1 Inside this issue: July 2015 Volume 10 Issue Veteran makes toys! Transgender Policy 1 2 Army 3 John Edmond HARRIS, toy maker deluxe! Radiation & Korea A/O 4 Toy Maker 5 Asbestos 6 Veterans Park 7 *see article on page 5 If you would like an article placed in this Newsletter, you can me at: charlottecountyfl.gov Condolences to our good friend, Michael Overway at the Charlotte County Homeless Coalition on the passing of his mother, a British Royal Forces Veteran! Overway, Daphne Towson Daphne Towson Overway passed away on July 13, She was born on May 25, 1924, in Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland, to Richard and Agnes Towson. After completing education in a private girls school in Dublin, she felt compelled due to her passionate and feisty spirit to enlist in the British Royal Forces after Hitler claimed he would turn Ireland into a cabbage patch. Her final years of service were at Allied Headquarters in Italy where she met a handsome American soldier, Marvin Overway. They married in The editor took care in the preparation of this publication, but is not responsible or liable for any mistakes, omissions or misprints and advertisements are published in good faith. David W. DONOHEW
2 Page 2 Release No: NR July 13, 2015 Statement by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on DOD Transgender Policy Over the last fourteen years of conflict, the Department of Defense has proven itself to be a learning organization. This is true in war, where we have adapted to counterinsurgency, unmanned systems, and new battlefield requirements such as MRAPs. It is also true with respect to institutional activities, where we have learned from how we repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," from our efforts to eliminate sexual assault in the military, and from our work to open up ground combat positions to women. Throughout this time, transgender men and women in uniform have been there with us, even as they often had to serve in silence alongside their fellow comrades in arms. The Defense Department's current regulations regarding transgender service members are outdated and are causing uncertainty that distracts commanders from our core missions. At a time when our troops have learned from experience that the most important qualification for service members should be whether they're able and willing to do their job, our officers and enlisted personnel are faced with certain rules that tell them the opposite. Moreover, we have transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines - real, patriotic Americans - who I know are being hurt by an outdated, confusing, inconsistent approach that's contrary to our value of service and individual merit. Today, I am issuing two directives to deal with this matter. First, DoD will create a working group to study over the next six months the policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly. Led by (Acting) Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Brad Carson, and composed of military and civilian personnel representing all the military services and the Joint Staff, this working group will report to Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work. At my direction, the working group will start with the presumption that transgender persons can serve openly without adverse impact on military effectiveness and readiness, unless and except where objective, practical impediments are identified. Second, I am directing that decision authority in all administrative discharges for those diagnosed with gender dysphoria or who identify themselves as transgender be elevated to Under Secretary Carson, who will make determinations on all potential separations. As I've said before, we must ensure that everyone who's able and willing to serve has the full and equal opportunity to do so, and we must treat all our people with the dignity and respect they deserve. Going forward, the Department of Defense must and will continue to improve how we do both. Our military's future strength depends on it. Vietnam Brotherhood, Delta Company July 4 Members manned the table at Laishley Park and Charlotte Sports Park selling items for the Wall. July 6 Members helped at bingo at Jacobson State Veterans Home. July Members attended the Vietnam and All Veterans of Florida State Coalition meeting in Kissimmee. Meetings were held discussing Agent Orange legislation, PTSD, POW/ MIA, etc. The Coalition s focus is on issues and concerns affecting Veterans and their families within the State of Florida before the State Legislature, State Veterans Planning Group, and the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs.
