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2013 Reunion

As a point of information I'd like everyone to know that the 2013 F Co 51st LRP reunion will be held in Louisville KY.  As details become available they will be posted.


by Webmaster, Thursday, 29 December 2011 20:40 Comments(0), Read all
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Proposed VA Regulation Changes Adds Illness

I received this information from Ed Dvorak and he thought the guys should be made aware of the rule proposal listed below.


March 25, 2010 


Washington - Well Over 100,000 Veterans exposed to herbicides while serving in Vietnam and other areas will have an easier path to qualify for disability pay under a proposed regulation published by the Department of Veterans Affairs that adds three new illinesses to the list of health problems found to be related to Agent Orange and other herbicide exposures.


"This is an important step forward for Vietnam Veterans suffering from these three illnesses," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric K. Shinseki.  "These warriors deserve medical care and compensation for health problems they have incurred."


The regulation follows Shinseki's October 2009 decision to add the three illnesses to the current list of diseases for which service connection for Vietnam Veterans is presumed.  The illnesses are B Cell Leukemias, such as hairy cell leukemia; Parkinson's disease; and ischemic heart disease.


The Sectretary's decision is based on the latest evidence of an association with widely used herbicides such as Agen Orange during the Vietnam war, as determined in an independent study by the Institute of Medicine (IOM).


Even though this is a proposed rule, VA encourages Vietnam Veterans with these three diseases to submit their applications for compensation now so the Agency can begin development of their claims and so they can receive benefits from the date of their applications once the rule becomes final.


Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted over the next 30 days.  The final regulation will be published after consideration of all comments received.


"We must do better reviews of illnesses that may be connected to service, and will," Shinseki added.  "Veterans who endure helath problems deserve timely decisions based on solid evidence."


Over 80,000 of the Veterans will have their past claims reviewed and may be eligible for retroactive payment, and all who are not currently eligible for enrollment into the VA healthcare system will become eligible.


During the Vietnam War, the U.S. Military used more than 19 million gallons of herbicides for defoliation and crop destruction in the Republic of Vietnam.  veterans who served in Vietnam anytime during the period beginning January 9, 1962 and ending on May 7, 1975, are presumed to have been exposed to herbicides.


Used in Vietnam to defoliate trees and remove concealment for the enemy, Agent Orange and other herbicides left a legacy of suffering and disability that continues to the present.


The new rule will bring the number of illnesses presumed to be associated with herbicide exposure to 14 and significantly expand the current leukemia definition to include a much broader range of leukemias beyond chronic lymphocytic leukemia previously recognized by VA.


The practical terms, Veterans who werved in Vietnam during the ware and who have a "presumed" illness don't have to prove an association between their illnesses and their military service.  This "presumption" simplifies and speeds up the application process for benefits.


Other illnesses previously recognized under VA's "presumption" rule as being casuedd by exposure to herbicides during the Vietnam War are:



  • AL Amyloidosis,

  • Acute and Subacute Transient Peripheral Neuropathy,

  • Chloracne or other Acneform Disease consistent with Chloracne,

  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, (now being expanded)

  • Diabetes Melitus (Type 2),

  • Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma,

  • Porphyria Cutanea Tarda,

  • Prostate Cancer,

  • Respiratory Cancers (Cancer fo the lung, bronchus, larynx, or trachea), and

  • Soft Tissue Sarcoma (other than Osteosarcoma, Chondrosarcoma, Kaposi's sarcoma, or Mesothelioma).


