Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
Free to Veterans
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
Developed in 1979 by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn
at the University of Massachusetts
medical school, this is a manualized,
evidence-based, 8-week program.
MBSR is highly participatory and
deeply engaging experiential learning.
Explore the interplay of mind and body
to mobilize inner resources for
learning, growing, and healing.
MBSR Info & Registration
Wednesday • July 17 • 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Library, Ada McCormick Building
1401 E. First St. (at Highland Ave.)
Friday • July 19 • 6:00 – 8:00 pm
FOR WOMEN VETERANS ONLY
1195 E. Speedway
MBSR 8-Week Program
Wednesdays • July 24 – Sept. 11 • 6:00 – 8:30 pm
Saturday • Aug. 31 • 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Library, Ada McCormick Building
1401 E. First St. (at Highland Ave.)
Fridays • July 26 – Sept. 13 • 6:00 – 8:30 pm
Saturday • Aug. 31 • 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
FOR WOMEN VETERANS ONLY
1195 E. Speedway NEXT SESSION – SEPT. 25 – NOV. 22
SUMMER 2013 • MINDFUL VETERANS PROJECT
Drs. Teri Davis and Dana Ferris have participated in professional
training with Drs. Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli, and have
completed training programs at the Center for Mindfulness at
UMass Medical School. Dana is a clinical psychologist.
Teri is a naturopathic physician and founder of
Purple Mountain Institute and the Mindful Veterans Project.
Attend one of the introductory
classes, 6-8 pm, July 17 or 19.
Pick up registration packet.
Bring completed packet to Class #1.
Suggested Donation for Registration: $500 (MBSR)
No one will be turned away due to lack of funds.
Free to veterans thanks to donations to the Mindful Veterans Project.
Purple Mountain Institute*
120 S. Houghton Road
Suite 138 PMB 174
Tucson, AZ 85748
Teri Davis, ND • Executive Director
Words From MBSR Graduates
“. . . complete change in my understanding of how I can participate in my
own wellness. I have specific, tangible methods for coping with stress
and challenges now, which I’ve never had before . . . . It was so very helpful
to me that I would recommend it unconditionally.”
“I learned how to be more compassionate with myself.
To note a thought as just a thought, an emotion just an emotion -
I do not need to act or react to them.”
*Purple Mountain Institute is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization, EID# 31-1733820.
For veterans, MBSR graduates
and community members.
No meditation experience
required. 6:00 – 7:30 pm.
1195 E. Speedway
Free to veterans
and their partners.
1401 E. 1st Street
Free to women veterans.
1195 E. Speedway *
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
The First Casualty of War is Truth by Col.Joe Abodeley
The War on Truth was fought savagely by pro-Communist factions misrepresenting the reasons or causes of the Vietnam War, how it was conducted, and the quality of the veterans’ service and successes.
Reasons or Causes of the War
Irrespective of the controversy of the Gulf of Tonkin incidents (North Vietnamese speed boats attacking U.S. destroyers) or the argument that the Vietnamese were engaged in their own civil war or that the South Vietnamese government was corrupt—none of these positions justified the misrepresentations about why we actually engaged in the Vietnam War. These positions were all part of the “War on Truth”.
The “truth” was and is that the U.S. went to war in Vietnam for the same reasons it went to war in Korea—to stop Communist aggression and expansion. After WW II, the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) to which the U.S. was a signatory obligated the U.S. to support the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) from Communist aggression. The truth is that the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army attacked South Vietnam, and we went to war to stop that aggression. The “war on truth” distorted the facts and was conducted by some politicians, some religious leaders, some Communist agitators (Students for a Democratic Society or SDS), anti-war protesters who did not want to serve in the war, and the media.
Television brought the horrors of war into the living rooms of the American public each evening, and large scale anti-war protests made great photos and stories for the press. Meanwhile Americans were fighting and dying in Vietnam.
The Conduct of the War
The anti-war factions presented and portrayed images with their spin to tell half-truths in support of their agendas.
Consider the Tet Offensive in 1968 when the Viet Cong (VC) and the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) conducted numerous attacks throughout South Vietnam hoping to engender a massive uprising of the populace in support of the Communist offensive. The truth is that the attacks were an abysmal failure.
The U.S. embassy in Saigon was attacked and occupied by the Viet Cong for only a matter of hours until U.S. MPs regained control, and the Marines retook the Imperial City of Hue from the NVA in a bloody battle; but the media portrayed these actions as evidence that the U.S. could not be victorious. The truth was that it was a resounding defeat for the VC and NVA.
After the battle for Hue, Walter Cronkite, the most trusted man in America contributed to the “war on truth” when he opined:
“To say that we are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory, conclusion. On the off chance that military and political analysts are right, in the next few months we must test the enemy’s intentions, in case this is indeed his last big gasp before negotiations. But it is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could.”
Even President Johnson recognized that when he lost Cronkite, he lost the American people. This was a dramatic event and a powerful statement for the “war on truth”.
