VFW and VA to hold Facebook chat

* VFW to Host Facebook Chat on Vet Centers: On Aug. 17, 2016, from 7-8 p.m.,
the VFW and VA will host a video tour of a Vet Center. Eligible service members, veterans and their families can learn about the free and confidential counseling services offered at the more than 300 Vet Centers around the country. VA subject matter experts will be available to answer questions about eligibility, services and how to locate a Vet Center. If you have served in a combat zone, area of hostility, experienced military sexual trauma or served as part of a drone crew – regardless if you are active duty, reserve, guard, recently separated or served many years ago – please join the conversation on the VFW’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/VFWFans. For more information on this event and other #ExploreVA events, visit: explore.va.gov/events.

* V-J Day Commemoration: Visitors to Washington, D.C., can join in a Victory over Japan Day observance at 11 a.m., Sept. 2, at the National World War II Memorial. The WWII Memorial has very few disability parking spaces, and street parking will be very limited since it’s a workday and still tourist season in Washington. Taxis to the memorial are plentiful and recommended. The two closest Metro stations, Federal Triangle and Smithsonian, are both about a half-mile away. Learn more about this and other events at www.wwiimemorialfriends.org.

* MIA Updates: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Office has announced burial updates and the identification of remains of 12 Americans who had been missing in action from World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Returning home for burial with full military honors are: *Army Pfc. William R. Butz, 19, of Glendive, Mont., is being buried today in Vancouver, Wash. He was declared missing in action on Dec. 12, 1950, after his unit was heavily attacked by enemy forces near the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. Butz was a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. *Navy Ensign John C. England, 20, of Alhambra, Calif., was buried Aug. 13 in Colorado Springs, Colo. On Dec. 7, 1941, England was stationed aboard the USS Oklahoma when the battleship suffered multiple torpedo hits and capsized as it was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. *Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Robert W. Ward, was co-piloting a B-26C Marauder bomber that was shot down near Philippsweiler, Germany, on Dec. 23, 1944. Ward and one other of the nine-member crew were reported killed in action. He was assigned to the 559th Bombardment Squadron, 387th Bombardment Group, 9th Air Force. Interment services are pending. *Marine Corps 1st Lt. Stanley Johnson, was co-piloting a UH-34D Choctaw helicopter when it was shot down west of Tam Ky Town in South Vietnam on Dec. 3, 1965. Three Americans and nine Vietnamese soldiers were killed in the crash. Interment services are pending. *Navy Seaman 2nd Class Vernon N. Grow, Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Earl L. Melton, and Ensign Verdi Sederstrom, were stationed aboard the USS Oklahoma when the battleship suffered multiple torpedo hits and capsized as it was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The USS Oklahoma’s 429 casualties were second only to the USS Arizona’s that day. Interment services are pending. *Marine Pvt. Emmett L. Kines, Pvt. Frank F. Penna, Pfc. Wilbur C. Mattern, Pfc. Ronald W. Vosmer and Sgt. Fae V. Moore, where killed in action when the 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, landed Nov. 20, 1943, against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands. Over several days of intense fighting, approximately 1,000 Marines and sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded; Japanese forces were virtually annihilated. Falling on the first day of battle were Penna, Vosmer and Moore, who were assigned to Company E, 2nd Battalion, and Kines, who was in Company F, 2nd Battalion. Falling on Nov. 21 was Mattern, who was assigned to Company M, 3rd Battalion. Interment services are pending.

Till next week, praying for all service members.

— Charles Castelluccio