VMF Ninth Newsletter

Masthead

November 2021

Newsletter

Vol. 1, No. 9

    To view in pdf, click here

Greetings from VMF Co-editor

 

“The Democrats don't matter.”--- Steve Bannon

Hello and welcome members and friends,

          I am amazed that it is already November! It is tempting to head into the holiday season wanting to put issues of government and politics behind us. Please understand that when you personally need a break, it is important to take one. No one's psyche can handle the current political whirlpool endlessly. There is a podcast I listen to, The Daily Beans, (more below in the new PODCASTS section) where the host often says, “Pass the baton.” She also finishes every episode with “Take care of your mental health.”

          The thing about passing the baton is it only works if enough of us are in the relay race. I invite you to find a podcast that speaks to you (Please share links of your favorites with us at [email protected].) and take some action. Small, medium or large--- find a way to get involved with an issue that particularly matters to you.

          We all live outside the States, at present, and I for one am most grateful to begin my 16th year living in my olive grove on the Greek island of Lesvos. But we all CARE. And things are not going well in our country of citizenship. In fact, alarming, disgraceful and dangerous things are happening in the US.

          I titled this missive with words from Steve Bannon, from an interview he did with Michael Lewis, the author of many great books: Moneyball, The Big Short, The Fifth Risk, etc. I throw these words out there at the head of our precious newsletter because I think they are a wake up call. Influential people, like Bannon (as much as you might dislike him you ignore him at our democracy’s risk), believe that they can discount Democrats and get away with it.

          In fact the whole quote is even more alarming: “The Democrats don't matter. The real opposition is the media. And the way to deal with them is to flood the zone with sh*t.” This is the tactic being used all across America right now, a simple and simpleton's tactic but one that is sadly powerful. And let me tell you the sh*t is flying in the news these days. We as Democrats (and Independents who join in our fight) have to make ourselves matter.

          If you need any convincing, I encourage you to listen to a 6-episode podcast series (approx 30-minutes each) called Southlake. I warn you people behave badly, and the students of the Carroll Independent School district suffer. Then,  just yesterday my son called me from Wisconsin and said the local paper had a headline of similar school board issues in our home state.

          One final podcast I will mention is called Gaslit Nation. It is a bit harder to listen to than some, it doesn't have great sound quality, and the topics are uncomfortable, but the two women are experts on the subject of rising autocracies and dictators around the world. They know a thing or two! Andrea Chalupa produced a film about Stalin's imposed famine in the Ukraine. Just last week there was a showing of the film in Moscow. The police came, locked the doors from the outside, and interrogated everyone present.

          I truly don't know what Republicans are thinking. The path they seem determined to follow – just yesterday all 50 Republican Senators voted against even debating the Freedom To Vote Act – leads directly to such perilous outcomes. And in their attempts to control school boards America’s youth will be deprived. When perspective disappears only the sh*t remains.

          I apologize for starting the month off with such a mood of doom and gloom, but if even one of us is motivated to take action, it has to be worth it. Thank you for your attention.

          Be well,

          Robin H Rafaelidys

          Lesvos, Greece

American football has begun!

Will Army, Navy, or Air Force win the

Commander-in-Chief Trophy?


 YOUR SUPPORT HELPS

VOTING ASSISTANCE OFFICERS ON MILITARY BASES AND

VOLUNTEERS AROUND THE WORLD

DO VOTER OUTREACH REGISTERING

 FIRST-TIME VOTERS

How?

Pick the winner of

The Commander-in-Chief Trophy

Your contribution (we recommend $10) lets you

choose the overall winning team!

For full details, a bit of fun history, and the DONATE button, click here.


NOVEMBER EVENTS

November is Military Family Month

In 2018 49% of active duty, reserve and National Guard troops

(2.1 million personnel) were married with 2.6 million family members.

Click here for information about The National Military Family Association,

a highly rated national organization that supports military families.

For a detailed survey of military family members and veterans from 2020,

click here. For just the numbers, go here. 

November 2: Elections in Ohio, Virginia, Florida. DO YOU KNOW ANYONE THERE? Last chance to encourage any friends or family to get their ballots in! Can we keep Virginia’s governor and state house blue, and increase our majority in the house?

