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Monthly Archives: July 2009

Secretary Shinseki Meets with Philippine President Arroyo

WASHINGTON (July 31, 2009) – The status of benefits to Filipino Veterans
of World War II was a prime topic recently when Secretary of Veterans
Affairs Eric K. Shinseki met with Philippine President Gloria

“VA has long-standing ties to the Philippines, with many U.S. Veterans
living in the islands,” Secretary Shinseki said. “Our partnership with
the Philippine government enables us to ensure these Veterans receive
the benefits they have earned.”

The partnership between the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the
Philippine government was recently enhanced when VA implemented a law
granting a cash payment to Filipino Veterans who aided American troops
in World War II. The payments came through the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act, which authorized $198 million for one-time payments.

Under the provision, VA is paying claims of $9,000 for non-U.S. citizens
and $15,000 for Filipino Veterans who are U.S. citizens. VA’s Manila
Regional Office has received more than 25,000 claims and has paid out
approximately $56 million so far.

Shinseki expressed his appreciation to Arroyo for the support her
government’s Philippine Veterans Affairs Office gave to VA’s Manila
office in their joint outreach to eligible Veterans in the weeks
following the law’s passage earlier this year.

VA recently donated a new $800,000 CT scan machine to the Philippine
government’s Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City. The
donation is one in a series of medical equipment donations and facility
upgrades worth $5.5 million since 2003 that the U.S. Government has made
to the medical center.


Take me out to the Ball Game
Florida Marlins A ball NY-Penn Team Jamestown Jammers 25 Robert Taylor and 30Richard Orton with American Cold War Veterans Chairman Sean Eagan on July 30th before the game with the State College Spikes.

Here is a portion of an article posted on Veterans Today by the wife of a Vietnam Veteran.It is quite an eye opener.You can read the full article here will just get you started.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD] became a household name in the early 1980’s. As the wife of a former military man and a veteran, I was compelled to learn all I could about it. On one occasion I told my husband I suspected he had PTSD. He denied it, telling me our problems were all because of me and my independence. Yes, I was a feminist, and the longer I lived with him, the more defiant I became to make my own way. Nevertheless, I did not have the courage to end our marriage and I stayed with him because I loved him and I was afraid he would not survive without me. In early 2000, he met a Vietnam Veteran on the golf course.

Together, they bonded as brothers. With the acceptance of their friendship, my husband has recognized the behaviors he battles daily are a reflection of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He met with a representative of Veterans Affairs in 2001 or 2002, and is still battling to get the benefits he was promised. PTSD is his daily battle and there are times he actually wants to run away from himself. If only the VA could live with him for one week they would understand how painful his emotional wounds are. If only the VA could hold him during the flashbacks.

In many ways, my soldier husband is still in Vietnam, never to return. On one occasion my husband met with a VA rep only to be told, and I quote, “It doesn’t help your case that you are still with your first wife.” When my husband expressed his comment to me, I was outraged, wanting the name, phone number, and contact information. My husband did not share it with me, but I can certainly educate others into the scenarios I discover.

Recently, I became involved with Veterans-for-Change (, a non-profit group that desires to wake up Congress and fulfill the promises made to Veterans. As a member of Veterans-For-Change, an expanding vocal group for Veterans rights, benefits, and treatment, I as well as my co-members and veterans nationwide, are extremely upset that the VA appears to ignore the veterans.

In March 2008, my husband traveled to Columbia, SC to appeal a decision from the VA. Now, he is told his file is in Washington, still awaiting a decision. My concern is not just for my husband, but for all veterans. Just how long does it take for a veteran to get the physical, emotional, mental, and monetary care he or she needs so life can return to normalcy? Now that I am an active participant with Veterans-for-Change I recognize there is a multitude of complaints that must be addressed by Congress or the Veterans Affairs.

My mission is to write about these scenarios and to share with my readers. When called to duty, to service America and its freedom, our Veterans stood tall, fought the battles, and now when needing our service the most, the VA ignores, or procrastinates to service their needs. This is a disgrace to all serving in the military.

