RockVets E-Newsletter: February 2020 Edition
Editor: Pat McGlade, Email: pat@rockvets.com
Website: www:rockvets.com. 
New York Vets, P.O. Box 387, Tomkins Cove, NY 10986
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RockVets Newsletter                  February 2020                               www.rockvets.com

Volume 12
Issue 2

info@rockvets.com 
 

RockVets Is Getting a Make-Over

As we noted last month. some design changes are in the works for the RockVets Newsletter. Over the next few months, we will be working on a new design for the www.RockVets.com website, and a new format for the monthly e-newsletter.  The transition will probably be in March or April.  The platform we are currently using is being eliminated so we need to create a new format. We will keep you posted as we progress.

Annual Mt. Suribachi Luncheon - February 24th

The Rockland County Detachment of the Marine Corps League will hold its Annual Iwo Jima Commemoration Luncheon at Krucker's Catering and Picnic Grove on Monday, February 24, 2020. Krucker's is located at 81 Call Hollow Road in Pomona, New York 10970.  Phone number: 845-354-9832.

There is a cash bar starting at 11:30 a.m., followed by luncheon at 12:30 p.m. During the Cake Cutting, World War II and Korean Veterans will be honored.  All are welcome to attend:  veterans, military and civilians. World War II and Korean Vets are invited to the event as guests, but must provide the information below.

Advance payment of $40.00 (includes door prizes) must be received no later than February 16, 2020 or
to pay at the door, the fee is $45.00.  Early responses are appreciated to give the caterer an accurate head-count. Send a check payable to Rockland Detachment Marine Corps League and mail it to the Rockland Marine Corps League / Iwo Jima Luncheon at 20 Station Road, Pomona, New York 10970.  All attendees are asked to provide the following information with your reservations: 

Name___________________________________________________________________

Additional Guests__________________________________________________________


Please select your choice of:   (  ) Roast Prime Rib of Beef:    (  ) Lemon Salmon     (  ) Chicken Marsala


Indicate if you are:  World War II Veteran _______________  Korean Vet____________________


IRS Tax Forms - Five Changes for Tax Year 2019

IRS Tax Forms - Update 02:  1040 | Five Changes for Tax Year 2019  
RAO Bulletin, February 1, 2020 Issue

The tax-filing season officially kicked off this week, and the IRS celebrated the occasion by showing off a revised Form 1040. The Form 1040 tax return for 2019 — the one that’s due by April 15 — looks different from its predecessor in a handful of small ways. The changes stem from feedback from taxpayers and tax professionals, the IRS says. If you don’t fill out your 1040 yourself — maybe a professional or software program does it for you — you might not notice the change Still, the 1040’s minor makeover for tax year 2019 could affect the questions that your tax pro or tax software asks you this tax-filing season. It also could affect which and how many schedules you must file with your 1040. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at how the 1040 has changed.

1.  Fewer schedules
There are three numbered schedules for 2019 — half as many as there were for 2018. Basically, some schedules were combined to fit on a single page, so now the numbered schedules take up half as many pages. Schedules are additional forms that you file with your Form 1040 if certain situations apply to you.

2.  No health coverage check box
Last tax-filing season, Form 1040 included a check box for “Full-year health care coverage or exempt.” You (or your tax return preparer or software program) checked this box if you either had health insurance coverage for all of 2018 or were exempt from the Affordable Care Act requirement that everyone have coverage. If neither was the case, you likely owed a penalty for lack of coverage, which was due at the time that you filed your federal tax return. This tax-filing season, however, that check box is no longer on the form because that penalty is no more, as we detailed in “6 Ways Federal Income Taxes Will Be Different in 2020.”

3.  A 1040 for seniors
Last tax-filing season, one of the biggest changes to federal tax returns was the elimination of the Form 1040-EZ — everyone used the Form 1040 for 2018. For 2019, though, we’re back to having two versions of the federal tax return: the Form 1040 and the new Form 1040-SR. The 1040-SR is for seniors: Taxpayers born before Jan. 2, 1955, have the option of using it instead of the 1040. For the most part, the 1040-SR mirrors the 1040, the IRS says. The 1040-SR has a larger font size, though, and contains a “Standard Deduction Chart” that reflects the extra standard deduction amounts that seniors generally can claim. Note that the schedules for the 1040 and 1040-SR are the same. So, for example, seniors who itemize their tax deductions rather than taking the standard deduction would need to file Schedule A, regardless of whether they use the 1040 or 1040-SR.

4.  A line for capital gains or losses
The Form 1040 for 2018 did not include a line for capital gains or losses. Anyone with a capital gain or loss instead had to report it on Schedule 1 and thus had to file a Schedule 1 with their 1040. This tax-filing season, the 1040 and 1040-SR have a dedicated line for capital gain or loss (Line 6). So, taxpayers with such a gain or loss in 2019 would report it there, the IRS says. In some situations, however, those taxpayers may need to file Schedule D this year.

5.  A virtual currency question
Schedule 1 for 2019 asks about virtual currency explicitly, and the IRS says taxpayers who made transactions involving virtual currency need to file this schedule with their tax return. The question on Schedule 1 reads: “At any time during 2019, did you receive, sell, send, exchange, or otherwise acquire any financial interest in any virtual currency?” As the IRS defines it, virtual currency includes but is not limited to “convertible” virtual currencies such as Bitcoin, which have an equivalent value in real currency. If you sell or exchange virtual currency, use it to pay for goods or services, or hold it as an investment, you could have a tax liability as a result. So, it should come as no surprise that the IRS wants to know about virtual currency transactions. In fact, the agency also is reminding taxpayers that their record-keeping obligations apply to virtual currency:

    “The Internal Revenue Code and regulations require taxpayers to maintain records that support the information provided on tax returns. Taxpayers should maintain, for example, records documenting receipts, sales, exchanges or other dispositions of virtual currency and the fair market value of the virtual currency.”

[Source:  MoneyTalksNews | Karla Bowsher | January 30, 2020 ++]

Thought of the Week

“Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world; US veterans don’t have that problem.” —   John Hampton
RAO Bulletin, February 1, 2020 Issue

U.S. Space Force

Update 16:  Stop Studying and Begin Testing Space Solutions

The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff thinks it’s time for America’s military to stop sitting around “studying the heck” out of its potential space solutions and instead begin testing them in orbit. Gen. John Hyten, a longtime space officer who most recently served as the head of U.S. Strategic Command, also used a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies to give an updated timetable on the announcement of U.S. Space Command’s headquarters.

     Hyten said he is “a little frustrated at our ability to go fast” on new space capabilities, despite the focus in recent years on designing flexible, low-cost systems that should make up the core of the so-called space-based sensor layer sought by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. The MDA is seeking a sensor layer consisting of a network of satellites in low-Earth orbit to monitor activity on Earth and help track the threat of hypersonic weapons, which Hyten described as a priority. “Put some sensors on some satellites, fly them cheap, fly them fast, see what they can do and then figure out what you need to actually go build,” Hyten said of the systems that can go into low- or medium-Earth orbit. “If you do that we’ll go infinitely faster, save enormous amounts of time, enormous amounts of money, and you’ll get the capability faster." “But that’s not the way we do it. We try to study the heck out of it to get a perfect answer before we start something. I think that’s crazy,” he said, adding that a 50 percent solution “is good enough” to go start testing.

      Systems in LEO and MEO are the “only way to get a global capability that is affordable to deter that threat,” he said. Hyten also revealed his belief that the basing decision for Space Command could be as far as a year out, although he noted that the Air Force is in charge of that decision. “I think it will be sometime in the next year. I can’t tell you exactly when. … It’s kept very close hold and goes through a very structured process because it becomes so political,” he said “I do know that we need a decision this year sometime. As long as we have it this year sometime, we’ll be OK. … I hope it happens sooner, but we need it in a year.” Bases in Colorado and California have been identified by the Air Force as potential locations for Space Command to set up its headquarters, but lawmakers from Florida are pushing for their state.

