AMVETS in Action

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Lorraine Plass, AMVETS State Legislative Chair, Honored By The California State Senate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, July 20, 2016

Contact: Dana Nichol
Phone: (916) 492-0550
Fax: (916) 492-8957
Email: dana.nichol@sbcglobal.net

Lorraine Plass and Senator Steven Glazer (center) with members of the California State Senate presenting Member’s Resolution 637 to Ms. Plass
Lorraine Plass and Senator Steven Glazer (center) with members of the California State Senate presenting Member’s Resolution 637 to Ms. Plass

Lorraine Plass, the AMVETS-Department of California’s Legislative Committee Chair, was recently honored on the floor of the California State Senate by Senator Steven Glazer (D-Orinda) for her advocacy at the State Capitol on behalf of veterans for the past six years. She was also being honored for her work on Senate Resolution 69, which deals with the World War II Port Chicago disaster. Port Chicago is located in Senator Glazer’s district.

Plass received a California Senate Resolution signed by Senator Glazer which expresses “the deep appreciation for her dedication and contributions to the passage of Senate Resolution 69, and conveyed best wishes that her indomitable efforts will continue in the years ahead”.

“In my 30 years at the State Capitol, I have seen few volunteers for veterans advocacy as dedicated as Lorraine. She has become a well-known and familiar figure in the halls of the Legislature. Her advocacy on behalf of veterans has been an inspiration to all of us who get to work with her on veterans issues here at the Capitol”, said veterans advocate Pete Conaty (LTC, U.S. Army-Ret).

Plass served in the U.S. Army from 1974 to 1978 in both the United States and Germany. Following her active service, she served for six years in the California National Guard. Plass was recently appointed as the AMVETS National Legislative Co-Chair, a newly created National Committee.

About AMVETS
or American Veterans was formed in 1944 to help WWII veterans obtain the benefits promised by the federal government. AMVETS continues this commitment to America’s veterans, their families, and the active military by assisting them in securing their earned entitlements. Team AMVETS strongly supports legislation to provide services to veterans. AMVETS Department of California has over 10,000 members and over 51 local posts in the state, as well as thrift shops. AMVETS is involved in helping hospitalized veterans, Special Olympics, scouting, organ donor projects, national monuments, and living by their commitment to make a difference in the lives of others.

Free AMVETS Membership for Student Veterans

We (the veterans in AMVETS) offer you free membership in appreciation for your military service. Only one in ten Americans has the fortitude to volunteer for military service. AMVETS knows the sacrifices of service and we offer you free membership in AMVETS while you are students.

AMVETS began as a group of loosely tied college veterans clubs. We know your struggles, we have been on the path you are travelling and are prepared to help.

AMVETS (American Veterans) was chartered by congress in 1947 (public law 216).We are mandated to helping veterans reintegrate into the American workforce. Our charter allows honorably discharged and actively serving military personnel to become members. Membership is available to all the services: Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines Corps, and members of the National Guard, Reserve and Coast Guard. The GI Bill and the VA home loan program are key initiatives we supported until they became law. Two programs you may be interested in are:

The Call of Duty Endowment works through AMVETS to find veterans jobs.

AMVETS National Service Officers will shepherd your VA claim.

AMVETS is prepared to help you succeed. Go to the link below.

Free Student Membership: https://www.amvetsmembers.org/eweb/DynamicPage.aspx?Site=AMVETS&WebKey=c16108b2-8ce2-44e0-b1ff-a5be37a379cb&Action=Add

Please pass this on to other student veterans.

Visit AMVETS at www.amvets.org

If you have any question contact: hneal@amvets.org

From ‘Go Home’ to ‘Welcome Home’ for Sheboygan man

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Every Thursday morning Joe Glover Jr. volunteers at the Sheboygan Police Department, alphabetizing the judge’s records, mailing documents or feeding officers with food from his wife.

His work in the municipal court is quiet, and often done alone. Yet he is known around the police department for his outgoing, cheery disposition —he is always trying to make other people smile.

SPD Volunteer Coordinator Penny Weber said despite being one of the department’s newest volunteers, he already has built a positive reputation.

