Archive for the 'Military Veterans' Category


210. Secretary Shinseki’s Message to Gulf War Veterans.

August 2010 marks the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the Gulf War, launched with Operation Desert Shield and followed by Operation Desert Storm. VA honors this milestone with a renewed commitment to improving our responsiveness to the challenges facing Gulf War Veterans.

First and foremost, VA is an advocate for Veterans – we are committed to finding innovative solutions to long standing issues and to empowering Veterans and other stakeholders to be a part of the solution.

VA recognizes and values the selfless service and sacrifice of Gulf War Veterans and their families, and continues our efforts to address the unique health needs of Gulf War Veterans.

Today, more than 250,000 Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield Veterans receive disability benefits from VA. VA has treated nearly 150,000 Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield Veterans for illnesses associated with their military service. We vow to reach more of these Veterans and have taken steps to do so. Earlier this year, VA proposed a new rule to make it easier for Gulf War-era Veterans to obtain disability compensation and related health care. This rule, once it takes effect, will grant presumptive service-connection for nine infectious diseases associated with military service in Southwest Asia and Afghanistan.

In addition, VA’s ongoing Gulf War research and Task Force efforts continue to examine multisymptom illnesses, and other conditions associated with service in this conflict. VA continues to participate in Federal research efforts on Gulf War illnesses, contributing more than $158 million of the $406 million in total Federal commitment.

VA is taking bold steps forward in how we consider and address the challenges facing Gulf War Veterans as well as the challenges facing all Veterans. Our commitment to the Nation’s Veterans is unwavering.

As your Secretary and fellow Veteran, I pay tribute to all of you who so bravely served and thank all Gulf War Veterans for their heroic efforts. Our Nation owes you a debt of gratitude. We acknowledge and honor the contributions of your service. Thank you.
–Eric K. Shinseki


208. New Era of Responsibility?

A transformed VA will be a high-performing 21st century department, a different organization from the one that exists today. Beyond the next five years, we’re looking for new ways of thinking and acting. We are asking why, 40 years after Agent Orange was last used in Vietnam, this Secretary had to adjudicate claims for service-connected disabilities that have now been determined presumptive. And why, 20 years after Desert Storm, we are still debating the debilitating effects of whatever causes Gulf War Illness. If we do not stay attuned to the health needs of our returning veterans, 20 or 40 years from now, some future Secretary could be adjudicating presumptive disabilities from our ongoing conflicts. We must do better, and we will.

General Eric Shimseki,

Secretary of Veterans Affairs

Back in January Wanderingvets posted news of retired General Eric Shinseki taking the office as Secretary of Veterans Affairs .(Real Changes Ahead for Veterans Affairs?) With the confirmation of General Shinseki there was great hope that the VA would be revamped to better serve the needs of our growing veteran population. This week General Shinseki addressed Congress with a “State of the VA Message” that is the result of 9 months of assessments within the VA.

Out of my discussions with Veterans, three concerns keep coming through — access, the backlog, and homeless Veterans.

It would seem that General Shimseki has a very accurate pulse on the shortcomings that have been demonstrated with the current VA system.
From medical negligence to a long backlog of disability claims for veterans,the layers of improvements needed for treating our veterans with the services they deserve seems to have been identified.

It’s very encouraging to see the needs of our homeless veterans being acknowledged and addressed by the VA. With 25% of all homeless Americans being veterans this is an area that has been put on the back burner for too long. The current VA system does little to reduce the burden of homelessness for veterans and historically has let community organization bear the burden of providing for homeless veterans. Sadly, in this current economic climate community resources aren’t able to meet the growing needs of all homeless citizens and many of our veterans remain on the streets without shelter.A survey by the National Coalition for The Homeless shows that shelters for the homeless only provide shelter for less than 40% of people in need of basic services.  A previous statistic by the VA estimated 154,000 veterans (male and female) are homeless on any given night and perhaps twice as many experince homelessness at some point during the course of a year. The VA claims this number is being reduced despite the overall rise in the homeless population in the US and the need for expanded VA services due to returning military from Iraq.