     He also noted a need for the Pentagon to come up with a plan for how to incorporate Army and Navy personnel into the Space Force, as Congress is expecting an answer by the time the fiscal 2022 budget is rolled out — and lawmakers could force their own views on the Defense Department if the military doesn’t provide a detailed plan. “We would like to have a voice in that decision, which means we have to do it pretty quick,” he said. Capabilities that apply space into a maneuvering unit or a fleet should stay with the current force, Hyten opined, but offices that build, fly or deliver space systems belong in the Space Force going forward. He also called the National Guard a “perfect” partner on the space mission, perhaps even better suited than the active component because of the possibility of standing up Guard units with specific expertise based around commercial hubs.  [Source:  DefenseNews | Aaron Mehta | January 18, 2020 ++]


World War II Military Jobs - 10 Odd Ones

WWII Military Jobs --  10 Odd Ones
RAO Bulletin, February 1, 2020 Issue

Today's military has some jobs that might surprise you — for example, did you know the Army and Marine Corps have instrument repair technicians? These troops repair musical instruments for the military bands. But during World War II, there were a lot of jobs that would seem strange in today's technologically focused military. Over the course of the war, technological advances reduced or eliminated the need for many manual occupations. This transition is captured in the War Department's list of military jobs from 1944, where entries like ''horse artillery driver'' appear just a page away from ''remote control turret repairman.''

1.  Blacksmith
During World War II, blacksmiths still made many of the items needed to repair equipment and machinery. They would make metal tools and parts, by hand, in coal or coke forges. They also made shoes for some of the tens of thousands of horses and mules that saw service during the war.

2.  Meat Cutter
Does what it says on the label: cuts meat. These troops were responsible for preparing whole carcassas, such as beef and lamb, for distribution to various units around the world.

3.  Horsebreaker
Horsebreakers would train horses and mules so they could be issued to mounted units. They also trained them to carry packs and to be hitched to wagons and carts. Although they weren't used in World War II to the extent they were used in the First World War, troops still relied on horses and mules to cross terrain impassable to mechanized units. For example, the 5332nd Brigade, a long range patrol group created for service in the mountains of Burma, was largely self-sufficient due to the 3,000 mules assigned to it — all shipped from the United States.

4.  Artist and Animation Artist
Today's military has jobs for skilled multimedia illustrators, but in World War II, military artists and animation artists created paintings, illustrations, films, charts and maps by hand. A number of successful artists served in World War II, including Bill Maudlin, who drew Willie and Joe, archetypes for infantrymen on the front line; and Bill Keane, who went on to draw Family Circus after his military service ended.    The military's animation artists were quite busy during World War II. The Army even stationed soldiers at Walt Disney's studios for the duration of the war to make patriotic films for the public and instructional or training films for service members.

5.  Crystal Grinder
During World War II, many radios still required crystals to operate, usually galena. Crystal grinders would grind and calibrate these crystals to pick up specific frequencies. Personal radios were forbidden on the front lines, but crystal radio sets lacked external power sources, so they couldn't be detected by the enemy. For this reason, troops often improvised crystal radios from a variety of materials — including pencils and razor blades — in order to listen to music and news. These contraband radio sets were dubbed ''foxhole radios.''

6.  Cooper
Troops who worked as coopers built and repaired the wooden buckets, barrels, casks and kegs used to pack, store and ship supplies and equipment. They used hand tools to plug holes with wood and salvage damaged barrels. Wood was used to package a wide range of goods for transport all the way through World War II, but improvements in metal and cardboard packaging technology marked the beginning of the end for wooden barrels and crates.

7.  Model Maker
Military model makers were charged with creating scale models of military equipment, terrain and other objects to be used in movies, as training aids and for operational planning. The models built by these troops were used in what was perhaps one of the greatest examples of wartime deception, Operation Fortitude. This was aimed at convincing the Germans that Allied troops heading to France for the D-Day invasion would land in Pas de Calais in July, rather than Normandy in June. Dummy buildings, aircraft and landing craft were constructed by model makers and positioned near Dover, England, in a camp built for the fictitious First U.S. Army Group. The deception was so complete that Hitler held troops in reserve for two weeks after D-Day because he believed another invasion was coming via the Dover Strait.

8.  Pigeoneer
Pigeoneers were responsible for all aspects of their birds' lives. They would breed, train and care for pigeons that were used to deliver messages. Some birds would be trained specifically for night flying, while others learned that food could be found at one location and water at another. According to the U.S. Army Communications Electronics Museum, more than 90% of the messages carried by pigeons were successfully delivered.

9.  Field Artillery Sound Recorder
These troops had the sickest beats. Until the development of radar, sound ranging was one of the most effective ways to locate enemy artillery, mortars and rockets. The process was first developed in World War I, and continued to be used in combat through the Korean War. From a forward operating post, a field artillery sound recorder would monitor an oscillograph and recorder connected to several microphones. When the sound of an enemy gun reached a microphone, the information would be recorded on sound film and the data from several microphones could be analyzed to locate the enemy gun. The technology is still in use today by many countries, which often use sound ranging in concert with radar.

10.  Airplane Woodworker
Although wood was largely phased out in favor of tubular steel in aircraft construction by the time World War II started, there was still a need for airplane woodworkers to repair and maintain existing aircraft — especially gliders and some training aircraft. Wooden gliders like the Waco CG-4A — the most widely used American troop/cargo military glider of World War II — played critical parts in the war. The CG-4A was first used in the invasion of Sicily in July 1943. They most commonly flew airborne troops into battle, most famously for the D-Day assault on France on June 6, 1944, and Operation Market Garden in September 1944. They were also used in the China-Burma-India Theater.

[Source:  Military.com | Claudette Roulo | January 10, 2020 ++]       

VA Launches Diabetes Campaign to Help Veterans 

VA launches diabetes campaign to help Veterans, health care teams better manage care
Posted on January 24, 2020 by Donnie La Curan in Veteran News

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) launched a new campaign this month to give Veterans a better understanding of their diabetes numbers, which are critical to their well-being. The Understand Your Diabetes Numbers campaign educates Veterans and their families on hemoglobin A1C, glucose meter, blood pressure and kidney tests, and other vital measurements. To read more: 

 VA Genetic Research Impacts Heart Disease Science  
American Heart Association praises VA genetic research
Posted on January 24, 2020 by Donnie La Curan in Veteran News

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) earned national recognition for its impact on heart disease and stroke science in VA studies published in 2019.  The American Heart Association (AHA) lauded the research as top examples of how gene studies expand knowledge.

The studies were based on VA’s Million Veteran Program (MVP) landmark research effort. MVP is a national research program to learn how genes, lifestyle and military exposures affect health and illness.

“This acknowledgment is a testament to the scientific and medical impact of VA research,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “More than 30 studies are underway that use MVP data, and the work is expected to lead to many advances in health care for Veterans and all Americans.”

One of the studies focused on peripheral artery disease, a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to limbs. The other study looked at venous thromboembolism, in which a blood clot forms in the deep veins of the leg, groin or arm and travels in circulation, lodging in the lungs.

Both studies pinpointed gene targets that could lead to new drugs to treat the conditions, which affect millions of Veterans and other Americans.

MVP-based studies focus on topics including PTSD, suicide prevention, heart disease and diabetes. Findings from several studies have appeared in high-impact medical and scientific journals. More than 800,000 Veterans are already enrolled in MVP, and the recent launch of online enrollment has made it easier for more Veterans to take part.

AHA has recognized other major advances in which VA played a role. They included a major finding on blood pressure control and a study using smartwatches to warn of irregular heartbeats.

Applications Open For Grants for Disabled Veterans 
Applications open for community organizations to apply for millions in adaptive sports grants to support community reintegration for disabled Veterans
Posted on January 30, 2020 by Donnie La Curan in Veteran News

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is accepting applications through March 17 for up to $15 million in grants for civic groups providing adaptive sports and therapeutic recreational opportunities to Veterans and members of the armed forces with disabilities.

