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18 January, 2019 07:14 | Arizona Dept. |


Good morning Legionnaires and veterans advocates, as we speak is Friday, January 18, 2019 which is Nationwide Gourmand Espresso Day, Winnie the Pooh Day, Nationwide Peking Duck Day and Thesaurus Day.
This Weekend in Legion Historical past:

  • Jan. 19, 1920: A newly shaped nationwide Committee on Americanism of The American Legion, together with division Americanism chairmen, seems earlier than the Army Affairs Committee of the Home of Representatives and presents an agenda that features help within the naturalization and citizenship of immigrants to the USA.
  • Jan. 19 – March 11, 1937: The American Legion raises over $250,000 and delivers it to the Pink Cross to assist victims of floods on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. As with the 1927 flood, American Legion posts and volunteers rework into aid facilities and emergency staff within the devastated areas, distributing some 5,000 tons of meals and three,000 tons of clothes. Tons of of Legionnaire-owned boats are deployed to seek for victims, and a cellular radio unit from a Jamestown, NY, American Legion publish is amongst many referred to as into service when different communications are knocked out. Greater than 1 million lose their houses within the floods, which take the lives of roughly 350 individuals.
  • Jan. 20, 1953: On the request of newly elected President Dwight Eisenhower, The American Legion organizes and leads the primary of what turns into the “Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball,” inviting all dwelling Medal of Honor recipients to greet the brand new president on the day the oath of workplace is taken. Eisenhower, a member of James R. Cutler American Legion Publish 39 in Abilene, Kan., and Supreme Allied Commander-Europe in World Warfare II, goes on to serve two full phrases within the White Home.
  • Jan. 20, 1961: World Struggle II Navy veteran John F. Kennedy, a member of Crosscup-Pishon American Legion Publish 281 in Boston, is inaugurated as president of the USA. In the course of the warfare, Kennedy had command of two patrol torpedo (PT) boats, the 109 and the 59. He survived an assault by a Japanese destroyer and swam to security, towing together with him a badly burned member of his crew. After serving in Congress from 1947 till 1960, he’s elected president, defeating one other Legionnaire, Richard M. Nixon, in one of many closest presidential races in historical past.
  • Jan. 20, 1993: Invoice Clinton, who famously met President John F. Kennedy throughout his participation in American Legion Boys Nation 30 years earlier, is inaugurated into workplace because the 42nd president of america. Throughout his administration, the Division of Veterans Affairs undergoes a serious overhaul, dramatically enhancing high quality of health-care providers and opening eligibility to VA medical care to all who honorably served within the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • Jan. 20, 1989: George H.W. Bush, a Houston American Legion member who served as a naval aviator throughout World Conflict II, is inaugurated because the 41st U.S. president. He would go on to function commander-in-chief throughout Operations Desert Storm and Desert Defend, the Gulf Struggle that might convey america into army battle with Center Japanese dictatorships and terrorists.
  • Jan. 21, 1935: American Legion Legislative Committee Vice Chairman John Thomas Taylor seems on the duvet of TIME Journal. The World Struggle I fight veteran who participated within the Paris Caucus of 1919 goes on to turn into the Legion’s chief lobbyist in Washington and fights off Melancholy-driven proposed cuts in veterans advantages. Believed to have labored to cross greater than 600 payments to help veterans, Taylor is later recalled to lively obligation in World Struggle II, promoted to brigadier basic and serves beneath Gen. George S. Patton in Africa, Italy and France.
  • Jan. 21, 1977: Newly elected President Carter indicators Government Order No. 1 granting a full, full and unconditional pardon to those that had violated the Selective Service Act between 1964 and 1973, together with roughly 9,000 convicted of draft evasion. The American Legion had been vocal in its opposition to any type of amnesty granted to anybody who dodged the draft whereas others went to warfare. Carter had outlined his plan to pardon the violators on the 1976 American Legion Nationwide Conference in Seattle. The Legionnaires, lots of whom booed the announcement, have been strongly against amnesty of any type and explored authorized and constitutional violations if such a pardon have been to happen. Following President Carter’s order, the pardons are issued, and American Legion leaders publicly warn what such a transfer will imply for nationwide safety within the occasion of a future draft.


