The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019: Are you eligible?

The Veterans Administration began receiving claims from Navy Veterans who served in blue water during Vietnam starting January 1, 2020.

The buddy check question: Are you eligible?

H.R. 299-The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, became law June 25, 2019. The bill was introduced by ranking member Representative Mark Takano of the House Committee of Veterans’ Affairs.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides eligibility information through Choose VA communication. The information outlines what a veteran can expect when claims receive approval.

The Veterans Administration offers a “Vessel Locator Tool” for those who question their eligibility. The locator tracks records and digitizes deck logs scanning names and providing the beneficiary with a quick answer.

Please take a minute to reach out to the VFW, DAV, or the American Legion for assistance. Membership provides opportunities to serve and help the community.

Please feel free to leave a comment or reach out to a Service Officer by filling out the contact form.

Governor Evers’ budget includes funding The University of Wisconsin Missing-in-action Recovery and Identification Project

Governor Tony Evers’ 2021-2023 budget disbursed funds to the University of Wisconsin Missing-in-action Recovery and Identification Project after surviving budget cuts.

Funding for the project sat idle throughout 2020, pending approval by Wisconsin legislators, despite the unanimous support by senators after the October 22, 2019 public hearing.

The public hearing presented Senate Bill 446 by Senator Roger Roth of the 19th District, which sought the allocation of $360,000 over two years.

Senators recognized cutting the funding of the project could be a controversial issue after consulting with veterans like Al Labelle who testified. Labelle spoke on behalf of Disabled American Veterans of Wisconsin as their media coordinator.

DAV of Wisconsin spoke in favor to endorse the repatriating of remains to bring closure to the families of those still missing.

On October 29, 2019, spokesperson Al Labelle of the Disabled American Veterans of Wisconsin testifies before senators speaking in favor of Senate Bill 446.

One of the missing is Wisconsin servicemember First Lieutenant Jerome Volk. His P-80 Shooting Star crashed in North Korea after being shot down by artillery in 1951.

The October 2019 public hearing presented testimony from Lieutenant Jerome Volk’s niece, Jerry Volk-Barry. Her testimony provided insight of the benefit the Volk family receives from the UW MIA Recovery and Identification Project.

“The fact that Jerry has never been returned has taken a toll on our entire family and continues to do so. In all honesty, with so many years passed, I had no hope until recently that will ever happen,” Volk-Barry said speaking in support of Senate Bill 446.

The hope Volk-Barry spoke of acknowledged the efforts of the project, which located three servicemembers so far. Each two-year term funds the locating and identifying of up to three missing servicemembers from Wisconsin.

The public hearing offered testimony from members and supporters of the veteran community who all spoke in favor of funding Senate Bill 446.

Volk-Barry’s testimony shared her family’s ongoing challenge to keep hope alive stating:

  • The Volk family receives updates from the Department of Defense who fully supports funding the identification projects.
  • Wisconsin families will receive hope and closure from project funding, which provides advances in science and technology when identifying missing servicemembers.
  • Funding the project will open side doors, which works outside the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense when locating and identifying remains.

COVID-19 prolonged the search for Lieutenant Volk stalling the momentum of the project. On April 1, 2020, Senate Bill 446 went back to the Wisconsin State Assembly for ratification, which allowed legislators to address specific reasoning for funding through Joint Resolution 1.

The project faced the reality of budget cuts.

The group continued to press forward despite facing potential setbacks by planning their next location site. The group plans their travels abroad in teams to conduct archaeological surveys.

The team investigates and inspects crash sites and last-known geographical whereabouts by connecting with members of The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency registry.

 “The team members maintain their focus on a goal that conducts elicit research with each case thoroughly surveying a crash or burial site to extract remains. As a senior study of archaeology, the project has allowed me the opportunity to learn and conduct the practical application of many skills,” said University of Wisconsin-Madison Archaeology Senior Torrey Tiedeman as a spokesperson for the project.

Tiedeman served in the War on Terror as a Marine Corps Infantryman whose career passion seeks to serve the veteran community. Tiedeman spoke about the rewarding experience of finding the remains of those lost.

Tiedeman testified about the impact the project has on our nation when Wisconsin invests in bringing our missing servicemembers home.

On January 21, 2021, the Wisconsin State Senate passed Senate Bill 446 unanimously. The project will continue moving forward resiliently coming out of the pandemic.