Veterans-for-Change repeatedly hears stories from military veterans about the lack of care with the VA, along with the intense emotional battle, just to get benefits. Repeatedly, veterans are either denied, or their files are placed on hold, sometimes for years. Many of these claims are for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD]; lack of properly sanitized and sterilized medical equipment used for testing and physicals; and Blue Water Navy Dioxin Exposure and Agent Orange.

PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

VA Physicians are being instructed to deny or misdiagnose PTSD, or they are simply ignoring the signs, over medicating or improperly medicating, and simply not even looking into alternative ways of dealing with PTSD. Many Veterans are left to feel as if no one cares, or no one listens to their symptoms. Instead of listening, or asking probing questions, the medical practitioner prescribes a drug and it appears that the VA has a drug for every ailment.

We as Americans must take a stand to service and understand our soldiers and Veterans, not simply remove their weapons, dust them off, and refer them to another source of treatment, or someone else at the VA. We must learn to listen and stop the habit of prescribing drugs for every ailment. Veterans are not pin cushions or guinea pigs. We promised our Veterans benefits, freedom, and a better life, not simply prescribed drugs by doctors who react by overwriting prescriptions, instead of listening to their emotional ailments. Is this the way the VA strives to help our Veterans?

Just simply prescribing a drug in hopes the Veteran will feel better in the morning? Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD] is described as an ‘emotional illness’ and it was not recognized as PTSD until the 1980’s when the American Psychiatric Association recognized it as such, according to the website,

PTSD leaves no visible scars, only the emotional scars that will remain forever inside the mind of the war veteran. PTSD leaves a stigma attached to it. To those who do not understand this ailment, the looks, discriminations, and lack of compassion leaves the Veteran with a lack of understanding of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the wounds of it. While it is true, the wounds are embedded within the mind, the wounds are so obvious to those of us who love the Veteran suffering with PTSD; and we strive to do all we can to make their life more productive and pleasant. We need the VA to do the same.

Medical Equipment

Veterans-for-Change has discovered there are far too many reports of improperly cleaned or sterilized equipment at numerous VA hospitals, resulting in thousands of complaints that have not been addressed or resolved.

Reportedly, there could be as many as 11,224 Veterans at risk, due to this lack of care, and many VA hospitals are involved. The number of Veterans affected could result in health and physical epidemics that could result in deadly diseases that should have been prevented provided the proper sanitation, and sterilization techniques were used. Instead, questions remain unanswered, and the VA’s continuous denial brought to the public attention of these problems, resulted in denying any possibility, or accepting responsibility, of cross contamination to many veterans. This is unforgivable and a government investigation should be underway – ASAP.

Blue Water Navy Dioxin Exposure

Reportedly 21 million gallons of Agent Orange were scattered over the fields in Vietnam between 1962 and 1970. Many of the Veterans of the Vietnam conflict served the United States Navy during 1962 and 1975. Many of these war veterans suffer with medical disabilities from the effects of Blue Water Navy Dioxin Exposure, found in Agent Orange.

However, these naval personnel are constantly denied service-connected health care and disability compensation by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Those who served in the Navy during war time have been excluded for presumption of illness directly related to Agent Orange. This chemical was sprayed, tossed around, and of course when it rained went into the ocean, or was carried in the air during strong winds.

Agent Orange was also carried on board ships for delivery, yet Veterans are still denied benefits due to the “boots on the ground” ruling. The ‘boots on the ground’ ruling must be changed to benefit the Veterans and their illnesses. They were in Vietnam. They experienced Agent Orange in everything around, especially in the air and waters.

President Obama has said: “We have a sacred trust with those who wear the uniform of the United States of America, a commitment that begins with enlistment and must never end.

”You, as Americans, and politicians of a free society, do have a moral, ethical, and Patriotic obligation to provide benefits and care, regardless of the costs involved! Our government has a moral, ethical, and Patriotic obligation to care for those who did the job others failed to do, or the many millions of Americans who chose to escape the effects, physical ailments, illnesses, and emotional wounds of war. Freedom is not free; it comes with a price tag. Veterans paid a gigantic price, emotionally, physically, and mentally.

