I’m writing to ask you to tell your readers that a national shame was attached to the WWII Memorial. [The words of] our two great leaders, President Roosevelt and General Eisenhower, are displayed in the memorial. In these quotes, their request for divine help was deleted. Isn’t it odd that the [men who fought have] made the statements that there was no atheist in a fox hole, but we now find no God in the memorial?
I am a veteran of four wars and a Naval aviator with over 15,000 flight hours. At age 95, I was hoping to see a memorial that I could be proud of before I die. As a member of FRA, I was wondering if you could help me.
Homer W. Pate
FRA Response: First and foremost, thank you for your service and involvement with the FRA. Your patriotism and commitment to our organization are sincerely appreciated.
There are several e-mail messages floating around that claim references to God were intentionally eliminated from the WWII Memorial, but those are not true. The following quotes from FDR and Dwight Eisenhower appear on the Memorial and are accurate representations of the words spoken by these great Americans:
December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy … No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory. — President Franklin D. Roosevelt
They have given their sons to the military service. They have stoked the furnaces and hurried the factory wheels. They have made the planes and welded the tanks, riveted the ships and rolled the shells. — President Franklin D. Roosevelt
D-Day, June 6, 1944. You are about to embark upon the great crusade toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you … I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. — General Dwight D. Eisenhower
We sincerely hope you’ll be able to make the trip to see your memorial, which is a wonderful tribute to you and other members of the Greatest Generation. I suggest you contact Honor Flight, an organization that helps WWII veterans like yourself come to DC to see the memorial. The Honor Flight website (www.honorflight.org) is a wealth of information about the program, including contact numbers for folks in your area who can help. Honor Flight has helped thousands of vets make the journey to the memorial and we hope you will soon be one of them!
An Unintended Slight
We have three very active Coast Guard members involved with the branch Operations. We have lost one of our other Coast Guard shipmates as a member (who used to be involved as an officer), because in his opinion, “the Coast Guard does not get enough recognition from the FRA.”
Case in point: The February 2014 issue of FRA Today (page 10) an article addressed [other services’ recruiting slogans], but not the Coast Guard’s. I know this is small, but items like this discredit the FRA overall.
In the recruiting side of our organization we have to honor and visually support our three services. These shipmates are paying their dues to belong to the FRA, trying to support the organization and the many things the FRA does for us. We have to think in terms of the FRA as our team of “Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps.”
I live and breathe the FRA and all our military and what they have done or are doing. Please take all I have said as recruiting heads up and in a positive direction. Remember all members read the FRA magazine.
FRA Response: First and foremost, please accept my personal and sincere apologies for the oversight in the February issue. I can assure you it was not intended as a slight against the Coast Guard and a correction appeared in the March edition.
We’re very proud of our Coast Guard and its personnel and will continue our work to highlight their outstanding service. For example, our July feature is scheduled to be an interview with Steven Cantrell, who was recently named to be the next Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, and we’ll also be running a historical perspective on USCG lighthouses and lighthouse keepers in the August issue, as a tribute to the Coast Guard’s birthday. I hope you also noticed the photo on page 16 of the March issue that highlights FRA’s generous donation to the U.S. Coast Guard Enlisted Memorial Foundation. Submissions Send Shipmate Forum letters to Editor, FRA Today, 125 N. West St. Alexandria, VA 22314. E-mail submissions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include “Shipmate Forum” in the subject line. FRA reserves the right to select and edit letters for publication. Letters published in Shipmate Forum reflect the opinions and views of FRA members. They do not necessarily reflect the official position of FRA as a whole. FRA is not responsible for the accuracy of letter content.
Lawmakers received the Administration’s FY 2015 proposed budget in early March and, as you read this issue of FRA Today, they are working to amend and approve a spending plan. There is an often-used quote that “the President proposes and Congress disposes,” and this budget cycle will be no different, particularly with the added complexity of the budget cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011. (The BCA requires that half of the cuts come from the Department of Defense [DoD], even though DoD’s portion of the overall budget amounts to only 17 percent.) As a result, it will be difficult for legislators to complete work on the budget and authorization legislation before the beginning of the new fiscal year (October 1, 2014).
Congress has made modest reductions in Defense sequestration cuts for this upcoming fiscal year, but the impact of sequestration will continue in future years unless Congress exempts Defense from the BCA or repeals the act entirely. These cuts are virtually guaranteed to substantially impact service members’ pay and benefits (see story on page 9 for further details) and will subsequently affect recruiting, retention and military readiness. This is an election year and legislators are particularly sensitive to the concerns of constituents. Now is the time to use the FRA Action Center at action.fra.org to voice your concerns. (Click the orange “Advocacy” tab at the top of the homepage.)
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Federal Agencies Partner to Protect GI Bill Beneficiaries
The Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA), Defense (DoD), Education (DoE) and Justice (DoJ), along with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced the launch of a new online complaint system designed to collect feedback from veterans, service members and their families who are experiencing problems with educational institutions. The system is specifically aimed at those who are receiving funding from federal military and veterans education benefits programs, including benefits programs provided by the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the DoD Military Tuition Assistance (TA) Program.
The centralized online reporting system gives the federal government the information needed to identify and address unfair, deceptive, and misleading practices, and ensure that high quality academic and student support services are available for veterans, service members, and their families.
Students can submit a complaint if they believe their school is failing to follow the Principles of Excellence (i.e., unfair recruiting practices, credit transfer or change in degree requirements) through the centralized online reporting system accessed at: http://www.militaryonesource.mil/voluntary-education?content_id=274604 and http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/feedback.asp.
When feedback is received, agencies will contact the school on behalf of the student and work toward resolution. Complaints and their resolutions will be forwarded to the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Sentinel Network, accessible by over 650 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies for use in enhancing and coordinating law enforcement investigations.
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Comparison Tool for Education Benefits and Schools
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has recently launched a new GI Bill Comparison Tool. Now you can find information online about Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits and the schools and training programs available to education beneficiaries. The new tool was developed with the assistance of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Department of Defense and the Department of Education.
The GI Bill Comparison Tool provides key information about college affordability and brings together information from more than 17 different online sources and three federal agencies, including the number of students receiving VA education benefits at each school.
Read more: http://1.usa.gov/1iFaBwi.
Link to the new GI Bill Comparison Tool at: http://bit.ly/1iFaWiG.