The University of Wisconsin Missing-in-action Recovery and Identification Project supporters hope the day will come when our scholars bring Lieutenant Jerome A. Volk home.

Upcoming workshops for Veteran Readiness and Employment virtual events with the Veterans Administration

The Veterans Administration hosts virtual workshops in April for veterans seeking assistance with education and employment.

The Veterans Readiness and Employment workshops assist veterans with tools to advance their career. To be eligible, one must qualify to use VA services. Contact Patrick Grube at: Patrick.Grube@va.gov to take advantage of the great opportunities workshops provide.

The upcoming schedule:

VA VRE Spring 21 Events (1)

 

If you would like more information, please fill out a form on the outpost 422 contact page or click on the sidebar widget for our Service Officer’s contact information. VR and E works to rehabilitate disabled veterans and those eligible with gainful opportunities to advance their career. The VFW, DAV and American Legion offer supplemental information to members on their websites.

The buddy behind the buddy check: The American Legion National Commander addresses Congress March 4 for first virtual Washington Conference addressing setbacks from COVID-19

American Legion National Commander James W. “Bill” Oxford tackles the rough road ahead advocating for veterans March 4 before Congress.

National Commander Oxford’s Buddy Checks offered veterans assistance facing the impact of COVID-19 shutdowns. Service Officers helped Posts assemble buddy checks with Legionnaires by relaying information from the County Veteran Service Office. The American Legion faced virtual challenges to address items like better access to rural broadband, to improve how veterans connect virtually with Veterans Administration providers, the dire need to recognize improving women’s health care and to urge Congress to take action to face the aftermath starting with the American Legion National Commander’s address.

The American Legion started connecting with veterans by reaching out through Buddy Checks introduced in 2019. Oxford seeks to incorporate one week per year to engage with the Veterans Administration to recognize veterans who need extra help through his proposed “Buddy Check Bill of 2021.” The American Legion, the oldest veteran organization, opened its doors to assist homeless veterans with access to Legion halls, which offered refuge when the pandemic began.

The Virtual Service Officer Office at Outpost 422 invites veterans to check out the VFW, DAV and American Legion when needing help with benefit claims

Are you stuck wondering where to turn after receiving a denial letter from the Veterans Administration for service connection from your military injuries?

Look no further. The Outpost 422 Virtual Service Officer Office connects veterans with organizations who will help them. Click on the sidebar widgets and follow along with our tutorial.

Reach out anytime by filing out the form found in the toolbar titled “contact.” Surviving appeal takes rigor and guts. The road of uncertainty leads to confusion, which is why the help of the VFW, DAV and American Legion can lead you through with representation to safety.

Service Officer attending the University of Wisconsin Whitewater invites viewers to tune in to Webhawk News

The Wisconsin G.I. Bill offers Service Officer the chance to build a social media watchtower for veterans doubling as a class project for Webhawk News.

The Outpost 422 journey began through the Madison College Challenge in 2019. The service began when the Center for Entrepreneurship offered a class called “Launch Your Business.” The service started out as a campus veteran guardian mission to report breaking news leads to campus security during crisis situations.

The Outpost 422 class project then became the Clarion General of Manager of Broadcast’s show to connect campus veterans with case study information for research projects. As a consortium student attending both Madison College and UW Whitewater, courses converged with veteran organizations to support crisis resolution social media campaigns.

The General of Manager of Broadcast doubled as an American Legion Adjutant, Historian, Service Officer, Public Relations Chairperson, VA and R Hospital Post relay, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post Service Officer and Lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans. The mission sought to create recruiting opportunities on campus to offer veterans resources to succeed.

The Outpost 422 program development as a consortium entry in the Madison College Challenge of 2020, shared information for students, faculty and administrators who tuned in to try strategies used in combat to stay grounded while stay-at-home orders for COVID-19 had everyone confined to quarters. The General Manager of Broadcast would need to think of a new strategy to connect with veterans.

Madison College offered a chance to connect with both UW Whitewater Warhawks and Wolfpack students through the first Clarion Soundcloud.com account. The service transferred to the Center for Entrepreneurship Spring of 2021 to be used as a mechanism to connect with all struggling with Post COVID-19 Stress Disorder through a method called “Blog-casting.”