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Army Occasions: Report cites considerations with VA safety employees, says former secretary used his driver to chauffeur his spouse
By: Leo Shane III   18 hours in the past
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WASHINGTON — Safety officers charged with defending the Veterans Affairs secretary have been careless with journey info, collected false additional time funds and improperly acted as a chauffeur for one secretary’s spouse, in response to a report from the division’s inspector generalreleased Thursday.
The evaluation dates again to 2015 and gives a number of considerations with administration and operations at VA’s Government Safety Division. It blasts leaders for “an informal and deficient threat assessment process” and lists gear issues going unaddressed for a number of years.
Officers from the Inspector Common’s workplace discovered few causes to criticize former VA Secretary David Shulkin for his use of the safety element, a subject of rumor and accusations within the veterans group for a number of years.
The report says his requests for elevated safety have been uncommon however not improper, given threats towards the workplace and the administration, and his use of safety employees for abroad journey was consistent with division insurance policies.
Nevertheless, it does criticize Shulkin for utilizing his private driver to move his spouse on a number of events, regardless of being warned that might run afoul of federal ethics guidelines. Investigators referred to as it a transparent violation of public taxpayer funds.
Additionally they discovered that in Shulkin’s controversial journey to Europe in July 2017, three brokers claimed to be offering safety for the secretary once they have been truly sightseeing in Sweden. Investigators stated they have been capable of obtain improper pay for the time due to the division was “without effective supervision” on the time.
One yr in the past, the inspector common issued a report detailing a number of ethics points with that journey, together with Shulkin improperly paying for his spouse’s journey with taxpayer funds, utilizing VA personnel to rearrange sightseeing journeys, and accepting tickets to a Wimbledon tennis match in violation of federal laws.
Shulkin was fired by President Donald Trump in March 2017, partially due to his dealing with of the journey and the following public outcry.
The brand new report doesn’t element any points together with his dealing with of safety employees on the journey, however does criticize Shulkin for utilizing his private driver to move his spouse on a number of events, regardless of being warned that might violate federal ethics guidelines.
However the bigger administration points inside the safety division level to critical issues that date again even earlier than Shulkin’s tenure, and weren’t corrected till final yr.
They embrace guards leaving motorcade car keys in unsecure areas for comfort, sharing secretaries’ journey schedules with non-VA staff, and brokers failing to put on bulletproof physique armor as a result of “agents had complained the vests were uncomfortable.”
Investigators additionally discovered quite a few incidents of employees being overworked. One driver for the division had 92 situations of working greater than 14 hours in a day and a stint of 19 consecutive days on obligation.
In response to the report, VA officers famous administration modifications inside the division within the final yr that addressed most of the failings. Additionally they promised administrative motion towards any staff who submitted false time playing cards or violated different division guidelines, and blamed the issue on Shulkin’s administration.
“Some employees willfully engaged in bad security practices because the former VA Secretary and Chief of Staff did not allow (appropriate) leadership to hold them accountable,” officers stated of their response.
The division spent about $2.6 million in government safety providers in 2017, a lot of that in personnel base salaries and extra time prices.
The complete report is on the market on the VA Inspector Basic’s website.
Navy Occasions: Insurer USAA provides $15M in interest-free loans for Coast Guard members throughout shutdown
By: The Related Press  13 hours in the past
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SAN ANTONIO — A army personnel insurer and monetary providers firm has donated $15 million for interest-free loans to Coast Guard members in the course of the partial U.S. authorities shutdown.
San Antonio-based USAA on Wednesday introduced the funds shall be disbursed by Coast Guard Mutual Help. The American Pink Cross Hero Care Middle will help.
Coast Guard personnel with dependents are eligible for interest-free loans as much as $1,000. Service members with out dependents are eligible for as much as $750.
Officers say the loans are supposed to cowl an estimated two weeks of shortfalls because of Coast Guard personnel not being paid throughout the federal government shutdown, which started Dec. 22.
USAA, in line with its web site, provides insurance coverage and different monetary merchandise to greater than 12.eight million present and ex-members of the U.S. army and their households.

