From our State Liaison Ray Addison:
"It's final, the Rolling Thunder Memorial Day Weekend Ride for Freedom will be held in Leesburg, FL. Sunday May 24th 2020.
This is our demonstration ride we did in Washington DC for the past 32 years. Starting in 2020 different states across the United States will have our own. 2019 was our last ride in DC.
Please put this date on your calendar and let's have the best show of respect for our POW/MIA's of any state in this Great Country!!!
Representatives from each of the Florida Chapters meet to chart the course for the
2020 Rolling Thunder Ride For Freedom.
VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a statement to the press, “We want to make sure that all of our veterans and their families feel welcome a (the) VA, no matter their religious beliefs. Protecting religious liberty is a key part of how we accomplish that goal”.
The policy outlines that religious imagery may be included in “passive displays” — defined as a wall, table, or monument — as long as the usage simply reflects the role of faith in the lives of the people and does not “elevate” one religion over another.
“Religious symbols may be included in a passive display, including a holiday display, in public areas of VA facilities, if the display is of the type that follows in the longstanding tradition of monuments, symbols, and practices that simply recognize the important role that religion plays in the lives of many Americans” .
While not mentioned specifically in its press release, the directives would enshrine the right for Bibles to be included in POW/MIA “Missing Man” tables.
As you know, Rolling Thunder® Inc is not a motorcycle "club", nor do we wear "MC" on our apparel. But the senseless killing of those 7 motorcycle riders is beyond comprehension. Our hearts and prayers are extended to the families faced with horrible decesions, and to those affected by this horrible crash. The following is from the Jarheads MC website:
"On Friday, June 21st 2019 Jarheads MC was riding to a charity event at the local American Legion in Gorham, New Hampshire Post #82. Our pack was struck by an oncoming vehicle and we lost 5 patch holders and 2 supporters, and many others are injured. Our club and the families are going to need help and we cannot do it alone. I am pleading with you all, please do what you can, and 100% of the funds raised will go where it is needed to help ease some of the financial burden left behind after this tragic event. Jarheads MC has always been about helping veterans and their families. Please help us now and give what you can. Everything you can do is appreciated. We are strong enough to get through this, but we ask for and need your support.
Our Fallen Family Members are as follows:
Albert "Woody" Mazza, 59, of Lee, N.H.
Edward "Taz"and his wife Joanne Corr, 58, of Lakeville, Mass.
Michael "Fritz" Ferazzi, 62, of Contoocook, N.H.
Daniel"Danny Boy" Pereira, 58, of Riverside, R.I.
Aaron "Stiches"Perry, 45, of Farmington, N.H.
and Desma Oakes, 42, of Concord, N.H.
Here is the Gofundme link, any donation would be greatly appreciated!
*Jarheads Motorcycle Club is a club consisting of active duty or honorably discharged Marines and FMF Corpsmen. We ride and serve veterans and veteran families in our committees, with chapters in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.
If the person, group, club... wants to mail a check:
Make check payable to "Jarheads MC"
PO Box 362
Marlborough, MA 01752"
On May 7, 2019, Representative Lee Zeldin (NY) introduced H.R. 2568, the Vietnam Veterans Liver Fluke Cancer Study Act.
This bill would direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, in consultation with the Director of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention of the Department of Health and Human Services, to conduct an epidemiological study on the prevalence of cholangiocarcinoma in veterans of the Vietnam era. H.R. 2568 would require the Secretary to provide a report of the study within one year of completion.
Bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma) is a cancer of the biliary duct system, which includes the gallbladder, bile ducts, and certain cells inside the liver. One risk factor for bile duct cancer is past infection with tiny parasitic worms called liver flukes, which are found in the fresh waters of Southeast Asia. Veterans who ate raw or undercooked freshwater fish during their service in Southeast Asia, such as Vietnam veterans, might have been infected. Once eaten, the liver flukes grow to adulthood inside the human biliary duct system. The irritation and scarring caused by liver fluke infection can lead to bile duct cancer. Currently, there are no available studies to show that bile duct cancer occurs more often in Vietnam veterans than in other groups.
