[Editorial written by Jerry Donnellan....February 2018]
The more time you have, the more Nam creeps back. Hard to believe something that far in the past can be this vivid. The days since Nam seem to pass, it’s the nights that are endless — nightmares seem to be more prevalent now because they are.
Driven by guilt, the guilt we all carry for leaving before it was over — knowing friends who will not return — never to see their children or grandchildren grow up — never to hear what we say about them on Memorial Day.
The Professionals called it survivor’s guilt. The nightmares are more about frustration than combat — like trying to reach your buddy while running knee-deep in mud.
If it’s of any consolation, you’re not crazy — or if you are, we all are — because we all went to a place our country asked us to. However, that country wasn’t here when we got back.
We learned not to talk about the war — not to volunteer the fact that we were veterans because it only opens you up to hundreds of unfair questions. Well, maybe it’s time we started talking the truth. This war is going to be written, it’s up to us to make sure the truth is told. If we don’t for ourselves, we need to do it for those names on the granite wall — to tell their story. Who knows, it may help you sleep. Jerry
March of 2019
The 23rd of March will mark the one year anniversary of Jerry's passing. For those of us who knew him well, there is a huge void left in our hearts. Jerry was Director of the Veterans Service Agency of Rockland County for many years, but his was not a 9:00 - 5:00 job. He put in innumerable volunteer hours, in his efforts to help people and make this world a better place, which he did so well. If there was a vet who needed his help - even in the middle of the night - Jerry was there. He raised public awareness of the good people who have served this country and kept important issues on the top of our politicians' agendas that resulted in benefits for veterans.
So it seems it's left to us to carry on Jerry's legacy. Thank you to all of you who have been doing that!
The volunteers at New York Vets are trying to do our part in continuing Jerry's work by publishing this newsletter, which goes out to about 1600 veterans every month. We need your help! Please let us know of any upcoming events, programs, outreach efforts, employment opportunities, or other information of interest to veterans so we can publicize it here. If your organization sends out a newsletter, please add us to the list. E-mail address: pat@rockvets or NewYorkVets@gmail.com.
Desert Storm Memorial
Military.com - Desert Storm memorial marks an ‘atonement’ for Vietnam War mistakes
By Todd South WASHINGTON — Though separated by a few hundred yards, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the recently dedicated site of the future National Desert Storm and Desert Shield War Memorial are “inextricably” linked. That was a message echoed by speakers at the Tuesday dedication ceremony of the patch of land within sight of the Lincoln Memorial and the Wall.
Retired Air Force Gen. Charles Albert “Chuck” Horner struck at a question that supporters have encountered since inspiration to undertake the project began in 2010 — why build a monument to such a short conflict? First and most obvious, said Horner, himself a veteran of both Vietnam and Desert Storm, is to memorialize the sacrifice of those who served and especially those who died. But it’s also important to show that military force applied to the right ends with the right leadership could accomplish its mission. And that the American public can honor and respect its veterans.
He called it a monument to actions that led to the “atonement” for the disaster that led to the more than 50,000 names of the dead on the Vietnam Wall. “This monument should be a place that every president and secretary of defense should come and visit prior to committing our nation to war,” Horner said.
VA Priority Consideration to Purple Heart Recipients
By NIKKI WENTLING | STARS AND STRIPES
Published: February 26, 2019
WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs will start to give priority consideration to Purple Heart recipients in the spring when processing veterans’ benefits claims, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie announced Tuesday. Wilkie announced the new policy at a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing, where lawmakers questioned him about various issues ranging from veteran suicide to problems at individual VA medical centers. “I will be announcing that for those who hold the Purple Heart, the recognition of wounds taken in battle, we will now place [them] at the front of the line when it comes to claims before the veterans department,” Wilkie told the subcommittee.
The policy will apply to combat veterans with Purple Hearts who submit their initial claims for disability benefits “on or after April 1, 2019,” the VA said later in a news release. The change could lead to faster claims decisions for those veterans.
The VA already designates some veterans as eligible for priority claims processing because of advanced age, extreme financial hardship, a terminal illness or homelessness. Medal of Honor recipients and former prisoners of war are also given priority, according to VA policy. Story can be viewed at this link:
Meetings are held the last Monday of each month at 1900 hours at the Haverstraw Elks Lodge, 877 Elks Drive, Haverstraw, New York 10927. On premise parking available. The next upcoming meeting will be Monday, March 25th, 2019.
10-85 is the NYPD radio code for Officer in Need of Assistance. In times of trouble, this code is often shortened to 85. The 10-85 Consulting, Coaching, and Counseling Project came about because there is an epidemic of first responders, veterans, and law enforcement officers who struggle with the stigma of trauma and PTSD. Their resources are often inadequate, and they are too often referred to people who have never walked in a first responder’s shoes, been to war, or dealt with life or death situations on a daily basis. In addition, there are tremendous barriers inside these communities when it comes to seeking help.
