RockVets E-Newsletter: January 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                  January 2020                               www.rockvets.com

Volume 12
Issue 1

info@rockvets.com 
 

RockVets Is Getting a Make-Over

A new look is coming 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.

New Year - Annual Physical Planned?

When was your last annual physical exam? Is that important?  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – especially true when it comes to health care.  VA is dedicated to helping Veterans maintain their health and screen for various health risks through proper preventative care.

You can use VA resources like My HealtheVet to access your health records. Doing so helps you prepare for an exam. You also can message your care team securely with any questions you have after an appointment.  In addition, you can search the helpful information available at the VA Health Library to understand dozens of health conditions.  An annual exam could be a lifesaver.

Elements of the exam
An average physical can include:
  • A comprehensive physical exam catered to a patient’s age, gender and specific risk factors
  • A check for heart health
  • A lungs examination
  • Skin screening
  • A lab test, including blood count and cholesterol
  • BMI (body mass index) testing
  • Screenings for age- and gender-appropriate cancer risk factors
One of the most important aspects of preventative care is the partnership between a physician and patient.  You can help by being informed about your family medical history and researching your health conditions or risk factors.

Many patients are unaware that in addition to discussing physical issues, an annual physical exam also offers the opportunity to talk about any new or ongoing struggles with depression, PTSD, homelessness, drug dependency or an entire range of health-related issues.

The VA system prompts clinicians to ask those important questions. On some occasions, medical staff refers Veterans who screen positive to mental health the same day for further evaluation and management.  This is especially important as more and more research points to the association between emotional stress and physical illness. 

See link for further information: 
https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/69627/veterans-annual-physical-save-life/

New City VA Community Medical Center

In March of 1996, the New City Community Veterans Medical Clinic became a reality, thanks to the efforts of Jerry Donnellan. Now, 24 years later, more than 6,000 veterans receive medical care each year.  

Because of the success of this local clinic, the VA has now opened 1400 other community-based medical centers throughout the U.S. The care that our local veterans receive is excellent and if you haven't yet taken advantage of this, please do so soon.  

The New City Veterans Medical Clinic is located at 345 North Main Street, Upper Level, New City, New York 10956.  They are open Monday - Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Their phone number is 845-634-8942.

For further information, call the Clinic Staff or view their website: 

https://www.hudsonvalley.va.gov/locations/New_City_Community_Clinic.asp

VA Medical Center - Become a Patient

All veterans are encouraged to enroll in the VA Health Care System. To begin the process, please complete an Application for Health Care Benefits. You can submit the form online, or you may print the form and mail it to:

VA Hudson Valley Health Care System 
Montrose Campus
Health Administrative Service (HAS)
Eligibility Office (Bldg. 3, Room 15)
2094 Albany Post Road
Montrose, NY 10548

or:
VA Hudson Valley Health Care System
Castle Point Campus
Health Administrative Service (HAS)
Eligibility Office (Bldg. 15, Room E008)
41 Castle Point Rd
Castle Point, NY 12590
You can also bring the form to the Medical Center.

Whether mailing or bringing your application, please include the following items —
  • a copy of both sides of your current insurance card (including Medicare or Medicaid)
  • a copy of your DD214, 'Armed Forces Report of Transfer or Discharge'
  • (Purple Heart recipients only) a copy of your award letter if 'Purple Heart' is not noted on your DD214
QUESTIONS?

To speak to someone in our eligibility office, please call: 914-737-4400, ext. 3317 - Montrose Campus or 
845-831-2000, ext. 5043 or 5103 - Castle Point Campus

Basic Eligibility

If you served in the active military, naval or air service and are separated under any condition other than dishonorable, you may qualify for VA health care benefits. Current and former members of the Reserves or National Guard who were called to active duty (other than for training only) by a federal order and completed the full period for which they were called or ordered to active duty may be eligible for VA health care as well. 

