Rolling Thunder® Inc Florida Chapter 1 has partnered with the Veterans Memorial Center and Museum in providing assistance to those veterans in need. Please see the flyer below and help us in this program. Thank you
Below are the May identifications from the DPAA
Member Rank, Member First & Last Name. Member Service Branch
Date of Loss
Location of Loss
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Sgt. Jesse D. Hill, U.S. Army
Company C, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division
Sgt. William E. Cavender, U.S. Army
Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division
Cpl. R.B. Cherry, U.S. Army
Company G, 2nd Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division
Fireman 1st Class Louis J. Tushla, U.S. Navy
Metalsmith 1st Class Leonard F. Smith, U.S. Navy
Pfc. Mervin D. Galland, U.S. Marine Corps
Company B, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force
Seaman 2nd Class, Floyd D. Helton, U.S. Navy
Pvt. Charles Andrews, U.S. Army
Company K, 3rd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division
Hürtgen Forest, Germany
Pfc. Thomas F. Johnson, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve
Company B, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force
Pfc. Robert D. Jenks, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve
Company D, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force
Fireman 1st Class Samuel C. Steiner, U.S. Navy
Seaman 1st Class James C. Williams, U.S. Naval Reserve
Seaman 1st Class Maurice V. Spangler, U.S. Navy
The following is a guest post by Mike Longsdon of elderfreedom.net
Downsizing Tips for Senior Veterans:
What to Consider and How to Plan Your Move
Image via Unsplash
Whether you hold a service-connected disability, have limited mobility that makes home upkeep a bit of a challenge, or you’re simply looking to move into a smaller house that’s easier to maintain in your Golden Years, downsizing could be the right choice for you. To learn all about downsizing and the steps you can take to plan a hassle-free move into your new home, read on!
Find the Right Home for Your Needs. After making the decision to downsize for less stress and home upkeep in your senior years, you’ll want to think about your different housing options and which one will be best for you. Depending on your wants and needs, you could downsize into a smaller single-family home or another type of property such as a condominium, townhome, duplex, or apartment. If you receive VA benefits, your housing options may also include a senior living community for former service members.
If you plan to age in place as you grow older, you’ll want to ensure that your new home will allow you to live safely and comfortably in your Golden Years. For instance, you may choose to look for a new home that features a one-level floor plan, no-step entryway, wide hallways and doorways, and easy-access cabinets and shelves. If you’re planning to buy a house rather than rent your new home, a seniors real estate specialist (SRES) can help you to find the right property for your needs.
Sell Your Current Home. Once you’ve determined where you’re going to live, you’ll need to decide whether you’ll sell or rent out your existing home. If you’re selling the house, Redfin recommends listing the property on a Thursday to sell it as quickly as possible. To sell your home for the highest price, however, it’s best to list it on a Wednesday.
As you get ready to sell your home and move into a smaller, more manageable property, you’ll also need to donate or dispose of any excess belongings that cannot be taken along with you. As you downsize your belongings, for instance, you’ll want to dispose of:
Whether you choose to donate these items, throw them out, or distribute them among your loved ones, it may be helpful to rent a storage unit for holding any personal belongings or furniture pieces you’re unsure about.
Plan a Hassle-Free Moving Day. After finding a new place to live, de-cluttering your belongings, and getting your existing home ready to sell or rent out, it’s time to plan your moving day. Downsizing can be an emotional time when you’ve lived in the same home for many years, but there are some steps you can take to alleviate stress and anxiety during this time. Here’s how:
If you choose to hire professional movers to assist you with your downsize into a new home, be sure to find out whether your moving company offers military discounts. Some popular moving companies like North American Van Lines and other local movers throughout the U.S. offer military discounts to qualifying customers, so remember to check with each company when obtaining quotes.
Downsizing your house can lead to less stress and home upkeep in your Golden Years, but it’s important to consider your different housing options before making a decision—especially if you’re hoping to find a property that allows you to age in place. After serving in the military and putting your life on the line, your Golden Years should be filled with as much relaxation and as little stress as possible.