There was little mention about the terrorism and atrocities the NVA committed on the people of Hue and reported only after mass graves containing thousands of bodies were discovered. The minimization of the enemy’s atrocities was part of the “war on truth”.
Remember the Vietnamese officer shooting the man in the head, the little girls running away naked from an air strike conducted on their village, and the helicopter on a building with people clamoring to board to go to safety? These images were to justify the “war on truth” which conveyed that the U.S. conducted this war in an “evil” manner or was driven out of South Vietnam. Neither of which is true.
The truth is that a Vietnamese Colonel summarily executed a Vietnam “sapper” whose job it was to go into the city and plant explosives to kill South Vietnamese people. The sapper was caught in the act. This action was in the heat of battle, but perhaps the Colonel should have convened a trial with a judge, jury, court reporter to make an appellate record; and of course, he should have appointed a defense counsel, too.
The girls running away from the village were fleeing from an air strike conducted by the South Vietnamese Air Force against enemy forces who had taken over the village and surrounding areas. Since the Vietnam War, we have become accustomed to the expression “collateral damage”, but we weren’t before we started invading Middle Eastern countries. We’ll never know if the girls would have survived the Communist forces occupation of their village, but the photo had fantastic propaganda effect for the “war on truth”.
The famous photo of the people trying to get on the helicopter showed a CIA helicopter on the embassy building at the very end of the war as the last remnants of U.S. personnel were being evacuated. Most of the people depicted were Vietnamese. U.S forces had been extracted in 1973—this event was in 1975—but the spin was to make it appear that the U.S. forces were routed and driven out of South Vietnam.
The truth about the conclusion of the Vietnam War is that the U.S. bombed North Vietnam into submission in December 1972. This brought the North Vietnamese to the peace table to sign the Paris Peace Accords in January 1973. The U.S. brought the war to a successful conclusion at that time as the war was over. U.S. POWs were returned and reparations were made to the South. The U.S. promised to resupply the South with military material it needed in case the North invaded again.
But in June 1974, President Nixon resigned due to the Watergate scandal, and in November 1974 there was a Democratic landslide of a Congress who was anti-Nixon and anti-Vietnam War. Congress immediately stopped funding logistical support to South Vietnam, and North Vietnamese Army tanks rolled into Saigon April 30, 1975.
The so-called “liberation” of Vietnam and Cambodia was catastrophic. An estimated 100,000 South Vietnamese were executed, as many as 250,000 more died in “reeducation camps,” and another 45-50,000 died in the “New Economic Zones”. An estimated 420,000 “boat people” died at sea fleeing the Communist tyranny in search of freedom. An estimated 1.7 million Cambodians were killed by Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge. A NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TODAY, January 2004 article on the “killing fields”, noted that “bullets were too precious to use for executions. Axes, knives and bamboo sticks were far more common. As for children, their murderers simply battered them against trees.” Those are facts. But the “war on truth” has conveniently omitted the “truth”.
Vietnam Veterans Service
In WW II, two-thirds of those who served were drafted while only one-third volunteered to serve. In the Vietnam War, two-thirds volunteered while one-third were drafted. During WW II, the infantryman served about 40 days in actual combat in a year. In Vietnam, the infantryman served about 240 days in combat.
Much has been made about 58,000 plus lives lost in the Vietnam War as though the whole effort was for naught. So what did the service of the Vietnam veteran really accomplish that the war on truth has misrepresented?
The Vietnam veteran served in the armed forces in Vietnam or contiguous waters or airspace or Thailand, or Laos or Cambodia in direct support of operations in Vietnam to help the South Vietnamese people defend themselves from the invading North Vietnamese Army and to help prevent the spread of Communism throughout Southeast Asia.
The Vietnam veteran served to protect South Vietnam until the end of the war in 1973, forcing North Vietnam to sign the peace treaty, to return US POWs, and to grant concessions to South Vietnam. He served to prevent the takeover of Southeast Asia and keep the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand free of Communism.
His service helped to develop weapons, tactics, transportation, medical evacuation procedures, and communications during the war which have proven beneficial to later military service members.
As a result of the “war on truth” he returned home to an ungrateful nation, but he endured and the vast majority of Vietnam veterans became productive, patriotic Americans whose nation is proud of their service. The stereotyping of the majority of Vietnam veterans as “losers”, “baby-killers”, “drug addicts”, “nut cases”, “homeless”, etc. were all part of the “war on truth”.
It is reasonable to deduce that because of a national guilt for the maligning of Vietnam veterans, the American public over-compensated with “support our troops” when the U.S. invaded (“shock and awe”) and occupied the Iraqi people who did no harm to America. This is another instance of the “war on truth”, but that is another story.
Our mission is to counter the “war on truth” about the Vietnam War.
War on Truth: The Vietnam Saga
The Arizona Military Museum proudly presents artwork created by Arizona Vietnam War veterans commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the war’s beginning. This unique exhibit is compelling on several levels. Historically, the art offers the viewer a personal contact from veterans who experienced being part of a war. Aesthetically, the art is impactful in content and skill. The exhibit underscores the mission of the award-garnering Arizona Military Museum in presenting the military culture of our dynamic state. This art personalizes details of Vietnam military action in this Arizona treasure for history buffs and honors our nation’s largest segment of living veterans. Veteran literary art will dispel much of the untruths about the Vietnam War and extol the service of its veterans. This is a must see exhibition for all who honor those who have served!