For further information, view this link:  https://www.hudsonvalley.va.gov/patients/eligibility.asp

VA - Dental Benefits Pending Approval

VA Dental Benefits
RAO Bulletin January 1, 2020

New Pilot Program Pending Congressional Approval

The Department of Veterans Affairs plans to launch a pilot program that would provide all veterans with free or discounted dental care.  VA currently only offers dental care to veterans with a service-related dental problem, former POWs, or veterans who are totally disabled — that excludes roughly 92 percent of veterans. However, VA is operating "near maximum capacity" just offering this small demographic of veterans dental care. In 2018, VA spent approximately $1.1 billion on veteran dental care or $2,185 per veteran.  VA wants to expand its ability to offer dental care to veterans — even if it does not have the budget to do so. The proposed five-year pilot program would connect all veterans — not just those eligible under the current dental care program — with free or discounted dental care in their local communities. 

 "The objective of this pilot demonstration is to improve overall health by increasing access to dental services for enrolled veterans currently ineligible for dental services through VA," VA said in a notice published in the Federal Register.  VA expects its pilot program to reduce spending without reduce quality of care for veterans. The plan is currently pending Congressional approval.  [Source: ConnectingVets.com | Elizabeth Howe | December 17, 2019 ++]

Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act

Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act claims now being determined
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will begin deciding claims for the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 at 12:01 a.m., Philippine Standard Time, Jan. 1, 2020. The Philippines is the farthest east VA regional benefits office.

The Act extends the presumption of herbicide exposure, that include toxins such as Agent Orange, to Veterans who served in the offshore waters of the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

Signed into law Jun. 25, the law specifically affects Blue Water Navy (BWN) Veterans who served no more than 12 nautical miles offshore of the Republic of Vietnam between Jan. 6, 1962 and May 7, 1975, as well as Veterans who served in the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between Jan. 1, 1967 and Aug. 31, 1971. These Veterans can now apply for disability compensation and other benefits if they have since developed one of 14 conditions that are presumed to be related to exposure to herbicides. Veterans do not need to prove that they were exposed to herbicides. The specific conditions can be found by searching the term “Agent Orange” on www.va.gov.

“For six months, VA worked diligently to gather and digitize records from the National Archives and Records Administration to support faster claims decisions,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “These efforts will positively impact the claims process for Veterans filing for these benefits.

To be eligible a Veteran must have served in the identified locations during the specified time period and currently have a condition(s) associated with herbicide exposures, such as Agent Orange. Blue Water Navy claims are being processed under current prioritization criteria; however, special priority is being given to Veterans who are over the age of 85 or have a terminal condition. Qualifying recipients include affected Veterans who are still living and certain survivors of deceased BWN and Korean DMZ Veterans.
Survivors can file claims for benefits based on the Veteran’s service if the Veteran died from at least one of the 14 presumptive conditions associated with herbicides such as Agent Orange. The law also provides benefits for children born with spina bifida if their parent is or was a Veteran with certain verified service in Thailand during a specific period.

The Act includes provisions impacting the VA Home Loan Program. Veterans have more access to obtain no-down payment home loans, regardless of loan amount, and the home loan funding fee is reduced for eligible Reservists and National Guard borrowers who use their home loan benefits for the first time. VA’s website describes the eligibility of certain Purple Heart recipients who do not have to pay a funding fee as well as other benefits.

Veterans who want to file an initial claim for an herbicide-related disability can use VA Form 21-526EZ, Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefitsor work with a VA-recognized Veterans Service Organization to assist with the application process. Veterans may also contact their state Veterans Affairs Office.

BWN Veterans who previously filed a claim seeking service connection for one of the 14 presumptive conditions that was denied by VA may provide or identify any new and relevant information regarding their claim when reapplying. To re-apply, Veterans may use VA Form 20-0995, Decision Review Request: Supplemental Claim. As a result of the new law, VA will automatically review claims that
are currently in the VA review process or under appeal. Visit Blue Water Navy Veterans benefits for more information or call 1-800-749-8387 for special issues.

