American Veteran News 08.08.16


Historian Pays Respects to US Pows at Hiroshima

ASIA NEWS NETWORK — “I’ll strive toward realizing a nuclear-free world so as not to waste their deaths,” said Shigeaki Mori, 79, a historian, as he prayed Saturday for the souls of U.S. prisoners of war who died in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

Saturday marked the 71st anniversary of the atomic bomb being dropped on the city.

Mori, who hails from Nishi Ward of the city and is himself an atomic bomb survivor, or hibakusha, offered the prayer before the memorial nameplate he installed at his own expense for U.S. POWs who died in the atomic bombing.

The nameplate was installed at the site of the former Chugoku Headquarters for military police in what is now Naka Ward of the city.

Mori was exposed to radiation as a third grader at a national wartime primary school, at a point 2.5 kilometers away from ground zero. He was on his way to school.



FIGHTER PILOT’S REMAINS TO RETURN TO INDIANA 72 YEARS AFTER CRASH — AP — TIPTON, Ind. — The remains of a fighter pilot from central Indiana whose aircraft disappeared more than 72 years ago have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said Friday that remains of Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Robert McIntosh of Elwood have been identified after the wreckage of his fighter plane was discovered in Santa Cristina, Italy, in 2013.

The 21-year-old McIntosh was returning with his squadron from a strafing mission against an enemy airfield in Piacenza, Italy, on May 12, 1944, when his single-seat P-38 Lightning aircraft went missing.

Young-Nichols Funeral Home said his remains are expected to return to Tipton on Tuesday. A public funeral will be held Saturday, Aug. 13, in the Tipton High School auditorium.



VETERAN ANXIOUSLY AWAITS MISSION TO BRING SOLDIERS’ BODIES HOME FROM VIETNAM — THE TIMES-LEADER (WILKES-BARRE, PA. — Ed Zimmerman’s long journey may soon be over.

Zimmerman, 67, of Bear Creek, will head to South Vietnam on Aug. 10 to assist the U.S. government’s recovery effort to search and, hopefully, recover the remains of Pfc. Anthony John (Tony) Pepper, 20, of Richmond, Virginia, and Cpl. James Mitchell Trimble, 19, of Eureka, California.

“This has been quite an undertaking for me,” Zimmerman said Thursday. “I’ve gone over it mentally so many times. But I’m very confident we will find the location and bring them back.”

Zimmerman said all the preparations for the trip have been made and he can’t wait to get to Vietnam to direct the recovery team to the exact spot where he last saw Trimble and Pepper.

“I’ve been going over things in my mind and I have clarity,” he said. “A lot of the cobwebs have gone away. I know I can find the spot where they were.”

In a Times Leader story in June, Zimmerman said he has not been able to rest, often having nightmares, since learning the bodies of two dead Marines he saw in a ravine in South Vietnam were never recovered — never returned to their families for burial.



6 TYPES OF VETS DOMINATING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA THIS ELECTION — T&P — Every election season, America’s veterans get on the internet to fight over how the country they swore to defend from enemies foreign and domestic should be run. Here are this year’s top six contenders.

Nowhere is the ugliness of politics on better display during election season than in our Facebook newsfeeds, that virtual arena where once every four years keyboard warriors duke it out with insults, accusations, hashtags, and empty promises of moving to Canada if their candidate doesn’t get elected. If you’re a veteran, your newsfeed is that multiplied by a thousand. Vets love arguing politics and hate pulling punches, and the result is total warfare. Thus, in the spirit of American democracy, Task & Purpose has produced this totally offensive guide to the different types of veterans who’ve traded in their M4s for keyboards to clog up your feed with really strong opinions on how our country should be run. Enjoy.



VA ACCESS IMPROVES, WORK STILL NEEDED — MILCOM — A new independent report on Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics found that although improvements have been made on issues such as access to care, there is still work to do.

