AMVETS in Action

Tag: Press

Marine From World War II, Pfc. Charles E. Oetjen, 18, of Blue Island, Illinois, Accounted For

IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 22, 2016

Contact:

Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (Public Affairs)

Washington, DC 20301-2300

Phone: (703) 699-1420

Fax: (703) 602-4375

Fulfilling Our Nation’s Promise

Marine From World War II Accounted For

 

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 Pfc. Charles E. Oetjen, 18, of Blue Island, Illinois, will be buried July 30, in Alsip, Illinois. In November 1943, Oetjen was assigned to Company E, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, 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. Oetjen died sometime on the first day of battle, 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 Oetjen’s remains were not recovered. On Feb. 28, 1949, a military review board declared Oetjen’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 Oetjen’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA analysis, which matched a cousin; laboratory analysis, including dental and anthropological analysis and chest radiograph comparison, which matched Oetjen’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.

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Pfc. Charles E. Oetjen, 18, of Blue Island, Illinois, has now been  accounted for from World War II and will be buried July 30th in Alsip, IL
Pfc. Charles E. Oetjen, 18, of Blue Island, Illinois, has now been
accounted for from World War II and will be buried July 30th in Alsip, IL

USS Oklahoma Sailor From World War II, Navy Fireman 2nd Class James B. Boring, Accounted For

IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 29, 2016

Contact:

Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (Public Affairs)

Washington, DC 20301-2300

Phone: (703) 699-1420

Fax: (703) 602-4375

Fulfilling Our Nation’s Promise

USS Oklahoma Sailor From World War II Accounted For

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

Navy Fireman 2nd Class James B. Boring, 21, of Vales Mill, Ohio, will be buried August 6, in Albany, Ohio. On Dec. 7, 1941, Boring was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. 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 Boring. No single vessel at Pearl Harbor, with the exception of the USS Arizona, suffered as many fatalities.

From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were subsequently interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries.

In September 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) disinterred the remains of U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks. The laboratory staff was only able to confirm the identifications of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma at that time. The AGRS subsequently buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP), known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu. In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Boring.

In April 2015, the Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a policy memorandum directing the disinterment of unknowns associated with the USS Oklahoma. On June 15, 2015, DPAA personnel began exhuming the remains from the NMCP for analysis.

To identify Boring’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA analysis, which matched two nieces, as well as circumstantial evidence and laboratory analysis, to include dental comparisons, which matched Boring’s records.

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.

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“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.

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“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

Korean Augmentation To the United States Army (KATUSA) REMEMBERED AT THE NATIONAL KOREAN WAR VETERANS MEMORIAL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 10, 2016

Korean Augmentation To the United States Army (KATUSA) REMEMBERED AT THE NATIONAL KOREAN WAR VETERANS MEMORIAL

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Korean War Veterans Foundation will pay tribute to the more than 8,000 men who served with the U.S. Army during the Korean War at a special commemorative event at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, June 25, 2016 at 9:00AM.

This ceremony will remember and commemorate the service of over 8,000 Republic of Korea soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice serving alongside American United States Army soldiers during the Korean War. Names of the fallen will be read throughout the day and wreaths will be presented at 9:00AM to remember all who served in the Korean War. Members of Congress along with Embassy of the Republic of Korea will be on hand to participate in the reading of the fallen.

Few Americans know, and sadly, some Korean War Era veterans fail to remember the bloodshed by those Korean nationals who were assigned to United States Army units during the Korean War.   The history of the war generally available to our people ignores the KATUSA or, if covered, tends to denigrate their contribution and use in U.S. units.   Lost in that kind of reasoning is why Koreans were assigned to US units! And, that is where this issue becomes one that ought to be acknowledged by America — for there are at least 36 plus thousand American families that should say, “Thank you KATUSAs!”.

Korean Augmentation To the United States Army (KATUSA Korean: 카투사) is a branch of Republic of Korea Army which consists of Korean enlisted personnel who are augmented to the Eighth United States Army (EUSA). KATUSA does not form an individual military unit, instead small numbers of KATUSA members are dispatched throughout the most of the Eighth United States Army departments, filling in positions for the United States Army enlisted soldiers and junior non-commissioned officers. KATUSAs are drafted from pool of qualified volunteers who are subjected to mandatory military service for Korean male citizens. While ROK Army holds the responsibility for personnel management of KATUSAs, KATUSA members are equipped with standard United States Army issues, and live and work with the U.S. enlisted soldiers. This kind of augmentation is unique throughout the entire United States Army worldwide, because KATUSA program was developed during Korean War as a temporary measure to cope with a shortage of personnel in the United States Army. The ceremony will feature

Beginning in July 1950 at the request of General Douglas MacArthur in front of ROK President Syngman Rhee, General Macarthur took command of all ROK Forces. At this time, General Macarthur implemented Korean soldiers into the U.S. Army where there were critical shortages, making the first KATUSA soldiers assigned to 7th Infantry Division, originally in Japan, but mobilized to Incheon in September 1950. This program continued after the Korean War, and KATUSA soldiers would spend 18-months with the U.S. Army learning his occupation and would then return to the ROK Army for training others on the occupation. According to the Eighth Army Wightman NCO Academy, “With the establishment of the ROKA Training Center in 1963…KATUSA soldiers began to spend their whole military tour in the U.S. Army”

About Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation (www.koreanwarvetsmemorial.org)

The Memorial is unique in that it presents an aura of commitment both by a generation of young American soldiery as well as their comrades from 20 other nations of the United Nations and the Republic of South Korea. Dedicated to the concept that “Freedom Is Not Free”, the Memorial does not glorify war but rather the determination of our people to assist other people in preserving their freedom!

