Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New Option for Marking Veterans’ Graves in Private Cemeteries

Veterans’ Medallion Available for Order

New Option for Marking Veterans’ Graves in Private Cemeteries

WASHINGTON (June 29, 2010) – Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki announced today that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is offering bronze medallions to attach to existing, privately purchased headstones or markers, signifying a deceased's status as a Veteran.

“For Veterans not buried in a national or state Veterans cemetery, or those without a government grave marker, VA is pleased to offer this option that highlights their service and sacrifices for our country,” said Secretary Shinseki.

The new item can be furnished instead of a traditional government headstone or marker for Veterans whose death occurred on or after Nov. 1, 1990, and whose grave in a private cemetery is marked with a privately purchased headstone or marker.

Under federal law, eligible Veterans buried in a private cemetery are entitled to either a government-furnished grave marker or the new medallion, but not both. Veterans buried in a national or state Veterans cemetery will receive a government headstone or marker of the standard design authorized at that cemetery.

The medallion is available in three sizes: 5 inches, 3 inches and 1 ½ inches in width. Each bronze medallion features the image of a folded burial flag adorned with laurels and is inscribed with the word “Veteran” at the top and the branch of service at the bottom.

Next of kin will receive the medallion, along with a kit that will allow the family or the staff of a private cemetery to affix the medallion to a headstone, grave marker, mausoleum or columbarium niche cover.

More information about VA-furnished headstones, markers and medallions can be found at http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/hm/hmtype.asp .

VA is currently developing an application form for ordering the medallion. Until it is available, applicants may use the form for ordering government headstones and markers, VA Form 40-1330. Instructions on how to apply for a medallion are found on the VA Web site at www.cem.va.gov/hm_hm.asp .

Veterans with a discharge issued under conditions other than dishonorable, their spouses and eligible dependent children can be buried in a VA national cemetery. Other burial benefits available for all eligible Veterans, regardless of whether they are buried in a national cemetery or a private cemetery, include a burial flag, a Presidential Memorial Certificate and a government headstone or grave marker.

The new medallions will be available only to Veterans buried in private cemeteries without a government headstone or marker. Families of eligible decedents may also order a memorial headstone or marker when remains are not available for interment.

VA operates 131 national cemeteries in 39 states and Puerto Rico and 33 soldiers' lots and monument sites. More than 3 million Americans, including Veterans of every war and conflict -- from the Revolutionary War to the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan -- are buried in VA’s national cemeteries on more than 19,000 acres.

Information on VA burial benefits can be obtained from national cemetery offices, from the VA Web site on the Internet at www.cem.va.gov or by calling VA regional offices toll-free at 1-800-827-1000.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Post 295 Hosting State Tournament

The 2010 State Tournament will begin on Wednesday, July 28th.

The first 3 games will be played on a Cal Ripken Sr League Field in Montgomery County.

The "opening game" or Game 4 will be played at Shipley Field on the campus ofthe University of Maryland.

All other games will be played at Shipley Field.

We are actively looking for sponsors for the program book. Contact BobO@post295.org to sign up for you ad. Full page is $100 and Half Page is $50.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Kratovil Backs Legislation to Help Returning Veterans and Surviving Spouses

Introduces new bill; co-sponsors two others after meetings with local veterans groups.

Date: 2-23-10 – For Immediate Release

Contact: Kevin Lawlor, 202 225 5311

Washington, DC – Congressman Frank Kratovil today backed legislation to protect returning veterans and surviving spouses from the threat of home foreclosure and to promote opportunities for returning service members to transition into careers in education, after discussing the proposals in recent meetings with his Veterans Advisory Committee and other local veterans groups.

Kratovil convened roundtable discussions during last week’s Congressional recess with young veterans at both Anne Arundel Community College and Towson University to hear about issues they confront as they return from their service and transition back to civilian life. With Congress now back in session this week, Kratovil today introduced one piece of legislation and co-sponsored two others that he had discussed with the young veterans at these roundtable discussions.

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 enacted a foreclosure moratorium for service members returning from active service, protecting them from the threat of foreclosure for a 9 month period after their return. The provision is set to expire at the end of 2010. Today, Kratovil backed H.R. 3976 – Helping Heroes Keep Their Homes Act of 2009 , which will extend the provision for five additional years through 2015. He also introduced H.R. 4664 – the Mortgage Foreclosure Moratorium for Surviving Spouses Act of 2010, which extends the same protections to the surviving spouses of service members killed in action in Iraq or Afghanistan for a one-year period following the service member’s death.

“When our service men and women make the ultimate sacrifice, we have the responsibility to look out for those they have left behind,” said Rep. Kratovil. “Giving surviving spouses a protection against foreclosure in the immediate aftermath of the death of their loved one is the least we can do for families that have already given so much for their country. Losing a loved one to war is a tragedy that should never be compounded by losing a home.”

Additionally, Kratovil Cosponsored H.R. 3943, the Post 9/11 Troops to Teachers Enhancement Act . Since its inception, the Troops to Teachers program has helped place over 12,000 members of the military who are leaving the service in classrooms across the country. This legislation reduces the length of service requirements for participation, to encourage involvement by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans; expands the number of school districts in which participants can qualify for a $5,000 stipend towards the costs of becoming a teacher; and creates an advisory board charged with improving awareness of the program, increasing participation, and ensuring that the program meets the needs of our schools and veterans.

“We should always be finding ways to get veterans back into the workforce as soon as they are ready,” said Rep. Kratovil. “The Troops to Teachers Enhancement Act is not only a way to find good jobs for returning vets but it bolsters our classrooms by creating top notch educators.”

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

No US Deaths in Iraq for December '09

from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8437477.stm

December was the first month in which no US troops were killed in combat in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003.

The commander of US forces in Iraq, Gen Ray Odierno, said it was a significant milestone that demonstrated how violence in the country had diminished.

2009 was also the least violent for US troops in Iraq, with 149 losing their lives, compared with 314 in 2008.

In total, 4,371 US military personnel have died since the invasion, according to the Iraq coalition casualty count.

On Friday, Gen Odierno attended a ceremony at Camp Victory on the outskirts of Baghdad marking the change of his command's name from Multinational Force-Iraq (MNF-I) to US Forces-Iraq (USF-I).

The all-US contingent of 110,000 troops will now focus on "advising and assisting" Iraqi security forces before combat forces are pulled out by 31 August and ahead of a complete withdrawal by 2011.

"In 2006, when I flew over Baghdad, I remember looking down on a city cloaked by darkness and gripped in fear," Gen Odierno said.

"Today, when I fly over Baghdad, I see hope, with bright lights and busy traffic."

Insurgent attacks have dropped from more than 200 a day two years ago to approximately 15 a day, according to Gen David Petraeus, the head of US Central Command, who also attended Friday's ceremony.

Between 94,939 and 103,588 civilians have been killed in attacks in Iraq since 2003, according to the monitoring group Iraq Body Count.