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VFW Action Corps Weekly, April 20, 2018

April 20, 2018
In This Issue:

1. VA Secretary Nominee Update

2. VFW Testifies in Support of Women Vets, Caregivers & Medical Marijuana Research

3. Memo Warning of Bad Anthrax Vaccine Is Erroneous

4. VFW-supported Bill to Expand Commissary Access Introduced

5. VFW-supported Bill to Improve Transition Assistance Program

6. DHA MSO/VSO Working Group

7. VA Nominations Advance in the Senate

8. VA to Host Nationwide Baby Shower

9. MIA Update

To view this week’s edition, click here:


Get an Increase in Your Disability Rating Faster with DRC


If your service-connected condition has gotten worse and you’re planning to file an increased disability claim for that condition, there’s a better way to file. Get the fastest decision on your claim for an increase by filing it as a Decision Ready Claim (DRC). Filing as a DRC means you can get a decision within 30 days after your claim is submitted.

Work with an accredited Veterans Service Organization (VSO) or other accredited representative to determine if the DRC program is right for you and your claim for an increase. Your VSO can then help you gather and submit all relevant and required evidence so your claim is ready for VA to make a decision when you submit it.

Don’t need to file a claim for an increase? You can also file these other types of compensation claims through the DRC program:

  • Direct Service Connection Claims
  • Presumptive Service Connection Claims
  • Secondary Service Connection Claims
  • Dependency and Indemnity Compensation for surviving spouses

Learn more about the DRC program, including eligibility requirements, what medical evidence you need to submit, and how to find an accredited VSO at

Thank you for your service!

Veterans Benefits Administration 

Team Backed by Microsoft Co-founder Locates USS Helena Wreck

Team Backed by Microsoft Co-founder Locates USS Helena Wreck

The wreckage of the Helena was found March 23, about a half mile (860 meters) below the surface of the New Georgia Sound.
This March 24, 2018 photo provided by Paul G. Allen shows part of the stern section on the light cruiser USS Helena. (Paul G. Allen via AP)

This March 24, 2018 photo provided by Paul G. Allen shows part of the stern section on the light cruiser USS Helena. (Paul G. Allen via AP)

HELENA, Mont. — A Microsoft co-founder’s mission to locate sunken warships in the South Pacific has chalked up another victory with the discovery of the USS Helena nearly 75 years after it was sunk by Japanese torpedoes in the waters off the Solomon Islands, reviving stories of the battle-tested ship’s endurance and the nearly unbelievable survival of 165 of the crewmen.
Paul Allen’s team searches for the ships to “bring the history back into a relevant conversation,” said Janet Greenlee, a spokeswoman for Allen’s Vulcan Inc. “He wants to honor those that have served and are serving.”
The wreckage of the Helena was found March 23, about a half mile (860 meters) below the surface of the New Georgia Sound. The team identified the light cruiser by the number 50 on its side and by comparing the wreck to the USS Helena’s schematics.
In all, more than 730 of the Helena’s crew of 900 survived the July 5, 1943, sinking during the Battle of Kula Gulf.
Most of the crew was rescued out of the water and another group was picked up nearby the next day. But a third group spent nearly five days adrift in life rafts, during which some of the injured died, before the sunburned, dehydrated and emaciated men decided their best chance of survival was to take shelter on Vella Lavella Island.
The shoeless sailors had to walk across a sharp coral reef to get to the jungle island, which they knew was occupied by Japanese troops, Navy gunner’s mate Frank P. Cellozzi of Ohio wrote in a 1984 account. They crawled into the jungle and fell asleep before being awakened by a group of natives wearing loin cloths and carrying spears, Cellozzi wrote.
One spoke enough broken English to make it clear they would help. The natives in some cases carried the Americans into the jungle for miles, stopping occasionally to pick coconuts. The survivors built a latrine and a shelter and the natives escorted them to a freshwater stream where they could bathe, Cellozzi wrote.
An Australian Methodist missionary named A.W.E. Silvester and two other Coastwatchers aided in their care and helped arrange for their middle-of-the-night rescue 12 days after their ship sank. Coastwatchers were intelligence operatives stationed on remote Pacific islands during World War II to observe enemy movements and help rescue stranded troops.
“One of the remarkable stories, not just about the crew and the ship’s service, is the tenacity of the crew after the sinking and being separated,” said Allen’s spokeswoman, Greenlee. “It really does sound like a movie script.”
The USS Helena was the third World War II discovery in less than three weeks by Allen’s R/V Petrel team. The aircraft carrier the USS Lexington was discovered March 4 and the USS Juneau, another light cruiser, was located March 17.
The USS Helena was the second of five vessels named for Montana’s capital city, and was the first ship to receive the Navy Unit Commendation for its role in the World War II battles. It survived a torpedo strike during the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and sunk Japanese vessels in other battles.
A memorial to the USS Helena ships is located in Anchor Park in downtown Helena.

18 April 2018 Washington Update

April 18, 2018     Inside this issue TREA: The Enlisted Association’s Washington Update • TREA: The Enlisted Association Supports Bill to Help Service Members and their Families with Taxes • DoD Once Again Seeks to Make Retirees Pay More • Two Categories of Veterans Not Eligible for New Veterans’ ID Card • Maryland Man Convicted of Bribing VA Official […]

Veterans-For-Change NEWSLETTER

Week Ending Sunday, April 15, 2018 Volume 9, Issue 15 This-N-That Parkinson’s and ALS (aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease), both are on the presumptive list with the VA, both are in the same family of illnesses and in my personal opinion and based also on personal experience are the two worst possible diseases anyone can possibly […]

Thanks 2 Yanks Don’t miss the upcoming Beer&Bacon Event 2018…

Can’t attend?  Consider donating a store or restaurant gift certificate that could be used in our raffle. For further info contact Thanks To Yanks presents Beer&Bacon For one night only, join Thanks To Yanks and the live band XRB for a Beer&Bacon fundraising event at CraftRoots Brewing, 4 Industrial Road, Milford, MA. April 22, 2018 –  6pm – 9pm Admission: $25 […]

Opportunity for Veterans- Veteran Engagement in Research Event

The VA CHOIR Veterans Engagement in Research Group is hosting an orientation meeting on April 26 at Bedford VA and JP. Please feel free to forward this to any interested Veterans! More Information about VERG is on the web: Alexander Gagnon Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA) Program Support Assistant – Voluntary Service Phone: […]

AMVETS Newsletter

Some of the top stories circulating the AMVETS community. Vets groups and lawmakers say they’re against it — but what does ‘privatization’ of Veterans Affairs really mean? READ MORE 10 QUESTION FORM! Check out AMVETS Chief Medical Executive Lana Mckenzie discussing AMVETS new mental health initiative HEAL VET on Site Rep! #HealAmericanVeterans WATCH NOW Share Tweet Forward […]