January F eb r uar y

Breaking Ground
A Groundbreaking Ceremony Marks the Beginning of the Public Tribute to Millions of Disabled American Veterans

2011 Mid-Winter Conference
Commanders and Adjutants Association • February 27 — March 2
We’ve made tremendous strides working with lawmakers to improve the quality and accessibility of veterans health care and toward ensuring sufficient, timely and predictable funding for the VA medical system. We’ve also developed our own 21st Century Claims Process to create a more efficient, faster solution to helping veterans receive the benefits they’ve earned. Join National Commander Wallace E. Tyson as he delivers the DAV’s Legislative Presentation to Congress. The support and direct action of Chapter and Department leaders from across the country is critical to supporting our agenda on the national level. The Mid-Winter Conference at the Crystal Gateway Marriot in Arlington, Virginia, February 27 – March 2, is the place to be. Tell our government to make veterans a national priority, and do so face-to-face! Join us for Mid-Winter.

1700 Jefferson Davis Highway Arlington, Virginia 22202 703-920-3230
Single/Double Room: $197.00 Cut-off date for reservations is February 4, 2011. Check-out time is 12 noon. Rooms will not be available for check-in until after 3 p.m. Reservations requested beyond the cut-off date are subject to availability. Rooms may still be available after the cut-off date, but not necessarily at the same rate. Please apply 10.25% sales tax to room rate.

Saturday, 2/26/11 C&A Registration Sunday, 2/27/11 C&A Registration C&A Business Session Legislative Workshop Monday, 2/28/11 Service Workshop IG/Adjutants Workshop Membership Workshop Voluntary Services Workshop Communications Workshop 12-4pm Tuseday, 3/1/11 National Service Foundation 9am-10am Charitable Service Trust Immediately following National Service Foundation Meeting National Commander’s Presentation 2:00pm to the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees National Commander’s Reception 6:30pm-8:30pm Wednesday, 3/2/11 DAV Board of Directors Meeting 9am-10am DAV National Executive Committee Meeting Immediately Following Board of Directors Meeting

8am-noon 9am-noon 1:30pm-4pm

9am-10:30pm 10:30am-12pm 1pm-2pm 2pm-3pm 3pm-4:30pm


Entry deadline June 30, 2010.

Telling the DAV’s Story With Social Media


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We have long sought ways to serve our fellow veterans more effectively, to strengthen and broaden grassroots initiatives and to tell the DAV story to more and more veterans, family members, and survivors.

or those of you interacting with family and friends online, there are some important but simple things you can accomplish for the organization with just a little extra effort. Well more than half of American adults now actively use social networking, and the fastest growing demographic is 50 and older. Facebook is widely considered the most accessible form of social media to the Vietnam era generation — those of us who didn’t grow up with the Internet. And studies show as much as 95 percent of the generation currently serving in uniform is using at least one social network. Veterans need each other for support, and now the DAV Facebook page is a place where you can find that. I’ve heard directly from people who’ve found other veterans that they served with 30 years ago and now are “Facebook friends.” Facebook.com is the largest, fastest growing network in history. For that reason, the DAV has a concerted effort to reach out to our stakeholders on Facebook, offering the latest news on veterans issues, informational materials and legislative alerts. More so, we listen to and address concerns raised by veterans, their families and friends. Many DAV members are using it to talk to each other about their problems and successes,


and it’s been great for camaraderie, doing a good job of bridging the generational gap. This tool has allowed members to help each other, ask for help and ultimately create new connections. There are a great deal of questions posed about benefits assistance, membership eligibility and current happenings in Washington. But the most common posts are from veterans telling their stories, praising the DAV and expressing their support for veterans. We are working hard to harness social networking to improve our grassroots advocacy. Social networking has surpassed email as the number one way to communicate electronically. Gone are the days when sending out mass emails was the best method to spread the word. If you are on Facebook, I encourage you to find your elected officials’ Facebook pages. We have a tab labeled “Congress” on the DAV Facebook page that can help you find your Representative and Senators on Facebook. Not only will visiting their pages help you stay up to date with their positions and actions, it will give you an opportunity to publicly state your stance on the issues. The officials and their staffs will receive the message, but it will also educate their other constituents about your concerns. Grassroots campaigns should include encouraging supporters to post on the elected officials’ (Continued on page 32)



J anuary/February 2 01 1

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National Commander Wallace E. Tyson cites use of social networks to tell DAV’s story. National Adjutant Arthur H. Wilson lauds VA claims improvement efforts and urges greater stakeholder involvement. DAV, VA join forces to aid disabled veteran’s family seeking long-term care assistance. Educating new members of Congress on critical issues key to protecting veterans’ benefits, services. Dozens of pilot projects are underway aimed at deciding claims right the first time. National Legislative Director Joseph A. Violante stresses renewed grassroots efforts to build support in Congress for veterans’ issues. Auxiliary National Commander Susan M. Henry discusses importance of leadership at all levels. Disabled veterans attending Arkansas State University benefit from tailored programs. Mobile Service Offices expand Department, Chapter service outreach.
Dispatches from Afghanistan PAGE 20

Golden Corral PAGE 28 Our Cover: Groundbreaking ceremony marks milestone for American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial. PAGE 8

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Wallace E. Tyson National Commander Arthur H. Wilson National Adjutant & Publisher Gary Weaver National Director of Communications David E. Autry Deputy National Director of Communications Arvel “Jim” Hall Assistant National Director of Communications Thomas L. Wilborn Assistant National Director of Communications Rob Lewis Marketing & Special Events Manager Dan Clare Assistant National Director of Communications Joseph Chenelly Assistant National Director of Communications James A. Chaney Production Manager

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MAGAZINE • January/February 2011 Contact Us: www.dav.org • Toll Free 877.426.2838 • 3725 Alexandria Pike, Cold Spring, KY 41076 Volume 53, Issue 1, DAV Magazine (ISSN 0885-6400) Editorial Office: DAV Magazine, P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, OH 45250-0301. Telephone (859) 441-7300 or toll free (877) I AM A VET. Published and circulated bimonthly bulletin by the Disabled American Veterans, a Congressionally-chartered, nonprofit organization, P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, OH 45250-0301. DAV Home Page is www.dav.org. Available on recording for the blind and those with physical handicaps that preclude reading printed material. The magazine is mailed free to DAV and Auxiliary members who are paid subscribers. Nonmembers may subscribe for $15.00 per year. Periodical postage paid at office of publication, Newport, KY 41071, and at additional offices. Printed in U.S.A. Change of Address: When notifying a change of address, send former as well as new address, including zip code, to: DAV Magazine, DAV National Headquarters, P.O. Box 145550, Cincinnati, OH 45250-5550. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to DAV Magazine, DAV National Headquarters, P.O. Box 145550, Cincinnati, OH 45250-5550.

Fast Forward on Claims


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It is gratifying to see that the VA is moving ahead with its pilot programs aimed at resolving disability claims faster and more professionally.
t is this type of action that has been urged by the DAV for years. The crisis created by the massive backlog of claims and the congressional intervention to improve the process, urged by the DAV, is now showing some resolution. Still in their infancy, more than three dozen pilot programs are underway designed to get veterans’ claims decided right the first time. It is rewarding to see that some seem to be working very well. Our Washington Headquarters staff and National Service Officers are working hand-in-hand with the VA to ensure these pilots are working in a way to improve the system and benefit veterans. As we have urged for years, the VA is using established business practices to help decide claims. They hope to eliminate the backlog of hundreds of thousands of claims, and to decide claims within 125 days from receipt with a 98-percent accuracy rate. It is a big goal, but one that is worthy and within the reach of the VA. In this issue of DAV Magazine, you can read about a number of programs that are underway (see page 11). The results are encouraging so far, but there is much that remains to be done. Among the most promising programs is the fast track system, which uses advanced electronic automation to decide Agent Orange claims for B-cell leukemia, Parkinson’s disease or Ischemic Heart disease. The VA estimates as many as 200,000 veterans will be assisted by the new automated system that cuts processing time and increases accuracy. The fast track system is just beginning. If it works well, it can be expanded to handle claims for


other presumptive service-connected disabilities. The associated Disability Benefits Questionnaires (DBQs) for the Agent Orange related disabilities are available at the VA’s Web site and are designed for use by both private and VA physicians. Using it, doctors provide specific information needed to evaluate a disability claim. VA says the DBQs improve timeliness, and have the potential to improve decision accuracy. Meanwhile, other questionnaires related to other disabilities are in the final stages of approval and should become available to veterans this year. Our NSOs are leading the way with their indepth knowledge of the new pilot programs. They stand ready to assist as veterans go through the new processes with new forms and quicker decisions. The VA claims process is still a daunting endeavor and should not be negotiated without the professional and skillful help of our National Service Officers. They help a veteran through each step of the process doing all they can to ensure success. These pilot programs launched by the VA are realistic and the first of many others that will ultimately improve the timeliness and quality in the delivery of earned benefits to deserving veterans. Each new step taken will give way to more new ideas in handling claims. Without question, VA is on the verge of remarkable long overdue changes in the system. It’s encouraging that the VA is working diligently to resolve the problem of the claims backlog. Veterans will benefit from their hard work.