The Joint Commission, which conducts organization health care audits, began unannounced surveys on hospitals in the VA system between September 2014 and August 2015 at the VA’s request, VA officials said. Some of the surveyed hospitals were then visited again through April of this year as part of a separate, previously scheduled round of visits, and their progress on key issues was examined, they said. The program looked at problems such as access to care, leadership and staffing.

“Phones were inconsistently answered when patients called to make appointments, even though insufficient staffing did not appear to be the reason,” the investigation found. “Staff absenteeism also caused problems with access. There were often no plans for coverage. As a result, veterans would arrive with no one to see them and no process in place to assist them in rescheduling their appointment.”



WATCHDOG GROUP CALLS ON VA TO SHOWCASE WORKS BY VETERAN ARTISTS — FOX NEWS — A taxpayer watchdog group is calling on the Department of Veterans Affairs to showcase work by artists who have served in the military, after it was revealed the VA spent some $20 million on lavish art at facilities around the country.

The group, Open the Books, released an oversight report last week on spending at the VA — showing the administration purchased millions in luxury art at the height of the health care scandal during which thousands of veterans died waiting to see doctors.

The $19.7 million tab included a $700,000 sculpture to adorn a California facility for blind veterans. The VA also spent $21,000 for a 27-foot fake Christmas tree; $32,000 for 62 “local image” pictures for the San Francisco VA; and $115,600 for “art consultants” for the Palo Alto facility.

The watchdog group, as well as several U.S. lawmakers, are now calling on the VA to feature the work of those it serves.



VETERANS STAND DOWN IS A HAND UP, NOT A HAND OUT — DURANGO HERALD — The main objective of the Veterans Service Office is to provide prevention, protection, advocacy and support services to veterans and their families so they can maximize their quality of life, well-being and potential.

The La Plata County Veterans Service Office provides information and assistance to veterans and their families. There is a wide range of benefits available for our nation’s veterans. Every veteran is encouraged to contact the CVSO to find out more about their VA benefits. Your CVSO can assist you in any matter pertaining to the Department of Veterans Affairs. These services are free. Please visit the La Plata County website at www.co.laplata.co.us for more information about what the La Plata County Veterans Service Office can do for you.

The La Plata County Veterans Service Office, Veterans for Veterans and Disabled American Veterans of Durango and Pagosa Springs are hosting the third Veterans Stand Down for homeless veterans of La Plata, Archuleta and Montezuma Counties.

This event will provide the opportunity to homeless and struggling veterans to regain the support, encouragement and resources to help them integrate back into the civilian world. The one-day event will provide food, clothing, haircuts, medical and mental-health attention, social services, legal assistance, job and housing referrals, workshops on résumé writing and interviews, and much more.

The event in Durango will not only focus on the homeless veterans in our town, community and surrounding areas. We will be assisting at-risk and low-income veterans as well. All of the resources provided are to help them regain their confidence and self-esteem and to rebuild their lives in a positive, supportive way.



STRUGGLING VETERAN IS STUCK IN LIMBO — THE NORWICH BULLETIN — After leaving work April 30, retired Navy submariner James Vincent-Czbas, overwhelmed by mounting symptoms of traumatic brain injury and depression, parked at a pharmacy in Groton and thought about his life.

“I parked and I was just crying, I was emotional, I’m banging my fist in the car, and I’m like I can’t deal with this anymore. I can’t deal with the pain. I can’t deal with the depression. I’m a loser. What do I gotta live for?” Vincent-Czbas, of Groton, said. “There’s an intersection there, where the Big Y is. I contemplated driving the damn car into the intersection to just end the pain because I couldn’t take it anymore.”

Instead, he called a Veterans Affairs crisis hotline (1-800-273-8255) and was able to calm down, drive home, take his medication and get into therapy the next day.