Only a war veteran can comprehend how that price was paid for in full by our military and war veterans, along with their spouses and children! The price they paid for their devotion to their freedom does not have a monetary amount and it could be considered priceless since the effects of war leave so many emotional and physical scars that cannot be repaired. The price our war veterans paid was distributed in full with blood, sweat and many tears! Veterans-for-Change finds this unforgivable. Isn’t it about time Congress, the President, and the Veterans Affairs actually stood tall and paid that bill?

Isn’t it time to help our wounded warriors, including those who suffer with PTSD, lack of medical care and improperly cleaned or sterilized equipment, and Blue Water Navy Dioxin Exposure, along with the emotional scars, to be compensated? The actions of Congress and the actions and policies of the VA seem to express so loud and clear that it would have been far better had our men and women not served or died at war than to suffer the denials, the schemes, shenanigans, and the maltreatment provided by the government of the United States.

Let us all make a bit of noise with our Congress and all lawmakers. Send a copy of this article to those in your community, along with those who represent your home front. Isn’t it time our Veterans were treated with respect and dignity? Isn’t it time we welcomed them home and gave them the benefits promised, without the emotional war they must battle now, just to get those benefits? The choice is yours. You must decide

President Obama Signs Korean War Veterans Recognition Act

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, on the 56th anniversary of National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, President Barack Obama signed H.R. 2632, the Korean War Veterans Recognition Act. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), adds National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day to the list of days on which the display of the flag of the United States is especially encouraged.

President Obama said, “The freedom, security and prosperity that we enjoy as a nation exists only because of the heroic and selfless sacrifices of America’s servicemen and women. Today, we owe special remembrance to the veterans of the Korean War, and especially the United States and allied combatants who made the ultimate sacrifice in Korea. For their courageous actions in pursuit of freedom and democracy for the Korean peninsula, these dedicated men and women deserve our unending respect and gratitude.”

From the White House (Office of the Press Secretary)

President Barack Obama signs H.R. 2632, the Korean War Veterans Recognition Act, in the Oval Office Monday, July 27, 2009. Monday was the 56th anniversary of National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.

This official White House photograph is being made available for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way or used in materials, advertisements, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

Save the Mojave Cross

Got this email today it is absurd. ACLU they want to totally erase our culture fight these bastards.


Electronically sign official petition:

Subject: Fw: This is beyond absurd!

Please take five minutes to watch this!

I received this today from a former shipmate of mine and watched the video. I certainly hope the Supreme Court will do the right thing and leave this memorial intact.


What is going on here???







Retake Congress! Okla Iraq vet needs our support!
Please help the elect a congressman that is a Constitution loving patriot and veteran.
“As a soldier, I pledged my life to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
That very oath, as a young Sergeant in the Army, is what prompted me to read the Constitution for the first time. Since then I have learned that our government is up to a great many things that it should not be and as your Congressman, I pledge my life, liberty, and sacred honor to do all that I can to restore the rule of law,the liberty of all, and the Sovereignty of Oklahoma.”

RJ Harris on the 2nd Amendment

A Cold War Veterans feeling on his treatment by the VA

I came across this forum post that sends a message I here again and again . The Pension system needs to be reformed at the VA he is one of many of the era who have come to find out they are treated as second class veterans in the VA system.



Posts: 1

cold war veterans are not treated with respect they deserve
« on: March 04, 2008, 01:21:37 AM »

I haven’t had good luck with the VA since ETS. I recently had a brain aneurysm burst and it has left me totally disabled. I just received a letter today denying me of anything. They state that it was a time of PEACETIME. I manned a nuclear arsenal during that showdown with gorbachev. That was frontline duty if I ever seen it. I really feel neglected about it all. The cold war wasn’t a war without a congressional proclamation. Has our war today have this? This will lead to major neglect in the future that cannot happen. All veterans raised their right hands and all veterans get benefits. Thats what I thought happens, guess I was wrong. Young and dumb was a necessity for the guys I worked with. wish I could have those years back, I wouldn’t given them away so quickly.

By Don Keith, N4KC

July 24, 2009


Special event operation honors 50th anniversary of historic North Pole mission radio message.