“If you met Joe, you know he is probably one of the most positive people you will ever meet. He always has a smile on his face. He is just one happy person,” Weber said.

The woman who volunteered before him would bring in cookies for the officers, affectionately becoming known as “The Cookie Lady.” When she retired, Joe took over her working duties, and eventually, he found out about her baking reputation and took up the mantle himself.

Joe was a volunteer at the Blood Center before he went to Coffee with a Cop at McDonalds and learned of the police department’s volunteering programs.

Joe’s decision to help the police department is remarkable given that he happily works for the same department that racially profiled him on several occasions more than 40 years ago.

His path to becoming a retired volunteer in Sheboygan is a long one that didn’t even start here.

Joe grew up in Milwaukee’s 53206 zip code, an infamously rough neighborhood now being featured in a documentary for having the highest incarceration rate in the country.

He grew up in private schools, graduating in a class that only had six minority students. He also had a machinery apprenticeship in Milwaukee and became a skilled laborer.

Those skills brought him to Sheboygan Jan. 5, 1970 to work for Hayssen Manufacturing, running the lathe machine. According to Joe, he was harassed by the white workers whom saw him as a threat to their job.

“Guys would be balling up clay, spitting it through straws, hitting you all over,” Joe said. “You’d turn around and they’d be standing there like, ‘Well who do you pick did it?’”

One day, a fellow black coworker was beat up in the bathroom before Joe saw him running across the machine floor. He went to physically defend the man—a decision that resulted in him and the man being fired, according to Joe.

That was two weeks after his first day.

The job didn’t even outlast the temporary living at the YMCA Hayssen provided. He had two more weeks to live there for free. Joe met a woman there, who was white, who would become his wife—Mary. Those last two weeks were the beginning of a courtship that lasted several months before Joe was drafted for service.

He noted that he was stopped by police both before and after he was fired. But according to Joe, they’d leave him alone when they found out he was employed.

“I’d get stopped here, stopped there,” Joe said. “I never knew about (Sundown towns) at the time. I didn’t see it immediately, I just was wondering, ‘Why are they doing this? Why do I have to be out of here at dark?”

Was Sheboygan a sundown town?

Census data dating back to 1860 shows that the black population of Sheboygan did not reach double-digits until 1970, peaking with nine in 1910. Through the 1920’s and 30’s, there were no black residents in Sheboygan, with one in the 1940 census and eight in the 1950 census.

According to research by Professor James W. Loewen, who taught race relations for 20 years at the University of Vermont, there is evidence to suggest Sheboygan may have been a “Sundown Town” – a place where people of color were forced to leave the city after sunset.

Loewen compiled an online map allowing people to find out more about the racial history of their towns, identifying thousands of likely and confirmed sundown towns across the U.S.

Sheboygan is labeled as having possible sundown status. It is unknown whether there was an ordinance or sign specifically prohibiting black people from staying, but the testimonials he lists indicate a certain amount of racial animus.

Loewen received a report of a black social worker from Madison’s state office had to stay at a smaller hotel outside of Sheboygan in 1976 because she couldn’t stay in Sheboygan’s main hotel.

Other testimonies to Loewen showed similar patterns.

“’I recall being told when I moved to Sheboygan in August 1970 that in previous years blacks had not been allowed to stay in the city overnight. There was no generalized policy in that regard by 1970, but I suppose reminisce[sic] of the one-time prohibition might have been carried on informally.

“’We lived on the city’s south side initially and later on the southwest, mostly in the working class section. And I saw no evidence of blacks being prohibited per se, that the black population was quite low.

“’We had a black mailman between 1970 and 1975, but at the junior high school I taught at in those years, also on the south (side), I don’t recall any black students,” Loewen said he was told by Donovan Walling, a former Sheboygan resident, in 2002.

Loewen’s testimonies are remembered, secondary accounts. The Sheboygan Press archives also tell a story of discriminatory local discourse and policy.