Additional information about Agent Orange and VA's services for Veterans exposed to the chemical are available at: www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange.


by mlanderson16, Saturday, 03 April 2010 10:40 Comments(0), Read all
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A great site for those fallen in RVN

This is a complete listing by state and city of those who fell during their tour of duty in the Republic of Viet Nam theater.  It is basically a virtual wall of those service members who fell.  It also provides a very brief biographical sketch of those who lost their lives.


http://www.virtualwall.org/iStates.htm


by mlanderson16, Friday, 05 February 2010 13:37 Comments(0), Read all
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2009 Group Photo - Manistee MI

Manistee Mi Reunion


Seated L to R - Joe Havrilla (Tan Shirt), Gerald "Snuffy" McGough (Green Shirt), Ross Bonduel (Blue Shirt), Mark Eastman (Black Shirt), Bob Edwards (White Shirt), Van Kominitsky (Blue Shirt), Bill Walsh (White Shirt), Tommy Thomas (Blue Shirt), Dennis Lovick (Blue Shirt), Bob Slade (Tan Shirt) and Tom Grybowski (White Shirt)


Standing L to R - Richard Vincent (Blue Shirt), Patrick Duffield (White Shirt), Bailey Stauffer (Red Striped Shirt), Dwight Clements (Tan Shirt), ??????? (Tan Shirt), Dennis Cameron (Green Shirt), Myron Anderson (Tan Shirt), George Gentry (White Shirt LRP Hat), Dick Moyer (Tan Shirt), John Chichester (Yellow Shirt), Jeff Burke (Blue Shirt), Al Souza (Gray Shirt), Keith "Lurch" Morris (White Shirt), Clark Etterman (Black Shirt), Mike Feller (Green Shirt), Ed Dvorak (Blue Shirt), Russell Dillon (Blue Shirt), Don Carson (Red Shirt), and Peter Laizik (Blue Shirt)


***Not Pictured - Roger Green



by JohnChi, Tuesday, 20 October 2009 15:06 Comments(1), Read all
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A Must Watch Political Sattire Video

 You must see this devastating piece of political satire on youtube.   Brilliantly excecuted, and spot on!
 
     http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=3CAX3aJCoDg


by JohnChi, Sunday, 09 August 2009 09:35 Comments(0), Read all
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Reunion - Transportation

For those that might be wondering - How do I get to Manistee Mi for the reunion?  It's a simple answer - There is a flight from Milwaukee WI that flies directly into Manistee MI.  I have heard that others are flying into other cities then renting cars.  Irrespective of of the method of transportation you choose - PLEASE COME!


by JohnChi, Sunday, 12 July 2009 10:37 Comments(0), Read all
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reunion news update ..airlines

Blacker Airport Manistee (MBL) is served by Great Lakes Airlines 1 800 554 5111 www.flygreatlakes.com  or reservations@flygreatlakes.com connections thru Milwalikee are the only way that I know of . Bailey said he got a cheep connecting flight from Az. (See You In September) later Feller


by lastfng, Sunday, 21 June 2009 21:38 Comments(0), Read all
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Reunion Update

Just recieved word that the River View and Hot Tub Rooms are all rented and reservations are going well Thanks for the support Feller


by lastfng, Saturday, 02 May 2009 11:54 Comments(0), Read all
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September 2009 EB Reunion in Manastee MI.

September Reunion In Manastee Mi.


If you plan on attending please forward via email to johnchi8@aol.com your name, arrivial date, etc. so I can try to put an attendence log together.  You may have already told someone you are coming but for those that have not please let me know and I will compile a formal list of attendees..  Don't forget to mention spouse's, children and or friends that might join you


by JohnChi, Saturday, 02 May 2009 09:48 Comments(0), Read all
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Pretty Interesting. Medal of Honor claims far exceed the number issued


AP: POW benefit claimants exceed recorded POWs



By ALLEN G. BREED, AP National Writer Allen G. Breed, Ap National Writer 57 mins ago


<!-- end .byline -->

Prisoners of war suffer in ways most veterans don't, enduring humiliating forced marches, torture or other trauma that may haunt them long afterward. In partial recompense, the government extends them special benefits, from free parking and tax breaks to priority in medical treatment.


Trouble is, some of the much-admired recipients of these benefits apparently don't deserve them.


There are only 21 surviving POWs from the first Gulf War in 1991, the Department of Defense says. Yet the Department of Veterans Affairs is paying disability benefits to 286 service members it says were taken prisoner during that conflict, according to data released by VA to The Associated Press.


A similar discrepancy arises with Vietnam POWs. Only 661 officially recognized prisoners returned from that war alive — and about 100 of those have since died, according to Defense figures. But 966 purported Vietnam POWs are getting disability payments, the VA told AP.


