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Monthly Archives: December 2011

VFW Legislative Review

As the year ends and the first session of the 112th Congress comes to a close, the VFW would like to thank all of our advocates who helped us fight to create, protect and enhance the services and benefits provided to America’s service members, veterans and their families. It is because of you that we were able to get four critical bills passed into law:

* P.L. 112-56, VOW to Hire Heroes Act – a comprehensive jobs bill that improves reemployment rights for Guard and Reservist, expands education and training programs, requires mandatory Transitional Assistance Program attendance, and offers employer tax credits for hiring veterans.
* P.L. 112-53, Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2011, increases the rates of VA disability compensation and dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children by 3.6%, which matches the COLA increase military retirees and Social Security recipients will receive.
* P.L. 112-37, Veterans Health Care Facilities Capital Improvement Act of 2011, legislation that authorizes major medical projects and leases within VA, and expands mental health treatments, rehabilitation and comprehensive homeless veteran housing programs.
* P.L. 112-26, Restoring GI Bill Fairness Act of 2011, provides a fix in reimbursement rates under the Post-9/11 GI Bill for students already enrolled at private schools.

There are other bills passed by the House that still await Senate action. They include mortgage protections for service members, harsher penalties for misrepresenting a business as owned or controlled by service-disabled veterans, sexual assault prevention measures within VA, and improvements to the disability claims and appeals process. Review a list of VFW-supported legislation. For more about the public laws, visit

Happy New Year!

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A Message From Ilario Pantano

Dear Fellow Patriot,

As 2011 comes to end I wonder — Is America on the retreat?

Recently, our armed forces began their hurried, and massive, withdrawal from Iraq. Our headquarters and rally point — Camp Victory — is now under Iraqi control. Every war must have its end, but are we putting Americans at risk by giving up on a key front in the War on Terror? Is it a sign of progress?  Or is it the retreat of America’s will? I pray that Iran doesn’t force us to answer that question before we are ready.  Or did the jamming of one of our most super secret drones by the Iranian Government, no doubt using Chinese Technology, answer the question for us?

As we pull back in Iraq, I have trouble ignoring that we are pulling back everywhere.  The recent failure of the Super Committee to reach a debt deal and cut $1.2 trillion from the federal government marks just another example of where our leaders have backed down. Or maybe I’m thinking of the debt ceiling — which we raised despite skyrocketing amounts of spending that will cripple multiple generations of Americas.

Well I’ve had enough of it. It’s time we had lawmakers with some backbone who understand that the hard things are the things worth doing and that voters aren’t willing to accept more do-nothing, retreatist leadership out of Washington.

I’m ready to show Washington that the retreating is over. It’s time to advance. With an immediate contribution to my campaign for Congress, you can send a strong message to all of America that we’re done with weak-willed leadership.

It’s time we stopped with the half measures. We’ve got to stop lounging around looking for what parts of ObamaCare we can repeal…we just need to repeal it all! We can’t keep debating about which parts of entitlement programs are running up debt…because it’s the whole thing! Every time our will to act weakens our critics and enemies grow a little bit stronger. I hate to say it, but someday they are going to grow strong enough to beat us.

I promise you — that I would be willing lay down my life fighting before I’d see that happen.  I’ve been in combat.  I know what that promise means and it’s not idle talk.

Stand with me.  Make an immediate contribution of $25, $50, $75, $100, $250, $500 or more — whatever you can give — and give to my campaign today.  I won’t let you down in Washington.

It’s not enough for me to be brave.  We all need to be brave together to succeed.  We need leaders in Washington that will advance America forward and not accept retreat as a solution to adversity.

Stand with me today and stand for a strong, prosperous America.  As we head into 2012, I ask for you support.

Semper Fi,

Ilario Pantano
Marine Corps Combat Veteran, Operations Iraqi Freedom and Desert Storm
Candidate for US Congress, North Carolina's 7th District

P.S.  We need leaders in Washington that will advance America forward and not accept retreat

Pantano For Congress
P.O. Box 11280
Wilmington, NC 28404

Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans

Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000

Rules Liberalized for Veterans with Undiagnosed Illness


December 29, 2011                      


Application Window Extended for Five Years

WASHINGTON – Veterans of the Persian Gulf War with undiagnosed illnesses have an additional five years to qualify for benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Not all the wounds of war are fully understood,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “When there is uncertainty about the connection between a medical problem and military service, Veterans are entitled to the benefit of the doubt.”

A recent change in VA regulations affects Veterans of the conflict in Southwest Asia.  Many have attributed a range of undiagnosed or poorly understood medical problems to their military services.  Chemical weapons, environmental hazards and vaccinations are among the possible causes.