Application instructions and eligibility information for these grants — which will help qualified organizations plan, develop, manage and implement these programs — are available at VA Adaptive Sports Grant Program.

“Built on VA clinical expertise and operations, with essential support from community partners, the adaptive sports grant program allows VA to extend its level of care beyond the clinical setting,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “We are pleased to offer grant funds to community organizations as it means there will be more Veterans engaging in the challenge of sports and more Veterans who are exposed to new skills for healthier living.”

In 2019, VA awarded $14.9 million in adaptive sports grants to 126 organizations, estimated to serve more than 11,000 Veterans and service members from every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Of the total awarded, $1.5 million is being used to assist organizations that offer equine-assisted therapy to support mental health.

All applications must be submitted to www.grants.gov by 8 p.m. EST, March 17. VA will announce awards based on a competitive selection in fall 2020.

VA Appeals Modernization Act (AMA) of 2017  
VA Appeals 
Update 38:  Choice, Control, Clarity: Appeals Modernization

The Appeals Modernization Act (AMA) of 2017 gave Veterans a greater choice in how to disagree with a VA claim decision. Giving Veterans more choice has been a top priority for VA. Cheryl Mason, the Chairman of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, joined Ashleigh Barry on a special edition of VA News to take a deeper look at the modernized appeals process, discuss some early positive signs from the implementation of AMA, and to announce that Veterans can expect to see telehealth technology incorporated into the appeals process in 2020.

     “The Appeals Modernization system was designed to give Vets primarily three things: choice, control and clarity of their claim’s appeals process. And so that choice means they have options, they’re no longer stuck in a situation,” said Mason. Under AMA, Veterans can choose from one of three lanes to have their decision reviewed: (1) supplemental claim; (2) higher-level review; or (3) appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. If a Veteran chooses to appeal to the Board, he/she can choose from one of three dockets: (1) direct review; (2) evidence submission; or (3) hearing request. Which lane should Veterans choose? “We always advise Veterans to work with their representative…,” Mason said. “While we have made it easier, it’s still a little confusing to Veterans because it is different. Veterans representatives can really advise them on what they need to do.”

Nationwide availability of virtual hearing technology is on the horizon, too. Mason discussed how virtual hearings provide Veterans with increased access and improved customer service. “Much like you see with the telehealth process right now, where you see Veterans use their phones, their computers, their iPad to talk to a doctor, you’ll be able to talk to a judge–and that’s actually happening right now,” said Mason. The Board started testing virtual hearings in July. Its positive results showcase its need for 2020 and beyond. “You won’t have to travel 4-6 hours across the state to come to a hearing, or, if you’re not in a situation where it’s healthy for you to travel you don’t have to do that, you can do it at home,” Mason added.

Virtual hearings may also have an impact on the Veteran’s well-being, as it may take away some of the stress Veterans face when going through the appeals process. “It’s something that is very important to me personally. I’m very engaged in the mental wellness and suicide prevention process with PREVENTS… if [a virtual hearing] means making the hearing process comfortable for them, that’s what we want to do,” Mason added. For more information about the Board and its progress on appeals modernization:
Board of Veteran appeals website https://www.bva.va.gov/ 
Appeals Modernization Act video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qucrG2Cv0lg 
Appeals Modernization fact sheet at

VA News, and other engaging content, is available on televisions at select VA medical centers across the country and via simulcast on the Veterans News Network at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yA3X-ZxMTfg.  [Source:   Vantage Point | Ron Haskell | January 27, 2020 ++]

Homeless Vets - At 10 Year Low 
Homeless Vets
Update 97:  At 10 Year Low Despite 11,000 Unused Housing Vouchers 
RAO Bulletin - February 1, 2020 Issue

Housing and veterans officials told House lawmakers that the veteran homeless rate has dropped to a 10-year low even as thousands of federal vouchers that could help get more veterans off the streets went unused. “There are so many unused vouchers and so many homeless veterans remaining,” Keith Harris, the national director of clinical operations for Veterans Health Administration, said 14 JAN during a House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearing on veteran homelessness.  The Department of Housing and Urban Development reported last week that the homelessness rate among veterans is at a 10-year low, as overall homelessness increased across the country. Some lawmakers and Department of Veterans Affairs officials have largely credited the decrease to the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program, which helps veterans with rental assistance and VA support services.

Harris said more than 800,000 veterans and their families have used the HUD-VASH program since 2010, calling it one of the “most important resources for ending veteran homelessness” and saying the collaboration between nonprofits and multiple state and federal agencies makes eliminating veteran homelessness an attainable goal. Nationally, the homeless population is up 3%, which HUD attributes to a ballooning crisis in California where homelessness increased 21% between 2018 and 2019. But the number of homeless veterans in the United States is down to 37,000, according to HUD. This is a decrease of 2% in the last year and a 50% decrease since 2010, said Hunter Kurtz, assistant secretary for Public and Indian Housing for HUD. Last year, about 8% of the homeless population were veterans.

 But the program intended to help veterans find a place to live isn’t being used by thousands of potentially eligible former service members due to a lack of VA staff and skyrocketing costs of living in some parts of the country, according to Harris. “One homeless veteran is one too many,” Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA) said during the hearing. “Right now we are not good enough at identifying at-risk veterans and connecting them with services before they become homeless.” The HUD-VASH program has more than 100,000 vouchers issued nationally right now, but 11,000 are not being used by a veteran. Of the 37,000 homeless former service members, nearly one-third of them can possibly find subsidized housing. 

A roadblock with vouchers for some veterans is rising living costs in some parts of the country, specifically urban areas, according to Harris. “All over the country the vouchers are just not enough,” said Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL). “Veterans are having a hard time because it’s just not enough and they’re having a hard time paying for things like electricity. We’re very fortunate to have nonprofits kick-in.” Harris said HUD is working to increase the number of federal subsidized living spaces, put a ceiling on rising rents and make the vouchers more useful. He also pointed to the VA being short staffed with case managers, which the department is seeking new ways to process homeless case work such as using contractors.  “One critical strategy [to ending veteran homelessness] is increasing the number of case managers,” Harris said. “Along with the lack of affordable housing, the lack of case workers is unquestionably the great limiting factors in voucher utilization.”  [Source:  Stars & Stripes | Steve Beynon | January 14, 2020 ++] 

Solving Depression and Anxiety Disorders in Veterans

Depression & Anxiety Disorders - Solving Them in Veterans
RAO Bulletin, February 1, 2020 Issue

Between 2000 and 2012, the Department of Veterans Affairs reported a 327% increase in anxiety disorders among military members. A recent study suggests that this may be due to the discovery of a so-called "worry gene." Researchers from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and the University of California in San Diego analyzed the genes of 200,000 U.S. veterans and identified six genetic variants linked to anxiety — a discovery that may help explain why anxiety and depression often go hand in hand. The study authors hailed their finding as "the richest set of results for the genetic basis of anxiety to date." But leading psychologists say that while genes may load the gun, it's most often environment that pulls the trigger on mental health disorders.

According to Mental Health First Aid, 20 veterans die by suicide each day. Over 30% of active duty and military personnel deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan have a mental health problem requiring treatment, but only half of these returning veterans receive the care they need. "We should spend as much money on helping these veterans re-enter their civilian lives as we do in training them for the military," Dr. Terry Lyles, Ph.D., an internationally recognized expert on dealing with trauma and stress, tells Newsmax. "The study points the finger at genetics on why our military personnel have mental health issues. However, we basically all have the same genetic patterns but when threatened with violence, danger, and combat stress, we release levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, that drains our bodies of the natural resources to deal with that constant bombardment.

"Cortisol literally eats serotonin, the hormone that helps regulate mood and social behavior. So, when these veterans are subjected to constant threats, improper nutrition, lack of sleep, and sunlight — it's no wonder they become rewired to exhibit anxiety and depression." Lyles, known as America's "Stress Coach," uses highly specialized techniques to help veterans and other individuals such as the rescue workers at Ground Zero and those in the tsunami-torn area in Asia to help channel mental negativity and chaos into more productive and positive pathways. 