DAV strongly supports H.R. 2568 as it will help determine if this Vietnam veteran environmental exposure can be linked to bile duct cancer. This legislation is in accord with DAV Resolution No. 090.
Please use the prepared electronic letter or draft your own to urge your Representative to support and cosponsor H.R. 2568. As always, we appreciate your support for DAV and your grassroots activism in participating in DAV CAN. Thank you for all you do for America's veterans and their families.
Click here if you would like to take action on this resolution -> Take Action
Since I reported on a Senate bill in the last post, I thought you might find this House Resolution to be equally interesting. It has nothing to do with POW/MIA families, but it does impact Gold Star Families.
H.R. 1911 is titled the "SFC Brian Woods Gold Star and Military Survivors Act”, and was introduced by U.S. Representative Mike Waltz (R-FL). The bill was named after Army Sgt. 1st Class William B. Woods Jr., who served with Waltz as an Army Green Beret and was killed on August 16, 2009 in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.
The bill would:
- allow survivors that re-married to continue to have access to on-base facilities if they have dependent children; allow surviving spouses of service members who were killed while on duty to continue to receive DIC or SBP should they re-marry and ensures survivors that re-married before the bill becomes law are eligible to collect benefits moving forward;
- direct the Pentagon to pay the transportation costs of remains for those killed in combat back to their hometown for any memorial services and to a national cemetery of the surviving family’s choice (current law only authorizes one trip);
- and authorize the Pentagon to extend the existing childcare service assistance program (for civilian providers) to survivors of service members that die in the line of duty.
The text of the bill can be found here -> H.R. 1911
Sounds good to me - how about you?
Have you heard about the Senate Bill (S.7) that Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced in January of this year called the Extreme Risk Protection Order and Violence Prevention Act of 2019?
Well, it's not a new bill, in fact it was previously known as S.2607 The Extreme Risk Protection Order and Violence Prevention Act of 2018, and was also introduced by Marco Rubio.
The Act would provide grants to states to implement extreme risk laws. These laws empower families and law enforcement to temporarily prevent access to guns and ammunition by individuals at an elevated risk of endangering themselves or others... and what that really means is your gun(s) can be confiscated, and you cannot purchase another one during this 'crisis' period.
There are 3 co-sponsors of this bill - 1 Republican (ME), 1 Independent (RI) , and 1 Democrat (RI).
So what do you think - is this an infringement on our 2nd Amendment rights? You can read the basic outline in the file below.
Well, it official - The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) spokesman Lt. Col. Kenneth Hoffman said last week that "We have reached the point where we can no longer effectively plan, coordinate and conduct field operations in [North Korea] during this fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30, 2019,"
North Korea has not communicated with the Pentagon since President Trump's meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in February.
The stalemate comes as diplomats and others say that they are seeing a pattern of cancelled meetings and ignored phone calls.
After President Trump's first visit, North Korea transferred 55 boxes of remains back to the U.S. But ... the second meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam didn't go as well, and further talks abruptly broke down.
Lt. Col. Hoffman went on to say "We are assessing possible next steps in resuming communications with [North Korea] to plan for potential joint recovery operations to be scheduled during fiscal year 2020".
So there you have it - Korean War's missing families hopes have been put on hold. It's been 65 years, so how much more suffering do they have to endure before they find closure? Maybe a little more pressure on our government to do a better job in 'negotiating' with the North Koreans is a good place to start.
Did you know that over 4,000 military dogs served in Vietnam? Mostly German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers, they served as scouts, sentries, trackers, and patrol dogs. Collectively, these dogs were involved in over 90,000 missions, which was estimated to have prevented nearly 10,000 human casualties.
The K-9 Corps is also recognized for finding more that 2,000 Viet Cong bunkers, secret tunnels, and countless booby traps. These teams of dogs were so effective, that the Viet Cong began placing cash bounties on the dogs and their handlers.
Only a handful of the original 4,000 ever made it home. Handlers repeatedly requested that their dogs be repatriated, but the Government refused - deeming the dogs 'surplus material'. So, in their haste to leave Vietnam, only about 500 dogs were given to the South Vietnamese, and the rest were euthanized.
