Female vets head to D.C.; Vet preference at issue

* VFW Women Veterans Visit Capitol Hill: Last week, four VFW past department commanders, who are women veterans, traveled to Washington, D.C. During their visit, they worked on legislative issues pertaining to female veterans, primarily focusing on preventive medicine within the Department of Veterans Affairs, military sexual trauma and homelessness. Meetings were held with leadership from Congress, the Department of Labor’s Veteran Employment and Training Service and Department of Defense’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office.

* Veterans Preference Restriction Opposed: Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain is now saying he will oppose a controversial proposal that would restrict veterans preference to a one-time use when applying for work within the federal government. The restriction, which the VFW has opposed since its introduction, is buried deep inside the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017. The VFW wants the current veterans preference program kept intact. The misperception by veterans and misinterpretation by federal hiring authorities is that veterans preference is a job guarantee, where in fact the only “guarantee” is the veteran applicant gets to advance to the interview stage where he or she must still distinguish themselves as the best qualified candidate. Congress will revisit this issue when it reconvenes after the November elections.

* Mobile Apps for Veterans: VA has launched a number of mobile apps aimed at improving the lives of veterans and making VA more accessible. Currently, VA has 16 apps available through the Apple store and 6 apps available on Android’s Google Play. These apps help veterans manage their PTSD, pressure ulcers, preconception care and other aspects of their health care. Many of the applications are also available for download on desktops and laptops. VA is currently field testing 11 more applications that will be released soon, including a self-scheduling application, an app to help veterans track their health care by receiving notifications from their health care team, and sending health information, such as blood pressure and other vital signs back to their health care team. For more information, go to. mobile.va.gov/appstore.

* TRICARE Sets Hurricane Emergency Pharmacy Rules: Due to the impact of Hurricane Matthew, TRICARE has established emergency rules for those needing to refill their prescriptions. The rules will last through Nov. 2, 2016. For more information, go to. www.tricare.mil.

* World War One 100 Cities/100 Memorials Initiative: In observance of the upcoming centennial of World War I, 100 matching grants of up to $2,000 apiece will be awarded for the restoration of 100 World War I memorials across the United States. Any municipal government, individual or organization may apply. Likewise, any individual, organization or company can become a sponsor of the effort. To learn more, go to www.worldwar1centennial.org.

* MIA Update: * Navy Seaman 2nd Class Rudolph V. Piskuran, 19, will be buried Oct. 14 in his hometown of Elyria, Ohio. On Dec. 7, 1941, Piskuran was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which capsized after sustaining multiple torpedo hits as it was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. * Army Sgt. 1st Class James P. Shunney, 19, of Woonsocket, R.I., will be buried Oct. 14 in Blackstone, Mass. In early November 1950, Shunney was a member of Company I, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. Shunney was declared missing in action on Nov. 2, 1950. * Navy Fireman 3rd Class Edwin C. Hopkins, 19, will be buried Oct. 15 in his hometown of Keene, N.H. On Dec. 7, 1941, Hopkins was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which capsized after sustaining multiple torpedo hits as it was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. * Army Cpl. Milton T. Bullis, 21, is scheduled to be buried Oct. 21 in Holly, Mich. In late November 1950, Bullis was a member of Medical Company, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. He would be declared missing in action on Dec. 1, 1950. * Army Pfc. William W. Cowan was a member of Company M, 3rd Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. It would be later learned he had been captured but died in captivity in a POW camp in North Korea. Interment services are pending. * Marine Warren G. Nelson was assigned to Company E, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, which landed against stiff enemy resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands. Nelson died on the first day of battle, Nov. 20, 1943. Interment services are pending.

Till next week, praying for all service members.

— Charles Castelluccio