USAA Launches Initiative To Combat Veterans Suicide

USAA has launched an initiative focused on veteran suicide prevention. Face the Fight is a coalition of 40 corporations, foundations, nonprofit and veteran-focused organizations that have joined together to raise awareness and provide support. VFW Washington Office Executive Director Ryan Gallucci was one of the many representatives of the coalition partners in attendance at a special event held June 29 to support the mission of breaking the stigmas surrounding suicide in order to open conversation on the topic.

VA Legal Services Grants for Homeless Veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded $11.5 million in legal services grants to help homeless veterans or those who are at risk of experiencing homelessness. These first-of-their-kind grants were made available through VA’s new Legal Services for Veterans Grant Program. They were awarded to 79 public or nonprofit organizations to help veterans with various legal needs to ensure they retain their housing.

Erie VA Construction Update/Traffic Pattern Changes

Effective now until July 31, 2023, the access road located on the south side of the medical center campus will be closed, restricting traffic flow from north to south (Front Parking Lot ,To Back Parking Lot). Use the 38th Street entrance to access Ambulatory Surgery, Main Entrance Building 1, Urgent Care and Community living Center. Use the Old French Road to entrance Behavioral Health Bldg. 8 and Human Resource Bldg. 6.

POW/MIA Update

Air Force Colonel Ernest L. De Soto, 37, of San Francisco, California, was assigned to 390th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 336th Tactical Fighter Wing. He was piloting an F-4D Phantom II that went missing on April 12, 1969. He was buried in Burlingame, California, on June 30, 2023.

Army Pfc. George B. Thomas, 31, of East Providence, Rhode Island, was assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division. He was reported missing in action on Nov. 24, 1944. He will be buried in Exeter, Rhode Island, on July 30, 2023.

Army Pvt. J.C. Brooks, 19, of Rockfield, Kentucky, was a member of Company I, 39th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division. He was killed in action on Aug. 1, 1943. He will be buried in Cecilia, Kentucky, on September 24, 2023.

Air Force Capt. Frederick M. Hall, 25, of Waynesville, North Carolina, was assigned to 390th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 336th Tactical Fighter Wing. He went missing on April 12, 1969. He will be buried in his hometown on Oct. 10, 2023.

Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Paul W. Schmidt, 20, of Rockville Center, New York, was assigned to 161st Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Group, 8th Air Force. His F-6D went missing during an attack on March 23, 1945. He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on a date to be determined.

Till next week, praying for all service members.


– Charles Castelluccio