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Many of us have been there and done that But lets not forget the young Troops that are doing it today.
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-- With VA in Turmoil, Calls for Change Grow - 9/14/15
-- Provide a level, gender-neutral playing field - 2/06/13
-- VA Choice Program Rollout - 11/07/14
-- American Legion Help Line - 9/26/14
-- Army to Cut 10 Brigades - 6/28/13


 With VA in Turmoil, Calls for Change Grow   

September 14, 2015    By House Speaker Boehner

In Los Angeles, they were sending mail from veterans to the shredder. In Reno, they were sending out letters from an administrator who retired nearly two years ago. In Oregon, patients had to walk out of an emergency room after going all night without being seen.

These things are happening at VA offices and facilities around the country. They range from the routine to the revolting. But they all stem from a broken culture in which fixing problems and holding people accountable aren’t priorities. While we can keep passing reforms, only the president can change the culture, and he still hasn’t proposed a plan to fix this mess long-term.

So it’s no surprise that calls for change at the VA are growing, and they’re coming from outlets across the country – another indication of just how widespread these problems are:

Albuquerque Journal: “Some things don't change at the VA, but they should”
“Despite the 2014 scandal over long wait times for U.S. military veterans to access health care and phantom lists to hide the problem, a new report by the Department of Veterans Affairs inspector general shows little progress has been made. The report said there are nearly 900,000 pending applications by military veterans for access to VA health care. Some go back nearly two decades. About one-third of those veterans are thought to be dead, which means they never got the VA health care they earned, although they may have accessed health care via other avenues. Still, that is a tragedy of immense proportions. … So perhaps there is hope for reform at the national level. If it means overhauling the VA system, so be it.”

Arizona Republic: “With the VA, it’s always worse than we expect”
“With the Department of Veterans Affairs, it is always wise to assume things are worse than they first appear. … A new inspector-general report exposing details of the VA's appalling system of record-keeping validates the cynicism. It is horrid. … Even as it has attempted to address the issues exposed first at the Phoenix VA hospital, the agency has consistently demonstrated an inability to anticipate the level of services that veterans, especially those returning from war, will need. That planning haplessness has sent the VA tumbling into chronic budget shortfalls for two straight fiscal years. When are they going to learn? The answer to that question is becoming increasingly, tragically, apparent. Perhaps never.”

Dallas Morning News: “Staggering numbers are only part of the VA tragedy”
“If you follow the news, you’d like to believe that one day you will understand the true scope of the mess the Department of Veterans Affairs made of health care for Americans who earned it and need it, if only so we can avoid such mistakes again. The latest audit report from the VA inspector general’s office offers some hope, balanced by more bad news. Investigators were able to answer their four central questions, but VA workers made such a hash of their record-keeping over the years that greater specificity may forever be beyond our grasp. … Understanding the scope of a problem is only one step toward fixing it, but it’s not a step one can skip. Will we ever get to that starting line?”

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle: “VA must move swiftly on changes”
“The Government Accountability Office, a watchdog agency, has put the VA on its high-risk list, citing the backlog, the falsified appointment records and inadequate computer systems among other problems. The report did cite improvements enacted by Congress and Obama last summer that allow certain veterans to get health care at private facilities and also enable the VA to hire more doctors, nurses and other medical staff. But the implementation of the changes has been slow in coming. Our veterans deserve better. The long wait times for appointments have been known for years now and are taking way too long to fix.”

Roseburg (Oregon) News-Review: “Time’s up, VA: Fix your problems now”
“Yet these people in need of medical attention are not just any patients — they are veterans who gave to their country when they were called upon to do so. Now that they need help, why is the country not there for them?…If veterans across the country are having to endure the extended wait times that local veterans are having to endure — and the odds are good they are — then the Stars and Stripes at every VA around the country should be flown at half-staff until veterans receive the respect and the treatment they deserve.”

Tulsa World: “VA system still a mess”
“First the bad news: Almost 900,000 U.S. veterans are waiting for health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Now the worse news: The VA has no confidence in that figure because at least a third of veterans involved are probably dead, although no one really knows. … The report is a disturbing indication that the system is still broken, and that McDonald’s reform of the VA remains a job undone.”

WALB News, Albany, Georgia: “Serving our veterans”
“We often get calls from Vets who have trouble getting the help they need. Many times they just need help cutting through the red tape. The men and women who need the VA have done what only one percent of Americans are willing to do: Put their life on the line to protect the rest of us. We salute the VA for their outreach efforts, but now we call on them to put into practice, the solutions for the problems identified. We must make sure every Veteran gets all the help they need.”

