Action Corps Weekly – January 6, 2017

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In This Issue:

  1. New Congress Starts by Passing Vets Bills
  2. CA National Guard to Pay Back Bonuses
  3. VFW National Home Helps Military and Veteran Families
  4. MIA Update
  1. New Congress Starts by Passing Vets Bills: On Tuesday, shortly after the opening of the 115th Congress, the House of Representatives passed its first two pieces of legislation, H.R. 27 and H.R. 28 –– both veterans bills. H.R. 27, the Ensuring VA Employee Accountability Act will require that a copy of reprimands or admonishments are retained in a VA employee’s permanent record. H.R. 28, the Biological Implant Tracking and Veteran Safety Act of 2017, directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to adopt and implement a standard identification protocol for use in the tracking and procurement of biological implants. Both bills will need to pass the Senate before becoming law. On Wednesday, the House passed H.J. Res. 3, which approves the selection of a location for a memorial to commemorate and honor the members of the Armed Forces who served on active duty in support of Operation Desert Storm or Operation Desert Shield. H.J. Res. 3 moves the VFW closer to fulfilling VFW Resolution 305, which was passed at our 115th National Convention. The Senate must also pass this resolution before final approval by the president.
  2. CA National Guard to Pay Back Bonuses: After years of trying to collect reenlistment bonuses from California National Guard members and mounting pressure from the VFW, Congress and other VSOs, the Department of Defense (DOD) suspended its collection efforts in October of 2016. VFW National Commander Brian Duffy said at the time that he “welcomes the defense secretary’s decision to suspend the collections efforts, but that the decision doesn’t go deep enough. A comprehensive program needs to be immediately created to help make these Guard members whole again. They signed and fulfilled a contract, and whether they were authorized to receive a bonus is the fault of a system, not of any recipient. Aside from stopping collection, the government should also restore those monies already collected.” Earlier this week, DOD Secretary Ash Carter ordered the repayment of those bonuses that had been collected. DOD is also tasked with exploring ways to assist those veterans who may have gone into debt or lost their homes because of the recoupment of their bonuses.
  3. VFW National Home Helps Military and Veteran Families: For more than 92 years, the VFW National Home for Children has offered families the chance to heal and grow. A family may live in the National Home’s community for up to four years, during which time they are provided a full system of support and services. The National Home is open to families of active-duty military personnel, veterans and descendants of members of the VFW and the Auxiliary.  For more information, contact the Military & Veteran Family Helpline at 800-313-4200 or visit the National Home’s website at: http://www.vfwnationalhome.org/.
  4. MIA Update: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced the identification of remains of 21 Americans who had been missing in action from World War II and Korea. Returning home for burial with full military honors are:

— Navy Water Tender 1st Class Walter H. Sollie, 37, of Myrtlewood, Ala., will be buried Jan. 6, 2017, in Pensacola, Fla. Sollie was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when Japanese aircraft attacked his ship on Dec. 7, 1941. Sollie was one of 429 crewmen killed in the attack. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/News-Releases/Article/1039884/sailor-missing-from-world-war-ii-accounted-for-sollie/.

— Army Maj. Jack D. Griffiths, 31, of San Diego, will be buried Jan. 11, 2017, in San Diego. On Nov. 30, 1950, Griffiths was a member of Headquarters, 38th Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, when he was reported missing in action in the vicinity of Somin-dong, North Korea. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/News-Releases/Article/1041265/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-accounted-for-griffiths/.

Mr. John D. Armstrong, a former U.S. Navy Reservist, was training with the Flying Tigers at Kyedaw Airfield, a British Royal Air Force airfield outside of Toungoo, Burma, in 1941. Armstrong was killed in a midair collision during a training flight on Sept. 8, 1941. Interment services are pending. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/1042317/american-missing-from-world-war-ii-accounted-for-armstrong/.

Mr. Maxx C. Hammer, Jr., was among a small group of American pilots training with the Flying Tigers to battle Japanese forces invading China in 1941. Hammer was killed during a training mission on Sep. 22, 1941, when his plane crashed near Toungoo, Burma, after a heavy rainstorm. Interment services are pending. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/1042267/american-missing-from-world-war-ii-accounted-for-hammer/.

Mr. Peter Atkinson, a former U.S. Army Air Corps Reservist, was among a small group of American pilots training with the Flying Tigers at Kyedaw Airfield, outside of Toungoo, Burma, in 1941. In preparation for battling Japanese forces invading China, the pilots engaged their Curtiss P-40 single-seat aircraft in aggressive training and mock battles. On Oct. 25, 1941, Atkinson’s plane disintegrated while participating in one of these training flights. Interment services are pending. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/1042263/american-missing-from-world-war-ii-identified-atkinson/.

— Navy Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class Cecil E. Barncord, of Kansas, was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when Japanese aircraft attacked his ship on Dec. 7, 1941. Barncord was one of 429 crewmen killed in the attack. Interment services are pending. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/1034117/sailor-missing-from-world-war-ii-identified-barncord/.

— Navy Radioman 3rd Class Howard W. Bean, of Massachusetts, was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when Japanese aircraft attacked his ship on Dec. 7, 1941. Bean was one of 429 crewmen killed in the attack. Interment services are pending. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/1034111/sailor-missing-from-world-war-ii-identified-bean/.

