I had the honor to be at The Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum Induction Ceremony in Pittsburgh. It was held Sunday, March 31. They were all from Pennsylvania. The inductees were: Lieutenant Colonel William K.Harding, United States Air force, Vietnam, Distinguished Flying Cross, inducted by one of the Master of Ceremonies his brother; Colonel James C. Harding, United States Air Force retired, recipient of The Air Force Cross, Silver Star with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters and Distinguished Flying Cross with 8 Oak Leaf Clusters, 2018 inductee into the hall; Sergeant Joseph J. Kosoglow, United States Marine Corps, Vietnam, Silver Star; Captain Herbert M. Krauss, United States Army World War II, Silver Star; 1st Lieutenant Robert O. Long, United States Army Air Corps, World War II, Distinguished Flying Cross; Sergeant John C. Matthews, United States Army, Civil War, Medal Of Honor; Staff Sergeant Jack Pingree, United States Army, World War II, Silver Star; Sergeant Leslie H. Sabo, United States Army, Vietnam, Medal Of Honor; Corporal Bruce D. Wagner, United States Army, Vietnam Silver Star; Private Frank Williams, United States Army, World War II, Silver Star.
VA Recommends Dropping Blue Water Legal Battle
VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said during congressional testimony Tuesday that he would recommend that the Justice Department not contest a recent federal court ruling that would pave the way for the return of earned disability benefits for some 90,000 so-called Blue Water Navy veterans. In Procopio v Wilkie, the VA secretary was sued by Navy veteran Alfred Procopio, Jr., a life member of VFW Post 6587 in Spring Lake Park, Minn., who was denied service connection for prostate cancer and diabetes mellitus — both illnesses are among the 14 presumptive diseases associated with Agent Orange exposure — because he was assigned aboard an aircraft carrier inside Vietnam’s 12-mile territorial waters but never on dry land or within Vietnam’s inland waterways. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit focused on the intent of the 1991 Agent Orange Act, which was to grant a presumption of service connection for certain diseases to veterans who “served in the Republic of Vietnam.” At issue was whether service within territorial waters constituted service “in the Republic of Vietnam.” By a 9-2 decision, the court ruled it did. “The VFW salutes Secretary Wilkie for his support to move forward and take care of this group of forgotten Vietnam veterans,” said VFW National Commander B.J. Lawrence. “We also support his recommendation that some type of historical research division be created within the Department of the Navy to ensure that all such ships are fully accounted for in the VA’s list of exposed ships after a half-century. We need to get this done to reinforce to tens of thousands of Vietnam veterans that our nation is willing to provide them the care and benefits they have earned and deserve, and we urge Congress to pass H.R. 299, the Blue Water Veterans Act of 2019, to ensure the VA can never again arbitrarily strip veterans of their earned benefits.”
Important Dates in April
April is the Military Child Month
April 5: Gold Star Wives Day – A day set aside to recognize the sacrifice of Gold Star wives
April 14: Air Force Reserve’s birthday
April 21: Easter
April 23: Army Reserve’s birthday
April 30: National Military Brats Day
Navy Reserve Journalist 3rd Class Raul A. Guerra was a passenger on board an E-1B Tracer when radar contact with the aircraft was lost just outside of Da Nang. Interment services are pending.
Army Pfc. Herschel M. Riggs was an infantryman with Headquarters Company, 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division. In July 1950, his unit was involved in combat actions against North Korean forces near Taejon, South Korea. Interment services are pending.
Army Cpl. Benjamin W. Scott was a member of Company M, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division. In July 1950, his unit was engaged in combat actions against the North Korean forces. Interment services are pending.
Seaman 2nd Class Calvin H. Palmer and Seaman 2nd Class Wilferd D. Palmer were stationed aboard the USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft on Dec. 7, 1941. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crew members, including Calvin and Wilferd Palmer. Interment services are pending.
Till next week, praying for all service members.
– Charles Castelluccio