National Membership Workshop: July 31st – 2nd
District Commanders School: 8th – 10th
National Convention – Charlotte, NC 22nd – 28th
Ron McCluskey Scholarship Deadline – 1st
Labor Day (Department Headquarters Closed) – 1st
Department 50% Target Date – 3rd
National 50% Target Date – 10th
#1 Gold Pin Award – 26th
Fall DEC Meeting: 25th – 28th
American Legion national commander expresses confidence that McDonald will work closely with veterans to restore trust in VA.
WASHINGTON (July 29, 2014) — American Legion National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger today thanked the Senate for acting quickly to confirm the nomination of former Procter & Gamble Chief Executive Officer Robert McDonald to become secretary of the embattled Department of Veterans Affairs. “The time to act is now,” Dellinger said. “Veterans are waiting for the care they earned and deserve.”
The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs voted 14-0 Wednesday in support of McDonald, 61, who would replace retired Army Gen. Eric Shinseki, who resigned in late May. Shinseki’s departure came after The American Legion called for urgent change, starting with new leadership at the top, to restore trust in the system after revelations that veterans had died waiting for VA doctor appointments that were never really scheduled and that executives received bonuses for falsified performance reports.
From McDonald, Dellinger said he looks for the kind of changes one would expect in the corporate world when a company is in trouble.
“The American Legion is confident that Robert McDonald will apply his experience leading big, complex business operations to the Department of Veterans Affairs, a complex operation that desperately needs a system-wide overhaul right now,” Dellinger said. “I am also confident Mr. McDonald will understand the importance of engaging the veteran stakeholders of the VA health-care system as reforms are adopted in the coming months.”
Dellinger said the incoming VA secretary must make patients his first priority and include them at the table as changes are planned and executed. “It’s time to put the veteran back into the Department of Veterans Affairs,” Dellinger said. “No more secret lists. No more bonuses for poor performance or unreasonably long waiting times for appointments. No more accuracy breakdowns in deciding benefits claims. In this equation, the veteran is the customer, and The American Legion represents that customer. We look forward to working with Mr. McDonald. Together, we can get VA back on track and restore trust among the patients it serves, as well as the public, which expects nothing less than timely, high-quality care for our nation’s veterans.”
With more than 2.4 million members, The American Legion is the nation’s largest veterans service organization.
The year 2019 will mark the 100th year of service for the American Legion. Click here to learn more about the American Legion Centennial Celebration.
Sponsored by Chevron for all Houston area veterans and their spouses. Anyone who has served on active duty, in the National Guard, or in the Reserves is invited to attend this event in order to find a new career. We already have 74 companies attending with 1,000+ positions they are recruiting for, and many more companies will be added in the weeks ahead. Some of the companies are: Chevron, USAA, Schlumberger, GE Oil & Gas, Harris County Sheriff’s Office, National Oilwell, Varco, Walgreens. Regions Financial Corp., Baker Hughes, and The Military Sealift Command.
Where: Minute Maid Park
501 Crawford Street
Houston, TX 77002
When: Thursday, August 7, 2014 from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
In the wake of the recent VA scandal there have been many news articles published regarding the American Legion’s involvement in setting up American Legion Veteran’s Crisis Centers throughout the United States. Currently, there is no Crisis Center serving the Houston or surrounding areas. In the Houston or surrounding areas, veterans needing assistance, should contact the Houston Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Houston Regional Office administers a variety of services and benefits including Compensation and Pension, Home Loan Guaranty, and Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment. Other services provided include specially adapted housing grants, benefits counseling, fiduciary/guardianship services, outreach services for the homeless, elderly, minority Veterans and women Veterans, and public affairs.
The office serves a population of 759,739 Veterans in 90 counties of southern Texas, the Republic of Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. The Houston VA employee workforce consists of 622 employees, 302 of whom are also Veterans.
The regional office has several locations to serve you, from the Houston to the Rio Grande Valley.
The Regional Office is located in Houston, TX at 6900 Almeda Road between Old Spanish Trail (OST) and Holcombe Blvd, behind the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center.
They are open from 7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday (excluding Federal Holidays).
**You Must For An Appointment**
Benefits Information Number: 1-800-827-1000
Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) Number: 1-800-829-4833
Loan Guaranty Information Number: 1-888-232-2571
Memorial Day Service at Houston VA National Cemetery
Memorial Day Service, honoring deceased United States servicemen and women, is free and open to the public.