Being classified as a POW doesn't directly increase a veteran's monthly disability check. There's no "POW payment."


But a tale of torture and privation can influence whether a vet receives some money or nothing at all in disability payments — and the VA's numbers raise questions about how often such tales are exaggerated or invented altogether.


For one Korean War veteran, a made-up story helped to ensure more than $400,000 in benefits before his lies were discovered. A Gulf War vet told a tale of beatings and mock executions, though he was never even a POW. Four women Vietnam vets blamed disabilities on their time as prisoners — even though there's no record of female POWs in that war.


At the root of the problem is a disconnect between two branches of government: The Defense Department determines POW status and posts the lists online; the VA awards benefits, but evidently does not always check the DoD list to verify applicants' claims. Result: Numbers of benefit recipients that are higher than the number of recognized POWs.


"They're either phonies or there's a major administrative error somewhere," retired Navy Cmdr. Paul Galanti, who is on a VA advisory panel for POW issues, said when told of the agency's numbers.


VA spokesman Terry Jemison says POW status is confirmed "in conjunction with Department of Defense authoritative records." But the agency has not explained discrepancies between its POW numbers and the DoD's, despite repeated requests for comment.


Galanti, who was shot down over North Vietnam in 1966 and spent nearly seven years in the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" prison, calls the discrepancy "outrageous" and adds: "Somebody ought to get fired for that."


But as service members return from Iraq and Afghanistan, he knows an investigation that could bog down benefits would be shouted down as anti-veteran. And so the investigating falls to private watchdog groups like the P.O.W. Network, which says it has outed some 2,000 POW pretenders.


Nothing could be more pro-veteran, such groups say, than to go after people who are taking money meant for their comrades — and also, in effect, stealing their honor.


___


There's incentive to lie. A 100 percent disability rating can be worth more than $35,000 a year in tax-free VA benefits for a married veteran with at least one dependent child — not to mention also making the veteran eligible for Social Security disability payments, and full health coverage and significant educational benefits for himself and his family.


And a POW designation in VA files puts a vet in a special category under federal regulations.


Normally a veteran's "lay testimony" about traumatizing events — or stressors — is not considered proof when applying for disability with the Veterans Benefits Administration, or VBA, the agency's claims arm. However, the regulations add: "If the evidence establishes that the veteran was a prisoner-of-war ... the veteran's lay testimony alone may establish the occurrence of the claimed in-service stressor."


So, if a veteran told a VA psychiatrist that he had been a POW, and that story, true or not, formed the basis of the doctor's post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis, what does that mean?


"I would probably accept the paperwork," says Richard Allen of Wichita, Kan., who retired from the VBA in January after 25 years as a claims specialist.


"They're home free if they're a confirmed POW," says Allen, himself a Vietnam-era Army veteran. "We don't ask any other questions as far as verification of stressors."


POWs are exempt from copays for VA inpatient and outpatient care and medications. And POWs are entitled to an annual evaluation at the Robert E. Mitchell Center for Prisoner of War Studies in Pensacola, Fla., travel and other expenses paid. That applies only to those on the Defense list, says Dr. Robert E. Hain, executive director of the Navy-run facility.


"That's essentially the gold standard," says Hain, a retired Navy captain.


Many states offer POWs free parking at public facilities, property tax exemptions and a waiver of vehicle registration fees. That can mean hundreds of dollars saved when buying a car and hundreds more in annual renewals with POW tags.


All it takes is a letter from a VA facility, which may or may not have verified the veteran's story.


The P.O.W. Network says most phonies are just braggarts puffing at the local Kiwanis luncheon or preening for women in bars, but many have received significant benefits while trading off their borrowed valor.


Edward Lee Daily of Clarksville, Tenn., collected more than $412,000 in disability and medical benefits over 15 years before being exposed.


Daily, who spent most of the Korean war as a mechanic and clerk, far from the front, took advantage of a fire that destroyed documents at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. He forged paperwork not only to show he was a POW, but that he'd been wounded by shrapnel and given a battlefield promotion to first lieutenant.