3 Page 3 Army Announces Force Structure and Stationing Decisions The Department of the Army announced today force structure decisions and stationing plans for the reduction of the regular Army from 490,000 to 450,000 soldiers. The reduction of force structure will occur in fiscal years 2016 and 2017; the reduction of 40,000 end strength will be completed by the end of fiscal year 2018, and will be accompanied by the reduction of 17,000 Department of the Army civilian employees. These cuts will impact nearly every Army installation, both in the continental United States and overseas. As part of these reductions, the number of regular Army brigade combat teams, the basic deployable units of maneuver in the Army, will continue to reduce from a wartime high of 45 to 30 by the end of fiscal year The Army will convert both the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning, Georgia and the 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska into smaller units maneuver battalion task forces by the end of fiscal year While brigade combat teams consist of approximately 4,000 soldiers, these battalion task forces will be comprised of approximately 1,050 soldiers. Additionally, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division will remain a brigade combat team, but will convert its primary maneuver platform. Currently, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division is a Stryker brigade combat team, however, it will become an infantry brigade combat team without Stryker combat vehicles. Additionally, the Army is analyzing a proposal to use the brigade combat team s current Stryker equipment to convert an Army National Guard brigade combat team in the Pacific Northwest to a Stryker configuration. The Army selected these brigade combat teams for reorganization based on a variety of factors including strategic requirements and the inherent military value of the installations where they are based. The force structure decisions announced today best posture a smaller Army to meet global commitments. Budget constraints are forcing us to reduce the Total Army, said Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, Army deputy chief of staff, G- 3/5/7. These were very difficult decisions to make as all of our installations and their communities offer tremendous value to our Army and the nation. In the end, we had to make decisions based on a number of strategic factors, to include readiness impacts, mission command and cost. Submitted by Terry Keene WHEREAS, from December 8 th, 1941 to August 14 th, 1945, 16.1 million Americans served our country and defended our freedoms and liberties during World War II, and WHEREAS, 407,300 of these brave, patriotic citizens gave their lives, and 670,646 were wounded in action, and 35,640 remain missing in action to this date, are deserving not only of moral recognition, but of government benefits and entitlements as well; and WHEREAS, the number of WWII veterans are decreasing by an estimated 823 a day, with approximately 1.6 million of the16.1 million veterans still surviving, and WHEREAS, we thank and honor our Charlotte County Veterans, rightly named The Greatest Generation for helping make America the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave and commend the distinguished service to our County of its World War II veterans. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT PROCLAIMED that August 14 th, 2015 shall be known in all of Charlotte County as: Celebration of the 70 th Anniversary of the Ending of the Greatest War, World War II
4 Page 4 RADIATION EXPOSURE COMPENSATION ACT RADIATION EXPOSURE COMPENSATION ACT (http://www.usdoj.gov/civil/torts/const/reca/index.htm) [Editor's note: there is an article on the web about a veteran who was awarded $75,000 under this program - it may generate phone calls] On October 5, 1990, Congress passed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act ("RECA" or "the Act"), 42 U.S.C note, providing for compassionate payments to individuals who contracted certain cancers and other serious diseases as a result of their exposure to radiation released during above-ground nuclear weapons tests or as a result of their exposure to radiation during employment in underground uranium mines. The 1990 Act provided fixed payments in the following amounts: $50,000 to individuals residing or working "downwind" of The Nevada Test Site; $75,000 for workers participating in above-ground nuclear weapons tests; and $100,000 for uranium miners. Implementing regulations were issued by the Department of Justice and published in the Federal Register on April 10, 1992, establishing procedures to resolve claims in a reliable, objective, and non-adversarial manner, with little administrative cost to the United States or to the person filing the claim. Revisions to the regulations, published in the Federal Register on March 22, 1999, served to greater assist claimants in establishing entitlement to an award. On July 10, 2000, Pub. L , the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Amendments of 2000 ("the 2000 Amendments") was passed. Introduced by Senator Hatch on August 5, 1999, the Amendments were one of many bills introduced in the 106th Congress with the intent to amend the existing law. Most significantly, the 2000 Amendments added two new claimant categories (uranium mill workers and ore transporters), provided additional compensable illnesses, lowered the radiation exposure threshold for uranium miners, included above-ground miners within the definition of "uranium miner," modified medical documentation requirements, and removed certain lifestyle restrictions. It also added additional geographic areas to the downwinder claimant category. On November 2, 2002, the President signed the "21st Century Department of Justice Appropriation Authorization Act" (P.L ). Contained in the law were several provisions