The following was sent to me by a friend. It is presented here because it is an important message:
"I talked with a man today, an 80+ year-old man. I asked him if there was anything I can get him while this Coronavirus scare was gripping America.
He simply smiled, looked away and said: "Let me tell you what I need! I need to believe, at some point, this country my generation fought for... I need to believe this nation we handed safely to our children and their children. I need to know this generation will quit being a bunch of sissies...that they respect what they've been given...that they've earned what others sacrificed for."
I wasn't sure where the conversation was going or if it was going anywhere at all. So, I sat there, quietly observing.
"You know, I was a little boy during WWII. Those were scary days. We didn't know if we were going to be speaking English, German or Japanese at the end of the war. There was no certainty, no guarantees like Americans enjoy today.
And no home went without sacrifice or loss. Every house, up and down every street, had someone in harm's way. Maybe their Daddy was a soldier, maybe their son was a sailor, maybe it was an uncle. Sometimes it was the whole damn family...fathers, sons, uncles...
Having someone, you love, sent off to war...it wasn't less frightening than it is today. It was scary as Hell. If anything, it was more frightening. We didn't have battlefront news. We didn't have email or cellphones. You sent them away and you hoped...you prayed. You may not hear from them for months, if ever. Sometimes a mother was getting her son's letters the same day Dad was comforting her over their child's death.
And we sacrificed. You couldn't buy things. Everything was rationed. You were only allowed so much milk per month, only so much bread, toilet paper. EVERYTHING was restricted for the war effort. And what you weren't using, what you didn't need, things you threw away, they were saved and sorted for the war effort. My generation was the original recycling movement in America.
And we had viruses back then...serious viruses. Things like polio, measles, and such. It was nothing to walk to school and pass a house or two that was quarantined. We didn't shut down our schools. We didn't shut down our cities. We carried on, without masks, without hand sanitizer. And do you know what? We persevered. We overcame. We didn't attack our President, we came together. We rallied around the flag for the war. Thick or thin, we were in it to win. And we would lose more boys in an hour of combat than we lose in entire wars today."
He slowly looked away again. Maybe I saw a small tear in the corner of his eye. Then he continued:
"Today's kids don't know sacrifice. They think sacrifice is not having coverage on their phone while they freely drive across the country. Today's kids are selfish and spoiled. In my generation, we looked out for our elders. We helped out with single moms whose husbands were either at war or dead from war. Today's kids rush the store, buying everything they can...no concern for anyone but themselves. It's shameful the way Americans behave these days. None of them deserve the sacrifices their granddads made.
So, no I don't need anything. I appreciate your offer but, I know I've been through worse things than this virus. But maybe I should be asking you, what can I do to help you? Do you have enough pop to get through this, enough steak? Will you be able to survive with 113 channels on your TV?"
I smiled, fighting back a tear of my own..now humbled by a man in his 80's. All I could do was thank him for the history lesson, leave my number for emergency and leave with my ego firmly tucked in my rear.
I talked to a man today. A real man. An American man from an era long gone and forgotten. We will never understand the sacrifices. We will never fully earn their sacrifices. But we should work harder to learn about them. Learn from them...to respect them."
IMMEDIATE RELEASE Phone: (703) 699-1420/1193
DPAA Impacted by COVID-19
March 23, 2020
WASHINGTON— Like much of the world, the coronavirus (COVID-19) has had a significant impact on the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), and in particular, its operations.
Ultimately, the Agency’s highest priority is the health, safety, and physical well-being of the assigned service members, civilians, and contractors, as well as the personnel of our partner organizations, all of whom contribute to the accomplishment of its worldwide mission. To this, DPAA is adhering to the Department of Defense (DoD) mandate of limiting all travel of personnel.
All field missions this month have completed or terminated earlier than planned, and personnel have returned home. Future missions are currently postponed or canceled, at least through early June.