Too often, the radio goes unused. Too often, we don’t ask for help in time. Too often, we sacrifice everything for our careers, only to end up unhappy, alone, or struggling. Be a part of the change.
85 Consulting’s mission is to bring the latest in trauma and resilience research to life with the populations who need it most. Our free-of-charge support groups for veterans, first responders, and law enforcement officers -- Psychoeducational speaking engagements on the nature of trauma, increasing resilience, and performance -- Individualized coaching and mental health counseling -- Organizational consulting and practice-oriented interventions.
For further information or to RSVP, call 212-555-0123 or email:
Joseph Brodsky, LMSW -- e-mail: Joseph@85Consulting.org
Jason McKevitt -- email: Jason@85Consulting.org
William Santana -- email: William@85Consulting.org
Warrior Camp Program-Warwick, NY-March 17th
TRR'S NEXT WARRIOR CAMP® PROGRAM IS MARCH 17-24, 2019 in Warwick, New York.
Please pre-register by filling out the form below. This will generate an email to you confirming your pre-registration and asking you to schedule a telephone screening - click on the Schedule Now button in that email and choose a date and a time. All scheduled appointments are EST. TRR's Warrior Camp® programs are open to Active Duty, Guard, Reserves and Military Veterans of ALL eras without regard to discharge status. For further information or to register for the TRR Warrior Camp, please use this link: https://trrhelp.org/warrior-camp/
Vets Groups Vow to Pressure Congress
Vets groups vow to pressure Congress into following through on hard-won legislation
The veteran groups' 2019 legislative priorities include ensuring that Congress implements the VA Mission Act and improving the Department of Veterans Affairs’ ability to accommodate the conditions of the Forever GI Bill. (Andrew Harnik/AP)
By: Joshua Axelrod [February 26, 2018]
Veterans groups have earned significant legislative wins for their causes over the last few years. With the major battles over, they plan to dedicate themselves in 2019 to implementing these hard-fought bills and finding solutions for problems that have arisen with some of their provisions.
These 2019 legislative priorities include taking care of “blue water” veterans, ensuring that Congress implements the VA Mission Act, improving the Department of Veterans Affairs’ ability to accommodate the conditions of the Forever GI Bill, restarting the conversation about the toxic effects of burn pits and other organization-specific goals.
Which military branch best prepares its troops to separate? The answer may surprise you. An IED took both his legs — but that won’t stop this vet from driving 18-wheelers. “We saw major legislative victories in omnibus bills that got passed in the last Congress,” said Melissa Bryant, chief policy officer for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “That was a good start … But there’s still a lot that needs to be done with all those pieces.” Lauren Augustine, Student Veterans of America’s vice president of government affairs, said that with legislation like the Forever GI Bill and VA Mission Act passed, her group has been freed up to tackle smaller but still vital issues. “I think VA-wide, the community has seen some phenomenal landmark bills passed in the last couple of years,” Augustine said. “We’ve got some detail and less sexy work we can also do to make sure we’re really applying services for veterans. Now we have the time to do that now that the big landmark bills are behind us.” To read full story, view this link:
Long-term care at home or a nursing home expenses can wipe out a lifetime of savings and monthly fixed incomes. Wartime Veterans, regardless of combat, and non-remarried surviving spouses may be eligible for significant financial assistance to pay for help with activities of daily living provided by a long term care facility, nursing home, or in home care provided by a family member, friend, or an entity.
Eligibility is based on income, assets, and need for assistance. The income level changes annually and includes most income and deductions for medical expenses including care. Accordingly, the cost of care may be great enough to reduce income to a level making a person with a larger income eligible for this important benefit. Unlike Medicaid, the asset test does not have a look back or recapture provision.
Illnesses, inability to meet some activities of daily living such as bathing or dressing, and ailments can be qualifying events. Nursing home care due to mental or physical incapacity, blindness or needing help from another person to meet activities of daily living are the types if disabilities which qualify for this benefit. Veterans, their non-remarried surviving spouses, and family members should consider this important benefit when disability strikes.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits and services you may be eligible for as a Veteran, service-member, or as a family member of a Veteran or service-member, please call the New York State Division of Veterans’ Affairs Help Line at 1.888.838.7697 (VETSNYS), where you may also schedule an appointment with one of our Veterans Benefits Advisors.
