Hal Roesch II, of Hampton, Virginia, was installed as the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ 112th national commander today during a change of command ceremony at the VFW National Headquarters. Roesch assumes command of the oldest combat veterans service organization boasting more than 1.5 million members, including its Auxiliary. “I stand before you, humbled, elated and ready to selflessly serve the 1.5 million members and its Auxiliary as we continue the tradition of serving America’s veterans, service members and families worldwide,” said Roesch. Roesch is a 20-year U.S. Air Force retiree serving from 1982 to 2002. He earned his VFW eligibility during his combat service in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and overseas service as part of Southern Watch.
72-Hour Emergency Care Notification Change
Veterans that are enrolled in the VA Health Care System take notice of this change in phone number. The VAs 72-hour notification for non-VA emergency care has changed to the centralized Community Care Contact Center. This means veterans must now call (844) 724-7842 or email VHAEmergencyNotification@VA.gov instead of calling their local VAMC Care in the Community team. Veterans who go to a community emergency department or are admitted to a community hospital, must notify the VA within 72 hours to be “considered for payment.” Veterans, make sure to put this number in your phone or wallet just in case it is ever needed.
Senate Approves Adding Agent Orange Presumptives in Defense Bill
On Wednesday, the Senate approved a VFW-supported amendment to S. 4049, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (NDAA), to add bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and parkinsonism to the list of presumptive conditions associated with exposure to Agent Orange. The scientific community maintains that sufficient evidence exists to link these three conditions. The amendment was introduced by Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) and was approved by a vote of 94-6. A vote on the Senate NDAA is expected to occur within the next few days. The VFW thanks Sen. Tester for his efforts to expand veterans’ disability benefits, and urges the conference committee to keep this provision in the final version of the NDAA
Multiple Veteran Bills Sent to President
This week, the House and Senate passed multiple bills supporting veterans. VFW-supported bills H.R. 3535, the G.I. Bill Work Study Improvement Act of 2019, H.R. 3504, the Ryan Kules and Paul Benne Specially Adaptive Housing Improvement Act of 2019, and S. 3637, to amend the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and provide additional legal protections for service members impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These three pieces of legislation now head to the White House. The VFW asks the President to swiftly sign these bills into law. Veterans, service members, and their families will greatly benefit from this bipartisan, bicameral work done by Congress.
Overseas Absentee Voter Registration Deadline
Uniformed services members, their families, and overseas citizens can find information about absentee voter registration on the Federal Voting Assistance Program website. The deadline to request a ballot for the November 2020 General Election is Aug. 1.
Army Pfc. Glenn E. Collins, 21, of Tucson, Arizona, was a member of Heavy Mortar Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. He was reported missing in action on Dec. 2, 1950, when his unit was attacked by enemy forces near the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea. Collins will be buried in his hometown at a date yet to be decided by the family.
Marine Corps Pfc. John P. Langan, 18, was a member of Company C, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio. Langan died on the third day of battle, Nov. 22, 1943. Interment services are pending.
Till next week, praying for all service members.
– Charles Castelluccio