These dogs were soldiers and should have been given the same respect as their human counterparts. Their lives and service will always be remembered in the hearts of all those who served with them - On point, and forever forward.
Michael R. White, 47 served in the U.S. Navy for 13 years and is believed to be the first American detained in Iran since President Trump took office.
White, a cancer-stricken Navy veteran from California was first detained in Iran while visiting a girlfriend, and was charged with insulting the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and posting a photo on his social media. He was sentenced to two years over the alleged insult and 10 years for the photograph. It appears the sentences are to run concurrently.
The U.S. does not have ambassadors in Iran, so the Swiss government mediates on behalf of the State Department. Government efforts to get White released could face difficulties given the fractured relationship between Washington and Tehran that sank to a new low after the U.S. withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal last year.
White is reported to be in a regular prison - not a state security prison, which is a good sign, but the lack of diplomatic representation makes it very difficult to have any level of communication with him.
The moral of the story is - if you travel to somewhere where a 'Supreme Leader' is in charge, you are either in outer space, or in a place you have no business being in.
Let's hope that the government can get the Swiss to convince Iran to release White, so he can return home and continue his cancer treatment.
Did you know that If a Gold Star spouse remarries before turning 55, he/she would lose thousands of dollars a month because of a law that would stop annuity payments when they remarry? That's what Military.com is saying ...
Three combat veterans in the House of Representatives want to change that law and allow military widows and widowers to retain their survivor benefit payments if they remarry – a proposal spouses say would let them raise their families and retain a connection they want to the military.
The bill, H.R. 1911, or the Sgt. First Class Brian Woods Gold Star and Military Survivors Act, would also extend child care assistance to surviving spouses and give continued access to base facilities such commissaries, exchanges and fitness centers to those with dependent children who remarry .
And it includes a provision to cover the cost of transporting the bodies of those killed in combat to their hometowns for services and later, to a national cemetery, if the family requests it. Currently, the government pays for only one trip.
This legislation is needed, said co-sponsor Michael Waltz, R-Florida, because it would ensure that "Gold Star families of our fallen are cared for by giving their children and spouses the lifelong benefits they deserve."
"The knock on the door that initiates a family into the Gold Star community is the most dreaded moment in a military family's life," Waltz said in a release. "From that moment forward, these families deserve our best and most meaningful commitment in honor of their loved one's sacrifice for our freedom and security."
"Gold Star families should have the peace of mind that comes with knowing child care and funeral expenses are taken care of and that they will receive the nation's lifelong financial support," said Rep. Seth Moulton, a Massachusetts Democrat and co-sponsor.
The bill is named for Woods, a Special Forces senior medical sergeant and former Marine who served with Waltz. He died Aug. 16, 2009, from wounds received during a patrol in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, and was survived by his wife Elizabeth and two young daughters, one aged 5 and the other 8 months at his death.
Retired Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Joe Kent lost his wife, Navy Senior Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Shannon Kent, in a suicide bomb attack in Manbij, Syria, this past January. As a military retiree, he will retain access to military bases and health care for life. But he was stunned to learn during the course of his casualty assistance communications, that he – and all surviving spouses – lose monthly income if they remarry. He said the law itself reads like something "straight out of the 1950s".
"If a woman remarries, the guy she marries is now responsible for her. It's that kind of mentality," Kent said. "If you look at the stats, most are women widowed in their 20s, so you are telling a young lady, with maybe a kid or two, she will be financially penalized."
Let's get behind this legislation - please contact your respective representatives and ask them to co-sponsor this bill.
Rolling Thunder® Inc. in a non-political veterans advocacy organization, but when democratic "representatives" like Bernie Sanders and Kim Schrier replace the POW/MIA flags outside their offices with transgender pride flags, that makes me angry. (I didn't even know there was such a thing as a 'transgender pride flag'.
Bernie Sanders tweeted: "Discrimination has no place in our society. I am proud to display this flag as a symbol of my support for transgender people across the country. We must stand with transgender people in all of our community."