The very rumor of a sundown ordinance prompted then-Mayor John Bolgert in 1959 to outright deny that Sheboygan had any sundown laws. He cited as proof that black people we able to live in the city when they were playing baseball for the local minor league team. The same story reported a local pastor as saying there was no prejudice toward black people because there were none here.

Four years later in September of 1963, Professor Spencer Hildahl, then chair of the sociology department at Lakeland College spoke to the Sheboygan Evening Optimist Club about welcoming “negroes” into the city.

“Negroes are coming to Sheboygan just as surely as Christmas is coming next December,” Hildahl said. “We have to assume, whether people accept the fact or not, that Sheboygan is going to have a population that includes Negroes and other minority groups in the not too distant future.”

One of the unnamed Optimists present asserted that an ordinance existed that prohibited black people from living in Sheboygan.

“The same Optimist asserted that present city officials deny that Sheboygan has an ordinance preventing Negroes from living in Sheboygan. But, he claimed, Sheboygan adopted such an ordinance in 1887 —‘that no Negroes will be housed in Sheboygan — and it is still on the books,’” the Press reported.

Confirming ordinances or signs that explicitly gave a town sundown status is difficult because ordinances are revised and recodified.

The city clerk’s office has only two old ordinance books, both of which were from 1976. One of those has been updated. The city attorney’s office has a 1975 book that was updated in 1998 and a 1965 copy that was updated in 1975. The Sheboygan County Historical Research Center also has a 1928 copy of the ordinances, but it is abridged. No such ordinance is mentioned in any of those copies.

Even if the ordinance never officially was on the books, it is still possible that sundown policy was institutionalized here, according to Loewen.

“It’s typically difficult or impossible to actually find copies of the ordinances. Matter of a fact, most towns, you might ask the clerk to show you the double-parking ordinance,” he said. “I bet they can’t find that, but if you double-park you’re going to get a ticket. So the issue typically is many sundown towns never even claimed to have passed an ordinance.”

Legalized discrimination: The 1968 “Fair Housing Ordinance”

Even if there was no specific sundown ordinance, discrimination was occasionally on the books. On Monday Oct. 7, 1968—four years after the federal Civil Rights Act was passed—the Sheboygan Common Council passed an ordinance in a 15-0 vote that banned housing discrimination with two exemptions.

Religious organizations could discriminate based on religious reasons and owners of owner-occupied two-family homes could discriminate in rentals on the bases of “race, color, religion or national origin.”

The first exemption was narrowly added back into the ordinance after a motion to do so narrowly passed in an 8 to 7 vote. It had been deleted two weeks before the final vote by the Committee of the Whole. Alderpersons also rejected 11-4 a last-ditch effort to delete the second exemption from the ordinance.

The State of Wisconsin had already passed a fair housing statute in 1966, but it had several exemptions as well, which left it to cover only about 25 percent of housing in the state, according to an April 1966 Press article.  In that article, local leaders were urging the Common Council to pass a fair housing, open occupancy ordinance to ensure minorities who came to Sheboygan were not confined to a “big city ghetto.”

In the months following the ordinance’s passage, several local organizations including the Sheboygan County Council of Churches and the Sheboygan City of Elm Amvets Post 18 called for the exemptions to be deleted.

The fight was mainly over the religious exemption, not the one that allowed for racial discrimination in shared dwellings. And in February of 1969, a motion to remove just the religious exemption was defeated. The ordinance exemptions were legal until state laws, federal laws and court decisions made the exemptions illegal, according to a January 1976 Press article.

 “There’s no negroes here after dark”

Those instances of discrimination were epitomized when Joe and Mary were relaxing one night outside of the same YMCA. That was when one police officer made the situation clear to him.

“I was parked with Mary, we were having popcorn and root beer. Because of the humidity the back windows fogged up, you know, And all of a sudden this cop knocks on the back window and I’m like, ‘What’s he doing?’

“I said, ‘I bet he thinks we’re making out or something.’ She was driving because I didn’t have my license. And she’s just laughing. I rolled down the window and said, ‘Can I help you?’

