Print & Post: Week of October 01, 2007

Come out to Fleet Week in San Francisco this Weekend
Join us Oct. 4-9 at the San Francisco Pier to help celebrate the men and women of our armed forces. A spectacular weekend family event featuring the Navy Blue Angels, a Parade of Navy ships and other exciting demonstrations. Visit ( for more information.

Burr Chosen to Lead Committee
Republican members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs have announced that they have chosen ( Senator Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) as the temporary ranking member of the committee. Burr will temporarily replace ( Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho). The North Carolina Republican has placed special focus this year on improving life for the nation's estimated 200,000 homeless veterans. Burr is also proponent of veterans' health issues. Burr has served on the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs since he was sworn in as a U.S. Senator on Jan, 3, 2005.

Cutting Delays in Vets' Pay
Departing Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson called for new measures to reduce intractable delays in veterans disability pay, saying his successor will have to "think outside the box" to alleviate strains on the agency. Pointing to delays in disability benefits, Nicholson reiterated that 1,100 new processors won't be enough to reduce months-long delays, particularly as the VA prepares to take on additional responsibilities from the Pentagon in awarding payments. He urged Congress to pass legislation that would shorten the appeals time veterans have to challenge decisions, which he said contributed to the delays averaging 177 days. With current efforts, the VA has said it can only hope to reduce delays to 145-150 days. To learn more, (,15240,150623,00.html) read the article at

How do you feel about this action? ( Let your public officials know how you feel!

2007 AcademyWomen Career Workshop and Fourth Annual Symposium
The Fourth Annual AcademyWomen Symposium will kick off Friday night, 26 October and run through Sunday, 28 October at the Women's Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. The theme for the Symposium is Where Do We Go From Here? Charting Our Course for the Next 30 Years. The weekend will include inspirational and informative panels, keynote speakers and workshops on a wide range of topics including Women at War, Charting Your Upward Trajectory, and Leading on All Fronts. For more details, ( see the agenda.

The Career Workshop will be held Friday, 26 October and will be devoted to professional development. Trained coaches and experts will facilitate workshops on topics ranging from interviewing skills to strategic networking. Representatives from a wide range of companies and agencies will also be present (to include Cisco, Halliburton, Bearing Point, Wharton Business School, the United Nations, Lockheed, Raytheon, Mary Kay, and others). For more details, ( see the agenda.

Michigan Veterans Offered Free Trip
According to the Michigan Association of County Veterans Counselors, veterans may be eligible for a trip to Mackinac Island, Mich. The trip includes lodging at Island House Hotel, the Grand Hotel's Famous Lunch Buffet, a round trip ferry ticket on Arnold Transit Ferry Co. and a tour of the island from Mackinac Island Carriage Tours. To make reservation, veterans should call 800-626-6304 and identify themselves as a veteran. Counselors will make a reservation for them and send out an e-mail confirmation with a ferry schedule and other information they will need. The available dates for the package are Sept. 30 - Oct. 4, Oct. 7-11, and Oct. 14-18. There is no cost for the above package.

To learn about state benefits, visit the ( State Veteran's Benefits Directory.

VA to Expand Maryland Cemetery
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced the award of a $3,743,613 grant to expand Maryland's Cheltenham Veterans Cemetery. The grant will pay for the development of an additional burial section, roads, utilities, and landscaping. Maryland has four other state cemeteries that were built and improved with VA grants. Information on VA burial benefits can be obtained from national cemetery offices, from the VA's ( Burials and Memorials webpage or by calling VA regional offices toll-free at 1-800-827-1000. Information about Maryland's veterans' cemeteries can be obtained from the ( Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs website or by calling 410-923-6981.

( Understanding Memorial Benefits

Connecticut Offers Service Medal
Since last fall, the Connecticut State Department of Veteran's Affairs has hosted invitation-only ceremonies during which veterans of all wars receive the Connecticut Veterans War Time Service Medal. The medal is the first of its kind that the state has minted since the end of World War I. The 270,000 veterans who will receive it are Connecticut natives or current residents who served in a war and received honorable discharges. All living war veterans from World War II to the current war in Iraq are entitled to the medal. The medal can also be mailed to the veteran's home. For more information, visit the ( Connecticut Veterans War Time Service Medal webpage.

College Credit for Military Experience
Your military service has likely earned you college credit. Many schools and colleges award military students credit towards a degree based on training, coursework, and occupational specialty. You've worked hard in the military -- now you can save tuition dollars and classroom time. Applying your military experience credits could save you as much as $600 and 5 months on a typical 3-credit college course. ( Get more information here.