relating to RECA. While most of these amendments are "technical" in nature, some affect eligibility criteria and revise claims adjudication procedures. RECA Claimant Categories-Onsite Participants: A payment of $75,000 is available to eligible individuals who participated onsite in a test involving the atmospheric detonation of a nuclear device, and later developed a specified compensable disease. The claimant must have been present "onsite" above or within the official boundaries of the Nevada, Pacific, Trinity, or South Atlantic Test Sites at any time during a period of atmospheric nuclear testing and must have "participated" during that time in the atmospheric detonation of a nuclear device. After the onsite participation, the claimant contracted one of the following specified diseases: leukemia (other than chronic lymphocytic leukemia), lung cancer, multiple myeloma, lymphomas (other than Hodgkin's disease), and primary cancer of the thyroid, male or female breast, esophagus, stomach, pharynx, small intestine, pancreas, bile ducts, gall bladder, salivary gland, urinary bladder, brain, colon, ovary, or liver (except if cirrhosis or hepatitis B is indicated), or lung. Agent Orange and Service in Korea. If a veteran served in Korea, along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) from April 1, 1968, and Aug. 31, 1971, then that Veteran is going to be entitled to presumptive service connection for Agent Orange exposure. The VA recognizes, that service in one of these units is one of the elements of presumptive service connection for Agent Orange exposure along the Korean DMZ: 2nd ID: Combat Brigade 7th Infantry Division: 3rd Brigade 7th Cavalry: 4th Battalion 7th Cavalry: 4th Squadron, Counter Agent Company 9th Infantry: 1st and 2nd Battalions 10th Cavalry: 2nd Battalion 12th Artillery: 1st Battalion 13th Engineer Combat Battalion 15th Artillery: 1st Battalion 17th Artillery: 7th Battalion 17th Infantry: 1st and 2nd battalions 23rd Infantry: 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions 31st Infantry: 2nd Battalion (Service Records may show assignment to 2ID or 7ID) 32nd Infantry, 1st Battalion (3rd BDE of 7ID) 32nd Infantry: 3rd Battalion (Service Records may show assignment to 2ID or 7ID) 37th Artillery: 6th Battalion 38th Infantry: 1st and 2nd Battalions 38th Artillery: 5th Battalion 73rd Armor: 1st Battalion 72nd Armor: 1st and 2nd Battalion United Nations Command Security Battalion Joint Security Area (UNCSB-JSA)
5 Page 5 John Edmond Harris, a disabled Vietnam Veteran, may walk with the assistance of a cane but one thing that it doesn t affect is his heart. You see, John makes toys in his spare time and delivers them to the Charlotte County Veteran Services Office. Yes, he makes them all by hand! About four years ago, this Vietnam veteran came in and asked if he could donate toys and bring them to the office to be distributed to the kids to play with, David Donohew, County Veteran Services officer, said. I told him sure. Little did Donohew know that this would begin a four-year toy making spree. His latest contribution was a new toy train. Blue of course, a boy s toy? John will occasionally show up with a new toy. He has no set time, he just show s up. He takes any broken toys home and gives them a face lift, Donohew said. Then he ll bring them back with new wheels, a fresh coat of paint and a smile on his face. And not just in the Veteran Services Office, but also the Human Services Department who we share a common waiting area with. The kids have spent numerous hours playing with John s toys while their parents conduct their business. These toys, as it turns out, are great baby sitters, Donohew said smiling. John might be slowed down by his disabilities, but they don t slow down his big heart! What a great service John provides. Thank you John for all your love and hours spent on these toys. Edited by Al Hemingway Written by David W. Donohew, County VSO John Edmond HARRIS, toy maker deluxe! The not so funny Humor Corner!
6 Page 6 What Are Asbestos-Related Lung Diseases? Asbestos-related lung diseases are diseases caused by exposure to asbestos (as-bes-tos) fibers. Asbestos is a mineral that, in the past, was widely used in many industries. Asbestos is made up of tiny fibers that can escape into the air. When breathed in, these fibers can stay in your lungs for a long time. If the fibers build up in your lungs, they can lead to: Pleural plaque. In this condition, the tissue around the lungs and diaphragm (the muscle below your lungs) thickens and hardens. This tissue is called the pleura. Pleural plaque usually causes no symptoms. Rarely, as the pleura thickens, it can trap and compress part of the lung. This may show up as a mass on an x-ray image. Pleural effusion. In this condition, excess fluid builds up in the pleural space. The pleural space is the area between the lungs and the chest wall. Asbestosis (as-bes-toe-sis). In this condition, the lung tissue becomes scarred. People who have asbestosis are at greater risk for lung cancer, especially if they smoke. Lung cancer. This type of cancer forms in the lung tissue, usually in the cells lining the air passages. Mesothelioma (MEZ-o-thee-lee-O-ma). This disease is cancer of the pleura. Asbestos Exposure in Ships and Shipyards More than 300 products containing asbestos were used by the military. Every ship built by the Navy before the mid-'70s was fitted with numerous asbestos-containing materials. Shipyards were filled with asbestos materials. Virtually no portion of a naval ship was asbestos-free between the '30s and mid-'70s, putting Navy veterans and shipyard workers at the highest risk for developing asbestos-related diseases. Asbestos-containing materials were used extensively in engine and boiler rooms and other areas below deck for fire safety purposes. The toxic mineral was used in navigation rooms, sleeping quarters and mess halls.