November 6: Army takes on Air Force! These teams have met 49 times with Air Force victorious in 33 matches. But Army won last year 10-7 and holds the Commander-in-Chief cup. Don’t forget, you can pick your winner and support our GOTV efforts by clicking here!

November 10: Marine Corps 246th Birthday On November 10, 1775 the Second Continental Congress commissioned Philidelphian Samuel Nicholas as captain of a new force, the Continental Marines. He raised two battalions of troops, and Marines have fought along side other military forces ever since. Starting in 1925 the Marine Ball has been a major event. Generally celebrated at all Marine bases and locations, with a Commandant Ball in DC, like many events last year, these had to be cancelled or restricted due to COVID-19. Click here for more information. 

November 11: Veterans Day Fighting in “The Great War” ceased at 11am on 11/11 in 1918 when the Germans and the Allies agreed to an armistice. Initially called Armistice Day, and declared a holiday by President Wilson in 1919, it became Veterans Day to recognize those who have fought to protect the United States in multiple wars by declaration of President Eisenhower in 1954. Click here for more.

For the first time in nearly 100 years, the public will be authorized to approach the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. If you or someone you know will be near Washington DC, click here for more information and instructions on how to participate.

November 11: The Bells of Peace First organized in 2018 on the 100th anniversary of the bells ringing out in Europe at 11 AM on 11/11, nationwide groups have continued the traditions of ringing bells at this hour locally. For more information click here, and for a Bells-of-Peace App to participate on your cell phone or computer, click here.

Traveling in the U.S. in November? Many organizations offer discounts to veterans and active duty military to celebrate Veterans Day. You can access the list here.


UPCOMING GLOBAL VMF CAUCUS MEETINGS

The Global VMF Caucus Steering Committee meets once a month. All DA members are welcome to attend. The next VMF meeting will be November 14 ​as per Rotation A.

Here is the login info for the Zoom Meetings:

 https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6298521858

To receive the agenda or minutes from our meetings, contact us by emailing us here.

And be sure to

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ANNOUNCEMENTS

Colin Luther Powell, Four Star General, National Security Director, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of State, died on October 18, 2021 at the age of 84. Colin Powell was born in New York City on April 5, 1937. He attended City College of New York where he joined ROTC. He served his first tour of duty in Vietnam (1962-3) as a Captain assigned as a military advisor. On his second tour (1968-9) he was a Major and a battalion staff officer. In 1969 he was aboard a helicopter that crashed and with a broken foot and other injuries he saved other members of the crew from the burning machine. For this he earned a Soldier’s Medal. He also earned two purple hearts and a Bronze Star. He served in the military for 35 years and then began to work in government. He was National Security Advisor from 1987 to 1989, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 until 1993 and then Secretary of State for George W. Bush.

General Powell was also very concerned about America’s youth. He attended a Presidential Summit on America, after which he became the founding Chairman of America’s Promise Alliance in 1997. His wife, Alma, remained Chairwomen until last year. Colin Powell also wrote two books and is famous for his skills as a trusted and respected leader. His 13 rules for leadership are here. Go here for more on America’s Promise Alliance and here for President Biden’s remarks.


 Global VMF Leadership Updates

Chair: Mike Nitz (DA Vietnam)

Vice Chair: Kee Evans (DA Guatemala)

Secretaries: Tilly Gaillard (DA France) and Bob Gould (DA United Kingdom)

Communications Coordinator: Christine Valverde (DA New Zealand)

Newsletter Coordinator: Bob Gould (DA United Kingdom)

GOTV Coordinator: Erin Watson (DA Republic of Korea)

Europe Regional Liaison: Robert Scott (DA Germany)

We are looking for a permanent Secretary, Regional Liaisons for the Americas/Asia-Pacific/Middle East & Africa, an Events Coordinator, and a Membership Engagement Coordinator. If you’re interested in leading a team or working with us, send us an email at [email protected]!