"COVID-19 dynamics have forced us to radically alter our operations, but keeping our team safe, here at home and abroad, is paramount," said Kelly McKeague, DPAA Director. "At the same time, we are continuing to take actions with which our personnel can remain productive in their duties while maintaining the required distancing."
Both the Miami, Florida, and Little Rock, Arkansas, Family Member Updates (FMU), scheduled for March 21 and April 18, respectively, have been canceled. Family members will still receive their respective loss briefings provided by their service casualty officers and DPAA historians and analysts by telephone. This is the first time DPAA has ever canceled an FMU, and did so to protect attending families and other FMU participants.
The agency terminated several missions earlier than planned: DPAA's four recovery teams (RT) and two investigation teams (IT) and partners' two RTs and two ITs, affecting missions in Kiribati, the Philippines, Poland, and Vietnam. All personnel are home and in 14-day self-isolation. Other than a privately-funded underwater investigation off the coast of Latvia, there are no other field missions across the globe.
DPAA had to cancel six RTs and one IT affecting missions in Austria, Belgium, Italy, Laos, and the United Kingdom.
The agency postponed nine RTs and five ITs and partners' five RTs and nine ITs affecting missions in Austria, Cambodia, Germany, Guam, Italy, Kuwait, Laos, Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Poland, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Sweden, and Vietnam.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) has determined that an identification made in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 of the remains of a soldier missing from the Korean War was made in error.
DPAA immediately informed the U.S. Army Service Casualty Office (SCO), who then notified the family of the error. “We have extended our deepest apologies to the family and will explain the regrettable error when we and the Army meet with them,” said Kelly McKeague, DPAA director.
In accordance with its laboratory accreditation requirements and quality assurance system, DPAA is performing an internal cause analysis of the misidentification. DPAA has also arranged for an independent scientific assessment of this case and overall laboratory processes.
Both reviews will guide any necessary adjustments to DPAA's identification and laboratory procedures. "While this misidentification is an unfortunate mistake, we will learn from it, and the lessons we learn and apply will further strengthen our scientific enterprise," said McKeague.
DPAA has decremented the FY 2019 accounted- for total from 218 to 217.
The Library of Congress, Veterans History Project is an effort to preserve oral histories, memoirs and collections of historical documents of U.S. veterans from World War I to the present. However, the Veterans History Project no longer accepts online registrations, and instead has provided a complete "Kit" for your use. This kit includes all the forms you will need for your submission, plus easy instructions on how to complete the forms.
Many veterans we have spoken to mentioned that their service wasn't in a battle zone, or their specialty wasn't they consider "worthy" of writing about. Well, that's just silly! Every veteran who served their country needs to have their service years recorded, so don't put it off - your heirs and future family will be happy you did.
Just follow this link to get started -> www.loc.gov/vets/about.html
The Department of Veteran's Affairs has expanded access to commissary, military exchanges, and to morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) services for Purple Heart recipients, VA designated caregivers of disabled veterans, former prisoners of war and veterans with VA documented service-connected disability. This expansion is mandated by the Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018 and took effect on January 1, 2020. These eligible individuals are required to obtain a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHID) from the VA in order to gain entry to Department of Defense and Coast Guard facilities. Caregiver eligibility will be limited to caregivers who are designated as the primary family caregiver of an eligible veteran under the VA Caregiver program and will need to show an acceptable credential, along with their eligibility letter. The other eligible groups without a VHID card can shop exchanges online.
Joshua Kaleb Watson was born in Gadsden Alabama May 22, 1996, and grew up as an outdoors man. He graduated from Enterprise High School in 2014, and was accepted to the United States Naval Academy.
In May of 2019, he received his commission as an Ensign in the United States Navy with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He moved to NAS Pensacola in November of 2019.
On December 6th, Watson was shot multiple times by Saudi national Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, but was still able to alert first responders to the shooter’s location before he died. He was just 23 years old.
Watson will be buried Sunday, December 22nd at Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo.
The new law, known as the National POW/MIA Flag Act, ensures that the POW/MIA flag will be displayed every day at federal locations already designated under existing law, including every post office building.