Help Veterans Get the Credit They Deserve Several veteran groups are imploring legislatures, governors, boards of regents, and presidents of universities and colleges to do right by servicemembers and veterans when it comes to obtaining university and college credits for having completed comparable, equivalent federal military school and courses. Universities and colleges should ask prospective students for evidence of “Military Schools and Courses completed.” The practice should be part of the application process. Military service members and veterans, by virtue of completing an armed forces service school, are often American Council of Education eligible for credit at technical, associate, baccalaureate and masters levels, reducing the number of courses they need to graduate. Charles Hyder, Lawrenceville, GA Years ago, DAV helped me to secure disability compensation check from VA after I left military service. I had no idea I was entitled to anything as I refused a medical review for disability retirement when I left the Army. They told me that if I did not stay on duty for two more months I was waiving claim to any payment I might be entitled to from the Army for injuries. I only wanted to leave and leave immediately. This monthly check arrived at a time when I was struggling to start a new life for my family as a civilian after eight years in the Army. The back payment that came with that first check was enough for a down payment on a home for my family and the monthly compensation paid the house payments each month. I just finished paying off the last of the student loans for sending my three children through college and finally have a little extra

at what has been and is going on. What does surprise me is that this information has not gotten traction with the American public. It should be headline news. Other than some veterans, who really knows that these horrors still exist and are allowed to continue? Why haven’t any legislators spoken out about these atrocities? Joe Demarco, Jay, NY I have just finished reading the articles on burn pits, and I am shocked that these men and women have to be turned away for treatment, or given some excuse as to why their illness is not military related. I am a Vietnam veteran, and I can see that these men and women are getting just as much jacked around as we Vietnam vets have been. I was totally saddened by the fact that Tech. Sgt. Tim Wymore is suffering as much as he is. So where and what is the VA doing to help this hero and all of the others? DAV Magazine sure hit home again this time. I am saddened by the way they are being treated. I salute you, Tim Wymore and everyone else. Dave Betti, Oak View, CA Concurrent Receipt Still an Issue I saw in the November/December edition of DAV Magazine the DAV’s Legislative Agenda for 2011. I see that concurrent receipt is still on there but what is being done? The pledge to support legislation to remove the prohibition against concurrent receipt of military retired pay and VA disability compensation has been on the back burner long enough. I retired in 1994, and became eligible to draw my retirement at age 60 in 2006. When will this be corrected? Charles D. Lathem, Carthage, MS

money each month. So I thought it appropriate to say thanks by making a monthly contribution from this point on to the DAV. I realize this is not that much and it certainly does not express the amount of gratitude my wife and I hold in our hearts for the help DAV provided us in getting that monthly compensation check. I said it back then and I will say it again now—thank you for the aid your organization furnished me and making it possible for me to buy a home for my family. Ed Seward, Rochester, NY Burn Pit Story Stirs Outrage I just received your November/ December issue of DAV Magazine. After reading the stories about burn pits, I am appalled but not surprised
DAV Magazine welcomes letters. However, due to the volume of mail, we are unable to acknowledge every letter. Letters are subject to editing for clarity, style, accuracy, space, and propriety. Letters involving individual claims are referred to the DAV Service Department, DAV Magazine, P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, Ohio 45250-0301.



By Jim Hall

David Alexander and his daughter, Jean Courniotes tour the assisted living facility on David’s first day in residence. The DAV assisted Alexander and his daughter with the disability claim that enabled him to move into the assisted living facility. Below, Alexander as a young Navy sailor, circa 1950.

DAV Aids Disabled Veteran Suffering Alzheimer’s
ean Courniotes watched as her father, David B. Alexander, began to lapse into Alzheimer’s disease in 2009. Jean’s mother was also suffering from the disease, and over the course of a year it became apparent her parents would soon need to be cared for in an assisted living facility. Unfortunately, Alexander and his wife had already spent down their savings to get by, and some other means would have to be found to pay for long-term care. Since her father was


a Korean War era veteran, Jean and her husband, Greg, sought help from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Jean had power of attorney and guardianship of her parents and could file a claim on her father’s behalf. She located a local veterans’ service representative in West Springfield, Mass., where Alexander lived, and began the process. “The gentleman came to my father’s house shortly before Christmas to help us fill out the forms and gather substantiating documents,” Jean said. “The service

officer told us it would likely take several months to resolve the claim.” The claim for benefits was submitted in Boston on Dec. 29, 2009. The Courniotes live in Florida, and Jean had been traveling back and forth to West Springfield to care for her parents for months. She needed to resolve the need for her parents’ long-term care as quickly as possible. “Even had we still lived in Massachusetts, we would have still needed to resolve the need of caring for my parents,” Jean said. “After four months waiting to hear about the claim, we decided to call and learned it had been sent to the VA in Phila(Continued on page 31)




Veterans, Government Face Critical Issues
By Dave Autry ven before the 112th Congress convened, the DAV was gearing up to educate lawmakers and the administration about critical issues facing disabled veterans and their families and the resources needed to meet their needs. The focus is on polices and funding for veterans health care and the benefits delivery system in the year ahead. “The needs analysis and recommendations by DAV and the other authors of The Independent Budget Critical Issues Report for Fiscal Year 2012 are designed to alert policymakers and the public to the issues we believe deserve priority attention,” National Adjutant Arthur H. Wilson said. “This report is intended as a guide for policymakers so they can provide adequate funding and enact policies that will enable the Department of Veterans Affairs to fulfill its mission.” “A more detailed needs assessment and funding and policy recommendations in The Independent Budget also will be released in February when the President sends his budget request to Congress for fiscal year 2012,” National Legislative Director Joseph A. Violante said. “Through these efforts, we believe the VA will be better positioned to meet the challenges of the future.” A major challenge is the growing number of veterans from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq who are eligible for VA medical care and benefits. Another is that veterans from previous eras are turning to the VA for the first time because of a turbulent economic environment. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki warned in a letter to Congress last July that the advance appropriations for veterans medical care in fiscal year 2011 may not be sufficient to meet the demands VA will face. Shinseki emphasized that the recent Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act and the health care reform law will increase the workload for VA, which would require supplemental funding. DAV’s grassroots efforts are crucial to building public and government awareness and support for vital veter-


ans programs and services, Washington Headquarters Executive Director David W. Gorman notes. “But with so many new members of Congress and a restructuring of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees, our efforts are even more important.” In addition, the VA faces an uncertain future with growing pressure to curb federal spending because of mounting national debt. “Yet continued investment in crucial VA programs is imperative,” Gorman said. “After all, the ongoing cost of caring for the men and women who have served and sacrificed for our country will not diminish just because of challenging financial times. Therefore, we must do everything we can to make sure the VA has all the tools and resources to meet today’s needs and tomorrow’s.” Heading the list of critical issues is the benefits claims processing system. The Veterans Benefits Administration is at a crucial juncture in its efforts to reform an outdated, inefficient and overwhelmed claims processing system. After struggling for decades to provide timely, accurate decisions on veterans’ claims, the VBA has taken the first steps along the path toward transformation and modernization. They include developing a paperless Veterans Benefit Management System, ongoing claims processing pilot projects and other initiatives. The DAV welcomes those efforts and strongly urges VA to involve veterans organizations throughout the processes of developing, planning, implementing and evaluating such programs and projects. “After all, the DAV and other veterans service organizations bring to the table a wealth of experience and expertise in the claims system,” National Service Director Garry J. Augustine said. “We share a common interest in ensuring that the benefits delivery system works better and more efficiently to serve disabled veterans and their families.” In addition, Congress must provide sufficient funding and oversight of pilot projects and initiatives to ensure that the best practices are adopted and integrated into a cohesive new claims process. The VBA also needs to provide effective training and continuing evaluation and



accountability at all levels. Of vital importance is that quality control be built in at every step of the benefits delivery process so veterans’ claims are decided correctly the first time. Another critical issue veterans face is ensuring that VA receives sufficient, timely and predictable funding for medical and health care services. Fortunately the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act funded VA medical care this year even though Congress failed to pass the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations on time. As of this writing, Congress had not passed the 2011 VA appropriations because of political wrangling and legislative deadlock. As a result, the larger VA system’s budget has been temporarily funded at the previous year’s level. To ensure that VA is not further hampered in providing services and that advance appropriations for fiscal year 2012 are provided for veterans medical care, Congress must complete work on the overdue spending bill as soon as practicable. Lawmakers also must provide supplemental funding in fiscal year 2011 and in subsequent years to meet new demands projected as a result of the caregivers legislation and the new health care reform law. The Administration, Congress and the Government Accountability Office must fully implement all provisions of the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act to ensure sufficient, timely and predictable funding for VA health care. The Administration and Congress also must provide adequate resources for VA health care now and in the future so all eligible veterans would receive medical services without undue delays or restrictions. “Meeting the needs of new generations of war veterans and their families is a continuing challenge for our government,” Gorman said. “The Department of Defense (DoD) and VA must work together to sustain effective care for all military beneficiaries and veterans JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011

and ensure that injured and ill service members make a seamless transition from military to civilian life.” Among the report’s recommendations in this area: DoD and VA must continue to support the development of a system that allows them to share electronic medical and military service records. This will require vigorous oversight by Congress to ensure a seamless transition. The critical issues report recommends particular attention be paid to the needs of war veterans with a variety of “invisible wounds” such as mild to moderate traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Although great strides and advances have been made in the care for the physically wounded, both the military and VA health care systems must close gaps in the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of less visible injuries. DAV also urges Congress to authorize VA to provide a full range of medical, psychological, financial and social support services to family caregivers of veterans, especially those with brain and severe physical injuries. In addition, the VA must continue to expand and enhance treatment programs aimed at meeting the unique health needs of women veterans. The number of women serving in the military is at unprecedented levels, as is the rate at which they enroll in VA health care after discharge. “While our government must ensure that programs are sufficiently funded and adapted to meet the needs of those who have served in the current wars, our nation must continue to meet the needs of earlier generations of war veterans,” Gorman said. “That is something the DAV has stressed and will continue to do so as we work with the administration, Congress, DoD and VA to address the critical issues facing disabled veterans and their families.” The Independent Budget Critical Issues Report for Fiscal Year 2012 is available at www.independentbudget. org, as will The Independent Budget when released in February.


