1. Retirement Commission to Visit Fort Hood: The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission will hold a town hall meeting from 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 16, at the Marriott Courtyard, 1721 E. Central Texas Expressway (US Route 90), Killeen, Texas 76541. All service members, veterans, military retirees and their families are encouraged to attend because the Commission is charged with examining how the troops are compensated while in uniform, in retirement, and as veterans. Their reach includes those programs operated by the VA and Department of Labor. Among the compensation and Quality of Life programs under review are the 20-year retirement system; military pay and the tax-exempt status of allowances; concurrent receipt of retiree and disability pay; the GI Bills; military healthcare costs and eligibility; military exchanges, commissaries and schools; and transition and employment assistance programs, among many others. The VFW has met several times with the Commission and testified before them last November. More information is available at http://www.mcrmc.gov/.
2. Know Where Your Candidates Stand on Veterans Issues: Only three and a half weeks remain until the federal midterm election. It is critical for veterans to know where their members of Congress and candidates stand on our issues. Attend their town hall meetings and ask what their plan is to end the Department of Defense sequestration, and if they are willing to invest in fully funding VA health care. Attend in a group and turn a general town hall into a veterans town hall. If you are having a hard time finding where your candidates are speaking, look on their websites for phone numbers and call to request meeting locations. Also, all members of Congress and most candidates have an e-newsletter that will often tell you where they will be week-to-week. Let them know we are a Nation still at war and the cost of war doesn’t end when the bullets stop flying.
3. Tricare Stops Notification Letters: The Department of Defense is no longer sending paper letters to notify Tricare beneficiaries about changes to their coverage and eligibility status. Tricare beneficiaries need to watch their email and ensure they have a milConnect account to receive information about changes to their TRICARE coverage. Beneficiaries will now receive emails or post cards directing them to online resources where they can view their information. Read more at http://www.tricare.mil/CoveredServices/BenefitUpdates/Archives/10_01_14_NoMoreLetters.aspx.
4. VA Enrollees Can Now Get Vaccinations at Walgreens: This week, VA announced that enrolled veterans may begin receiving flu shots and other vaccinations recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at Walgreens retail pharmacies nationwide. The program, based on a successful pilot program in Florida, will help expand veterans’ access to vaccines just in time for flu season. The vaccines are subject to availability, and the program’s funding will allow Walgreens to administer approximately 75,000 flu shots this year. Under the agreement, Walgreens will provide the vaccinations at no charge, and will electronically add them to the veteran’s VA health record. The vaccines are available daily during normal Walgreens pharmacy hours with no appointment necessary. Veterans may still receive their vaccinations from VA facilities if they choose. For more information about the program, click here: http://www.ehealth.va.gov/Immunization.asp.
5. Seven WWII Airmen Recovered: The Defense POW/MIA Office announced the identification of remains belonging to seven Army Air Force airmen who had been missing in action since World War II. Identified are 1st Lts. William D. Bernier, 28, of Augusta, Mont., Bryant E. Poulsen, 22, of Salt Lake City, and Herbert V. Young Jr., 23, of Clarkdale, Ariz.; Technical Sgts. Charles L. Johnston, 20, of Pittsburgh, and Hugh F. Moore, 36, of Elkton, Md.; Staff Sgt. John E. Copeland, 21, of Dearing, Kan., and Sgt. Charles A. Gardner, 32, from San Francisco. On April 10, 1944, Bernier, along with 11 other B-24D Liberator bombers, took off on a mission to attack an anti-aircraft site at Hansa Bay, New Guinea. Their aircraft was shot down. Four crewmen parachuted from the aircraft, but were reported to have died in captivity. Read their recovery story, and those of others, at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/news/news_releases/index.htm.
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