Thursday, May 7, 2009

Dear Sgt Shaft,

The last line on my husband’s U.S. Navy World War II dog tags reads: C/USNR-SV.

I know what the C/USNR stands for, but what is the SV code?

Thank you,

Barbara G

via the Internet

Dear Barbara

Those in the know tell me that meaning of SV is “selective volunteer.”

Very few have heard of this term and it was not even included in any of the World War II guidance on dog tags.

It is interesting that the original concept for Navy dog tags included putting a fingerprint on the reverse of the dog tag by a special chemical process. The fingerprint concept lasted less than a year and passed into trivia.

Shaft notes

The Sarge joins the Citizens Flag Alliance in saluting Reps. Jo Ann Emerson, Missouri Republican, and Jim Marshall, Georgia Democrat, who recently introduced a constitutional amendment that would return to the American people the right to protect their flag. The one sentence amendment reads, “Congress shall have the power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.” The amendment had seven co-sponsors at introduction. Post-election analysis indicates the measure has support from more than 260 members of the House, with 60 undecided.

In six consecutive sessions of Congress, the House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a proposed flag amendment, only to see it fall short in the Senate by as little as one vote.

The Sarge dittos the national commander of the American Legion in expressing appreciation for recent congressional passage of the fiscal 2010 federal budget resolution with its proposed Department of Veterans Affairs funding increase.

“The American Legion is pleased with the projected VA funding level and especially the provision allowing advance appropriations for medical care in FY 2011,” said Cmdr. David K. Rehbein. “This effort to assure timely, predictable and sufficient funding for VA medical care is something that the entire veterans’ community supports.”

With a favorable House vote and passage by the Senate, Congress has now adopted a conference report on the $3.6 trillion fiscal 2010 budget resolution. The measure includes an unprecedented, nearly 12 percent increase in funding for the VA. The spending plan provides a $53.4 billion VA appropriation - $5.6-billion over the 2009 allocation. The budget agreement also contains a provision long supported by the American Legion allowing Congress to provide annual discretionary appropriations for VA medical services in both FY 2010 and 2011. This gives assurance to the veterans’ health care system administrators that they will receive funding at the start of the new fiscal year, even if funding of other portions of the appropriations bill are delayed.

“Only four times in the last two decades have Department of Veterans Affairs appropriations been adopted at the beginning of the new fiscal year,” Cmdr. Rehbein said.

“For too long VA administrators have been told ‘the check’s in the mail’ as they waited for final congressional action on the VA budget. Advance appropriations will be a tremendous boon for the VA and, by extension, this nation’s veterans,” continued the commander. “No longer will the VA be plagued by funding delays - delays that often lead to rationing of care, delays in service, postponements in building maintenance, hiring freezes and the like, that often compromised the quality and timeliness of veterans medical care.”

“This is a good news day for our veterans,” Cmdr. Rehbein concluded. “Today we must thank the president and the congressional leadership for making veterans and their families a national priority.”

At a recent hearing of the House Veterans’ Affairs subcommittee on economic opportunity, Rep. John Boozman, Arkansas Republican, stated:

“During the 109th Congress, we passed important small-business legislation to enable VA contracting officials to increase the number of contracts awarded to veteran- and disabled-veteran-owned small businesses.

“To its credit, VA has made a significant effort to do so. Last year, almost 15 percent of VA procurement contracts went to veteran-owned small businesses. Such contracts represented a combined total of about $2.1 billion, including $1.66 billion to disabled vet small businesses. I applaud VA for its accomplishment and for setting the standard for the rest of the federal government.

“While VA has done an excellent job in exceeding the veteran-owned small-business contracting goal, I am concerned about implementation of the database to verify whether a business is veteran owned. If the VA has encountered impediments to implementing this provision of law, this subcommittee needs to hear about them so we can provide a solution. Otherwise, I expect to see reasonable progress toward implementation of the legislation we passed. And in the case of the database, VA has dropped the ball.”

• Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, P.O. Box 65900, Washington, D.C. 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330, call 202/257-5466 or e-mail

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