The official blog of American Veteran Magazine, the national quarterly publication of AMVETS.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

AMVETS Cares: New Program for Vets in Hospice Care and Veterans Day and POW/MIA Ceremonies

AMVETS thanks Post 911, of New Jersey and Post 7, of Virginia for sending in photos and an article highlighting their contributions to bettering the lives of Veterans. Keep up the good work, and we appreciate you sharing.

Post 911 in Somers Point, N.J. made the front page of the Sentinel Newspaper for their participation in an outstanding program that pairs veterans from the Post with veterans receiving hospice care!

Post 7 in Harrisonburg Va., fed more than 100 veterans for free after their POW/MIA Recognition Day Ceremony

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Monday, November 21, 2011

AMVETS Applauds VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011

AMVETS Applauds President Obama for Signing VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011
First Jobs Bill of the Year Provides Tax Credits for Hiring Veterans and Strengthens Vets’ Benefits

Washington, D.C., Nov. 21, 2011 -- AMVETS National Commander Gary L. Fry applauded President Obama for signing into law the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 in a ceremony today at the White House. In a rare act of bipartisan cooperation, Congress came together last week by an overwhelming majority to pass the first major employment legislation of the year aimed at getting veterans back to work.

This legislation could not come at a better time, with veterans of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom facing a staggering 12.1 percent unemployment rate, significantly higher than the national 9 percent rate of unemployment reported in October by the Department of Labor. Younger veterans fare even worse, as DoL's current population survey of veterans ages 18-24 showed an October unemployment rate of 30.4 percent.

“AMVETS is encouraged by this remarkable show of bipartisanship by Congress and the Obama Administration,” said Fry. “This demonstrates the resolve of our elected officials to join the overwhelming majority of grateful Americans who proudly stand behind our 1 percent who have shouldered 100 percent of the burden in the Global War on Terrorism. AMVETS will continue to press Congress and the Obama Administration to ensure we provide for the needs of our heroes.”

Highlights of the AMVETS-supported bill include expanding education and training programs, improving reemployment rights for Guard and Reservists, strengthening Transition Assistance Programs, and providing disabled veterans up to 1-year of additional vocational rehabilitation and employment benefits. The VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 also provides tax credits ranging from $2,400 for employers who hire veterans who have been unemployed at least 4 weeks, up to $9,600 for hiring veterans who have service-connected disabilities and have been unemployed for longer than 6 months.

“Employers who hire our veterans are getting the best America has to offer,” said Fry. Employers benefit, our veterans benefit, the economy benefits, and the nation as a whole benefits. Now, we have an additional incentive for industry to do the right thing and provide opportunities for our vetterans as they make the transition to their new civilian lives.”

For more information about the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, visit

A leader since 1944 in preserving the freedoms secured by America’s armed forces, AMVETS provides support for veterans and the active military in procuring their earned entitlements, as well as community service and legislative reform that enhances the quality of life for this nation’s citizens and veterans alike. AMVETS is one of the largest congressionally-chartered veterans’ service organizations in the United States, and includes members from each branch of the military, including the National Guard and Reserves. For more information, visit

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Monday, November 14, 2011

House Veterans Legislation Passes Senate

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Thursday, one day before Veterans Day, the Senate passed the first two of 22 House-passed bills to spur job growth, including the VOW to Hire Heroes Act. Using the framework of the House-passed VOW Act, the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 is a bipartisan, bicameral bill to get America’s nearly 1 million unemployed veterans back to work. The bill is expected to be taken up by the House next week.

“Today, America’s veterans won. It was not politics as usual,” stated Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “I applaud the Senate on taking up this commonsense legislation that puts our veterans first and puts them on the path to gainful employment. As more and more of our service men and women come home, we need to ensure that they receive the homecoming they deserve, not an unemployment check. This legislation positions our veterans to be competitive in today’s tough job market. A job arms our veterans with confidence and pride as they make the transition home, and also supports their families who have also sacrificed for our nation.”

The latest Department of Labor unemployment report shows that in October 2011, the average unemployment rate among all veterans was 7.7% and 12.1% for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Veterans between the ages of 35 and 64, the group with the highest financial obligations and the fewest available VA education and training options, continue to make up nearly two-thirds of all unemployed veterans. Overall, nearly one in twelve of our nation’s heroes are out of work.

“I hope that today’s display of bipartisanship will continue, and a special thanks to Senator Murray for her leadership in working with me to craft this compromise,” said Miller. “I hope we don’t stop here. The House has passed 13 bills to support America’s veterans, 10 of which are still pending in the Senate. We must continue that work to provide programs that improve veterans’ quality of life and honor our veterans every day of the year.”