7 Page 7 All Veterans Memorial Park update! One cent committee: Passed November 4th ballot: Passed BCC Vote: Passed Select Architect Completed Select Cons. Manager at Large: Completed Permitting: Pending Ground Breaking: Pending Grand Opening: Pending Community steps up to take care of one of its own! Ken, a WWII veteran came into Veteran Services stating that he had a bad leak in his garage (water pipe broken). David Donohew worked with the local veteran services organizations and had $ donated. Also, he did an application to the Florida Veterans Foundation to cover the remaining $800.00, which they approved. His water bill ($259.04) was also high and he needed assistance. Ivey Winkler did a Florence Ryan Fund request, which was approved by the Charlotte County Veterans Council. Ivey talked to CCU and found out the bill had been reduced to $ The CCVC paid the bill in full for Ken. Below listed Organizations have made donations towards the water bill/repair bill. The Charlotte County Veterans Council Charlotte County Chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of American: American Legion Post 110, Charlotte County: Sons of the American Legion, Post 110, Charlotte County: The Florida Veterans Foundation $ Water Bill $ Repairs $ Repairs $ Repairs $ Repairs Way to go team and Community partners! Eternal Reefs Burial Service Eternal Reefs has relocated from Decatur, GA to Sarasota, FL. If you have any documentation for future plans with Eternal Reefs, please update your records and make sure your end of life planning shows our new address: Eternal Reefs, Inc. PO Box 3811 Sarasota, FL Thank you all from, Don, Shelby, Becky, Larry, Robby, Josh, Al, Bret, Vicky and George
8 Page 8 Report: Vets' disability claims ended up in shred bins! By Leo Shane III, Staff writer7:05 p.m. EDT July 15, 2015 Military Times. com A pair of California lawmakers want to know why paperwork required to finalize veterans' disability claims ended up in a Los Angeles shredding bin. The latest embarrassing episode for the Veterans Affairs Department comes alongside questions surrounding 240,000 deceased veterans on agency medical waiting lists and worries from senators that physician credentialing problems in Arizona may stop cancer treatments for veterans there. Staffers for Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Calif., said officials from the VA's Inspector General's Office confirmed they found key pieces of paperwork from veterans' claims files "inappropriately placed in shred bins" at the department's Los Angeles Regional Office. VA officials said only 10 files were misplaced in the bins, and the items would have been subject to additional review before being destroyed. They downplayed the problem as a one-time mistake from a small number of workers, not "malicious intent." Full details of the findings won't be released for several more weeks, and the exact number of cases affected has not yet been released by the VA Inspector General's Office. But Brownley and Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Calif., have called for hearings and an immediate review of how the regional office handles documents. "Such misconduct could have a devastating impact on the affected veterans and their families, resulting in the loss of critical information and adversely affecting the adjudication of veteran claims," the two lawmakers wrote in a letter to VA Secretary Bob McDonald. "Simply put, this is unacceptable." Seven years ago, after similar allegations of improper document shredding hit the department, the Inspector General recommended a host of new controls to ensure critical paperwork was not being lost in the system. Brownley and Ruiz questioned whether those suggestions have been properly implemented and whether new rules are needed. VA officials insist these particular problems were corrected back in the spring, and added that all relevant personnel in the regional office have been retrained. Loss of paperwork has long been a problem in the VA claims and medical processes, with veterans advocates recommending that individuals keep multiple copies of all critical paperwork because of commonplace loss within agency offices. VA leaders in recent years have placed extra emphasis on digitizing those records, in part to prevent that kind of loss. The lawmakers did not say how many veterans may have been affected by the latest problem. The regional office handles claims for more than 700,000 veterans in California. The VA Inspector General also is expected to issue a second report in August discussing leadership and training problems at the Los Angeles office. VA officials in recent weeks have touted a