NEWS AND UPDATES

The Freedom to Vote Act: The “Freedom to Vote Act”, a comprehensive voting rights bill crafted by a group of Democratic senators initiated by Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and sponsored by Amy Klobachar (D-MN), was brought to the floor, but all 50 Republicans voted against even bringing the bill up for discussion. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in the latest Republican “accuse the opposition of what you want to do” tirade twists the truth so that protecting voting rights is taking them away. Here is a link to watch if you want to see the absurd logic Republicans are using.

The Build Back Better Act (aka “Reconciliation Bill”) This bill provides funding and establishes programs for education, labor, child care, health care, taxes, immigration, and the environment. The $3.5 trillion bill, spread over a decade or $350 billion per year for the next 10 years, will be paid for by tax increases on corporations and individuals with income over $400,000. It will provide funding for wildfire prevention, drought relief, and climate change research; safe drinking water; electric vehicles and zero-emission, heavy-duty vehicles; housing, rental, and homeowner assistance programs; tribal infrastructure, housing, environmental, and health programs; small business assistance and development; and infrastructure and administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The bill establishes programs to provide up to 6 semesters of free community college, free child care for children under the age of 6, free universal preschool services, and health benefits for eligible individuals who reside in states that have not expanded Medicaid.

The bill also includes provisions that establish a methane fee for certain fossil fuel facilities; expand Medicare to cover dental, hearing, and vision; provide Dreamers with a path to permanent resident status; provide up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave; restructure and increase the tax rates for certain corporations and individuals with income over $400,000; and require maximum prices for certain brand-name drugs under Medicare.

Passing this bill is one of President Biden’s primary goals. You can read more about the bill and its current status here.

Five Arizona Veterans Resign from Kyrsten Sinema’s Advisory Council: This bold move brings attention not only to Senator Sinema’s obstructionism in the face of President Biden’s objectives but to veteran’s issues and the responsibilities of sitting senators. To see their powerful ad, click here.

January 6 House Select Committee: October was a big month for the January 6th Committee. First there were 11 more subpoenas issued on September 28, for people on the former president’s campaign and organizers of the January 5th events and those on the Ellipse January 6th, especially members of the dark money group Women for America First. Click here for full details. Then October 7th the committee subpoenaed Nathen Martin, Ali Akbar and the group, Stop the Steal. They have also subpoenaed Jeffrey Clark, former Department of Justice lawyer who was the force behind trying to induce Federal Attorneys in six swing states to challenge the election results. He has agreed to appear and is expected to testify on October 29th. More about him here. Then October 19th the committee unanimously voted to refer Steve Bannon for contempt of congress for his refusal to turn over documents or to appear before the committee. The full house voted on the 21st to forward the charge to the Department of Justice. Nine Republicans voted with all the Democrats. Liz Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of the committee were joined by Reps. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.), Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), Fred Upton (R-Mich.), John Katko (R-N.Y.), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) — all of whom voted to impeach Trump in January, and Reps. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) The committee has also heard sworn testimony from several witnesses behind closed doors. Click here for the committee’s official page.


ADVOCACY & RESOURCES

New GI Bill Issues for Overseas Americans 

This year, many veterans have come forward to our caucus and talked about their struggles with using their earned GI Bill and/or VR&E educational benefits at overseas universities. If you are having any issues utilizing your GI Bill or VR&E benefits overseas, please let us know by contacting us at either [email protected] or [email protected]!

We have been investigating this issue for several months, and we have learned some important things about it. Legislation was passed in 2020 and 2021 that changed the eligibility requirements for universities to qualify for GI Bill payments. As a result, overseas universities have been required to submit information that, due to privacy laws outside of the United States, they cannot submit. Because of this, most new applications for overseas education programs are unable to be fully processed. For programs that were already approved, there is a second issue. The VA is now requiring overseas universities to open a U.S.-based bank account and apply for a U.S. tax ID number in order to receive tuition payments from the VA, and many overseas schools have said they are not willing or able to do this either.

The VMF Caucus is fighting hard to make sure that all overseas veterans have the same access to their GI Bill/VR&E benefits as veterans who live in the U.S. We have met on Zoom with many Congressional offices over the last month, and we believe we are making progress. The House Veterans Affairs Committee is aware of these new issues, and we are working with their staff to make sure that a legislative fix to this issue is drafted and passed. If you are moved by this issue and want to help us in our advocacy, have your own GI Bill/VR&E story to tell, or know a fellow veteran, service-member, or military family member who is affected by these issues, please don't hesitate to contact us!