Daily pleaded guilty in 2002, and was sentenced to 21 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution. After years of garnishing his monthly Social Security check, the government has recouped just $7,000. (Daily also gave fabricated information to the AP in interviews for an unrelated story in 1999.)


VA's Jemison says the Veterans Health Administration, the agency's medical arm, confirms a veteran's POW status using DoD records.


But that doesn't explain people like Daily or John Karl Lee, of El Paso, Texas.


Lee's POW tale is set at the time of the Gulf War in 1991. The Army reservist claimed in interviews that he and two comrades were taken while fighting was raging, and only after emptying their M-16s at the pursuing Iraqis.


"We were beaten with the butt of their AK-47s," he told El Paso Inc. in 2002. "Sometimes in the leg, head, even the groin."


The truth was that he and the other two were sightseeing in Kuwait after the war had ended, and their vehicle strayed into Iraq. They were arrested by Iraqi authorities and held for three days at a hotel, where they were fed well, his comrades later said.


"I was held against my will," Lee told the AP in a recent interview.


Lee told AP he received a VA medical card identifying him as a former prisoner. (His documentation included an application to the VBA for POW status.) For a time, he received full disability payments from the U.S. Labor Department, supposedly for injuries and PTSD from his three weeks — not days — in captivity.


When authorities discovered Lee was running a business, they charged him with fraud and making false statements. He was convicted and ordered to pay nearly $230,000 in restitution and fines.


Lee is now applying to have some VA benefits reinstated.


The phenomenon of the fake POW is nothing new — frauds have been outed from conflicts going back at least to World War II. And it's not limited just to men.


When the landmark National Vietnam Veteran Readjustment Study came out in 1988, four of the 427 female veterans surveyed attributed their stress to their time as POWs. That's impossible, says B.G. "Jug" Burkett, co-author of the book, "Stolen Valor: How the Vietnam Generation was Robbed of its Heroes and its History."


"There just plain weren't any," says Burkett, himself an Army officer in Vietnam.


___


Under federal law, only the secretary of defense — through the heads of the various military service branches — is authorized to declare someone a prisoner of war — "and until the service reports a person as a POW, then he is NOT one," says Larry Greer.


Greer is a spokesman for the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office, which maintains a database of officially recognized POWs for most wars. A separate list for the Vietnam War is called Personnel Missing - Southeast Asia, or PMSEA.


Critics say the VA could use the lists, which are accessible online, to identify red-flag cases, but doesn't.


Until last week, the VA had claimed on its Web site that it also had the authority to confer POW status. But after the AP pointed out the federal law, that language was struck "in light of your observations," spokesman Jemison says.


Mike McGrath, historian and past president of Nam-POWs, Inc., which represents most Vietnam war prisoners, has sent letters to two successive VA secretaries offering to compare the Defense list with the VBA's list of POW beneficiaries.


McGrath, a retired Navy captain who was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967 and was not repatriated until 1973, says he was either ignored or told that the VA's computers simply couldn't isolate the names of POWs who were receiving disability money.


"In one hour I could give the list ... back to them (and say) these are the people you should look at as possible errors or, in extreme cases, as possible fraud," says McGrath, who once exposed a phony who not only had a POW card but was working as a trauma counselor for the VA in Denver. "The bureaucracy is so huge that no one has the time or interest to give a damn."


The VBA, citing the federal Privacy Act, refused AP's requests to even confirm whether a particular beneficiary is listed as a POW in its files.


The P.O.W. Network, made up of veterans and civilians, says it has copies of VA documents conferring POW status on people who never even served in the military. When confronted, some have claimed their names aren't on the Defense list because they were on a secret, CIA-sponsored mission that remains classified, but that doesn't wash.


While a person's military record might not say what he or she was doing when captured, it would still reflect the captivity, McGrath says — whether in a notation in a muster roll or a telegram to family back in the States. Even people who were captured and freed the same day are included on the DPMO-PMSEA lists.