Dr. Lois Mueller, a clinical psychologist from Tampa who worked at the U.S, Department of Veterans Affairs, Outpatient Clinic for 10 years, tells Newsmax, that people with a genetic predisposition toward anxiety will have a 10-fold increased risk of developing a mental disorder when being placed in a combat situation where people around you are wounded or dying.
"Whatever they came with genetically was certainly affected by their environment," she says. "The proof of impact of combat would be to compare vets before being in the military and five years after combat. Don't forget, a lot more were traumatized not only by combat itself but also by associated military duties such as picking up and bagging bodies or delivering the folded flags to mothers here in the States.

"My experience with vets with PSTD is very often people who were calm and worry-free prior to combat ended up anxious and fearful after leaving the military. Early treatment can make a difference but length of exposure to combat can make it very difficult to eliminate the problem. We are still learning about treatment techniques."

[Source:  NewsmaxHealth | January 24, 2020 ++]

POW/MIA Recoveries and Burials 
POW/MIA Recoveries and Burials
Reported 16 thru 31 JAN 2020 | Eleven
RAO February 1, 2020 Issue

“Keeping the Promise“, “Fulfill their Trust” and “No one left behind” are several of many mottos that refer to the efforts of the Department of Defense to recover those who became missing while serving our nation.   The number of Americans who remain missing from conflicts in this century as of FEB 2019 are: World War II 73,025 of which over 41,000 are presumed to be lost at sea, Korean War 7665, Vietnam War 1589 (i.e. VN-1,246, Laos-288, Cambodia-48, & Peoples Republic of China territorial waters-7), Cold War 111, Iraq and other conflicts 5.  Over 600 Defense Department men and women -- both military and civilian -- work in organizations around the world as part of DoD's personnel recovery and personnel accounting communities. They are all dedicated to the single mission of finding and bringing our missing personnel home. 

For a listing of all missing or unaccounted for personnel to date refer to http://www.dpaa.mi/l and click on ‘Our Missing’.  Refer to https://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Year/2019  for a listing and details of those accounted for in 2019. If you wish to provide information about an American missing in action from any conflict or have an inquiry about MIAs, contact:
  == Mail: Public Affairs Office, 2300 Defense Pentagon, Washington, D.C. 20301-2300, Attn: External Affairs 
  == Call:  Phone: (703) 699-1420  
  == Message:  Fill out form on http://www.dpaa.mil/Contact/ContactUs.aspx

Family members seeking more information about missing loved ones may also call the following Service Casualty Offices: U.S. Air Force (800) 531-5501, U.S. Army (800) 892-2490, U.S. Marine Corps (800) 847-1597, U.S. Navy (800) 443-9298, or U.S. Department of State (202) 647-5470.  The names, photos, and details of the below listed MIA/POW’s which have been recovered, identified, and/or scheduled for burial since the publication of the last RAO Bulletin are listed on the following sites:
https://www.vfw.org/actioncorpsweekly  
http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/News-Releases 
http://www.thepatriotspage.com/Recovered.htm 
http://www.pow-miafamilies.org/
https://www.pownetwork.org/bios/b/b012.htm 
http://www.vvmf.org/Wall-of-Faces

POW/MIA Memorial - Ground Broken in Florida

POW/MIA Memorial - Ground broken
RAO Bulletin - February 1, 2020 Issue

Military veterans from throughout Northeast Florida came together 18 JAN to honor comrades in arms who were prisoners of war or missing in action, and remember their sacrifice. A standing-room-only crowd that including former prisoners of war, as well as the families of those missing in action, and Gold Star families wept, hugged and prayed together during a solemn ceremony marking the groundbreaking for the total, estimated $82 million National POW/MIA Memorial & Museum.

     The first of its kind, the memorial and museum is being built at 6112 POW-MIA Memorial Parkway, at Cecil Commerce Center, which is the former Naval Air Station Cecil Field jet base on the Westside of Jacksonville. Cecil Field POW/MIA Memorial, Inc., a nonprofit organization, is leading the multi-phase memorial and museum project. "Our mission is to honor all former prisoners of war; remember and never forget those missing in action heroes and the families who seek their return," said Mike Cassata, organization executive director. The memorial and museum is being built on 26 acres. 

      Michael Pearson, who recently retired from the U.S. Army National Guard after 20 years, and Tony Langhals, who served as a U.S. Navy patrol aircraft electronics technician before retiring, also after 20 years of service thoughtfully studied the master site plan for the project. They liked what they saw, noting it is a fitting way to honor prisoners of war and the missing in action. Pearson said he and his fellow members of the American Legion Riders motorcycle club — military veterans who do charitable work in the community — support the project 100 percent. "I am so anxious to see it when it's done," said Pearson, whose National Guard unit trained at the site that will become the museum and memorial. "Seeing that this is what it's going to be one day, is exciting," Pearson said. Langhals said he came out to the groundbreaking of respect for prisoners of war and those missing in action. "I really respect what they went through and what they have given to our country. I'm just happy to see something like this built in Jacksonville to honor them," Langhals said.

     About 82,000 American military personnel are listed as missing in action and unaccounted for since World War II, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA). The agency works to account as fully as possible for the missing soldiers, sailors and air crew members. Kelly McKeague, agency director, was among the speakers at the groundbreaking. "Establishing this national memorial rightfully pays tribute to the overwhelming sacrifices borne by our former POWs and the thousands still missing in action," McKeague said.

     The keynote speaker, Retired U.S. Air Force Capt. William "Bill" Arcuri said project like the National POW/MIA Memorial & Museum keep the issue alive in the minds of government officials and citizens. "We who came home must never forget those who did not," Arcuri said. Arcuri was flying his 44th mission when his aircraft was shot down Dec. 20, 1972 over Yin Ven, North Vietnam then captured and thrown into a prison camp. He was a prisoner of war until Feb. 12, 1973. Because of his injuries, Arcuri was among the first group of POWs to be released.

     The existing NAS Cecil Field Memorial Park was dedicated to those naval aviators stationed at NAS Cecil Field during the Vietnam and Desert Storm War eras. It is being transformed into the new museum and memorial, which supporter say will be "world class." The groundbreaking was for Phase 1 — estimated at about $5 million — of the five-year project. Phase 1 calls for restoring and using the historic military chapel — named the Chapel of the High Speed Pass. Just to the north of the chapel, there will be a display of four aircraft that flew out of Cecil Field. The existing grounds of the memorial park will be enhanced, and a replica of the USS Saratoga (CV-60) will be built, according to the plans, The chapel renovation is nearly complete, and it served as home base for the groundbreaking ceremony. The jet display and memorial brick areas have been designed and permitted.

     The project is 59 percent funded, according to the organization. "This is the beginning of something that we feel will be paramount for the city of Jacksonville, as well as the nations veterans," said Buddy Harris, a retired U.S. Navy commander, who serves as National POW/MIA Memorial and Museum spokesman. When completed, the memorial and museum will be unique in that no other will be as comprehensive on the mission helping ensure that prisoners of war and those missing in action are not forgotten, Harris said. "There is not a national memorial for all missing in action in the United States. ...We certainly hope to fill a significant void that has been left in all of the national veterans memorials," he said.

     Their goal, he said, is to establish a site honoring all prisoners of war and those still missing in action that also will serve as a historic destination site for the nation. It is intended to serve and educate the general public through exhibits, special events, activities and through STEAM —Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mechanical — programs. Financial contributions as well as donations of materials for the project are welcome, Harris said. "We hope have it as a sanctuary for the families of the MIAs, and also for the former POWs," he said.  [Source:  The Florida Times-Union | Teresa Stepzinski | January 19, 2020++]

VVA Chapter #333 Report to NYS VVA Council

V.V.A. Chapter #333 Report to the New York State VVA Council
January 25, 2020 - Roy Tschudy and Howard Goldin

Here is a quick review of Past, Present and Future Endeavors of Chapter #333, Vietnam Veterans of America, located in Rockland County, New York.