Want to support the resettlement of our Afghan allies?

Before the end of our war in Afghanistan there were already 22 million Afghan refugees, mostly in neighboring countries. Here is an excellent article. The UN expects another half-million to flee this year partially due to drought and to the millions displaced by the Taliban take over. As for the few who have made it to America, you can volunteer your service with community organizations that help the cause here.

JOB RESOURCES

Jobboard: Transitioning out of the military and looking for a job? Click here for listings from companies looking for vets.

Want a Job at the House Veterans' Affairs Committee? Go here. The mission for Retired Soldiers is to “HIRE & INSPIRE”: To help veterans get jobs. To inspire our youth to follow in your footsteps into military service. To inspire Americans to understand and support their Soldiers and their Army.

Jobs With the Wounded Warrior Program  The Wounded Warrior Program was established to create employment opportunities for veterans within the House of Representatives. These two-year fellowships provide veterans with experience and exposure to broaden career opportunities. Positions are available in congressional Member District Offices nationwide. Duties will vary depending upon the specific requirements of each Member Office. Said duties may include, but are not limited to: working as a constituent services representative helping local constituents resolve issues with federal agencies; serving as a liaison to local Veterans Service Organizations (VSO); attending local events and meetings on behalf of your Member of Congress; and performing legislative work. For more, click here.

Want to Advance Your Career, Start a Business or Further Your Education?

Transitioning from military to civilian life is a unique and uncertain time for military members and their families. It’s a time when figuring out what you want to do is just as difficult as figuring out how to do it. Here is one way for veterans and spouses to do both. For a free Find-a-Future program developed by Walmart to serve the veteran community, click here.

Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government

  1. In 2009, President Obama signed Executive Order 13518, establishing the Veterans Employment Initiative, a strategic approach to helping the men and women who have served our country in the military find employment in the Federal Government. The Executive Order states the Federal Government will help lead by example in “creating advocates for veterans’ employment within each federal agency.” All 24 agencies have established a Veterans Employment Program. You may contact the U.S. Department of State Veterans Employment Program Manager at [email protected].
  2. To further support the Veterans Employment Initiative, the U.S. Department of State launched the Veterans Innovation Partnership (VIP) Fellows Program, a public-private alliance platform that serves America’s veterans and separating service members by preparing them for diplomacy and development careers through a one-year fellowship experience. For more information, please visit www.vipfellowship.org.
  3. All federal jobs are posted on USAJOBS and linked here. You may search quickly for job postings — by skill, Department component or state. Use the advanced search options on USAJOBS to further expand or refine your search for Department careers. To view all jobs open to preference eligible veterans, select “Yes” under “Applicant Eligibility.”

Mental Health Resources

Ensuring Overseas Veterans Have Access To Mental Health Resources:

  • The Real Warriors Campaign aims to break down the stigma associated with mental health care and encourages service members to reach out for help when they need it. Find articles with support resources, video profiles with service member and veteran stories, and materials to download or order. Here
  • The Psychological Health Resource Center is available 24/7 for service members, veterans, and family members with questions about psychological health topics. Trained mental health consultants can help callers access mental health care and community support resources in their local area. Click on the link or call 1-866-966-1020 for assistance. Here
  • The inTransition Program is a free confidential program that provides specialized coaching and assistance for service members, National Guard members, reservists, veterans, and retirees who need access to mental health care when relocating to another assignment, returning from deployment, transitioning between active duty and reserve component, preparing to leave military service, or any other time they need a new mental health provider, or need a provider for the first time. Click here or call 1-800-424-7877.
  • The Military Crisis Line, text-messaging service, and online chat provide free VA support for all service members, including members of the National Guard and Reserve, and all veterans, even if they are not registered with VA or enrolled in VA health care. Click here to chat, call: 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, or text: 838255.
  • TRICARE offers mental health care to all its enrollees. Click here to find out how and to find other links to mental health providers through the TRICARE network.
  • Military Medical Treatment Facilities often provide mental health services, including integrated behavioral health clinics. Contact your primary care manager to see if this resource is available for you. If it is, you can schedule an appointment the same day. Click here.
  • Military OneSource can provide access to confidential Military Family Life Counselors in your community. Call 1-800-342-9647 or click here.
  • Military OneSource also provides resources so you can manage stress and access benefits and tools that will help you stay strong in body and mind. This page provides access to self-care mobile applications developed within the Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and other partners.
  • You can also visit mil and Tricare.mil Military Health System web pages for more information.

