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Week Ending Sunday, November 18, 2018

Volume 9, Issue 45



We hope everyone had a good weekend last weekend and all those who attended the Marine Corps Birthday Ball events enjoyed themselves too!

In a recent rating of Veterans Nursing Homes 92 out of 132 homes have failing grades which isn’t saying a whole lot about administration or human resources, especially when caring for those who have served our country.

With 46,000 Veterans living in VA Nursing homes, this means that 32,200 are receiving inadequate to extremely poor healthcare.

But VA Healthcare all across the board from VA Medical Centers to Nursing homes has been less than stellar for many years, and it would seem that every appointed Secretary of the VA has had their own agenda vs. following protocols and regulations which in my personal opinion has only served to tear down the worlds largest healthcare system.

They even battle against sound and proven medical research siding on the side of old, outdated and just plain bad science, which is the current case with Agent Orange again!

We’ve been pushing for many weeks now for HR 299 which as you recall passed the House 382 to Zero and got bogged down in the Senate because the VA Administration is fighting tooth and nail to provide the earned, much needed medical care and benefits and from what we’ve seen is all based on outdated and bad science all to save a buck, but to save a buck at the cost of human lives.

So again, we’re asking everyone, including our civilian readers to please call the following people and ask that they bring HR 299 to the floor and vote to pass it in the Senate.

Senator Isakson 202-224-3643 & 770-661-0999
Senator Moran 202-224-6521
Senator Boozman 202-224-4843
Senator Rounds 202-224-5842
Senator Sullivan 202-224-3004
Senator Tillis 202-224-6342
Senator Cassidy 202-224-5824
Senator Heller 202-224-6244
Senator Tester 202-224-2644
Senator Brown 202-224-2315
Senator Sanders 202-224-5141
Senator Blumenthal 202-224-2823
Senator Murray 202-224-2621
Senator Hirono 202-224-2621
Senator Manchin 202-224-3954

Your calls are very important to thousands of Veterans, and we’re asking you to make the calls immediately, then if you would, please call them every Friday, slow down their office, drive a point home that this bill must pass and quickly.

Just keep it simple, polite, and when you end your call, be sure to thank them for their time!

On behalf of our Volunteers nationwide and myself, we wish you and your family good health!

Jim Davis


Off-Base testing for Agent Orange begins

Brian Moyer and Commander John Wells participated in a conference call with Guam EPA prior to start of testing. The GAO report should be due Thursday afternoon, We need to cover the Guam Veteran as well as Samoa, the Marianas and Johnston Island in addition to Blue Water Navy.

To learn more, click HERE.

John Wells, Cmdr. US Navy (Retired)
Military Veterans Advocacy, Inc.

Remember Those who Served

TFL, Premium-Based Plans: What to Do During Open Season

TRICARE Open Season is happening now. If you want to enroll in or change your TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select plan for 2019, you have until Dec. 10, 2018 to make an enrollment choice. If you have TRICARE For Life or a premium-based plan and want to stay in your current plan, TRICARE Open Season doesn’t apply to you. You’ll stay in your current plan for 2019 or as long as you’re eligible.

Read the full article here.


VA Rates 70 Percent of its Nursing Homes as Failures

In a joint release, the national commanders of the VFW and American Legion are demanding that VA Secretary Robert Wilkie bring immediate attention to his nursing home program that currently has 70 percent of its 132 homes receiving failing grades by the VA’s own rating system. The call by VFW National Commander B.J. Lawrence and Legion National Commander Brett Reistad is in response to a series of scathing articles by two USA Today and Boston Globe reporters who documented substandard and negligent care at the VA nursing home in Brockton, Mass., which is one of 45 nursing homes that received the VA’s lowest rating of one star. Forty-seven homes received two stars, 16 homes three stars, and 15 homes four stars. Only nine nursing homes received the VA’s top five-star rating. “While much of the media’s attention has been on the proper implementation of VA health care legislation, we cannot forget about 46,000 mostly senior veterans who reside in these nursing homes,” said the two national commanders, who collectively speak for more than 4.6 million members and their auxiliaries. Read the joint release here.