• Expands education and training opportunities for older veterans by providing nearly 100,000 unemployed veterans of past eras and wars with up to 1-year of additional Montgomery GI benefits to go towards education or training programs at community colleges or technical schools for high-demand jobs.

• Makes the Transition Assistance Program (TAP)—an interagency workshop coordinated by Departments of Defense, Labor, and Veterans Affairs—mandatory for most service members moving on to civilian life to help them secure jobs in the 21st Century.

• Provides disabled veterans up to 1-year of additional Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Benefits.

• Works with the states to create licensing and credentialing standards to break down the barriers to find meaningful employment in their military occupations.

• Allows service members to begin the federal employment process prior to separation in order to facilitate a truly seamless transition from the military.

• Strengthens USERRA protections for service members in the workforce to clarify what constitutes a hostile work environment.

• Provides a tax credit of up to $5,600 for hiring veterans who have been looking for a job for more than six months, as well as a $2,400 credit for veterans who are unemployed for more than 4 weeks, but less than 6 months. Also provides a tax credit of up to $9,600 for hiring veterans with service-connected disabilities who have been looking for a job for more than six months.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

AMVETS National Commander visits Afghanistan

AMVETS National Commander Gary L. Fry met with Gen. John R. Allen, commander of International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, at ISAF Headquarters, Nov. 1.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

AMVETS Supports Obama Administration New Initiatives to Get Veterans Back to Work

Today at the White House, AMVETS National Commander Gary Fry and Executive Director Stewart Hickey along with other veterans service organization leaders, joined President Obama as he announced his support for the Returning Heroes and Wounded Warrior Tax Credits - two provisions in the American Jobs Act Congress is scheduled to consider this week. The Returning Heroes Tax Credit provides firms that hire unemployed veterans with a maximum credit of $5,600 per veteran, while the Wounded Warriors Tax Credit offers firms that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities a maximum credit of $9,600 per veteran.

The President also announced a series of executive actions that will provide new resources for veterans to translate military experience to the private sector job market, give veterans additional career development support, and better identify companies looking to hire veterans. These initiatives include:

Veteran Gold Card: Effective today, post-9/11 veterans will be able to visit to download the Veteran Gold Card, which entitles them to enhanced services including six months of personalized case management, assessments and counseling, at the roughly 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers located across the country. This should help serve the more than 200,000 unemployed post-9/11 veterans. The President directed the Department of Labor to launch this initiative in his August 4, 2011 speech at the Navy Yard.

My Next Move for Veterans: The Department of Labor will launch My Next Move for Veterans (, a new online resource that allows veterans to enter their military occupation code and discover civilian occupations for which they are well qualified. The site will also include information about salaries, apprenticeships, and other related education and training programs.

Creating a Veterans Job Bank: Today, the Administration launched the Veterans Jobs Bank, at National Resource Directory (, an easy to use tool to help veterans find job postings from companies looking to hire them. It already searches over 500,000 job postings and continues to grow. Additionally, in a few easy steps, companies looking to hire veterans can make sure the job postings on their own Web sites are part of this Veterans Jobs Bank.

These initiatives could not have come at a more critical time. Troops are returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan only to face an intimidating national unemployment rate of 9 percent, and 12.1 percent unemployment rate for Iraq- and Afghanistan-era veterans who left active duty since 2001. Assistance is crucial, and together, these initiatives and tax credits will lower veteran unemployment by increasing hiring, improving resources for veterans to translate their military skills for the civilian workforce, and providing veterans with new tools to aid their search for jobs.

“AMVETS urges Congress to pass this legislation so that our Warriors will have one less war to fight when they make the inevitable transition from warfighter to civilian employee, be it now, or sometime in the future,” said AMVETS National Commander Gary L. Fry, who attended the White House briefing Monday morning.

In October, AMVETS, with support from Activision Blizzard Entertainment Call of Duty Endowment, expanded its own Career Center program consisting of more than 60 centers in Ohio, adding eight new locations in new states nationwide, including California, Iowa, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Additional sites are under consideration for late 2011 and early 2012.

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Friday, November 4, 2011

Forest Service waives fees in honoring Veterans

By Deidra L. McGee - Forest Service Office of Communication

The Forest Service will waive fees honoring those brave men and women who have protected our country and nation's lands during the long Veterans Day weekend Nov. 11-13 at some recreation sites. This is the third time this year that fees have been waived to encourage visitors to come to a national forest.