ReBoot Camp: Trump lately signed two veterans payments into regulation. Right here’s how they’ll have an effect on you.
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By: Natalie Gross 19 hours in the past
On its method out the door, the 115th Congress handed a pair of payments aimed toward enhancing schooling and different points of the transition from army to civilian life.
Now that President Trump’s signature has made them regulation, right here’s what the Veterans Advantages and Transition Act and the Endlessly GI Invoice Housing Cost Achievement Act imply for veterans and army households.
1. No extra punishing GI Invoice college students for the VA’s errors

Final fall, main know-how failures on the Division of Veterans Affairs led to delayed and inaccurate funds for hundreds of Publish-9/11 GI Invoice customers, because the company did not implement a provision of the Perpetually GI Invoice regulation that modified the best way housing stipends are calculated.
In some instances, college students grappling with late lease or mortgage payments because of the delays confronted one other problem: Their faculties charged late charges for tuition payments that VA didn’t pay on time, blocked entry to campus amenities or didn’t permit them to register for the subsequent semester of courses till their stability was coated.
Ashlynne Haycock, deputy director of coverage and laws for the Tragedy Help Program for Survivors, stated members of her group have been even suggested by faculties to take out loans to cowl tuition prices — despite the fact that the funds have been late via no fault of their very own.
A portion of the Veterans Advantages and Transition Act, signed into regulation Dec. 31, requires faculties to finish these practices in the event that they need to hold enrolling college students utilizing GI Invoice advantages.
“We are very excited to see this finally come to fruition,” Haycock informed Army Occasions because the invoice was making its method via Congress. “We wish it would’ve been in place when things happened with the Forever GI Bill that weren’t so great, but clearly that was a sign that this needed to happen.”
2. VA should repair incorrect funds
About these late funds. The brand new Perpetually GI Invoice Housing Cost Achievement Act holds the VA accountable for retroactively fixing funds that have been inaccurate because of the know-how issues.
To perform this, the regulation establishes a so-called “tiger team” to supervise these reimbursements. The group is required to report back to Congress each 90 days on the reimbursement plan, and, by July 2020, report what number of GI Invoice beneficiaries have been impacted, and to what extent.
The invoice additionally holds the division to its promise to not acquire on any overpayments made to GI Invoice customers.
“For many student veterans, every dime counts. That’s why the VA needs to get this right and pay student veterans the full amount of money they were promised,” Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, stated in a press release. The senator co-sponsored the laws, which additionally turned regulation Dec. 31.
In a Jan. four tackle to some 2,300 scholar veteransattending the annual Scholar Veterans of America Nationwide Convention, VA Sec. Robert Wilkie assured college students that anybody who was underpaid because of the know-how points will probably be made entire.
“The bottom line is: We owe you every penny that you’ve earned,” he stated. “That is what the nation has promised you, and that is what you deserve.”
GI Invoice customers who didn’t obtain a cost-of-living improve on their fall 2018 funds will get a verify within the mail for the distinction by the top of the month. The remainder of the fixes gained’t occur till no less than December, when the VA is slated to have its up to date know-how techniques in place.
three. Extra leverage with landlords
VA can also be required to do one thing else for scholar veterans beneath the Veterans Advantages and Transition Act: present them with digital proof that they are going to be receiving housing funds from the VA. College students can then present these to landlords.
College students who reside in high-cost areas, particularly, can have hassle discovering housing and not using a job to placed on their software, in response to a Home Veterans Affairs Committee staffer acquainted with the laws. The documentation from VA would offer info for landlords, similar to how a lot and the way lengthy a veteran shall be receiving advantages that assist them pay for housing.
One other provision of the brand new regulation permits the partner of a service member who dies on lively obligation to terminate a residential lease for as much as one yr after the demise with out being penalized. This expands on the Servicemembers Civil Aid Act, which permits service members to interrupt lease in the event that they deploy or PCS.