Webhawk News graciously offered Outpost 422 the chance to implement the guard tower reporting service as a class project. Dr. James Kates oversees the progress of the Journalism for the Web 347 course allowing the Blog-cast to distribute information to our veteran benefit niche audience. The Outpost 422 service supports the VFW, American Legion and DAV to connect with at-risk veterans and their family during the 11th hour of crisis.

You are cordially invited to join the Operation: Greenspace mission being developed in the Small Business Marketing Course at Madison College this semester. All you need to do is upload found footage, blogs, sources, commentary, requests or anything related to helping at-risk veterans find services through businesses and organizations who support them to the Outpost 422 Facebook page.

The mission started out as an answer Purdue University’s call to help the homeless. The 422nd Rescue and Recovery Brigade hosts all the social media over watch services. The result will seek to establish the Sacred Warrior Search and Rescue Foundation to assist all who struggle in times of crisis to treat their trauma with the same treatment veterans receive.

Webhawk veteran student passes on Chapter 31 benefit email information provided by Veteran Services Benefits Coordinator

UW-W Veteran Services Benefits Coordinator sent out an email to student veterans Friday February 5, offering information regarding the Veterans Administration’s Chapter 31 benefit.

Students who qualify for Chapter 31, also referred to as “Veterans Readiness and Employment (VRE),” receive an opportunity to explore careers with an assigned counselor. Eligibility requirements listed on VA.gov help the student veteran determine who qualifies. Links found on the VA.gov website help navigate additional resources.

“The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is taking steps to provide eligible veterans with at least a 20 percent service-connected disability to access Veteran Readiness and Employment (VRE) services,” Benefits Coordinator Amy Moore stated.

Veterans with a disability rating of 20 percent or more should contact the Veteran Services office to inquire about next steps. Service-connected disability refers to an injury or impairment stemming from a VA approved diagnosis related to military service. Individuals must first receive diagnosis and rating as a prerequisite for Vocational Rehabilitation.

Once diagnosed through a VA claims decision, a County Veteran Service Officer or Veteran Services Benefit Coordinator on campus can assist. Moore is asking student veterans on campus to relay information about the program. The VRE services offered through the VA help the veteran receive additional resources to succeed in school.

“These services can often go above and beyond the services provided by the G.I. Bill,” explained Moore.

Careers and employment links found on the VA.gov website take viewers on a journey to visit additional resources. Chapter 31 addresses the student veteran’s needs for training, which eventually explore employment options by leading the student through college choices. Additionally, services offered may be granted to eligible family members who may also qualify for selected benefits.

Moore’s email sent out to student veterans offered bulleted information outlining program bonuses. VRE services open doors to success in school avoiding unforeseen circumstances with the help of a counselor when a student veteran enters the program. VRE benefits provided offer:

  • 100 percent paid tuition.
  • 100 percent paid fees.
  • 100 percent paid books and supplies.
  • University of Wisconsin-Whitewater parking permit.
  • Specialty supplies.
  • A stipend for a new computer.
  • Priority health care including dental at the VA Hospital or VA Clinic.
  • Special federal hiring incentives for employment extended beyond standard veteran’s preference.
  • Additional Basic Housing Allowance (BAH) post-graduation while seeking employment.
  • Employment placement assistance.

Moore invites all who are interested in learning more about applying for Chapter 31 benefits to visit the VA.gov application website. Student veterans on campus can reach out to the Veterans Services Office by accessing information provided on the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater website. Moore hopes information will connect with all student veterans.

Social media convergence and the digital reflection of self

When the average reader credits citizen journalist bloggers as trained reporters, who share clickbait and tabloid on social media, the result ends in the lack of transparency when consuming digital news. Consuming online news can trick the untrained eye leading to believing myths. Studying journalism acquainted me with world renowned philosopher Dr. John Rawls. Rawls opened my eyes to respect the habit of being the ends as a moral agent with my audience. Citizen bloggers masquerading as journalists rarely consider the reader’s right to decide the truth from false. My first habit inspects ethics and credibility before consuming blogs as news.

Blogs are my last resort when seeking online news unless the source has academic credibility like The United States Army War College. I seek legacy reporting websites as a first choice for national news. After interviewing members of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, I quickly became acquainted with convergence reporting that had me intrigued. Viewers converge with print journalists online at www.jsonline.com and on Twitter during breaking news. The editors receive leads, then write the story once confirming source credibility as true. Convergence puts the credibility back in the hands of the reporter.