The exhibit opens at the museum on Saturday, Oct. 19th, 1- 4pm. There is a special PUBLIC RECEPTION for all to see on Saturday Oct. 26, 1-4pm to meet the artists, discover the museum treasures, enjoy refreshments, entertainment and have a memorable experience. The exhibit will be open each weekend and end on Sunday, December 1. Vietnam related art and museum Arizona history exhibits can be experienced every Saturday and Sunday, 1-4pm. Free admission. The museum is located on the Papago Park Military Reservation. Enter just east of 52nd St. at Bushmaster Blvd. and McDowell on the north side. Please have your driver’s license ready to display as you go through the guard post heading west along the inside of the fence on your left until you arrive at the historical Spanish style fortress where you’ll discover the military history of Arizona and an insightful, interesting art exhibit.
The exhibit curators are John Fontana, Arizona Art Alliance and Jim Covarrubias, Ariztlan, Inc. The museum director is Colonel Joe Abodeely, USA (Ret). For more information on helping with this exhibit as a sponsor or to exhibit your art, contact John @ 480-945-5028, email@example.com or Jim @ 602-579-6308, firstname.lastname@example.org or Joe @ 520-868-6777 or 602-509-8762, email@example.com.
For starters, there are never absolutes in war. Never.
As for revisionist history, they always make it sound like it is one revision. There is no such thing. Revisionists are a dynamic bunch and lean toward absolutism. You can lay all this historical tomes out side by side and still not capture the creature called Vietnam. I have not read as much as the true scholars, but slopping through the jungle as a grunt is not an academic affair. I have completed maybe 12 histories of the war in the past 20 years.
Now you have the release of some new documents pointing to Richard Nixon’s secret efforts to scuttle President Lyndon Johnson’s efforts toward a peace agreement just days before the 1968 election. I suggest you conduct your own research of this rather startling discovery. It appears Richard Nixon has a bit fond of wiretapping long before Watergate.
There was much good we did Vietnam. Did it stick? Nope, never does, never has. Enter Iraq 2013.
The item of current history that you will never find in all these pre-meditated revisionist treatises, is that we are in a very fine joint venture relationship with Vietnam for the exploration of oil. Some may say that may explain why France, China, Japan and Russia had so much interest in Vietnam. Sure was not the rice! I have an article that was published in the Wall Street Journal, twenty years ago, quoting John McCain, during the MIA travails and the lifting of the Trade Embargo, where is quoted as saying, “but it is said there is oil of the shores of the South China Sea.” Bingo! Was it slip? Or did he intend to couch it in a third party expression. Whichever way, it puzzles me to this day that we get so lathered up about socialism yet good old communism makes for good business partner. At least on one side of the equation all the people are controlled.
So here is the question for the revisionists. If we assisted Vietnam in achieving its own brand of nationalism, and they start supplying us with oil, than did we do good?
> Especially if you served in country, you need to know about this. The
Vietnam Center and Archive at Texas Tech University was founded by local
veterans of the war who wanted to establish a place to store and care for
memorabilia, documents and memories of the war. A substantial amount of its
funding has come from veterans who have happily supported its purpose and
donated material to it. Throughout the years, from its founding to the
present, the Center has held conferences and symposia to discuss the latest
scholarship about the war. The conferences and symposia have been attended
not only by scholars but also by Vietnam vets interested in preserving the
history of the war and correcting false information that has arisen over the
> This year, in September, the Center is hosting another conference. This
one is part of the official year long celebration of the 50th Anniversary of
the war, which, in the words of the DoD is to “honor and pay tribute to
Vietnam Veterans and their families during the 50th Anniversary of the war.”
The conference will be held in Washington, D.C. and is sponsored by the
National Archives and the DoD 50th Anniversary Commemoration Committee, so
it has the official imprimatur of the government. The theme of the
conference is 1963, a seminal year in the conflict and a crucial point in
the direction the war took. There is much disagreement among scholars as to
the significance and impact of the deposal of Ngo Diem and his later
assassination as well as Kennedy’s assassination.
> Unfortunately, the Center has recently changed Directors, and the new
Director, Dr. Steve Maxner, is taking the Center in a far left direction.
All 15 of the scholars invited to speak and serve on panels are far left
scholars who have consistently denigrated the war and its participants.
These scholars unanimously hold the view that the war was illegal, its
participants were criminals and the war had nothing to do with communism or
the domino theory.
> The foremost scholar of the so-called “revisionist” view, Dr. Mark Moyar,
had not only not been invited but is being told he can attend as a
participant but cannot speak or serve on a panel. This will be the first
time in the history of the Center that no views in opposition to the far
left interpretation of the war will be invited.