VFC Website-002

The Veterans-For-Change website has been under construction since day one back in 2009 and every day since then. The looks pretty much stay the same, but in the background constant improvement and change is being done to make our website the most user friendly “One-Stop-Shop” website to find almost everything you might have tried to find searching the internet.

Almost a hundred people have been involved; collecting web links to documents now houses on the VFC website, collecting thousands of web links for various issues, illnesses and benefits. Creating forums for all eras of service and two forums one just for men and one just for woman where you can go question, comment, share medical and personal concerns, what ever you’d like it to be.

We also have a forum with for Mental Health and are currently seeking a new Licensed Mental Health Worker, where you can seek help or just ask questions.

We average 2,230 hits per day, and downloads average 1,907 per day with a total 4,513,135visitors as of Friday.

If you subscribe you will have full access to the entire website and best of all it’s FREE of charge! You just need a valid E-mail address so the system can send you a confirmation E-Mail. Once received, click on the link to be authorized automatically.

• Documents Library with over 16,729 documents on-line (Updated: 10/30/18)
• FAQ’s with more than 1,600 FAQ’s and answers
• Multiple Forums
o Afghanistan Veterans
o FMP – Foreign Medial Program
o Gulf War & Desert Storm Veterans
o Iraq Veterans
o Korean Veterans
o Men Veterans Forum
o Mental Health for Veterans (Counselor Needed)
o Political Issues
o Suggestion Box
o The Mess Hall
o VA Hospitals and Medical Centers
o Veteran Affairs
o Vietnam Veterans
o Welcome Mat
o Women Veterans Forum
o WW II Veterans
• Job Postings
• Memorial Pages (Updated: 10/30/18) (37 Added)
• News (Articles On-Line: 7,980)
• Polls
• Web Links, more than 4,407, Added 119 New Links (Updated: 10/30/18)

If you have a submission for the memorial pages, E-Mail:


Military Members, DoD Civilians Are Eligible for Free TSA Precheck

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is reminding all service members and DOD civilians that they are eligible to use the TSA Precheck program and skip some of the hassle when going through airport security. For more details, see this article.


GI Bill Oversight Hearing Held

This week, the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity held a hearing on the delayed payments of GI Bill benefits to student veterans. This summer, VA was supposed to implement technology upgrades to accommodate changes to the GI Bill. VA failed to implement the changes which led to tens of thousands of student veterans receiving delayed Basic Allowance for Housing payments. The VFW called on Congress to hold an oversight hearing to get to the bottom of the problem and what steps VA has taken to avoid this problem in the upcoming spring semester. The VFW appreciates Chairman Arrington and Ranking Member O’Rourke’s attention to this issue which is affecting the lives of tens of thousands of student veterans. Watch the hearing.

Bobby Ross-006

This month’s featured song:

Goodbye To West Virginia

November’s featured song was written by Sgt George Jeffrey

This song was performed and produced by:

LT Bobby Ross

Featured videos of other songs by LT


Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance Increase Announced

The Department of Defense has announced that the maximum amount payable under the Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance (SSIA) program will increase on Jan. 1, 2019. Beginning in 2019, survivors who are eligible for the SSIA will see the maximum benefit increase to $318. For more details, see this article.


Hearing on VA’s Oversight of Contract Disability Examinations

The House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs held a hearing Thursday on VA’s oversight of contract disability examinations. Over the last 20 years, VA has more frequently contracted with private health care providers to conduct disability examinations in order to provide veterans with timely, accurate, and objective evaluations of their medical conditions. While the VFW supports VA’s efforts to provide veterans with contract disability examinations, since 2016 when VA executed its latest contract for disability examinations, there have been new problems which prompted the VFW and other veterans service organizations to call for a hearing to better assess the situation. The VFW submitted testimony detailing problems such as late notification of exam appointments, difficulty in rescheduling examinations, unreasonable distance of examinations from the veteran’s home, and inadequate time with the health care provider. The VFW appreciates Ranking Member Esty highlighting our concerns and bringing attention to this issue. Watch the hearing.