Fee waivers are a perfect opportunity for new and not-so-new visitors to get out onto our nation's forests and grasslands to bike, hike, explore and more.

Day-use fees will be waived at all standard amenity fee sites operated by the Forest Service. Concessionaire operated day-use sites may be included in the waiver if the permit holder wishes to participate.

Fee waivers are offered in cooperation with other federal agencies under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act and were offered earlier this year on National Get Outdoors Day in June and National Public Lands Day in September.

The Fee Waiver days support the goals of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative and First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move Outside. The waiver is an incentive to encourage people to visit our nation's forests and grasslands, which offer a wide range of recreation and educational benefits such as improved physical and mental health, emotional well being, a concern for nature and a conservation ethic.
Traditionally, fees are not charged on 98 percent of national forests and grasslands and over two-thirds of developed recreation sites in national forests and grasslands can be used for free. Many recreation opportunities such as camping, sightseeing and hiking can be enjoyed throughout the year at no cost.

The Forest Service operates approximately 17,000 recreation sites nationwide. Of those, approximately 6,000 require recreation fees, which are used to provide visitor services, repairs and replacements, and facilities maintenance.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011


AMVETS members, please click below on the brief 5 minute survey prepared for AMVETS by the American University in Washington, D.C., and tell us about your military service and AMVETS’ membership. The purpose of this research is to assess the benefits of membership. Your participation is appreciated and much needed, thank you.


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Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Many remain unemployed or are denied promotions and raises because of commitment to country

NOV 2, 2011 – WASHINGTON D.C. – Working under the most unfavorable conditions while serving their country overseas, service members are returning home and receiving an even more unfavorable slap in the face on the job front. The U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) reported that in 2010, Uniformed Services Employment Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) cases have risen by 89 percent (533 cases in 2008, 1012 cases in 2010) in two years. USERRA protects individuals who, voluntary or involuntary, leave their civilian job and perform military duties as long as they meet certain criteria.

“What these statistics are saying is that employers are not committed to anyone who commits to their country,” said Greg T. Rinckey, former Army JAG Attorney and managing partner at Tully Rinckey PLLC, a multistate employment law and military law firm.

According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) their latest statistics show that from late 2008 to 2009 the longest USERRA investigation lasted 357 days, far exceeding the 90 day cut-off. After analysis of Department of Labor data, the GAO also reports that 13 percent of USERRA complaints investigated during that time failed to meet deadline.

“Even though the federal government provides free legal representation it’s the same federal government that is breaking all the rules by letting these cases linger around. Law mandates that they complete an USERRA investigation in 90 days but many are taking longer than that. Service members are finding that they need a private attorney because they push the case through faster and are fighting for the service member using other legal theories and remedies that free federal government representation isn’t even looking at,” said Mr. Rinckey.

The unemployment rate for Americans who have served in the military since September 2001 is 11.5 percent, compared to 9.4 percent for non-veterans, according to 2011 U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics.

“There are strict laws against this type of discrimination from federal employers. The only way to really hold their feet to the fire and ensure that all practices are being followed correctly is to score victories in these USERRA cases. When USERRA wins rise, USERRA complaints will fall because it will be then that these agencies get the message,” said Mr. Rinckey.

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2nd Annual Wounded Warrior Hiring and Support Conference in Vienna, Va. Nov. 9 - 10

Department of the Navy is announcing the 2nd Annual Wounded Warrior Hiring and Support Conference being held in Vienna, Va. Nov. 9 - 10, 2011.

The theme of this year’s conference is "Hiring our Nation's Heroes" and aims to convene prominent government, military, and industry leaders and their human resource professionals who are committed to hiring and supporting wounded warriors. Conference attendees will have the unique opportunity to learn best practices from many successful organizations on how to recruit, hire, train and retain wounded warriors.

In addition to the 25 break-out sessions and exhibitors offering tools and resources on how to hire and support wounded warriors, there will be a distinguished line-up of guest speakers including senior leadership in the federal government, private industry, wounded warrior care agencies, and hiring programs. Some of the confirmed speakers include:

- Hon. Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy
- Gen. James Amos, USMC, Commandant of the Marine Corps
- Gen. Peter Chiarelli, USA, Vice Chief of Staff of the Army
- Mr. John Campbell, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Wounded Warrior Care and Transition Policy
- Mrs. Holly Petraeus, Assistant Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Office of Servicemember Affairs

This year’s conference will be held at the Sheraton Premiere at Tyson’s Corner, 8661 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, Va., and is free for registered participants. For more information on the conference, schedule and speakers, please go to the registration website at

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