four. Native assist for transitioning service members
For troops transitioning out of the army, the VA will now submit an inventory of packages and organizations that may assist.
The regulation requires the VA to contract with a non-federal entity to determine these packages, which can embrace smaller, extra community-based organizations, based on the committee aide.
5. Higher entry to jobs packages for homeless veterans
This provision of the Veterans Advantages and Transition Act is “an absolute game changer” for homeless veterans, stated Kathryn Monet, CEO of the Nationwide Coalition for Homeless Veterans, which has been advocating for a regulation like this for 5 years.
Beforehand, veterans needed to be both on the streets or in a shelter to qualify for employment help beneath the federal Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program. However now, veterans have 60 days after shifting into housing to use for these providers.
The supply applies to veterans collaborating within the Division of Housing and City Improvement-VA Supportive Housing program and an analogous initiative for Native American veterans, in addition to the Supportive Providers for Veteran Households program. It additionally applies to veterans who’re transitioning after being incarcerated and different just lately homeless veterans, in line with a abstract of the laws launched by Congress.
“It’s basically the difference between housed and going back to homelessness for some of these veterans,” Monet stated, including later, “We know from our work how important this bill is to fix systemic problems that create unnecessary barriers to housing stability for veterans.”
6. Employment advantages for extra reservists
Sure members of the Nationwide Guard and reserves referred to as to lively obligation could have extra time to make use of advantages underneath the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program, or Voc Rehab.
This system supplies job counseling and different providers for veterans with a VA incapacity score of 20 % or greater. Veterans that qualify should use this system inside 12 years of separating from the army.
The clock will get paused for Guardsmen and reservists referred to as to lively obligation. So, in the event that they get activated for a yr, they may get one other yr to finish Voc Rehab.
Earlier than the brand new regulation, this didn’t apply to members serving underneath specific orders referring to nationwide emergencies and combatant instructions. Consequently, such service members would lose time to make use of the profit as they continued to serve. Now, the clock will get paused for them the identical means because it does for his or her fellow Guardsman and reservists.
Daniel Elkins, legislative director on the Enlisted Affiliation of the Nationwide Guard of the USA, stated the brand new regulation will assist most of the group’s constituents. Voc Rehab advantages are “hugely important” for many who are service disabled, and this “is an extremely beneficial expansion to those benefits and long overdue,” he stated.
7. Voting modifications for army spouses
Army spouses can now elect to make use of the identical residence as their active-duty partner for state and native voting functions, no matter when or the place they acquired married and whether or not they’re presently dwelling in that state due to army orders.
Beforehand, a partner needed to meet the residency necessities of a state on his or her personal benefit for the needs of voting.
eight. Enhanced burial rights
The brand new regulation permits spouses and youngsters of active-duty service members to be buried in veteran cemeteries, even when they move away earlier than the service member — one thing that was beforehand allowed however solely with the VA’s approval.
“We did expedite that,” stated Patricia Lynch Watts, director of legislative and regulatory service for the Nationwide Cemetery Administration. “We tried not to make that too burdensome on the family, but there is certain information that we had to ask for, and it had to go through the process of being approved here by the secretary or the undersecretary, which could delay plans for burial by the family.”
The regulation additionally offers headstones and markers for burials in tribal cemeteries that obtain grants from the VA. Watts stated this corrects a earlier oversight, which granted these for state veteran cemeteries however not these on tribal lands.
There are presently 11 tribal veteran cemeteries throughout the nation and one other two beneath development, in response to info offered by the VA.
Watts stated the VA is supportive of each modifications.

