Veterans Benefits Information guide to VA benefits

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Veterans Benefits Information

Legion College gets underway Oct. 23

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Fifty-two Legionnaires from 32 departments will gather in Indianapolis Oct. 23-28 to participate in annual The American Legion National College.

Legion college enhances knowledge and appreciation of The American Legion, and teaches the core values and contributions of the organization, its Auxiliary, Sons of The American Legion and many subordinate programs. It prepares Legionnaires for leadership positions in posts, districts, counties and departments through education, development and motivation. The curriculum challenges student leaders to think critically and creatively about issues confronting the Legion.

"Throughout the week, students will learn the basics of developing communication strategies to promote American Legion programs, through workshops and hands-on exercises," said Past National Commander Butch Miller, who is Legion College chancellor. "Topics include public outreach, media relations, ‘Reconnect' with today's active-duty and reserve personnel, schools and community relations."

Students are divided into small groups and given daily assignments intended to give practical experience on subjects that they most likely will encounter as leaders in the various levels of the organization.

One such exercise is to develop a 20-minute presentation on one aspect or program of The American Legion. Suggested topics include "Developing an effective post membership team," "How to revitalize a post," "The functions of a post adjutant," "The functions of a post commander," "Guidelines for post operations and leadership," "Developing an effective post membership team" or "The history of The American Legion."

For more informationof Legion College, contact Matt Herndon, course developer, at (317) 630-1406 or by This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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VA mental health campaign to launch soon

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On Oct. 20, Jacob Gadd - American Legion deputy director for Healthcare - Legion field service representative Warren Goldstein attended the Veteran Mental Health Challenges Entertainment Industry Event in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs, National Association of Broadcasters and the Entertainment Industries Council Inc. The event was part of the VA Office of Mental Health's Make the Connection campaign - VA's effort to engage with the entertainment industry to influence them to help veterans come forward to receive treatment for mental health.

There were three speakers during the event: Brian Dyak, president and CEO of Entertainment Industries Council; Sen. Gordon Smith, president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters; and Dr. Sonja Batten, deputy chief consultant for Specialty Mental Health, Department of Veterans Affairs. Four entertainment media participated in a panel, which included Steve Katz, VP, Development, Walsh Productions; T.D. Mitchell, a writer for ‘Army Wives"; actor D.W. Moffett; and actor and director Carl Weathers. .

The Make the Connection campaign will officially launch in November and will feature more than 200 veteran profiles to encourage other veterans with mental health illness to receive care at VA. During The American Legion's 2011 National Convention, video profiles of American Legion members were recorded and will be used for the campaign. For more information on the Make the Connection campaign, please contact the VA&R Division by This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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'Hiring Our Heroes' hits New Jersey

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Veterans, active-duty military and their family members are invited to attend a free-of-charge job fair Saturday at George P. Vanderveer Post 129 in Tom's River, N.J. The event is part of the Hiring Our Heroes series, a joint effort of The American Legion and U.S. Chamber of Commerce to help employee military members. The two organizations host free job fairs at Legion posts around the country that feature representatives from companies accepting résumés, job counselors and networking opportunities.

The event at Post 129 in Tom's River will take place from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and will feature companies such as Verizon, New Jersey State Parole Board, New Jersey Transit, Lowe's, New York Life Insurance, Sears and Hertz. Rep. Jon Runyan , R - N.J., will speak, and the local NBC affiliate will stream the fair live.

No pre-registration is necessary. Veterans and military members can simply arrive at Post 129 and be admitted. Breakfast will be served.

"We've removed the registration requirement," Post 129 Commander Rich Gato said. "It's about helping people. Some of these guys aren't going to have jobs, so it's not like they are going to have fax machines or computers."

The Chamber of Commerce will provide job counselors and other career tips at the event. The formula has been a resounding success in the past, as nearly 200 veterans gained employment at the inaugural Hiring Our Heroes event in Chicago in March. Another job fair brought more than 60 employers to Minneapolis during the Legion's August national convention.

"It's not about pomp and circumstances; it's about getting these guys jobs," Gato said.

The American Legion Post 129
2025 Church Road
Toms River, N.J.

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Gulf War Task Force draft report released

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The Department of Veterans Affairs' Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses Task Force has completed the draft of a comprehensive report that will outline how VA addresses the concerns of veterans who deployed during the Gulf War in 1990 and 1991.

Notification of the draft written report is being published today in the Federal Register, and the draft written report addresses seven areas where VA provides services for this group of veterans.

Over the past year, the task force has examined, evaluated, designated and adjusted the initial roadmap outlined in last year's report. VA has designated steps to improve care and services to Gulf War I veterans and these improvements are becoming a part of our culture and operations.

This year's report focuses on improvements in the delivery of health care for Gulf War veterans. One of the most substantial additions is modifications to clinical care models used for Gulf War veterans, which is the most critical point of service VA provides. There are better linkages between specialty knowledge and services at the basic point of care. Clinical research and development is significantly contributing new concepts and methods to clinical practice and clinical education throughout VA.

Two new positions were established in the Office of Research and Development for deployment and Desert Shield and Desert Storm health-related issues. Both positions have been filled and are enhancing research efforts for Gulf War Veterans and will continue to do so in the coming years.

VA is also strengthening partnerships and medical surveillance to address the potential health impacts on veterans from the environmental exposures on today's battlefield. Additionally, VA continues to use social media to improve communication with Gulf War Veterans.

The Chairman of the Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses Task Force is John R. Gingrich, chief of staff at VA, a retired Army officer who also served in the Gulf War.

As a first step, VA is seeking public comments on the draft written report before final publication. The public notice and instructions for how to submit electronic and comments via postal mail will be posted online, and the draft written report will be open for comment for 30 days. In addition, VA recognizes that a great number of Gulf War veterans use the Internet on a daily basis to share their ideas and concerns, so VA has also created a public discussion board on the seven recommendations. To view the report without making recommendations, click here.

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Did you know?

The issuance or replacement of military service medals, awards and decorations must be requested in writing.

Requests should be submitted in writing to the appropriate military service branch division of the NPRC. Standard form (SF 180), available through the VA, is recommended to submit your request. Generally, there is no charge for medal or award replacements. For more information, or for the mailing address of the military branch office to submit your request to, call 1-86-NARA-NARA (1-866-272-6272) or visit the NPRC website at