National Defense Authorization Act Concerns

In comments regarding the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024, VFW Washington Office Executive Director Ryan Gallucci stated that housing for military families is a major concern. Though service members receive a basic allowance for housing, it has not kept up with the market. Also, only 37% of active duty family respondents were likely to recommend military service according to the latest Blue Star Families survey. Gallucci said, “There’s a realization that in order to encourage Americans to volunteer to join the military, the benefits package needs to take care of their families, that you can’t have service members in poverty and expect to maintain the all-volunteer force.”

President Implements UCMJ Reforms

President Biden has enacted historic Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) reforms aimed at holding more offenders accountable for crimes. Passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022, changes to the military justice system include placing prosecutorial decisions for cases like sexual assault and child abuse in the hands of independent prosecutors instead of unit commanders, as has been the status quo. The new rules come on the heels of recommendations from the 2021 Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military, and years of effort by advocates and lawmakers to increase process fairness and justice for victims of sexual assault and other serious offenses.

Review for Potential New Toxic Exposure Conditions

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced it will conduct a scientific review to determine whether there is a relationship between three conditions — acute leukemias, chronic leukemias, and multiple myeloma outside of the head and neck — and toxic exposures for service members who deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Uzbekistan, and the entire Southwest Asia theater of operations. The review will help VA determine whether these conditions will be considered presumptive for veterans. This presumptive framework was a key VFW-championed provision of the PACT Act.

Veterans and Family Members of Veterans

Notify the VA when you go to a Community Emergency Hospital or are admitted to a Community Hospital. VA payment is not guaranteed, it will be considered for payment, you MUST notify the VA within 72 hours. The number is (844) 724-7842. When you are done talking with a representative, you will get a reference number. Be sure to keep that number in a safe place. Do not rely on a doctor or nurse to make the call. A family member can do it. You will need the Veterans information, birth date, address, what hospital, reason, VA identification number and social security number.

VFW Election Results

The results of the VFW National Convention Nomination and Election for National Officers are: Commander-in-Chief Duane Sarmiento, Sr. Vice Commander-in-Chief Al Lipphardt, and Jr. Vice Commander-in-Chief Carol Whitmore.

POW/MIA Update

Army Cpl. Donald “Donny” L. DuPont, 22, of Alma Center, Wisconsin, was a member of B Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. He will be buried in Fairchild, Wisconsin, on Aug. 23, 2023.

Army Air Forces Tech Sgt. Elton L. Gomillion, 22, of Iola, Texas, was assigned to the 409th Bombardment Squadron, 93rd Bombardment Group, 9th Air Force. He went missing in action on Aug. 1, 1943. He will be buried in his hometown on Sept. 12, 2023.

Army Pfc. Albert A. Gosnell, 18, of Greenville, South Carolina, was a member of Heavy Mortar Company, 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division. The Army issued a presumptive finding of death on Dec. 31, 1953. He will be buried in Anderson, South Carolina, on a date to be determined.

Army Pfc. James L. Miller, 21, of Detroit, Michigan, was a member of K Company, 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. He was reported killed in action on July 30, 1950. He will be buried in Holly, Michigan, on a date to be determined.

Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. Wesley L. Jones, 22, of Wichita, Kansas, was assigned to the 345th Bombardment Squadron, 98th Bombardment Group, 9th Air Force. He went missing in action on Aug. 1, 1943. He will be buried in his hometown on a date to be determined.

Till next week, praying for all service members.


– Charles Castelluccio