Congressional Watch Dog Calls for DOD to Improve Transition

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report titled “Service Members Transitioning to Civilian Life: Agencies Can Improve Warm Handovers for Additional Assistance”. During a review of DOD’s warm handover process, GAO found that from April 2021 to March 2023, it did not provide needed transition assistance to 4,300 at-risk service members who were facing challenges with employment, housing or medical care. The VFW continues to advocate for legislation to improve transition from service, including H.R. 3933/S. 2888, TAP Promotion Act, to require accredited representatives from national, state and local organizations to be included in Transition Assistance Program classes.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Military sexual trauma (MST) relates to sexual assault or harassment that occurred during military service. Although VA is spotlighting MST education and treatment this month, it works year round to raise awareness of its resources to address this issue. According to its website, “Healing after MST can take time. But no matter how long it’s been, VA is here to help.”

VA Direct Deposit Consolidation Deadline

As of April 20, 2024, VA will no longer send benefit payments for veterans or family members to more than one bank account. This is due to an IT modernization effort by VA for its GI Bill payment system. This change will impact approximately 50,000 students who receive the GI Bill and other VA benefits in separate direct deposit accounts. VA is sending weekly emails and text messages to this group of veterans and beneficiaries informing them of the upcoming change and asking them to select one bank account going forward. If students do not consolidate their bank accounts by April 20, VA will continue to send payments but will designate the non-education benefit payment account as the primary bank account.

Important Dates in April

April 5 – Gold Star Spouses Day

April 9 – National Former POW Recognition Day

April 14 – Air Force Reserve birthday

April 22 – Earth Day

April 23 – Army Reserve birthday

April 30 – National Military Brats Day

POW/MIA Update

Army Air Forces Tech. Sgt. Robert Allen, 20, of Oakland, California, was assigned to the 860th Bombardment Squadron. He was killed in action on Aug. 18, 1944. He will be buried in San Diego, California, on July 12, 2024.

Army Sgt. John O. Herrick, 19, of Emporia, Kansas, was assigned to Company B, 149th Engineer Combat Battalion. He was killed in action en route to Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. He will be buried in his hometown on Nov. 11, 2024.

Army Air Forces Sgt. Frank J. Seiferheld, 25, of New York, New York, was assigned to the 348th Bombardment Squadron, 15th Air Force. He went missing in action on Jan. 20, 1945. Interment services are pending.

Army Pvt. 1st Class Jimmy D. Smith, 21, of Muskogee, Oklahoma, and was a member of Medical Company, 7th Cavalry Regiment. He was killed in action on July 30, 1950. He will be buried in Kingsburg, California, on a date to be determined.

Till next week, praying for all service members.


– Charles Castelluccio