The Dick act of 1902 (signed Jan 1903) is related to establishing states organized militias under U.S. Military control prior to or during WWI, and eventually renaming them the National Guard after WWII, and becoming a federal force, it looks as if this law as finally modified took away states control of the states militia/National Guard which is now under pentagon control. Governors who have bucked the Act have been told to sit on it.  Although governors can still call on the states NG to help in disasters all equipment and supplies are supplied by the federal military (last I knew).

Records of the National Guard Bureau [NGB]
Search this Record Group in the National Archives Online Catalog

(Record Group 168)

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 168.1 Administrative History
  • 168.2 Records Relating to the Militia Prior to the Passage of the Militia Act of 1903 1822-1903
  • 168.3 Records of the Militia Division and the Division of Militia Affairs, 1903-16
    • 168.3.1 Records of the Militia Division
    • 168.3.2 Records of the Division of Militia Affairs
  • 168.4 Records of the National Guard Bureau and its Predecessors, the Militia Bureau and the National Guard Bureau (War) 1916-74
  • 168.5 Motion Pictures (General) 1946-62
  • 168.6 Still Pictures (General) 1898-99, 1922-35

168.1 Administrative History

Established: As a joint bureau of the Departments of the Army and the Air Force by order of the Secretary of Defense, effective April 27, 1948, and by Joint Army and Air Force Adjustment Regulation 1-11-20, May 4, 1948, implementing provisions of the National Security Act of 1947 (61 Stat. 495), July 26, 1947. The chief of bureau is a general officer serving jointly on the Air Staff and the Army Special Staff.

Predecessor Agencies:

In the War Department:

  • Militia Division (1903-8)
  • Division of Militia Affairs (1908-16)
  • Militia Bureau (1916-42)
  • National Guard Bureau (1942-47)

Functions: Advises the army and air force chiefs of staff, and serves as their liaison with the states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia on matters concerning the National Guard.

Finding Aids: Lucy E. Weidman, comp., "Preliminary Checklist of the Records of the National Guard Bureau and Its Predecessors, 1822-1941," PC 33 (Jan. 1946); records of the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, 1923-54, in Helene L. Bowen, Mary Joe Head, Jessie T. Midkiff, and Olive K. Liebman, comps., "Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Army Staff, 1939- ," NM 3 (1962).

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the National Guard Bureau in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.

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168.2 Records Relating to the Militia Prior to the Passage of the
Militia Act of 1903

Textual Records: An incomplete series of annual returns of militia and abstracts of returns submitted by the states, 1822- 1902. Correspondence dealing with inspection of state troops; and with ordnance, clothing, and personnel, 1885-1903. Account books, 1887-1902.

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168.3 Records of the Militia Division and the Division of Militia

History: Militia Division established in the Adjutant General's Office (AGO), 1903, to replace a militia section of the Miscellaneous Division, AGO, which had been established subsequent to the passage of the First Militia (Dick) Act (32 Stat. 775), January 21, 1903, making the state militias and national guards the reserve component of the federal army. By War Department order, February 12, 1908, confirmed by the Second Militia (Dick) Act (35 Stat. 399), May 27, 1908, Division of Militia Affairs, superseding the Militia Division, established in the Office of the Secretary of War. Transferred to the Office of the Chief of Staff, July 25, 1910, and renamed the Militia Bureau by the National Defense (Army Reorganization) Act (39 Stat. 203), June 3, 1916. See 168.4.

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168.3.1 Records of the Militia Division

Textual Records: Correspondence, 1903-8, with record cards and index. Account books, 1903-8.

Related Records: Most documents cited in the record cards and index are filed in the general correspondence in RG 94, Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1780's-1917.

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168.3.2 Records of the Division of Militia Affairs

Textual Records: Correspondence, 1908-16 (90 ft.), with record cards (42 ft.) and index (16 ft.). Quarterly reports of regular army sergeants assigned to National Guard units, 1908-16. Account books, 1908-16.

