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Physical Disability Board Review Latest

Service members who have been medically separated since September 11, 2001 will have the opportunity to have their disability ratings reviewed to ensure fairness and accuracy.

The new Physical Disability Board of Review (PDBR) will examine each applicant’s medical separation, compare DoD and VA ratings, and make a recommendation to the respective Service Secretary (or designee.) A disability rating cannot be lowered and any change to the rating is effective on the date of final decision by the Service Secretary.

To be eligible for PDBR review, a service member must have been medically separated between September 11, 2001 and December 31, 2009 with a combined disability rating of 20 percent or less, and not found eligible for retirement.

There are significant differences between this new PDBR review and a Board for Correction of Military (or Naval) Record (BCMR/BCNR) review. These differences are outlined here and are also in the instructions accompanying the application (form DD-294).

While the Air Force is the lead for the PDBR process, case tracking and reporting, a joint service board will conduct the evaluation and review of each case. Applicants will not be able to appear in person, but may include any statements, briefs, medical records or other supporting documents with their application. After the document review is completed and a final decision is made, each applicant will be notified of the decision and any further information regarding a change of rating. 

A final version of the application (form DD-294) was approved on January 9, 2009 and is available at (under "DoD Forms Inventory 0001-0499"). Applications are now being accepted.


Watch a slide presentation.  Click  HERE


Physical Disability Board Review Website


Military Service Organization / Veteran Service Organization Roundtable Website


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ATTN: If You Have PTSD Read This!!

The Purpose of This Website

This website provides information about a class action lawsuit known as Sabo v. United States. This lawsuit is very important to some (but not all) veterans who were diagnosed during military service with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and then discharged from active duty due, at least in part, to their PTSD.

Click HERE to visit the site.

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VMW Promotes "Beyond Tribute"

VMW Promotes Cause That Helps Veterans

What is Beyond Tribute?

Beyond Tribute is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) that has brought together leaders from business, the arts, veterans and civic groups, and just plain citizens to change how we celebrate Memorial Day and Veterans Day - to turn holiday sales promotions into fundraising engines that actually help our wounded veterans and their families. It is that simple.  Click the link to see a brief video promoting Beyond Tribute.


Our mission is to redefine our Memorial Day and Veterans Day holidays by engaging the American business community and its customers in a national campaign that will raise charitable dollars to benefit those who are struggling with the wounds of war, including the invisible wounds: PTSD, traumatic brain injury and combat-induced anxiety and depression. Funds raised go directly to top rated charities that help veterans in need throughout the USA.

<< Read and Sign the Pledge NOW!!! >>

How Can You Help?

Each Memorial Day and Veterans Day, many of us take time to recognize the sacrifices of those men and women who have served in uniform. But around the country, these solemn holidays often end up meaning little more than a chance to buy things on sale. Beyond Tribute is a new non-profit initiative that aims to mobilize Americans to convince stores to donate a portion of their holiday weekend proceeds to medical treatment for veterans.  By Veterans Day, we hope to be able to raise significant money for veterans in need from the very businesses that usually capitalize on these solemn holidays.


But before businesses will sign on, they need to see that people are committed to truly honoring former service members. That is why Veterans of Modern Warfare is asking it's members to sign the Memorial Day pledge and to shop at Beyond Tribute businesses.  By doing this we can do a lot of good for some people who really need it, starting with this Memorial Day. By signing the pledge to shop at Beyond Tribute businesses on weekends honoring veterans, you’re doing more than committing to making a difference. You’re also showing businesses that their customers will reward them if they do the right thing.


Please join prominent individuals such as General Wesley Clark, Whoopi Goldberg, Walter Cronkite, and Kim Cattrall of "Sex & The City" who have endorsed Beyond Tribute. The troops we honor are real people, many of whom have very real injuries. This is something we can all do that will really help them.


Visit Six Flags theme parks throughout the nation during Memorial Day weekend and $1 from every ticked will be donated to Beyond Tribute!

The Beyond Tribute Pledge

Memorial Day and Veterans' Day need to be more than holidays that merely pay tribute to veterans; they should be meaningful days that truly benefit the men and women who have risked their lives and sacrificed their health and well-being in the line of duty.