Veterans lead the Nation in homelessness, depression, substance abuse, and suicides. We now estimate that 131,000 Veterans live on the streets of this wealthiest and most powerful Nation in the world, down from 195,000 six years ago. Some of those homeless are here in Washington, D.C. — men and women, young and old, fully functioning and disabled, from every war generation, even the current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. We will invest $3.2 billion next year to prevent and reduce homelessness among Veterans — $2.7 billion on medical services and $500 million on specific homeless housing programs. With 85 percent of homelessness funding going to health care, it means that homelessness is a significant health care issue, heavily burdened with depression and substance abuse. We think we have the right partners, the right plans, and the right programs in place on safe housing. We’ll monitor and adjust the balance as required to continue increasing our gains in eliminating Veteran homelessness. We are moving in the right direction to remove this blot on our consciences, but we have more work to do.

The men and women of the armed forces have been made a promise that if they defend our country in military service, we will provide them with the benefits they have earned. Sadly, the VA has fallen short on this promise to our Veterans on many accounts. Does this recent report to Congress mark a new era of responsibility  to our Veterans or will we continue to have the “blot” of  unkept promises on our consciences? Only time will tell.


201. Ten Trillion Dollar Bailout For Business and Zero For You


According to the Associated Press:

Social Security and Medicare are fading even faster under the weight of the recession, heading for insolvency years sooner than previously expected, the government warned Tuesday.

Wow! like we did not know this already? That with money going to Bailout companies like AIG (who paid themselves bonuses), GM & Chrysler (who are still filing for Bankruptcy), as well as the other large Fortune 500 companies that are laying off rapidly (See Layoff Tracker).

Ok maybe I missed how saving these companies that are in a natural course of readjustment from mismanagement deserved all of this cash from the U.S. Government, while the Fed, congress and our president has mismanaged our Medicare and Social Security Systems (which we pay into from our earnings).

Our elected officials have now come to the conclusion that it would now be prudent to raise retirement age of everyone born after 1960 to qualify for Social Security – a benefits cut, as well as to deny the cost of living raise for 2010 – 2011 to benefit recipients. Continue reading ‘201. Ten Trillion Dollar Bailout For Business and Zero For You’


Homeless / Missing Veteran Search Page UPDATE 8/26/2008

John Arnold Turko added 8/26/2008

Please Check Out The Following Link For Information On This Veteran And Others…

This page was created to assist families and friends reunite with missing / homeless loved ones.


147.The New friend of the Friends of Wanderingvet

Dear Friends and Wanderingvets:

Tonight I had the privilege to meet “Mark”.

“Mark” is a former Vietnam Navy Corpsman. I met him coming out of my night job. Mark is currently sleeping rough in the vicinity of a Seattle suburb and I am not publicizing his photo due to local law enforcement crackdowns on homelessness in that area.

I came out out of work a little after 10 P.M.. and was preparing for my hike back to my digs. Continue reading ‘147.The New friend of the Friends of Wanderingvet’


Who’s Counting? Parts I – IV

This is the compilation of the four articles that were written on the Subject of HUD/VA methods of counting the Homeless in the United States. It has been condensed into one spot for easier searching and reading…

Continue reading ‘Who’s Counting? Parts I – IV’


145. Governor Mike Easley of North Carolina

 NC Governor Mike Easley


To Be Political… is not me

I am going to make a political statement for North Carolina.

Governor Mike Easley took close to 1 million dollars for a grant from VA and HUD to refer veterans back to his own state agencies. These monies did nothing more than go into other peoples pockets. These grants were earmarked for homeless veterans and then rediverted.

Creating a phone line to redirect caller veterans back to the VA or other state departments under the guise of the Governors Charities… or the Governors Trust whatever. 

  I have a Mike Easley story about how money paves the way… Continue reading ‘145. Governor Mike Easley of North Carolina’

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