[sixties-l] Re: sixties-l-Vietnam Veterans

From: Jeffrey Blankfort (jab@tucradio.org)
Date: Tue Aug 08 2000 - 22:45:32 CUT

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    Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2000 20:14:16 EDT
    From: Ben Chitty
    To: Vietnam Veterans Against the War
    Subject: Military recruiting glitch

    Downloaded 7/31/00 from the online edition
    of Stars & Stripes <http://www.stripes.com>

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    Pentagon Fears Billboards' Impact on Retention Crisis
    By David Eberhart, Stars and Stripes Veterans Affairs Editor

    SAN ANTONIO -- Defense Secretary William S. Cohen wants to know
    why the National Veterans Organization (NVO) has put up highway
    billboards in Texas blasting this message: "Thinking about a
    military career? Think again! The government does not honor its
    promises to veterans!"

    "It seems that our billboard graphic is turning up as a
    screensaver on Department of Defense computers all over the
    world," said NVO director Doug McArthur after a phone call late
    last week from Col. Curtis Taylor in Cohen's office.

    Cohen reportedly was concerned that the billboard message could
    aggravate the military's recruiting and retention problems. Calls
    to Defense Department and other officials had not been returned as
    this story went to press.

    McArthur said he "spent over an hour on the phone" with Taylor
    "addressing all of the major issues that the NVO has in its
    agenda. I covered health care, claims processing, USFSPA*,
    concurrent receipt and several other topics."

    Taylor "was totally ignorant of the issues that veterans are
    complaining about," McArthur said. "He mentioned that our signs
    have hurt the DoD's recruiting efforts and he wanted to know how
    to encourage veterans to support recruiting efforts instead of
    discouraging them."

    McArthur said Taylor "assured me that he was going to talk to
    [Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs] Hershel Gober as well as
    the White House that same day."

    McArthur added that he told Taylor that recruiting problems would
    get worse, "if I have anything to do with it, unless I see some
    real positive efforts by the government to change the way veterans
    are treated."

    "I was polite with him, but very determined to convince him that
    he ain't seen nothing yet -- as far as billboards go -- if we
    don't see some positive results soon. He sounded very concerned."

    McArthur said "high-ranking local Army officers and the Secretary
    of Defense's office contacted us" after the NVO started posting
    signs in the Albuquerque, N.M., area starting in January 1999.

    The Virginian-Pilot reported recently that military retirees in
    Virginia Beach, Va., have raised $5,500 and rented a billboard
    reading, "Military Retirees Fought for Freedom, Now Congress
    Denies Earned Healthcare. Show Your Support. Call Your
    Congressman." The Virginia Beach veterans, organizing mainly over
    the Internet, hope to place a billboard ad with similar verbiage
    in every state by fall.

    "It wasn't ambiguous," said Paul Hamaker, vice president of the
    Coalition of Retired Military Veterans. "We were clearly promised
    health care if we served 20 years or more."

    When retirees turn 65, they are dropped from the military health
    care system and must rely on Medicare. While they can seek care at
    military hospitals, retired veterans are not priority and often
    get shut out.

    The defense authorization bill approved July 13 by the Senate
    includes an amendment by Sen. John Warner, R-Va., that would allow
    TRICARE to supplement Medicare coverage. The Senate now must
    reconcile its version of the bill, including a $42 billion retiree
    health care plan, with the House version, which does not include a
    similar amendment.

    At a recent roundtable discussion at the Pentagon with Deputy
    Defense Secretary Rudy de Leon and others, recruiting officials
    discussed what the DoD calls its five most pressing recruiting
    issues: access to high schools, spouses' quality-of-life programs,
    youth attitudes toward the military, recruiting on college
    campuses and local versus national media advertising.

    * The USFSPA (United States Former Spouse Protection Act)
    contains provisions for divorcees to garnish the retiree wages
    of military veterans. More information is available at

    Copyright (c) 1999-2000 Stars and Stripes Omnimedia, Inc. All
    rights reserved.

    The Stars and Stripes is a registered trademark of Stars and
    Stripes Omnimedia, Inc. and is in no way affiliated with the U.S.

    ** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107,
       this material is distributed without profit to those
       who have expressed a prior interest in receiving
       the included information for research and
       educational purposes. **

    Joseph T. Miller National Office
    USN, 1961-1968 Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Inc.
    National Co-Coordinator PO Box 408594
    Member, VVAW C-U Chapter Chicago, IL 60640 (773) 327-5756
    (217) 328-2444 e-mail: vvaw@prairienet.org

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