On September 18, 2014 both the House and Senate passed H.J. Res. 124, Continuing Appropriations Resolution, Fiscal Year 2015, funding the federal government from October 1st through Dec 11th and sent it to the President for his signature. September 19th President Obama signed into law P.L. 113-164 (H.J. Res. 124), keeping the federal government operating after the regular Appropriations act which expired on September 30th. The law continues funding for government programs and services capped at the annual rate of $1.012 trillion until December 11, 2014. This rate of funding remains for the length of the continuing resolution, or until Congress approves the annual Appropriations legislation for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15). This law includes eight (8) provisions that are of interest to the Legion, two of which are included this report:
On December 13th, 2014 the U.S. Senate voted 56-40 to approve H.R. 83, the FY15 Omnibus Funding measure. This bill contains funding for key military infrastructure projects to support our troops and their families at home and abroad. It also includes increased funding to meet our obligations to our nation’s veterans including helping to increase the efficiency and interoperability of the combined Department of Defense (DOD) / Veterans Affairs (VA) medical records system, and to reduce the backlog at the VA. Signed by the President on December 16th, this bill adds $209 million to help address new costs related to the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (VACAA). This bill will set in motion the hiring of medical staff, the expansion of facility capacity, and the implementation of the Caregivers Act, which provides stipends and other assistance to families of seriously wounded veterans.
Highlights of VACAA include the following:
According to the Congressional Budget office, VACAA would result in net spending of roughly $10 billion from 2014 – 2024, making it less expensive than previous VA reform packages passed by the House and Senate.]]>
A Veterans Day Awareness and Auxiliary Poppy Program were held by the members of Birdsboro Post 626. The exhibit was held at Immaculate University in Malvern, PA on Veteran’s Day.
Pictured left to right – Post Historian Richard Happel (Korean War Veteran), Brigadier General George M. Schwartz, Assistant Adjutant General – Pennsylvania (OEF Veteran and Doctorate Student at the University) and Post Adjutant Robert Mealand (OIF Veteran).
The Poppy Program has been a staple of the organization since the Legion’s 1925 National Convention when Resolution 534 was adopted, giving the Auxiliary complete charge of the program. It is imperative to remember that the Poppy Program is an American Legion Family event.]]>
The Woodland Avenue Veterans Affairs Medical Center is one step closer to being renamed after Corporal Michael J. Crescenz, Philadelphia’s only Medal of Honor recipient of the Vietnam War era.
At the beginning of this Congress, U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) introduced a bipartisan bill to change the name of the Woodland Avenue center. The bill cleared the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee last July and passed the Senate unanimously.
Corporal Crescenz was awarded the nation’s highest military honor for his actions on Nov. 20, 1968, in Vietnam’s Hiep Duc Valley. His Medal of Honor citation states that Corporal Crescenz gave his life when he, “left the relative safety of his own position, seized a nearby machine gun and, with complete disregard for his safety, charged 100 meters up a slope toward the enemy’s bunkers which he effectively silenced . . . As a direct result of his heroic actions, his company was able to maneuver freely with minimal danger and to complete its mission, defeating the enemy.”
“The name of Philly’s own ‘Michael Crescenz’ deserves to be above the door at the Woodlawn Avenue Medical Center,” said Sen. Toomey. “It is great news that the Senate agrees with me that Corporal Crescenz should be remembered in this way. I realize this is a small gesture on our part, given the nature of his great actions. We do this with profound respect and deepest gratitude for his sacrifice. May the renaming of this building serve as an ever-present reminder of the sacrifices of all of Pennsylvania’s Vietnam veterans.”
Corporal Crescenz’s brothers in arms and other veterans advocates praised the effort.
“I was with Michael when he gave his life for his comrades, for me and for his country. I am grateful that he will not be forgotten. Michael will always have a place in my mind and my heart. God bless America,” said Bill Stafford, USA. Ret.
“In December of 2010, while placing wreaths on the graves at Arlington National Cemetery, I asked Michael’s younger brother, Joe Crescenz, if I could have his family’s permission to pursue having the VAMC Philadelphia renamed in honor of Michael. All people will know of Philadelphia’s American hero, Cpl. Michael J. Crescenz and his Medal of Honor. Let us all say to Mike, ‘Welcome home, brother,” said Francis Tacey, Vietnam Class of 1967 – 1968, and DAV Lifetime Member.
“After over 40 years, it is high time Philadelphia honors this intrepid American hero who gave his life for his country. Corporal Michael Crescenz deserves at least a hospital named after him to honor that sacrifice and the extraordinary gallantry that went with it,” said David Kamioner: Director of Communications and Development, The Veterans Group, US Army 1980-1990.