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VFW Action Corps Weekly, November 16, 2018

November 16, 2018
In This Issue:

1. National Academies Link Hypertension, MGUS to Agent Orange Exposure

2. VA Rates 70 Percent of its Nursing Homes as Failures

3. GI Bill Oversight Hearing Held

4. Hearing on VA’s Oversight of Contract Disability Examinations

5. Blue Water Navy Bill Continues to be Stalled in the Senate

6. First Female Completes Special Forces Assessment and Selection Course

7. DHA MSO/VSO Working Group

8. VA Secretary Vows to Improve Military Transition Efforts

9. TRICARE Prime and Select Open Season

10. TRDP and FEDVIP Update

11. MIA Update

To view this week’s edition, click here:

NCOAdvocate Newsletter

November 16, 2018
 Inside this issue
Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Please note the NCOA will be closed Thursday, November 22 and Friday November 23, and we will re-open Monday November 26.  Congress will not be in session next week. The next NCOAdvocate Newsletter will be issued Friday, November 30. The entire National Headquarters staff wishes everyone-and especially service members serving duty assignments throughout the world-a safe and HappyThanksgiving!

Understanding TRICARE Open Season and Federal Benefits Open Season

What is TRICARE Open Season?

Open Season is an annual period when you can enroll in or change your health plan for the next year. It will occur each fall, beginning on the Monday of the second full week in November to the Monday of the second full week in December. For 2018, Open Season is Nov. 12 to Dec. 10.

During TRICARE Open Season, you can:

  • Enroll in a new TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select plan
  • Change your enrollment (e.g., switch from individual to family enrollment)

If you are happy with your current TRICARE health care plan, you don’t have to take any action. You’ll continue to be enrolled in your current plan.

What is Federal Benefits Open Season?

Federal Benefits Open Season overlaps with the TRICARE Open Season. During the Federal Benefits Open Season you can enroll in a FEDVIP dental or vision plan (for certain categories of beneficiaries). You must take action to enroll in a plan during this time if you’re eligible based on the below table.

Read more .

Army Releases Deploy-or-Out Rules for Administratively Sidelined Troops
The U.S. Army today publicly released its new policy for dealing with soldiers who are non-deployable for administrative reasons, just over a month after the Pentagon’s new deploy-or-out policy took effect Oct. 1.

“Soldiers who are non-deployable for an administrative reason … for more than six consecutive months, or six non-consecutive months in a 12-month period, will be processed for administrative separation,” according to the new policy dated Nov. 8.

The large number of non-deployable service members is a problem every branch of the U.S. military has struggled to manage, but the Army has radically reduced its number of non-deployable soldiers in the past year, according to Maj. Gen. Joseph Calloway, director Military Personnel Management.

“Since a year ago, we have come from 121,000 non-deployables, which is about 15 percent of the total Army,” Calloway told defense reporters at the Pentagon today. “We have come down to right at 6 percent.”

Some of those non-deployable troops have been processed out; others have resolved any outstanding issues that prevented them being able to deploy.

In the last month, the Army seen its non-deployable ranks drop from about “66,000 to about 59,000,” Calloway said.

But the new Retention Policy for Non-Deployable Soldiers, which “nests” in the Defense Department’s larger policy on non-deployable troops, only applies to less than 20 percent of the current non-deployable population.

“This policy doesn’t apply to all 59,000 [soldiers],” Calloway said, explaining that “the vast majority of those, 80 percent, are medical. And then another portion are legal.”

Read more here.

Trump hosts event on military, veterans in response to Veterans Day criticism

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump, slammed with a barrage of criticism for skipping ceremonies honoring the military veterans in Paris and Washington during the Veterans Day weekend, hosted several events Thursday focusing on current and former servicemembers.

In brief remarks during a daylong White House conference, Trump took credit for several ongoing programs and accomplishments that serve the military and veterans.

“Fact is I’ve done a lot,” he said to a filled auditorium at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building just west of The White House. “I’ve done so much I could leave now.”

In addition to conference attendees, several White House officials were present in the South Auditorium during the remarks, including his adviser Kellyanne Conway and Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie. Trump remarked Wilkie was “doing a great job.”

Read more here.

Bill creating DHS cyber agency heads to the president’s desk

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation Nov. 13 that would rename the Department of Homeland Security’s National Protection and Programs Directorate and focus the new agency on cyber and physical infrastructure security.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act, which passed the Senate Oct. 3, had already received unanimous House approval in December 2017, but required a new vote after members of the Senate made alterations to the bill before its passage. The bill now heads to the White House for signature.

