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Veterans Corner: VFW official testifies on resource leadership | New


TITUSVILLE – The National Legislative Director of Foreign War Veterans (VFW) Pat Murray recently testified before the Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on technology and modernization regarding pending legislation.

Murray has testified on important IT funding and transparency bills and has expressed support for a bill to collect demographic data on users of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits.

He said, “A better understanding of the veteran population using VA care and benefits will help better understand how and where to direct resources.”

The VFW is grateful for the subcommittee’s attention to these issues and hopes that these bills will move forward quickly and become law.

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The VA is resuming overpayment notifications for new debts and debts that were suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic from April 6, 2020 to September 30.

Although debt collection and medical copayments resumed on October 1, the VA will not begin deducting debts from benefit payments until January 2022.

Options to apply for debt relief due to financial hardship will be included in debt notification letters that will be sent to veterans.

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The VA recently expanded its Veterans Legacy Memorial website by adding 93 VA funded state, territorial and tribal veterans cemeteries.

This expansion includes individual pages for the nearly 500,000 veterans buried in these cemeteries, providing a way to honor and remember their service. Family and friends can submit photos and stories to review and possibly add to these pages.

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The VA has extended the availability of influenza vaccine to more than 70,000 networked community providers.

Eligible veterans can now receive a standard, high-dose, or preservative-free influenza vaccine free of charge at their local VA health facility, community network retail pharmacy, or emergency care location without prior authorization.

If you are eligible, you must present valid government issued ID at a covered location.

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Here’s this week’s update on prisoners of war and the missing:

• Army air force sergeant. Francis W. Wiemerslage, 20, from River Grove, Illinois, was assigned to the 549th Bombardment Squadron, 385th Bombardment Group, 8th Air Force, serving in Germany. He was the spherical turret gunner of a B-17G Flying Fortress bomber shot down during a mission over Dresden on March 2, 1945. He will be buried in his hometown on October 23.

• 1st Lt. Jack K. Wood, 24, Air Force, Wichita Falls, Texas, was assigned to 344 Bombardment Squadron, 98th Bombardment Group, 9th Air Force. On August 1, 1943, the B-24 Liberator aircraft on which Wood was serving as navigator crashed as a result of enemy anti-aircraft fire. He will be buried on October 23 in Madill, Oklahoma.

• Navy Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Harold F. Carney, 23, of New Diggings, Wisconsin, was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was docked at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. He will be buried on November 6 in Benton, Wisconsin.

• Leading Seaman Charles L. Saunders, 18, from Winnie, Texas, was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. He will be buried on December 7 in his hometown.

• Navy Fireman 1st Class Denis H. Hiskett, 20, of Nebraska City, Nebraska, was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was docked at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. He will be buried on December 11 in Mission Hills, California.

• Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Gabriel J. Eggud, 25, from New York, was assigned to 110th Reconnaissance Squadron, 71st Reconnaissance Group. He was piloting a P-39 Airacobra fighter over Wewak, New Guinea. He will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, on a date yet to be determined.

• Army Pvt. Robert J. Herynk, 27, was assigned to K Company, 3rd Battalion, 126th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Infantry Division. His unit participated in a coordinated attack on Japanese defenses on November 26, 1942. Burial services are on standby.

• Cpl. Marvin D. Actkinson, 18, was assigned to B Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. He was reported missing in action on December 2, 1950, after a combat withdrawal near Chosin Reservoir. Burial services are on hold.

• Leading Seaman Joseph M. Robertson, 18, was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. Burial services are on hold.

• Leading Seaman Billy Turner, 20, was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was docked at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. Burial services are on hold.

Charlie Castelluccio, a resident of Titusville, is the Chaplain of the 28th Foreign War Veterans District of Northwestern Pennsylvania and is a member of Titusville Foreign War Veterans Extension 5958.


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