Currently, this is our 20th year educating students throughout the County in Middle Schools and High Schools, on the “Vietnam Memories of the Wall” project.  To date, we have educated over 80,000 students and faculty on the Vietnam Experience inclusive of our lives after returning home from Vietnam.

Chapter 333 enacted an education financial award on “patriotism” presented to three students who submit an essay regarding their personal thoughts on this subject.  In addition, Chapter 333 has also enacted an annual Patriotism Scholarship Award of $500.00 to a student for their volunteerism on behalf of local veterans.

Also, Chapter 333 members assist aged veterans in the V.A. Montrose Nursing Home via their group name “The Bob Hope Division,” providing gifts and entertainment for hospitalized veterans.

In 2013 our Chapter created a program to assist veterans who have been disabled in service to our country. The Handcycle Program to date has provided 12 of these items to men and women with leg amputations and / or spinal cord injuries.  We have also purchased one kayak for a veteran in need as his preference for rehabilitation /recreation. We have purchased one outrigger canoe for another veteran, again, as his preference.  We have purchased and donated a special made-to-order mountain bike for a young veteran who suffers from a Traumatic Brain Injury while in service in Afghanistan.  We have also purchased a handcycle for a female veteran with injuries sustained in Afghanistan for her use in rehabilitation / recreation.  As a Chapter, we continue on with a clear message to all of our brothers, as long as we are able to provide assistance to any in need, we will do so.

As a Chapter, we keep the steadfast thought: 

“You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give!”

V.P. Roy Tschudy
Board member (past president) Howard Goldin

VVA - New York State Council Agenda and Minutes 

VVA - NYSC – AGENDA and Minutes Saturday, January 25, 2020 9:00 AM (09:00 hours)
Opening Prayer: Reverend Lewis

01 - Pledge of Allegiance/ Moment of Silence: Sgt. at Arms, Bob Joyce (not in attendance) AGENDA

02 - Roll Call: Officers, Directors, Chapters

03 - Reading the Minutes of Previous Meeting [and approval] Francisco Muñiz

04 - Presidents Report: Ned D. Foote – Dana Halfors, web master passed on. 13,753 members has passed on. (Cliff to make sure NYS VVA is notified). In past 5 yrs. 4 chapters have closed. Chapters 537 (Newburgh) & 60 (Kingston) are closing. As they close, members will be placed AT LARGE. Not taking on any more claims through VVA as there are two-many cases outstanding. State elections will take place in April, not June. State funding has dried up, still seeking funds for VVA State.

05 - Officer’s Reports:
a - Vice President: Grant Coates reservations for conference: called direct, not off-site. Call Tioga Downs for VVA reservations 607-699-3900 . Cut off is 21 days prior to day of event. Rate is $125 per night. $180 is regular rate. Meeting Dates:
April 3-4, Sept. 25-26. Tax exempt forms (ST-119) completed is needed. Website: individual Chapter Memorial’s , send photo of such to Grant Coates. Imperative for our website to be up to date for State & National.
b - Secretary: Francisco Muñiz III – VVAinterchange@aol.com to send info to Francisco. 2/7 deadline for next reports.(Bruce- recording secretary). For death of a member, send bio of deceased to national & state. Photos are sent by regular JPG NOT PDF. Notifications goes to TAP & Interchange.
c - Treasurer: Nick DeLeo – discussion of Profit & Loss (P&L) on budget March 2019 – Feb. 2020 also discussion on 20-21 budget proposed-budget passed. State still has $365,381.72 in monies.
    
06 - Directors: Sam Hall, Mike Walker, Nick Valenti, Joe Ingino (local reports via region)

07 - National Officers: President Rowan (Blue Water Navy still in the works) Court of Veteran’s appeal was created because of VVA. Members are getting tired and dropping away. (last man standing?) 249 bases with chemical problems (Super Fund pollution sites), 37% of new vets have higher education (PhD) looking at legal aspects of our constitution to bring younger veterans into our group. VVA passed resolution opening up our next leadership conference that they attend to ours free. S.E.A. (Student Education Association). Younger female vets are now more educated and surpassing male vet’s same era.

Note: for the Board’s consideration we donate $1,000.00 to NYS VVA for issuing at April 3-4 meeting.
Ted Wilkinson - 37 VVA Chapters are on suspensions (Nationally).

08 - Website/ Interchange updates: Ned

09 - Guest Speaker: Holly Baker, Gold Star Families – Sgt. Brian K. Baker KIA (son). Holly is the Dept. NY Gold Star Families. Discussion of what an American Gold Star Mother is.

Break: 10 minutes to meet with your directors
Remembering our Deceased Members with photographs & Roll Call (make sure you use the National form to notify National & State)

10 - Open Mike: 2 minutes unless motion to continue but no more than 4 Chapter reports, events, etc. Chapter 11 gave a check for $1,000.00. Jamestown gave a check for $5,000. 11- Committee Reports I: 10 Minute for reports, unless delegates wish to continue.

a - Veterans Affairs: Sam Hall - Presumptive conditions still under review and will return to the date of original filing once settled.

b - PTSD/ Substance Abuse: Tom Harris

c - Health Awareness: Tom Harris

d - Homeless: Tom Kelly

e - Women Veterans: open

f - Constitution: Grant/ by-law changes

Lunch: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM (1300 - 1400 hours)

12 - Committee Reports II: 10 Minute for reports, unless delegates wish to continue.

a - Membership: Ted Wilkinson - 6,159 members NYS VVA. NYS is the 5th largest State within VVA. It is Mandatory that every chapter attends at least 2 State meetings per year. Currently, VA claims with appeals is now taking from 5 – 7 years.
b - Agent Orange: Bill Paton c - Finance: Charles Tipton
d - POW/MIA/VI: Grant Coates PL 116-67 signed 11/7/19into law by the president that POW/MIA flags will be flow under US Flag or to the left of the US Flag.
1,587 POWs/MIA’s still missing VN War.
e - Gov’t Affairs: Joe Ingino - Legislative bill to maintain space in Veteran Nursing Homes f - Incarcerated Vets: Nick Valenti -

Break: 10 minutes 

13 - Special Reports:

a - AVVA: Kathy Penfield b -VAVS: Danny Freidman

14 - Unfinished Business

15 - New Business

16 - Adjourn
VVA-NYSC 2020 meetings: Jan. 24, 25; April 3 - 4; Sept. 25 – 26 

Submitted by Howard Goldin & Roy Tschudy 1/25/20

Black Virgin Mountain - Excerpt from Book 

Black Virgin Mountain
Author:  Larry Heinemann

Excerpt From: Larry Heinemann. “Black Virgin Mountain.” iBooks. 

https://books.apple.com/us/book/black-virgin-mountain/id420780338

Publisher's Note about Black Virgin Mountain:  In 1967 Larry Heinemann was sent to Vietnam as an ordinary soldier. It was the most horrific year of his life, truly altering him—and his family—forever. In his powerful memoir, Heinemann returns to Vietnam, riding the train from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh city and confronting the memories of his war year. Black Virgin Mountain confirms Heinemann’s legendary plain-spoken reputation as one of the essential chroniclers of our war in Vietnam.

Here is an excerpt taken from the book "Black Virgin Mountain" by Larry Heinemann:

"New guys stare at the hole in the ground as if we have come upon the dragon’s fabulous hoard.The tunnel is probably booby-trapped, so—first things first—you toss in a grenade or two and stand aside.
You never know. The guy down there just may throw it back. You wait those four and one-half seconds for them to blow—shoong! shoong!”

“You listen for shrill screams of bloody murder; a sound like no other in the world. Instead, a foul, dead-gray smoke rises from the hole like the last, thick wisps of smolder from a doused leaf fire. It is time to tunnel. You put the rest of your grenades away. A hand grenade, now, is suicide.  You take a long drink of water; you may be at this a while. Everyone wishes you luck. The lieutenant tells you to be careful.  You promise. You never wear a shirt, so you don’t have to strip to the waist. You zip your flak jacket to your chin, chamber a round in the .45 (clicking the safety off), snap the flashlight on, get on your belly, and lean headfirst with a long stretch of your whole body down into the tunnel entrance (someone holding your ankles).

