Top 25 post in membership week of 12/10/2014.
VFW thankful for unanimous support from Congress
November 21, 2014
WASHINGTON — The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is thanking the 113th Congress for their unanimous support this week to approve a change to the VFW’s congressional charter that was signed 78 years ago by President Franklin D. Roosevelt when the military was comprised almost entirely of men.
The update consists of two wording changes — replacing men with veterans, and widows with surviving spouses — and was supported by two companion bills, S. 2782 and H.R. 5441, which were introduced by Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and House VA Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), respectively.
The change was prompted by VFW Resolution 301 that was passed in July by delegates attending the 115th VFW National Convention in St. Louis.
“We didn’t change our congressional charter to be politically correct,” said VFW National Commander John W. Stroud, “we changed it because being an eligible service member or veteran is what’s important to our great organization, not one’s gender, and changing widows to surviving spouses is more representative of today’s military. The VFW thanks the Senate and House VA Committee chairmen for their sponsorships, and Congress for their unanimous support.”
The bill now heads to the president for his signature.
Commander Stroud salutes Hagel’s service and commitment
November 24, 2014
WASHINGTON — The national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States issued the following statement regarding Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s announcement to resign after a successor is confirmed.
“Chuck Hagel is a Vietnam veteran, double Purple Heart recipient, and a proud life member of VFW Post 3704 in Columbus, Neb.,” said John W. Stroud, who leads the 1.9 million-member VFW and its Auxiliaries. “We salute his service, his sacrifice, and his personal commitment to keeping America safe, as well as the close, unprecedented working relationship he built between the Pentagon and the VFW. His leadership and his presence will be missed.”
The following is a message from VFW National Commander John W. Stroud
November 06, 2014
I am extremely disturbed by the recurring reports from the field as well as the media’s portrayal of the VFW as an organization that is comprised of old and out of touch veterans who would rather drink in a dimly lit canteen than open their doors to our younger veterans. The VFW’s mission is far too important; our objectives and causes for which we work far too critical; and the current situation of the veteran population far too dire to let the negativity of a few divide us and dilute our efforts. We must empower the younger veterans to be forces of change within our organization while lending them the institutional knowledge to be effective leaders for future generations of veterans.
The fact remains that the stereotypical, dingy, dark and smoke filled VFW Post and canteen do exist, but they have no benefit to our organization, provide no aid to our mission nor to the veterans we strive to help and serve. These Posts are in the minority of our organization, but in order to shift the paradigm we must challenge every member to hold their Post accountable. It’s time for our membership to be emboldened into action and to push their Posts to strive for the high ideals that the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States was founded upon.
Accordingly, I am charging my current Department VFW Commanders to be advocates of change and to challenge the officers of the subordinate units within their command to be more than officers — challenge them to be leaders cognizant of the current challenges today’s veterans face. To do this, our VFW Posts must change their operational tactics to better reflect the modern crises younger veterans are facing on their new “battlefield” – the homefront.
For those members and Posts who would rather serve themselves than the countless veterans who are in need, remind them that this organization exists for the benefit of all veterans rather than those of an entitled few. I want to make it clear that I will willingly provide my complete support to any of my Department Commanders who move to shut down any Post, or remove from our leadership rolls, anyone that is not committed to the goals of the organization. They simply don’t belong here. The need is too great for a dynamic and modern VFW that can continue to advocate and respond unhesitatingly to the needs of all veterans in the 21st century and beyond. To do less, would be an unconscionable betrayal of our responsibilities as Americans and as veterans.
John W. Stroud
VFW National Commander
Three MIAs Identified
The Defense POW/MIA Office has announced the identification of three American servicemen who had been missing in action since World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Returned are:
- Army Air Force 2nd Lt. Jimmie D. Collins III, 32, from Talladega County, Ala., copilot of a B-24H that was lost over The Netherlands on June 21, 1944. He was assigned to the 446th Bombardment Group, Eighth Air Force, and will be buried with full military honors on a date and location yet to be determined.
- Army Cpl. Lonald D. Skeens, of Johnson, Ky., was lost Sept. 4, 1950, in South Korea. He was assigned to Company E, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, and will be buried with full military honors on a date and location yet to be determined.
- Army Staff Sgt. James L. Van Bendegom, 18, of Kenosha, Wis., was lost July 12, 1967, in South Vietnam, and later died of his wounds in a POW camp. He was assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, and will be buried with full military honors on a date and location yet to be determined.
Veterans Day in Washington
Visitors coming to their Nation’s Capital on November 11 will be able to attend many special and free events to celebrate Veterans Day, including formal observances at the World War II Memorial at 9 a.m.; at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknowns and Memorial Amphitheater at 11 a.m.; at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at 1 p.m.; and on the National Mall at 7 p.m. for the Concert for Valor.