> Maxner has recently been deluged by letters of protest from Vietnam vets,
some of whom are recognized scholars on the war but has steadfastly refused
to include any revisionist scholars or even admit that the scholars that he
has invited have any bias at all. This conference, in its present makeup,
would be comparable to conducting a conference on American Black History and
only inviting white members of the KKK to “debate” the historical events.
Imagine discussing the seminal year of the Vietnam conflict with a room full
of hippies and not one single person who participated in the war or has a
different perspective on the war. The outcome is virtually guaranteed not to
“honor and pay tribute to” those of us who served.
> I may have further action items in the future. For now, there are some
things you can do:
> 1) Contact every Vietnam vet you know and point them to this exposition of
this travesty (or copy it and email it to them)
> 2) Contact Governor Perry and express your disapproval of the current
configuration of this conference
> 3) Contact your Texas Senator and Representative and voice your
> 4) Contact your Senators and Congressman regarding the conference and
express your displeasure that an event purporting to honor and respect you
will instead portray you as a war criminal and is being funded with your tax
> Please do not contact anyone at the Center or at Texas Tech. We are
already in contact with them on an academic level. The time for out and out
protest is not yet. If we cannot make changes in the conference while
working within the system, we may have to fill the conference with vets
opposing these views and turn the conference into a major news event.
> Thank you,
> James D. Thacker, PhD
> President & Chief Science Officer
> TherimuneX Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
> 3805 Old Easton Road
> Doylestown, PA 18902-8400
> Direct Dial: 215.589.6418
> DrexelMed Office: 215.991.8335
> Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
> URL: www.therimunex.com
In trying to verify this, I contacted Gary Roush at Vietnam Helicopter
Pilots Association (VHPA) and this was his reply:
This is the first I have heard of this. I used to be on Texas Tech’s
mailing list because I attended one of their annual symposiums
several years ago, but have dropped off the list for some
reason. That symposium had panelists from North Vietnam, South
Vietnam, ambassadors, a political cabinet member, military
commanders, veterans, journalists, historians, academics and students
even a Buddhist monk. I no longer remember the theme. It was very
balanced with a very wide variety of views. Other symposiums over
the years were similarly balanced in my view.
In reviewing the agenda on the Texas Tech web site, it appears nearly
all of the speakers and panelists are academics. No military
commanders, no ambassadors, no journalists, no political cabinet
members, no veterans and no foreign representation. In other words,
no one with any first hand information. That is very troubling to me.
I have known Steve Maxner for many years, but have not really worked
with him much. He was a guest speaker at the VHPA reunion in New
Orleans and did a really good job. No idea why he is taking a pure
academic approach to this subject. It seems to me to be ill advised
as this is how history gets revised by academics – by locking out
first person experience. Of course the academics will talk about
their research and maybe even interviews of some of the players, but
we will have to take their interpretation of that information and
interviews which may not match what the players would say directly.
Looks to me like Jim’s opinion below is true. It would be
interesting and helpful to have Steve Maxner’s view on this. I hope
Jim can “get it sorted out on an academic level.”
This is Texas Tech’s Vietnam Center website and below it is the Sept
I do believe their advancement is a bit more lucrative than Walmart. According to the folks at the local stores, their benefits are better. But then some shops are Franchises and they do not adhere to the same guidelines, or pricing.
Verizon Wireless is continuing its push to hire veterans into its offices nationwide through its special military hiring website and a concentration on sponsoring and attending military hiring fairs around the country. The company has partnered with organizations like The American Legion to actively recruit and engage veteran job candidates in a grassroots manner. Veterans are a perfect fit for positions within the company’s information technology, electronic engineering, communications, project management, and automotive and mechanics departments. For more information, visit the Verizon Wireless Careers for Transitioning Military website at www22.verizon.com/jobs/workinghere_transitioningmilitary.html.
For more veteran jobs news and tips, and to connect with more companies looking to hire veterans, visit the Military.com Veteran Jobs Center.
compliments of Military.com
I hope they invite graduates of the vast array of treatment programs to showcase with solid testimonials that programs like the Purple Mountain Institute in Tucson, the Merritt Center in Payson, the EBTU program at the VA and the Vet Centers, are actually doing a good job of caring for veterans. The journalistic cliche, “that if it bleeds in leads,” is apt for the way the VA is viewed by the media. I think they are dancing as fast as they can. Who planned for 14 years of war? How could any rational legislator plan that far ahead to meet the needs of the returning veterans?
The Armed Forces grew by about 8% since 2000 to supply the global conflicts. The private sector contractors grew by approximately 25%. Now tell me, is that a Military Industrial Complex or what? So lets sequester some of the war profiteering and give it to the VA. Is that not what our soldiers earned. They are not profiting.
Mental Health Summits
Meeting the mental health care needs of Veterans and their families is among one of the highest priorities for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). While VA continues to expand mental health resources to meet the needs of Veterans, truly Veteran-centric, recovery-oriented care requires active collaboration and coordination with partners in the community. Through collaboration, VA can promote awareness and utilization of VA mental health resources, help Veterans gain access to community services, and build healthy communities for Veterans and their families. In the interest of promoting community collaboration, each facility is hosting a Mental Health Summit. These Mental Health Summits are expected to help build or sustain collaborative efforts with community providers to enhance mental health and well-being for Veterans and their families. To learn about Mental Health Summits in your area, please use the map below. Click on your state for a list of summits in your area.