“He’s looking in the back of the car—‘What’re you guys doing here?’ the officer said. I said, ‘We’re just having a beer.’ (He responded) ‘You’re not supposed to be drinking in the car!’ I said, ‘Root beer,’ trying to be funny.”

The officer was not amused and continued by asking Joe and Mary where they lived. Mary told the officer her address and Joe said he lived at the YMCA. The officer asked him where he worked and Joe explained he had recently been laid off.

“He said, ‘No then you got to get out of town.’ I said, ‘Pardon me? Why do I have to leave?’” Joe said. “He said, ‘We don’t have negroes here after dark.’ And that’s when I went, ‘Woah!’”

The officer went on to tell him it was city law that no “negroes” could be in town, unless they had a job. That was when Joe moved back to Milwaukee.

“180 degree difference”

In 2008, years after Joe first met Mary at the YMCA, they moved back to Sheboygan.

Joe spent 34 years in Milwaukee as a plumber, with Mary working at various locations over the years. Joe’s parents and his only remaining brother all died within 90 days of each other, all of whom lived in Milwaukee.

They moved here to take care of Mary’s mother. That was when Joe retired and started volunteering. He said it was also when he noticed the police are more approachable.

“180 degrees (difference). You can talk with them. You can joke with them. You can say something smart with them, you know I am sassy,” he said. “It’s like when you were a little kid and a cop gave you bubble gum and a baseball card. That’s what it feels like… You just feel happy when you see them and you’re grateful for what they do.”

Joe said he appreciates how different the policies and the police are today.

“To go from being kicked out of town to working for the police,” Joe said. “I think that’s pretty awesome.”

Joe said he never held anger or animosity toward the police department. In the ‘70s, he thought the law was the law and the officers were just doing their jobs, enforcing it.

“It was just a shock when I came here,” he said. “And you forgot about. It was ‘70 when that happened and then you go in the service and you forget about everything.”

Time has changed Joe’s perception of the police and it has also allowed for change within the department. Those explicit laws and policies are gone, and the department performs training with officers to reduce racial biases.

Sheboygan is growing too. The black population more than doubled from the 2000 to the 2010 census, although it is still only 1.8 percent of the total population. But even as Sheboygan becomes more diverse, there are still implicit disparities. Black people made up 18.9 percent of all arrests in 2015, according to documents obtained by the Sheboygan Press.

And while at 21 percent of the city of Sheboygan is either black, Asian, Hispanic and/or Latino, only 5 percent of the police department’s officers are, according to a 2015 USA-TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin article.

Nonetheless, Joe still sees the police department as better, and moving in the right direction.

“Even though it seems like I’m by myself in here, I got a whole community now,” he said. “The officers pat you on the back. Everybody sees you, (they say), ‘Hey thanks for volunteering.’ It’s a nice feeling to have the other way. Instead of ‘go home’, it’s ‘welcome home.’”

 

(, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin6:57 p.m. CDT July 10, 2016)

Photo: Miller/Jozwiak, USA Today)

Local Veterans Show Support for Law Enforcement

By Ashley Davis | KWQC

MUSCATINE, Iowa (KWQC) – After a tough week for law enforcement some local officers were reminded how much they are appreciated, as local veterans held a lunch for are law enforcement Sunday afternoon.

Organizers say they’ve been planning for months, but with the recent shootings in Dallas, they say this event couldn’t have come at a better time.

“Just to let you guys know how much we appreciate what you guys do and us veterans do support you guys and we want you to know that,” Ron Miller, a veteran and co-organizer of the event, said.

Those who served our country came together Sunday to show their support for those who serve their communities.

“It’s nice to know that they have our back, and they’re supporting us, it means a lot,” Cpl. Joe Bryant with the Muscatine Police Department said.

Veterans did that by serving a meal and by saying thanks to local law enforcement officials.

“We should be grateful for their service and for what they do for us every day, they put their lives on the line every day for us, so we need to show our gratitude for that,” Lee Miller, a veteran and co-organizer of the event, said.

“That one little thank you means a whole lot and that carries us on doing what we want to do,” Bryant said.

Those in attendance also took a moment to honor the lives lost in Dallas, with a moment of silence.