VA - Presumptive Diseases from Agent Orange

Cancers believed to be caused by contact with Agent Orange

Chronic B-cell leukemia: A type of cancer that affects your white blood cells (cells in your body’s immune system that help to fight off illnesses and infections)

Hodgkin’s disease: A type of cancer that causes your lymph nodes, liver, and spleen to get bigger and your red blood cells to decrease (called anemia)

Multiple myeloma: A type of cancer that affects your plasma cells (white blood cells made in your bone marrow that help to fight infection)

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: A group of cancers that affect the lymph glands and other lymphatic tissue (a part of your immune system that helps to fight infection and illness)

Prostate cancer: Cancer of the prostate (the gland in men that helps to make semen)

Respiratory cancers (including lung cancer): Cancers of the organs involved in breathing (including the lungs, larynx, trachea, and bronchus)

Soft tissue sarcomas (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or mesothelioma): Different types of cancers in body tissues such as muscle, fat, blood and lymph vessels, and connective tissues

Other illnesses we believe are caused by contact with Agent Orange

AL amyloidosis: A rare illness that happens when an abnormal protein (called amyloid) builds up in your body’s tissues, nerves, or organs (like your heart, kidneys, or liver) and causes damage over time

Chloracne (or other types of acneiform disease like it): A skin condition that happens soon after contact with chemicals and looks like acne often seen in teenagers. Under our rating regulations, it must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year of contact with herbicides.

Diabetes mellitus type 2: An illness that happens when your body is unable to properly use insulin (a hormone that turns blood glucose, or sugar, into energy), leading to high blood sugar levels
Ischemic heart disease: A type of heart disease that happens when your heart doesn’t get enough blood (and the oxygen the blood carries). It often causes chest pain or discomfort.

Parkinson’s disease: An illness of the nervous system (the network of nerves and fibers that send messages between your brain and spinal cord and other areas of your body) that affects your muscles and movement—and gets worse over time

Peripheral neuropathy, early onset: An illness of the nervous system that causes numbness, tingling, and weakness. Under our rating regulations, it must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year of contact with herbicides.

Porphyria cutanea tarda: A rare illness that can make your liver stop working the way it should and can cause your skin to thin and blister when you’re out in the sun. 

Under VA’s rating regulations, it must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year of contact with herbicides.
If you have an illness you believe is caused by contact with Agent Orange—and you don’t see it listed above, you can still file a claim for disability compensation.

You’ll need to:
Provide scientific and medical evidence that the condition is related to exposure to Agent Orange, or
show that the problem started during—or got worse because of—your military service.
Scientific proof may include an article from a medical journal or a published research study.

For further information, view link: https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/hazardous-materials-exposure/agent-orange/related-diseases/  

Burn Pit Toxic Exposure Update

Burn Pit Toxic Exposure
RAO January 1, 2020 Update 74:  Effort to Submit a Presumptive Exposure Bill


The fight continues to help soldiers who were exposed to toxic chemicals from burn pits while serving overseas. A Robstown based non-profit called Burn Pits 360 has fought for those veterans and their families for a decade. On 12 DEC, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill could affect veterans who face health issues because of burn pit emissions. "We're talking about open air burn pits that are up to 10 acres in size," Rosie Torres, Executive Director of Burn Pits 360 said, "that have computers, batteries, body parts, anything and everything you can think of, medical waste, hazardous waste." Being exposed to those toxins, may cause serious health issues. "Cancer, lung disease, brain disease, toxic brain injury and sometimes even death."

In 2017, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs stated that there is no evidence that exposure to burn pits triggered health problems. But many veterans and Burn Pits 360 disagree with those findings. Torres says many service members with environmental injuries associated with deployments are left without care, something that is personal to her and her family. Rosie's husband, Le Roy Torres was a military reservist and deployed to Iraq in 2007. He was exposed to burn pit emissions and when he returned, was diagnosed with a lung disease and toxic brain injury. "My husband was let go of his job as a State Tropper and as a result he almost took his life, we almost lost our home." Torres said.

Ever since, they have been advocating for those with similar stories and making a difference all the way up the steps of Capitol Hill. "There are many families who weren't able to save their loved one." Torres said. "They're now gone as a result of them giving up after a system gave up on them." In 2013, the V.A. created a Burn Pit Registry. That list includes all veterans who now suffer adverse illness from burn pits. 

"Those that have died are not being tracked, they don't exist to the VA or the department of defense which is disheartening and is an injustice in itself."  California congressman, Raul Ruiz is fighting alongside Burn Pits 360, to honor those who have lost their life as a result of the military fires. Ruiz asked for two provisions under the NDAA. These provisions would implement a plan to end the use of burn pits and provide a comprehensive list of any burn pit that has ever existed.