Unique among war memorials, and one of the most visited, the Korean War Veterans Memorial features a column of 19 sculptures representing those members of the Armed Forces of the United States that directly engaged the enemy in ground, sea and air combat and depicts the ethnic and racial makeup of those forces. The sculptures are flanked by a Wall filled with over 2500 photos depicted on the granite surface of personnel and scenes of the war.

The Pool of Remembrance at the head of the Memorial is dedicated to those killed in action, wounded in action, missing in action or held as Prisoner Of War by the enemy. Look closely at the numbers of casualties engraved in the granite border of the Pool and you will understand why the then “Police Action” now must be called a “War”! As surely as World War II was fought to save the world for democracy it can be said that the Korean War was fought to save the world from communism! The stand taken in Korea, and the “line in the sand” drawn there against armed aggression, became the catalyst for the eventual downfall of the goal of communism ,..”.. to enslave the world!”

Visit this Memorial! See for yourself why it is imperative that our goal of raising a Memorial Maintenance Endowment Fund is critical to ensure that it is maintained properly for future generations to enjoy and be inspired.

 

For media inquiries:

Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation

COL(R) William Weber ~ Chairman of the Board

410-775-7733 ~ email: eagle187@hughes.net

 

 

The Mission Continues Launches Inaugural “Mass Deployment” In Detroit

The Mission Continues Launches First Annual “Mass Deployment” In Detroit #OPERATIONMOTOWNMUSTER

Week-Long Service Marathon Aims to Jump-Start Lasting Transformations in Communities of Deepest Need

DETROIT (June 7, 2016) – National veterans nonprofit The Mission Continues is launching a new program that positions veterans to be catalysts for long-term change and positive impact in communities facing daunting challenges. The inaugural Mass Deployment program will send hundreds of veterans and volunteers to participate in a week-long service engagement that will jump-start a long-lasting transformation in a city or community identified with a particularly high level of need.

For the first-ever event of its kind – dubbed Operation Motown Muster – The Mission Continues will bring more than 75 military veterans to Detroit to partner with more than 200 local veterans and community volunteers. Following Operation Motown Muster, The Mission Continues will maintain a sustained veteran volunteer presence in Detroit over the next several years to continuously support local nonprofits invested in revitalizing local neighborhoods.

“With the skills, leadership and experience they cultivated in the military, veterans are uniquely positioned to help accelerate Detroit’s comeback,” said Spencer Kympton, U.S. Army veteran and president of The Mission Continues. “We’re looking forward to an impactful week of service that will make a difference for the people who continue to call Detroit home and that will inspire others to take action and make a long-term positive impact in the community.”

Home to nearly 700,000 residents — many of whom are already hard at work shaping the future of their city — Detroit was a prime location for The Mission Continues’ inaugural Mass Deployment. During Operation Motown Muster, The Mission Continues veterans and local volunteers will add much-needed capacity to local organizations that are carrying on Detroit’s revitalization efforts.

Between June 23 and 30, nearly 300 veterans and volunteers from around the country will report for duty in Detroit for the organization’s first-ever “Mass Deployment” program. Dubbed Operation Motown Muster, over the course of one week, participants will partner with local community organizations to help accelerate the transformation and revitalization happening in Detroit. Each day, the team will deploy and execute a variety of high-impact missions, including construction, landscaping, painting and public arts projects. Specific projects include:

  • Refurbishing indoor and outdoor facilities at Central High School and Priest Elementary School to make the schools a safe and inviting place for students to learn,
  • Beautifying three public parks and future green spaces in the Osborn Neighborhood to create a safe, lively space for families to play, and
  • Cleaning up 40 acres of vacant land and converting portions of the Chene Ferry Market into clean, vibrant spaces for community events and an urban farm.

Following this week-long service marathon, The Mission Continues will maintain a veteran volunteer presence in the city to continually support local Detroit nonprofits over the next several years. And, in 2017, they’ll select a new Mass Deployment city with a goal of jump-starting long-term transformational change in another community.

The Mission Continues has operations across the country that engage veteran volunteers every day to have deep impact on critical challenges facing underserved communities. Veterans participate in operations by serving with The Mission Continues in one of two ways:

  • As a member of a Service Platoon, undertaking regular service missions that leverage veterans’ skills and leadership to make a positive impact.
  • As an individual The Mission Continues Fellow, embedding as a skilled volunteer with one of the operation’s nonprofit partners for a period of six months.

To learn more about The Mission Continues’ programs and opportunities to get involved, visit www.missioncontinues.org.

About The Mission Continues

The Mission Continues is a national nonprofit organization that empowers veterans who are adjusting to life at home to find purpose through community impact. Our operations in cities across the country deploy veteran volunteers alongside non-profit partners and community leaders to solve some of the most challenging issues facing our communities: improving community education resources, eliminating food deserts, mentoring at-risk youth and more. Through this unique model, veterans build new skills and networks that help them successfully reintegrate to life after the military while making long-term, sustainable transformations in communities and inspiring future generations to serve. To learn more, visit: www.missioncontinues.org or follow us on Twitter @missioncontinue.

For more information, please contact:

Laura L’Esperance, The Mission Continues
llesperance@missioncontinues.org

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Thank you, AMVETS Task Force DVD!

Hello,

My name is SGT Ross Beyerle and I just wanted to write you and tell you thank you from not only me, but our entire company. We received ten boxes filled with DVD’s and CD’s. It definitely was a great surprise and they have kept everyone very entertained. Having something new to watch when we have some down time really helps relieve the stress of guard shifts and missions. I just wanted to say thank you again, I have also included a photo of our platoon.

Thank you,
SGT Ross Beyerle

To donate to Task Force DVD, or to submit a request for DVDs to your or a loved one’s deployed unit, visit: http://www.amvetsnsf.org/taskforce.html