VETERANS CRISIS LINE: Do you need someone to talk to about a personal problem or about a friend experiencing difficulties? Veterans Crisis Line: Suicide Prevention Hotline, Text & Chat, CLICK HERE     

Have Any Questions About Tricare? Go here for answers to all your Tricare questions.

Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors Everything you need to know in one place! GET STARTED HERE.

2021 U.S. Army Retirement Planning Guide: You can check it out here.

Consider Donating to Make an Enduring Tribute to All Who Have ServedHave you thought about donating military related items or memorabilia to one of the national military museums? You can make a donation to one of the museums below by sending information about you, or a family member or friend, and any military item you might wish to donate.

National Museum of the United States Air Force:  Here or here

National Museum of the United States Army:  Here

National Museum of the United States Marine Corps:  Here

National Museum of the United States Navy: Here or here


GETTING OUT THE VOTE!

Americans overseas are allowed to vote through the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA). The form to request your ballot is called the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), and it must be filled out each calendar year. Americans living overseas can request their ballot as soon as January 1st.

Although you can fill out a physical FPCA and mail it back, our Global GOTV Team and Military GOTV coordinator recommend using the digital service at Vote From Abroad. It’s designed for all Americans overseas, and comes with helpful features like a Voter Help Desk, how to send your ballot request faster online, an election calendar, and state-by-state helpful voter info. It’s quick, easy and reliable!

Help Us Get Out the Vote (GOTV)

  • You can help GOTV right away by joining our Phone Banking Team. Our phone bankers have been crucial to getting out the vote during COVID.
  • If you have base-access or are passionate about the military vote, join our team by sending us an email at [email protected]

For a Link to a Summary of Democrats Abroad Voting News, click here.


UPCOMING ELECTIONS


** IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT **

  1. All states allow mail return of their absentee ballots, but with supply chains slowed down by COVID, mail may not be the fastest or best option for you. Many states allow ballots to be faxed, so please check your state's guidelines at Votefromabroad.org. If you don’t have access to a fax machine, there are several online fax services that will send your ballot quickly and safely.
  2. For a link to a summary of Democrats Abroad Voting News, click here.
  3. To dive a little deeper into election polling data, either nationally or by your state, we recommend these links:
  • Nate Silver’s fivethirtyeight here
  • “270 To Win News” here
  • Ballotpedia Election News here

Florida’s 20th Congressional District Special Election

Primary Election: November 2, 2021

Primary Ballot Return Deadline by Fax: November 2, 2021 7:00 PM EST

General Election: January 11, 2022

General Election: November 2, 2021

New Jersey General Election (Governor, General Assembly & State Senate)

Ohio’s 11th and 15th (Congressional District Special Elections)

Virginia’s General Election (Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and General Assembly)

Excellent Resources for Election Information: Here, here, here and here.


FOR YOUR INFORMATION

Here are statistics summarizing accomplishments of the 

Veterans Administration during the Fiscal Year 2021:

WHAT’S CONGRESS UP TO?

Congress has its days!! From outside it usually looks like nothing gets done. We attempt to keep track of bills that affect military, veterans, citizens abroad, and voting rights concerns. Click here for the link to our VMF Bill Tracking Page which has been moved to our caucus webpage on the Democrats Abroad website.


 

New GI Bill Issues for Overseas Americans

This year, many veterans have come forward to our caucus and talked about their struggles with using their earned GI Bill and/or VR&E educational benefits at overseas universities. If you are having any issues utilizing your GI Bill or VR&E benefits overseas, please let us know by contacting us at either [email protected] or [email protected]!