I follow The Post Crescent from my hometown of Appleton, Wisconsin, which offers great lifestyle features at www.postcrescent.com. On a state level, The Wisconsin State Journal offers outlets for freelance reporters. I submit found footage through blogs and have interviewed reporters, editors and assignment managers for class projects.  As a writer in the freelance journalism community, I subscribe to the news that keeps me working. I consume my news from websites and endorse credible outlets who use editors with a solid reputation. The news I seek ranges from Wisconsin State Capitol hearings to Madison Common Council reports.

On an international level, I seek military editorials from Military.com and The U.S. Army War College as my go to favorite news sites. My pursuit to become a combat correspondent combined with my military service follows my childhood hero’s path of Walter Cronkite. My favorite local broadcast news site offers portals for uploading found footage at www.nbc15.com, who interacts with viewers.

Walter Cronkite pictured in the image provided by vietnamwarera.com demonstrates courage and bravery of war correspondence who quickly became my childhood hero sitting on my father’s lap.

I prefer to access the news through Facebook pages and websites who converge with viewers because of social distance interaction and safety. Search engines help when I crowdsource niche subjects like veteran affairs for feature stories. Google comes in handy when seeking out newsworthy sources. I only use Google for searching out subjects to write about. I prefer to interact online with viewers when consuming the news.

Social media outlets and news resource pages allow convergence with readers. When consuming news, my first stop seeks out the opinion of viewers. Social media platforms offer leads. Breaking news coverage on social media offers added advantages. My primary resource for news consummation comes from social media outlets.

Convergence coverage between journalists and subscribers happens on-the-spot in the comments section. I tend to comment when a journalist makes an error or offers the viewer an opinion in their editorial. Journalism online allows for partisan editorializing with the ever-growing rise of citizen journalism. Commenting educates viewers when journalism ethics disappear.

 

Operation: Greenspace social media over watch opens doors to the Vet Center

The weight of military transition from combat and readjustment to a new routine may take an unexpected twist. Reaching out to the Vet Centers of America through the Veterans Administration helps warriors stay in the fight.

Do not give up hope. Help will arrive. Vet Centers of America offer a second chance to explore areas needing self improvement. Vet Center Services offered provide:

  • Individual readjustment counseling
  • Marital and family counseling
  • Referral for benefits assistance
  • Job referral

The National Homeless Veteran Hotline is 1-877-4-AID-VET. Homeless veterans in Dane County call the hotline to receive free services. The Vet Center assists those who are eligible from listed campaigns. Some Humanitarian Service Medal Awarded vets may be eligible. Reach out to the numbers listed to learn more. The VA hopes to continue to host public outings when COVID-19 subsides who is working remotely to assist veterans.

Reach out to the Vet Center by calling 1-877-927-8387 for their call center. The Madison VA Hospital provides information by clicking on the link here:

About the Madison Veterans Center – William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital (va.gov).

The Madison Vet Center is located at:

1291 Sherman Avenue

Madison, WI  53704

(608) 264-5342 or (608) 256-1901 Ext. 16950

The Madison VA social workers can provide referrals to patients in crisis. Vet Centers offer community support ranging from mental health counseling, group counseling, trauma counseling, family therapy, and post-military adjustment to civilian life. Reach out anytime by either contacting the local office direct or the National Call Center. The National Call Center is available 24 hours per day and seven days per week.

 

Have you checked in with your Veterans Administration social worker? The first stop for a buddy check

The Veterans Administration offers services to veterans who end up with a service connected rating. Social workers offer veterans support trained to handle crisis at the VA.

What does a social worker do? Social workers come equipped with information to assist veterans at-risk of homelessness. Social workers know the ins-and-outs of VA programs offering information ranging from dental options to explaining individual unemployability. 

In order to access help from a social worker, you must be eligible for VA benefits first. Free information regarding filing claims starts by buddy checking in with a County Service Officer. If you are in the Madison, Wisconsin area and need help, please contact the William S. Middleton VA Hospital. The first step to obtaining access to VA services requires the veteran to apply for benefits.  Once the individual becomes eligible, the next step requires accessing information by registering at VA.gov. The VFW and DAV offer extensive information and individualized assistance outside of the VA.

The Madison VA Hospital Patient Advocate helps in times of trouble. Please continue to check in with your primary care provider during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please feel free to leave a message in the comments if you would like Outpost 422 to investigate VA services for future blogs. Stay safe and check in anytime. We are your crisis over watch.