Set Back For Toxic Exposures Fund

The Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General investigated VA’s initial spending plan for toxic exposures and found that a number of expenditures did not align with regulations. Among those were costs belonging to the National Cemetery Administration (NCA). The removal of $1.1 million to update the Memorial Benefits Management System for the NCA will no doubt create a setback in the progress VA anticipated relating to the allocation of funds. The VFW’s 2024 Priority Goals include an increase in burial allowances to account for inflation. Proper funding to facilitate benefits management for eligible veterans is a crucial step in meeting this key objective.

VFW 2024 Priority Goals

The 118th Congress is now in its second session, and there is still work to be done. The VFW 2024 Priority Goals include many issues concerning benefits and services for veterans, service members and their families. The VFW will continue to advocate diligently to ensure members of Congress and the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Defense and Labor provide the resources and care our nation’s veterans have earned and deserve.

Important Dates in February

Feb. 3 – Four Chaplains Day – On Feb. 3, 1943, the U.S.A.T. Dorchester, a luxury ship converted into a Army transport ship, was part of a convoy in icy waters, 150 miles from its destination, an American base in Greenland. The ship was torpedoed by a German U Boat. As the ship was going down, the four Chaplains removed their life jackets and gave them to the men. It was reported as the ship was going down, the four Chaplains linked their arms together, singing and praying.

Feb. 4 – USO birthday

Week of Feb.12 – National Salute to Veteran Patients

Feb. 19 – Coast Guard Reserve birthday and Presidents Day

POW/MIA Update

Army Master Sgt. Roy E. Barrow, 39, of Valdosta, Georgia, was a member of King Company, 7th Infantry Division. He was reported missing in action on Dec. 12, 1950. He will be buried in his hometown on Jan. 27, 2024.

Navy Pharmacist’s Mate 2nd Class Merle C. J. Hillman, 25, of Holyoke, Massachusetts, was assigned to the battleship USS California, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. He was among 104 crewmen killed that day. He was buried in his hometown on Jan. 27, 2024.

Army Staff Sgt. Leroy C. Cloud, 24, of Thrall, Texas, was assigned to Company A, 744th Tank Battalion. He was reported missing in action on July 26, 1944, and the Army issued a report of death on Aug. 16 that same year. He will be buried in Taylor, Texas, on April 7, 2024.

Army Master Sgt. Thomas Crayton, 28, of Austin, Texas, was a member of Alpha Battery, Eighth U.S. Army. He went missing in action on Dec. 1, 1950, and died while a prisoner of war on Feb. 11, 1951. Interment services are pending.

Till next week, praying for all service  members.


– Charles Castelluccio