This is a big week for the Cox family – our third son is graduating from High School! I am sure you have family members or friends who have family members graduating.   I want to take this opportunity to extend my congratulations to all 2015 graduates for all their hard work that led to this important event – one of life’s most significant milestones. I wish all graduates the best as they continue on their life journey.

 

I am sending out this Update a little early as I wanted to pass on the latest information on Fort Lee’s new gate procedures, alert you to the latest effort to retain the present commissary system, note the Vietnam War 50th Anniversary events in Virginia, and highlight Virginia War Memorial activities.

Fort Lee Gate Procedures

The Fort Lee Traveler recently ran a story that provides a great deal of information on the new gate procedures and the Visitor Control Center (VCC). Visitors who do not have military ID cards are encouraged to visit the Fort Lee website and download and complete the access forms prior to visits to Fort Lee to prevent unnecessary delays entering post. According to Fort Lee officials “The only thing pre-vetted visitors need to do is to pick up their access pass – this saves everyone time and makes the process much smoother.” The access forms have a space to indicate time periods for entry to the post. Other military institutions will likely have similar procedures. Click here for the full article.

 

For additional information on Fort Lee activities, click here for the Fort Lee June Community News Letter. This month’s edition includes information on the Fourth at the Fort, ceremonies, events and various articles that may interest you. One final note on Fort Lee – the commissary’s online ordering program has been extended through the end of this year.

Support for Military Commissaries

 

Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) is proposing an amendment to prevent the privatization of commissaries next year. This amendment requires a privatization feasibility study be completed before any privatization occurs. Presently five stores are programed to be privatized before any analysis has been conducted. Senator Inhofe is using social media to gain support for his amendment. This effort should be of particular interest to Fort Lee commissary shoppers as the post is also home to the Defense Commissary Agency Headquarters. You can support this effort by using Twitter to spread the word and Facebook to share a personal story and amendment details. 

Defense Bill Breakdown

We wanted to keep you posted on the latest status of Congressional defense legislation. One of the key areas of disagreement between Senate and House is on military pay and benefits. The Senate is proposing many changes that are of concern to veterans’ service organizations like MOAA while the House is more supportive of military service members. Some of the key issues are military retirement reforms, capping the 2015 military pay raise, cutting housing allowances, consolidating TRICARE, and covering urgent care visits without preauthorization. Additionally, cuts to commissary funding and testing privatization are in the Senate legislation. The House has rejected most of these Senate proposals.  For more details on the Senate and House positions, click here.  

Vietnam War 50th Anniversary       

 

Many military members returning from service in Vietnam in the 60s and 70s were shamefully greeted by protesters. The Vietnam veterans are some of the strongest supporters of our troops coming home from today’s wars. They are at the forefront in assuring our troops know their service is appreciated.

 

Now on the 50 Anniversary of the Vietnam War, there are many events around the Commonwealth to commemorate and honor Vietnam Veterans. Click here to find an event in your area.

 

Of special note is an August 29th event in recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War. Congressman Rob Wittman will host a ceremony honoring those veterans who served in Vietnam. It is a free event. Participants, however must be residents from Virginia’s First Congressional District.  Click here for full details on this event.

Virginia War Memorial  

The Virginia War Memorial is a Virginia Gem!  The Virginia War Memorial Foundation and War Memorial Education Foundation members, and the countless Memorial volunteers have made the Memorial not only a tribute to our war dead, but also a vibrant venue for veterans’ meetings, ceremonies, and on site and off site educational programs for young and old about the service and sacrifice of those who have served and defended our nation.

The most recent example of their success was this year’s Memorial Day ceremony at the War Memorial. The day’s event included keynote remarks by the Governor, The Never Forget Silent Run and the Thomas Jefferson High School Cadet Corps Alumni Band Concert. Over 3,000 visitors attended the events throughout the day.  This is a tremendous change from the late 1990s when we would see some 200 folks present on Memorial Day. The Education Foundation continues their great efforts with $275,000 in grants received last month. The grants are going toward the Distance Learning Tele-training Studio Classroom for the new Veterans Center.  Click here to see more details on what the Education Foundation is doing.

One final note on the War Memorial: on Saturday, June 13, from 10 am to 12:30PM, the War Memorial invites the public to bring their military-related items from any era to be reviewed by curator, Jesse Smith, and military expert Robert House.

The Virginia War Memorial at night.

USO’s 5th Anniversary at Richmond Intl. Airport

The USOs of Hampton Roads and Central Virginia at Richmond International Airport are celebrating 5 years of serving those who serve. On July 13, there will be a celebratory lunch with cake to follow. We are fortunate to have such an active support group in the Richmond area. 

I hope you find the information in our Vet Update informative and useful. Please pass on the Vet Updates to friends and family members that have an interest in issues that impact the military, veterans, and their families.

 

I wish you a great and safe summer. I know I look forward to having more time with our family and to have our sons home for part of the summer