A World War II veteran who helped free thousands of survivors from a Nazi death camp has reunited with one of its former prisoners.

Seventy-one years after they first met, 94-year-old Sid Shafner and 90-year-old Marcel Levy reunited on an Israeli air force base, reports CBS News correspondent Vladimir Duthiers.

“I want to thank you with my heart to see you one more time,” Levy said.

They hadn’t seen each other in more than two decades. Shafner, who served in the 42nd Infantry Division in his early 20s, was one of the first U.S. soldiers to arrive at Dachau concentration camp. He and his unit helped liberate some 30,000 prisoners there in 1945. Levy had escaped and had lost his entire family.

But while running through the woods, he found Shafner and his unit and brought them to the camp. He later became their cook.

Shafner is on a 10-day mission through Poland and Israel called “From Holocaust to Independence.” He is the last remaining soldier from his unit. Before leaving, he spoke with the CBS Denver station about the bittersweet journey.


OLDEST LIVING WORLD WAR II VETERAN TURNS 110 — NBC — AUSTIN, Texas. — The country’s oldest veteran is turning 110 on Wednesday.

Richard Overton was born May 11, 1906. According to KVUE-TV, Overton lives in the same house he purchased when he returned to Austin, Texas, after his service in World War II. Overton joined the military in 1942 and served in the Pacific Theater as part of the 1887th Engineer Aviation Battalion.

Overton has lived through two world wars and 11 presidents.

“Never got arrested, never got shot at, so I always got my license every time I wanted — ain’t nobody got their license as old as I am,” Overton said last year.

It wasn’t a strict diet that helped Overton become a supercentenarian. He told NBC News that he still enjoys some whiskey in his morning coffee and puffs cigars nearly all day long.

Overton became the world’s oldest veteran after Frank Levingston passed away last week at the age of 110. Back in 2013, Overton attended a Veteran’s Day ceremony in Arlington, Va. and was acknowledged by President Barack Obama.


VA REMOVING MRI SERVICE FROM GREEN BAY CLINIC — WBAY — GREEN BAY, Wis. — Between August 2015 and April 2016, about 550 veterans used a mobile MRI machine at the Green Bay VA Outpatient Clinic. But come July, that service won’t be available anymore.

Jane Babcock, Kewaunee County Veterans Service Officer, never received an announcement about the change.

“If I wouldn’t have tried to schedule an MRI there I would’ve never known,” said Babcock.

She sent a notice to veterans and many were not happy to hear about the removal of the MRI service from Green Bay.

“I got a lot of replies saying ‘Are you kidding? What does this mean I have to drive down to Milwaukee?’” said Babcock.


TRANSGENDERS PRESS VA TO COVER OPERATIONS — WND — Transgender veterans have sent a petition to the Department of Veterans Affairs demanding the feds cover sex-change operations as part and parcel of their medical offerings.

“I served my country with pride and I should be treated just like my fellow veterans who have access to the treatment they need,” said Dee Fulcher, one of the petitioners, the Hill reported.

Lambda Legal joined with the Transgender Law Center to file the petition on behalf of Fulcher and another transgender who served in the military, Gio Silva. Other petitioners include the Transgender American Veterans Association, a group that boasts 2,200 or more members.


WATCHDOG INSPECTS VA KITCHEN AFTER REPORTS OF ROACHES IN FOOD — FOX NEWS — The Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General went “hunting for bugs” in the middle of the night at two VA kitchens Tuesday after a Conservative Review investigation revealed allegations of an infestation so severe that cockroaches were served in patients’ meals.

The inspectors descended upon Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital in suburban Chicago at 3 a.m. to “conduct an impromptu walk-through of the kitchens,” according to an internal VA email sent to union leaders at 7:24 a.m.

“They were hunting for bugs, I believe that’s what they were doing at 3 o’clock in the morning,” said dietician Kelvin Gilkey, who recently retired from Hines VA Hospital in Hines, Ill., after 33 years. He served as the union steward for the kitchen employees and now works as a volunteer union liaison.

Inspectors looked at kitchens in both the main hospital and the long-term care facility, a separate building on the Hines campus. The officials found outdated food, food that was not labeled correctly or missing labels, and overwhelming filth, said Gilkey, who said he spoke to a long-term care kitchen worker who witnessed part of the inspection. They also followed around a food cart that distributed meals, as news reports had chronicled roaches being served to patients.

“I have been talking about this for a year and a half and no one listened to me until I told [Conservative Review]. Now they are finding out what I said is really the truth,” Gilkey said. After eight hours, the inspectors left, he added.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the director of Hines did not provide any details.

“We will only confirm that the OIG was on site today,” said the agency’s spokesperson, Catherine Gromek.


HUNDREDS OF ALLEGATIONS OF MISUSE IN VA PROGRAM TO HELP DISABLED VETERANS MANAGE BENEFITS — ABC — Investigators have uncovered hundreds of allegations of misuse in a program aimed at protecting disabled veterans.