Earlier this month, President Trump signed those pieces of legislation into law. Torres says this will ultimately lead to better health care for veterans affected by burn pits. "I think that President Trump signing this is historical. It's a step in the right direction and we're looking forward to what the future brings here in 2020." Torres said. And Burn Pits 360 has big plans for 2020. In just a few weeks they will head back to Washington D.C. to fight for new legislation. They are working on presenting a comprehensive bill alongside other veterans organizations and advocate, Jon Stewart. This bill would include establishing a presumptive, which means that people would not have to prove exposure to get compensation or health care.  [Source:  Corpus Christi KRIS 6 News | Catherine McGinty | December 29, 2019 ++]

Other Than Honorable Discharge

Other Than Honorable Discharge
Update 16:  RAO Bulletin - January 1, 2020

Vets Help their Fellows Overturn Bad Discharges 

Activist veterans are helping their comrades seek upgrades to "bad paper" military discharges that disqualify them from key benefits that help them reenter civilian life. “I think there is a growing sense that something needs to be done," said Kristofer Goldsmith, 34, who advocates on behalf of fellow veterans. Approximately 500,000 living veterans from various wars have been discharged from the military under other than honorable conditions, says Goldsmith, who himself once had "bad paper" from his time in the Army. Depending on the type of discharge, an "other than honorable" designation can bar former service members from Veterans Affairs healthcare, home loans, disability payments, and from GI Bill college money. Additionally, the "OTH" discharges confer a stigma that can limit employment opportunities and other aspects of day-to-day life.

The Department of Veterans Affairs in 2017 changed its policy so that former "OTH" service members could get mental health crisis treatment. In 2018, The Honor Our Commitment Act required the VA to provide mental health care to veterans with OTH discharges. Still, advocates say, much remains to be done. "What keeps getting in the way is any change to the military justice system or helping these vets get services at the VA comes with a price tag,” Goldsmith told the Washington Examiner. “And there are some politicians who, when it comes to dollars and cents, don’t want the taxpayers to be responsible for more veterans than there already are.”

Tyson Manker, a Marine Corps veteran who received a "bad paper" discharge in 2003 for a single instance of self-medicating his PTSD symptoms, sued the secretary of the Navy in 2018, seeking to guarantee fair treatment for veterans who want to upgrade their discharges. Last month, a federal judge denied the Navy's request to dismiss the case. In December, the Navy was ordered to provide Manker, 38, with documents from the Naval Discharge Review Board that denied his request for an upgraded discharge.

The quality of discharge matters, military lawyer Jeremiah Sullivan told the Washington Examiner. Each brings varying levels of deprivation, from loss of education benefits to more serious censure. The worst is a dishonorable discharge, given for the most serious offenses, and prevents a veteran from owning a firearm and potentially from voting and having access to government assistance. "I do quite a bit of those cases, and you see some pretty tragic ones," Sullivan said. “The other than honorable discharge and less than honorable discharge is more punishment, it’s more punitive, than just the name or just getting kicked out of the military," said Marine Corps veteran Thomas Burke. "It’s not just a scarlet letter that you have to put down on an application. It prevents you from reintegrating into society.”

Burke and Goldsmith together founded High Ground Veterans Advocacy in 2016 in order to help former service members, including those with "OTH" discharges. With several high-profile military cases receiving President Trump’s attention, they hope Congress will act to help reform the military justice system and make it easier for those with “bad paper” to plead their cases and have their benefits restored, especially those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. "Right now, our primary concern is making sure Department of Defense and the VA are abiding by laws already passed," Goldsmith said. "We know a lot of vets who are getting turned away at the door."

It's something both men know first-hand. Burke, now 30, was given an "OTH" discharge following a PTSD-related suicide attempt in 2010. Goldsmith, too, received "bad paper" following his own PTSD-connected attempt to kill himself. The VA at first denied benefits to Burke, but then offered him help based on his service record. Burke enrolled in divinity school and is now an associate pastor for a church in Connecticut. In November, Goldsmith was given an upgraded discharge to the highest designation of "Honorable." Both men are keeping an eye on Manker's class-action lawsuit and on other efforts, while themselves advocating on other veterans' behalf. Said Goldsmith: “To be told that your service wasn’t worth it by your country is really a terrible thing.”  [Source:  Washington Examiner | Russ Read | December 30, 2019 ++]. 

