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Vets Issues

Monthly Archives: October 2010

New York City Councilman wants to give Cold War Veterans Tax Break

New York City Councilman wants to give Cold War Veterans Tax Break

New York city councilman Vincent J. Gentile is introducing a bill that would give about 24,000 Cold War Veterans the same exemption on property taxes that are given to veterans of other wars.

A fifteen percent exemption on property taxes would be available for all Cold War Veterans for 15 years and would be capped at $39.000. The period September 2, 1945 through December 26, 1991 is considered the Cold War Era by the legislation. A discharge or separation of honorable conditions

In 2009 New York State gave cities, towns, villages and counties the option to grant this exemption to Cold War Veterans. Councilman Gentile said "My legislation would have New York City opt into the
 state tax exemption to make sure all our veterans are given the respect and courtesy they deserve."

It is our hope that more states take the same course and provide recognition to all Cold War Veterans.
Small steps, taken a few at a time, but we would like to see it turn into a groundswell to finally say
"Thank You" to the Cold War Veterans.

Jerald Terwilliger
National Chairman
American Cold War Veterans
"We Remember"

Fighters Escort Suspicious Aircraft

NORAD Dispatches Fighters to Escort Suspicious Aircraft

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 29, 2010 – The North American Aerospace Defense Command ordered four fighter jets today to escort a civilian aircraft with suspicious cargo.

NORAD diverted two Canadian CF-18s to track the aircraft as it flew into and over Canadian airspace, NORAD officials said in a statement. The civilian aircraft was passed to two U.S. F-15s as it transited into U.S. airspace and its ultimate destination at John F. Kennedy International Airport, they added.

NORAD dispatched the planes "out of an abundance of caution," the statement said.

Related Sites:
North American Aerospace Defense Command

Visit The Cold War Museum

A Game Changer: Veterans Week 2010 Can a baseball game change your life?

A Game Changer: Veterans Week 2010
Can a baseball game change your life?

My name is Sherman Watson, Jr. I'm a three-tour Iraq veteran with the
Marine Corps, and a proud member of IAVA. I never guessed that setting
foot in Dodger Stadium last July would have such an impact on my life.

When I came home after my last tour, I had a tough time. I didn't want
to go out in public or face the realities of civilian life. But all
that changed when I joined over 500 fellow Iraq and Afghanistan
veterans at Dodger Stadium to watch the Los Angeles Dodgers play the
Florida Marlins.

For the first time since coming home, I found support, camaraderie and
a community of my fellow vets who have my back no matter what. Thanks
to IAVA, I got connected with new GI Bill resources, tips to navigate
the VA and mental health support. And I got my free tickets to that
game through The Rucksack, IAVA's online tool that connects new vets
with rewards.

This Veterans Week, I want to help as many vets as possible learn
about The Rucksack so they can experience what I did. Will you join

Text VETSMARCH to 69866 to be the first to know when you can join the
Veterans Week Online March on Facebook and show our nation's newest
generation of veterans that we've got their back.

March online with IAVA this Veterans Week so every single Iraq and
Afghanistan veteran can enjoy the benefits of The Rucksack – just like
I did.

Semper Fi.

VA Going to World Series

Department Will Use Mobile Vet Centers for Outreach at Game Four

ARLINGTON, Texas (Oct. 29, 2010)- The Department of Veterans Affairs
(VA) is partnering with the Texas Rangers and Major League Baseball to
provide outreach and readjustment counseling to Veterans attending game
four of the World Series Oct. 31.

"VA's mobile Vet Centers improve access by providing counseling and
outreach services where Veterans are going to be," said VA Secretary
Eric K. Shinseki. "With thousands of Lone Star Veterans on hand to see
the Rangers try for their first World Series championship, this will be
a great venue to reach out. VA is thankful to Major League Baseball for
this opportunity."

The mobile Vet Centers will be located on Nolan Ryan Boulevard between
the Home Plate and First Base gates on the west side of Rangers Ballpark
and will be on site the entire day of the game for Veterans and their
families to stop in for confidential counseling or to inquire about
other VA services.