"If a man's missing from a unit in any type of action, a whole series of things happen that start documentation that still exists today," he says. "The military is responsible for a human being."


___


It's surprisingly easy to fake a record of being a war prisoner.


P.O.W. Network co-founder Mary Schantag has purchased stacks of surplus military separation forms on the Internet, where she says everything someone would need to create his own service file is available.


"These guys are way too good at it," says Schantag, who formed the group with her husband, Chuck. "And the people at the VA are NOT good enough at it."


Take the case of retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Barr Cayton.


For years, the Texan told stories about how he and another member of his Ranger squad were taken prisoner during a January 1971 firefight in Vietnam. Cayton told of regaining consciousness and finding his arms tied to a branch across his shoulders, and of being marched from village to village with a leash around his neck as a propaganda tool.


"They did degrading, inhumane things to us," he told a Texas newspaper, adding that finally, after 20 days in captivity, he managed to escape.


It was all a lie. Records from the National Archives show that Cayton was accounted for during the entire period he cited — Jan. 1-21 — and that no one from his unit was ever taken prisoner. In fact, Cayton received a Silver Star medal for an action that occurred on Jan. 10, 1971, midway through his alleged captivity.


A falsified copy of an official form was placed in his file at the St. Louis repository, the source to which all other agencies turn for documentation of a veteran's service. "'PRISONER OF WAR, CO G, 75TH INF (ABN RGR), VIETNAM, 710101-710121,'" the forged document says.


After years of prodding by P.O.W. Network members, the Army's Criminal Investigation Command looked into Cayton's case. In the end, Cayton was placed in a federal pretrial diversion program and ordered to correct his records in St. Louis.


However, when the AP filed a Freedom of Information Act request recently for Cayton's file, the documents that came back appeared unchanged — still reflecting 20 days in captivity.


Cayton did not respond to AP calls seeking comment, but in a letter to the Schantags, he apologized "if my statements and representations have misled or offended any of my fellow service members, past and present."


The VA refused to comment on the case. But in response to the Army's inquiry, the agency maintained that Cayton, as a combat veteran, "would have received the same amount of compensation without claiming he was a POW, and accordingly there was no loss to the U.S. Government."


Veterans who served with Cayton have their own views.


He was a "glory seeker" who exaggerated other exploits, too, says then-Capt. Mark Hansen, who regrets recommending Cayton for the Silver Star.


Chuck Ford, who was in Cayton's unit and says there was no enemy contact on the day for which Cayton received that decoration, says, "It infuriates me. And he's drawing MONEY for this? He's stealing from other soldiers?"


___


Greer of DoD's POW/Missing Office says cases like this illustrate the painstaking research involved in verifying someone's POW status. It often requires checking unit rosters, roll calls, payroll records and after-action reports, something for which the VA has neither the personnel nor the mandate.


"On behalf of the United States government and the taxpayer, I would do a lot of verifying before I would lay the POW label on him," says Greer.


The VA is under fire for a huge backlog in disability applications, which the agency says is partly due to its own diligent fact-checking. Veterans groups have sued the agency, saying the long wait and VA's questions have driven some deserving vets to suicide. On Friday, President Obama announced a more efficient record system to ease delays in health care for wounded veterans.


While mindful of VA's challenges, McGrath of Nam-POWs says every dollar that goes to a phony is one that's not available for those who've earned it.


"I'm not a vigilante," McGrath says. "But it's just the right thing to do."


Burkett, the "Stolen Valor" author, says people who make up these stories are doing more than just taking money from fellow veterans.


"It's stealing from the dead," he says. "It's a form of sacrilege."




by JohnChi, Saturday, 11 April 2009 14:01 Comments(0), Read all
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We could certainly use someone like Tammy Duckworth in the VA

N.C. Sen. Burr delays vote on Iraq veteran's confirmation




WASHINGTON - Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina is delaying the nomination vote and swearing-in of injured Iraq veteran Tammy Duckworth for a top post in the Veterans Affairs administration.


His actions angered some veterans groups Friday.