“I think it is only appropriate and fitting that Philadelphia’s Veterans Affairs facility is re-named in honor of Corporal Michael Crescenz, a Philadelphia native and Medal of Honor recipient. It will be a permanent reminder of, and well-deserved memorial to, a true American hero and dedicated soldier who unselfishly made the ultimate sacrifice so that others might live.” said Joe Eastman: United States Navy (Retired) and Member, City of Philadelphia Veterans Advisory Commission.]]>
A fundraiser that began with a small group of people wanting to show their support for U.S. troops has snowballed into a five-figure donation to a national military support organization.
On Monday, members of the American Legion Post 365 in Corry donated $10,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project after just four months of fundraising.
Through bus trips, 50/50 raffles, meat raffles, wristband sales and Red Shirt Friday events, the Legion was able to make a substantial contribution to the project, which aims to assist injured service members and raise awareness about the need for special programs.
“This just goes to show how everybody got on board,” said Phil Barnes, senior vice-commander of the Legion. “We had a lot of people really step up.”
Through social members, Sons of the American Legion, Auxiliary members, Riders and post members, the fundraising effort was an enormous success, Barnes said.
“This was totally driven by our members,” Barnes said. “Because of its success, I believe we will continue to do it again next year.”
The $10,000 check was presented to Corry Junior Vice Commander Rex Nichols, who is an alumnus of the Wounded Warrior Project. Nichols will present the money to the project on behalf of the Corry Legion.
“Everyone” should be extremely honored to have participated in his endeavor,” Barnes said.
Making the presentation were, from left, Senior Vice Commander Phil Barnes and Commander Cory Rose to Junior Vice Commander Rex Nichols, an alumnus of the Wounded Warrior Project.]]>
This program was established in 1952 to provide blood for military personnel and their families worldwide. The ASBP has more than 20 blood centers worldwide, but it’s only fair to point out that none are located in New England. As a Vet having been wounded or otherwise injured and in need of life saving blood since the early 50’s, in all probability the blood you received was supplied by the Armed Forces Blood Program. How might you help?
First, give thanks to all who have ever made a donation to ASBP. Follow up this by checking into their web link offered above. The FDS sets the standard for ALL donated blood collection agencies from ASBP to the RED CROSS plus a number of units such as Miller/Keystone here in eastern central, PA. Those of you who regularly donate pretty much know the drill, but for those who haven’t you might ask: “What’s it like?” Figure roughly an hour and usually it’s easier, at least for me, then having my teeth cleaned at the local dentist.
“Can I donate?” Another common question with guide lines providing answers provided by accessing: www.militaryblood.dod.mil You’ll be asked some pretty direct questions prior to any needle stick which most times goes pretty well. One clear BONUS is the free mini health check given prior to the needle stick – too much coffee before arriving at the center can mess up the numbers and you could be deferred.
The LIFE SAVED may actually be yours. For me it was the discovery of an irregular heart beat followed by a stress test given elsewhere which I flunked. Yep, further checking at the hospital and an open heart operation with bypass surgery followed. Two units of red blood cells certainly helped with recovery. A year later I was back at the local blood blank and re-qualified to donate more A-.
OK, here I’ve been talking primarily about ASBP – as pointed out the qualifications are set by the FDA thus whether your donation is accepted at one of their 20 centers around the world or from a Mobile RED CROSS unit or some other agency such as Miller/Keystone closer to home, your donated blood is certain to either save a life, aid in recovery another time, or both. And a word for you Harry, yes you donated a pint a year or two ago ….. well time to step up again. Keep in mind, whole blood, up to 6 times a year and for only platelets, believe it or not, up to 24 times.
A final alert – 10.4 blood units are needed each and every minute here in the US alone.
Peter D. Noyes – American Legion Life Member 62 years]]>
Boys State was founded in 1935 by two Illinois Legionnaires to teach young men about the rights, privileges and responsibilities of American citizens. The program focuses on hands‐on participation in simulated city, county and state governments. Operated by students elected to various offices, KBS activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, intramural sports, law‐enforcement presentations, a band and recreational programs. The program has produced such notable alumni as President Bill Clinton, KBS graduate Adm. Jon Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, astronaut Neil Armstrong, noted national news anchor Tom Brokaw, Michael Jordan, Robert Griffin III and entertainer Jon Bon Jovi, among others.
“KBS teaches young men to have pride in their communities and be responsible, engaged citizens. Our alumni go on to be leaders in whatever field they choose to strive in – we have alumni who are doctors, educators, military leaders, athletes, elected representatives, scientists, businessmen . . .” said KBS Director Bob Munhall.
KBS is open to all male Pennsylvania residents who have completed 11th grade and have at least one semester of high school remaining. The American Legion Department of Pennsylvania helps match successful applicants with a sponsoring Legion post so that the program is free for participants.