VA has a fleet of 50 mobile Vet Centers to support readjustment
counseling for combat Veterans and their families throughout the U.S.
where area facilities may not be close by. The mobile Vet Centers
complement 270 Vet Centers across the Nation that exist as walk-in
support centers, providing counseling and connection to local services
for Veterans adjusting to civilian life after combat. The mobile Vet
Centers are customized vehicles outfitted to house two mental health
counseling offices and a small waiting room. They can also be converted
with portable exam tables to provide basic medical care and are
outfitted with litters, a wheelchair lift and rear doors to provide
emergency patient evacuation capabilities.

Three mobile Vet Centers responded to the Fort Hood shooting tragedy
Nov. 5, 2009. With augmented staff, more than 8,200 Veterans, active
duty Servicemembers and families were provided readjustment counseling.

VA Honors Psychologist with Olin Teague Award

Washington (Oct. 28, 2010) – A psychologist for the Department of
Veterans Affairs (VA) in Charleston, S.C., has been recognized with the
Olin Teague Award for his achievements treating Post Traumatic Stress
Disorder (PTSD) in combat Veterans.

VA psychologist Peter Tuerk, Ph.D., was awarded the Department of
Veterans Affairs 2010 Olin E. Teague Award, a national award that
recognizes contributions in an area critical to the rehabilitation and
improvement in the quality of life of war-injured Veterans.

"Approximately 15 percent of Veterans who served in Operation Enduring
Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom are diagnosed with PTSD," said
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "Dr. Tuerk's work
exemplifies the strides VA is taking in understanding and treating this

Tuerk, who works with the Charleston VA Posttraumatic Stress Clinical
Team and is an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences
at Medical University of South Carolina, runs the first VA clinic in the
country to offer Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PET) via telehealth or
video teleconferencing technology to rural Veterans.

This evidence-based treatment for PTSD has significantly improved
outcomes for Veterans suffering from PTSD who may not live close to a VA
medical facility. Tuerk broke new ground in VA providing this specialty
telehealth treatment to Veterans who might not otherwise have access,
while proving its effectiveness in several research studies that were
published in top-tiered national journals including the American Journal
of Psychiatry and the Journal of Traumatic Stress. Tuerk's VA clinic
was also the first clinic anywhere in the U.S. to provide and publish
research on in-home exposure therapy for Veterans with PTSD.

The award is named in honor of the late Olin E. Teague, a disabled World
War II Army war hero and Texas congressman of 32 years, who spent 18
years chairing the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

New Medical Forms Will Streamline Veterans Claims Process

Physician Questionnaires to Boost Disability Exam Efficiency

WASHINGTON (Oct. 26, 2010) – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has
released three new disability benefits questionnaires for physicians of
Veterans applying for VA disability compensation benefits. This
initiative marks the beginning of a major reform of the physicians'
guides and automated routines that will streamline the claims process
for injured or ill Veterans.

"This is a major step in the transformation of VA's business processes
that is yielding improvements for Veterans as we move to eliminate the
disability claims backlog by 2015," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Eric K. Shinseki.

These new questionnaires are the first of 79 disability benefits
questionnaires that will guide Veterans' personal physicians, as well as
VA physicians, in the evaluation of the most frequent medical
conditions affecting Veterans.

Accurate and timely medical evaluations are a critical element of VA's
continued commitment to high-quality and prompt decisions about the
nature and degree of conditions afflicting Veterans. Streamlining this
process by directly involving Veterans' treating physicians in providing
specific information needed to evaluate their claims will lead to
completeness in the examination and faster compensation decisions.

VA's goal is to process all claims in fewer than 125 days with a
decision quality rate no lower than 98 percent, a mark Secretary
Shinseki has mandated by 2015. The physician questionnaire project is
one of more than three dozen initiatives actively underway at VA,
including a major technology modernization that will lead to paperless
claims processing.

The disability benefits questionnaires are part of VA's automated health
records system which prompts VA physicians conducting disability
examinations to include precise information in a standardized way to
assist claims adjudicators in ensuring

Veterans receive the benefits they deserve as quickly as possible.
These VA examination results are electronically available to claims
adjudicators in VA regional offices.