Army Occasions: Trump cancels Pelosi’s use of army plane for Afghanistan journey
By: Tara Copp and Leo Shane III  15 hours in the past
President Donald Trump notified Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi Thursday that she wouldn’t be allowed to make use of army plane for an upcoming journey to Afghanistan, citing the price range shutdown.
“I’m sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan has been postponed,” Trump wrote in a signed letter launched by the White Home. “We will reschedule this excursion when the Shutdown is over.”
The letter appeared to be in direct response to Pelosi asking the president to postpone his State of the Union tackle, held within the Home chambers of Congress, till the shutdown is over. In her discover, Pelosi stated that the unpaid Secret Service and Division of Homeland Safety might not have the ability to present satisfactory safety.
Pelosi’s journey had been tasked out by the Workplace of the Secretary of Protection and authorised, the Air Pressure stated. That journey would have principally doubtless been supported by the 89th Airlift Wing and different models abroad who commonly present transport to dignitaries, corresponding to generals and Cupboard members. The dignitaries sometimes fly on C-32 or C-40 planes, that are specifically outfitted 757 and 737 official authorities plane with blue and white livery.
DoD is likely one of the few businesses that was absolutely funded for 2019 and its forces, plane and ships are usually not impacted by the shutdown. The Coast Guard, which is funded underneath the Division of Homeland Safety, has not been funded.
A protection official stated it was not a resourcing situation, i.e., there have been obtainable plane.
A number of Home members have been scheduled to journey with Pelosi on the journey, one among quite a few congressional delegations carried out by lawmakers in reference to their different congressional duties.
Abroad journeys with lawmakers are virtually all the time dealt with via army plane. Trump in his letter advised Pelosi that “if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative.”
In March 2018, Pelosi lead an analogous congressional delegation to Jordan, Israel and Afghanistan with 11 different Home lawmakers. Former Home Speaker Paul Ryan and then-Home Armed Providers Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry organized an identical journey to go to troops in Afghanistan in October.
The president’s transfer drew quick rebuke from Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who stated lawmakers shouldn’t be blocked from visiting troops serving in fight zones abroad.
“One sophomoric response does not deserve another,” he stated in a press release. “Speaker Pelosi’s threat to cancel the State of the Union is very irresponsible and blatantly political. President Trump denying Speaker Pelosi military travel to visit our troops in Afghanistan, our allies in Egypt and NATO is also inappropriate.”
The shutdown reached day 27 on Thursday, as congressional Democrats and Trump proceed to spar over about $5 billion in funding for his controversial southern border wall venture.
Greater than 400,000 federal staff have been required to work with out pay for the final month, together with most service members within the Coast Guard. One other 300,000-plus have been furloughed with out pay whereas the price range dispute continues.
The partial shutdown has indirectly affected the Division of Protection, whose finances was permitted final fall.
Protection Information: Trump says US backs NATO ‘100%,’ after report he mentioned withdrawal
By: Joe Gould  15 hours in the past
WASHINGTON — Days after a report alleged the U.S. president has repeatedly floated the thought of pulling the nation out of NATO, he provided a combined message in a Pentagon speech.
“We will be with NATO 100 percent, but as I told the countries, you have to step up,” President Donald Trump stated Thursday on the Pentagon.
Talking on the rollout of his administration’s Missile Protection Evaluate, Trump’s remarks comply with a report in The New York Occasions that he spoke about pulling out of the 70-year-old alliance. Trump reportedly advised aides across the time of the final NATO summit in Brussels final July that he needed to withdraw.
Trump has referred to as NATO each “obsolete” and “no longer obsolete,” however Thursday’s remarks have been all of the extra hanging for his or her setting — within the Pentagon amphitheater — and the timing. Final month, considered one of NATO’s strongest supporters within the administration, Jim Mattis, resigned as protection secretary, citing in his resignation letter views on alliances that differ from Trump’s.
Hours after Trump’s speech, he denied Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi an plane for a deliberate journey overseas. The 2 politicians have been clashing over the four-week authorities shutdown. Pelosi, D-Calif., was to steer a congressional delegation for Afghanistan and Brussels, the place — in accordance with a spokesman — she was set to satisfy with NATO commanders and reaffirm America’s dedication to the alliance.
Whilst Trump voiced help for NATO on the Pentagon, he repeatedly commented on America’s allies, calling them “wealthy, wealthy” nations, who might simply be paying the U.S. instantly for its “protection” of them, and ought to be, he stated.
“So you’ll see big changes taking place, and we’ve had great talks with countries, friendly talks,” he stated.
Chatting with the uniformed and civilian viewers, Trump added: “We cannot be the fools for others. We don’t want to be called that. And I will tell you, for many years behind your backs, that’s what they were saying.”
Trump flouted his unpopularity in Europe and took credit score for pressuring NATO nations to extend their protection budgets. He additionally stated the Missile Protection Evaluate directs the Pentagon to prioritize the sale of American missile protection and know-how to allies and companions.
“We want them to be able to defend, and they are willing to pay for the finest missiles in the world,” he stated.
Lawmakers on each side of the aisle have reiterated help for NATO after The New York Occasions report.
A bipartisan invoice to explicitly prohibit any U.S. president from withdrawing from NATO with out Senate approval was launched Thursday by Sens. Tim Kaine, D-Va.; Cory Gardner, R-Colo.; Jack Reed, D-R.I.; Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Chris Coons, D-Del.; Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine.
Senate Minority Chief Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., stated in a flooring speech Wednesday that a U.S. withdrawal from NATO can be a present to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“That’s Putin’s dream,” Schumer stated. “All the advice of our military and diplomatic leaders were against it. Somehow the president wants to do it. And who benefits the most? Putin. Who loses the most? The West.”
Ohio GOP Rep. Mike Turner, a former chairman of the U.S. delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Meeting and a senior member of the Home Armed Providers Committee, noticed Trump’s remarks as “a very good answer” to The New York Occasions article.
“I was very glad the president said he was 100 percent committed to NATO; that was important following the unnamed-sources New York Times article,” Turner stated Thursday after coming back from the Pentagon occasion. “It was essential he did not back off his commitment to increase the funding spent by our NATO allies — something every president has targeted.”
Turner lauded Trump for absolutely funding the European Reassurance Initiative and large army workouts whereas calling for a rise within the U.S. protection finances — all whereas France and Germany have mentioned a European army pressure aside from NATO.
“I think the mixed signals are coming from our allies,” Turner stated. “They ought to undertake an American reassurance initiative.”
Stripes: Pentagon identifies three People killed in Syria blast