America desperately needed heroes in the late 1950s. Our country was still trying to recover from the nonvictory in Korea. Our space program was literally blowing up on the launch pads down at Cape Canaveral. Then the Russians launched Sputnik. That single event sent a shiver through the Free World.

Even the closest allies began to question US military might and her previous technological superiority over the Soviets. That was the primary reason President Dwight Eisenhower decided to send what was then the world’s most well-known vessel, USS Nautilus, through the unexplored waters beneath the Arctic ice pack, from Pacific to Atlantic via the North Pole. The Nautilus had achieved world renown as the first nuclear powered submarine, which made it capable of such a mission. It was a daring mission, one that could have been another spectacular and tragic failure — and almost was. Of course, there were other reasons, military and scientific, for sending the first nuclear vessel off on such a hazardous voyage. Still, the need for heroes, to show the world America still had the “right stuff,” was a compelling reason for the president to order the historic, top secret mission in the summer of 1958.

It is my opinion that the importance of what Nautilus and her brave crew accomplished at the top of the world is not fully appreciated now, more than 50 years later. At the time, it made a worldwide splash that would only be exceeded 11 years later by the first moon landing. That was one reason I was so proud to be asked to coauthor a book about the event with the man who was her skipper on the North Pole run, Captain William R. Anderson (The Ice Diaries, Thomas Nelson Publishers). It was also the reason I decided the 50th anniversary of the voyage was a perfect opportunity for a special event Amateur Radio operation — both to call attention to the historic event and to tie ham radio to what was sure to be a very public celebration. I had no way of knowing that it would turn into such a success.

Permission to Come Aboard

My goal from the beginning was to try to do the operation from the Navy’s Submarine Force Museum and Library in Groton, Connecticut. That also just happens to be where Nautilus is now berthed and open to the public as only the second vessel dubbed “Historic Ship” (Old Ironsides in Boston is the other). If we could actually operate from the deck or radio room of the world’s first nuclear-powered vessel that would be even better.

Moreover, if we could do the event over the weekend of August 2 and 3 (the actual anniversary of Nautilus becoming the first ship to reach the North Pole was August 3, a Sunday night East Coast time), then it would be a perfect alignment with history. That would guarantee us the biggest crowd at the ship and museum, too. Since the anniversary was going to fall on a weekend, it would be best to take advantage of that bit of luck.

I could see several big problems, including logistics and coordinating with the staff at the museum and ship. Nautilus is in Connecticut. I live in Alabama and, in addition to writing and promoting the books I write, I also have a day job.

I was not sure how I was going to get two good, working stations up to New England and set them up properly. How could I work with the museum management folks in Groton to get permission and direction on a location from which to operate? They did not know me and, I assumed, would be wary of somebody who wanted to come set up radios on their site. I had also heard that they were not particularly welcoming of such events. Thankfully, that turned out to be anything but the case, but I suspect the organized and professional manner in which they were eventually approached contributed to what turned out to be a very warm welcome and plenty of gracious assistance.

The main reason for that was the Southern New England Navy/Marine Corps Military Affiliate Radio System (MARS) group. Back in January 2008, I had blindly sent e-mails to several clubs in the area looking for help in the operation and got a couple of replies saying they would float the idea with their membership. After a while, of necessity, I started considering alternate plans.

I could try to operate from the battleship USS Alabama and the submarine USS Drum in Mobile, Alabama. That was certainly closer to me and I had contacts there, plus they have onboard ham radio stations that participate in “ships on the air” events. The problem was that neither of those great museum ships had any connection to Nautilus or the North Pole, other than Drum being a submarine. As a last resort, I could just put my home station on the air, using a special call sign, but that would have been a poor effort to pay homage to those brave men and what they accomplished beneath the treacherous ice pack.

That is when I got a nice note from Chuck Motes, K1DFS/NNNØHAL, who is active in the Southern New England MARS group and helps man and maintain the MARS station at the US Navy’s submarine base, a few hundred yards from Nautilus. It seems that Scott Moore, W1SSN, had seen my original e-mailed plea for help and passed it along to Bob Veth, K1RJV/NNNØFCC, Director — Region One, Navy MARS.