For Veterans who receive their care from private physicians, VA has
placed the disability benefits questionnaires on its Internet site
( with instructions for physicians
to submit examination results on Veterans' behalf.

The first three questionnaires cover B-cell leukemia (such as hairy-cell
leukemia), Parkinson's disease and ischemic heart disease. VA recently
published a final regulation to be implemented Oct. 30 that will
establish the presumption of eligibility to VA disability compensation
benefits for Veterans with one of these three conditions who were
exposed to Agent Orange, a herbicide agent used extensively in Vietnam.

In practical terms, Veterans who served in Vietnam during the war who
have a "presumed" illness do not have to prove an association between
their illnesses and their military service. This "presumption"
establishes eligibility to VA compensation if their condition is
disabling to a compensable level.

VA Designates 54 Regional Vet Day Sites


October 19, 2010

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Designates  54 Regional Veterans Day Observances

WASHINGTON – Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced today the designation of 54 regional Veterans Day observances. These sites are recognized as model events for the observance of Veterans Day on November 11.
“On Veterans Day we celebrate the lives and legacy of America’s 23 million living Veterans,” said Shinseki. “From the National Veterans Day observance to regional celebrations nationwide, I encourage all Americans to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank our Veterans for their service.”

Shinseki is Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee, which is comprised of representatives from 41 organizations dedicated to serving and supporting America’s Veterans. Founded in 1954, the committee’s mission is to promote the observance of Veterans Day nationwide. Each year, the committee recognizes regional observances – including parades, ceremonies and concerts – that are dedicated to celebrating and honoring America’s Veterans of all eras.

The 2010 Veterans Day Regional Sites are: Birmingham, Mobile, and Montgomery, Ala.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Palm Springs and Sacramento, Calif.; Loveland, Colo.; Hartford, Conn.; New Castle, Del.; Brevard Community College-Coco Campus, and Weirsdale, Fla.; Atlanta and Dawson County, Ga.; Emporia, Leavenworth and Valley Center, Kan.; Bossier-Shreveport, Bossier City and Slidell, La.; Brunswick, Md.; Sherborn, Mass.; Detroit, Farmington Hills, Mason, and Lansing, Mich.; Inver Grove Heights, Minn., Biloxi and Kosciusko, Miss.; St. Louis, Mo.; Northfield, N.J.; New York, N.Y.; Charlotte, Fayetteville, Morehead City and Warsaw, N.C.; Columbus and North Olmsted, Ohio; Ponca City, Okla.; Albany and Portland, Ore.; Indiantown Gap National Cemetery, Penn.; North Charleston, S.C.; Gatlinburg and Nashville, Tenn.; Austin, Bonham, Dallas and Houston, Texas; Virginia Beach, Va.; Auburn, Port Angeles, Vancouver and West Richland, Wash.; and Milwaukee, Wis.

For more information about the Veterans Day regional site program, including an application for the 2011 observance, log onto the Veterans Day Web site at

Vets Week 2010

Dear Sean,

On November 11th, how are you showing new vets you’ve got their backs?

Earlier this year, IAVA unveiled The Rucksack – a ground-breaking tool that connects new veterans with free stuff. Over 10,000 vets have already used The Rucksack to claim everything from free business suits to baseball tickets.

But that's only the beginning.

This Veterans Week, we’re rallying all Americans to march online and on the ground to spread the word about The Rucksack.

Will you join us? If you haven’t already, click here to “like” IAVA on Facebook and get ready to mobilize for the Veterans Week March.

‘We’ve Got Your Back’ isn’t just a slogan – it’s a declaration. And no matter where you plan to honor our nation’s veterans this November 11th, we’ve got an easy way to show your support.

We’ll be in touch over the next two weeks to create the biggest Veterans Week ever, but we need you to take the first step today – click here to "like" us on Facebook.

Thank you for having our backs.


Paul Rieckhoff
Executive Director and Founder
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)

SENATOR BYRON DORGAN (D-ND) – Defense Department Inspector General’s Investigation on Soldier’s Exposure to Deadly Chemical in Iraq Finds DOD Response Still Falls Short – Video statement by Senator Dorgan (01:39). Click here to view or embed this video.