Request free information from military-friendly schools that offer credit for service. It's an easy way to find the right school for you. ( Start now.

Operation: Action Packed!
OAP! supports deployed servicemembers by allowing them to register online to request care packages that include many popular and hard to obtain items from home. OAP! provides troops with monthly care packages until they return to the United States. For more information, visit the ( Operation Action Packed! website

Tough Road for GI Bill Reform
Soon after being sworn in, the 110th Congress brought a flurry of proposed GI Bill reforms to both houses of Congress. With a new party in charge and 24 GI Bill-related bills introduced on the floor, the political climate seemed right for real change. Each of the proposed bills address specific failings of the current Montgomery GI Bill, which includes arbitrary deadlines, mandatory payroll contributions, limited benefit transferability, inequity between active duty and reserve programs, and inadequate payment rates. However, to date, none of (,13319,150479,00.html) proposed legislation has made it out of committee. It appears the initial spotlight on reform has dimmed and the calls for change have quieted. This lack of activity may indicate that 2007 will turn out to be just another year of missed opportunities. Learn more about the (,13319,150479,00.html) proposed MGIB legislation at

How do you feel about this issue? ( Let your public officials know how you feel!

Rhode Island Cemetery Expanded
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced the award of a $5,732,027 grant for the expansion of Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Exeter. The grant will pay for the development of an additional burial section, including 2,300 full-casket burial sites, 600 in-ground cremation sites and 624 columbarium niches for cremation remains. Information on VA burial benefits can be obtained from national cemetery offices, from the ( VA Burials and Memorials webpage or by calling VA regional offices toll-free at 1-800-827-1000. Information about Rhode Island's cemetery and other veterans services can be obtained from the ( Rhode Island Division of Veterans Affairs website.

( Understanding Memorial Benefits

Maine Offers Housing Loans
The Maine State Housing Authority recently extended its low first-time homebuyer mortgage rates to veterans and active military personnel in Maine. The first-time-home requirement was also dropped. Veterans and active military personnel will still have to meet income and home price restrictions that vary by county. Honorably discharged veterans and active military that have not obtained loans through Maine Housing before can also use the VA mortgage guarantee program to lower their down payment. For more information, visit the ( Maine State Housing Authority website.

To learn about state benefits, visit the ( State Veteran's Benefits Directory.

Veterans Can Take a Stand
Congress is currently making decisions about veterans and military benefits. Without your input, they will rely on their own lack of military experience to determine which benefits can be cut. In today's political climate it is more important than ever for military servicemembers and veterans to be actively involved. The ( Legislative Center makes it easier than ever to reach your elected officials and learn about current and pending legislation that will affect veteran and military benefits for generations to come. Get involved - visit the ( Legislative Center today.

Minnesota Launches Literary Project
The Military Salute Project is sponsoring the 2008 Minnesota Veterans Literary Initiative to encourage Minnesotans who served in the Global War on Terror to record and preserve their stories. Submissions will be accepted via e-mail from residents of Minnesota who have been awarded the National Defense Service Medal, the GWOT Expeditionary or Service Medals, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, or the Iraq Campaign Medal for service on or after Sept.11, 2001. Submissions will also be accepted from immediate family members. The project will present three awards each in poetry and essay categories. For more information, visit the ( 2008 Minnesota Veterans Literary Initiative website.

To learn about state benefits, visit the ( State Veteran's Benefits Directory.

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WWE PPV - No Mercy - October 7
Watch WWE No Mercy on Pay-Per-View, October 7th at 8pm ET/5pm PT as John Cena faces Randy Orton. Plus, World Heavyweight Champion, Batista faces the 7-foot monster, The Great Khali, in on of the most brutal matches in WWE history; A Punjabi Prison Match.

Order now and receive a free WWE No Mercy T-Shirt. ( Click here for more information.

VA Grant for Montana Veterans Cemetery
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced the award of a $4.1 million grant to establish the West Montana State Veterans Cemetery in Missoula, Mont. The cemetery will provide 962 full-casket gravesites, 1,906 in-ground cremation sites and 195 columbarium niches for cremation remains. Information on VA burial benefits can be obtained from national cemetery offices, from VA's ( Burials and Memorials webpage or by calling VA regional offices toll-free at 1-800-827-1000. Information about Montana state veterans cemeteries can be obtained at the ( Montana Veterans Affairs webpage or by calling the Montana Veterans' Affairs Division at (406) 324-3740.