You pause to accustom your eyes to an atmosphere of dark and smoke; alert, instead, for the smell of human waste; of blood.  You swirl the light around—looking; for sandal straps, for scraps of clothes, for body parts, for a splash of eviscerated slime; for—you don’t know what.  “You listen with both ears in front; the brush of a trouser leg; the swallowed groan in a throat; the oiled slide of a rifle bolt; the slip of a hand on dry dirt; the click of a belt. Nothing. You ignore the sting of smoke in your eyes.  You eyeball just there for the threads” “of tripwires pulled taut. All you see are the scuffs in the dirt where the grenades blew.

You shimmy down and gingerly move into the tunnel no bigger around than a Thanksgiving turkey platter. The air is hot and rank and lingers foul on your tongue—all of Earth is close around.

You lie on your belly, holding yourself up on your elbows as well as you are able. Straight down the way, the beam of your flashlight disappears into an abyss of grenade smoke and the dread of serious dark.

So, you begin.

You squeeze along on your stomach, low-crawling in exquisite slow motion, pushing with the toes of your boots and the points of your hips, pulling with your elbows; ever so sly.

You are scared crap less—there is, flat-out, no other word for it—but unlike that nitwit Hollywood war movie myth of soldiers crapping in their pants in those extraordinary moments of stone-high dread, that is not going to happen, because the eye of your butt is puckered-up as tight as a bolt. Your bowels are not going anywhere.  You will die first.  You pause and listen more; feeling along the dirt” with a light touch of your hand as if caressing a peach. Nothing, so far.

You stare into that smoky, perfect darkness with unique, perfect concentration. If someone is waiting for you just yonder in the deepest darkness you could ever imagine, you are an easy target because your silhouette blocks the little light behind you; not to mention the flashlight in your hand. He has an AK-47 and thirty rounds pointed right at your head. The flames of the muzzle flashes will be the last things you see in this life. But then, so is he an easy target. Your little light will reveal the tiniest shine of his eyes—just as intent as yours. It will reveal that touch of sweat on his face—just as greasy as yours. It will reveal the small, perfect “o” of his rifle muzzle.

You have a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol with one round in the chamber (a literal hunk of lead) and seven more in the magazine, plus another eight-round magazine held in your teeth as well as that Filipino bowie knife almost as long as your forearm strapped“ to your flak jacket. Your pistol is pointed straight at him. At this range, in this little space, even the ricochets will carom and hit.

You are screwed; he is screwed. The world has come to this.

You pour sweat. The dirt clings to your arms; dirt sprinkles into your hair; your eyes. Everything clings.

You feel with your fingers in the dirt; mines, booby traps, and deadfall triggers. It is like drawing your fingers through the dry motes of dust under a bed, touching for coin. So far, so good.

You inch along; move and pause.

You watch and listen and slide your touch; and move again.

You shove along, one little bit by the next little bit; creeping closer to the very center of the cleanest, simplest, most uncomplicated dread known well to every prey. With every scoot forward, you leave something of the best of yourself behind. Then.  You sense rather than see or touch something. It is a shiver in the very air, not unlike that sharp, cold pique of awareness that washes through you when someone is watching.

You lie still, so still that you feel the rhythmic jolts of blood under your arms and the side of your neck.

You slide the heel of your hand along the wall of dirt, reaching, until you suddenly reach into air. Well, you will be goddamned. A side tunnel. Now what?

You draw nearby inches and listen. Not a sound.
You sniff the air with a long pull of breath—ah. For that instant, it is like a meditation.

You have never been so alone in so dark a place, so godawful afraid in all your born days. For you, this may well be the last of earth.

You stretch forward.

You hold your breath and turn the flashlight, the pistol, your gaze down the way.

You see and hear nothing. This is very good.

You pause a good long while, collecting your wits, but paradoxically you are as near to tranquil as you can ever recall. Absolutely nothing in this world will compel you to turn and scrutinize your discovery.

You move quietly on.  You stop.  You listen.  You watch.  You do this many, many times.

You push along inch by inch, leaving the second tunnel behind. The air comes cleaner.

You search the dirt all around with your fingers, your light, that most perfect of the keenest gaze.

You sniff the air for gun oil, food, backpack canvas, body odor, anything that does not smell like dirt and smoke and darkness. It would seem, still, the only person down here is you. This is very good, indeed.

You squeeze along, mindful and careful. The tunnel doglegs left. Slow and steady. Easy does it. The tunnel doglegs right. Then.  You do actually, finally, inexorably see something. Your breath catches in your throat. Hut! Jesus H. Christ. Hut!

You feel as if you will have a heart attack. Stranger things have happened. The “thing” appears a long way off, like an aura, like an elongated bull’s-eye. Think Pollack. Think Turner. Think Caves of Dordogne. Think the ghastly avidity of death’s breath and nightmares. The thing looms large in the distance, like a dusky apparition. It is the largest, most vague object you have ever seen.

You set down the pistol ever so carefully and press your palm into the dirt to dry the sweat.

You take your sweet time, because you have got all day.  You turn off the flashlight; no need.

You pick up the pistol. The grip is gritty and sweaty, still.  You move, stretching your body long to make as small a target as is possible in so small a place. Every little bit helps, and, well, you never know.

You curl slowly around another turn. As you move, that thing, that aura, that elongated bull’s-eye, becomes the faintest, roughest spread of light. It is light. It is the light of men’s lives. It is the ambient light from another spider hole. The light of your life. Ah.

You are, however, not out of the woods just yet. Let us not get ahead of ourselves. “You crawl to the end of the tunnel with the same special care with which you entered. Several paces from the end you take a good, deep breath and give a shout. You do this so your friends aboveground do not kill you with their grenades.

You come to the spider hole, climb up using the toeholds, and stumble into the fierce, brilliant morning air.

You emerge covered with dirt and sweat. Your filthy greasy trousers cling to your legs. Your flak jacket is plastered to your back.  You snap your pistol on safe.

You are back among the two-leggeds, as the Indians would say, and standing in the clean, hot light of day. For a long moment you cannot see a thing.  You are hot, your mouth is dry, and you are within an ace of heat exhaustion.  You drink an entire canteen of water, then another.  You would prefer a good stiff drink, but some days you have to take what you can get. A moment later you are pouring sweat all over again.

You tell the lieutenant about the side tunnel. No, you tell him and the demo guys, you have no idea where it goes. One tunnel at a time, sir. They know exactly what you mean.  You have time to wash up while the demo guys and the lieutenant blow the tunnel, once and for all. Then the platoon mounts up and drives away.

You spend the rest of the day catching your breath. Later that night you drink until you cannot see straight.

You drink any kind of hard liquor you can get your hands on. You go to sleep that night drunk.

You do not dream. It is not the first of such evenings, and it will not be your last.”   Larry Heinemann

Blue Water Navy Veterans

The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019
One Act, Two Parts

Two separate topics are affected by the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act.

1. Herbicide Exposure

The Act extends the presumption of exposure of herbicides such as Agent Orange to Veterans
who served in the offshore waters of the Republic of Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975.

2. VA Home Loans

The Act includes provisions that affect the VA Home Loan Program.​ These provisions affect ALL Veterans. Not just Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans.

This presentation has been divided into two Modules. Module 1 addresses the presumption of herbicide exposure, eligibility, and details about filing a claim. Module 2 addresses changes to the VA Home Loan program.

To read more, use this link:

https://benefits.va.gov/BENEFITS/docs/bwn-101-briefing.pdf#page=192 Jan 2020

All New PTSD Coach Mobile App Released

Introducing the newest release of PTSD Coach, VA’s first mobile app for mobile devices. The app has even more features to help you learn about and manage symptoms that can occur after trauma. First launched in April of 2011, the app has been downloaded about 500,000 times in over 115 countries.

The app is now available in Spanish, thanks to the efforts of the U.S. Department of Health and Social Services Hurricane Maria Recovery Team in Puerto Rico. App users can change the language from English to Spanish once they download the content.