Save the date – NCOA Conference is coming this July 16-18, 2019

After quite a bit of diligent research, NCOA Board of Directors has chosen to convene the National Conference July 16-18, 2019 at the Holiday Inn San Antonio- Int`L Airport.  More information on registration and Hotel reservations will be available in the coming weeks.

Save the dates!

Take Control of Your NCOA Membership With Memberplanet

NCOA has teamed up with Memberplanet to offer you, our valued members, a simple way to stay informed and active with the association.  Memberplanet is our new association management software company, and is not a scam or phishing program. You can update your contact information, pay dues, receive texts on your phone, and even download the Memberplanet app on your Android or IOS phones to display your membership card.  Always stay connected with Memberplanet.

Read more here.

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Become an NCOA member today!

The Non Commissioned Officers Association, more commonly known as NCOA, welcomes you to our NCOAdvocate newsletter.  NCOA is currently a leader in Veterans and Spouse Employment, a strong voice on Capitol Hill and with the Veterans Administration, and our members around the world are making a difference in their local communities. I encourage you to browse our website and see the great benefits and advantages there are to being an NCOA member and always remember – there is “Strength in Unity!”

Master Chief Vince Patton,
President / National Commander
Non Commissioned Officers Association
8th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast GuardTHE PRESIDENT’S NOVEMBER 2018 MESSAGE

Do you like to save money?
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KORIDOOR is a proud sponsor of NCOA
NCOA Benevolent Programs
Excel your education

Non Commissioned Officers Association members receives significant savings on Excelsior College tuition and fees. Excelsior College helps busy working adults earn the degrees they need through a variety of flexible distance education programs.

NCOA welcomes your support

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USAA Bank will make a contribution to NCOA when you open an account, make eligible purchases and keep an active account. Your support helps NCOA address issues affecting active, reserve, National Guard, retired, and their families and employers.

Thank you to our Affinity Partner, USAA. USAA is the Exclusive Provider of the Financial Services for NCOA.

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25% off Graduate and Post Graduate Programs.

The University of Phoenix has partnered with NCOA to offer eligible members considerable discounts on tuition and resource fees. This is an exciting opportunity that you don’t want to miss!

Non Commissioned Officers Association
Washington D.C. Office
4400 Fair Lakes Ct.
Fairfax, VA 22033

RAO BULLETIN 15 NOV 2018 Availability Notice (Veteran News)

Availability Notice RAO BULLETIN 15 November 2018   HTML/PDF Editions     THIS RETIREE ACTIVITIES OFFICE BULLETIN CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING ARTICLES   Pg                   Article                                                Subject .                                                   * DOD *                                                   . 04 == DoD Budget 2020 [01] —- (Potential 5% Cut Impact on Active Duty/Retirees) 05 == DoD Nuclear Mission [02] —- (New Warhead’s Projected Cost & Availability) 07 == DoD Audits [02] —- […]

Henry Baggs

Hello everyone.  Friday night during half time Former AMVETS  Department Of Massachusetts Commander, Hank Baggs, will be honored by the Boston Celtics as their choice for the “Hero Among Us” award.  This came about through the efforts of Jean Mallon, Director, USO New England and their trust in me to come up with a recommendation […]

K9s For Warriors – Because Together We Stand

Soldier, take me from this shelter’s cage. Give me back my life. In return, I’ll cover your back. I’ll be your canine warrior, your sixth sense. I’ll stand guard into the night and chase the demons away, the uninvited, cloaked in night sweats and darkness. I will help you open your cage of solitude then […]

Angel Flight [Gordon Juhl]

C-130 Angel Flight The main reason this video is called Angel Flight is visual. When the plane releases its decoy missiles, as is shown in several of the pictures, it creates an Angel shape in the smoke. But it is much more than just visual. See for yourself.   Listen to the words of the […]

Thank You

I want to thank those of you who came out this morning and helped to place the twelve wreaths at the two cemeteries.  The rain didn’t stop you from showing up. My Thanks to You. For God and Country Enrico Casaletto Commander – AMVETS – Post 2 – Salem, NH