Posted on May 21, 2016 by Bobbie O'Brien
Women Airforce Service pilots Frances Green, Margaret “Peg” Kirchner, Ann Waldner and Blanche Osborn, leave their B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft, “Pistol Packin’ Mama,” during ferry training at Lockbourne Army Airfield, Ohio, 1944. Air Force photo
More than 70 years after the end of World War II, Congress finally passed a measure that President Barack Obama signed on Friday allowing Women Airforce Service Pilots the honor of having their ashes buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
The law overturns an Army decision that exclude the female pilots. According to the Military Times nearly 1,100 women served from 1942 to 1944, ferrying airplanes, training combat pilots and towing airborne targets. Thirty-eight died during training and support missions.
Their recognition and cause became one of the few bipartisan congressional efforts so far this year. You can read the full article here.
Filed under: Air Force, Department of Defense, History, Memorials, Women Veterans | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 20, 2016 by Bobbie O'Brien
Ellsworth “Tony” Williams, founder and CEO of Veterans Counseling Veterans.
The nation will remember those killed while serving their country on Memorial Day in just over a week. But a local group called Veterans Counseling Veterans wants people to think about another kind of Memorial Day – one honoring those who served in uniform and died by suicide — and is planning such as service this Sunday in Tampa at American Legion Post 5.
The Veterans Counseling Veterans memorial service is an example of the many different efforts to eliminate the stigma of suicide and improve veteran suicide prevention from Congress to local counselors.
One of the challenges some advocates say they face is a number: 22. A 2012 VA report estimated 22 vets a day die by suicide, and it’s often quoted in media reports. But that data is questionable because it didn’t include all 50 states. And it’s mistakenly associated with only Post 9-11 veterans. Continue reading
Filed under: Memorials, Military families, Non-Profit Organizations, Radio, Veterans, Veterans Administration | Tagged: Memorial Day, TAPS, Team Red White and Blue, U.S. House Committee on Veterans Affairs, veteran suicide, Veterans Counseling Veterans | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 17, 2016 by Bobbie O'Brien
Quil Lawrence – NPR reporter. Photo courtesy of NPR.
National Public Radio reporter Quil Lawrence took the lead on an investigation into the Veterans Health Administration plan to lessen wait times at VA medical clinics and hospitals by allowing veterans to see private medical providers.
It was called the “Choice Program.”
However, as the title of the first three stories shows, the hastily assembled program left veterans without more medical options: “How Congress And The VA Left Many Veterans Without ‘Choice.'”
Another part of the investigation looked at how attempts to improve the system has instead prolonged wait-times for veterans trying to get a medical appointment: “Despite $10B Fix Veterans Are Waiting Even Longer To See Doctors.”
Filed under: Health - Physical and Mental, Radio, Veterans, Veterans Administration | Tagged: NPR, VA benefits, VA Choice Program, Veterans Health Administration | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 10, 2016 by Bobbie O'Brien
U.S. Army Private Leo K. Chalcraft drowned off the coast of Normandy Christmas Eve 1944, just weeks after turning 19.
The toughest writing assignment 16-year-old Konner Ross will have this year is to write a eulogy for a young man she’s never met. But there’s a part of him the Largo High School junior never forget – his green eyes.
“They have his wallet from when they found it on the beach and on his identification card, it says (he has) green eyes and brown hair,” Ross said. “I didn’t know he had green eyes until then. So, that seems like something small, but it was really cool to learn for some reason.”
Ross is describing U.S. Army Private Leo K. Chalcraft, a St. Petersburg native drafted to serve in World War II. He drowned off the coast of France in 1944 on Christmas Eve, just weeks after turning 19. Continue reading
Filed under: Education, History, Memorials, U.S. Army, Veterans | Tagged: United States Army, Veteran, World War II | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 6, 2016 by Bobbie O'Brien
Artistic concepts of the World War I Memorial being dedicated at Hillsborough County’s Veterans Memorial Park on Saturday.
It was supposed to be “The War To End All Wars.” But World War I lasted more than four years, July 1914 to November 1918. More than 20 million soldiers died, either killed in action or by disease, and another 21 million were wounded.
The red poppy which bloomed on the battlefields in Belgium, France and Gallipoli became the symbol of remembrance for those killed.
But the WWI soldiers from Hillsborough County can rest assured that they will not be forgotten.
On Saturday, May 7, 2016, a World War I Memorial will be dedicated in their honor at the Hillsborough Veterans Memorial Park, 3602 U.S. 301 N., Tampa.
Red poppies will be handed out, a military historian will deliver comments and the colors will be presented at the ceremony scheduled for 11 a.m. The event is open to the public.
Filed under: History, Memorials, Non-Profit Organizations, Radio | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 16, 2016 by Bobbie O'Brien
Edward Grady Halcomb,84, just received the Army’s Distinguished Service Cross for his sacrifice and heroism as a Prisoner of War during the Korean War at age 19.
After a delay of 65 years and an Act of Congress, a Polk County soldier has finally been acknowledged for his heroism and sacrifice while a prisoner of war in Korea.
More than 100 friends and family crammed into the Medulla Community Center in Lakeland last week to watch as Edward “Grady” Halcomb was presented the Army’s Distinguished Service Cross, an award for valor second only to the Medal of Honor.
Halcomb retired from the Army as a Sergeant First Class in 1968, but he was honored for what he did as a private when taken prisoner in the Korean War. Continue reading
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Posted on February 12, 2016 by Bobbie O'Brien
Gustavo Nunez, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq, and his daughter, Ava.
Stories about veterans waiting years, decades even, to resolve a disability claim are not uncommon.
“I have a claim from 2003 that’s still not found yet. Nobody knows where it’s at,” said Gustavo Nunez, a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq. “I actually gave up on it a long time ago. I was so frustrated with the system.”
It wasn’t until the birth of his 2-year-old daughter that Nunez decided to try again for his disability benefits. Worried about their future, Nunez wants to make sure he’ll have the VA to care for his health problems related to his service because he won’t be able to afford the medical bills.
It’s no surprise that many think the Department of Veterans Affairs automatically takes care of disabled veterans when they leave the military. Continue reading
Filed under: Iraq, Marine Corps, Non-Profit Organizations, Veterans | Tagged: disabled veterans, Stetson Veterans Advocacy Clinic | Leave a comment »