- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

Can you please help me determine if the dog tags I have are my grandfather’s from World War II in the Navy, or my father’s from Vietnam in the Army? Both men had the same name. The tags are more rectangular and notched. My other grandfather who was in the Navy in World War II has oval dog tags. This is how they are line by line.

MCCUTCHEON
JAMES J
245 88 83
0 POS
CATHOLIC

Either way, I will cherish them, but I’d like to know. Thanks.

Amy M.
Via the Internet

Dear Amy:

My sources can’t say for sure, but they tell me that it’s more likely that the notched tags are the World War II vintage, as they were issued by the Army from World War II until 1970. The Navy did have oval tags but adapted the same rectangular shape as the other services after WWII.

A surefire way to confirm is to run the serial number to ground. If both service members are deceased and no records are available, you can write to the National Personnel Records Center for a copy of the service records of your kin. Instructions about how to do this can be found here: http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/. Like you, I am proud of their service.

Shaft notes

• U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, announced that a bill to provide a Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) of 1.7 percent for America’s veterans has passed the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent. Ms. Murray fought hard for COLA passage, after an unnamed Senate Republican blocked the traditionally non-controversial bill in late September. The veterans COLA will affect several important benefits, including veterans’ disability compensation and dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children. It is projected that more than 3.9 million veterans and survivors will receive compensation benefits in Fiscal Year 2013.

“A cost-of-living increase for our veterans is well deserved,” Ms. Murray said. “Particularly in this difficult economy, our veterans deserve a boost in their benefits to help make ends meet. I am so glad we were finally able to move forward with passage of this bill. Caring for our nation’s veterans should never be a partisan issue.”

The COLA is designed to offset inflation and other factors that lead to the rising cost of living over time. The COLA rate will match the annual increase provided to Social Security recipients and is based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index.

• More than 20 wounded warriors recently converged on CrossFit Rubicon in Vienna, Va., for the first-ever Working Wounded Games. Hosted in conjunction with CrossFit Walter Reed and volunteers from other metro area CrossFit affiliates, the Working Wounded Games allowed veterans with combat-related disabilities to compete in an open-style competition that will benefit two new wounded warrior charities. The VFW was proud to serve as an inaugural sponsor for the event, which coincided with the 237th birthday of the Marine Corps and Veterans Day.

“I know first-hand the physical challenges our heroes face when they return home,” said VFW National Commander John E. Hamilton, a triple Purple Heart recipient from Vietnam. “The VFW is proud to support the games and the wounded athletes competing this Saturday and the new programs that will help wounded warriors discover new ways to stay fit, while reclaiming their independence and a sense of accomplishment.”

The Working Wounded Games kicked off at 8 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, and was open to the public. There was no cost to attend, but $5 donations were greatly appreciated. Proceeds from the event benefited Team Racing 4 Veterans and Boulder Crest Retreat for Wounded Veterans.

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