Let your congressional representatives know just how disgusted you are, and for them to put back the POW/MIA flag!
How quickly one forgets. How many gave their all for the freedom to even admit they are different. Let alone display a flag about it. Whats next, replace the American Flag (GOD FORBID )
Ira M. Weinstock
Proud member Rolling Thunder Florida chapter 1
From the National League of POW & MIA Families - "Your Stories" section:
My Uncle, P.F.C. Bernard Gavrin was killed during the second World War at the battle of Saipan. He was MIA until 70 years later when his dog tags and partial remains were uncovered by A Japanese non-profit organization. Being the eldest living relative and qualified to submit my DNA for identification purposes, it was ruled a match 8 months later and he was buried at Arlington Cemetery on September 12, 2014.In honor of his memory and those still not identified and brought home, I wrote the following poem.
Bring Them Home
The debt we owe those who answered the call,
Can Never be repaid.
While they repose in a far off land,
As memories begin to fade.
Bring them home to those they loved,
No matter what the cost.
Attach a name to an unknown one,
Before memories are lost.
The task remains the test of time,
But one that must be met.
Or they can never rest in peace,
And we must never forget.
They fought, they died, they served us well,
Wherever they did roam,
But those who care can never rest,
Until we bring them home.
- David H. Rogers
I couldn't let March slip away without remembering Jessica Lynch. Her abbreviated story follows.
At age 18, Jessica entered the United States Army in the summer of 2001. She and her older brother signed on at about the same time, thinking they could save their parents the expense of paying for college.
In August 2001, her brother left home for basic training. But before she was able to leave, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, occurred. Later, she was processed through training and was deployed to the Middle East in February 2003.
Then, on March 19, 2003, President George W. Bush declared war on Iraq, and four days later, Lynch was part of a military convoy that was ambushed. She was seriously injured and captured by the Iraqis; the other soldiers in her vehicle, including her best friend Lori Piestewa, were killed.
Lynch remembers some of terrifying experiences in an Iraqi hospital, including a trip to the operating room where she believed her leg would be amputated. She described being held for days as a POW without food or water.
Then, on April 1, 2003, Lynch began to hear the sounds of combat and approaching vehicles. She believed American forces did not know she was in the building where she was being held and planned to bomb it. She heard men enter the building and became even more frightened when she heard one call out, “Where’s Private Lynch?”
The next thing she knew, men were all around her, though she remained unable to move on her bed. She said one of the men pulled an American flag out of his uniform and handed it to her, saying, “We’re American soldiers, and we’re here to take you home.”
Lynch said she replied “I’m an American soldier, too.”
Lynch has endured multiple surgeries to repair her many injuries, and she still wears a brace on one foot. But she completed physical therapy, went on to college and obtained a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from West Virginia University as well as a master’s degree in communications studies. When she isn’t speaking about her time as a POW, she works as a substitute teacher and spends time with her daughter.
Welcome home Jessica, and thank you for your service.
The Federal Circuit Court's decision in Procopio v. Wilkie, decided on January 29, 2019, recognizes that Blue Water Navy veterans have been exposed to the Agent Orange herbicide and makes them eligible for VA benefits.
The Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) as well as other Veteran Service Organizations (VSO) have signed onto a letter to the President requesting that he direct the Department of Justice NOT to appeal the decision of the Federal Court.
This letter urges the President to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to immediately begin implementing this decision so that justice is finally provided to these veterans who served in Vietnam, suffered from the devastating long-term health effects of Agent Orange exposure, but who today are denied the benefits and health care they have earned.
If you would like to send a letter to the President as well, you can help the FRA by going to their "Action Center"
The American Legion, Department of Florida, is proud to support the Florida Dental Association Foundation’s Florida Mission of Mercy (FLA-MOM) through their Veterans First Initiative. The event will be hosted at Edgewater High School in Orlando on March 22-23, 2019.