( Understanding Memorial Benefits

VA Seeks Former Prisoners of War
If you know any former prisoners of war (POW) or their family members, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) needs your help. Once again, VA is reaching out to former prisoners of war not currently using VA benefits and services, urging them to contact the Department to find out if they are eligible for health care, disability compensation and other services. If you know a former POW, please ask him or her to contact VA at 1-800-827-1000. Details about benefits and services available to former POWs and family members are available at the ( VA's American Former Prisoners of War webpage.

Artists Document Air Force History
Since 1950, the Air Force Art Program has documented history and covered every major operation in which the service has been involved. The program currently has approximately 250 active artists. The works accumulated over the past 57 years represents hundreds. The art chosen for the program includes all forms including oil paintings, watercolors, acrylic paintings, and charcoal drawings. The program has about 9,500 pieces. To learn more about the Air Force Art Program, visit the ( United States Air Force Art Collection website

Scholarship for Wounded Warriors
Liberty University is offering scholarships for wounded warriors through its Heroes Funds Scholarship. Anyone who was wounded in war qualifies. Liberty University covers what the GI Bill won't, thanks to donations to the university. Almost $40,000 from private donations has gone to wounded veterans and servicemembers so far, as well as spouses of Soldiers who were killed in action. The fund will continue as long as donations keep coming in. Thirty-two students have been awarded the scholarship so far. For more information or to apply for the Heroes Fund Scholarship, contact Emily Foutz, Liberty University's Director of Military Affairs, by calling (434) 592-3805.

Remember: Not applying for scholarships is like turning down free money. Get started on your search for scholarships today - visit the ( Scholarship Finder.

Washington State Offers Tuition Waivers
Washington State University is now providing full tuition coverage for eligible veterans. The veteran must be a resident of Washington, be using the waiver for their first degree, be honorably discharged, served on foreign soil or international waters in a conflict or elsewhere in support of those serving in a conflict, or be dependent of a totally disabled veteran. Other Washington state schools may also waive portions of tuition for veterans. For more information, contact the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs at 1-800-562-2308 or the Washington State University Veterans Affairs Coordinator at (509) 335-1234.

( Tuition Assistance (TA) Program Overview

Deal of the Week: Military Special Discounts
On the road a lot? Get a car charger for only $5.99 when purchasing a Samsung SYNC (as low as $49.99). Certain Restrictions apply. ( Shop AT&T 24/7.

Navy Wear Testing New Uniforms
Selected officers and Sailors will begin limited wear testing of new uniform prototypes, service dress khaki for chiefs and officers, and service dress blue and white for E-6 and below late this fall or early winter. Uniform testing is expected to run for 90-120 days. Delivery of a single Navy working uniform for wear by all Sailors E-1 to O-10, and a year-round service uniform for all Sailors E-6 and below is on track to get to the Fleet in summer 2008. The new Navy PT uniform is on track for spring 2008. For more information on Navy uniforms, visit the ( Navy Uniform Matters webpage.

New Center for Wounded Warriors
A new 12,000 square-foot Warrior and Family Support Center currently being built at Fort Sam Houston, Texas will be ten times the size of the current facility. The new fully wheelchair-accessible building will provide a "living room" environment, a place for social interaction and recreation between wounded warriors and their families, and include a computer classroom, kitchen, dining room, conference room, adequate bathrooms, and storage and social-gathering areas. It also will provide opportunities in training for new job skills. Construction of the $3.5 million building is scheduled for completion in 2008. For more information, visit the ( Warrior and Family Support Center website

New Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Gordon H. Mansfield ( ( biography) began serving as Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Mansfield has served as Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs since January 2004. He assumed the role of Secretary under the terms of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, where a Deputy Secretary begins to serve as Acting Secretary immediately and automatically when the Secretary position becomes vacant. Mansfield will serve as Acting Secretary until another individual is nominated by the president and confirmed by the United States Senate.

Panel Urges Improved Veterans Care
Former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., and former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala say they don't want fights between Congress and the Bush administration over Iraq to overshadow the need to pass legislation that would provide lifetime treatment to Iraq war veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. A July report by the nine-member commission chaired by Dole and Shalala, recommended changes that would increase benefits for family members caring for the wounded, create a website for medical records and revamp the way disability pay is awarded. To learn more, (,15240,149951,00.html) read the article at

How do you feel about this action? ( Let your public officials know how you feel!