Ground Broken
for Disabled Veterans Memorial
By Joseph R. Chenelly ashington, D.C., is a city of monuments and memorials. There are more than 100 such sites in our nation’s capital, but not one pays homage to living disabled veterans. That is about to change. A groundbreaking ceremony Nov. 10 marked the formal beginning of the first permanent public tribute to the more than 3 million living disabled American veterans and the countless heroes who have died. Under a sunny sky in Washington the day before Veterans Day, hundreds of DAV members, veterans’ advocates, politicians and dignitaries gathered across


from the U.S. Botanic Garden to witness the first dirt moved at the future site of the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial. The memorial, which will be within view of the Capitol, is expected to be completed in November 2012. “Our nation needs this memorial to be reminded of the sacrifices disabled veterans continue to make,” said National Adjutant Arthur H. Wilson, who is co-founder and President of the Disabled Veterans’ LIFE Memorial Foundation. “Further, our veterans deserve this memorial so they can be reminded they live in a grateful nation where citizens respect and appreciate their service.” “Long after the fighting on the battlefield ends, our



Right, actor Gary Sinise, the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial’s national spokesman, addresses hundreds of disabled veterans and active duty military members on hand to witness the historic event. Below, a military color guard opens groundbreaking ceremonies. Bottom, National Commander Wallace E. Tyson stated “We are grateful for all the support shown by so many over the years.”

disabled veterans continue to fight to reclaim their lives and readjust to society,” said Foundation Chairman Lois Pope. “This memorial will ensure that their sacrifices will always be remembered, while educating future generations about the human cost of war.” Mrs. Pope partnered with National Adjutant Wilson and then-Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jesse Brown in 1997 to establish the Disabled Veterans’ LIFE Memorial Foundation to raise the necessary funds to create the memorial in Washington. “Members of Congress and their staffs will pass by this memorial each day they go to the Capitol, keeping fresh on their minds the sacrifices so many veterans continue to make for our nation,” Adjutant Wilson said. “Visiting this memorial will offer a place to look at our proud time in uniform and let



our families and friends know about the courage and selflessness we saw. It will be a spot on which we can reflect upon the brothers and sisters we loved, the contributions made on behalf of our fellow Americans.” The memorial’s official spokesman Gary Sinise said the tribute is long overdue. Sinise, star of TV’s “CSI: NY,” may be best known in the veterans community for his role in the box office blockbuster “Forrest Gump,” in which his character, Lt. Dan Taylor, loses both legs in Vietnam. “We have many monuments and memorials to honor our fallen warriors from various wars, but there is nothing that has been done to pay tribute to disabled veterans,” he said. “They have to live the rest of their lives with the scars of the battle. [Building the memorial] is the least we can do.” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said the memorial “will stand as an enduring tribute to the towering courage, selfless sacrifice and steadfast loyalty of all our disabled veterans.” The Disabled Veterans’ LIFE Memorial Foundation board members include DAV Past DAV National Commanders Gene A. Murphy and Dennis A. Joyner; Diane Musselmann, widow of Past National Commander and Board member Kenneth Musselmann; Gordon Mansfield, former Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs; and Allen Kent, Adjutant General of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The foundation still needs to raise $3.2 million to complete construction. Additional fundraising efforts

include the sale of commemorative coins. They are no longer available through the United States Mint, but the Disabled Veterans’ LIFE Memorial Foundation and DAV still have a limited supply available online. For a virtual tour of the planned American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial and information on purchasing coins, visit www.avdlm.org or www.dav.org. “We are grateful for all the support shown by so many over the years,” said National Commander Wallace E. Tyson. “DAV Departments, Chapters and individual members have given so generously in this long, hardfought push to make the memorial a reality. Now, we are almost there.”

DAV members attend the groundbreaking ceremony.

Canadian Ambassador to the United States Gary Doer welcomes Disabled Veterans’ LIFE Memorial Foundation Chairwoman Lois B. Pope, National Adjutant Arthur H. Wilson and former VA Secretary Anthony Principi during a special reception at the Canadian Embassy in Washington after the groundbreaking ceremony.

Past National Commander Dennis A. Joyner is secretary of the Disabled Veterans’ LIFE Memorial Foundation.



VA Extends Efforts:

Get Claims Decided Right the First Time
he VA has hit the ground running computerized processing system and with more than three dozen pilot streamlined the review system. Final programs aimed to accelerate claims rating decisions and payments will handling and eliminate the massive be made by Rating Veterans Service backlog. One of the most successful is Representatives, but the computerized a fast-track system to decide disability fasttrack program develops a draft rating and compensation for the Agent Orange- proposal for their review. The automated system allows related presumed service connection veterans to file their claims for ischemic heart disease, and supporting evidence hairy cell and other chronic electronically using VA forms B-cell leukemias and available at its Web site on Parkinson’s disease thanks the Internet. Those without to a computerized claims computer skills may still system that streamlines the prepare the information process. and take it to their nearest “The other pilot claims DAV National Service Office processing programs where it is mailed or faxed to proving successful are Augustine VA. All paper documents will the disability benefits be scanned into the fast track system. questionnaires, the quick decisions on The VA estimates it can complete a fully developed claims and rapid evaluclaim for any of the three new presumpation of claims,” said National Service tive illnesses within 60 days of the claim Director Garry J. Augustine. “These date. The claim date is the earliest proof pilot programs now or soon to be used nationwide have the goal to eliminate the of receipt at a VA facility or fast track claims backlog by 2015 with a scant two location. Other disabilities within a claim will be processed separately. percent error rate.” The new Disability Benefits Question“One VA official told the DAV that naire for the Agent Orange presumptive the fast-track program paid millions in service connected disabilities are compensation to disabled veterans the available at the VA’s Web site and are first day it became effective,” Augustine designed for use by both private and VA said. “These were claims that had been physicians and raters. It requires doctors filed earlier by our veterans. Overall, the to provide specific information needed VA hopes to increase claims production to rate the claim. Included as part of the by at least 20 percent in 2011.” fast-track program, VA says it improves The VA estimates that as many timeliness and quality of claims, and has as 200,000 Vietnam veterans could the potential to improve rating accuracy. be eligible for health care and disMeanwhile, 19 questionnaires related ability compensation for the three new to other conditions are in the final stages presumptive diseases. To process that of approval and should become available many new claims, the VA ordered a


this year. Another 57 will be finalized and available in the spring. The program has the potential to reduce medical exam times by 25 to 50 percent, in addition to increasing claims accuracy. The Fully Developed Claims program attracted more than 3,000 claims in 2010, with more than 700 completed within 34 days. To participate in this program a veteran must submit sufficient evidence that allows VA to swiftly review the claim and quickly decide it. The VA provides veterans with the necessary forms to fully develop all relevant and pertinent evidence and substantiate their claims. “These are the kinds of initiatives the DAV has urged to streamline the claims review process to eliminate backlogs,” Augustine said. “But modernizing the claims handling procedure is only one step. Training for VA claims officers and accountability for decisions made correctly the first time go hand-in-hand with new technology.” “We are also aware that each pilot program has its own level of bureaucracy and red tape,” he said. “It’s a new game and disabled veterans need to understand which program would work best for them, and how to best use the services offered.” “The DAV is urging all veterans to contact their nearest DAV National Service Office before using any of these new programs,” Augustine said. “Our national staff has been a vital part of the development of these pilot programs, so our NSOs are fully aware of the requirements and needs of those veterans.” DAV National Service Offices can be found using our Web site at www.dav.org.”



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Turnover in House Makes Grassroots Even More Vital
he mid-term elections in November saw drastic changes throughout Congress. More than half of the members of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee in the 111th Congress lost or did not seek reelection. Just 12 of the 29 Committee members will return to the House for the 112th Congress, and it is possible some of those 12 will leave the panel. And with the House majority changing hands, a new chairman will be selected. A largely new Committee Congress means the task of informing the members of our priorities will be more arduous than it has been for many years. Not only are the issues ever evolving, but many members of the committee will be unfamiliar with the matters at hand as well as the veterans community itself. Also significant is the fact that many of those elected ran on promises to cut government spending. We must make it clear that reducing the national debt cannot be done on the backs of disabled veterans or their families. A great deal of effort has been put into educating Committee members and staffs over the past several years. That outreach paid off extremely well, achieving several historic legislative victories, including advance appropriations, the caregivers act, improved treatment for women veterans and laws regu-


lating burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. We cannot allow this changing of the guard to affect the momentum we have built. It is now even more important for our members to step up, contact their Senators and Representatives and let them know you care about the issues. We also need you to share with your elected officials information about the DAV – who we are and what we do for our nation’s service-connected veterans and their families and survivors. I hope you will come to Washington for the Mid-Winter Conference. If you can, be sure to schedule time to meet with your Representatives, Senators and their staffs. We will provide you with the information and talking points you need to ensure you are up to date on the issues and have the most accurate information and positions. We have informative materials online to keep you, as well as your fellow veterans and family members, aware of the issues. There are also tools online that can make contacting your Members of Congress quick and easy. The information and tools can be found at www.dav.org/voters or facebook.com/ TheDAV. While you are there, please join the Commander’s Action Network for the latest, breaking information via email. The task ahead of us will require everyone’s help.

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Turning Up the Heat for Veterans ... Two plumbing heating and cooling organizations ran campaigns in the fall to raise funds for DAV National Service Programs. Top,Wesley Holm, owner of Thompson Plumbing, Heating and Cooling on far right next to Barry Jesinoski, DAV Director of Human Resources with Thompson Leadership Team and Veterans holding the 2010 check for $30,240. Thompson is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. Bottom,Kenny Bell (far left) and Jerry Bell (center), owners of Bell Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning, present a check of $32,900 to Stephen Garrett (far right), DAV National Service Officer. Bell Brothers is headquartered in Sacramento, Calif.

DAV Soars in 2010
The DAV Flight Team wrapped up the 2010 airshow season with a four-show swing through Florida. This season saw the DAV display, supported by the B-25 bombers Panchito and Special Delivery, making stops at 23 airshows across the country. The attendance at these shows was nearly 3.5 million and the DAV was able to directly reach hundreds of thousands of attendees to spread our message of service to disabled veterans and their families.


Fisher House Foundation Vice President for Community Relations and Media Affairs Cindy Campbell, gets a tour of the new Washington, D.C., VA medical center facility from site superintendent Jerry Silk.