While the program has grown significantly in recent years, organizers and sponsors say they’re making a special effort to enable more attendance this year. The program is free to the family because the citizen receives a sponsorship/scholarship from his local American Legion Post.
“We know there’s demand beyond what we’ve been able to support in the past. A lot of people think KBS is only for guys who want to go into politics, but that’s far from the case. For one thing, there’s a lot more to the program than that. As we like to say, it’s “a week that shapes a lifetime”, said Darren Fossett, KBS Dean and 2006 alumni. “Plus, it’s just an incredibly fun time – that’s what’s kept me coming back for all these years.”
Each year, two delegates are chosen to participate in the American Legion’s Boys Nation program in Washington, DC, where they build on what they’ve learned at Boys State through participation in a simulation of the U.S. Senate and meetings with Congressmen and the President of the United States. Both delegates receive a $1,000 scholarship for college. All KBS citizens are also eligible to apply for a $20,000 scholarship sponsored by The American Legion and the Samsung Corporation.
“Seeing how the federal government works, up close and personal, was just an incredible experience and it was amazing spending a week with 97 of the most talented guys in the country. I’m still in touch with a lot of the guys I met there,” said Tony Salvatori, 2014 KBS Boys Nation delegate.
Openings are available at the 2015 KBS, which will be held June 21‐27 at Shippensburg University for 300 citizen delegates. Interested individuals can apply online through the website of the American Legion Department of Pennsylvania (http://pa‐legion.com/programs/studentprograms/keystone‐boys‐state/). Applications are due to the American Legion by May 15th.
For media inquiries, please contact KBS Media Director Lincoln Davidson (email: firstname.lastname@example.org | phone: 570.541.9531)
A printer friendly version of the press release from the KBS
Keystone Boys State fillable application 2015]]>
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor destroyed the U.S. Pacific Fleet, or so many Americans believe. But six months later, that “crippled” fleet defeated a massive Japanese task force at Midway.
Ninety-six ships were in the Navy yard at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Of these, the Japanese sank or damaged only 18, and 11 were back in service within a year.
The attacking Japanese fleet, led by Vice Adm. Chūichi Nagumo, had six aircraft carriers and two battleships, plus cruisers, destroyers and support ships. It arrived 275 miles northwest of Oahu, and at 6 a.m. launched the first attack wave of 183 aircraft; this was followed by a second wave of 168 planes. The first wave arrived over Pearl Harbor at 7:55 a.m., and the attack continued until 9:45 a.m.
The Japanese pilots were assigned to attack the battleships and aircraft carriers first. Cruisers and destroyers were the next priority. The dive bombers were set to attack ground targets. Fighters were to strafe as many parked aircraft as possible to ensure they did not get into the air to interfere.
Staff officers urged Nagumo to launch a third wave to strike the Navy yard, oil tank farms and submarine base at Pearl Harbor. Military historians say the destruction of these properties would have damaged the capabilities of the U.S. Pacific Fleet a great deal more than losing its battleships. Indeed, “serious operations in the Pacific would have been postponed for more than a year,” said Adm. Chester Nimitz, who later commanded the Pacific Fleet. “It would have prolonged the war another two years.”
Nagumo decided to withdraw, believing his force was within range of U.S. land-based bombers. Also, a third wave would require significant preparation and turnaround time, and would have meant returning planes landing after sunset. This was a considerable risk because they had not developed night carrier-landing techniques. Weather had deteriorated since the second wave, and rough seas would complicate takeoff and landing for a third wave attack.
The Japanese attack, which was a great tactical success, failed in the larger goal of destroying the U.S. Navy in the Pacific. Although the battleships were damaged, the failure to destroy the repair yards enabled the Americans to eventually return six of the eight battleships and all but one of the other vessels to active duty. The fuel reserves enabled the remainder of the fleet to continue to operate, and failure to destroy the submarine base allowed submarines to play a major role in the Pacific war.
Along Battleship Row, Arizona, California and West Virginia were sunk; Nevada was grounded and Oklahoma later capsized; and the three other battleships were damaged. At the airfields, 164 U.S. planes were destroyed and 128 damaged. U.S. military fatalities were 2,335, along with 68 civilians, and 1,178 wounded.
Arizona, which became a memorial of the attack, contains the remains of more than 900 men. Utah is the tomb of another 60. A million people visit Arizona every year.]]>
Department Commander Haas’ testimonial dinner will be Saturday, April 11, 2015 at Holiday Inn East Harrisburg, PA. The cost of the dinner tickets is $35.00 each. Dinner selection is either sliced sirloin or broiled flounder. Deadline for the dinner tickets is April 1st. You can also purchase an ad from $25 to $70.]]>