"Senator Burr has had plenty of time to ask questions of her," Jon Soltz, the chairman of VoteVets.org, an organization of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, said in a statement. "Senator Burr is only hurting American veterans with this nonsense. He should stop playing petty partisan games, stop needling the White House for the sheer fun of it and grow up."


Burr still has questions about Duckworth's nomination, his office said.


Aides said that Burr didn't have a hold on the vote, but he told Duckworth and the White House this week that his questions hadn't been answered, so the Senate's planned confirmation vote was delayed.


"He's basically doing some due diligence, as he does for every nominee to ensure veterans have the best representation," said Burr's spokesman, David Ward. "It's the same thing he would do with any nominee."


Ward declined to discuss what the questions were.


Burr is the top Republican on the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs.


Duckworth, a National Guard major and an icon among many veterans, lost both her legs when the helicopter she was piloting was attacked in Iraq in 2004. She's now the head of veterans affairs for the state of Illinois.


President Barack Obama tapped her two months ago to become the assistant secretary of veterans affairs. Her Senate nomination hearing was Wednesday morning, with a confirmation vote planned for Thursday and a swearing-in scheduled for Friday.


Congress has gone into a two-week recess, meaning a vote probably won't happen until at least April 21.



by JohnChi, Friday, 03 April 2009 19:26 Comments(0), Read all
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How to Register

If you are having problems registering click below and fill in All fields









http://elitebastards.org/forum/register.php

 


 


by JohnChi, Tuesday, 31 March 2009 18:53 Comments(0), Read all
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Winning remains possible

Obama Drops Veterans Health Care Proposal after Intense Criticism




WASHINGTON - A White House plan to change the way veterans pay for their health care came under intense fire in the nation's capitol, including criticism from U.S. Senator Patty Murray.

Currently, veterans with war or service related injuries receive care from the veterans Administration at no cost. Under the White House proposal, those services would have been billed to a veteran's private insurance instead, saving nearly $500 million a year.But war veterans spoke out arguing it was the veterans who took care of this country, and it's now time for the country to take care of them.

Democratic Senator Patty Murray agreed saying, "I believe first of all that our men and women who have served us have already paid the price, they don't need to be paying for it again."

Senator Patty Murray said President Obama must have heard the complaints and ultimately backed down from his proposal. She adds there is still a need to find ways of saving money, which Murray hopes will not add further sacrifice to veterans in the future.



by JohnChi, Sunday, 22 March 2009 18:41 Comments(1), Read all
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An absolute disgrace

The American Legion Strongly Opposed to President's Plan to Charge Wounded Heroes for Treatment
Contact: Craig Roberts of The American Legion, +1-202-263-2982 Office, +1-202-406-0887 Cell




 WASHINGTON, March 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The leader of the nation's largest veterans organization says he is "deeply disappointed and concerned" after a meeting with President Obama today to discuss a proposal to force private insurance companies to pay for the treatment of military veterans who have suffered service-connected disabilities and injuries. The Obama administration recently revealed a plan to require private insurance carriers to reimburse the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in such cases. 


"It became apparent during our discussion today that the President intends to move forward with this unreasonable plan," said Commander David K. Rehbein of The American Legion. "He says he is looking to generate $540-million by this method, but refused to hear arguments about the moral and government-avowed obligations that would be compromised by it." 


The Commander, clearly angered as he emerged from the session said, "This reimbursement plan would be inconsistent with the mandate ' to care for him who shall have borne the battle' given that the United States government sent members of the armed forces into harm's way, and not private insurance companies. I say again that The American Legion does not and will not support any plan that seeks to bill a veteran for treatment of a service connected disability at the very agency that was created to treat the unique need of America's veterans!" 


Commander Rehbein was among a group of senior officials from veterans service organizations joining the President, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki and Steven Kosiak, the overseer of defense spending at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The group's early afternoon conversation at The White House was precipitated by a letter of protest presented to the President earlier this month. The letter, co-signed by Commander Rehbein and the heads of ten colleague organizations, read, in part, " There is simply no logical explanation for billing a veteran's personal insurance for care that the VA has a responsibility to provide. While we understand the fiscal difficulties this country faces right now, placing the burden of those fiscal problems on the men and women who have already sacrificed a great deal for this country is unconscionable."