Fisher Houses Provide Home-Like Setting for Recovering Veterans
By Thom Wilborn or David P. McCain and his wife Carla, the welcoming environment of a Fisher House is like home when they travel to Washington, D.C., to get care for disabilities he suffered in a parachute jump. A member of Chapter 3 in North Carolina, the 58-year-old Army veteran makes frequent trips to Walter Reed Army Medical Center for medical care. The disabilities resulting from injuries received at Fort Bragg, N.C., in the early 1980s have worsened over the years. At times he’s unable to walk and needs Carla at his side. When the McCains visit Walter Reed, Carla has to drive from their home in Roseboro, N.C. “It means a lot to have my wife with me,” McCain said. “You need some kind of support. At Fisher House, I have the privacy to sit and talk with her about


what lies ahead. You have something deeply in common.” Driving into the night on the long trip from North Carolina, the McCains arrive late at the Fisher House at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, D.C. “It is comforting to know that your room will be open,” McCain said. “It’s like coming home again with your mom saying, ‘your room is ready’ and finding the covers turned down.” “I have great appreciation for a system that allows my wife to be there with me,” he said. “It is a blessing for us.” “I never know what will happen to me during my care,” McCain said. “I could be paralyzed. At Fisher House, you know your family is taken care of if you don’t come back from the hospital. You can’t know how much I appreciate the volunteers there.” Since the Fisher House Founda-

tion was created in 1990 more than 130,000 veterans and their families have resided at their facilities at no cost. “Veterans and their families have stayed more than 3 million days which saved these families more than $150 million in lodging and transportation costs,” Washington Headquarters Executive Director David W. Gorman said. McCain was unable to find an opening at the Walter Reed Fisher Houses because of the number of injured in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan being treated there. But he finds the Andrews facility close and homey. “Fisher Houses have veterans from all services,” he said. “It’s just perfect. You can cook your own food and save a lot. You have a safe environment and they treat you so well.” In the nation’s capital, there are three Fisher Houses at Walter Reed, two at Bethesda National Naval Medical Center and one at Andrews



Air Force Base. Another to be opened in February at the Washington, D.C., VA medical center will be the 55th in the nation. “Fisher houses were established to be homes away from home for sick and disabled veterans and their families,” said Fisher House Foundation Community Relations and Media Affairs Vice President Cindy Campbell. “When a veteran needs long-term medical treatment and rehabilitation, the homes provide temporary residences that are professionally decorated and equipped with common areas as well as private suites.” The houses are 5,000 to 16,000 square feet with as many as 21 suites,” she said. “The house at the Washington, D.C., VA medical center will have 20 suites for resident veterans.” “Fisher Houses are built and donated to the military or VA facility to ensure that veterans are not burdened with unnecessary expenses when receiving care far from home,” Gorman said. “They provide the comfort of having family nearby as veterans recover and rehabilitate.” During a tour of the Washington, D.C., VA medical center Fisher House under construction, Campbell noted that each 20-suite home will serve an estimated 1,000 families a year. “They are built to last,” she said. “This Fisher House will serve veterans who haven’t been born yet.” “The homes create an instant community for its residents,” said Campbell. “The residents are united by their common mission supporting a sick or disabled loved one, but the homes also provide each individual with a secure and private refuge after a long day at the hospital.”

“In addition to the structures, Fisher House volunteers provide meals and snacks for residents, help with housekeeping chores, organize drives for products, and offer babysitting service and play with the children to give parents a break,” said Gorman. “Volunteers also garden around the houses and plant seasonal flowers and shrubs.” Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher established the Fisher House program in 1990 to fulfill the needs of veterans for temporary lodging facilities for families at major military and VA medical centers. The first Fisher House opened its doors at Bethesda National Naval Medical Center in 1991 and became the model for the network. Many more are planned, mostly at VA medical centers. “Fisher House takes away all the

anxiety and the economic stress of your health care,” said McCain. “Your family is there to take care of you, and they have your care in their highest interests.” “I want everybody to know how good Fisher House is,” he said. “Veterans go to them from everywhere. I wish everyone has the chance to use Fisher House if they need to. It adds so much to your care. Fisher House makes you feel like a human being and that you and your family matter. It means everything to me.”

Artist concept of Fisher House at the Washington, D.C., VA medical center.



Deep brain stimulation is a treatment often recommended for patients who no Record Breaking longer respond page 15) (Continued from well to Parkinson’s medication alone.

Study Shows Promise in Parkinson’s Treatment
esearch into treatments for Parkinson’s disease finds deep brain stimulation using implanted electrodes dramatically improves movement-related symptoms in patients. Deep brain stimulation is a treatment often recommended for patients who no longer respond well to Parkinson’s medication alone. The study, conducted by VA and the National Institutes of Health was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers report that deep brain stimulation is equally effective at either of two sites in the brain. Although the study found that the treatment is somewhat riskier than carefully managed drug therapy, it may hold significant benefits for some patients. “Parkinson’s disease is a heartbreaking disability that affects the veteran’s ability to interact with those around him,” said National Adjutant Arthur H. Wilson. “VA research, conducted with other research organizations, should continue to search for ways to lessen or eliminate the effects of the disease and to offer better care for our veterans.” “The quality of life of our disabled veterans should


be paramount as researchers delve into this long-term debilitating disease that robs our disabled veterans of their quality of life,” said Adjutant Wilson. The study involved 299 randomly selected patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease to undergo deep brain stimulation. The primary benefit of the treatment was the change in motor function. Other reported benefits included increased function, quality of life and neurocognitive function. The researchers found that patients with Parkinson’s disease showed similar improvement in motor function after the deep brain stimulation. Those involved in the study will be observed for several more years to determine the benefits and risks of deep stimulation treatment. Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurological disorder, affects some 1.5 million Americans, with 50,000 new cases diagnosed annually. VA treats at least 40,000 veterans with the disorder each year. Most patients are over age 50, but some forms of the disease can strike younger adults. Symptoms included slow movement, poor balance, shaking and muscle stiffness. Other signs may be a stiff facial expression, shuffling walk, muffled speech and depression. Symptoms may worsen over time. The disease is caused by a loss of brain cells that make dopamine, a chemical that helps control movement, emotion and other functions. DAV MAGAZINE


Leadership is Important at All Levels

f r o m t h e A U X I L I A R Y N AT I O N A L C O M M A N D E R


eadership is important at all levels of our organization, and it is up to each of us to make sure the Auxiliary has the best possible leaders. Leadership comes in all sizes, shapes and forms. Leaders need to be knowledgeable, informed, energetic, cooperative, dependable and consistent. They must work well with others, be open to new ideas and opinions, and be flexible to be effective. In the next few months, many Units will be holding nominations and annual elections. During this process we must make sure that those who are elected are willing to consider the will of the members over themselves. They should also reflect knowledge of the elected or appointed position, as well as being dependable, energetic and passionate about doing what’s best for those we serve and what’s best for the organization. A necessary goal of leadership is the maintenance of the organization. Sometimes it means changing hats and, rather than being the classic leader, becoming the teacher. It means stepping back and allowing and encouraging others to take on the mantle of leadership. In those instances it becomes our responsibility to aid and assist others to become strong, capable, effective leaders. We must properly instruct potential leaders in background activities and planning that make the great things your Unit does seem effortless. It is an awesome responsibility to train members for multiple jobs and tasks, and develop them into future leaders, but it is also a truly rewarding experience for you, as a leader. Good leaders also plan for the future. This can be accomplished by evaluating current activities to determine if they are really meeting the goals of the Auxiliary. Are members participating? Do activities highlight the Auxiliary and improve the image of the organization to the public and those we serve? If not, leaders must reevaluate and find the right activities and projects to get the job done.

Remember, now is the right time; it is up to good leaders to make the right things happen to build better lives for America’s disabled veterans and their families. The recent Auxiliary Fall Conference was a great success, and it included a real emphasis on additional training for members. This year we added a Commanders and Adjutants training session, and a National Representative training session. In addition to the National Chairman’s presentations, we also had a carnival for program chairmen to further present their information in a fun format. Add to this a leadership presentation by Action Coach Wayne Bergman, and it was easy to see that leadership training is an Auxiliary priority. In today’s Auxiliary, good leaders must also be good administrators. The maintenance of the organization includes doing required tasks and paperwork in a timely manner to make sure Departments and the National Organization are aware of the great service local Units are providing. Leadership is indeed a great honor and an equally great responsibility. I am deeply honored to serve as your National Commander, and I feel very privileged to do so. But like voting, it is also a responsibility, one I take very seriously. As the year progresses Auxiliary leadership must carefully and thoughtfully make decisions. The decisions must be made, not just by doing what is easy or what we have always done, but by doing what is best for the future of the organization. It is necessary to be fully informed of the situation, assess the costs and benefits and make the best decision for the Auxiliary. The best solution is the one which maintains the organization’s integrity, stability and continues our service to help build better lives for America’s disabled veterans and their families. To do this we need the best leaders possible now and in the future, and I encourage you to become one.



Achilles Freedom Team Wraps Up 2010 Season
The Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans enjoyed a race season of unprecedented success thanks in part to the financial support of the DAV’s Charitable Service Trust. The mission of the team is to provide racing opportunities and athletic equipment to newly injured veterans. Over the past year, nearly 300 veterans raced or trained with Achilles and the team participated in races across the country, including the New York, Boston and Marine Corps Marathons. Adding to an unprecedented year of success was a special visit from Britain’s Prince Harry, above, who brought two injured British soldiers to take part in the Achilles Hope and Possibility five-mile race in New York.



Testimonial Dinner for Commander Wallace E. Tyson
isabled American Veterans National Commander Wallace E. Tyson will be honored at a testimonial dinner, Saturday, April 16, 2011, at the Hilton North Raleigh/Midtown Hotel, Raleigh, North Carolina. The event will begin with a social gathering on Friday evening, April 15, 2011, “North Carolina Barbeque,” sponsored by the DAV Department of North Carolina, to begin at 7:00 p.m. Casual attire is recommended for this event. The testimonial dinner will be held on Saturday evening, April 16, 2011, at 7:00 p.m. The total cost of this package is $70.00 per person. Dinner choices are chicken, beef or vegetarian option with salad, seasonal vegetables and dessert. Reservations are required, and you must purchase dinner tickets no later than April 1, 2011. Make your check payable to North Carolina DAV Campaign Fund and mail to the DAV Department of North Carolina, P.O. Box 28146, Raleigh, NC 27611, ATTN: Rodney Tucker. For additional information,


contact the Department of North Carolina Headquarters at (919) 833-5567. Be sure to indicate your dinner choice with your reservation. Room reservations shall be made directly with the Hilton North Raleigh/Midtown Hotel, 3415 Wake Forest Road, Raleigh, NC 27609-7330. Phone: (919) 872-2323 and be sure to ask for the DAV room rate. The room rate is $85.00, plus tax, per night for double or single. The cut-off date for room reservations is April 1. Complimentary self-parking is available at the hotel. For those interested, a tour of downtown Raleigh and Chapel Hill will be available at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning. Contact Rodney Tucker at (336) 248-6841 or the DAV Department of North Carolina Headquarters for additional information. The hotel is located about 20 minutes from the Raleigh International Airport. Hotel Shuttle service is available. Attendees contacting the DAV Department of North Carolina Headquarters advising of their arrival and departure dates and times, will be provided transportation from and to the airport by department aides. night for a double or a single. Valet parking is $10 per day. The cut-off date for room reservations is March 17. For those interested, a tour of Graceland (Elvis Presley’s home) and downtown Memphis will be available at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning. Contact Ruth Henry for additional information. The hotel is located about 30 minutes from the Memphis International Airport. Taxi service to the hotel is available from 5:30 a.m. until the last flight of the day. Cost per taxi is $34-35. Shuttle service is not available.