Additional features include:

  • More tools to help you manage stress symptoms
  • More information about PTSD and treatments that work
  • Improved graphics to help you track your progress
  • New ways to personalize your app with the ability to turn on or off daily quotes and the distress meter
The app is free and can be downloaded for iOS and Android.

Watch a video walk-through of the app and how to use the PTSD Coach mobile app on our website.  
View this link:  https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USVHA/bulletins/2778827

Free Flu Shots Available at Walgreen's

VA and Walgreens are national partners, providing no-cost quadrivalent flu shots to enrolled Veterans of the VA health care system. Now through March 31, 2020, enrolled Veteran patients nationwide have the option of getting their flu shot at any of Walgreens’ 9,600 locations, in addition to their local VA health care facilities. Long Description

How do I get my flu shot for free at Walgreens?

No appointment is required. Simply go to any Walgreens, tell the pharmacist you receive care at a VA facility, and show your Veterans Health Identification Card and another form of photo ID. (Patients will also be asked to complete a vaccine consent form at the time of service.)

Walgreens has the capability to electronically send vaccination information to the VA and your immunization record will be updated in your VA electronic health record.

The VA-Walgreens national partnership is part of VA’s eHealth Exchange project. This national program ensures that many Veterans get their no-cost flu shot at their local Walgreens, satisfying their wellness reminder because they either found it more convenient or did not have a scheduled appointment at a local VA health care facility.

Can I get my flu shot at no cost at the VA?

Yes! If you are enrolled with VA you may receive a no-cost flu shot during any scheduled VA appointment or at one of the convenient walk-in flu stations. For more information on locations and hours contact your local VA health care facility.

Need to apply for VA health care? Visit: 
https://www.va.gov/health-care/how-to-apply/

Read further:
https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/66403/free-flu-shots-for-veterans-at-your-local-walgreens/

VVA Chapter #333 - Handcycle Program Helps Vets

Here is an update on the HANDCYCLE PROGRAM from Roy Tsudy of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter #333 and Rockland County's Veteran of the Year:

CHAPTER 333 HAND CYCLE PROGRAM INFORMATION
VIETNAM VETERANS OF AMERICA CHAPTER 333 BEGAN OUR FUND RAISING PROGRAM FOR SPECIALLY CRAFTED HAND CYCLES IN 2013.

OUR MISSION STATEMENT:  WE ARE COMMITTED IN HELPING TO PROVIDE AN ACTIVE LIFESTYLE FOR VETERANS WITH SEVERE INJURIES BOTH ON A PHYSICAL AND MENTAL LEVEL. THESE TRUE HEROES DESERVE OUR HELP.  OUR ABILITY AND WILLINGNESS TO RAISE SAID FUNDS ALLOWS US TO PROVIDE HAND CYCLES ALONG WITH A FEW OTHER ITEMS NOT ALLOWED BY THE V.A. HEALTH SYSTEM FOR DESERVING PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED VETERANS.  THIS MISSION IS INCLUSIVE OF US AS A VETERANS CHAPTER TO HELP BRING ABOUT THE HEALING OF BOTH BODY AND MIND VIA COMPETITIVE RACING OR JUST THE JOY OF RECONNECTING WITH THEIR PHSICAL SKILLS. SIMPLY, OUR OBJECTIVE IS TO HAVE A POSITIVE IMPACT ON THEIR OVERALL WELL BEING.

COMMITMENT:
V.V.A. CHAPTER 333 IS COMMITTED TO REACHING OUT TO VETERANS WITH LEG AMPUTATION(S) AND OR SPINAL CORD INJURIES AND PROVIDE THEM WITH THE MEANS OF OBTAINING A HAND CYCLE. THROUGH THE GENEROSITY OF PEOPLE AT OUR FUND RAISING EVENTS WE ARE ABLE TO PURCHASE AND PROVIDE HAND CYCLES.

PROGRAMS:
THROUGH FUND RAISING EFFORTS, SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS, AND OTHER PUBLIC FORUMS, IT IS ESSENTIAL TO CREATE PUBLIC AWARENESS OF OUR CAMPAIGN TO ASSIST OUR “BROTHERS AND SISTERS” IN NEED.  WE ARE FORTUNATE INDEED TO HAVE DEVELOPED A FRIENDSHIP WITH FELLOW VETERAN AND WOUNDED U.S. NAVY SEAL HAND CYCLE PROPRIETER AND COMPANY PRESIDENT, CARLOS MEDINA. CARLOS INTERACTS WITH OUR CHOSEN SELECTED VETERANS ON THE SPECIFIC NEEDS EACH VETERAN HAS WANT FOR, THIS ENSURES THAT PERSON HAS THE EXACT TYPE HAND CYCLE NEEDED. IN ADDITION, CARLOS WILL ONLY CHARGE OUR CHAPTER 333 A FEE EQUAL TO HIS OWN, NOT MAKING ANY PROFIT. THIS IS HIS WAY OF “GIVING BACK!”  

ANY WHO WISH TO MAKE A CONTRIBUTION TO THIS MOST WORTHY CAUSE MAY DO SO BY CHECK MADE OUT TO  V.V.A. CHAPTER 333 P.O. BOX 243 NEW CITY, NY 10956
“PLEASE WRITE HAND CYCLE ON YOUR CHECK”

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT COMMITTEE MEMBERS VIA EMAIL: 
ROY TSCHUDY:   LDTRT16@AOL.COM or
MARCUS ARROYO:  MVASEALONE@OPTONLINE.NET
100% OF ALL DONATIONS IS DIRECTED TO THIS PROGRAM!

Roy Tschudy, Vietnam veteran and Co-Chair of the Handcycle Program, has written a book about Vietnam titled:  "ENDLESS."  All proceeds of the sale of Roy's book will be donated to the Hand-Cycle Program.  

"ENDLESS" is available in paperback or e-book form and can be purchased on Amazon.com at this link: 
or simply type in BOOKS and then enter the name: ROY TSCHUDY. "ENDLESS" will appear and the purchase can then be made. 

Employment Opportunities 

New York Veterans Job Fair, New York, NY
Thursday, September 3rd -- 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Metropolitan Pavilion. --  125 West 18th Street -- New York City, New York

FedEx Independent Service Provider:  FedEx is looking to hire full time and part time drivers to deliver and pickup packages from Blauvelt, NY. Full time schedule is Monday – Friday and part time schedule has weekend positions available. Must be over 21 years old, have a clean drivers license, and be able to pass physical and drug tests. Background checks are also required. Salary for full time starts at $700 per week. Please contact 201-724-7781 to see if you qualify.

Gessel's Service Station:  A part-time job opportunity for a veteran at Gessel's service center in New City, NY.  Seeking a part time mechanic. The hours are flexible and there is an opportunity to go full time. Basic auto mechanic skills and an interest in fixing cars is required. Please contact Lis Gessel at 845-549-3960 or contact the shop directly at (845) 634-2372.....221 N Main St, New City, NY 10956.

Pearl River Hilton Hotel:   The Pearl River Hilton Hotel currently has numerous job openings and would like to employ qualified veterans. Please see the attached list job opportunities and qualifications.
Please contact Maria Marcolini at the Pearl River Hilton Human Resources Department via phone or email for additional details and resume submission:  Maria Marcolini 845-735-9000 ex 7172 or Maria.marcolini@hilton.com

Stellar Services, Inc.:  They have both full and part-time opportunities for veterans with skills and/or experience in information technology (IT). Stellar is a minority-owned business enterprise (MBE) and an equal opportunity employer that has several veterans on staff already. Our company has people working at dozens of different locations in the New York City metropolitan area and we are always looking to add talented individuals to our 145 person staff. Visit this link for the current opportunities to join our team:
http://www.stellarservices.com/careers.html

Contact: Jim Hall | Vice President | Stellar Services, Inc.
70 West 36th Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10018
Cell: 845-287-5796 | jhall@stellarservices.com
Office: 212-432-2848

Warby Parker:   We're thrilled to announce the opening of our first-ever in-house optical lab in Sloatsburg,New York. As a vertically integrated brand, this lab is the next step in continuing to provide remarkable customer experience, allowing for more sustainable growth across our supply chain. We're looking for hard-working, positive, and overall awesome individuals to be a part of the lab's founding team.