He and his organization immediately recognized this as an excellent way to accomplish several ends. First, they could get exposure for their group during a special weekend at the museum. It would also enable them to test their emergency response trailer, mobile tower and station setup. And, of course, they wanted to help me give the Nautilus crew and this special anniversary some worldwide recognition via Amateur Radio. Everyone in the organization was enthusiastic from the start and gave approval, appointing Chuck Motes, K1DFS, the point man. It was the perfect choice for several reasons including the fact that Chuck’s father and grandfather had worked on the construction of Nautilus back in the early ’50s.

Chuck’s second e-mail to me already had ideas for station configuration — pending approval from the Nautilus museum crew, of course — and a plan for approaching Lt Cdr Greg Caskey, who runs the place. I already had a presentation and book signing event scheduled for Saturday, August 2, at the museum, coordinated with the museum director, so we went at our contacts from both directions. The staff and Lt Cdr Caskey were extremely helpful, directing visitors to our eventual location, coming by to check on us and see if we needed anything and even giving us 24 hour access to an area typically closed in the evening. That enabled us to keep the stations on the air at night as long as the bands lasted.

As it turned out, we were not able to operate from aboard Nautilus. They have quite a few visitors wandering through on any weekend. They anticipated being especially crowded on this particular one. That would make it difficult for us to work in already cramped quarters and we would have had to settle for compromise antennas. There was also a special commemorative ceremony planned for Sunday afternoon on the ship’s deck, which included raising a replica of the North Pole flag on the sail of the submarine. The ship flew that flag when she first entered port in Portland, England, after the successful polar crossing. As it turned out, during the ceremony, the special event station was announced to the big crowd and everyone was invited to come by and visit.

Actually our eventual setup ended up being better in every way than if we had been below decks on the submarine, but more on that later.

“Nautilus 90 North”

Even before I started begging for help to pull this thing off, I was thinking about the call sign I wanted. There was one obvious choice. When Nautilus first emerged from beneath the ice pack in the Greenland Sea near the island of Spitsbergen, she wanted to report her success to the key people who had staked their careers — and presidency — on this mission.

The radio operators aboard the submarine ran into the typical propagation problems found in those high latitudes. They were finally able to raise a Navy radio station in — of all places — Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the spot where the polar mission had started 2 weeks before. Not bad DX. The historic message sent in Morse code was, “Nautilus 90 North”. That short piece of traffic to President Eisenhower and the Pentagon confirmed that the submarine had successfully reached the most inaccessible spot on the planet, the North Pole, at 90 degrees north latitude.

I wanted N9N for the special event station call.

Thankfully, it was available for that weekend and I quickly went through a very efficient member of the VEC system to reserve it. The “9” caused some confusion during the weekend, since we were in the “1” call area. My being listed on several Web sites as the QSL contact in Alabama threw some folks, too. Some operators were still not accustomed to the 1 × 1 format, and kept arguing that there had to be another letter or two to make it a legal call sign. Further, a contest group in Indiana uses N9N for their state QSO Party in June every year. Since I listed the N9N call sign on as soon as I got it reserved, I was getting QSL cards long before the event, wondering if they had really contacted USS Nautilus. I should have waited until later to get it up on and I apologize for the confusion.

QSOs and Sausage Stew

When I arrived in Groton the evening before the event was to kick off, I was amazed at what Chuck and his guys had accomplished. They had a travel trailer for comfort, including air conditioning and restroom facilities. There were already two complete HF stations set up outside, Field Day style, protected from sun and rain — both of which we had an abundance of that weekend.

A converted boat trailer was parked nearby, bearing a 40 foot, portable, crank-up tower with a 4 element HF beam and a 2 meter Yagi on top. A G5RV for 40 and 75 meters was strung from the tower to end supports across the parking lot. There was even a legal limit amplifier available for the 20 meter station but we only used it when we really needed it because it required firing up a separate generator. Chuck and his crew had even organized volunteer operators and loggers; some from Navy and Army MARS and others who were not MARS members, and had them scheduled on big marker boards in 1 hour shifts throughout the weekend.