Other locations that qualify include the U.S. Capitol, the White House, the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, every national cemetery, each major military installation (as designated by the secretary of defense), and each Department of Veterans Affairs medical center.
The last identifiable Coast Guard Prisoner of War from World War II is finally coming home thanks to the efforts of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.
Lt. James "Jimmy" Crotty arrived in the Philippines in Sept. 1941 to serve with the Coast Guard — but within the next ten months of his service, he would command a Navy vessel, scuttle a submarine, sweep mines, serve as an adjutant, and lead Marines and soldiers defending Corregidor.
When Japan attacked the Philippines three days after Pearl Harbor, Crotty was the only Coastie on the islands. Five months later, when U.S. troops on the Bataan peninsula were ordered to surrender and sent on the Bataan Death March, Crotty was among them. He was 30 years old when he died of diphtheria in July 1942 at the POW camp at Cabanatuan.
After the war, American Graves Registration Service personnel exhumed those buried at the Cabanatuan Cemetery in an attempt to identify them. The burial practices and limited technology meant few could be identified. The unidentified remains were buried in the present-day Manila American Cemetery and Memorial. It wasn't until January 2018 that grave number 312 was disinterred and sent to DPAA. On Sept. 10, 2019, Crotty was accounted for.
While 600 other Coasties still remain missing, Crotty's remains are the last that are believed to be identifiable — the remaining 600 were lost at sea. According to Military.com, Crotty's remains will arrive at the Niagara Falls, New York, Air Reserve Station on November 1st for a full-honors ceremony. The Coast Guard commandant is expected to attend.
Cases holding the remains of at least 22 service members killed in the ferocious Battle of Tarawa during World War II were solemnly carried by Marine Corps pallbearers from a C-17 plane into a crowd-filled hangar.
Lt. Gen. Lewis Craparotta, commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific, told those in attendance: “Although more than 75 years have passed, we’re here in formation tonight to honor and welcome home our fellow Marines, brothers in arms who fell long ago in battle, enabling the freedom and security we’ve enjoyed since the end of World War II “ As part of the 18,000 Marines in the battle, their actions changed the world for the better in the face of tremendous adversity, their honor, courage and commitment on display for the world to see,” he said.
More than 500 Marines and sailors were missing in action after the battle, and 429 remain unaccounted for to this day, Rear Adm. Jon Kreitz, DPAA deputy director, told the audience.“Tonight, we are receiving and honoring at least 22 of those men,” he said.
The Battle for Tarawa began on Nov. 20, 1943, with attacks on Betio Island, which was within the Tarawa Atoll, and on Makin Island, more than 100 miles north of the atoll.
While Japanese resistance was light on Makin Island, defenders on Betio were entrenched and determined. The 76-hour battle cost the lives of 1,021 U.S. Marines and sailors, with another 2,000 wounded, according to a Pentagon news release.
“Servicemen killed in action were buried where they fell or placed in large trench burials constructed during and after the battle,” the news release said. “These graves were typically marked with improvised markers, such as crosses made from sticks, or an up-turned rifle. Grave sites ranged in size from single isolated burials to large trench burials of more than 100 individuals.”
Efforts to exhume the graves and identify remains were hampered due to incomplete record keeping and by the alterations to the cemeteries shortly after the battle, the news release said. In other cases, locations of cemeteries were entirely lost.
Tarawa is now part of the nation of Kiribati.
In March of 2019, searchers with the nonprofit organization History Flight discovered a mass grave with remains believed to be from members of the 6th Marine Regiment. The transfer Wednesday represents a portion of remains found at that time.
History Flight has been searching for World War II remains in Tarawa since 2007. In 2015, the group uncovered the bodies of 35 U.S. troops, including Medal of Honor recipient 1st Lt. Alexander Bonnyman Jr., who died leading a doomed assault on a Japanese bunker.