Veterans First Initiative
Are you a veteran who is needing dental care? As a part of the FLA-MOM event, the Veterans First Initiative is a special engagement where veterans will have Priority Access to receive dental care services on Thursday, March 21. To take advantage of this priority access, you must be there to check-in at 12:30PM on Thursday, March 21st for a dental exam and you will be given an appointment for priority seating to complete treatment the next morning. This unique opportunity is only available to 200 veterans. If interested, click here to register and reserve your spot.
FLA-MOM, the signature event of the FDA Foundation, is a two-day professional dental clinic that seeks to relieve patients of the pain and infection of untreated dental disease. The event is made possible by the generosity of FDA member dentists who volunteer along with over 1,000 additional community volunteers.
The FLA-MOM event will help hundreds of Veterans receive compassionate and professional dental care that will relieve pain, restore dignity and create smiles – all at no cost to the patient!
The Veterans First Initiative is a part of a public event that doesn't officially start until Friday, March 22nd. However, those who register through the link above will receive a boarding pass. The boarding pass must be printed and brought on-site to receive this priority access before the general public. It's important that veterans arrive at the Edgewater High School in Orlando by 12:30PM on Thursday, March 21 and check in with the American Legion on site.
Troops of the Irish Brigade were recruited from major centers of immigration in the Northeast and many more from the ranks of the working classes, the dock laborers and canal diggers to serve in the Union Army during the American Revolution. The troops were issued weapons that were outdated by the time the war began. Smoothbore 1842 Springfield muskets whose hundred yard range was dwarfed by that of the new rifled muskets. This did not deter the Irish, who would march into battle under their green silk flags, emblazoned with the harp of Ireland, and fire volleys at close range against their Confederate opponents. While their musket, firing a .69 caliber ball and buckshot, was deadly, the Irish Brigade would suffer heavy casualties.
The Irish Brigade was composed of the 63rd, 69th, and 88th New York Infantry regiments, as well as the 116th Pennsylvania Infantry and 28th Massachusetts Infantry. These Irishmen fought in the Army of the Potomac throughout the entire war. During the Battle of Antietam, they were sent against an entrenched Confederate position at the Bloody Lane, losing 60% of their strength.
Months later, the remnants of the brigade was ordered against the Confederate position at Marye's Heights at the Battle of Fredericksburg. There, in during an assault marked by ferocious Confederate resistance, they earned the praise of their enemies and comrades alike. Confederate Lt. Gen. James Longstreet thought the charge of the Irishmen "was the handsomest thing in the whole war." General Robert E. Lee declared, "Never were men so brave." Brig. Gen. George Pickett, who would make his own legendary charge within a year, thought "the brilliant assault....was beyond description....we forgot they were fighting us, and cheer after cheer at their fearlessness went up all along our line." Their division commander, Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock remarked, "I have never seen anything so splendid."
So to our Irish friends and families who fought so bravely to secure our freedom, we say thank you, and Happy St. Patrick's Day.
At Last! The National POW/MIA Flag Act was re-introduced on both sides of Congress this past week: House – H.R. 1579, and Senate – S 693.
H.R.1579 - To amend title 36, United States Code, to require that the POW/MIA flag be displayed on all days that the flag of the United States is displayed on certain Federal property.
We need your help! Please contact your Representative and then contact your Senators. Call their DC office, ask for the Representative/Senator, their Chief of Staff or Legislative Director. Tell them that you wish them to co-sponsor the National POW/MIA Flag Act.
1991 - Public Law 101-355 – Congress approved the POW/MIA Flag as a National Symbol.
1998 - National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) – required POW/MIA Flag “must fly” on specific days
2019 - National POW/MIA Flag Act will require POW/MIA Flag to fly EVERY Day the American Flag flies on certain Federal Property.
Here's Brevard County Representative:
Florida's 8th Congressional District
Posey, Bill – (R)
Washington, DC Office
2150 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-3671
Fax: (202) 225-3516
2725 Judge Fran Jamieson
Way Building C
Melbourne, FL 32940
Phone: (321) 632-1776
Fax: (321) 639-8595
For other Florida Counties: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative
Here is Florida's Senators:
Senators of the 116th Congress
Rubio, Marco - (R - FL)
284 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
Scott, Rick - (R - FL)
716 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
For other states Senators: https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
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.