American Veteran News 05.25.16

GEORGIA TOWN DISHONORS WAR DEAD — TOWNHALL — Paulding County, Georgia lost 79 of their sons and daughters on foreign battlefields — defending our land so that our sons and daughters might grow up to be free men and free women.

So it only seemed fitting that the citizens of Paulding County honor their heroes. And they did — posting hand made crosses on a patch of city land — near Highway 92.

So when folks drove past the Waffle House and the Dunkin Donuts – they might remember — those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

But instead — someone took offense –A complaint was filed. Questions raised. Were the crosses an appropriate symbol to honor our fallen heroes?

HOSPITALIZED VIETNAM VET WHO WAS GRANTED LAST WISH TO SEE HIS HORSES PASSES AWAY — FOX NEWS — Before his death on Monday evening, a paralyzed Vietnam veteran who was in critical condition at a hospital in Texas had one wish – to have one final meeting with his beloved horses.

Roberto Gonzalez, a rancher from Premont, Texas, was receiving care at San Antonio’s Audie Murphy Veterans Hospital when the staff asked if he and his family if there was anything he wanted to cheer him up.

DECADES AFTER DEATH IN WWII, BODY OF VETERAN RETURNS TO NEW ORLEANS — AP — NEW ORLEANS — More than seven decades after being killed during World War II, Pvt. Earl Joseph Keating is finally coming home to his native New Orleans after his remains were discovered on the Pacific island where he died in 1942.

It’s a journey long in the making.

Keating’s nephew, Nadau “du Treil” Michael Keating Jr., was only 6 months old when his 28-year-old uncle was killed Dec. 5, 1942. The private died at a place that came to be known as the Huggins Roadblock on the island of New Guinea just north of Australia – part of the bloody campaign to defeat the Japanese in the Pacific theater.

But the nephew remembers his grandmother’s message to him when he was just 12 years old and she was on her deathbed.

“She said ‘I want you to remember to please find Earl with your Dad. Help your dad find Earl,'” he said.

Pvt. Keating was part of a group manning the roadblock when it came under withering attacks by the Japanese. The group repelled the onslaughts but suffered heavy casualties, including Keating and fellow Pvt. John H. Klopp, 25, also of New Orleans. Fellow soldiers buried them together.

JAPANESE-AMERICAN VET: ATOMIC BOMB SAVED MY LIFE — FOX NEWS — HONOLULU – Arthur Ishimoto believes dropping the atomic bombs on Japan saved a million American lives — including his own — as well as at least 5 million Japanese lives.

The 93-year-old served in the Military Intelligence Service, a U.S. Army unit made up of mostly Japanese-Americans who interrogated prisoners, translated intercepted messages and went behind enemy lines to gather intelligence.

He was a technical sergeant scheduled to join the invasion of Japan in November 1945, and believes he would have died in the assault.

NEW APP WILL CATALOG AND PROTECT U.S. VETERANS’ GRAVESITES — FED SCOOP — The gravesites of war dead are among the most revered places for any nation. Yet, in many cases, including at some of America’s most sacred burial grounds, lapses in record keeping and overall poor management have resulted in mislabeled gravesites or even the loss of veterans’ remains.

With recent audits showing that these problems are widespread, a leading mobile technology firm Tuesday unveiled new software designed to prevent them from happening.

“Our military cemeteries are part of our treasured national heritage, but over the years, their systems have grown unnecessarily complex, making it more difficult to serve America’s citizens,” said DMI CEO Jay Sunny Bajaj.

To help cemetery staff keep track, DMI has developed the Enterprise Interment Services System. EISS allows administrative and grounds teams to photograph grave sites and automatically match that data with GPS records to get an accurate fix on its location.

TOWNSEND ARMY VETERAN, 100, IS ‘RE-AWARDED’ PURPLE HEART — SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE — On July 11, 1944, just more than a month after American and British troops first hit the beaches at Normandy, an explosion erupted near U.S. Army medic Bradford Howlett.

He’s not sure whether the explosion was from a hand grenade or from a mortar shell; he thinks it was in the French city of Saint-Lo.

But this was 71 years ago, so Howlett is not totally certain. He does remember shrapnel from the blast ripping into his right arm, and the final piece stayed there until he returned home months later. Even today, as a springly 100-year-old who drives himself from Worcester to visit family in Townsend about once a week, he still bears a substantial scar.