“We’re very much like the military, the military is a band of brothers, and law enforcement is a band of brothers, so when something happens in Dallas those are our brothers down there in Dallas and it has an impact all across the United States on every law enforcement officer,” Muscatine County Sheriff C.J. Ryan said.

“It makes it tough going to work, you know, everybody’s got families, everybody’s got other things that they want to go home to but we’ve all sworn to protect the communities we work for and through the tragedy we gotta push through and keep honoring those that are lost and that manner,” Bryant said.

Officials received support from others through food and kind words, and those on the force showed their support for fellow officers, as well.

“There’s a lot of good people working in this county and Louisa county too so keep your heads up and we’ll keep pushing forward,” Muscatine Police Chief Brett Talkington said.

The Muscatine American Legion, VFW, and Local AMVETS Post put on the appreciation day meal and organizers say they plan to continue holding events like these to show support for officers.

Original Source: Local veterans show support for law enforcement

Vietnam War Veteran Honored for Service at Age 71

By Rich Ecke | Great Falls Tribune

Vietnam War veteran Ronald Doney hoped to live long enough to have a photograph taken at the Montana Veterans Memorial in Great Falls.

His wish was granted at 1 p.m. Saturday as relatives and friends gathered to honor Doney’s military service and to honor the man, who is receiving hospice care at home in Great Falls and who clings to life.

Doney was hospitalized recently, then medical people made arrangements “so he could come home and die,” said his wife, Susan Doney.

In Vietnam, U.S. Army soldier Ronald L. Doney was exposed to Agent Orange. Today, he has small cell lung cancer, has suffered collapsed lungs and uses a wheelchair. His wife said one of the results of Agent Orange exposure was small cell lung cancer. At age 71, he has undergone chemotherapy, but prospects are bleak. Susan said he receives a disability and has received treatment from the federal government.

The Saturday ceremony was a bright spot for Ronald and family on a blustery day in which rain held off, enabling relatives and a Tribune photographer to take dozens of photographs.

Veterans memorial officials also had arranged for a rush job so a commemorative tile could be created in time for Saturday’s event; John Rummel engraved the tile gratis.

“He’s pretty proud to be a vet,” Susan Doney said. “He wanted a picture of himself by the wall.”

Memorial officials went one better and surprised Ronald with the tile.

Ronald was pleased.

“This is a surprise,” he said Saturday.

He served some 17 months in Vietnam, an unpopular war in which some Americans hurled insults or objects at American servicemen.

Ronald remembers someone who saw his Army uniform in San Francisco hurled “rotten stuff” at him.

His exposure to Agent Orange, a toxic chemical used to kill plants in the jungle, came home with him.

“It’s bad,” Ronald said.

About 40 people gathered for the ceremony.

“This ain’t all (my family),” Ronald quipped. “This ain’t even a third.” People came from around the state to honor Ronald.

During the event, Mike LaFountain of Great Falls sang and played a drum as the wind swirled around him.

LaFountain said he performed a traditional honor song, “honoring him for the service he’s given to this country,” and a journey song, for a journey Ronald is about to take. During LaFountain’s songs, Ronald wiped away tears.

Susan said Ronald’s failing health is difficult for everyone, and her husband is not expected to live many more days.

But all were glad to take part in granting a wish to an ailing Vietnam War veteran who is proud of his service. Those photographs from the memorial will mean a lot. His tile will be permanently installed in November.

“It made him happy,” Susan Doney said.

Richard Ecke writes a weekly column on city life. Reach him at 406-791-1465 or recke@greatfallstribune.com.

Original Source: Vietnam War veteran honored for service at age 71

Kalamazoo County Veteran Honors Those He Fought With

by Brittany Gray | wwmt.com

KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – A lot of people are spending the 4th of July with family and friends celebrating.

But as Newschannel 3 found out this 4th of July, one West Michigan man is remembering those who have fought for our country and those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

For one local vet, today is a day of reflection–a time to remember the men he served with, and the men killed in action nearly 50 years ago. And he’s remembering them in a way that everyone can see.