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168.4 Records of the National Guard Bureau and its Predecessors,
the Militia Bureau and the National Guard Bureau (War)

History: Militia Bureau established by the National Defense (Army Reorganization) Act (39 Stat. 203), June 3, 1916, and renamed the National Guard Bureau (NGB) by the National Defense Act (48 Stat. 159), June 15, 1933. NGB placed under the AGO in the Services of Supply (SOS), effective March 9, 1942, by Circular 59, War Department, March 2, 1942, implementing the reorganization of the army mandated by EO 9082, February 28, 1942. Became a separate administrative service in SOS by General Order 9, SOS, April 9, 1942. Assigned to Director of Administration, Army Service Forces (ASF, formerly SOS), by Circular 30, ASF, May 15, 1943. Placed directly under Commanding General, ASF, by Circular 118, ASF, November 12, 1943. Designated a Special Staff unit of the War Department General Staff by General Order 39, War Department, May 17, 1945. Became a joint army-air force bureau, 1948, following abolishment of the War Department and establishment of the Departments of the Army and the Air Force by the National Security Act of 1947. See 168.1.

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1916-23, with index. Central decimal correspondence, 1922-62, and central correspondence ("TAFFS" arrangement), 1963 (513 ft.). Administrative decimal file, 1920-53. State Guard decimal correspondence, 1941-49, concerning state units organized in World War II to replace National Guard units called into federal service. Account books, 1916-42. History files of the Army National Guard Organization, 1949-63; and the Air National Guard Organization, 1949-69. Central subject file, 1964-74. Formerly security classified central subject file, 1964-71.

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168.5 Motion Pictures (General)

United States Air Force Presents Military Command Airlift (1 reel). Air National Guard Story (1 reel). For the Record: The National Guard in the Mobilization Of 1961 (1 reel).

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168.6 Still Pictures (General)
1898-99, 1913, 1922-35

Photographs: U.S. Army personnel and activities in Cuba, 1898-99; Oklahoma National Guard, 1924; and crests, coats of arms, and National Guard activities, 1922-35 (G, 609 images). Panorama of the Joint Camp, Lyons, IL, 1913 (HTA, 1 image).

Subject Access Terms: California (photographs of); Pennsylvania (photographs of); Haiti (photographs of); Puerto Rico (photographs of).

Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.
3 volumes, 2428 pages.

Ordering information

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.

These data located at:


 Provide a level, gender-neutral playing field

2/6/2013     by Walter E. Williams    First printed in The New American

A senior Defense Department official said the ban on women in combat should be lifted because the military's goal is "to provide a level, gender-neutral playing field." I'd like to think the goal of the military should be to have the toughest, meanest fighting force possible. But let's look at "gender-neutral playing field."

The Army's physical fitness test in basic training is a three-event physical performance test used to assess endurance. The minimum requirement for 17- to 21-year-old males is 35 pushups, 47 situps and a two-mile run in 16 minutes, 36 seconds or less. For females of the same age, the minimum requirement is 13 pushups, 47 situps and a 19:42 two-mile run. Why the difference in fitness requirements? "USMC Women in the Service Restrictions Review" found that women, on average, have 20 percent lower aerobic power, 40 percent lower muscle strength, 47 percent less lifting strength and 26 percent slower marching speed than men.

William Gregor, professor of social sciences at the Army's Command and General Staff College, reports that in tests of aerobic capacity, the records show, only 74 of 8,385 Reserve Officers' Training Corps women attained the level of the lowest 16 percent of men. The "fight load" — the gear an infantryman carries on patrol — is 35 percent of the average man's body weight but 50 percent of the average Army woman's weight. In his examination of physical fitness test results from the ROTC, dating back to 1992, and 74,000 records of male and female commissioned officers, only 2.9 percent of women were able to attain the men's average pushup ability and time in the two-mile run.

In a January report titled "Defense Department 'Diversity' Push for Women in Land Combat" Elaine Donnelly, director of the Center for Military Readiness, points to U.S. Army studies showing that women are twice as likely to suffer injuries and are three times more undeployable than men. Women are less likely to be able to march under load — 12.4 miles in five hours with an 83-pound assault load — and to be able to crawl, sprint, negotiate obstacles with that load or move a casualty weighing 165 pounds or more while carrying that load. Plus, there are muscle-challenging feats, even for men, such as field repairs on an M1A1 Abrams tank.

Then there's the pregnancy issue, which makes women three to four times as likely as men to be undeployable. And once deployed, they often have to be medically evacuated, leaving units understrength. Finally, there's another difference between men and women rarely considered in deliberation about whether women should be in combat. All measures of physical aggressiveness show that men, maybe because of testosterone levels 10 times higher, are more aggressive, competitive and hostile than women. Those attributes are desirable for combat.

