Veterans Corner

On Sept. 16, America honored more than 78,000 extraordinary patriots who are still missing in action from our nation’s wars.

And on Kaua‘i, this date marked another year of waiting for the families of Kaua‘i’s five U.S. Army veterans who have not yet come home from the Korean War. These men are: Sgt. Jose Balalong, Sgt. Sidney Kaui, Cpl. Mitsuyoshi Ishida, Cpl. Muneo Yaka and Pfc. Takeshi Sasaki.

We must never forget their service … we must never forget their courage … we must never forget their sacrifice.

No discharge documents, no burial benefits, no exceptions — To obtain veterans benefits from any government agency, an unaltered legible hard copy of the military discharge document(s) must be provided at the time of application. Veterans who have misplaced their discharge papers must write to the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis to request a replacement copy. Average processing time is four to five weeks and there is no emergency processing for deceased veterans. Therefore, veterans must act now to ensure discharge documents are located and safely stored to prevent burial delays and family hardships upon their passing. Questions: 241-3348

100th Bn and 442nd welcome luncheon — Members of the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team will host a “Welcome Luncheon” to honor visiting citizens from two French villages they helped liberate during World War II — Bruyères and Biffontaine. Open to all veterans and their families, the luncheon will be held on Sept. 29 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Kaua‘i Veterans Center (located on Kapule Highway near the airport).

To ensure there is enough food for everyone, please contact Aida Cruz by calling 246-1135 or emailing kauaivc@yahoo.com if you plan to attend.

2011 Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 5 — Please join us at 10 a.m. in downtown Kapa‘a as we “Honor our Vietnam Veterans with the Parade They Did Not Receive.” Key note speaker MGen Darryll D. M. Wong, adjutant general of the Hawai‘i National Guard and director of the State Civil Defense.

Campaign to gather photos of Vietnam veterans who died in Vietnam — The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is expanding its efforts to bring awareness to those veterans who served and died in the Vietnam War by building an underground Education Center adjacent to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, DC. When completed, the Center will serve as a visitors learning center to educate future generations about those honorable men and women who gave everything for their country and to tell their stories. Other exhibits will showcase some of the 150,000 items left at “The Wall” in tribute, provide a timeline of events for the Vietnam War and the building of “The Wall”, examine the service and sacrifice of special groups of people, and celebrate the values embodied by all of America’s service members.

To accomplish this, the VVMF recently announced a nationwide campaign to locate photos and short stories of these veterans which will be displayed within the Education Center.

To date, photos of nearly 22,000 of the total 58,272 veterans killed in Vietnam have been located. Of the 276 Hawai‘i veterans listed on “The Wall”, only 55 photos and stories have been received.

The VVMF is asking all families and friends of any veteran killed in Vietnam to visit their website at www.vvmf.org/pafwan to learn how to participate or to instantly upload photos and stories about their veteran. Also, all information contributed to the Education Center will be shared immediately on VVMF’s Virtual Wall. Each person whose name is on the Memorial has a profile page on this site. Visit www.vvmf.org/thewall to find the profile page for loved ones. To learn more about the Education Center, visit www.buildthecenter.org. The Hawai‘i POC for this project is Mr. Jason Cain at (910) 584-4018.

VA posts updated ship list — The VA recently posted an updated list of Navy and Coast Guard ships confirmed to have operated on Vietnam’s inland waterways, docked on shore, or had crewmembers sent ashore (http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/). The list will continue to be updated as official records are reviewed. Even if a veteran is not filing a claim, a veteran may conduct his or her own research and submit scanned documentary evidence such as deck logs, ship histories, and cruise book entries via email to 211_AOSHIPS.VBACO@va.gov. For questions about Agent Orange and the online list of ships, veterans may call the VA Special Issues Helpline at 1-800-749-8387 and press 3. (Source: NAUS Weekly Update – 09/09/11)

What is My HealtheVet? — My HealtheVet is a web-based website that gives veterans information and tools to improve their health. Enhanced program features are added as they become available. To register and set-up your own personal access account, visit the Kaua‘i CBOC (Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

• SgtMaj Tony Elliott USMC (Ret) is a member of the Hawai‘i Office of Veterans Services on Kaua‘i. He can be reached at 241-3348.

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