American flags have filled Dutch Slager’s lawn every Labor Day, Veterans’ Day, Memorial Day, and yes, every Independence Day for the last three decades.

There are 48 of them in front of his Scotts home.

“These flags are put up here every holiday. Each one of them represents a person that was killed on hamburger hill with us,” he said.

Slager is a Vietnam veteran, and was a Staff Sergeant with the 101st Airborne Division.

The Battle of Hamburger Hill, in May of 1969, was fought by the U.S. and South Vietnam against North Vietnamese forces.

Over the course of the 10 day fight, Slager says 48 men–about a fifth–in his combat unit were killed. All these years later, he has many of their dog tags and looks at them often.

“It brings back a lot of memories and you know it’s tearful; I mean you know we get shook up over ’em,” Slager said.

Year after year, he places the flags in the ground. To honor the men and to make sure they are never forgotten.

“Keep the memory going for the families and everything, you know, if they want to come out and look at it they can,” Slager said.

Slager, himself, was shot four times in the battle. He’s had 33 surgeries over the years, but considers himself lucky.

“I’m happy to be alive,” he said.

Original Source: Kalamazoo County veteran puts out flags to honor those he fought with in Vietnam

“The Big 6” United Behind Veterans First Act

“The Big 6” United Behind Veterans First Act

(Washington, D.C.)–The Veterans Service Organizations who are most often called before Congress for testimony on the state of Veterans Affairs, known in D.C. as “The Big 6,” are joining together to call on the Senate to vote on the Veterans First Act. While each has been engaged separately in traditional methods of calling for votes–such as letter-writing and email campaigns– they’re maximizing the power of social media to expand their outreach and get more veterans engaged.

“The AMVETS family is in full support of the Veterans First Act. Eliminating arbitrary eligibility requirements is crucial to ensuring family caregivers of veterans from all eras receive the support they deserve and need. We support the mandate on VA to research the association between toxic exposures and health effects among exposed veterans’ offspring.”–Joe Chenelly, Executive Director, AMVETS

“We’ve recognized that Congress is starting to respond to pressure from social media, so we are doing the best we can to optimize the impact each of our members has by enlisting them to assist in less traditional ways. While Twitter may not be used by most Vietnam veterans on a regular basis, our kids and our grandkids use it. Our families will be helped most by the Toxic Exposure Research provisions within the Veterans First Act, and we are glad to bring them into the fold so they can help us let the Senate know that we all deserve a vote.”–John Rowan, National President, Vietnam Veterans of America

“The VFW strongly supports passage of the Veterans First Act because it rightfully eliminates arbitrary eligibility requirements to ensure family caregivers of veterans from all eras receive the recognition and support they deserve. It requires the VA to research the association between toxic exposures and adverse health effects among the descendants of exposed veterans, and it makes urgently needed improvements to the choice program, which would ensure veterans who receive care from private sector doctors are not erroneously billed for that care.”–Robert E. Wallace, VFW Executive Director.

“The provision within the Veterans First Act that allows for the expansion of the Family Caregiver Program is a top priority for Paralyzed Veterans of America members. Caregivers are life-sustaining for veterans with a spinal cord or disease. They are the most critical component of our rehabilitation and eventual recovery, and their well-being directly impacts the quality of care provided to veterans. Caregivers for veterans of all wartimes should be provided with adequate benefits and resources, yet caregivers of pre-9/11 are made to bear the responsibility—and the toll it takes on their own personal and professional lives—alone. We urge the prompt passage of this legislation so that this inequity will finally be addressed.”– Sherman Gillums, Jr, Paralyzed Veterans of America Executive Director

“The American Legion stands with our sister Veteran Service Organizations to support the Veterans First Act. This bipartisan legislation has one third of the senate as cosponsors and will ensure that veterans have access to a Department of Veterans Affairs that maintains accountability, organized leadership, and parity of services for all generations of caregivers.”–Verna Davis, Executive Director, The American Legion

