April 4, 2016

Sgt. Shaft caricatureDear Sgt Shaft
I was awarded a Medal for Services in Suwon Korea in 1969-1970.  I never actually received it. Can I apply to receive it now?  Thank you for your time.

Rodney S
Via the internet

Dear Rodney
I suggest you go to the Department of Veterans Affairs, www.va.gov  and you will be able to download DD Form 180.

Shaft Notes
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is hosting the first ever public-private partnership event focused on brain health. Brain Trust: Pathways to InnoVAtion will bring together experts in the field of brain health, national/professional sports organizations, private industry, innovators, scientists, athletes, clinicians, care-givers, and Veterans to promote forward-thinking dialogue and innovative collaboration around the subject of mTBI & PTSD.   The event will be held on April 20-21, 2016 at the National Press Club and the IBM Institute for Electronic Government Washington, DC.

Background: Brain Trust: Pathways to InnoVAtion will build upon the outcomes of the VA TBI research conference held in August 2015. Through accelerated teamwork and partnering exercises, the event will endeavor to identify critical brain health solutions in the areas of prevention, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, and the reintegration of individuals stricken with the effects of mTBI and/or PTSD. The work at Brain Trust will not only serve Veterans and Service-members, but ultimately all Americans afflicted with these issues.

The event will feature an Innovation Showcase designed to highlight potential brain health solutions, and a “hack-a-thon” (sponsored by the VA Center for Innovation) to facilitate collaboration among cross-sector stakeholders. Major themes will include: revolutionizing technology, collaborative partnerships in research, and the “wide world of sports” innovation.

The following organizations are teaming up with the VA as event partners to help make the event a success include: Amazon, Booz Allen Hamilton, GE Healthcare, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Optum Health, and Philips.  A detailed list of speakers will be available the week prior to the event.

Chairman Miller and Sen. Marco Rubio, sponsors of the House and Senate versions of the VA Accountability Act, recently wrote to Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Sen. Johnny Isakson, calling on SVAC and the rest of the Senate to address the accountability crisis at the Department of Veterans Affairs. In a letter, Miller and Rubio cautioned Isakson against taking an approach that favors reaching a deal with the Obama administration or others over addressing the department’s serious accountability problems in a meaningful way. Additionally, Chairman Miller released the following statement:

“Almost every day Americans are reminded that the federal civil service system is designed to coddle and protect corrupt and incompetent bureaucrats rather than facilitate a fair and efficient climate of accountability. Nowhere is this more visible than the Department of Veterans Affairs. VA’s inability to hold problem employees accountable is at the root of all of the department’s most serious problems, and that’s why we are calling on the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs – and the Senate as a whole – to act to give the VA Secretary swift and comprehensive disciplinary authority over all VA employees. It’s time for the Senate to get in step with veterans and taxpayers and get behind commonsense proposals like the House-passed H.R. 1994 and S. 1082, which would help replace VA’s culture of complacency with a climate of real accountability. Until then, VA – forced to tolerate corruption and incompetence in its ranks – will continue to lurch from one scandal to the next and veterans will continue to suffer.”

The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) will present its highest annual awards to two members of Congress, a professional organization, a physician and a congressional staff member for their support of the military community. The ceremony will be held April 12 on Capitol Hill.

Reps. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), and Joe Heck (R-Nev.), chairman of the HASC Subcommittee on Military Personnel, each will receive the Col. Arthur T. Marix Congressional Leadership Award. The MOAA Distinguished Service Award will go to the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and Dr. Steven Scott, medical director of the Tampa Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center. Robert “Bob” Simmons, HASC majority staff director, will receive the Col. Paul W. Arcari Meritorious Service Award.

MOAA is the nation’s largest and most influential association of active duty, National Guard, Reserve, retired and former military officers and their families and survivors. The association annually recognizes individuals or organizations that strongly support servicemembers and their families.

The Col. Arthur T. Marix Congressional Leadership Award will be given to Thornberry and Heck for their strong leadership and advocacy to sustain fair compensation and benefits for the uniformed services community. Marix founded MOAA in 1929 and served as the association’s first president until 1944.

The IACP and Dr. Scott will receive MOAA’s Distinguished Service Award, which honors individuals or organizations that are not members of Congress but have been consistent supporters of national defense and the uniformed services community.

The IACP is being recognized for outstanding efforts to reintegrate returning veterans into civilian law enforcement positions and Dr. Scott for his leadership role in improving the lives of America’s ill, injured and disabled veterans and their families.

Simmons will be recognized with MOAA’s Col. Paul W. Arcari Meritorious Service Award for his initiative and advocacy to sustain fair compensation and benefits for the uniformed services community. This is Simmons second Meritorious Service Award. Arcari was MOAA’s director of Government Relations for 14 years, retiring in 2001.

“We welcome the opportunity to recognize the leadership and service of this year’s awardees,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins, president and CEO of MOAA. “Each has shown a personal commitment to supporting this nation’s defense and an enduring loyalty to advocate for those who serve and their families.”


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