Testimonial Dinner for Auxiliary Commander Susan Henry


uxiliary National Commander Susan M. Henry will be honored at a testimonial dinner Saturday, April 9, at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Memphis, Tenn. The event will begin with a social hour at 6:00 p.m. with dinner to follow at 7:00 p.m. The cost is $50 per person. Dinner choices are chicken, pork, fish/seafood or a vegetarian option with salad, seasonal vegetables and dessert. Reservations are required, and you must purchase dinner tickets no later than March

23. Make your check payable to DAVA Department of Tennessee Testimonial Dinner and mail to Ruth Henry, 4465 Tracy Lynn Dr., Memphis, TN 38125-3509. For additional information, contact Ruth Henry at 901-309-8007. Be sure to indicate your dinner choice with your reservation. Room reservations should be made directly with the Doubletree Hotel, 185 Union Ave., Memphis, TN 38103. Phone: 1-800-222-8733 or 901528-1800 and be sure to ask for the DAVA room rate. The room rate is $109, plus tax, per






Dispatches from Afghanistan’s

Valleyof Death
By Rob Lewis

Photographer Tim Hetherington shares his experiences from Outpost Restrepo


n 2007, the war in Afghanistan ran a distant second to Iraq in competition for the attention of the American public, even though a fierce battle was raging against a resurgent Taliban and an increasingly powerful al Qaeda. That same year, author Sebastian Junger (The Perfect Storm) and acclaimed photographer Tim Hetherington dug in with the soldiers of Battle Company of the 173rd Airborne in the Korengal Valley, a stark, craggy basin of Kunar Province often referred to as the deadliest place on Earth. Perhaps “dug in” isn’t the right term. The company leaders made a bold decision to go farther into the “Valley of Death” than soldiers on previous rotations. This meant Battle Company soldiers engaged in an average of four to five firefights a day for nearly 14 months. One of Battle Company’s first losses was its spirited medic, Pfc. Juan Restrepo. To honor their fallen comrade, the soldiers named their new home Outpost Restrepo. The glorified bunker served as a home and a thin line of defense for the soldiers, who formed a close bond under hellish conditions. The assignment at Restrepo turned out to be a wealth of inspiration for the two civilians. The assignment was originally for a Vanity Fair article on soldiers fighting in the Korengal. Junger interviewed the soldiers and handled the written word while Hetherington captured dozens of rich and expressive photographs. Hetherington also used his keen eye to capture hours of video footage which was combined with post-deployment interviews of Battle Company soldiers to create the documentary film “Restrepo.” The award-winning documentary premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and went on to earn high praise from critics for its unblinking soldier’s eye view of relentless combat. “Restrepo” received a nationwide theatrical release last year and is available on DVD. For more information, visit http://restrepothemovie.com/. Next came Junger’s book, War, a visceral and thoughtful meditation on life Tim Hetherington and death at Restrepo as well as the very nature of man and battle. The book was met with critical acclaim and still holds a spot on various bestseller lists. And now comes the release of Infidel, an exquisite bound collection of Hetherington’s camera work in the Korengal Valley. Infidel captures life for the often weary Battle Company soldiers with an almost surreal intimacy. The book is now available for sale at stores and through online booksellers. Hetherington recently sat down with DAV Magazine to talk about Infidel and the life-changing experience at Outpost Restrepo.



DAV: Your time in the Korengal Valley was longer and more intense than many embeds. Were you prepared for this experience by past assignments, or was this something completely different?   Tim Hetherington: I’ve covered conflicts for over ten plus years and have been in some pretty demanding situations, but every war has a different dynamic, so it’s hard to make comparisons about this one being more or less. What was certainly different was the amount of time I spent with the guys, about five months in total, all of it in the Korengal Valley during their deployment. Getting to know them, being accepted into the group and sharing experiences with them was a profound experience and one which I will carry for the rest of my life. That was certainly different. I mean, I was once embedded with a rebel army in Liberia but did not manage to  share as much as I did with the men of second platoon. I definitely didn’t expect the experience to be as kinetic as it was. Remember that my colleague Sebastian Junger and I went there in 2007 when the world was firmly focused on Iraq. I thought I was going on a quiet assignment for Vanity Fair, and I expected there would be a lot of walking in the mountains, meeting elders and drinking cups of tea and occasionally getting shot at. Nothing prepared me for the reality that the war in Afghanistan was slipping out of control, and by the end of October 2007, about a fifth of all fighting across the entire country was taking place in that six-mile-long valley.   DAV: What was it like to be an artist in the midst of warriors? Did you find yourself or your perception of the American military changing? Hetherington: You get all types of people in life, and the military is no different. There were a number of guys in the platoon that also had an artistic sensibility: Misha Pemble-Belkin was always drawing, and Vinny Cantu was a great tattoo artist. In fact, that’s where the title of my book Infidel comes from. Vinny brought a tattoo gun up to the Korengal, and a number of guys had the word “Infidel” inscribed in large letters across their chests. I asked one of them why, and he replied, “Well, it’s what the enemy calls us on the radio, so why not?” They wore it like a badge of honor.

This was my first time with American soldiers, and I was really impressed by them. They were a disciplined and tough bunch, but being up at Outpost Restrepo with them was also fun because they all had a great sense of humor. When I did need to leave the Korengal, I’d always end up missing being there and was constantly wondering what was going on. Also, as a European, I’d had East and West Coast experience of the U.S., but within the platoon there were people from all places and backgrounds, so I was keen to learn a lot more about the U.S. I guess one of the main things, is that I really expected to be much more heavily controlled by the military in terms of the work I was making. In fact, we weren’t censored at all, and that was important because we’ve managed to make a work that is honest to us and to the soldiers. It’s a warts-and-all view of things out there — the good and the bad — but it’s also done with a lot of affection. And that really resonates for the civilians back  home who don’t really understand the experience of what it’s like to be a soldier but who don’t want to be fed military propaganda.   DAV: How do you think being British colors your perspective of the American soldier? Did this change after your experiences at Restrepo?



Hetherington: I spent eight years living away from the U.K. and haven’t been embedded with British troops, so I can’t make a military comparison. However, I think Brits are culturally more cynical that Americans; it’s in our genes to be pessimistic. Think of all that bad weather and the fact that Britain has already fought wars in Afghanistan. So I’d have these conversations with Sebastian about whether the U.S. was going to succeed building a road through the valley as they had planned. Sebastian was the optimistic American saying that they’d succeed, and I was the pessimistic Brit saying that it wouldn’t work. But as for the soldiers themselves, I liked them from the start and found a common bond. Sometimes I think being a Brit actually helped because I was not part of their society but at the same time a bit of an object of curiosity... I mean they all used to [give me a hard time], and I’d throw it back at them for being Yanks, which all made us laugh.  DAV: How much are journalists accepted by the military in Afghanistan? At Restrepo? Is it different there than at other parts of the combat theater because of the intensity and the intimacy of that small firebase? Hetherington: It’s hard for me to make sweeping generalizations, but on the whole I think the U.S. military understands that journalism is important and that trying to censor journalism is really something that we expect from places like China or Iran. The soldiers get this too, and often on Facebook I read postings by soldiers saying that they were fighting to support democratic ideals like freedom of speech. You know, one of the really amazing things about the guys out there is that they also understood that they were fighting for people who opposed the war, and they accepted that. Their tolerance is something society at home would do well to emulate. Perhaps this was because all that was important was being a good soldier and making sure that you didn’t get anyone else, or yourself, killed. I think that being in so much combat in a remote outpost like Outpost Restrepo did have some kind of positive effect on them. I mean, the group bond was incredibly strong. As one soldier said, “There are guys in the platoon that outright hate each other, but they would all die for each other.” So he’s talking about a brotherhood rather than a friendship that is particularly profound and which adds a lot

of significance and meaning to their lives. It’s no wonder they come home and actually miss being “out there,” a fact that most civilians can’t get their heads around.    DAV: Describe what it is like to view war through a lens. How is it different than, say, a sniper who also sees much of combat through a lens? Hetherington: I’ve never been a sniper or carried a weapon in war, so it’s hard for me to make a comparison. What I do know is that I would put myself in very dangerous situations when filming or photographing. It’s like I have an “off” switch in my head that I hit when I have to go and do something that is dangerous which leaves me able to focus on the job I’ve got to do. In some ways, I imagine it’s a bit like soldiers who are trained to stand up in a firefight and shoot back. They put themselves at risk but are so focused on the job that they can overcome their fear. I remember one time in the Korengal when Tad Donoho was firing a [grenade launcher] from his knees as we were being attacked by insurgents. I was about a foot or so from him also on my knees and filming him. Later he asked me if I had seen the tracers pass between our heads. I hadn’t, but I later returned to the spot where we’d been and saw the trees were completely chewed up. I hadn’t noticed it at all because I’d been so consumed with what I was filming. I felt pretty shaken up thinking about it.   DAV: Tell us one story that best sums up the experience of being there in that firebase with those soldiers. Hetherington: There are so many that it’s hard for me to pinpoint something that could be representative. I was on the same combat operation where Sal Giunta earned the Medal of Honor (he’s the first living recipient since Vietnam) for stopping insurgents from dragging away his friend Joshua Brennan during a close quarter ambush. Sal represents the best of Battle Company — tough and humble. He’s quick to remind people that other soldiers, including all the guys in First Platoon, were also part of that action. Like I’ve been saying, it’s a big family. “Restrepo” is available on DVD. Sebastian Junger’s War and Tim Hetherington’s Infidel are available from bookstores and online retailers.



Becky Keith, associate professor of physical therapy at Arkansas State University and Beck PRIDE Center physical therapy coordinator, conducts physical rehabilitation with disabled veterans Dustin Stinson and Shannon Doyle Reed.