“DAV strongly supports Senate passage of the Veterans First Act, which would extend comprehensive caregiver support to veterans of all eras. The legislation would also increase veterans’ options for long-term care through medical foster homes; enhance VA’s efforts to recruit and retain the best and brightest medical professionals; reform claims and appeals processing by creating a fully developed appeals pilot program; and make dozens of other positive changes to improve the lives of the men and women who served. DAV looks forward to working together with leaders in both chambers of Congress, the VA, and other key stakeholders to enact comprehensive legislation to help keep the promise to all eras of America’s veterans.”–Garry J. Augustine, Executive Director, Disabled American Veterans

The Big 6 Veteran Service Organizations are asking their members, families, and supporters to join them during this campaign by using the hashtag #Vote4Vets1st in our Twitter Storm. The Veterans First Act is a bipartisan effort to improve accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs, provide critical benefits to veterans in need, and improve existing programs. The veterans’ community deserves a vote on the Senate floor before Congress is dismissed for summer recess. In order for the Department of Veterans Affairs to fulfill Lincoln’s promise “to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan,” they must prioritize veterans over politics and pass the Veterans First Act.

vet images

Marine Missing From World War II Accounted For

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, June 30, 2016

Contact: Maj. Natasha Waggoner, USAF
Phone: (703) 699-1420
Fax: (703) 602-4375

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, unaccounted for since World War II, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Marine Pvt. Robert J. Carter, 19, of Oklahoma City, will be buried July 13 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. In November 1943, Carter was assigned to Company G, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, in an attempt to secure the island. Over several days of intense fighting at Tarawa, approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded, but the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Carter died around Nov. 20, 1943.

The battle of Tarawa was a huge victory for the U.S. military because the Gilbert Islands provided the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet a platform from which to launch assaults on the Marshall and Caroline Islands to advance their Central Pacific Campaign against Japan.

In the immediate aftermath of the fighting on Tarawa, U.S. service members who died in the battle were buried in a number of battlefield cemeteries on the island. In 1946 and 1947, the 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company conducted remains recovery operations on Betio Island, but Carter’s remains were not recovered. On Feb. 10, 1949, a military review board declared Carter’s remains non-recoverable.

In June 2015, a nongovernmental organization, History Flight, Inc., notified DPAA that they discovered a burial site on Betio Island and recovered the remains of what they believed were 35 U.S. Marines who fought during the battle in November 1943. The remains were turned over to DPAA in July 2015.

To identify Carter’s remains, scientists from DPAA used laboratory analysis, including dental analysis and chest radiographic comparison, which matched Carter’s records, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.

DPAA is grateful to History Flight, Inc. for this recovery mission.

Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil or call (703) 699-1420.

AMVETS Awards Panama City Vet for Community Service

Air Force veteran Marlin Coy recently received AMVETS Department of Florida’s Community Service Award for the work he does for the military.

By Collin Breaux | Panama City News Herald

PANAMA CITY (newsherald.com) — He didn’t receive as much disrespect as some Vietnam veterans did when they returned home, but Marlin Coy still felt ostracized at times.

The Air Force veteran recalled a time when he was in the JFKAirport after his service and was chatting with people in the terminal. When it came up that he was in the military, everyone walked away from him. He knew other veterans who were spit on.

“I got the sad part of Vietnam,” said Coy, who served from 1959 to 1985. “That’s why I wanted to do what I could so our present troops are never treated like we were.”

Coy recently received AMVETS Department of Florida’s Community Service Award for the work he does for the military. The Panama City resident helps with bingo games at the Clifford Chester Sims State Veterans Nursing Home, serves on the planning committee for the county’s annual Homeless Veteran Stand Down and serves on the planning committee for POW/MIA ceremonies at Tyndall Air Force Base.

AMVETS, or American Veterans, is a national organization dedicated to helping veterans. Over the years, the organization has given multiple awards to Coy, who is past commander of AMVETS Post 2298 in Callaway. The state department holds an annual awards ceremony in Orlando, but Coy did not travel to receive his most recent award, instead being presented with it by his post in early June.

“I was submitted by the post to the state, and they selected me from however many they had,” Coy said. “It surprises me to get this that many times. It should be spread around to other people, but this is an honor. This award means a lot to me.”