<< Read and Sign the Pledge NOW!!! >>




Troops' Kids Feel War Toll

By Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — After seven years of war, most children of combat troops are showing more fear, anxiety and behavioral problems, according to the Pentagon's most sweeping survey of the effects of war on military children.

Six out of 10 U.S. military parents told researchers their children have increased levels of fear and anxiety when a parent is sent to war, according to a survey of more than 13,000 military spouses of active-duty servicemembers. The results, tabulated early this year, were released to USA TODAY.

More than half of those surveyed say generally their children have coped well or very well with a parent who has gone to war. But one in four say the child has coped poorly or very poorly, and a third say the child's grades and behavior in school have suffered.

Nearly 900,000 troops with children have deployed to war since 2001, and the Pentagon estimates that currently 234,000 children have a mother or father at war. The survey last year had a margin of error of +/-4 percentage points says Barbara Thompson, head of the Pentagon office of Family Policy/Children and Youth.

The Pentagon is "very concerned" about the effects of multiple deployments, she says. Children have classmates who have lost a parent, she says, "it's in their face that it could happen to me."

Army documents show that nearly 600,000 active-duty soldiers have deployed once since 2001, 110,000 have gone twice, 38,000 have gone three times and 8,000 have done four tours. Deployments last from a year to 15 months in most cases. Despite plans to draw down forces in Iraq, Army leaders say lengthy deployments followed by short periods at home may continue for at least the next year or more.

The Pentagon declined to break out its child survey results by branch of service.

Troubled children add to a growing list of war strain issues that the military, and particularly the Army, struggle with, including increases in suicide, mental health problems, alcohol abuse and divorce.

A more recent study this year by the University of California-Los Angeles of nearly 200 families of active duty Army and Marine Corps personnel shows problems for children may not go away. A year after parents returned from combat, 30% of the children exhibited clinical levels of anxiety — levels requiring possible treatment. The children's average age was 8.

Children kept worrying that their parents might return to war, says the study's author, Patricia Lester, a UCLA psychiatry professor who released the results to USA TODAY. "When the parent puts on the uniform," she says, "The child becomes distressed that they're not going to be coming back."

The Pentagon survey of 13,000 shows that the children most affected by deployments were between 6 and 13, followed by those ages 2-5.

Both studies show that "we're seeing children and families under stress as a result of military parent deployment," says Stephen Cozza, an associate director for the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress at the Uniformed Services University School of Medicine, who specializes in the study of military children.

"I think people are really paying attention to get ahead of it (the effects on children)," Thompson says.

Congress is spending more than $700 million on programs for military families in the current supplemental bill to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, 15% more than the Pentagon requested. Programs targeting the problem include:

• Offering $6,000 to military spouses to pay for education, training and licensing or credentialing for careers that can be easily re-established should the family move to a different military post.

• Dissemination of more than 1 million bilingual Sesame Street kits that include Elmo videos designed to help children ages 3-5 cope with deployment and family changes. Also a video will be released later this year addressing the emotional trauma of losing a parent, Thompson says.

• Distribution of more than 200,000 copies of a graphic novel aimed at military families titled Coming Home, which looks at problems family face when the servicemembers come home.

• The Pentagon's creation of child and youth behavioral health specialists who work with families and educators to identify and help struggling children and families. The program has more than 300 full-time and temporary positions and is expanding.

• Offering free YMCA memberships to primarily families of deployed National Guard members and reservists. The program, which began last October, has provided nearly 26,000 memberships.

• Expanding teams of specially trained family counselors that the Pentagon provides to state military family program directors. "It's been a huge difference-maker for us," says Lt. Col. Robert Bramlish, director of the Ohio family support program for servicemembers.

There is some evidence of success. Army figures show that while incidents of emotional, physical and sexual abuse and child neglect increased during early phases of the war — peaking at nearly five cases per 1,000 children in 2004 — those numbers have since leveled off to between 3.6 to 3.9 per 1,000.

Cozza says the programs are there to help families, but they don't always ask.

"We need to help people understand that it's not that strong people don't have problems, it's that strong people who have problems address their problems," he says.

Thompson urges families who seek help to contact Military OneSource, a Pentagon resource center, at or 1-800-342-9647.


Who Speaks for Veterans?

Their reputations and interests are left undefended

By Gabe Ledeen | Thursday, April 30, 2009


In its second major misstep with veterans in as many months, the Obama administration gave our representative organizations another opportunity to step up on our behalf and defend us from misguided government action.