Here are a couple of what-if questions. Suppose a combat unit is retreating in mountainous terrain in Afghanistan, where a person's aerobic capacity really makes a difference, and the women in the unit can't keep up with the men. What would you propose, leaving the women behind to possibly be captured by the Taliban or having the unit slow down so the women can keep up, thereby risking causalities or capture? What if a male soldier is washed out of the Army's Advanced Infantry Training program because he cannot pass its physical fitness test whereas a female soldier who can't perform at his level is retained? Should male soldiers be able to bring suit and be awarded damages for sex discrimination? How much respect can a male soldier have for his female counterpart, who is held to lower performance standards?

There's another issue. The Selective Service System's website has the following message about draft registration: "Even though the Secretary of Defense has decided to allow women in combat jobs, the law has not been changed to include this. Consequently, only men are currently required to register by law with Selective Service during ages 18 thru 25. Women still do not register." How can that, coupled with differences in performance standards, possibly be consistent with the Defense Department's stated agenda "to provide a level, gender-neutral playing field"?

 VA Choice Program Rollout:

From VFW 11/07/2014

The Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act required VA to start implementation of the Choice Program by November 5, 2014. Starting this week, veterans who live 40 or more miles away from a VA medical facility will have the opportunity to choose whether to receive their health care at VA or in their community, through non-VA doctors. 

Veterans who live within 40 miles of a VA medical facility, but are currently waiting longer than 30 days for VA care will begin receiving their cards later this month. VA expects that all veterans who were enrolled in the VA health care system on August 1, 2014, will receive their cards by January 2015. However, receiving a Veterans Choice Card does not instantly authorize you to start receiving health care from non-VA doctors. All care received through the Choice Program must be pre-authorized and coordinated by VA.   [In my opinion this is not an improvement, you have to have an appointment to get a referral, for Christ Sake.]

The VFW is working with VA and other stakeholders to ensure this program is implemented successfully. There is still much work to be done, and we will continue to keep you informed as we learn more. Please help spread the word and inform other veterans of their choice.

For more information on the Choice Program visit: or

To determine your eligibility for the Choice Program visit:  

 American Legion Help line


Dear Legion Family Members and Friends:

The most recent data for veteran suicides – 22 a day – is heartbreaking. These are men and women who vowed with their lives to protect our great nation. They slept on battlefields, spent weeks at sea, flew over hostile territory and faced enemy fire so that we might sleep without fear at home in America.

Somewhere along the line, sometime after discharge, something happened to them. It may have been caused by post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury. It may have been depression brought about by unemployment, under-employment or homelessness.

No matter the reason, mental health of veterans is an issue in need of resolve. The American Legion knows that the high suicide rate does not need to exist.

VA has broadened its ability to help veterans in crisis. In fact, family members and friends can contact VA through its suicide prevention hotline, texting service or online chat if there are concerns. Here is how you or someone you care for can reach VA during a crisis:

Chat phone number: 800-273-8255, press 1.
Texting service: 838255
Online chat service:

VA responders have participated in more than 1.25 million crisis center calls, 175,000 online chats and 24,000 texting conversations. There are many success stories and happy endings in those conversations. Still, more needs to be done to reverse the increasing number of suicides.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. But once the calendar turns to October, the threat remains. Be on the lookout for veterans who need help. Listen to them. Talk with them. Direct them to their local coordinators at Or, if necessary, contact a counselor on their behalf.

A simple phone call, a willingness to listen or to step up with a referral for a fellow veteran can save lives. Please be on the lookout.

For God and Country,

Mike Helm
National Commander
American Legion

VFW Report of June 28, 2013 --  

 Army to Cut 10 Brigades:
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno identified 10 installations this week that will lose one brigade each by 2017. This reduction in force is in addition to the two brigades previously announced to stand down in Europe. The announcement follows earlier decisions to reduce the size of the Army by 80,000 soldiers. The 10 stateside Army installations are Forts Bliss, Bragg, Campbell, Carson, Drum, Hood, Knox, Lewis, Riley and Stewart. Depending on requirements, an Army brigade can number between 2,500 and 4,000 soldiers. The planned reduction in the number of brigades also allows the Army to cancel $400 million in military construction contracts out of $700 million in planned projects.

The Marines are to cut by 20,000.
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