Post 2298 spokesman Danny Somers and commander Rocky Bradford submitted the application, calling Coy the “ultimate ambassador for AMVETS” and telling of his constant presence in Bay County as he seeks out veterans and organizations who need help.

“This past year, Marlin was once again instrumental in ensuring that the Military Welcome Center at the Northwest Florida Airport continued to operate to provide military travelers with a place to relax, access phones and Internet or just have a refreshment and snack,” the application read. “On Memorial Day, Marlin organized the service at neighboring Sims State Veterans Nursing Home so that our veterans who could not travel downtown for the city sponsored service could have one of their own.”

Coy’s busy schedule comes even as he deals with health issues. He has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and instantly gets winded if he does anything too physical. He had a heart attack and triple bypass surgery in 2009. After his military career, he got into construction work, but after a while he reached a point that he couldn’t work a full day. In 2003, with his construction career winding down, he began his volunteer work, which he said he can’t do without the support of his wife, Audrey. The couple have been married over 30 years.

“I think he’s an amazing person because his whole life is devoted to service in the military,” Audrey said.

Original Source: ‘The ultimate ambassador’: AMVETS awards Panama City vet for community service

“Salute To Veterans”, featuring Rocky Bleier, Greg Gadson and Chad Hennings

Airing Tonight: The Premiere of “Salute To Veterans”, featuring Rocky Bleier, Greg Gadson and Chad Hennings, and PBS’ Judy Woodruff

By: Kristina Miller

AMVETS was fortunate enough to sit down with all three athletes as they prepared to go on air to discuss military service, their success in the NFL and that continued commitment to success throughout transition in this new social-interactive televised format #SaluteToVeterans, which will be airing tonight and tomorrow for the 4th of July Holiday.

The ‘Salute to Veterans’ program features these 3 notable athletes with military service–Rocky Bleier, Greg Gadson and Chad Hennings–who are creating solutions in their communities for their fellow Veterans who may not be as fortunate as they have been since serving.

“Playing Football and Military Service have a natural link, ” shares Chad Hennings, US Air Force Force Graduate and 3-Time Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl Champion, “We can all reflect on commitment to achieving success. You are forever part of something bigger than yourself; it takes sacrifice to be successful.”

Rocky Bleir, a US Army Vietnam Veteran and 4-time Super Bowl Champion with the Pittsburgh Steelers, is all too familiar with being in a life of constant transition.
“Transition is always a struggle” says Rocky. “Once you are comfortable in a position or in your role, its time to transition (laughing). “

“The challenge is (in transition) the support mechanism can be taken away. How one adjusts and how you get through (inevitable) transition, determines your success.”

Greg Gadson, Retired US Army Colonel, Garrison Commander, and most recently known for his featured role in the movie Battleship (in addition to his two NY Giants Super Bowl rings), also reminds us about the importance of teamwork, and how this Salute to Veterans series is an inspirational program that engages in meaningful dialogue about the most pressing societal issues our nations 25 million veterans, 3.3 million active duty service members and their families face including: employment, unemployment and underemployment; overcoming injuries; continuing education; accessing affordable housing; and filling the need for community leaders.

“Salute to Veterans” is not only a title of the program series, but it is a call to action around the country for much deserved gratitude to be consistently given to our past and present troops, in light of their sacrifices made for freedom, liberty and safety.

#MySaluteToVeterans and the broadcast series aims to transform national military observances days, as not just holidays, but honor-days, when these important issues should be top of mind.

About Salute to Veterans
Salute to Veterans is a national television series and platform raising awareness for and engaging in meaningful discussion about the most pressing societal issues that our 25 million veterans face in communities across America, including: employment, unemployment and underemployment; overcoming injuries; continuing education; accessing affordable housing; and other important issues, while inspiring leadership in their communities.

Please visit: These three veterans are also inspiring others to thank Veterans for their sacrifice everyday through social media at #MySaluteToVeterans and SaluteToVeteranson Facebook. Also, visit http://www.salutetoveterans.org/showfinder.html for your local listings and air times.

Daryl Williams contributed to this story