Please Note: Selecting a state will open a Word document containing Summit information for that state.
Richard Vandemark, co-founder of the Mindful Veterans Project, USMC 1964-67, First Battalion, First Marine Regiment, Republic of Viet Nam 1965-66, has passed away due to ALS, a condition presumptively linked to exposure to Agent Orange.
Letter from Dr. Teri Davis, founder of Purple Mountain Institute:
14 years ago, I told Richard I wanted to start a nonprofit organization and he provided seed money. Purple Mountain Institute was born.
5 years ago, I told Richard I wanted to start a program for veterans through Purple Mountain Institute. He suggested I teach Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction because it was the only thing that had helped him with his own debilitating PTSD. He then made a donation that covered all expenses for me to begin instruction towards becoming an MBSR instructor. The Mindful Veterans Project began with that conversation.
He continued to support my training and the program, both financially and physically. He jokingly referred to himself as the thug in the corner, taking every class and continually encouraging the participants to do their homework. He embodied the practice and the benefits of the practice.
He spoke often about the manure of your own experiences. He found peace through that teaching and shared it. His combat experiences were the manure for the flowering of awareness and his demons were slowly transformed into his sweeties. Like a bell of mindfulness, his memories called him back to this breath every time they surfaced.
He was my teacher and my friend and his fierce devotion to veterans will continue to inform and guide the Mindful Veterans Project.
From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, he was once and always a Marine.
with a very deep bow,
Richard was a friend, mentor and Marine to the calcium in his bones. Richard embodied a level of honesty that was penetrating and draped with compassion. His linguistic twists would twirl me through the dark nights of the soul back to a better place.
Every encounter with Richard was like having your very own combat Sufi!
He simply knew every psychic sidebar of war.
Sweet Jesus, you will be missed Richard.
“If the Army and the Navy ever look on heavens scenes/ they will see the streets are guarded by United State Marines”
Thanks for walking “point” for us. The Supreme Commandant has promoted you to Heavens Counselor.
Semper Fidelis Richard
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New Technology in Place for Electronic Submission of Veterans’ Disability Claims
Capability Marks Major Milestone in VA Transformation to Digital Claims Process
WASHINGTON (June 18, 2013)- A new online application from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) enables disability compensation claims to be processed faster in a more end-to-end electronic environment, and VA is urging Veterans and their Veterans Service Organization (VSO) representatives to make full use of its capabilities to receive speedier decisions and reduce the backlog of claims.
The availability of the joint VA-Department of Defense Web portal eBenefits, which now integrates with the new internal Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS) electronic claims processing system, marks a major milestone in VA’s transformation from paper claims records to a fully digital operating environment, one of the keys to VA’s goal to eliminate the disability claims backlog by the end of 2015. VBMS has now been fielded at all 56 Regional Offices across the country, ahead of schedule. VA will continue to upgrade and improve VBMS based on user feedback, and add features and tools that make it faster and easier to process claims. Instead of filling out and mailing paper forms to VA, Veterans can now use eBenefits to enter claim information online using a step-by-step, interview-style application, with pre-populated data fields and drop-down menus similar to popular tax preparation software.
“There are so many advantages to making this move from paper to digital – for both Veterans and VA” said Under Secretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey. “Veterans can now file their claims online through eBenefits like they might do their taxes online.”
By filing electronically, any compensation benefits that are awarded will be effective back to the date the Veteran started entering their claim information in eBenefits. From that initial claim establishment date, each Veteran has up to a year to gather all necessary records and hit “submit” to preserve their original date of claim.
eBenefits allows Veterans to upload digital images of records and evidence to support their claims, bypassing the need to physically mail in personal records and wait for confirmation of receipt. VA is advising Veterans to gather and submit all relevant medical records and file a Fully Developed Claim (FDC) in eBenefits, which entails entering all available evidence at the time the claim is submitted and verifying to VA that they have no more evidence to submit. Veterans filing an FDC will receive priority processing over the traditional claims process. VA can typically process FDCs in half the time it takes for a traditionally filed claim, and there is no risk to Veterans in filing an FDC. If VA finds that there is a piece of relevant evidence that was not submitted by the Veteran, but is needed for a rating decision (like private medical records), claims processors will work to obtain that evidence on the Veteran’s behalf and process the claim in the traditional way.
Once logged into eBenefits, Veterans can also choose to have an accredited VSO representative assist with their claim submission by filing an electronic power of attorney form. Using this new system, the chosen VSO representative, with proper authorization, will be able to see the contents of a Veteran’s claim, track its status, and add additional information when needed. A Veteran and his or her representative can even work a claim simultaneously while both are logged into the system, enabling VSOs to assist more Veterans in their homes or even remotely.
