VFW Participates in SVAC Roundtable on Toxic Exposure

Last Wednesday, VFW National Legislative Service Deputy Director Matthew Doyle participated in a round-table hosted by the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. The purpose of the roundtable was to discuss a possible legislative solution to address toxic exposure during military service. Doyle stated, “The VFW affirms its support for a permanent framework to grant disability benefits to veterans who have developed health conditions as a result of their exposure… This framework would be evidence-based so that science would drive the granting of benefits, and benefits would not be granted without adequate science.” The VFW thanks Chairman Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Ranking Member Jon Tester (D-MT) for hosting the roundtable, and for their efforts to expand veterans’ disability benefits for toxic exposure.

Washington Post Hosts Toxic Exposure Event

Last Tuesday, the Washington Post hosted another segment in the series Veterans Frontline Concerns on the harmful effects of burn pits and other toxic exposure incidents during military service. The event featured a discussion with Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), Rep. Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA), and actor Jon Stewart on the legislative efforts to address toxic exposure. At the event, Sen. Tillis stated, “We need an independent agency to really understand the nature of the exposures and then they can give us guidance on the population that was actually affected. But this is something that we should be talking about getting done in this Congress or the next Congress.” The VFW thanks Sen. Tillis and Rep. Ruiz for their efforts to expand VA benefits for veterans who have developed health conditions as a result of their exposure to toxic substances.

TRICARE Dental Program Increasing Annual Maximum

United Concordia, the TRICARE Dental Program contractor, announced it will be raising every enrollee’s annual maximum an additional $300. For the contract year that runs from May 1, 2020, to April 30, 2021, the annual maximum will be $1,800. The change is automatic. Enrollees do not need to take any action for this to apply.

POW/MIA Update

Army Cpl. Billie Joe Hash, 18, of Corbin, Kentucky, was a member of Headquarters Battery, 57th Field Artillery Battalion, 7th Infantry Division. He was reported missing in action on Dec. 6, 1950, when his unit was attacked by enemy forces near the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea. Hash will be buried Aug. 29, 2020, in his hometown.

Navy Radioman 3rd Class Irvin F. Rice, 22, was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft on Dec. 7, 1941. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Rice. Interment services are pending.

Navy Seaman 1st Class Wesley E. Graham, 21, was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. Interment services are pending.

Till next week praying for all.


– Charles Castelluccio