 Commander Rehbein reiterated points made last week in testimony to both House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees. It was stated then that The American Legion believes that the reimbursement plan would be inconsistent with the mandate that VA treat service-connected injuries and disabilities given that the United States government sends members of the armed forces into harm's way, and not private insurance companies. The proposed requirement for these companies to reimburse the VA would not only be unfair, says the Legion, but would have an adverse impact on service-connected disabled veterans and their families. The Legion argues that, depending on the severity of the medical conditions involved, maximum insurance coverage limits could be reached through treatment of the veteran's condition alone. That would leave the rest of the family without health care benefits. The Legion also points out that many health insurance companies require deductibles to be paid before any benefits are covered. Additionally, the Legion is concerned that private insurance premiums would be elevated to cover service-connected disabled veterans and their families, especially if the veterans are self-employed or employed in small businesses unable to negotiate more favorable across-the-board insurance policy pricing. The American Legion also believes that some employers, especially small businesses, would be reluctant to hire veterans with service-connected disabilities due to the negative impact their employment might have on obtaining and financing company health care benefits. 


"I got the distinct impression that the only hope of this plan not being enacted," said Commander Rehbein, "is for an alternative plan to be developed that would generate the desired $540-million in revenue. The American Legion has long advocated for Medicare reimbursement to VA for the treatment of veterans. This, we believe, would more easily meet the President's financial goal. We will present that idea in an anticipated conference call with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel in the near future. 


"I only hope the administration will really listen to us then. This matter has far more serious ramifications than the President is imagining," concluded the Commander.




by JohnChi, Tuesday, 17 March 2009 22:29 Comments(0), Read all
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March 17th, 461 - Saint Patrick Dies

March 17, 461


Saint Patrick dies


On this day in 461 A.D., Saint Patrick, Christian missionary, bishop and apostle of Ireland, dies at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland. 


Much of what is known about Patrick's legendary life comes from the Confessio, a book he wrote during his last years. Born in Great Britain, probably in Scotland, to a well-to-do Christian family of Roman citizenship, Patrick was captured and enslaved at age 16 by Irish marauders. For the next six years, he worked as a herder in Ireland, turning to a deepening religious faith for comfort. Following the counsel of a voice he heard in a dream one night, he escaped and found passage on a ship to Britain, where he was eventually reunited with his family.


 According to the Confessio, in Britain Patrick had another dream, in which an individual named Victoricus gave him a letter, entitled "The Voice of the Irish." As he read it, Patrick seemed to hear the voices of Irishmen pleading him to return to their country and walk among them once more. After studying for the priesthood, Patrick was ordained a bishop. He arrived in Ireland in 433 and began preaching the Gospel, converting many thousands of Irish and building churches around the country. After 40 years of living in poverty, teaching, traveling and working tirelessly, Patrick died on March 17, 461 in Saul, where he had built his first church. 


Since that time, countless legends have grown up around Patrick. Made the patron saint of Ireland, he is said to have baptized hundreds of people on a single day, and to have used a three-leaf clover--the famous shamrock--to describe the Holy Trinity. In art, he is often portrayed trampling on snakes, in accordance with the belief that he drove those reptiles out of Ireland. For thousands of years, the Irish have observed the day of Saint Patrick's death as a religious holiday, attending church in the morning and celebrating with food and drink in the afternoon. The first St. Patrick's Day parade, though, took place not in Ireland, but the United States, when Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City in 1762. As the years went on, the parades became a show of unity and strength for persecuted Irish-American immigrants, and then a popular celebration of Irish-American heritage. The party went global in 1995, when the Irish government began a large-scale campaign to market St. Patrick's Day as a way of driving tourism and showcasing Ireland's many charms to the rest of the world. Today, March 17 is a day of international celebration, as millions of people around the globe put on their best green clothing to drink beer, watch parades and toast the luck of the Irish.


by JohnChi, Tuesday, 17 March 2009 21:52 Comments(0), Read all
 
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