We have been investigating this issue for several months, and we have learned some important things about it. Legislation was passed in 2020 and 2021 that changed the eligibility requirements for universities to qualify for GI Bill payments. As a result, overseas universities have been required to submit information that, due to privacy laws outside of the United States, they cannot submit. Because of this, most new applications for overseas education programs are unable to be fully processed. For programs that were already approved, there is a second issue. The VA is now requiring overseas universities to open a U.S.-based bank account and apply for a U.S. tax ID number in order to receive tuition payments from the VA, and many overseas schools have said they are not willing or able to do this either.

The VMF Caucus is fighting hard to make sure that all overseas veterans have the same access to their GI Bill/VR&E benefits as veterans who live in the U.S. We have met on Zoom with many Congressional offices over the last month, and we believe we are making progress. The House Veterans Affairs Committee is aware of these new issues, and we are working with their staff to make sure that a legislative fix to this issue is drafted and passed. If you are moved by this issue and want to help us in our advocacy, have your own GI Bill/VR&E story to tell, or know a fellow veteran, service-member, or military family member who is affected by these issues, please don't hesitate to contact us!


POETRY CORNER 

Written at the battle front in France and sent to his mother, Mrs. W. E. Damon.

Lieutenant Wickersham was killed in action the following day, September 14, 1918.

Rain On Your Old Tin Hat

By LIEUT. J. H. WICKERSHAM

The mist hangs low and quiet on a ragged line of hills,

There's a whispering of wind across the flat;

You'd be feeling kind of lonesome if it wasn't for one thing--

The patter of the raindrops on your old tin hat.

An' you just can't help a-figuring--sitting here alone--

About this war and hero stuff and that,

And you wonder if they haven't sort of got things twisted up,

While the rain keeps up its patter on your old tin hat.

When you step off with the outfit to do your little bit,

You're simply doing what you're s'posed to do--

And you don't take time to figure what you gain or what you lose,

It's the spirit of the game that brings you through.

But back at home she's waiting, writing cheerful little notes,

And every night she offers up a prayer

And just keeps on a-hoping that her soldier boy is safe--

The mother of the boy who's over there.

And, fellows, she's the hero of this great big ugly war,

And her prayer is on that wind across the flat;

And don't you reckon maybe it's her tears, and not the rain,

That’s keeping up the patter on your old tin hat?

This month’s poem was submitted by our staff member from France, Tilly Gaillard,

who discovered it while researching soldiers buried at Saint Mihiel American Cemetery.

 

Send poetry submissions for the November issue to: [email protected]


PODCAST and NEWSLETTER RECOMMENDATIONS

As someone who spends a lot of my days alone and working with my hands, I find the company of podcasts entertaining and informative! I enjoy special series podcasts like: Bagman, Blindspot---The Road to 9/11, Suspicious Activity---The FinCEN Files and most lately Southlake.

I rely on my daily podcasts for news. The host of Daily Beans, Clean Up on Aisle 45, and Mueller She Wrote, Allison Gill, a former Navy Nuclear Machinist's Mate and Health Systems Specialist with the VA for over 12 years, does an astounding job of researching and reporting news in depth that other news outlets often miss. Gill has a way of keying in on the crux of things and she does excellent 10 - 15 minute interviews every day with a wide ranging assortment of people, from Peter Stzrock to Fiona Hill. The Mueller She Wrote MSW Book Club podcast recently had Mary Trump on at the conclusion of reading The Reckoning. Gill was also a standup comedian, and manages along with her co-hosts (generally Dana Goldberg, also a comedian), to infuse a bit of humor here and there. NOTE: The hosts do love pets and sometimes there’s a bit of swearing.

A weekly podcast Gaslit Nation, hosted by Sarah Kendzior and Andrea Chalupa generally provides a loud wake up call. They spare no feelings and talk incisively about the warning signs of danger to our democracy. Sarah, the writer of two national best sellers: The View From Flyover Country (she lives in Missouri), and Hiding in Plain Sight has deep insight into former president Trump’s operations. Andrea, who is of Ukrainian heritage, produced the “journalistic thriller” Mr. Jones, and has vast insights into how Putin operates. Here is a link to an article about how the showing of the film in Moscow was shut down by “masked men”. 

You can find these podcasts by searching wherever you listen to podcasts, the Apple App, or Spotify, Stitcher, even NBC News -- they’re everywhere!