VA will still accept claims in paper form, though processing may take longer than for an electronically-submitted claim. As of this summer, VA scans all new paper claims and uploads them into VBMS so they too can be processed electronically, though without many of the benefits provided when Veterans initiate the process in eBenefits such as guided questions that help ensure complete and accurate information and the immediate receipt of information without having to wait for the scanning and processing of paper documents. In addition to filing claims online, registered eBenefits users can track their claim status and access information on a variety of other benefits, like pension, education, health care, home loan eligibility, and vocational rehabilitation and employment programs.
A free Premium eBenefits account is required to file claims electronically. The quickest and most convenient method of establishing a free premium eBenefits account is to complete the remote verification process through the eBenefits home page, or use DoD’s common access card (CAC) to register for and/or upgrade to a free premium account. Veterans can also establish an account by telephone at 1-800-827-1000, option 7, if they are in receipt of VA benefits via direct deposit, or by visiting a VA regional office or TRICARE Service Center (if they are a military retiree). For the location of the nearest VA regional office, visit www.va.gov <http://www.va.gov/> and search the VA regional benefits office locator.
While compensation claims are pending, eligible Veterans are able to receive healthcare and other benefits from VA. Veterans who have served in recent conflicts are eligible for 5 years of free healthcare from VA. Currently, over 55% of returning Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans are using VA healthcare, a rate of utilization greater than previous generations of Veterans.
This is the latest effort in support of the Secretary’s plan to eliminate the backlog. On May 15, VA announced that it is mandating overtime for claims processors in its 56 regional benefits offices through the end of fiscal year 2013 to help eliminate the backlog, with continued emphasis on high-priority claims for homeless Veterans, those claiming financial hardship, the terminally ill, former Prisoners of War, Medal of Honor recipients, and Veterans filing Fully Developed Claims.
In April, VA announced an initiative to expedite compensation claims decisions for Veterans who have waited one year or longer. On April 19, VA began prioritizing claims decisions for Veterans who have been waiting the longest by providing decisions based on evidence currently in hand that allow eligible Veterans to begin collecting compensation benefits quickly while waiting for their final eligibility decision. For more information about VA benefits, go to http://www.benefits.va.gov <http://www.benefits.va.gov/> . For more information on VA’s Transformation, go to http://benefits.va.gov/transformation.
To Arizona Vietnam Veterans, families & friends:
The Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services and the Arizona Military Museum as Official Partners of the 50th Commemoration of the Vietnam War are pleased to co-host the 3rd Annual Event Honoring Arizona’s Vietnam Veterans.
The 50th Commemoration of the Vietnam War activities first stated objective is:
To thank and honor veterans who served in the Vietnam War, including personnel who were held as prisoners of war or listed as missing in action, for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States and to thank and honor the families of these veterans.
Our special guest speaker will be General Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret).
DATE/TIME: October 5, 2013 Sign in 5:30 pm for table seating. No-host bar 5:30 to 6:30 PROGRAM: Seating at 6:30. Program begins at 7:00pm
LOCATION: Scottsdale Plaza Resort, 7200 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85253
SEATING: Seating will be assigned to those who respond first
ATTIRE: Business/casual or Army Class A or service equivalent, military decorations
COST: $45.00/person Make Checks payable to Arizona Military Museum
The affair will be a special experience including a Vietnamese Color Guard, a wonderful
dinner, good music, short speeches, videos, TAPS, and a special presentation to Vietnam Veterans including Vietnamese Vietnam veterans. It is open to those who desire to honor all Vietnam Veterans. We look forward to seeing many Vietnam veterans, their families and friends.
Tickets are not issued, so we need your RSVP registration and check to confirm your attendance at this wonderful event. Scottsdale Plaza Resort rooms are set aside for your convenience at only $125.00 per night to stay at this beautiful resort, particularly if you’re travelling from outside the Phoenix area. Just call the hotel for room reservations at (480) 948-5000 or 1-800-832-2025. For other questions call 520-868-6777.
Colonel Joseph E. Abodeely, USA (Ret.)
Director, Arizona Military Museum
As a reminder to the families of returning veterans, the VA has placed five additional defined illnesses to the list of conditions that may be eligible for compensation and health care for service connected issues related to traumatic brain injury(TBI).
Veterans who are diagnosed with Parkinsonism, unprovoked seizures, some forms of dementias, depression and hormone deficiency illness linked to the hypothalamus, pituitary or adrenal glands may now apply for VA benefits.
From 2000-2012 approximately 250,000 troops have been given a TBI diagnosis, with just 81,000 being rated as service connected. This accounts for much of the backlog that is now front page news across the nation.
Another contributing factor to that backlog is the addition of Ischemic Heart Disease, about six years ago, to the Agent Orange related illness.
37% of the backlog are Vietnam Veterans, many of whom are just now getting care for exposure to Agent Orange.
I apologize for the late posting of this press release. I was on the road helping some veterans with their claims. It seems important enough to post for the benefit of Arizona Veterans.