Resources for Disabled Veterans:   View this link:  Resources for Disabled Veterans

Careers for People with Disabilities:  401 Columbus Ave., Valhalla, NY 10595 (914) 741-JOBS (5627).  Helps individuals with learning, intellectual, developmental, psychiatric, and/or physical disabilities find jobs. Provides extensive on-the-job training and ongoing support services.  For further information: http://www.careersforpeoplewithdisabilities.org/

USIS-US Information Systems, Pearl River, New York has numerous jobs available and we appreciate their reaching out to our veterans.  USIS is located at 35 West Jefferson Avenue, Pearl River, NY10965.  Their website is:  http://www.usis.net/.  If interested in any of these positions, please send an updated resume to: Anjelica Pagnozzi - Recruitment@usis.net    (845) 353-9248.    Please submit resumes and questions to Anjelica Pagnozzi: recruitment@usis.net

Montefiore-Nyack Hospital, Nyack, New York 10960
See link for full listing and information about career opportunities at Nyack Hospital, Nyack, New York.

Good Samaritan Hospital, Suffern, New York.  Good Samaritan Hospital is affiliated with Westchester Medical Center.  See this link for available employment - https://wmchealthjobs.org/search-jobs/

NYC Green Book Online: The Green Book is the official directory of the City of New York. An indispensable reference guide for anyone living or working with New York City. Includes detailed listings of agencies. Website: http://a856-gbol.nyc.gov/GBOLWebsite/

Rockland County Employment Information:
Here is a link to current job openings available in Rockland County
http://rocklandgov.com/departments/personnel/job-opportunities/

Rockland County Veterans' Credits:
http://rocklandgov.com/files/8115/1120/9567/Veterans_Credit_Info.pdf

New York City Civil Service Jobs, Tests, and Results as listed in The Chief:
http://thechiefleader.com/news/civil_service/

MTA Metro-North Railroad has ongoing employment opportunities:
To apply for current jobs with the MTA, please go to the MTA Employment Portal at:  http://web.mta.info/mta/employment/

Local Veterans Organization

For your information, here are the addresses for some of our local veterans' organizations:
  • Rockland County Marine Corps League, 20 Station Road, Pomona, New York 10970  
  • Military Order of the Purple Heart, 20 Station Road, Pomona, New York 10970
  • Vietnam Veterans of America, P.O. Box 243, New City, New York 10956
  • Nam Knights, 1 Western Highway, Tappan, New York 10983
  • Korean War Veterans, P.O. Box 304, New City, New York 10956
  • R.C. Military Order of the Purple Heart, 20 Station Road, Pomona, New York 10970
  • Jewish War Veterans, P.O. Box 38, New City, New York 10956
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars, P.O. Box 921, New City, New York 10956
  • Air Force Association, Chapter 251, 207 Treetop Circle, Nanuet, New York 10954
  • Rockland County American Legion, 86 South Reld Drive, Pearl River, New York 10965
                                                                                                                                                                        
Combat Vet ID Cards Available
                                               
Combat Veteran ID Cards are available.  If you are a combat veteran, you can get this card at the County Clerk's Office which is located at 1 South Main Street, Suite 100, New City, New York 10956.  To apply for the Combat Veteran ID Card, or the F.A.V.O.R. card for all veterans, if you don't already have one, bring your DD214 to the County Clerk's Office.  They'll take your photo and make up a card for you. 
For further information, contact the Rockland County Clerk's Office at (845) 638-5076.

This Combat Veteran ID Card offers all of the same benefits as the F.A.V.O.R. (Find and Assist Veterans of Record) card, which includes almost 1000 discounts to Rockland's veterans, but this new CVID card has specific advantages. The CVID card is co-sponsored by the Rockland County Police Benevolent Association and will be recognized by our local law enforcement agencies. So if you ever get pulled over, along with your license, registration, and insurance card, show the police officer your Combat Vet ID card so he knows you're an in-country vet.
                                                                                                                                                                                              
Useful Telephone Numbers for Veterans

Rockland County Veterans Service Agency

845-638-5244

Rockland County Sheriff’s Office

845-638-5400

Veterans Peer-to-Peer (Counseling)

845-521-5361

People to People (Food)

845-623-4900

Montrose VA Hospital

914-737-4400

New City VA Clinic

845-634-8995

Housing Unit

845-364-3150

Rape Crisis Services (Main)

845-634-3391

Rape Crisis Services (24/7)

845-634-3344

Home Health Care

845-358-2002

Good Samaritan Hospital Emergency 

845-368-5029

Nyack Hospital Emergency

845-348-2345

Domestic Violence

845-634-3391

Suicide Hotline

800-273-8255

Mental Health Association of Rockland County

845-267-2172

Mobile Mental Health

845-364-2378

West Point (nearest military base)

845-938-4011

New York National Guard (Orangeburg, NY)

845-340-7167

Army Reserve (Orangeburg, NY)

845-359-6903

Military Recruiter

845-624-6185

Rockland County Housing Action Coalition

845-708-5799

Alcoholics Anonymous

845-352-1112

Emergency Shelter

845-364-2907

Meals on Wheels

845-624-6325




Rockland County Marine Corps League Auxiliary

The Rockland County Marine Corps League Auxiliary continues its on-going campaign - Pet Rescue - to reunite our troops with pets they may have had to leave in Afghanistan. Cans and bottles (no glass bottles) that can be recycled for cash, may be brought to Kearsing Edwards American Legion Post 1600, 20 Station Road in Pomona, New York. They are collected by ARC Pet Rescue volunteers and recycled. Contributions for the Pet Rescue Project are also welcome! The funds pay for food and water to sustain pets on their journey home; their transportation is free. For more information contact Chairman Dale Fisher 845-304- 3595.

Rockland County Marine Corps League - MASH Unit

We regularly receive donations of handicap assistance equipment for disabled veterans from people who want to help.  Our donated equipment is available for free to military veterans and their families.  The items include the following:
  • Handicap-Accessible van
  • Motorized Wheelchairs
  • Manual Wheelchairs
  • Oxygen Generator
  • Walkers
  • Bath Chairs
  • Transfer Benches
  • Braces
  • Crutches
  • Canes 
If you have need of any of this equipment, contact the folks at the Rockland County Marine Corps League - 845-323-8774 or via e-mail: drobin137@icloud.com.

RockVets Newsletter - A Project of New York Vets  

RockVets is an Outreach project of New York Vets, Inc. - a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization established in 1992, to advocate for those who have worn the uniform of the U.S. Military, no matter where or when they served. 


You can find information, useful links, and view our website at: http://www.rockvets.com/

Previous copies of our newsletters are also available on our website at 

The volunteers at New York Vets / RockVets publish this monthly e-newsletter.  We welcome your thoughts, questions, and feedback. E-mail:  NewYorkVets@gmail.com

We are not affiliated with Rockland County Government nor the Veterans Service Agency of Rockland.

At the discretion of the editor, we'd be happy to add your upcoming events to our newsletter.  Please submit the details to us as soon as possible, but no later than the 25th of each month so we can get the information in the following issue. Send information to NewYorkVets@gmail.com

Please pass this newsletter along to others who may be interested. You can sign up to receive the newsletters through our website:  http://www.rockvets.com/Contact-Us

If you would like us to publish information about any upcoming events or other items of interest to veterans, be in touch.  Email:  NewYorkVets@gmail.com

RockVets website:  http://www.rockvets.com/

RockVets newsletters: http://www.rockvets.com/newsletters

Mailing Address
New York Vets, Inc. / RockVets
Pat McGlade
P.O. Box 387
Tomkins Cove, New York 10986








   
  



               
                                                                                                                                 
     
     
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