VFW 28th District Meeting Set for Sunday

Pennsylvania VFW 28th District Meeting for Post and Auxiliary Members will be held Sunday, Sept. 8, at VFW Post 470. The post is located at 1808 W. 26th St., in Erie. School of instruction will start at 1 p.m. and the post and auxiliary meeting will start at 2 p.m. The 28th District covers Crawford, Erie and Mercer counties.

Erie VA Medical Center Schedules Events

Suicide Prevention Walk & Candlelight Vigil: 12 p.m. Monday, Sept. 9, 2nd floor conference room

9/11 Remembrance & Patriot Day Recognition: 10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2nd floor conference room

POW & MIA Remembrance Ceremony: 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, 2nd floor conference room (More information to follow as the day gets closer.)

VFW Statement on U.S. Military Dependents Overseas

The VFW is very concerned that the dependent children of U.S. service members and government employees stationed overseas, and who are also legal permanent residents of the U.S., may face difficulty returning to the United States. The concern arose from an update published Wednesday by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) that rescinds a previous policy. The main concern to VFW National Commander William “Doc” Schmitz is that the new USCIS policy specifically targets dependent children of U.S. military personnel and U.S. government employees. “The big question is why target dependent children?” asks Schmitz. “This has a huge negative impact on the morale of those in the fight, supporting the fight, or who are projecting America’s presence around the world,” he said. “To intentionally target these children who are born to legal permanent residents minimizes the fact that their parents are serving the United States on foreign soil, and in many cases shedding their own blood so that others don’t have to. I strongly urge Acting USCIS Director Ken Cuccinelli to rescind this policy change now!”

VA to Provide On-Site Counseling to National Guard Members

VA and DOD formalized a partnership on June 28, 2019, to provide Vet Center counseling, outreach staff, and other services to members during training or drill weekends. “This relationship between VA and the National Guard further advances the department’s efforts to decrease service member and veteran suicide,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Vet Center staff will provide counseling and referrals to those who may be under stress and at risk for self-harm.”

Retirees Enrolled in TRICARE Prime May Get a Refund

Last Thursday, TRICARE released a policy manual update that will be beneficial to some retirees who are enrolled in TRICARE Prime. Prior to the TRICARE reforms that went into effect in 2018, enrollment fees were included in the maximum out-of-pocket payment or catastrophic cap; after the reforms, they were no longer counted toward the cap which effectively increased the cost for some families. The new change, which is retroactive to 2018, will allow the annual enrollment payment to be counted toward the cap again. This means retirees who paid the enrollment fee and exceeded their catastrophic cap could get a refund. The update explains that the contractor will be responsible for notifying the beneficiaries who are affected by the policy change. The outreach letter will explain the credit, how the credit was applied, and the steps to request a refund.

Important September Dates

Sept. 2: 74th commemoration of the formal signing of the ending of WWII in Tokyo Japan on board the Battle Ship USS Missouri

Sept. 2: Labor Day

Sept. 11: Patriot Day

Sept. 18: Air Force birthday

Sept. 21: POW/MIA Recognition Day

Sept. 29: Gold Star Mothers and Families Day

POW/MIA Update

Army Cpl. Gudmund C. Johnson, Jr., was a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, when he was captured by enemy forces near Unsan, North Korea. Interment services are pending.

Army Cpl. Charles H. Grubb was a member of Company M, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. He was reported missing in action on Dec. 1, 1950, in the vicinity of the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea. Interment services are pending.

Army Sgt. Gerald B. Raeymacker was a member of Battery B, 57th Field Artillery Battalion, 7th Infantry Division, 31st Regimental Combat Team. He was reported missing in action on Dec. 6, 1950, in the vicinity of the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea. Interment services are pending.

Navy Seaman 1st Class Stewart Jordan was assigned to the USS Nelson, which was anchored off the coast of Normandy, France. He was killed June 12, 1944, when the ship was hit by enemy fire. Interment services are pending.

Navy Seaman 2nd Class Brady O. Prewitt was 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. Interment services are pending.

Navy Fireman 2nd Class Albert Renner was assigned to the battleship USS West Virginia, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft on Dec. 7, 1941. Interment services are pending.

Till next week, praying all service members.


– Charles Castelluccio