— Navy Mess Attendant 1st Class Ralph M. Boudreaux, of Louisiana, was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when Japanese aircraft attacked his ship on Dec. 7, 1941. Boudreaux was one of 429 crewmen killed in the attack. Interment services are pending. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/1041290/sailor-missing-from-world-war-ii-identified-boudreaux/.

— Navy Fireman 3rd Class Glaydon I.C. Iverson, of Minnesota, was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when Japanese aircraft attacked his ship on Dec. 7, 1941. Iverson was one of 429 crewmen killed in the attack. Interment services are pending. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/1040481/sailor-missing-from-world-war-ii-identified-iverson/.

— Navy Coxswain Verne F. Knipp, of Colorado, was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when Japanese aircraft attacked his ship on Dec. 7, 1941. Knipp was one of 429 crewmen killed in the attack. Interment services are pending. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/1040487/sailor-missing-from-world-war-ii-identified-knipp/.

— Navy Fire Controlman 2nd Class Donald R. McCloud, of West Virginia, was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when Japanese aircraft attacked his ship on Dec. 7, 1941. McCloud was one of 429 crewmen killed in the attack. Interment services are pending. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/1034103/sailor-missing-from-world-war-ii-identified-mccloud/.

— Navy Seaman 1st Class Camillus M. O’Grady, of Kansas, was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when Japanese aircraft attacked his ship on Dec. 7, 1941. O’Grady was one of 429 crewmen killed in the attack. Interment services are pending. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/1034122/sailor-missing-from-world-war-ii-identified-ogrady/.

— Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Francis J. Pitonyak, of Pennsylvania, disappeared while leading a four-ship of fighter aircraft on an armed patrol mission. Enroute to Nadzab, Territory of Papua, the pilots encountered inclement weather, causing one pilot to return to base, where he reported his fellow pilots, including Pitonyak, missing. After an unsuccessful aerial search the following day, Pitonyak was declared deceased on Oct. 28, 1943. Interment services are pending. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/1035684/airman-missing-from-world-war-ii-identified-pitonyak/.

— Army Pvt. Gene J. Appleby, of Ohio, was a member of Company A, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment. On Sep. 17, 1944, Appleby parachuted onto a drop zone north of Groesbeek, the Netherlands, as part of Operation Market-Garden. As the soldiers rallied, Appleby was reportedly struck by enemy fire and, following the attack, was listed as missing in action. Interment services are pending. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/1040739/soldier-missing-from-world-war-ii-identified-appleby/.

— Army Cpl. Luis P. Torres, of Waushura, Wis., was stationed with Company C, 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division along the east bank of the Naktong River, near Changyong, South Korea. On Sept. 1, 1950, his battalion’s position was overrun by enemy forces. Torres was reported missing after the battle. Interment services are pending. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/1034730/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-identified-torres/.

— Army Pfc. Thomas C. Stagg, of Jefferson, Ala., was a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment. On Nov. 29, 1950, Stagg was on a reconnaissance patrol near Hajoyang-ni, North Korea, when it was ambushed. Following the battle, Stagg could not be accounted for and he was declared killed in action. Interment services are pending. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/1032312/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-identified-stagg/.

— Army Pfc. Charles C. Follese, of Koochiching, Minn., was a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment. On Nov. 30, 1950, Follese was part of a patrol sent to recover casualties near Hajoyang-ni, North Korea, when his patrol was ambushed. Follese could not be accounted for after the ambush and was declared killed in action. Interment services are pending. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/1034151/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-identified-follese/.

— Army Sgt. 1st Class Eugene J. Colley, of New Hanover, N.C., was a member of Company C, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. In late November 1950, his unit was assembled with South Korean soldiers into the 31st Regimental Combat Team on the east side of the Chosin River, North Korea, when his unit was attacked by Chinese forces. Colley was among 1,300 members of the RCT killed or captured in enemy territory and was declared missing on Dec. 2, 1950. Interment services are pending. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/1041786/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-identified-colley/.

— Army Sgt. Thomas E. Zimmer, of Milwaukee, Wis., was stationed with Battery A, 57th Field Artillery Battalion, 31st Regimental Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, on the east side of the Chosin River, North Korea, when his unit was attacked by Chinese Forces. After heavy fighting his unit was forced to withdraw to Hagaru-ri. Zimmer was unaccounted for after the battle and was reported missing as of Dec. 6, 1950. Interment services are pending. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/1034358/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-identified-zimmer/.

— Army Sgt. Edward Saunders, of Baltimore City, Md., was assigned to Company K, 3rd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. On the night of Feb. 11, 1951, Saunders’ company was supporting a planned offensive with the Republic of Korea’s 16th Regiment when they were attacked by Chinese forces. After heavy fighting, the unit was forced to withdraw to Hoensong, South Korea. Saunders could not be accounted for after the battle. Interment services are pending. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/1041784/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-identified-saunders/.

— Army Cpl. Joseph N. Pelletier, of Coos County, N.H., was assigned to Headquarters Battery, 15th Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, near the Central Corridor in South Korea. While supporting Korean-led attacks on Chinese forces, they were caught in a massive Chinese counterattack on Feb. 11, 1951. Pelletier was declared missing on Feb. 13, 1951. Interment services are pending. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/1036475/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-identified-pelletier/.

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