Governor Jan Brewer Announces Director of the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services
PHOENIX – Governor Jan Brewer today named Janson “Ted” Vogt as the new Director of the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services (AZDVS).
“Ted ’s military background and management experience make him uniquely qualified for this position,” said Governor Brewer. “
As a veteran in his own right, Ted is a passionate advocate for our nation’s military men, women and families. He understands their needs, but he also recognizes their value to our state and our communities. I’m confident Ted will be a tremendous asset to the Department and a strong voice for Arizona veterans.”
Mr. Vogt is a veteran of the United States Air Force, where he worked as an intelligence officer and commanded a 26 person unit responsible for providing counter terrorism and threat information.
While with the Air Force, Mr. Vogt served in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom, and throughout the greater Middle East as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. His duties within the Air Force included: Intelligence Briefer for the Secretary and Chief of Staff for the Air Force (The Pentagon 2006); Acting Flight Commander, 35th Operations Support Squadron (Misawa Air Base, Japan 2004 ‘06); Horned Owl Liaison Officer, Combined Air Operations Center (Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar 2004 ‘05); and Intel Battle Captain, Combined Joint Task Force 180 (Bagram, Afghanistan 2002 ’03).
On a civilian basis, Mr. Vogt has been an Associate Attorney at the Law Offices of Gerald K. Smith and John C. Smith, PLLC, since 2010.
Earlier, he was an advertising account executive with Leo Burnett Company, Inc., in Chicago, Illinois (1998 ’99); an executive assistant for former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (1997; 1999-2000), and served as a mergers and acquisitions analyst for Broadview Associates, L.P., in Fort Lee, New Jersey (1995-’96).
Mr. Vogt has extensive public policy and legislative experience as an elected member of the Arizona House of Representatives (2010-‘13). As a legislator, he was a strong supporter of veterans’ issues, and sponsored legislation that granted automatic in state tuition at Arizona’s public universities and community colleges to honorably discharged veterans.
Mr. Vogt earned a law degree from the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law (2010). He graduated from Yale University with a bachelor’s in History (1995).
Of all the cities in the United States that could pull this off, Tucson is one that has a head start and the resources to be in the vanguard. With the laudable track record of programs like Esperanza and Escalante, the Mayor’s declaration can manifest with the evidence based success of the three decades of volunteerism in the veteran community. Si se Puede!
Lisa Markkula, Communications Director
Office of the Mayor
o: (520) 791-4201
TUCSON, AZ – June 21, 2013
Who: Mayor Jonathan Rothschild
Representatives from: CODAC, Compass, City of Tucson Housing, Police and Fire Departments, the DM50, Primavera, the Red Cross, the Veterans Administration, other service providers
What: The White House has announced an initiative to end veterans homelessness by 2015 and Tucson is one of 25 flagship cities selected to lead this effort.
Mayor Rothschild has embraced this challenge and formed a working group to focus on identifying homeless and chronically homeless veterans and placing 52 a month into housing – all while cutting the HUD VASH Voucher processing time in half, from 40 days to 20 days. HUD, of course, stands for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and VASH stands for Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing.
“Our homeless veterans run the gamut from chronic homeless to students taking classes at Pima or the U of A and living in their cars,” said Mayor Rothschild. “We can get both populations – chronic homeless and recent homeless – off the street and into housing. We’re working hard to make this happen quickly, but it certainly won’t be easy. It’s going to require commitment from our city departments and employees, from our agency partners, and from our community.”
The VFW is on a mission to discover anyone who served in Vietnam who was under 16 years old. The only known person is a Marine from South Carolina named Dan Bullock. Should you have any pictures, letters or any documents to verify the veterans tender age, send them to Robert Widener, VFW Magazine, 406 West 34th Street, Kansas City, Mo. 64111. 816-969-1173. email, “email@example.com”
Touring my time in Vietnam, we encountered many soldiers and Marines who were 17, but none 16. Both the South Vietnamese and North Vietnamese Armies employed children of all ages, as did the Viet Cong. Of course, we all now know that it was tactical. Our boys just wanted to serve, as they have done since the inception of our nation.
Since the inception of this blog, I have used the Catholic War Veterans as a resource. They are top notch, honest and reliable in the information they gather and work diligently to disseminate to the veteran community. We are all here to do our small part to keep all veterans in the loop and hopefully not misguided by our sensationalism addicted media, who frequently do not do all their homework. Veterans Affairs cannot be relegated to sound bites and talking points. Can you imagine running the Armed Forces in that fashion? T
We are excited to share a few new online tools VA has recently launched to help Veterans learn more about the benefits they’ve earned.
Please help us share this online content by sharing it with your email contact lists and posting it online – via your websites, online newsletters and social media accounts.
If you have any questions about this or other VA content, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
VA Disability Claims process: http://youtu.be/_QgfzRoHLjk
Vocational Rehabilitation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASPqtJWJ-KU&feature=share&list=UUBvOzPLmbzjtpX-Htstp2vw
Fully Developed Claims: http://benefits.va.gov/transformation/infographics/fdc_claims_cork_board.html
God Bless +
Jose M. Garcia PNC
National Service Officer
Catholic War Veterans
With the mindset of the Tea Party folks we have created a schizoid situation that will resolve itself with some common sense.