My contribution was a set of “talking points,” key facts about the submarine, the mission and why we were there. The whole operation was located right there on the banks of the Thames River, only a few hundred feet from Nautilus, in the middle of the museum parking lot. We had great visibility from the main entrance. Visitors could not miss us. Chuck and the crew had a table full of material about Amateur Radio and information on becoming a MARS volunteer and handed it out to curious people all weekend.

It was an inspiring location. As we operated and told over-the-air contacts about Nautilus and the North Pole, we could look over at the actual historic vessel with her famous hull numbers—SSN-571, the first ship to carry the “N” for “nuclear” — sitting there quietly in her final resting spot. Occasionally one of her modern sisters made its way up the Thames, bound for the submarine base next door, still using much of the technology Nautilus pioneered over 50 years ago.

Rick Castrogiovanni, N1JGR/NNNØJGR, was our designated chef and we were well fed all weekend. His sausage stew on Friday night was wonderful, the perfect kickoff to the weekend. The camaraderie was fantastic as well. Though I had not met any of these folks before, and had only exchanged e-mails with Chuck, they made me feel right at home. Of course, we had one big thing in common, a hobby we love. All I had to do was show up, operate and eat.

Rick, along with Gil Woodside, WA1LAD/NNNØWWW; Alan Lisitano, W1LOZ/NNNØLOZ; George Carbonell, N1RMF/NNNØRMF, and Chuck, K1DFS, made up the crew who stayed with the stations from Friday morning setup all the way through teardown on Monday morning. I dashed off down I-95 to New York City in the wee hours of Monday morning for some media interviews so I even got out of that thankless job, too. Bob Veth, K1RJV/NNNØFCC, drove down from Massachusetts and was there most of the weekend as well. His enthusiasm and support were invaluable.

We had literally scores of volunteers who operated, logged and did many other tasks to keep things running smoothly. When the tower support for the G5RV broke early Sunday morning, somebody had to climb the tower and restring it. When a sudden thunderstorm blew in on Saturday afternoon, everyone had to scramble to get the gear secured. Nobody complained. They just pitched in and helped. I wish I had room to mention everyone by name and call sign, but I hope they know that their efforts, time and expertise are appreciated.

I thank Betsey Doane, K1EIC, ARRL Section Manager for Connecticut, who sent us a warm welcome but was traveling and could not be there that weekend. She is, by the way, a member of Navy MARS with the call sign NNNØEBP.

History Repeated

We ended up the weekend with over 2000 contacts in the log, working all 50 states and 26 foreign countries. I do not know how this compares to other special event stations, but it has to be near a record for only two operating positions over one weekend. I have received about 500 QSLs that I responded to with specially designed cards.

There were so many highlights of the weekend it is hard to get them all into this article. Several former Nautilus crewmembers dropped by the stations, including a couple of men who were aboard for the North Pole run. At least one of the former 571 crew who visited is a ham and took a turn at operating. We worked a number of former Nautilus crew on the air, too, and others who had taken part in constructing that marvelous Jules Verne-like vessel at Electric Boat Corporation, which is located just a few miles downriver from where N9N was set up. It was also a pleasure to talk with many other former submariners and military veterans who are Amateur Radio operators.

But one especially thrilling moment occurred when I took a call on 20 meter SSB from Harold Dennin, AC3Q, from Des Plaines, Illinois. Harold explained that he was one of the naval radio operators at Pearl Harbor who copied the historic transmission of “Nautilus 90 North” that day in 1958. We promptly switched to CW and recreated that bit of radio traffic. Maybe it was only the magic of the moment, but Harold’s fist certainly sounded wonderful. I could imagine the feeling of the radio operator aboard the submarine when the message was safely sent and QSLed.

Another special feature of the event came on Sunday night. Nautilus officially reached the North Pole — the first vessel in history to do so — at 11:15 PM EDST on August 3, 1958. Thanks to K1DFS and his dedicated crew, N9N remained on the air Sunday night until that “magic minute.” At that time, stations were invited to “check in,” and as many as possible of the call signs were copied in 1 minute. Then the operators went back and conducted official contacts with as many of them as they could. We plan to send each of those stations a special certificate.