WHEN: Monday, May 26, 2014 at 9:30 a.m.
WHERE: Houston VA National Cemetery, 10410 Veterans Memorial Drive, Houston, TX 77038
This year, the Department of Veterans Affairs is pleased to announce that Colonel Terence C. Winkler, Wing Commander, 147th Reconnaissance Wing, Texas Air National Guard, at Ellington Joint Reserve Base, in Houston will give the Memorial Day address. Winkler is responsible for training and maintaining combat ready forces for rapid deployment on wartime missions. Winkler served in the United States Air Force before joining the Texas Air National Guard and was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005.
In addition to Winkler’s remarks, the event will feature a parade of colors and wreaths by numerous local Veterans’ organizations, ROTC units, and Boy and Girl Scout troops. All Boy and Girl Scout organizations in southeast Texas are invited to attend.
There will also be many symbolic highlights including a performance of Taps; a cannon salute; Amazing Grace performed by Ian Martin; and a rifle salute by the Veterans of Foreign Wars District 4. Peggy Slay, president of the Houston Gold Star Mothers, will lead the pledge of allegiance.
Guests who wish to visit gravesites are encouraged to arrive prior to 8 a.m. or after 1 p.m. following the Memorial Day service.
The Houston VA National Cemetery is the second largest national cemetery in the region, encompassing some 419 acres of a former dairy farm in northwest Houston. The cemetery’s focal point and the site of all special observances is the horseshoe-shaped building at its center known as the Hemicycle. This exposed aggregate structure contains a chapel and a 75-foot bell tower and encloses a courtyard that can accommodate as many as 5,000 people. All veterans with general or better discharges, their spouses, and dependent children are eligible for burial in a national cemetery. Eligible veterans may receive a VA grave marker or headstone even if they are not buried in a national cemetery.
The Houston VA National Cemetery is located 15 miles northwest of downtown Houston. From Bush Intercontinental Airport, take John F. Kennedy Blvd. south to Beltway 8. Turn right onto Beltway 8 west and exit at Ella. Follow the feeder road west to the third traffic light. Turn left on Veterans Memorial Drive. Proceed to the first traffic light and turn left on T.C. Jester. The cemetery entrance is on the right.
Legislation to honor Doolittle Raiders
Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22) introduced legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal tothe Doolittle Tokyo Raiders. On April 18, 1942, Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle led seventy-nine airmen flying sixteen B-25 bombers on a daring and unprecedented attack on the Japanese mainland to avenge the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor four months earlier. The bombers took off from the Navy aircraft carrier USS Hornet in the western Pacific, struck their targets, and then made their way as best they could to friendly forces in China. Carrying limited fuel, fifteen of the aircraft crash-landed or ditched at sea, with one landing in Soviet Russia. Three Raiders were killed during the crash-landings, five were interned by the Soviets for a year until they were able to escape, and eight were captured by Japanese forces. These prisoners were brutally tortured, one died of disease, and three were executed. Seventy-three of the eighty Raiders who embarked from the USS Hornet returned home from the raid; all eighty of them will be remembered forever as true American heroes.
This bill, H.R. 1209, awards a Congressional Gold Medal to the Raiders, which will be available for display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. Original cosponsors include: Reps. Sam Johnson, Michael Turner, Tim Griffin, Alan Nunnelee, Jim Bridenstine, Steve Stivers, and Del. Madeleine Bordallo.
“The heroism of these Doolittle Raiders was a critical turning point in World War II,” Olson said. “These eighty brave Americans not only volunteered for this mission with zero knowledge of what it would entail, but they willingly put their lives in harm’s way, risking death, capture, and torture to bring the fight to the Japanese homeland. “The actions of Jimmy Doolittle and his Tokyo Raiders helped to forge an enduring example of heroism in the face of uncertainty for the Army Air Corps of the Second World War and the United States as a whole. I’m proud to honor their heroism through this legislation,” Olson concluded.
With the passing of Major Tom Griffin, 96, last month, there are only four surviving members of the Doolittle Raiders: Lt. Col. Richard E. Cole of Texas (Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot); Lt. Col. Robert L. Hite of Tennessee; Lt. Col. Edward J. Saylor of Washington; and Staff Sergeant David J. Thatcher of Montana. This April, what will likely be the last official Doolittle reunion; will be held in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.