- The Washington Times - Monday, September 17, 2007

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

What happened with H.R. 269? I am one of the vets that falls into the gap as discussed in your column.

“The opportunity to convert to the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) was important because the benefits available were much greater than those under [the Veterans Educational Assistance Program]. However, those individuals who were on active duty before 1985 and did not participate in VEAP were not eligible to sign up for MGIB, leaving a gap in available coverage for certain career military personnel.”

Thanks,

Dan

Dear Dan,

A good friend at the Non Commissioned Officers Association tells me that H.R. 269 and its companion bill in the Senate were dropped at the conclusion of the 109th Congress.

Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, Maryland Republican, has introduced H.R. 81, which proposes a limited opportunity for certain VEAP participants to enroll in basic educational assistance under the MGIB. Also, there remains a slight possibility some modifications of the National Defense Authorization Act could impact those eligible for VEAP.

We share your concern that those who enlisted during the VEAP enrollment process were counseled to not enroll for VEAP because a better system was forthcoming. That counsel has proven over the years to be incorrect.

Dear Sgt. Shaft,

I am writing to you about a project from Marine Corps Moms/Marine Corps Family Foundation called Operation Santa. The project involves two different efforts:

1.) Sending stuffed stockings to deployed Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan.

2.) Sending stuffed stockings to wounded service members from all branches who will be hospitalized on Christmas Day at Walter Reed, Bethesda, Brooke or Balboa hospitals.

For the first effort, interested volunteers should visit www.marinecorpsfamilyfoundation.org/santa.html. There are many different types of volunteer jobs. All are worthy of consideration and do so much to bring some Christmas cheer to deployed troops.

For the second effort, I can be contacted directly at wrcostan@comcast.net. I am looking for material donations to stuff the stockings: $15 Subway gift cards, $5 Dunkin’ Donut cards, DVDs, CDs, gum, candy, pens, small pads of paper and books.

Carrie Costantini, very proud Marine wife and Marine mom

Shaft notes

Congratulations to World War II veteran Alyce Dixon, who was honored by the VA Medical Center in Washington, for her 100th birthday. The sharp, affable and outgoing “Dixie” was thrilled to be recognized by the hospital’s director, Fernando O. Rivera, and staff on this milestone birthday.

Friends and family joined Ms. Dixon for a party complete with musical entertainment, tributes and treats.

Ms. Dixon, a resident of the Comprehensive Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, was born Sept. 11, 1907, in Boston. This charismatic, energetic and independent veteran loves people, serving her community and helping her fellow residents.

Ms. Dixon’s career as a public servant began in 1940 as an administrative worker at the Pentagon. She was 31 when she entered the Women’s Air Corps in 1943. Ms. Dixon was stationed overseas and was an integral part of the postal service during World War II. She retired in 1971 after 35 years of federal service.

Ms. Dixon’s community service includes 12 years at the Washington Hospital Center as well as volunteer service at Howard University Hospital. She has three living sisters, 20 nieces and nephews and several great-nieces and nephews.

The Air Force Historical Foundation will host its first major air power symposium Oct. 16-17 at the Sheraton Crystal City Hotel in Arlington.

The symposium, “The Evolution of Air and Space Power: Know the Past, Shape the Future,” will include an awards banquet featuring famous aviation artist Keith Ferris and the secretary of the Air Force, as well as luncheons with the chief and vice chief of staff as guest speakers.

The foundation will also honor former Joint Chiefs Chairman David C. Jones and noted Air Force historian Maj. Gen. I.B. Holley. The event is part of the Air Force’s 60th anniversary activities.

Featured panelists will address subjects such as limited war strategy, search and rescue capability, humanitarian relief, the North Africa campaign, the Far East Air Forces and the needs of war fighters. The Historical Foundation’s Web site at www.afhistoricalfoundation.org has a complete list of events.

Registration and more information can be found at the Web site, by e-mailing execdir@afhistoricalfoundation. org or by calling 301/736-1959.

Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, P.O. Box 65900, Washington, D.C., 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330; call 202/257-5446; or e-mail sgtshaft@bavf.org.

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