As the military works to become a more lethal force, the services' health care leaders have pledged to support the cause by helping attain maximum readiness - including finding ways to deal with troops who can't deploy.
Military health leaders gathered this week during the annual meeting of AMSUS, The Society for Federal Health Professionals, to share their outlook for each branch of the military and the U.S. Public Health Service. Their focus remains on a top priority laid out by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.
“Readiness is No. 1,” said Lt. Gen. Nadja West, Surgeon General of the Army, who noted that Mattis regularly requests updates on deployability statuses.
Read the story here: http://www.moaa.org/Content/Publications-and-Media/News-Articles/2018-News-Articles/Top-Military-Medical-Officers-Talk-Readiness,-Non-Deployable-Troops-at-National-Conference.aspx
As he walked to his high school in Fayetteville, N.C., Robert Wilkie would often pause as he passed the Veterans Affairs hospital down the street. The brick building towered over the school and the nearby houses. An inscription on the front of the building read, “The Price of Freedom is Visible Here.”
“That means a lot to me,” Wilkie said, thinking of his father, an artilleryman stationed at Fort Bragg who was severely injured during combat in the Vietnam War.
In November, Wilkie sat down with Military Officer magazine to reflect on his first 150 days leading the massive VA health care system, which includes 9 million people across 1,700 centers. The exchange has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Read the story here: http://www.moaa.org/Content/Publications-and-Media/News-Articles/2018-News-Articles/MOAA-Interview--Secretary-Wilkie-on-VA-Changes,-Health-Records,-Blue-Water-Navy-Benefits,-and-More.aspx
Purple Heart medals - sometimes the last connection a family member has to their servicemember injured in battle - are being rescued from antique stores and online auctions to be returned to their rightful owners.
For the past six years, Purple Hearts Reunited has returned Purple Heart medals to almost 600 veterans or their family members at no cost. As Veterans Day approached, the nonprofit group met its goal of returning 100 medals to mark the centennial of the end World War I.
Read the story here: http://www.moaa.org/Content/Publications-and-Media/News-Articles/2018-News-Articles/This-Group-Returns-Purple-Hearts-to-Veterans-and-Families-----and-Just-Reached-a-Major-Milestone.aspx
The North Carolina MOAA chapters are among several groups leading a fight to exempt the retirement pay of all government employees, including servicemembers, from that state's income tax.
The bill would even the playing field for those retirees, some of whom already receive an exemption under the so-called “Bailey Amendment,” a North Carolina Supreme Court decision to exempt state taxes for government employees who served at least five years before 1989. This is the latest effort to equalize the exemption.
“I think we have the 'haves' and the 'have nots,'” said Col. Jeri Graham, USA (Ret), who serves on MOAA's board of directors. “It's a fairness thing. We have a lot of people in North Carolina that were able to get that benefit. Now we have all the new people that are retiring from all those federal, state, and local jobs that don't have that benefit. We're trying to equalize that benefit for everyone.”
The Equal Tax Treatment of Government Retirees bill is backed by the several groups working as a coalition called The 4th Branch. The coalition was formed in 1995 and earned nonprofit status in 2000.
The bill is expected to be introduced during the state's next legislative session. Meanwhile, Graham is calling on all government retirees in North Carolina, as well as current military and federal employees, to sign a petition in support of the bill and to contact their state legislators and ask for their support.
Read the story here: http://www.moaa.org/Content/Publications-and-Media/News-Articles/2018-News-Articles/North-Carolina-MOAA-Chapter-Part-of-Fight-to-Exempt-Military,-Other-Government-Retirement-Pay-from-State-Income-Tax.aspx
A B-24 gunner who flew missions to drop spies and supplies into France and Italy during World War II has received the country's highest civilian honor.
Air Force Col. Russell “Cliff” Hastler Jr. (Ret), a 93-year-old Life Member of MOAA from Ohio, recently was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal. Hastler enlisted as a member of the Army Air Corps, then returned to service as an Air Force officer, retiring in 1978 after 30 years of service.
“During World War II, I wanted so much to serve as a pilot, and we all wanted to do the right thing,” Hastler said in a written response to MOAA's questions provided through his family. “That sense of patriotism has remained a part of my being to this day. It's been my greatest honor to serve my country as a member of the military, and especially as an Air Force officer.”
Read the story here: http://www.moaa.org/Content/Publications-and-Media/News-Articles/2018-News-Articles/MOAA-Life-Member,-a-World-War-II-Veteran,-Receives-Congressional-Gold-Medal.aspx