Howlett, who grew up in Townsend, was awarded the Purple Heart after suffering that injury. But at some point, between moving houses and various deaths in the family, the medal went missing.

CALIFORNIA VA HEALTH SYSTEM PAIRS WITH WALK-IN CLINICS TO SERVE VETERANS — ARMY TIMES — A Veterans Affairs health system in Northern California has enlisted the help of the largest U.S. provider of walk-in medical care to expand treatment options for veterans.

Beginning May 24, veterans who have a minor illness or injury and are enrolled in the VA Palo Alto Health Care System may be able to seek care at a MinuteClinic, the walk-in health facility available at many CVS pharmacies.

Under a regional pilot program, veterans who call the VA Palo Alto nurse advice line may be referred to a MinuteClinic.

Dr. Stephen Ezeji-Okoye, VA Palo Alto deputy chief of staff, said the $330,000 one-year pilot program could serve as a model for other VA facilities nationwide.

VA OPPOSES ANY EXPANSION OF CHOICE PROGRAM — ARMY TIMES — The Veterans Affairs Department opposes efforts to expand the Veterans Choice program and instead wants permission from Congress to roll several private care programs into the Choice benefit, VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson said Tuesday.

Addressing members of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee in a legislative markup, Gibson said a bill sponsored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to let any enrolled veteran use the Choice program would “erode the VA’s ability to address the special needs of veterans.”

“If veterans who currently do not use the VA health care system begin to seek community care through the Choice program, VA will have to divert resources from … internal VA care, dramatically undercutting our ability to provide care tailored to the unique needs of veterans,” Gibson said.

WWII U.S. SPY VETS GROUP IRKED BY CEMETERY NAME CHOICE — ARMY TIMES — ALBANY, N.Y. — A new veterans cemetery to be built between Buffalo and Rochester will be named the Western New York National Cemetery, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said Tuesday in an announcement that irked an organization of World War II spies.

Some veterans groups had pushed for naming the cemetery after Gen. William J. “Wild Bill” Donovan, a Buffalo-born Medal of Honor recipient in World War I and founder of the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the CIA.

The head of the Falls Church, Virginia-based OSS Society said the group was disappointed in the decision by the VA’s National Cemetery Administration to leave Donovan’s name off the cemetery to be built at a 132-acre rural site near the New York State Thruway in Pembroke in Genesee County.

“It is outrageous that nothing has been done to honor Gen. Donovan, one of America’s greatest patriots, in Buffalo or western New York,” said OSS Society President Charles Pinck.

FORMER MEDICS FIND THEMSELVES ON BOTTOM RUNG IN CIVILIAN FIELD — STARS & STRIPES — NORTH CHICAGO, Ill. — In four deployments as an Army combat medic to some of the most dangerous corners of Iraq and Afghanistan, Joe Carney had seen the worst of war — bullet wounds, severed limbs, shrapnel. He saved lives amid bombs and gunfire, his emergency room often a patch of dirt in the desert or a rocky mountainside. None of that mattered when he left the Army three years ago.

“I think the services should do a better job because at the end of the day, your last day in the Army, the last day in the Navy, you’re out, no one cares about you,” he said. “What I tell people who are planning to get out is, you have to have a plan.”

Like many medics and Navy corpsmen, the U.S. military’s front-line medical professionals, Carney’s skills translated to almost nothing in the civilian world.

BURIAL-AT-SEA CEREMONY HONORS 20 ABOARD USS STOUT — STARS & STRIPES — Twenty veterans and dependents were remembered during a burial-at-sea ceremony in the Atlantic Ocean this week aboard the USS Stout.

“Today, we buried several people born in the 1920s,” said Lt. Michael Carpenter, the Stout’s chaplain after Sunday’s service. “It’s easy to assume these veterans served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and I am proud to be a part of a ceremony to honor such heroes. I am honored to be the chaplain for this ceremony.”

A 21-gun salute, the playing of taps and the passing of the folded national ensign to Cmdr. Adam G. Cheatham, Stout’s commanding officer, concluded the service.

“It’s really touching to be a part of this type of ceremony,” said Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Jessica Ruelas, a member of the firing squad. “Especially seeing loved ones laid to rest at sea alongside their family members. Seeing the love that not only our veterans but also our family members have for their country is incredible.”

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