By CHAD GARLAND | STARS AND STRIPES Revealed: January 18, 2019
The Pentagon has recognized three of the 4 People killed in a blast within the Syrian metropolis of Manbij this week, together with the primary American servicewoman killed in fight towards the Islamic State group.

The blast outdoors a restaurant on Wednesday left a soldier, a sailor, a Pentagon civilian and a contractor lifeless. The Division of Protection recognized the federal government personnel as Military Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan R. Farmer, 37, of Boynton Seashore, Fla.; Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Shannon M. Kent, 35, of New York; and civilian Scott A. Wirtz, of St. Louis, Mo.

Farmer was assigned to third Battalion, fifth Particular Forces Group (Airborne), based mostly at Fort Campbell, Ky. Kent, an Arabic linguist, was assigned to Cryptologic Warfare Exercise 66, based mostly at Fort George G. Meade, Md. Wirtz was assigned to the Protection Intelligence Company as an operations help specialist.

All three died from wounds sustained within the blast, which the Pentagon stated was a suicide bombing.

The Islamic State group claimed credit score for the assault within the speedy aftermath. Army officers stated the incident was nonetheless beneath investigation.

On Fb Thursday, as information of Kent’s dying unfold, Navy chiefs inside the small however secretive cryptologic intelligence group modified their profile photographs to a Navy insignia with a black band. Many expressed their disbelieve at Kent’s dying, saying she had extra fight expertise than most within the Navy.

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