Empowers Disabled Veterans
By Jim Hall

Arkansas State University Program
services to disabled veterans. Located on the campus of Arkansas State University at Jonesboro, Ark., the center focuses on Personal Rehabilitation, Individual Development and Education (PRIDE) to help disabled veterans achieve their education goals. The center is named in honor of Buddy and Charlotte Beck of Fairfax Station, Va., who provided initial funding to their alma mater for a center to meet veterans’ needs in the university setting. Among the variety of programs and services available to disabled veterans are access to the higher education experience,


s thousands of veterans use their Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits to build a solid future, campuses nationwide are recognizing veterans are good students and good business. Many colleges and universities are building programs to meet the needs of the growing veteran population on campus. One such program is the Beck PRIDE Center for America’s Wounded Veterans at Arkansas State University. The center offers first class educational programs and

resources for counseling, advocacy and financial assistance. The DAV Charitable Service Trust awarded the center a $37,500 grant in 2008 to provide specialized rehabilitation services, mental health counseling, educational support and additional support services for veterans injured in military service. DAV National Service Officers regularly visit the center to provide claims assistance to the veterans. A recent article in Military Times Edge magazine named Arkansas State University among the top ten of 101 colleges and universities listed as best DAV MAGAZINE


for vets in 2010. Areas ranked to determine the best for vets rating were financial assistance, academic flexibility, campus culture and support services. The university netted five out of five stars for support services. The Beck PRIDE Center was founded in October 2007. It is a non-profit program housed in the College of Nursing and Health Professions. The program, designed to supplement VA and other federal and state programs, is a one-stop shop for veterans to have their needs assessed and provides resources and referrals to meet those needs. The services are provided free to wounded veterans, including those with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The university also recently became a participant in the Yellow Ribbon Program, created by the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008. The program allows institutions of higher

learning to enter voluntarily into an agreement with VA to fund tuition and fee expenses that exceed the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition rate. The institution can contribute a specified dollar amount of those expenses and VA will match the same amount as the institution not to exceed 50 percent of the difference. This adds even greater financial aid opportunities for veterans attending the university. Services include but are not limited to counseling veterans on their education benefits, as well as GED referral; college enrollment, financial aid and scholarships; advising, planning and tutoring; disability accommodations; a veteran work study program; student-soldier networking and advocacy; and mentoring. Among other opportunities available is the Governor Mike Beebe Veterans Scholarship Fund. Scholarships are awarded through the Sigma Pi Educational Foundation. They are designed to fund post-secondary

The DAV Charitable Service Trust awarded the center a $37,500 grant in 2008 to provide specialized rehabilitation services, mental health counseling, educational support and additional support services for veterans injured in military service.

Staff Sgt. Dustin Stinson (in uniform), with fellow combatwounded veteran Shannon Doyle Reed, right, and other veterans undergo orientation on accommodation services for veterans with hearing disabilities. Stinson and Reed were injured while serving in the 875TH Arkansas National Guard Combat Engineer Battalion in Iraq.



financial assistance for wounded and disabled veterans participating in the Beck PRIDE program. Beyond education assistance, the center provides personal rehabilitation services such as physical therapy, nutrition counseling and other health related services; mental health services, which include resources for individual, family and group counseling, substance abuse treatment resources, and other information and seminars; information about community services, veterans’ benefits, employment, finance services and more; and small business development services covering a variety of veteran-entrepreneur education and training courses such as business development, financing and operations guidance. “It behooves institutions of higher education to address the needs of returning veterans and their dependents,” Beck PRIDE Center Director Susan Tonymon said. “Veterans have earned benefits to pursue higher education, and we need to deliver on it. That’s what we are trying to do.”

“When a veteran signs up for the program, we take on the whole family because families, spouses and children often need assistance, too,” Tonymon said. Assistance for family members can include child care, housing and individual and family counseling in an effort to help the veteran and family succeed. But it’s not all about educating the veteran. The institution also benefits from the veteran experience. “It’s so rewarding to provide veterans with education opportunities and see them pursue their passion and work to achieve it,” Tonymon said. “I am most impressed by the character and drive wounded veterans have as they transition from the military to realize their post-combat career dreams. As educators, we face a challenge, too. We need to understand military culture and how to get the most out of the rich experience veterans bring to the education environment.” Since opening the center has provided opportunities and assistance for nearly 200 disabled veterans, like

Dustin Stinson. Stinson is a staff sergeant in the Arkansas Army National 875th Combat Engineer Battalion. He suffers a hearing loss, TBI and PTSD as a result of a roadside bomb in Iraq. “The center is awesome,” Stinson said. “When I first came to the center, I had problems with depression and anger. I wasn’t sure I could do this, but Ms. Tonymon put me on the right path to the resources I needed to succeed.” Stinson finished a telecommunications program last year and is currently in his freshman year at the university working toward a major in computer information technology. “The atmosphere here at the center is very comfortable,” Stinson said. “You are around other veterans and everything is geared to help you succeed. At first, I didn’t think I would have the money to go to college, but they showed me how to find the resources to afford it and provided the assistance to get the paperwork to the right people. “I’m hoping to stay out of factory work and build a productive career in an atmosphere that is PTSD friendly, and the center is helping me to get there.” Helping the veterans “get there” and achieve their education, career and life goals is what Beck PRIDE is all about. For more information about the Beck PRIDE Center at Arkansas State University visit their Web site at www2.astate.edu/cpi/beckpride.
Beck PRIDE Center Director Susan E. Tonymon discusses benefits with Arkansas Army National Guard Staff Sergeant Dustin Stinson at the Arkansas State University Jonesboro Campus.




f r o m t h e N AT I O N A L C H A P L A I N

Your Attitude is the Key to Your Success I woke up early today excited about all the many things I would do before the clock strikes midnight. I have many responsibilities to fulfill today. My job is to choose what kind of day I am going to have. Today I can complain because the weather is rainy or I can be thankful that the grass is getting watered free. Today I can feel sad that I don’t have more money in my pocket or I can be glad that my finances encourage me to plan my purchases wisely and guide me away from waste. Today I can grumble about my health or I can rejoice that I am still alive. Today I can lament over all that my parents didn’t give me when I was growing up or I can feel grateful that they allowed me to be born. Today I can cry because roses have thorns or I can celebrate that thorns have roses. Today I can mourn my lack of friends or I can excitedly embark upon a quest to discover new relationships. Today I can whine because I have to go to work or I can shout for joy because I have a job to do. Today stretches ahead of me waiting to be shaped, and here I am the sculptor who gets to do the shaping. What today and 2011 will be like is up to me. I get to choose what kind of day and year I will have. I extend to all of you God’s blessings for this another year, 2011.

Fin chart 1210_Fin chart 41707 12/6/10 9:53 AM Page 1

Unaudited Statement of Financial Position • September 30, 2010
Unrestricted Assets Current Assets Investments, at Market Land, Buildings and Equipment, Net of Depreciation Other Assets Other Assets Total Unrestricted Assets Life Membership Assets Current Assets Investments, at Market $ 24,604,593 282,620,152 7,489,414 539,800 Unrestricted Liabilities Current Liabilities Total Liabilities Unrestricted Net Assets General and Net Assets Designated by the Board of Directors Total Unrestricted Net Assets

Disabled American Veterans National Headquarters

Taps Tapes

$ 75,528,464 75,528,464
239,725,495 239,725,495 $ 315,253,959

$ 315,253,959

Total Liabilities and Unrestricted Net Assets
Life Membership Liabilities Current Liabilities Reserve for Future Distribution of Life Membership Dues Total Life Membership Liabilities and Reserve for Future Distribution of Life Membership Dues


1,138,167 54,526,546


267,613 55,397,100

Total Life Membership Assets

$ 55,664,713

$ 55,664,713

“Taps” tapes for memorial services and military funerals are available from Jane Riel, daughter of late DAV life member George Gregory of Lapeer, Michigan. Two tapes are available. One is an Army bugler, and the other is a recording of the “Taps” played at President John F. Kennedy’s funeral. There is no charge, although contributions are recommended to offset the cost of producing the tapes. Write Jane Riel, 5362 Evergreen Trail, Petoskey, MI 49770. CDs of the above recordings are also available on request.



A Kentucky National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter lands at a lot adjacent to the Golden Corral in Georgetown, Ky. The helicopter became one of several static military displays and part of an evening of special events honoring veterans on Military Appreciation Monday.

Military Appreciation Monday Nets $1 Million in Support
DAV Chapters, Departments and Golden Corral restaurants across the nation reach high-water mark for donations while bringing the veteran community together
By D. Clare n marking 10 years of serving free thank-you meals for veterans and active duty military members, Golden Corral marked a new milestone for charitable contributions to DAV Chapters and Departments. For the first time in the history of the event, the DAV surpassed the million-dollar mark with $1,001,734 in contributions. Golden Corral served meals to 374,458 veterans to show their gratitude and support for DAV Chapters and Departments. Both the number of meals served and the donations mark all-time highs for the event, which has generated more than $5,088,670 to support local service initiatives. “It seems fitting, as this event has continued to grow and evolve every year, that on this anniversary we reached this incredible fundraising landmark,” said National Adjutant Arthur H. Wilson. “Golden Corral has been a partner to our members and has gone out of its way to show a true commitment to veterans and military members.” The relationship between restaurant owners and managers and local DAV leaders expands every year, often extending the event for a week or more before meals are given for free. This is particularly true of DAV Chapter 12 and the Golden Corral restaurant in Georgetown, Ky., where, Chapter Adjutant and Commander Michael Sparks starts coordinating the event with the restaurant in July. “Before this event, we were just getting by with $1,800 a year. Now, people in the five counties we serve know who we are and what we do. The money we raise is supporting scholarships at five high schools. It’s going into gift cards for disadvantaged disabled veterans. We’re assisting veterans in getting the benefits they’ve earned,” said Sparks. “This event has been a godsend for the DAV. The generosity of our partners at Golden Corral has brought hope to countless veterans who have benefited from the meal and the services the DAV has been able to offer through the funds we raise that night,” said National Commander Wallace E. Tyson. The Commander visited five Golden Corrals in his home state of North Carolina for the event before DAV MAGAZINE



