VMF October 2023 Newsletter


October 2023


VOL. 3, NO. 10

To view in PDF, click here

“My Administration is committed to realizing the promise of the suffragists, who knew that equality begins at the ballot box and requires women to have a seat at the table.  That is why we will keep fighting to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to restore and strengthen the Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act to ensure fair Congressional maps give all Americans an equal chance to be heard.  It is also why I have delivered on my promise to build an Administration that looks like America — with courageous leaders like Vice President Kamala Harris and the record number of women who serve in our Nation’s first gender-equal Cabinet leading the way.  I have also appointed more Black women to Federal appellate courts — including the first Black woman on the Supreme Court, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson — than all prior Presidents combined.  And I established the White House Gender Policy Council to advance gender equity and equality across all domestic and foreign policy.

…I call upon the people of the United States to celebrate and continue to build on our country’s progress toward gender equality and to defend and strengthen the right to vote.”   –President Joseph R. Biden Jr., A Proclamation on Women's Equality Day, 2023

100 years ago, a brave group of women volunteered to fight  for their country-even before they had the right to vote.  National Archives photo

100 years ago, a brave group of women volunteered to fight
for their country-even before they had the right to vote.

National Archives photo

Editor’s Message

Greetings. It is incomprehensible that in 2023, we are still discussing gender equality and that the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) still has not been published as the 28th amendment of the Constitution although in January 2020 all the Constitutional requirements were met when Virginia became the 38th state to ratify it. 

What are we waiting for? Contact your Members of Congress now and urge them to publish ERA! It was first introduced in Congress in 1923! Let’s get this done in 2023!

Contact the Biden Administration to request that the Archivist publish ERA.

Contact your Representatives to support HJRes 25 and HJRes 82 and your Senators to support SJRes 4 and SJRes 39 and to vote against SJRes 107.

Do you know who the Hello Girls are and how they fought for our country over a hundred years ago before they even had the right to vote? General Pershing himself requested that women take over the communications sector during WWI because they were quicker than the male contingent and every second was a matter of life or death. Yet, because they were women, the Department of War denied them veteran status — including benefits, medical care, commendations, honorable discharges, military funerals, even the right to wear their uniforms.The Army classified them as contract workers and told them they had been very well paid and didn’t need to worry about being classified as veterans. "Every word of Pershing's order implied military service without stating it."  So, the government hid behind this until 1977 when an order was signed by President Jimmy Carter granting full veterans status to the few surviving Hello Girls. “It's an abiding irony of American military history that one poorly communicated order kept the very soldiers tasked with communicating orders from receiving, for six long decades, the recognition they deserved.”  

100 Years On, The 'Hello Girls' Are Recognized For World War I Heroics

“Hello Girls” – Women Telephone Operators during WWI – The Unwritten Record

Hello Girls' Kept World War I Communications Humming 

The Hello Girls' Chronicles The Women Who Fought For America And For Recognition 

What can we do now? Support a Congressional Gold Medal for the WWI Hello Girls!

Contact your Members of Congress.  Bring it home this year!

"I deserve this medal not just for serving in France, but for fighting the U.S. Army for 60 years and winning.'"
Merle Egan, one of the surviving Hello Girls in 1977

In closing, our warmest wishes and deepest gratitude to President Jimmy Carter, US Navy Veteran, for his 99th Birthday on October 1st.  Lieutenant James Earl Carter Jr., USN   There is still time to send your virtual birthday greetings!

Terese Sarno


Graduation_of_Jimmy_Carter_from_U.S._Naval_Academy.jpeg Graduation of Jimmy Carter from U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland. Rosalynn Smith (Carter) and his mother Lillian Carter pinning on his ensign bars, June 5, 1946. National Archives. NAID: 6340631.

Please join our caucus to show your support for the U.S. military!


Military Postal Service -The Department of Defense continues its fiscal law and Host Nation Agreement MPS review. Expected completion date: 2nd Qtr, FY24, expected decision: 3rd Qtr, FY 24. In the interim, MPS support continues for overseas patrons.

