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Veterans info

By Mitch Cota

 

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With each and every passing day we are losing a little piece of our history, whether from the people who changed our lives socially in America or from the pioneers in the science community with advances in technology and medicines, but most is lost through the dying of veterans. They are the living history on military events seen in person, some events that are documented but most are not, and the memories of those who served should be preserved and passed on for future generations to hear and learn from.

 
There are no more veterans living from World War I (WWI) anywhere in the world. This was the generation of veterans that gave us Armistice Day to remember those who served and sacrificed. It was struck on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, of 1918 and is generally regarded as the end of WWI, “the war to end all wars.” But it did not!

 
Twenty-three years later our world would find itself entangled in another war. A war more brutal than the first and involving some 60 to 80 million deaths during World War II (WWII). At the end it would leave America with over 16 million returning veterans to try and pick up their lives were it had been interrupted by the war. WWII would also produce eight of the last eleven presidents that served in the military.

 
To my fellow veterans I am honored of sharing this title of Veteran and the military experience with you. I would ask everyone to look into their own family’s history to see if any of their family members who may have served, in the past or during a past war.

 
I cannot remember meeting any of the thousands of WWI veterans that were living in the sixties but I know I have met some. In my childhood my father brought my brothers, sister, and me to many of American Legion family functions. From the age of five to about ten are so, I listened to their stories which I found most were funny events and good ones they could or cared to share in a family setting.

 
I never got to thank my father for exposing me to the military through stories and that I would one day choose as my career. I wish I would have learned more about his service. He is one of my personal hero’s from the WWII and Korean era’s having fought in both and my latest hero is my daughter who is serving today.

 
So reach out to those veterans in your lives and thank them for the service and ask them about their experience if they will talk about it. Some veterans even today don’t want to talk about their experiences but if they do write them down for future generations in your family to learn what they did for the country.

 
From the Veterans Affairs Website Authored by Jason Davis.

 
I thought I would include Mr. Davis’s article in mine this issue because of its importance to old and new veterans alike.

 
Jason Davis served five years in the 101st ABN, including two combat tours to Iraq. He’s currently an M.A. candidate in Writing at Johns Hopkins University and serves as social media administrator for the Veterans Benefits Administration.

 
Mr Davis’s article:

 
As one of the Veterans Benefits Administration’s social media administrators, it’s my job to create and curate VA benefits and Veteran-centric content on VBA social media channels. This includes program news and updates, tips and how-tos, and in sharing resources to help our community understand how to claim their benefits. This also means I’m the guy you come to when you have questions (and complaints) about VA benefits.

 
As an Army Veteran, I often draw on personal experience when talking to my Veteran brothers and sisters in arms, but I also have access to a wealth of resources and VA program experts to assist me with answering your questions. Other times, when stumped with a question and Google isn’t playing nicely, I turn to 311VET.

 
311VET is VBA’s new benefits app, and it answers a wide range of questions about Veterans benefits, including what benefits you may be entitled to, how to apply for benefits, how different benefits are defined, and where to go to get more information about VA services. 311VET can provide information about most VA benefits, including pension, education, health, disability, loan, burial and career benefits.

 
That said, 311VET can’t answer questions about the status of specific claims (use IRIS for that) or other questions that require personally identifying information (PII) or protected health information (PHI). 311VET also can’t answer questions that fall outside the scope of VA benefits, like “What’s for dinner?” or “What day is it?” or “Who will be the next President?”So, how does 311VET work?

 
If you have a general benefits question and you can’t find the answer online, or through the call center, simply download the app on your smart phone or tablet or text your question to 311838 (yes, only six digits).
If your question is in the database, meaning it’s one that has already been asked, you receive an instant computer response. If not, your question is routed to a team of human experts who will find an answer for you. This generally takes just a few minutes.

 
In fact, the app has worked so well, my co-workers at VBA’s Benefits Assistance Service have been using it in real time at outreach events across the country. As an example, when I’m at an event, I show other Vets my own “Ask” history, which mostly includes questions I’ve fielded from VBA’s Facebook page:

 
• Can I file a dependent claim for my disabled aunt?

 
• Can I use my VA home loan to repair my home even if I don’t have a VA home loan mortgage?

 
• I was overpaid last semester with the Post-9/11 GI Bill after I dropped a class. How do I contact the Debt Management Center?

 
• Can I use the VA home loan to start a small business?

 
• My grandfather served in WWII and doesn’t have his service records or medals. We were told they burned in a fire. What can we do to get his records?

 
• What resources does VA have for homeless Vets?

 
Answers to these, and more, appeared within minutes.

 
As you can see, 311VET is highly resourceful. And it gets better the more you use it since each new question is added to the database. Best of all, 311VET is open for questions 24/7, 365 days a year, including all federal holidays.
So, how do you get it?

 
311VET is available for both iOS devices and Android devices. Again, if you don’t do “smart phones,” simply text your question to 311838.

 
_ _ _

 
I did not see contact information for Mr. Davis in his article or on the the VA website.

 
I also did not download the app as of this article but will give an update on how it works in my first issue in the spring issue of The Dolphin.

 
Sign up and become a veterans’ advocates, go to: http://capwiz.com/vfw/mlm/signup.htm.

 
If you have any questions or suggestions you would like to see concerning veterans please contact me at mitchellcota@dcc.edu or mitchcota@mitchcota.com.

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