Battle of the Bulge - December 1944

Battle of the Bulge
RAO Bulletin January 1, 2020    Army Platoon’s ‘Last-Ditch Stand’


Allied forces were closing in on Berlin, and village by village, forces were rolling across formerly German-held territories. Many Americans thought that World War II, at least in Europe, was nearly at its end. Some troops had spent the previous years fighting across North Africa and into southern Europe while their fellow soldiers later stormed the beaches at Normandy. On Dec. 16, 1944, two squads of soldiers with the Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon of the 394th Infantry Regiment of the 99th Division spotted a large German advance one town over. Their communications had been cut off from the higher headquarters and they had no fires support. An artillery barrage that lasted nearly two hours pounded their position, along a ridge and tree line near the village of Lanzerath, Belgium.

But the 18 soldiers, being led by 20-year-old Lt. Lyle J. Bouck Jr., had their orders, “hold at all costs.” Being outmatched, alone and without support is not a common position for U.S. troops, nor has it been for more than half a century. But it is a scenario that some fear could become a real feature of future combat. In recent years, Army leadership has hammered away at the need for their forces to prepare for large-scale combat operations against a peer adversary. Those peers likely being either Russian or Chinese military units. From Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley on down, commanders envision distributed units fighting alone, sometimes with degraded communications and even without support. The Marines are making the same case for how they will transform the heavy force that’s grown used to fighting drawn out counterinsurgency wars against guerilla-style tactical foes.

The Battle of the Bulge, in which a surprise attack by German forces put the Allies on their heels following a year’s worth of advances, was the largest-scale battle in the largest-scale war that the United States has ever faced. The men of I&R Platoon, 394th Infantry Regiment, 99th Division were the most decorated platoon of that battle and the entire war. Wave after wave of German paratroopers charged the ridge line and the 18 soldiers of Bouck’s platoon mowed them down with brutal efficiency. They planned to fight to the last bullet, buying their brothers time. That’s because, though they were outnumbered 15-to-1 by the elite German paratroopers, an even more menacing force was pulling up behind them – the 1st SS Panzer Division, which was the leading edge of the northern attack of the German 6th Panzer Army.

Nearly four decades later, Bouck would tell The New York Times about the fight. “We were frightened and we were tired and it was like a hellish nightmare,” Bouck told the Times in 1981. “It seemed it would never end. We couldn’t get any help. It seemed like it was all hopeless.’” Though they wouldn’t realize the significance of their stalling fight for decades, the two squads delayed that force for more than a day, inflicting more than 200 casualties, said Alex Kershaw, author of “The Longest Winter,” a book about the Bulge that chronicles the platoon’s heroic stand. Kershaw spoke 16 DEC at the Army and Navy Club as part of a series of events to mark the rolling 75th anniversaries of key battles and events of the war, held by the nonprofit Friends of the National World War II Memorial.

Over the course of the six-week battle, 10,733 Allied troops were dead, 42,316 wounded and 22,636 missing in action, according to an Army statement. Retired Army Col. Frank Cohn, 94, was a private during the battle and serving as a German translator with a small team when fighting broke out. Speaking at the Monday event, Cohn explained how he and his family had fled Germany in 1938 when he was only 13. He was later drafted into the Army. He recalled the confusion of the fight, the lack of communications and how he with three other soldiers got lost and turned around while searching towns for German POWs to interrogate. The foursome was mistaken for a group of Germans who’d infiltrated Allied lines in U.S. uniforms and held at gunpoint for hours. “The big deal was nobody knew what was going on,” Cohn said. But what prevailed, he said, was the small unit leaders.

“It all goes back to the basics of the squad leader. The squad leader is key in any of these actions. Then it goes up to the platoon if they can find it. That’s why we did better than the Germans. Because our squad leaders were better.” On that first night, Bouck’s plan was to fight to the last bullet and then withdraw his men into the forest. But late in the fighting, exhausted and outnumbered, the paratroopers managed to flank their foxholes, firing into the pit, wounding Bouck in the leg and striking his fellow soldier in the face, nearly killing him. He and his men were taken to a small café in Lanzerath that had become the de facto headquarters for the Germans as they rolled through the town.

