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Newsletter for Veterans and active military


Burn pit compensation:

Over 300 sites have been identified as have burn pit exposure and these sites can be found on pit exposure. I find it interesting that there were ‘burn pits’ in Vietnam and yet there has been very little, if any, discussion on these burn pits by the VA.

The report that was conducted focused on pulmonary (lung) function, not respiratory disease, and noted that additional study was needed. The VA and Department of Defense posted a notice in the Federal Register outlining a long-term study that “will follow veterans for decades looking at their exposures and health issues to determine the impact of deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan.” The agency places the burden on the veteran to establish the service connection to their conditions.

Any claim for burn pit compensation requires a veteran to establish a service-connected disability. A viable claim includes:

  • A current diagnosis of a chronic physical or mental disability;
  • Eligible periods of service, or a verifiable stressor; and
  • A connection between your current diagnosis and the in-service event.

The Army is expanding infantry training to create tougher soldiers:

We had previously reported that the military was planning on changing basic training in the military. The Army is the first to initiate that change to the best of my knowledge and,

Two companies of infantry recruits that began Infantry-One Station Unit Training on July 13 will spend an extra eight weeks at Fort Benning, Georgia, to focus on movement, marksmanship and PT, said 198th Infantry Brigade commander Col. Dave Voorhies of Training and Doctrine Command.

Infantry-OSUT is currently 14 weeks long, during which recruits go through basic and advanced individual training in one time period. The pilot program is the first step in expanding the training cycle to 22 weeks for all infantry recruits starting in the fall of 2020.

Military age restrictions by branch of service:

Following are the new age restrictions by branch of service but be mindful of the fact that the Military Occupation System plays an important part in the age restriction:

  • Army: 17-35 years old;
  • Marine Corps: 17-29 years old;
  • Navy: 17-34 years old;
  • Air Force: 17-39 years old; and
  • Coast Guard: 17-27 years old.

9 reasons to appeal any VA decision:

1. Medical codes and diagnoses are incorrect.

2. Secondary medical conditions. All secondary conditions should be covered- even if at 0 percent- so that as you age you will be correctly rated.

3. Tertiary medical conditions (which are secondary to secondary medical conditions). All tertiary conditions should be covered- even if at 0 percent- so that as you age you will be correctly rated. Example: An ankle injury makes you fall and you get a secondary spine injury. Then the spine injury causes your kidneys to fail (tertiary).

4. 100 percent is not permanent until 20 years have elapsed, as per VA rules thus all secondary and tertiary claims should be pursued.

5. A 100 percent award via TDIU might be phased out at a certain age when the patient applies for social security (VA rumor) thus a 100 percent scheduler rating might be more secure.

6. Dates of claim payment (AKA effective dates) may be incorrect thus an appeal may be required.

7. 100 percent Plus special monthly compensation (SMC) will result in a higher monthly benefit if you are eligible.

8. Permanent and total (P&T) - PT is a suffix that has to be added to the 100 percent ratings for additional benefits to kick in such as the state property tax exemption.

9. CUE (Clear & Unmistakable Error).

House passes the following veteran bills:

The following bills have gone to senate for review and vote; if you are a believer in any of the following bills you should write your senator and let him/her know your thoughts:

H.R. 2409 would extended existing federal protections to cable and satellite television - under the Civil Relief Act. Under this legislation, service members would only need to provide notice and a copy of their active duty orders to cable and satellite providers to terminate their contracts without penalty.

H.R. 5538: The Reserve Component Vocational Rehabilitation Parity Act The Reserve Component Vocational Rehabilitation Parity Act would add eligibility for Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) for active service under certain reserve orders.

H.R. 5882: The Gold Star Spouses Leasing Relief Act The Gold Star Leasing Relief Act would allow surviving spouses to terminate residential leases at the time of a service member’s death without penalty.

Congress is giving the officer promotion system a massive overhaul:

Excerpts from an article by Leo Shane III - Congress is poised to pass the most sweeping reforms to system in almost four decades, a move that would end years of intense debate inside the Pentagon to bring the personnel system in line with many private-sector employment practices.

The changes would have a far-reaching impact on the culture of the officer corps and change the incentives for how individual officers manage their own careers.

The bill aims to make military promotion boards place more emphasis on merit and job performance rather than seniority. The changes would also allow officers the opportunity to develop more technical expertise in complex career fields that are essential to future missions.

Specifically, the changes would include:

Ending some of the up-or-out rules that force officers to leave military service if they fail to be promoted along rigid timelines.

Allowing for mid-career civilians with high-demand skills to enter the military up to the rank of O-6.

Allowing promotion boards to move high-performing officers higher on the promotion list regardless of their time in service.

Allowing service secretaries to create “an alternative promotion process” for specific career fields.

None of the changes included in the final annual defense authorization bill draft — released by conference committee officials this week — will be mandatory for the services, and Carson

expects a slow, measured roll out of the new authorities once the military services craft regulations for the new policies.

Air Force establishing new office aimed at driving down maintenance costs:

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson announced the establishment of the Air Force Rapid Sustainment Office .

The two-year test program will address sustainment of aging fleets in a way that is both efficient and responsible to the U.S. taxpayer. It will focus on rapid sustainment that will significantly drive down costs and deliver faster solutions to the field.

If the office demonstrates positive return on investment over time, the service will consider a transition to a permanent office.

“We will no longer pay premiums for things we can manufacture on our own,” said Wilson. “We will leverage agile manufacturing and reform legacy sustainment processes to drive down costs and at meet war fighter needs rapidly.”

Focus areas for the RSO include predictive maintenance and agile manufacturing techniques, such as additive manufacturing and cold spray repair technologies. Focus areas also include robotics and automation, corrosion detection and repair, nondestructive inspection, and advanced composite repair technologies.

Wilson added the Air Force will implement and immediately scale any opportunities to address sustainment challenges at lower costs discovered by the Rapid Sustainment Office.

By Ronald Pandos


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