Diseases linked to herbicide exposure in Vietnam expanded

By Tom Philpott: Military Update About 86,000 Vietnam War veterans, their surviving spouses or estates will be eligible for retroactive disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs — an average of 11.4 years for veterans and 9.6 years for survivors — under a draft VA rule to expand by three the number of diseases […]

Health reform protects military benefits

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Republican lawmakers raised the specter of military families and survivors of veterans seeing health care costs rise as a result of the national health reform law that President Obama signed March 23. But the threat was never more than a notion and it is fading away. That’s the consensus among […]

My turn: I want to hear veterans’ stories

I never knew Glen Hubbard Stevens. My granddad’s little brother died 15 years before I was born. A newspaper obituary reports Sgt. Stevens, a paratrooper, was killed in action on D-Day, June 6, 1944. That’s what’s inspired me to learn more about him this year, the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II. […]

Help for veterans available

Freedom New Mexico Veteran Service Officer George Vargas of the New Mexico Department of Veteran Services is available to help current and former service members, their families and their surviving spouses 9:30 a.m. to 3 or 4 p.m. every other Thursday at the Portales Senior Center at 501 N Industrial Drive. His next visit is […]

Claims should be filed now

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist Tens of thousands of Vietnam veterans with ischemic heart disease, Parkinson’s disease or B cell leukemia should file claims now with the Department of Veterans Affairs for disability compensation, not wait until VA publishes a regulation officially linking these diseases to wartime service. Advocacy groups are urging the swift filing […]

Military increasing awareness of benefits

milupdate@aol.com Despite billions of additional dollars pumped into veterans’ benefits in recent years, many military personnel still leave service unaware of their VA benefits or of programs set up to help them transition to civilian life, a senior Defense official and veteran advocates testified Wednesday. Noel C. Koch, deputy under secretary of defense for wounded […]

PTSD disability ratings increased

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist More than 4300 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who were diagnosed in service as suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, but got low military disability ratings, have won an agreement with the Department of Defense to upgrade those ratings retroactively to 50 percent. The higher rating will represent an important win […]

Veterans cautious of health reform

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist As House and Senate Democrats negotiate a final compromise national health care reform bill, military people across the nation — and their advocates in Washington D.C. — remain vigilant for side effects. The Obama administration and Democratic congressional leaders have tried to reassure military members, retirees and veterans that national […]

Stop-loss vets eligible for payment

By Tom Philpott: CNJ columnist About 185,000 veterans who were forced by wartime “stop loss” orders to serve on active duty after enlistment contracts had expired, or past their approved retirement dates, are due a retroactive special payment of $500 for each extra month they served. But these veterans must apply by Oct. 21 to […]

Old veterans daunted with current wars

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist A small group of U.S. war veterans, the age difference among them as wide as 70 years, gathered this month at American Legion Post 177 in Fairfax, Va., for a special event at the annual Veterans Day Community Fair. They had agreed to participate in a “living history,” co-hosted by […]

Female veterans face unique issues

By Anna Crook: Guest columnist The recent tragedy at the Fort Hood Army Post in Texas reminds us just how much we value and appreciate the men and women who bravely serve our nation. This Army post houses soldiers who have returned from deployment in the Middle East and others who will travel to combat […]

Senator holding up veterans benefits

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist More than a month after a new fiscal year began Oct. 1, the House and Senate are still pressing to pass a group of bills to improve veterans’ benefits and health programs, rolling them together in “omnibus” legislative packets. The omnibus bills can then be shaped by final compromises between […]

Veterans Day events

Today A Tribute to Veterans — 10:30 a.m., Memorial Building at Seventh and Abilene streets in Portales. Veterans Day breakfast — 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., American Legion No. 25, 2400 W. 7th in Clovis. White table setting — 8 a.m., Ranchvale Elementary School in Clovis. Veterans Day assembly — 9 a.m., Mesa Elementary School, […]

ENMU to honor local veterans

By Clarence Plank: PNT staff writer Eastern New Mexico University is hosting its fourth annual Veterans Day service with a bagpipes player for the first time. Tutor Coordinator Esthela Banuelos said the Cannon Air Force Base Color Guard is coming to post the colors. “We picked a speaker to come and talk about the military,” […]

Friday morning briefing: NFL favorites, and thanks to veterans

Good morning. Welcome to Freedom New Mexico’s Friday morning briefing.

Veterans Day tradition continues

ksma3y-115vetsdaygiftweb.jpg

By Argen Duncan: PNT Senior Writer “…The land of the free and the home of the brave.” The 63rd annual Portales Veterans Day ceremony next Wednesday features a speech by Cannon Air Force Base wing commander Col. Stephen A. Clark, as well as Donald Paschke of Portales singing the National Anthem for the 45th year. […]

Lawmakers share blame for delay

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki got a bipartisan hug from the House Veterans Affairs Committee last week as lawmakers accepted his plan to fix Post-9/11 GI Bill payment delays, and blamed their own rush to enact the complex education benefit last year for some of the challenges VA now faces. […]

VA not ready to back disabled pay

By Tom Philpott: Military update Monthly compensation the Department of Veterans Affairs pays to veterans with service-connected disabilities is intended to replace average earnings loss due to injuries or ailments. But should VA also pay disabled veterans something extra for diminished quality of life? Two prominent commissions in 2007 said it should. Last week, however, […]

Udall to visit ENMU

PNT staff Friday, Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., is scheduled to host a town hall meeting 4:30-5:30 p.m. at Eastern New Mexico University in the Campus Union Building Sandia Room. He will discuss and take questions about the first six months of the 111th Congress. In addition, Udall is set to distribute the new GI Bill […]