Not everyone makes that decision at that crucial moment. And with all the posturing about veterans’ affairs that circulates freely during election cycles — the first TV ad supporting Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s re-election campaign, for example, touts his work on veteran suicide prevention — it’s easy to lose sight of the real lives and stories of those who actually have suffered and struggled to navigate a patchwork support system (other than those featured in campaign spots).



AMERICAN FLAGS STOLEN FROM VETERANS’ GRAVES IN YORKTOWN — WAVY — YORKTOWN, Va. — The York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office is looking for whoever stole American flags from veterans’ graves at Grace Episcopal Church in Yorktown.

Saturday, Etienne Mercado went to the cemetery to pay his respects.

“We as servicemen kind of wanted to honor our latter people so that the people the ones who have served before us or the founders,” Mercado said.

While he walked around the graves, he noticed something missing. At least a dozen veteran graves did not have American flags in front of them.

“I think it’s a very dishonorable thing because the people who have the flags in front of their graves,” Mercado said. “They’ve earned their flags it’s a way to show they’ve given their lives for us.”

According to a post on the Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page, someone stole the flags between late Friday night and the early hours of Saturday morning.



HARROWING WAR EPIC SHOWS WWII BEFORE AMERICA JOINED THE FRAY — T&P — The World War II movie “Dunkirk” tells a tragic story of heroism and sacrifice well before the United States joined the war.

Yet another World War II movie is coming to the big screen, but this one is different. No, really.

The new trailer for Christopher Nolan’s upcoming war drama, “Dunkirk,” is barely a minute long and has no dialogue. The closest it comes to narration is an ominous ticking clock and the piercing scream of incoming aircraft, but that’s all it needs.

The movie is set between May 27 and June 4,1940, more than a year before the Pearl Harbor attack prompted the United States’ official entrance into World War II. Nolan’s war drama centers on the Battle of Dunkirk, where Canadian, French, and Belgian soldiers made a daring escape after being surrounded by the German army at Dunkirk Harbor, France.

The trailer shows beleaguered men in doughboy helmets shuffling along a thin bridge, juxtaposed with scenes of the dead scattered across sandy a beach. It ends right as a soldier looks upward, an expression of pure terror on his face as the screeching of an enemy plane reaches a fever pitch.



FAMILY MAKES NEW MEDALS FOR MAINE’S BERLIN CRISIS NATIONAL GUARD VETS — SUN JOURNAL — LEWISTON — Many veterans never receive hard-earned medals in recognition of their military service, but the family of a Lewiston veteran of a National Guard call-up for the “Berlin Crisis” of 1960-62 has taken steps to correct an important omission.

Normand R. Marquis, who died this past Easter in Colorado, is coming home Tuesday morning when his cremated remains will be interred at St. Peter’s Cemetery in a family ceremony. With him will be commemorative medals struck through the efforts of his widow, Patricia, and sons so that he and other veterans can receive an appropriate and well-deserved award.

When Marquis died, his family could not locate the “State of Maine National Emergency Service Medal” for which his military separation documents indicated he was entitled. At the time of the call-up, SP4 E4 Normand R. Marquis was a member of 2nd Medium Tank Battalion 20th Armor.

The Lewiston veteran’s son, Daniel Marquis, a resident of Virginia and a retired major of the U.S. Marine Corps, took on the task of researching that specific military decoration.



VETERAN DISCOUNTS NOW AVAILABLE WITH NEW ID CARD — DIGITAL JOURNAL — Veterans Can Finally Get Discounts That 99% of American Companies Offer Using New Military Veteran ID. Military Veteran ID, LLC at www.dd214.com is now allowing Veterans to receive hundreds of discounts all across the USA with a new plastic photo ID card.

Veterans can finally get hundreds of discounts by using a new ID card made by Military Veterans ID through their web site: www.DD214ID.com. For many years almost every American company has offered our Military Veterans discounts, usually a minimum of 10% off, but there was a catch. Our Veterans had to show an (photo) ID card to receive the discount, except there was nowhere for a (non-retired) Veteran to get a photo ID.