VA Compensation Benefits
Types of Compensation
VA disability compensation provides monthly benefits to Veterans in recognition of the effects of disabilities, diseases, or injuries incurred or aggravated during active military service. The program also provides monthly payments to surviving spouses, dependent children, and dependent parents in recognition of the economic loss caused by a Veteran's death during military service or, after discharge from military service, as a result of a service-connected disability. A summary of VA's disability compensation programs is below.
Disability CompensationA tax-free monetary benefit paid to Veterans with disabilities that are the result of a disease or injury incurred or aggravated during active military service. The benefit amount is graduated according to the degree of the Veteran's disability on a scale from 10 percent to 100 percent (in increments of 10 percent). Compensation may also be paid for disabilities that are considered related or secondary to disabilities occurring in service and for disabilities presumed to be related to circumstances of military service, even though they may arise after service. Generally, the degrees of disability specified are also designed to compensate for considerable loss of working time from exacerbations or illnesses.
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
DIC is a tax-free monetary benefit generally payable to a surviving spouse, child, or parent of Servicemembers who died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, or to survivors of Veterans who died from their service-connected disabilities. Parents DIC is an income-based benefit for parents who were financially dependent on of a Servicemember or Veteran who died from a service-related cause.
Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)
SMC is an additional tax-free benefit that can be paid to Veterans, their spouses, surviving spouses and parents. For Veterans, Special Monthly Compensation is a higher rate of compensation paid due to special circumstances such as the need of aid and attendance by another person or by specific disability, such as loss of use of one hand or leg. For spouses and surviving spouses, this benefit is commonly referred to as aid and attendance and is paid based on the need of aid and attendance by another person.
Claims Based on Special Circumstances
Veterans may be eligible for other types of disability compensation once a disability has been determined to be service connected. Special VA disability compensation programs include: individual unemployability, automobile allowance, clothing allowance, prestabilization, hospitalization, convalescence, dental, and birth defects.
By PAULINE REPARD | The San Diego Union-Tribune | Published: February 24, 2019
A federal judge has ruled that a men-only draft is unconstitutional, but he stopped short of ordering the Selective Service System to register women for military service.
The Houston judge sided with a San Diego men's advocacy group that challenged the government's practice of having only men sign up for the draft, citing sex discrimination in violation of the Fifth Amendment's equal protection clause.
"This case balances on the tension between the constitutionally enshrined power of Congress to raise armies and the constitutional mandate that no person be denied the equal protection of the law," wrote U.S. District Judge Gray Miller of the Southern District of Texas.
The lawsuit was filed in 2013 against the Selective Service System by Texas resident James Lesmeister, who later added San Diego resident Anthony Davis and the San Diego-based National Coalition for Men as additional plaintiffs. The two men had standing to sue the government because they were within the age range of 18 to 26 in which men in the United States are required to register with Selective Service.
Cold War Targets: Distgraced U.S. Air Force Officers Were Set Up
By Matthew M. Burke and Marcus Kloeckner | Stars and Stripes
For nearly 40 years, Bill Burhans has steadfastly maintained he wasn’t drunk when, as an Air Force lieutenant colonel driving fellow U.S. military liaisons home from a holiday party with their Soviet counterparts in East Germany, he lost control of the car, careened up an embankment and slammed into a bus.
When the car came to a stop on Dec. 29, 1979, Air Force Lt. Col. James Tonge, his passenger, called to him to move the car to the shoulder. But Burhans sat frozen, except for his trembling hands.
It was as if he’d been “hit in the head with an ax at the slaughterhouse,” Tonge would later tell U.S. investigators in a sworn statement.
“He didn’t respond at all,” Tonge said of Burhans, who at the time was set to replace him as deputy of the U.S. Military Liaison Mission.
Based in Potsdam, near Berlin, the USMLM’s official mission was to serve as a liaison between the U.S. military command and its Soviet counterpart in post-war Germany, but its personnel also gathered intelligence, monitored Soviet forces and reported on readiness throughout the Cold War era. French, British and Soviet liaison missions did similar work.
After helping Burhans into the back seat, Tonge moved the car himself.
Police arrived in minutes. The two men would say the Soviet officers, including some they suspected of being members of the Soviet’s Main Intelligence Directorate, had drugged them — a story that has remained unchanged in interviews for almost four decades. But the U.S. government did not believe them, treating it as a drunken-driving incident. Tonge and Burhans were fired and sent packing in disgrace.
Now, recently discovered documents from the archives of the former East German state security service — the Stasi — prove Burhans’ and Tonge’s version of events.