The meek response from the national leadership of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) stood in stark contrast to the strong statement from the American Legion's national commander, David K. Rehbein. At issue was the recent Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report that profiled returning veterans as potential recruits for right-wing extremist organizations and urged law enforcement personnel to recall the military service of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

This seemed like an easy call for veterans service organizations (VSOs), much like the recent White House proposal to charge wounded veterans' insurance providers for the treatment of service-connected injuries that prompted universal condemnation from veterans and non-vets alike.

The American Legion, an organization open to all servicemen and women regardless of combat experience, stood alone among these leading VSOs in its commander's criticism of the DHS report. Mr. Rehbein cautioned, "I think it is important for all of us to remember that Americans are not the enemy. The terrorists are." VFW and IAVA, organizations dedicated to combat veterans, apparently could not see what all the fuss was about. It was left to civilians like Powerline blogger John Hinderaker to expose the empirical emptiness of the report, while even then IAVA sat on its hands with lips sealed.

Glen M. Gardner Jr., the national commander of the VFW and a Vietnam veteran, actually defended the report. "The report proves that DHS is doing its job, and that's to protect America and Americans." Had he analyzed it, Mr. Gardner might have observed that the report's empirical flimsiness and overtly political language rather suggests that the DHS is issuing law enforcement advisories without viable evidence-based justification.

Furthermore, as the senior representative of more than 2 million American combat veterans, Mr. Gardner ought to consider that many of them, despite their heroism and success, are already facing stigma and stereotypes in their homes, schools and workplaces. There is real damage in contributing to the perception that veterans should be feared and monitored, and Mr. Gardner should know better.

One wonders what it will take for the members of the VFW to confront their leadership for betrayals such as this. In 2008, the VFW's Political Action Committee endorsed John P. Murtha, Pennsylvania Democrat, in his re-election campaign for Congress against 28-year Army veteran Bill Russell, who had served in Operation Desert Storm, Kosovo and Iraq and heroically participated in rescue efforts at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. This endorsement came despite the congressman's infamous repeated slander of Marines in Haditha, Iraq, at a critical point in the war.

While at the time Mr. Murtha proclaimed that "there was no doubt" about the guilt of the Marines involved, seven of the eight accused Marines were exonerated and the prosecution against the final defendant remains indefinitely postponed. No matter, Mr. Murtha continued to rant against the war and used Haditha as evidence of our inability to win Iraqi hearts and minds.

These wounds were reopened by the recent decision by former Navy Secretary Donald C. Winter to give Mr. Murtha the Navy's highest award for public service. This decision sparked an outcry among veterans and led to a current online petition garnering more than 55,000 signatures demanding an apology from Mr. Murtha or a retraction of the award.

Mr. Murtha's official Web page lists the 2008 endorsements, where one can read from the VFW letter, "In addition to comments received from VFW leaders in your state, this endorsement is based on your strong support for veterans, national security/defense, and military personnel issues." In other words, because you continue to serve as the ranking member of the Appropriations Committee and the defense subcommittee, and you continue to direct taxpayer dollars to programs we support, we endorse you for re-election.

This attitude is pervasive, evident in methods used by the VFW and IAVA to endorse or evaluate political leaders and candidates for office. In IAVA's 2008 "Congressional Report Card," issues such as health care, GI Bill, mental health, and support for homeless veterans were taken into account, with no consideration given to whether the representative's actions had a positive or negative effect on the war effort and the troops serving in combat.

These benefits are earned, and appreciated. But they are a poor substitute for the faith, encouragement and support we deserve from our Congress while fighting our nation's enemies. If we are only concerned with obtaining benefits, and believe that appropriations are the only relevant metric with which to measure a legislator's performance, then we deserve Mr. Murtha, IAVA and the VFW.

On July 4, 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt spoke these famous words: "A man who is good enough to shed his blood for his country is good enough to be given a square deal afterward. More than that no man is entitled, and less than that no man shall have." It is time for veterans' organizations to recognize this mission, and abandon the petty pandering that continues to stand in the way of real progress and honest representation. It is up to veterans to force the VSOs to represent us, or to replace them.

Gabe Ledeen is a former Marine captain and two-tour veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is a freelance writer and senior fellow with Vets For Freedom.