Kershaw said that the Panzer division commander, Col. Joachim Peiper, came to the café, shouting at his immediate subordinate wanting to know what had delayed his advance for more than 12 hours. The subordinate told his commander that an entire American regiment had pinned down his advance. But, once Bouck and his men were taken prisoner and the German paratroopers searched the woods, they learned that less than a platoon had stopped them. One of the 18 died in the fighting, the remaining 17 were taken prisoner but freed months later.

John S.D. Eisenhower, son of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and commander of Allied forces in Europe during the war, credited the Lanzerath battle with blocking an assault that could have meant an early collapse of the U.S. position along the lines, transforming the Bulge into a breakthrough, according to the Times article and Kershaw’s research. The unit would receive no real recognition of what the Army later called, a “courageous and almost last-ditch stand” that held up German forces in decisive hours as the Battle of the Bulge commenced. But, after petitioning Congress, the platoon was awarded four Distinguished Service Crosses, five Silver Star Medals and the remaining soldiers received Bronze Star Medals for their actions that day.  [Source:  ArmyTimes | Todd South | December 17, 2019 ++]

Marine Corps Offering Bonuses for Reserve Pilots

2 Jan 2020
Military.com | By Gina Harkins
The Marine Corps is offering some former Reserve pilots lucrative bonuses to get them back in the cockpit. View link:  https://www.military.com/daily-news/2020/01/02/marine-corps-offering-former-reserve-pilots-30k-return-service.html

Former captains and majors qualified to fly certain aircraft who are willing to rejoin a Marine Corps squadron can pocket up to a $30,000 lump-sum bonus if they agree to a three-year term in the Active Reserve. Those willing to serve two years in the Reserve are eligible for a $20,000 payout.

Top priority will be given to former F/A-18 Hornet and MV-22B Osprey pilots, along with KC-130 Hercules aircraft commanders, according to the message. But the program is also open to former AV-8B Harrier, UH-1Y Venom and CH-53E Super Stallion pilots.

"The retention incentive is distributed as a lump sum of 20,000 dollars for the 24 month service obligation or a lump sum of 30,000 dollars for the 36 month service obligation, less any applicable taxes," the message states. "Lump sum payment will not be paid out until the member is joined to the [Active Reserve] program."

The incentives will be paid out on a first-come, first-served basis "until funds are exhausted," it adds.

Only aviators who previously qualified for -- or had not yet applied for -- career designation are eligible. Those who applied for but were not offered career designation in the Active Reserve are ineligible, the message states.

Pilots who were already career designated on the Active Reserve will automatically be career designated upon re-accession. Those who hadn't previously applied for career designation will be able to do so once they rejoin.

Top assignments will involve flying operations at the squadron level across several Reserve units in the continental U.S., including California, Virginia, Texas, Arizona, Maryland or New Orleans. Assignments aren't limited to those squadrons though, the message adds.

Captains who served more than 10 years of active-duty service who weren't previously considered for major on an Active Reserve promotion board are eligible to apply. So are majors who weren't previously considered for O-5 who served more than 12 years on active duty, and those who were considered for lieutenant colonel who served more than 15 years.

Earlier this year, the Marine Corps announced it would be offering big bonuses to active-duty pilots as well.

Top bonuses targeted Marines in the grades and communities with the biggest pilot shortages. Active-duty pilots were eligible to earn up to $280,000 bonuses if they agreed to keep flying for eight more years.

The bonuses targeted captains and majors who fly the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, F/A-18 Hornet, AV-8 Harrier, MV-22 Osprey, C-130 Hercules, UH-1 Huey, AH-1 Cobra and CH-53 Stallion.

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

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 

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

Sparky's Diner:  Sparky's Diner is looking to hire a dishwasher and food prep assistant. They are seeking an employee who can work five to six days a week. Interested candidates may call 845-429-8880 and ask for Jeannie.

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.

Wickes/Aborists Tree and Lawn Care:  Full-time job opportunity for veterans. Current listing is seeking veterans to serve as tree climbers. There is also an interest for anyone looking to work full-time outside with trees and trucks. Contact: Jeff Lambert at (845) 354-3400. 

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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