Pfc. Donald E. Mangan, 26, of Elkton, South Dakota, killed during World War II, was accounted for on July 30, 2019.
In 1944, Mangan was a member of Company C, 1st Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division. He was reported missing in action on Sept. 17, 1944, after his unit was attacked by enemy forces near Wettlingen, Germany. His remains could not be recovered after the attack.
After the war, the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC), U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps, was the unit tasked with investigation and recovery of missing American personnel. The AGRC collected thousands of unknown remains from across northern Europe. A mass grave of several 112th Infantry Soldiers was found near Wettlingen, and most were identified through identification tags or personal effects. However two sets, designated X-70 Hamm and X-71 Hamm, were declared unidentifiable, and subsequently buried in the Luxembourg American Cemetery as Unknowns.
In 2017, while studying American losses and unidentified remains recovered from combat around Wettlingen, Germany, a DPAA historian reviewed documents of X-70 Hamm, and determined that there were five unresolved American casualties who were last known to have been lost in combat near Wettlingen, including Mangan.
In April 2019, the Department of Defense and American Battle Monuments Commission disinterred X-70 Hamm and accessioned the remains to the DPAA laboratory.
To identify Mangan's remains, scientists from DPAA used dental, anthropological analysis and chest radiograph comparison analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence. DPAA is grateful to the American Battle Monuments Commission and to the U.S. Army Regional Mortuary- Europe/Africa for their partnership in this mission.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Currently, there are 72,652 service members still unaccounted for from World War II with approximately 30,000 assessed as possibly recoverable. Mangan's name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at Luxembourg American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, along with others missing from WWII.
Although interred as an Unknown, Mangan's grave was meticulously cared for by ABMC for 70 years. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
Mangan will be buried in Gig Harbor, Washington, on October 22, 2019.
On Oct. 1, the Army, Navy and Air Force begin the final two years of a multi-year transition to shift administration and management of their medical facilities to the Defense Health Agency (DHA) by October 2021,changes that are “transformational and far-reaching,” said Vice Admiral Raquel Bono, outgoing DHA Director. “For the first time in our modern military’s history, a single agency, the DHA, will be responsible for all the health care the Department of Defense delivers to our 9.5 million beneficiaries,” Bono said. “Whether you receive your care at an on-base facility or through our TRICARE civilian networks, DHA will oversee your care. This consolidation will drive higher levels of readiness for operational and medical forces and integrate health care services to standardize practices across the entire Department, which means patients will have a consistent, high-quality health care experience, no matter where they receive their care.”
The DHA will stand up 21 large markets - groups of geographic military treatment facilities (MTFs) typically anchored by a large hospital or medical center - that operate as a system sharing patients, providers, functions, and budgets across facilities to improve health-care services.
• Establishment of a Small Market and Stand-Alone MTF Organization (SSO): For stateside hospitals and clinics not aligned to a large market, this office, will provide managerial and clinical oversight. As with the large markets, the Military Departments will continue managing the MTFs until they are realigned under the SSO. There are 16 small market MTFs and 66 stand-alone MTFs assigned to the SSO. •Establish Defense Health Regions overseas: The transition period for standing up Defense Health Regions in Europe and Indo-Pacific begins in 2020.
All MTFs overseas would then report to their respective DHA regional offices. The Indo-Pacific region has 43 MTFs, while the European region has 31. For a complete list of markets and their assigned MTFs, go to:
More than a year after North Korea returned 55 cases of remains, 11 American troops have been identified and more are expected in coming weeks, according to the DPAA.
In the above photo, courtesy of Stars and Stripes, taken in August 2018, why are the cases draped in United Nations Flags and not Old Glory?
The main purpose of this blog is to bring awareness to America's missing from past wars and conflicts either as a Prisoner of War, or Missing in Action. We also include Contractors, Law Enforcement Officers and civilians being held in known terrorist countries.
Our fallen veteran's will also have a spot on here as well as appropriate news for and about veterans.
It is also a place to express views and opinions about current events affecting our veterans and/or senior population.