You cannot spend every waking hour slamming the government, and then in the same breath blame them for not taking care of veterans.
The VA did not plan, nor budget for 14 years of wars. Who did that? I believe Donald Rumsfeld told us it would be a “cake walk,” and over in a few months.
So, I would say the Veterans Administration is dancing as fast as they can. It takes two years to train a V.A Rating Officer. Many are just now coming on board.
Our beloved Main Stream Media are also masters at partial reporting. I suspect it is for lack of research staff and speed at which they need to get to market.
When it comes to the VA, they seem to leave out all back story and all delineations of the problems, and focus on what the fraternal veterans organizations tell them.
The VFW, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Vietnam Veterans of America, Marine Corps League, are all very fine advocates for the veteran, but they too leave out the nature of the problem and focus on all that is bad. That is how they show advocacy and create agenda items for conventions. I am a member of all of them, and want them at my side. I would encourage them to show more context and history of the problems with the disability claim process, so as to lend some perspective to readers and listeners of the news.
It has recently been reported that the wait for a claim to be processed is 262 days. Given, that it may decide the balance of your life, is that all bad?
There was a time when it was five years! And now we have an onslaught of Vietnam Veterans who are entering the system with Agent Orange illnesses that have been ignored for 40 years. Is that not a good thing?
If you had 9000 thousand people show up at your Church on Sunday, I guess you may have a backlog eh? Is that not a good thing?
Soldiers and Marines who have been severely injured and known to have permanent disabilities, can now begin their claim six months prior to their discharge. So hear this, they are not veterans yet. Some are still in Walter Reed Hospital, which is an Army Hospital, not a VA Hospital. They are still on Active Duty.
These folks are counted in the backlog, yet their discharges are delayed, which adds to the pile up of claims. No one in the MSM reports this debacle.
So lets participate in the problem solving process, rather than incessantly ragging the VA. Our returning veterans of war will appreciate a more positive approach and outlook from the citizenry they defended.
VA to Expedite Claims Decisions for Veterans Who Have Waited a Year or More
WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs announced today it is implementing an initiative to expedite compensation claims decisions for Veterans who have waited one year or longer. Effective today, VA claims raters will make provisional decisions on the oldest claims in inventory, which will allow Veterans to begin collecting compensation benefits more quickly, if eligible. Veterans will be able to submit additional evidence for consideration a full year after the provisional rating, before the VA issues a final decision.
“Too many Veterans wait too long for a decision, and this has never been acceptable,” said VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. “That is why we are implementing an aggressive plan to eliminate the backlog in 2015. This initiative is the right thing to do now for Veterans who have waited the longest.”
Provisional decisions will be based on all evidence provided to date by the Veteran or obtained on their behalf by VA. If a VA medical examination is needed to decide the claim, it will be ordered and expedited.
“Issuing provisional decisions not only provides Veterans with applicable benefits much more quickly, but also gives them an additional one-year safety net to submit further evidence should it become available. Our door will remain open and if a Veteran has additional evidence, their case will be fast tracked,” said Allison Hickey, Undersecretary for Benefits.
If any increase is determined to be warranted based on the additional evidence received, benefits will be retroactive to the date the claim was initially filed. The initiative protects the Veteran’s right to appeal the decision. If no further evidence is received within that year, VBA will inform the Veteran that their rating is final and provide information on the standard appeals process, which can be found at http://www.bva.va.gov/
Throughout this initiative, VA will continue to prioritize claims for homeless
Veterans and those claiming financial hardship, the terminally ill, former Prisoners of War, Medal of Honor recipients, and Veterans filing Fully Developed Claims. More information about filing Fully Developed Claims is available at: http://www.benefits.va.gov/transformation/fastclaims/
Claims for Wounded Warriors separating from the military for medical reasons will continue to be handled separately and on a priority basis with the Department of Defense through the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES). Wounded Warriors separating through IDES currently receive VA compensation benefits in an average of 61 days following their separation from service.
As a result of this initiative, metrics used to track benefits claims will experience significant fluctuations. The focus on processing the oldest claims will cause the overall measure of the average length of time to complete a claim—currently 286 days— to skew, rising significantly in the near term because of the number of old claims that will be completed. Over time, as the backlog of oldest claims is cleared and more of the incoming claims are processed electronically through VA’s new paperless processing system, VA’s average time to complete claims will significantly improve. In addition, the average days pending metric– or the average age of a claim in the inventory – will decrease, since the oldest claims will no longer be part of the inventory.
While compensation claims are pending, eligible Veterans are able to receive healthcare and other benefits from VA. Veterans who have served in recent conflicts are eligible for 5 years of free healthcare from VA. Currently, over 55% of returning Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans are using VA health care, a rate of utilization greater than previous generations of Veterans.
Veterans can learn more about disability benefits on the joint Department of Defense—VA web portal eBenefits at: https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits-portal/ebenefits.portal
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