settling in to assist outreach and fundraising efforts in Fayetteville, N.C. As Department Adjutant, the Commander said he knows firsthand how important Military Appreciation Monday is for local DAV Chapters. “You see more ‘free’ offers going out to veterans this time of year, which is great, but no one comes close to the impact Golden Corral has on the community as a whole,” he said. “And it’s not just a free meal or fundraising. There’s outreach going on. People are learning about their benefits and making friends. They’re getting a ‘thanks’ for their service and sacrifices and feeling like they’re a part of it all again.” Commander Tyson said the event serves as a springboard for benefiting Chapters and Departments throughout the year. “When the economy suffers, disabled veterans are disproportionately impacted by unemployment. The needs rise as the funds dry up,” he said. “Golden Corral has stayed on course. They’ve been a steadfast partner for 10 years now. And they’ve made the event bigger every year. They’ve built a loyal following with veterans and military members through this event. Their food is fantastic, but it’s a place we can go where we feel appreciated and know that people at every level value our service.” In addition to a free dinner, attendees at the Georgetown, Ky., Military Appreciation Monday are treated to a full agenda. A Blackhawk helicopter lands in an adjacent lot, the Kentucky Air National Guard assembles a mini-replica C-130 Hercules Aircraft, a patriotic singer performs, speakers thank attendees and raffles and other fundraising activities raise money for the DAV. (Continued on page 33)
Center, A Golden Corral employee takes a moment to thank a Vietnam War veteran for his service at the Military Appreciation Monday event in Georgetown, Ky. Left, among the VIPs at Military Appreciation Monday in Georgetown, Ky., were (from left) Retired Army Sgt. Stephen Sanford, a life member and Distinguished Service Cross recipient of the War in Iraq, Past National Commander Jim Sursely and Golden Corral National Events Manager Dolly Mercer.



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them and found the copy of the letter that illustrated the date of claim from our DAV office in Massachusetts and called Pension Maintenance Center Manager Lucy delphia. When we called Philadelphia, they were unable Filipov at the VA regional office in Philadelphia.” to locate it. We kept trying, but the answer was the same: As she has many times in the past when rare situaBoston said they sent the claim to Philadelphia, and tions occur, Filipov walked over right away to see what Philadelphia said they didn’t have it.” assistance could be rendered on her part. On hearing the “We knew that if the claim could not be found we issue, she called VA employee William Barr, who arrived might have to resubmit it and that would result in no promptly to assist with the issue. “It was well after regular business hours, and William retroactive payment to the date the original claim was and Lucy continued to work with me to ensure all of filed,” Greg Courniotes said. Following a trip north in August 2010 to visit friends the necessary information was taken and the claim could in New York, Greg and Jean decided to take all the proceed,” NSO McClellan said. “Lucy also stated that documentation they had to Philadelphia to see if they the claim would get established and the Cournioteses could find someone to help them. That’s when they met should be hearing something within the next four or five National Service Officer Robert W. McClellan, Supervi- days.” The Cournioteses didn’t have to wait long. sor of the DAV National Service office in Philadelphia, “Two days later we received a call from William Barr and everything changed. stating the claim had been resolved and a check would Late in the afternoon of Aug. 11, 2010, NSO McClellan overheard a conversation in the hall outside his of- be forthcoming in several days,” Greg said. “It happened fice. Someone was telling a receptionist they had driven exactly four days later.” “We had a very frustrating all the way from Massachusetts time trying to work through regarding a situation for their the local process for more than father, who was in a nursing a year, and in the end we were home, suffering from severe not able to make it happen on disability and in desperate need our own,” Greg said. “Our of financial assistance for the experience with the DAV and high cost of care and bills that NSO McClelland was a Godneeded to be paid. send, and Ms. Filipov and Mr. “My curiosity got the best Barr were absolutely wonderof me and I decided to see if I ful. Each knew what to do and could help,” NSO McClellan they did it; they were there late said. “I could not believe I and they made it happen.” heard they had driven all the In October David Alexander way from Massachusetts to and Pauline, his wife of more seek help.” than 58 years, settled into an NSO McClellan invited the assisted living facility near their Cournioteses into his office, National Service Officer Robert W. McClellan where he soon discovered they had attempted to file a home where they will be well cared for. For NSO McClellan the work he does to assist disclaim in December 2009 for Jean’s father for non-service connected pension benefits for regular aid and atten- abled veterans and their families is a matter of individual pride and dedicated teamwork. dance. “Since coming on board to work as a National Service “I quickly understood that the claim may have been lost in the transfer from Massachusetts to the Phila- Officer with the DAV in 2003, I have made it my mission delphia Pension Maintenance Center for processing,” to ensure that we aid our fellow veterans in receiving the NSO McClellan said. Realizing that things can be lost benefits they have earned in service to our nation, just as in the mail, I checked the documents they brought with the DAV aided me in my claim for disability,” McClelDAV Service (Continued from page 5) JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011



David Alexander and Pauline, his wife of more than 58 years, stroll through their new assisted living facility residence. The Alexanders suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and were assisted by the DAV.

lan said. “Hiring disabled veterans demonstrates true compassion for our comrades, and it’s very important to let those we serve know that we have been through the medical examinations, received the VA letters and gotten the decision that can change one’s life. “I am also proud of the continuous effort of the DAV, in association with good relations with the Department of Veterans Affairs, proving once again that good communication and big hearts, can win here at home. My thanks goes out to Lucy and William, as well as the many others working at VA regional offices across the

United States that assist in accomplishing our mission, to build better lives for America’s disabled veterans and their families.” While lauding the efforts of NSO McClellan and the VA in Philadelphia on behalf of Alexander, National Service Director Garry J. Augustine stressed that efforts currently underway to modernize the claims process that incorporates the use of electronic files should drastically reduce or eliminate the loss of claims files. “This is paperwork that got misplaced until NSO McClellan and the members of the VA staff were able to locate it,” Augustine said. “Unfortunately that is not always the case. The process of brokering work from one regional office to another sometimes results in work being misplaced and in some instances lost. With electronic files the claim can be accessed by multiple sites without moving anything. Additionally, inquiries about a claim, such as those made by the Cournioteses, should be able to be verified and resolved faster and more thoroughly than previously possible.”

National Commander (Continued from page 1) Facebook pages with the aim of making the message “viral,” which is when a strong, well placed message is read and shared by so many it eventually spreads to even larger audiences without any additional effort from the originators. The messages we have are often strong enough to go viral— they just need to be shared by more of you initially. The communication revolution now underway is serving as an excellent opportunity for every member, every person who cares about the DAV to stand up and be heard. Whether you are sharing your

experiences as a disabled veteran, reaching out to old buddies or sounding off about legislative action, we need you to make your voice heard. Some Facebook pages you may want to visit include facebook.com/TheDAV and facebook.com/ StandUpForVets. Additionally, many Departments and Chapters now have their own Facebook pages, which should offer further opportunities to connect with veterans in your local areas. As your National Commander, I now have a Facebook page where you can come take part in the Commander’s Action Network. Please visit me online even if you are not registered with Facebook. I am at www.facebook.com/DAV.Commander. I hope to see you there.



Golden Corral (Continued from page 29) In a three-hour period, some 529 veterans were served, and from Sept. 27 to when the doors closed the night of Nov. 15, the location raised $11,777 for local DAV service initiatives. Both the number of participating veterans and the amount of money raised reflected a steady increase from previous years. According to Ray Wolf, General Manager of the location in Georgetown, the event is the highlight of the year for his staff members. In three hours, they serve more meals than in any other single day of the year except Mother’s Day. “It’s an extreme volume. It takes a lot of work. But we don’t cut any corners. We know we have some very special guests and we go all out,” said Wolf. “Our people are wearing patriotic hats and attire. The staff is happy to give something back. They know many of our customers by name, but they especially know who their veterans are.” “We’re true partners. We work together on everything. We’re treated like family. Our members are even

Department of Oklahoma Commander Paul Parham presents a Navy cap to Brent Nash, operating partner of the Warr Acres Golden Corral in Oklahoma City. The Department raised more than $121,000 at Golden Corral restaurants this year alone.

invited to the restaurant’s Christmas party,” Sparks said. “Each year we’re kicking out bigger and better ideas for the event and doing more in our community. The team at Golden Corral believes in what we’re doing and we couldn’t do it without them.”

Entrepreneur, Philanthropist Receives Commander’s Award ... Marine veteran and CINTAS founder Dick Farmer receives a round of applause from National Commander Wallace E. Tyson and National Headquarters Executive Director Marc Burgess, after receiving the DAV National Commander’s Award for philanthropic support of veterans and military members. The foundation, led by Farmer family members, financed the Fisher House at the Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in Cincinnati, providing a 10,000 square foot, 16-bedroom facility for the families of hospitalized veterans. Since 2003, it has provided more than $2.2 million in support of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. In 2005, the foundation donated $250,000 to provide a mobile USO canteen for servicemembers and their families in Okinawa, Japan.



Razorbacks Set to Roll ... Department of Arkansas Commander John Donovan, second from left, Department Treasurer Robert Ellis, left, and Department Adjutant James Parker, right, accept the donation of a Mobile Service Office from Little Rock National Service Office Supervisor Paulino Acosta.

MSOs Expand Department, Chapter Outreach
By Thom Wilborn he donation of seven Mobile Service Offices to six Departments and a Chapter will greatly expand the export of DAV service to small towns and remote areas far from our National Service Offices. And it will give the Departments and Chapter the opportunity to provide even more of our outstanding services to veterans who need our assistance. Created in 2001, the Mobile Service Office Program evolved from the DAV’s Field Service Units, which began serving veterans in 1973. Todays MSOs are staffed by NSOs and travel to remote locales providing service to disabled veterans wherever they were. Our MSOs were at ground zero in New York and at the Pentagon immediately after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The Mobile Service Office Program, where the rubber meets the road for DAV service across the nation, is getting better and larger.