Resources for Aging Veterans -Veterans Health Library

Veterans Benefits Banking Program (VBBP) 

Military Spouse Entrepreneur Guide Stars and Stripes

Making Sure Your TSP Beneficiary Forms Are Accurate and Complete

Five tips on how to engage with homeless Veterans

Consumer Product Safety Commission album on common young adult hazards


From the Voter Assistance Training Team:

We're pleased to announce that the new & revamped Voter Assistance Training materials are now available!

With the pivotal 2024 election year coming up, every DA volunteer needs to have a basic understanding of the rules for voting from abroad so we can help US citizens whenever and wherever voting questions arise.

Sign up here for training if you are interested in helping with voter assistance. 

Training is for both new and experienced volunteers as voting information has changed considerably over the last few election cycles. 

  • We're starting with "Voter Registration & Ballot Request" -- it has all the information a voting assistance volunteer needs for in-person voting events, guide voters through filling out and submitting their FPCA forms using www.VoteFromAbroad.org, how to spot difficult issues and get answers/help.
  • Additional training will also be available for "Ballot Receipt & Return." This training is for those who wish to have more advanced training and wish to staff the Zoom Rooms and Voter Helpdesk (Intercom).

Request your absentee ballot! Register to vote!


‘My Vote Was Rejected’: Trial Underway in Texas Over New Voting Law

Republican groups sue New York, governor over absentee voting 

Rural Gen Zers in 2024? Here's what some think so far.
Rural voters lean red, young voters lean blue. So what's a young, rural voter to do?

Wake Up America!

“This country is too precious”:
Clinton calls on GOP to quit Trump
'cult,' help U.S. heal

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talks with Rachel Maddow about how the Republican Party can move on from Donald Trump and how the U.S. broadly can recover from the damage of the Trump era to rebuild beginning at the community level.

“I don’t feel any satisfaction. I feel great profound sadness that we have a former president who has been indicted for so many charges that went right to the heart of whether or not our democracy would survive.”

“He used tactics, harassment, intimidation, he made threats, he and his allies went after state officials, local officials responsible for conducting elections. Now we know they even went into voting machines in order to determine whether or not those voting machines had somehow been breached when they were the ones actually doing the breaching.

“So there is a great deal already in the public record … Clearly this investigation has been very thorough. But I don’t know that anybody should be satisfied with this. This    is a terrible moment for our country to have a former president accused of these terribly important crimes.”                                                                      –Hillary Rodham Clinton


A Fitting Final Gift From Jimmy Carter

The U.S. and Iran swap prisoners and Iran gets  access to frozen oil money 

Biden is creating a new White House office focused on gun violence prevention

The state elections to watch now for clues about what to expect in 2024

President Biden on Historic Action to Lower Prescription Drug Costs 

US air base in Italy cuts medical care for DOD civilians and families, citing costs

The Navy’s recovery from Tuberville’s hold on military promotions will take years      

3M agrees to pay $6 bln to settle lawsuits over US military earplugs

A federal court throws out Alabama's congressional map again    

Redistricting court orders could help Democrats win back the House in 2024

Why the UAW is fighting so hard for these 4 key demands

Unions because the chance of 3 ghosts visiting your boss to make him do the right thing is unreasonably slim

AFN will livestream and broadcast NFL games for service members overseas
The app, available to overseas U.S. service members, families, military retirees and Defense Department civilians, is free to download on Google and Apple devices, Amazon Fire, Roku and select smart TVs. Register at https://afn-now.myafn.mil/.
Contact AFN Now help desk at
[email protected].

US military dependents in Italy finally can work remotely for US employers

Dependents in Italy with missione visa now authorized to telework to U.S. employers

Dependents with questions: email: [email protected]

Calendar 2023 & Events


Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 1 – 39th President of the United States Jimmy Carter’s 99th birthday

October 3, 1990 – 11 months after the fall of the Berlin Wall, East and West Germany became one state
     What Happened the Day the Berlin Wall Fell 

October 8 – Ms. Veteran America Pageant 2023 (Registration for 2024 opens in January 2024)

October 9 – Columbus Day

October 10 –  4 p.m. Kentucky voter registration deadline
(Ballot request deadline: October 31, 2023, 5pm – Ballot return deadline: Must be received by November 7, 2023 at 6pm–Mail only)

October 13 – U.S. Navy (USN) 248th Birthday

October 14 - DA VMF Caucus Meeting WebEx link 14:00 EDT

October 26 – Day of the Deployed

October 27 – Navy Day

October 30 – Start of 10th annual National Veterans Small Business Week

October 31 – VFW Youth Scholarships deadline

Upcoming DA Activities



Congress is back from summer recess. Here's what's on the agenda

H.R.4569 - 118th Congress (2023-2024): Veteran Service Recognition Act of 2023
To provide benefits for noncitizen members of the Armed Forces, and for other purposes.