dramatic drop in the disability claims backlog since it peaked at more than 600,000 cases in March As of this week, the total stands at less than 125,000 cases. But outside critics have questioned whether that decline is the result of better processing or careless handling of pending requests. House Veterans Affairs Committee officials said this week that they are looking into hearings on the issue of veterans who died while waiting for determinations on whether they were eligible for VA health care, and the timeliness of department record-keeping. VA officials have said they cannot delete the names from their lists, even though some are decades old, due to existing regulations. On Wednesday, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., also asked Congress and the VA to look into the cancer credentialing problem, saying at least 20 patients may have their care halted this month because of recent rule changes. Submitted by Art McGinnis
9 Page 9 For Immediate Release July 17, 2015 Press Release! RAYS CELEBRATE MILITARY SERVICE WITH RAYS HONOR PASS PROGRAM ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. The Tampa Bay Rays today introduced the Rays Honor Pass a pass that entitles military personnel to two complimentary tickets to all remaining Rays regular season home games. The Rays Honor Pass program will allow active-duty military personnel and retired or honorably discharged veterans to receive two tickets to any Rays home game throughout the remainder of the 2015 regular season. The Rays are also extending this courtesy to dependents of military personnel including any spouse, child or widow with a valid dependent ID. To obtain a Rays Honor Pass, visit raysbaseball.com/honorpass and verify active-duty, retired or honorably discharged veteran status through ID.me, a third-party MLB approved vendor. The Rays Honor Pass can be claimed at the Tropicana Field Gate 1 Box Office on the day of the first game the pass holder is attending. Alternatively, fans may print and fill out a Rays Honor Pass application from the webpage and present it at the Gate 1 Box Office at Tropicana Field along with one of the following forms of military identification given below. Accepted forms of ID include (subject to change): Discharge papers V or veterans designation on a FL Driver s License DD214 Military ID Card Common Access Cards (CAC) Smart ID Card Uniformed Services ID Card WD AGO Form NA Form NAV PERS-553 DD FORM 2765 Fans can begin using the Rays Honor Pass to attend games beginning July 24, the first homestand after the All-Star break. For more information and to apply for the Rays Honor Pass, visit raysbaseball.com/honorpass. RAYS
10 Page 10 American Legion Post 110 It has been another great year here at Post 110 thanks to our almost 1600 members and associate organizations who utilize our facilities. Mike (Gambler) Raymond has been reelected to his third year as Post Commander and is looking forward to another great year. Most of last years officers are still on board with a couple of exceptions. Command Sgt Major (Ret) Jerry Davis has taken over as 1 st Vice Commander. He will be responsible for retaining members and recruiting new members. Chuck Weinberg has been elected to the Executive Board and is responsible for day to day operations and business matters. As I said, we had a great year which reflected in the many awards received at this years Department Convention. Most notably is the Post Excellence Award, which is awarded to the American Legion Post who keeps alive the main objectives of the American Legion. This includes excellence in membership, youth activities, community service, and support to currently serving troops or veterans. Only 1 Post received this award last year in the entire State of Florida. Other awards included 3 rd runner up in new membership nationwide. This could not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of our Post Adjutant, Mike Schwartz and his membership team. Mike was also awarded 3 rd runner up in the State for best Adjutant. We have big plans this year including the long awaited opening of our outdoor bar behind the Post. This should occur sometime in August. Our priority last year was to be a leader in the fundraising to build the Vietnam Wall of Southwest Florida. I am extremely proud of the efforts our members put in this endeavor. But we are not done! Post 110 will not rest until it is completed and dedicated. Again, we thank everyone who has been a part of our success. Remember, we are here for one reason, and that is to support Veterans and Veterans families. Please don t hesitate to ask. For God and Country Mike Raymond AL Post 110 Commander