Places like Home Depot, Lowes, Disney World Resorts/ Disneyland, Marriot, Best Western, Ramada, Advance Auto, Meineke Auto, American Airlines, O’Reilly, Barnes & Noble, and Red Robin all offer discounts, just to name a few companies.

Enter Military Veteran ID, LLC, (www.dd214id.com), a new private company that makes custom plastic photo ID cards one at a time, only for Veterans.

Veterans simply get out their DD214 document (with their SSN and DOB blocked out), make a pdf copy and have a head photo taken (with a smartphone). These two files are uploaded during the Order process. They verify the information, and fill-in the new ID card along with the photo. They accept all major credit cards and Pay Pal for payment; that seems to be a reasonable $14.95. Then, in about a week, the credit card sized ID card comes in the mail to the Veteran. Easy-peezy, as they say.



VA OIG ANNOUNCMENT: VA COMMITTED TO WHISTLEBLOWER RIGHTS — DISABLED VETERANS — A VA OIG announcement shows VA is clearly in a full-blown propaganda campaign to redefine its approach to whistleblower rights just in time for the coming election.

On Saturday, VA OIG released statement from Michael Missal about its commitment support the rights of whistleblowers. Apparently, the inspector general even received a recent certification from the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) to highlight its efforts.

OIG claims it is “committed to protecting the identity of any person who comes forward and reports serious allegations of criminal activity, fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement.”

To ensure it complies with the rights of others, OSC certified VA for its training. Somehow, this training was unable to protect the rights of whistleblowers harassed at Phoenix VA, Hines VA, Tomah VA, and practically every other VA where a crime was reported.

Apparently, in December 2015:



WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT CEO EXPECTS LAYOFFS DURING RESTRUCTURING — S&S — Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Linnington, who took over Wounded Warrior Project in July after a spending scandal, challenged accusations that Wounded Warrior Project does not help veterans.



SUPPORTERS OF MEDICAL MARIHUANA FOR PTSD WAITING ON NJ GOV. — AP — TRENTON, N.J. — Veterans and others in New Jersey are waiting on Gov. Chris Christie to decide whether they’ll be allowed to legally treat their post-traumatic stress disorder with marijuana.

Lawmakers last week sent a bill to Christie’s desk that would allow marijuana to be used for PTSD symptoms that are not treatable with conventional therapy. Christie has until later this summer to decide whether to approve the measure to make New Jersey the 18th state to allow medical marijuana to be used to treat PTSD.

Christie declined to comment on his plans at a statehouse news conference this week. He has previously said he wants to ensure the state’s medical marijuana industry is based in science and doesn’t want it to become a back door to legalization for recreational use.

Jim Miller, president of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana in New Jersey and host of a weekly medical marijuana podcast recorded outside of the statehouse in Trenton, said he’s confident the measure will get Christie’s support.



3 SOLDIERS TEAM UP TO PROVIDE HOMES FOR HOMELESS VETS — FAYETTEVILLE OBSERVER — Three specialists with an innate devotion for giving back hope to provide a special Thanksgiving for a homeless veteran — by putting their comrade in a home.

Specialists Tony Brown, Devonta Birden and Carla White — three friends who serve at units at Fort Bragg — created Southern Comfort Care Inc., a company that plans to buy property to build or renovate homes to flip for homeless veterans in Cumberland County. The company needs to raise at least $25,000 to purchase the first home by October so the family can be in for Thanksgiving.

“It’s about giving back and making somebody else’s life better,” said Brown, president and founder of Southern Comfort Care Inc. “I’m trying to look out for people who paved the way for me.”

The soldiers’ endeavor beefs up efforts in progress by local government.

Cumberland County was identified by the federal government as a high-priority community for homeless veterans, and earlier this year poured “surge” funds into the county for rapid rehousing programs like those run by local nonprofit Family Endeavors. That agency received $1 million in federal grants for the fiscal year beginning late 2015.



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