At issue is the eligibility of Veterans to claim VA disability compensation based upon those undiagnosed illnesses, and the ability of survivors to qualify for VA’s Dependency and Indemnity Compensation.

Under long-standing VA rules, any undiagnosed illnesses used to establish eligibility for VA benefits must become apparent by Dec. 31, 2011.  The new change pushes the date back to Dec. 31, 2016.

Veterans or survivors who believe they qualify for these benefits should contact VA at 1-800-827-1000.

Further information about undiagnosed illnesses is available online at and


#  #  #

Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans

Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000



Directors: “Mouse” McCoy, Scott Waugh
Writer: Kurt Johnstad
Cast: Active Duty Navy SEALs, Roselyn Sanchez, Alex Veadov, Jason Cottle, Nester Serrano
Producers: Mike “Mouse” McCoy, Scott Waugh
Executive Producers:  Jason Clark, Max Leitman, Michael Mailis, Jay Pollak, Lance Sloane, Benjamin Statler, Thomas Tull
Official SIte:
An unprecedented blend of real-life heroism and original filmmaking, Act of Valor stars a group of active-duty Navy SEALs in a powerful story ofcontemporary global anti-terrorism. Inspired by true events, the film combines stunning combat sequences, up-to-the minute battlefield technology and heart-pumping emotion for the ultimate action adventure.
Act of Valor takes audiences deep into the secretive world of the most elite, highly trained group of warriors in the modern world. When the rescue of a kidnapped CIA operative leads to the discovery of a deadly terrorist plot against the U.S., a team of SEALs is dispatched on a worldwide manhunt. As the valiant men of Bandito Platoon race to stop a coordinated attack that couldkill and wound thousands of American civilians, they must balance their commitment to country, team and their families back home.
Each time they accomplish their mission, a new piece of intelligence reveals another shocking twist to the deadly terror plot, which stretches from Chechnya to the Philippines and from Ukraine to Somalia. The widening operation sends the SEALs across the globe as they track the terrorist ring to the U.S.-Mexico border, where they engage in an epic firefight with an outcome that has potentially unimaginable consequences for the future of America.

Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans

Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000

Afghan Army plans, executes artillery training [Image 2 of 6]

Oh Hail Oh Hail Artillery

Flames blast from a D-30, 122 mm howitzer barrel after firing a round, as is typical with the Soviet-made weapon system. Afghan soldiers with the 4th Combat Support Kandak, 1st Brigade, 215th Corps, coordinated and executed their second live-fire artillery training exercise.

2nd Marine Division

Photo by Sgt. Earnest J. Barnes

Date Taken: 12.29.2011

Location: CAMP DWYER, AF
Related Photos:

We’ll send you an American flag

Dear USO Supporter —

Time is running out before the December 31 deadline. Our troops are counting on you, so please take a moment right now to make a tax-deductible donation and we'll send you an American flag. And thanks to a generous anonymous donor, any gift made to the USO up to $350,000 will be matched dollar-for-dollar before midnight on December 31.

Double your impact by donating today.

Our troops do so much for us. Let's do everything we can to let them know they are at home in our hearts.


Kelli Seely, USO

Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans

Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000

Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team

Photo of the day: Members of the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team play against local celebrities at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., on September 4, 2011. The team is comprised of active duty members and Veterans who have lost limbs while serving in the military since September 11, 2001.

Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans

Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000

Saudi F-15 Deal $30 Billion Inked

US to Sell F-15 Fighters to Saudi Arabia

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 29, 2011 – The United States will sell 84 new F-15 fighter jets and upgrades for 70 existing aircraft to Saudi Arabia under a nearly $29.4 billion agreement, U.S. officials announced today.

During a joint State Department and Defense Department briefing today, James N. Miller, principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy, and Andrew Shapiro, assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, discussed the sale.

"The United States is firmly committed to the security of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as we have been for nearly seven decades, and … more broadly, the United States and Saudi Arabia have a strong mutual interest in the security and stability of the Gulf," Miller said.

The F-15s Saudi Arabia will receive "will have the latest generation of computing power, radar technology, infrared sensors and electronic warfare systems," he added.

"This agreement reinforces the strong and enduring relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia," Shapiro said. "It demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a strong Saudi defense capability as a key component to regional security."

State and DOD have worked to conclude the agreement since June 2010, Shapiro added.

The White House earlier today released a statement detailing the Foreign Military Sales program agreement, which also will provide munitions, spare parts, training, maintenance and logistics support for the F-15s to the Royal Saudi Air Force.

James N. Miller

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Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans

Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000

Army Vet offers hope to Homeless

A Army veteran who battled drugs and homelessness now helps others get off the streets.

USO Make a Last Minute Gift

It's Down to the Wire

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Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans

Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000