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Changes in VFW leadership

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    Veterans Talk

The newly elected National Commander is William J. “Doc” Schmitz. He is a Vietnam veteran and served as a Navy corpsman attached to Marine Corps Infantry and artillery units. The man he replaces will take over as Executive Director of the Veterans of Foreign War Washington Office doing veterans service work on behalf of the nation’s veterans, service members and their families. He will be our voice on Capitol Hill in guiding Congress in the right direction on Veteran matters. We wish him success.

The Senate confirmed former Secretary of the Army Dr. Mark Esper as the new Secretary of Defense. Esper is a retired Army lieutenant colonel from Pennsylvania. He served with the 101st Airborne Division during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

As part of the Veterans Affairs Mission Act of 2018, Veterans Affairs (VA) now has a network of urgent care community providers. There are currently 5,000 providers with VA looking to add an additional 2,000. Urgent care providers can be used for injuries or illnesses that need to be treated immediately but are not life threatening. It is important to note that the eligibility criteria require that the veteran MUST be enrolled in the VA health care system and they must have received care from VA or a VA community provider in the preceding 24 months. The urgent care facility must also be part of VA’s contracted network.

The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to allow the Trump administration to reprogram $6.1 billion in Department of Defense (DOD) funding to expand the barrier between the U.S. and Mexico. The bulk of the funding will be taken from military construction. While there are little details regarding which military construction projects will be impacted, guidance issued by DOD states that no military construction projects that have already been awarded will be impacted. Projects like the $5.2 million weapons maintenance shop for Anniston Army Depot in Alabama, could be cut. Other projects that could be delayed include: a mission training complex at East Camp Grafenwoehr, Germany; a rotary wing apron at Wheeler Army Air Field in Hawaii; and an engineering center at the U.S Military Academy.

For a sneak peek into the not too distant future, I want to let you know that Jan. 7, 2020, the local Grimes County VFW Post 4006 will be 75 years old. A celebration is being planned for this event for either the Saturday before (Jan. 4), or the Saturday after (Jan. 11), as the seventh falls on a Tuesday. If you are eligible to join, now would be a great time to do it. The Charter members are almost all gone, so it is up to us to grow and continue what they started. Thank you for your service to our country and may God bless Texas and the USA!

Carl Dry is a Korean War veteran, a former Grimes County Veterans Service Officer and the current VFW Post 4006 Commander.