After nine years of rolling to small communities and large cities, the MSOs have traveled nearly a million miles increasing veteran accessibility to benefits through our professional National Service Officers. “Last year, our MSOs traveled more than 114,000 miles, visiting 727 cities and towns,” said National Service Director Garry J. Augustine. “Our NSOs interviewed 18,647 veterans and other potential claimants.” Seven of the ten MSOs in operation since 2001 were donated for continued use to the Departments of Arkansas, Minnesota, Montana, Oklahoma, Virginia and West Virginia, and to Chapter 1 in Portland, Ore. These donated MSOs will be staffed by Department and Chapter Service Officers. Another was donated to a program for homeless veterans in North Carolina. “With all these MSOs operating in the continental United States, we’re going to be available to many more veterans, their families and survivors,” said Augustine. “With

the ten new vehicles staffed by our NSOs and the others operated by Departments and a Chapter, we are going to reach deeper into areas far from our National Service Offices.” Supported with two $1 million grants from the Harley-Davidson Foundation, MSOs have also become the hub of the Harley’s Heroes program, appearing at special dealership events across the country. “Most important are the thousands and thousands of veterans we’ve been able to help with our professional services and claims representation,” said Augustine. “All the donated MSOs to be used for outreach efforts are roadworthy and safe,” said Augustine. “The new MSOs are equipped with laptop computers donated by HewlettPackard. “This program is a great success,” Augustine said. “Our NSOs are working very hard in these communities and at Harley-Davidson events. The NSOs are doing commendable work.” DAV MAGAZINE


Reunions - Because of increasing
number of requests and the space limitations of our magazine, we must limit publications of unit reunions to one time only. Send such notices at least six months in advance to: Reunions, DAV Magazine, P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, OH 45250-0301. Thank you...the Editors.

ARMY 2ND INFANTRY REGIMENT-May 12-15, 2011, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, Contact: Juan Santiago, Telephone: (321) 259-7494, Email: decoy64to70@ aol.com. 6TH & 7TH BATTALIONS, 15TH ARTILLERY, VIETNAM 1967-1971-May 12-15, 2011, Branson, Missouri, Contact: John Caldwell, Telephone: (703) 922-6324, Email: john6361@gmail.com. 73RD TANK BATTALION AND 73RD ARMOR DIVISION-May 11-15, 2011, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, Contact: Curtis Banker, Telephone: (518) 643-2302, Email: dmbanker-curtis@northnet.org. 815TH ENGINEER BATTALION (CONSTRUCTION)-May 12-13, 2011, Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, Contact: Larry Saul, Telephone: (706) 201-6001, Email: 815thEngr@gmail.com. 8605TH AAU; 5TH ASA FS; DET 5, 2ND SIG SVC BN-April 7-10, 2011, Jacksonville, Florida, Contact: Dick Dixon, Telephone: (601) 485-7567. 86TH CHEMICAL MORTAR BATTALION ASSN.May 4-8, 2011, Nashville, Tennessee, Contact: George Murray, Telephone: (256) 820-4415. ANZIO BEACHHEAD VETERANS OF 1944 WWII-April 27-30, 2011, Branson, Missouri, Contact: Clyde E. Easter, Telephone: (276) 7287293. ARMY COUNTER INTELLIGENCE CORPS VETERANS, INC.-May 15-19, 2011, New Orleans, Louisiana, Contact: Dick Snyder, Telephone: (813) 634-4489, Email: rsnyder63@tampabay.rr.com. MID-ATLANTIC CHAPTER, 11TH AIRBORNE DIVISION ASSN. AND FORMER MEMBERS OF THE 11TH AIR ASSAULT DIVISION AND THE 187TH ARCT-February 27-March 2, 2011, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Contact: Herbert Shapiro, Telephone: (410) 827-6410, Email: HLSHAP@ atlanticbb.net.

USS CADMUS (AR-14)-May 12-15, 2011, Savannah, Georgia, Contact: Robert Baschmann, Telephone: (716) 655-5415, Email: mcaanreunion@ yahoo.com. USS CAMBRIA (APA-36)-April 14-17, 2011, Pensacola, Florida, Contact: Andrew Henry, Jr., Telephone: (703) 660-8602, Email: usscambria@ gmail.com. USS CARPENTER (DD-825)-April 28-May 2, 2011, Warwick, Rhode Island, Contact: Joel Weinbaum, Telephone: (256) 351-8552, Email: smokycolors@ yahoo.com. USS DUNCAN (DDR-874)-May 1-5, 2011, Las Vegas, Nevada, Contact: David M. Walrod, Sr., Telephone: (513) 523-8880, Email: david_walrod@ hotmail.com, Web site: www.ussduncan.org or www. MilitaryReunionPlanners.com/Duncan. USS GEN. H. W. BUTNER (AP/TAP-113)-May 1216, 2011, Norfolk, Virginia, Contact: James M. Jack, Telephone: (757) 488-2858, Email: jsailorjack@aol.com. USS GENERAL W. A. MANN REUNION ASSN.April 28-30, 2011, Mobile, Alabama, Contact: Walter Baker, Telephone: (850) 934-1671, Email: resjoy@ cox.net. USS MARIAS (AO-57)-May 12-15, 2011, Savannah, Georgia, Contact: Gillette Todd, Telephone: (815) 238-8369, Email: mcaanreunion@ yahoo.com. USS PAWCATUCK (AO-108)-May 9-12, 2011, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Contact: David Willis, Telephone: (623) 214-9835, Email: dwshs53@aol. com. USS PORTSMOUTH (CL-102) 1945-1949-April 28-May 2, 2011, Herndon, Virginia, Contact: Walt Hohner, Telephone: (732) 463-1745, Email: WPHohner@aol.com. USS PURDY (DD-734)-April 13-17, 2011, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Contact: Larry DiPasquale, Telephone: (610) 433-4787, Email: chiefdi@juno.com.

USS SEMINOLE (AKA/LKA-104)-April 2730, 2011, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Contact: Nick Haas, Telephone: (918) 398-9600, Email: chicksandcows@ windstream.com. USS SOLEY (DD-707)-May 12-16, 2011, Nashville, Tennessee, Contact: Harland H. Hamm, Telephone: (701) 540-1178, Email: lthamm@yahoo.com, Web site: www.usssoley.org. USS STEINAKER (DD/DDR-863)-April 28-May 1, 2011, Jacksonville, Florida, Contact: Russell Noble, Telephone: (231) 944-2148, Email: olnoble@att.net, Web site: www.usssteinakerreunion.com. USS TARAWA (CV/CVA/CVS-40)-April 28-May 1, 2011, Baltimore, Maryland, Contact: Cliff Gardner, Telephone: (401) 539-1149. USS YELLOWSTONE (AD-27)-May 18-22, 2011, South Portland, Maine, Contact: Paul W. Bowen, Telephone: (352) 854-1387, Email: bowp@att.net.

AIR FORCE 494TH BOMBARDMENT GROUP (H) REUNION WWII – 7TH ARMY AIR FORCE-April 28-May 2, 2011, Northbrook, Illinois, Contact: Marshall L. Keller, Telephone: (248) 626-3684. 601ST, 615TH AIRCRAFT CONTROL & WARNING SQUADRON (GERMANY) — May 1-6, 2011, Biloxi, Mississippi, Contact: Francis Gosselin, Telephone: (352) 588-9295, Email: fgosselin@tampabay.rr.com. FIREBASE AIRBORNE ASHAU VALLEY 1969, 101st AIRBORNE DIVISION, 2/319, 2/11 FIELD ARTILLERY, 2-501-1506-3-187 INFANTRY AND OTHERS-May 13-14, 2011, Branson, Missouri, Contact: Dean Seematter, Telephone: (785) 292-4922, Email: J.Herman33@ att.net.

MARINES FOXTROT 2/1 NUI LOC SON, JAN-APR 1967-April 21-23, 2011, Virginia Beach, Virginia, Contact: Mike Snyder, Telephone: (757) 652-7303, Email: skcs1989@yahoo.com. MARINE AMMUNITION COMPANY-May 11-13, 2011, Quantico, Virginia, Contact: Tom Crotty, Telephone: (513) 451-4694, Email: tomandcar@ fuse.net.

NAVY USS AMPHION (AR-13)-May 12-15, 2011, Savannah, Georgia, Contact: Todd Gillette, Telephone: (815) 238-8369, Email: mcaanreunion@ yahoo.com. USS ARCADIA (AD-33)-May 12-15, 2011, Savannah, Georgia, Contact: Todd Gillette, Telephone: (815) 238-8369, Email: mcaanreunion@ yahoo.com.

New Arrival … Chapter 22 recently received a U.S. Army M56 Scorpion tank which is displayed outside the Chapter home in Belleville, N.J. The Picatinny Arsenal, near Dover, N.J., donated the non-operational tank to Chapter 22 following efforts by Chapter members to obtain a vehicle to display at the Chapter. This M56 Scorpion was an unarmored self-propelled anti-tank gun deployed with the 173d Airborne Brigade during the Vietnam War.



lege and graduated from George Washington University and the DAV’s National Service Officers’ training course at The American University in Washington, D.C. He was appointed National Service Director in 1970, and n John J. Keller, who served as National Service Direc- was charged with recruiting and training Vietnam War tor from 1970 to 1976, passed away Nov. 5. He veterans to join DAV’s professional staff. was 88 years old. He retired from DAV in 1976. A World War II veteran, Keller was stationed “One of DAV’s most impressive outat Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack reach initiatives under Keller’s leadership and served in several campaigns throughout was the Field Service Unit program,” the Pacific. He was medically discharged after Adjutant Wilson said. “Those offices incurring a severe back injury and contracting on wheels enabled our NSOs to take malaria during military service. their services to veterans in the suburbs “John Keller was among the National and rural areas of America, often distant Organization’s top leaders at a critical period from DAV’s National Service Offices. in our history,” National Adjutant Arthur H. It is forward thinking and direct action Keller Wilson said. “He was instrumental in extendsuch as that which has made the DAV ing DAV’s outreach to the nation’s veterans, especially the nation’s premier veterans service organization. those returning from the Vietnam War, who now make The veterans and their families and survivors we serve up the bulk of our membership.” owe much to the leadership and compassionate service Keller joined the DAV in November 1945 and served that John Keller provided on a daily basis. He will be as the National Service Office Supervisor in Wilkes- sorely missed, but his legacy of service and outreach to Barre, Pa., from 1947 to 1964. He attended Wilkes Col- veterans lives on.”

Former Service Director Reached Out to Vietnam Veterans

Yes Santa, There is a Virginia … Leaders of the DAV Combining Chapters Thrift Stores in Hampton Roads, Va., present a $25,000 donation to officials of the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia. It was one of three donations made last fall by the 13 Chapters that operate thrift stores in the six-city area. In all, donations totaling $85,000 were made to food banks and the Hampton VA medical center.



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