Support a Congressional Gold Medal for the WWI Hello Girls!                                                                                                              

S.815 - Bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the female telephone operators of the Army Signal Corps, known as the "Hello Girls" 

H.R.1572 - Bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the female telephone operators of the Army Signal Corps, known as the "Hello Girls"

Tester, Moran, Hassan, Blackburn Lead Bipartisan Effort to Honor the ‘Hello Girls’

H.R. 1831, S. 2861 Congressional Gold Medal proposed for Billie Jean King 

Contact your Members of Congress! Ask your elected leaders to support the bill by signing this national action alert.

Senate bucks Tuberville's blockade to begin approving military promotions

Senate confirms Army chief of staff and Marine Corps commandant…

'Unfair Burden': Tuberville Blockade on Promotions Is Stressing Military Families

Hundreds of photos of blocked military nominees line Senate lawn …

States move to stop taking Social Security checks from foster children 

H.R.5432 - 118th Congress (2023-2024): Tax Simplification for Americans Abroad Act

Beyer, Titus Introduce Tax Simplification for Americans Abroad Act

What can you do? Contact your Members of Congress now!

Obstacles in contacting your Members of Congress: Request for a US address, but you don't have a US address. What should you do? Use the last US address you lived at. Even if it was 40 years ago, that is still your last US address and you are still a constituent of that state and district!  Request for a US phone number, but you don't have one. What should you do? Put all zeros. The phone number is a formality required to vet constituents. Send another message about this topic.



US air base in Italy cuts medical care for DOD civilians and families, citing costs
In a briefing with teachers on Sept. 12, 2023, Air Force Col. Jeffrey Fewell, commander of the 31st Medical Group at Aviano Air Base, Italy, spoke about a policy adopted 11 days earlier that halts treatment of paying patients at the base clinic.

Live Whole Health #183: Checking in with yourself through Body Scan Meditation

Live Whole Health #184: Using the senses to experience mindfulness

Live Whole Health #185: Hello body!

Live Whole Health #186: Slowing down with an introduction to Qigong


Education Guide | Stars and Stripes
2023 Fall Education Guide for service members and their families includes tips on transitioning to college life; the GI Bill and other financial assistance; advice for military spouses pursuing higher education; profiles of student service members and more.

Veteran Recognition:

From WWII to Wimbledon: Test pilot-turned-tennis champ Vic Seixas is turning 100

A Vietnam veteran pilot receives the Medal of Honor for a daring rescue       

Army veteran will be first woman to serve as VA’s second-in-command

Click here for our Spotlight JFK’s State Visit to Berlin

Click here for our Podcast & Social Media Recommendations

Click here for our Poetry Corner

Click here for our Film and Book Recommendations

Click here for our Brain-Zone Quiz

Click here for our Educational Resources

Click here for our Virtual Museum


The Global VMF Caucus Steering Committee meets once a month. 

All Democrats Abroad members are welcome to attend. 

WebEx link for October 14 at 14:00 EST.

dog with suggestion box


[email protected]

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Please join our caucus to show your support for the U.S. military!


Terese Sarno (Germany)

Veterans and Military Families Caucus Chair:

Kee Adams Evans (Guatemala)


“Are we alone to ask and take the utmost that our women can give and still say we do not see what title that gives them to stand by our sides in the guidance of the affairs of their nation and ours?

We have made partners of the women in this war. Shall we admit them only to a partnership of suffering and sacrifice and toil and not to a partnership of privilege and rights? This war could not have been fought if it had not been for the services of the women, services rendered in every sphere wherever men have worked and upon the very skirts and edges of the battle itself.”

–Woodrow Wilson, September 30, 1918