A VA spokesperson said there were 1800 allegations of misuse involving the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Fiduciary Program during FY 2015.

A VA spokesperson told 5 On Your Side Investigators misuse was found in 390 of those cases. When misuse is uncovered, the cases are then referred to the VA’s Office of Inspector General for further investigation.

Fiduciaries found to have misused or mismanaged funds are barred from future service.

The VA appoints a fiduciary for disabled veterans who are no longer competent to manage their affairs.


5 ENERGY-SECTOR COMPANIES HIRING VETERANS NOW — T&P — Break into the stable and profitable energy industry with one of these Hirepurpose partners.

Veterans who have been trained to work in energy-related fields will find themselves in high demand in the civilian world. Over the next 10 years, experts are predicting that approximately 62% of the workers in energy may retire or leave their jobs, including 110,000 employees in the most critical roles: line workers, technicians, plant and field operators, and engineers. As with all sectors, energy also requires skilled employees with marketing, administration, and sales expertise.

If you are looking to break into the stable and profitable energy industry, check out these five Hirepurpose partner companies that are hiring veterans right now.


VA RELIED ON FIVE-YEAR OLD SUICIDE DATA — WASHINGTON EXAMINER — The Department of Veterans Affairs has not provided updated statistics on veteran suicide rates and is still relying on statistics from five years ago to evaluate the effectiveness of their mental health and suicide prevention programs, according to testimony from lawmakers and a veteran advocacy group.

“I am disappointed that VA was not able to release updated veteran suicide statistics in time for this hearing,” Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., who chairs the House Veteran Affairs Committee, said at a hearing Thursday.

The latest VA report found that 22 veterans a day are dying by their own hands, which is a rate below the national average, Miller said.

But that data is old and incomplete because the figures only represent suicide numbers reported from 21 states from 1999 through 2011, and don’t include states with large veteran communities, such as California and Texas, according to testimony from Thomas Berger, executive director of the Veterans Health Council with the Vietnam Veterans of America, or VVA.


A “SHADOW’ PASSES IN THE NIGHT — DEMING HEADLIGHT — Another Vet has died, according to a friend, and he was of an extraordinary personality named “Shadow.”

No one seems to know his real name as if it were a national secret with him. He would never share his name with me but he was quite the conversationalist.

Nearly homeless, he would show up the first Wednesday of each month at the food distribution at the old VFW Post 1477, by the Southwestern New Mexico Transition Center. Usually he would be the first in line starting at 6 a.m. The Road Runner Food Bank truck wouldn’t arrive until 11 a.m.

After a year or so, Shadow started to trust in me since I was involved at the center as the floor manager. I went looking for him and a friend of his who was camped out in his trailer told me that Shadow had died of cancer, who knew? His friend said, “during his last days, he wanted to be near family so he spent those days in Belen, New Mexico, next to his daughter.” My motive for looking him up was to inform him of the new location for the food distribution for vets.

I met Shadow, some, four years ago at the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) hall on Diamond Street, now defunct. I found him to be quite a humorous fellow. As some vets do, they exaggerate just about everything. They feel that they have paid their dues and they are not afraid to voice their opinion on just about anything, especially politics, Shadow was no different. Sitting for hours with some of these guys they would relate their war, and horror stories. Give them the floor and you have yourself a floor show. Shadow never disappointed us. Rest in peace partner.

Usually, one cannot get solders, from WWII or Korea, to talk about their overseas experiences, but today vets are proud to, except for the Wounded Warrior. Their present condition tells most of the story. It has been our experience, at the center that these young fellows come back and hide out, not knowing their VA benefits.

This column is an invitation to any who have vanished from society, to come by on the first Wednesday of each month and let us know who you are, so we can be of assistance to you. The center will have phone numbers in the near future.

The DAV hall was the primary location of The SWNMTC. There was a back room that was rented to the center where a veteran could come for a cup of coffee or a clean shirt and talk to someone if they wanted to. The room was set up like a coffee shop and conference room.

The Center became a clearing house where vets could get information and get in contact with the right people to advance their VA case. Now that the center is north of Deming, they hope to be able to do the same thing with the present location, at the old VFW building, 4045 Overhill Dr. NE.

The President of the Board is Terry Kline and he was an employee at the Silver City VA Clinic for the past 10 years. He can inform you of the proper procedures of the clinic. Terry is now retired. If you need immediate help call the Clinic at 575-538-2921. From Las Cruces, comes the VA Van, which is a huge bus set up strictly for vet assistance. They come to help out as well. Your magic wand will be your DD 214. You will need it for the food distribution as well, when you sign in.

The Roadrunner Food Bank food distribution for vets is the first Wednesday of each month. The numbers are growing and the selections are better. There are plenty of volunteers to assist the elderly and disabled vets with their shopping carts. See you there!

To THE VETERANS VOICE

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