Daily newsletters help many of us make sense of what is really happening. Two of the best we recommend are:

#1 Heather Cox Richardson: Subscribe here.

#2 Thom Hartmann: Subscribe here.


FILM RECOMMENDATION

Last Days in Vietnam: (2015) During the chaotic final days of the American involvement in the Vietnam War, as the North Vietnamese Army closed in on Saigon, South Vietnamese resistance crumbled. This is a powerful, emotionally engaging documentary, and no matter how well you think you know about the events of the final days, you will appreciate this film’s authenticity and brutal honesty. Who goes? And who gets left behind to face brutality, imprisonment, or even death. But as President Ford’s administration considered withdrawal, the prospect of an official evacuation of South Vietnamese became terminally delayed by Congressional gridlock, and by an inexplicably optimistic U.S. ambassador, who steadfastly refused to discuss the possibility of evacuation, both for fear of panicking the South Vietnamese population, and out of a stubborn reluctance to admit defeat. Watch on Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play.

The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (2003) Robert McNamara discusses his experiences and lessons learned during his tenure as Secretary of Defense under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. He talks about his work as a bombing statistician during World War II, his brief tenure as president of Ford Motor Company, and the Kennedy administration's triumph during the Cuban Missile Crisis. However, the film focuses primarily on his failures in Vietnam. The theme of the film are his "eleven lessons" learned during this time. Some of these include improving military efficiency, understanding your enemy, and the frustrations of trying to deal with (and unsuccessfully trying to change) human nature. (Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play, etc.)

Top 10 Military Films of 2020 Here


BOOK RECOMMENDATION



Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, is a 2020 nonfiction book in which prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson argues that the United States has operated under a caste system based on race for 400 years. Wilkerson compares the United States to the caste systems in India and Nazi Germany, examining the similarities and differences. This is a powerful book loaded with much needed perspective and insight about racism in America.

SUGGESTION BOX

We welcome your input. What's important to you?

What are we missing? Any VMF experts you would like us to interview in a live webinar? Please use the link below to also send us articles, poems, research, and anything else VMF-related: [email protected]

BRAIN-ZONE

US Navy Knowledge Quiz

  1. What is the name of the U.S. Navy's first nuclear powered submarine?
  2. With regards to ship classifications, BB stands for Battleship, CV for Aircraft Carrier, and DD for Destroyer. What did AV stand for?
  3. What was the first U.S. Navy plane to make a trans-Atlantic crossing (not non-stop), and when did it make it?
  4. All U.S. battleships are named for a US state except for one. Which one?
  5. Three U.S. Destroyers sank in the Pacific on Dec. 18, 1944. What natural phenomenon caused this?
  6. Aboard battleships and cruisers, when they recovered aircraft, what was the difference between a "Cast" recovery and a "Dog" recovery?
  7. What was the first naval engagement of the Civil War, with the USS Yankee firing on a fixed Confederate shore battery?

 

 

Answers:
  1. USS Nautilus
  2. Seaplane Tender
  3. The NC-4, 1919 The NC-4 was a Curtiss NC flying boat that was the first aircraft to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, albeit not non-stop. It was one of four flying-boats, built during World War I originally to provide patrol cover for American shipping in the Atlantic against the attentions of German U-boats. Its top speed was 91mph.
  4. USS Kearsarge, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship (Here)
  5. A typhoon
  6. "Cast" Recovery - :the ship made a wide turn causing a slick and the plane would land in the smooth water, then come up on the sled. "Dog" recovery - the ship steered a steady course and the plane landed astern, and then came up on the sled.
  7. The Battle of Gloucester Point

EDUCATIONAL RESOURCE FOR MILITARY FAMILIES

For assisting young children of military families to develop positive self-expression,

we recommend the Sesame Street For Military Families linkHere


Co-Editors:

Bob Gould (UK, Military Family)
Robin Rafaelidys (Greece)

Editorial Staff:

Kee Evans (Guatemala, Military Family)
Tilly Gaillard (France)
Anthony “Mike” Nitz (Vietnam, Veteran)
Terese Sarno (Germany)

To receive the agenda or minutes from our meetings, contact us by emailing

 [email protected]

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