POW/MIA Recoveries & Burials ► Reported 01 thru 14 JAN 2018 | Seven
“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 are: World War II 73,025, Korean War 7730, Vietnam War 1604, Cold War (126), 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.mil and click on ‘Our Missing’. Refer to http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Year/2018 for a listing and details of those accounted for in 2018. 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
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:
Public Comments on Expanding Private-Sector Care
By NIKKI WENTLING | STARS AND STRIPES
Published: February 23, 2019
WASHINGTON – Starting Friday, the Department of Veterans Affairs began collecting feedback on its proposed rules to expand veterans’ access to private doctors. The public has until March 25 to comment on the rules. At that point, the agency could use the feedback to make changes before it implements a new private-sector care system in June. VA Secretary Robert Wilkie unveiled his proposed rules at the end of January – a plan that he said would “revolutionize VA health care as we know it.”
With VA’s new access standards, the future of the VA health care system will lie in the hands of veterans – exactly where it should be,” Wilkie said in a statement at the time, noting President Donald Trump promised veterans more choice about where they receive treatment. The VA Mission Act, signed by Trump last year, calls for a new community care program to be in place by summer. The law gave the VA secretary broad authority to create new rules for it.
How You Can Help Your Veteran With PTSD - VA.gov PTSD Monthly Newsletter February 28, 2019
Imagine that your loved one has just returned from deployment overseas. Your Veteran is having a hard time getting adjusted to civilian life. You know that they’re having nightmares. They’re also getting angry over small things, and seem to be more anxious nowadays. These reactions are normal after returning from deployment. But what if they last for more than a few months? Would you know how to help your Veteran? Your Veteran might have PTSD if:
.They are reliving or re-experiencing the event
.Avoiding things that remind them of the trauma
.Feeling more negative about the world
.Being on guard
According to Dr. Matthew Yoder, Psychologist with the National Center for PTSD's Consultation Program, "In the short term, after a traumatic event, most people will experience symptoms like these. But after a month – or especially after three months – left untreated, they probably won't get better on their own." To read full article, please view this link:
Here is some information on the HANDCYCLE PROGRAM from Roy Tsudy of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter #333: Since 2013, VVA Chapter 333 has created their Handcycle Program. Roy, along with fellow chapter Vietnam veteran Marcus Arroyo and others (via fund raising along with donations) have purchased and donated 13 of these cycles to military veterans with leg amputations and / or spinal cord injuries. Unfortunately, due to strict adherence to HIPPA law, they cannot easily locate veterans who can benefit from having one of the hand cycles. They find the candidates via extensive research or word of mouth.
With that in mind, if you know of any veteran with combat related injuries who would like to own a Handcycle free of charge, please contact Roy Tschudy via e-mail at: email@example.com so a proper vetting process can begin by both Marcus and Roy. Thank you. Roy Tschudy V.P., Chapter #333 Vietnam Veterans of America.
The most recent hand cycle was presented recently to a female veteran who suffered injuries in a crippling car accident sustained during her time in service, that had left her wheelchair-bound for the past 25 years.
The members of Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter #333, run fundraisers to help pay for the hand cycles needed for these veterans. 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.
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
USIS is now hiring for the following positions:
* Administrative assistant - 2 openings - Entry Level 1-2 years' experience (Pearl River, New York)
* Box Truck driver (2 years' experience (Orangeburg, New York)
* BICSI Instructor (5 years’ experience, Pearl River, New York)
* CDL Driver (2 years' commercial experience (Orangeburg, New York)
* Data Center Technician - night shift - 2 openings; 3 years' experience (Metro New York area)
* Electrical Apprentice - multiple openings - entry level (Orangeburg and Metro New York area)
* Journeyman Electrician - multiple openings - 5 years' experience (Metro New York area)
* Purchasing Assistant - entry level - 1-2 years' experience (Orangeburg, New York)
* Security Technician - multiple openings - 3 years' experience (Metro New York area)
* Voice and Data Technician - multiple openings - 5 years' experience (Metro New York area)
* Warehouse Receiving Assistant - 2 years' experience (Orangeburg, New York)
Please submit resumes and questions to Anjelica Pagnozzi: firstname.lastname@example.org
Montefiore-Nyack Hospital, Nyack, New York 10960
See link for full listing and information about career opportunities at Nyack Hospital, Nyack, New York.
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/
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 new 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
Rockland County Sheriff’s Office
Veterans Peer-to-Peer (Counseling)
People to People (Food)
Montrose VA Hospital
New City VA Clinic
Rape Crisis Services (Main)
Rape Crisis Services (24/7)
Home Health Care
Good Samaritan Hospital Emergency
Nyack Hospital Emergency
Mental Health Association of Rockland County
Mobile Mental Health
West Point (nearest military base)
New York National Guard (Orangeburg, NY)
Army Reserve (Orangeburg, NY)
Rockland County Housing Action Coalition
Meals on Wheels
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:
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: email@example.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.
The volunteers at New York Vets / RockVets publish this monthly e-newsletter. We welcome your thoughts, questions, and feedback. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.