I cannot say enough about the Navy/Marine Corps MARS folks and what they did to make this event possible. In the true spirit of Amateur Radio, they gave up their weekend, took days off work and labored in heat and humidity to make the stations strong and viable, even with especially poor band conditions. I think propagation was the only thing Chuck and his guys were not able to fix! Thanks as well to all the other volunteers who took part in the weekend and to the staff at the Submarine Force Museum and Historic Ship Nautilus for their help and hospitality.

As a result of these efforts, Amateur Radio and the MARS program got excellent PR before thousands of visitors over the weekend and others who read about the event in local media. Thousands more who listened in or worked N9N learned more about the historic event that was the primary reason for the operation.

Most importantly, we were all able to honor 116 brave men who took their marvelous ship where no man had gone before. In the process, they changed the course of the Cold War and gave America the heroes we so desperately needed.

As submariners say, “Bravo zulu!”

“Job well done!”

Don Keith, N4KC, was first licensed in 1963. He holds the Amateur Extra class license and is an ARRL member. He has published 17 books, including his latest, The Ice Diaries, the story of USS Nautilus and her voyage in 1958 from Pacific to Atlantic via the North Pole. His novel, Wizard of the Wind, features a ham radio operator as a key character and his book Final Patrol, tells about the 17 WWII submarines open as museum ships around the country, including several that have amateur stations aboard. Don holds a degree in broadcast and film and worked in broadcasting for over 20 years. He currently serves as vice president of marketing communications for Education Corporation of America, which owns and operates career colleges nationwide. Don’s Web site is He can be reached at 40 Red Stick Rd, Pelham, AL 35124-3728.

VFW Legislative Update

In This Issue:
1. House VA Committee Hearings
2. NDAA Update

1. House VA Committee Hearings:

Wednesday: The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations (O&I) held a hearing on VAs brachytherapy safety standards. Brachytherapy is a form of radiotherapy often used to treat prostate cancer by using radioactive seeds which are placed inside or next to a patient’s malignant cells. The hearing came on the heels of reports of botched prostate cancer procedures and lack of quality and controls at Philadelphia’s VA Medical Center. A panel of doctors from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine who implemented the Brachytherapy procedures under contract at the Philadelphia VA offered their explanations and apologies. The committee posed questions to the panel of doctors and the representatives from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission about the safety and security of radioactive materials used in medical procedures and how VA can identify quality controls and strict oversight. Reports show that the Brachytherapy procedure is very effective when administered and monitored properly.

Thursday: The O&I subcommittee also held a hearing examining Quality of Life and Ancillary Benefits provided by VA. VA ancillary benefits include adaptive grants for automobiles and housing, vocational rehabilitation, education, aid and attendance and insurance. Witnesses included representatives from veterans’ service organizations, The Institute of Medicine, Quality of Life Foundation of Virginia, National Organization on Disability and VA benefits staff. Chairman John Hall (D-NY) asked the panels to review recent legislation and reports addressing the appropriateness of VA benefits and quality of life loss payment. Updating VAs current rating schedule and addressing quality of life payment has remained a priority for VFW and other VSOs since recommendations were made by the VDBC in October 2007.

For more on the hearings, visit the House website at
To read the final report of the Veterans’ Disability Benefits Commission (VDBC) go to:

2. NDAA Update: Late last night, the Senate passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by a vote of 87-7. The bill, S. 1390 included the following VFW-supported provisions:

**SBP-DIC offset – The Senate approved an amendment offered by Sen. Bill Nelson that would end the deduction of VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) from military Survivor Benefit Plan annuities.

**Concurrent Receipt – The Senate approved an amendment offered by Sen. Harry Reid to phase-in the extension of concurrent receipt to all medically retired service members, regardless of years of service.

**Military Spouses Residency Relief – The Senate approved an amendment offered by Sen. Richard Burr that would give a military spouse who moves out of state because of military orders the option to claim one state of domicile, regardless of where they move. This amendment would remove the need for military spouses to update drivers’ licenses, filing tax returns for multiple states, and changing vehicle and voter registrations with each move.

The House passed its bill (HR 2647) in June. The bills now head to conference for final approval