- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

I served on the USS Everett F. Larsen, DD 830 from 1966-68. We did pull into port and unload supplies, and we did tons of shore activities in ‘Nam. I was wondering if the ship might be on the Agent Orange List. Thanks for all your work on behalf of veterans.

David D.,
Via the Internet

Dear David:

The USS Everett F. Larson (DD-830) is not on the list yet. No one has filed a claim based on service aboard this ship, and that must happen first before the regional office will request deck logs.

According to the official Navy history site and the unofficial ship history site (see below), there are no statements related to docking or inland waterway service for this ship. Veterans can always contact the National Archives directly to request deck logs and include them with their claim for benefits:




Shaft Notes

• The Sarge is looking forward to joining AMVETS, Department of Maryland, at the presentation of its 25th annual “PNC A. Leo Anderson Memorial Free State Award of Excellence” to Retired Chief Master Sgt. Bran Thompson, president of the Major General Boyd Cook Memorial Foundation Inc., at a ceremony on April 2, 2011, at the Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City, Md.

The award honors Chief Master Sgt. Thompson’s 10 plus years of advocating for veterans and 9/11 military personnel and for those of their family members. The ceremony will be attended by distinguished leaders of AMVETS, other veterans’ service organizations from throughout the state, as well as state elected officials.

The “PNC A. Leo Anderson Memorial Free State Award of Excellence” was first awarded in 1987. A few former honorees include: Maryland Govs. William Donald Schaefer and Robert Ehrlich Jr.; U.S. House of Representatives Beverly Byron and Helen Delich Bentley; Maryland State Comptroller Louis Goldstein; American Legion Past National Commander Clarence M. Bacon; and the Director of the Baltimore VAMC Dennis Smith.

Chief Master Sgt. Thompson’s career was with the U.S. Army Air Force Reserve and Army Reserve. He retired with more than 38 years total service. He joined the 31st Airborne after high school for two hitches and then joined the Air Force Reserve where he rose to the rank of Chief Master Sergeant and Senior Enlisted Advisor, the youngest Reservist to attain that rank in the history of Air Force Reserve.

In his civilian life, while in the Reserves, he was employed as a federal government employee and was selected as the government’s International Paper Work Manager of the Year with personal congratulations from the president of the United States. Additionally, he chaired a National Computer Security Committee for the Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President, when he was U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s National Computer Security Safety Commission, National Director of Investigations.

After he retired, he then began another career as Regional Vice President/Instructor for Dale Carnegie Training when he was a National Project Manager and earned various regional and national awards to include “Maryland Dale Carnegie Instructor of the Year.”

His community affairs include various leadership positions in PTA, Lions, Rotary, YMCA and Boy Scouts of America, where he was awarded the “Silver Beaver Award,” received on the average of one out of a thousand adult scout leaders, after he founded an unprecedented International Educational High Adventure Program taking high school scouts to 23 countries spread over four summers.

Chief Master Sgt. Thompson is a member of the American Legion, AMVETS, VFW, Fort Detrick All Service Retiree Council, U.S. 6th District Congressman Roscoe Bartlett’s Veterans Advisory Council and Major General Boyd Cook Memorial Foundation Inc., where he serves as president. The foundation supports Post 9-11 veterans and their families in partnership with veterans’ organizations with advice from Maryland’s National Guard Adjutant General and Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary. In three years the foundation grew from a county program to a Maryland-wide program and has now been selected by the U.S. National Guard Bureau as a national pilot program.

• Kudos to Congressman John Carter, Texas Republican, and the 32 bipartisan co-sponsors for the introduction of legislation that would result in approval of the use of service dogs for all disabled veterans in all Department of Veterans Affairs facilities.

“This is a bill whose passage I believe will draw very little debate,” Mr. Carter says. “It is just commonsense that if seeing-eye dogs have unrestricted access to VA facilities, then so should service dogs for veterans with other disabilities. This is a rare opportunity to do a great thing for our disabled veterans that adds nothing to the federal deficit, simply by eliminating unneeded and unjustified regulations.”

The Veterans for Equal Treatment of Service Dogs Act, or VETS Dogs Act, would standardize VA policy for use of service dogs nationwide. Currently only seeing-eye and guide dogs are universally approved to enter VA facilities, leaving disabled veterans who suffer from hearing loss, seizures, traumatic brain injury or limb loss blocked from access to many buildings.

Mr. Carter introduced the bill today outside the U.S. Capitol building with the support of American Veterans (AMVETS), the Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW), and Veterans First. He is Co-Chairman of the House Army Caucus and worked with the AMVETS organization to develop the bill.

Oscar-, Emmy-, and Grammy Award-winning performer Cher is among the many artists who have joined The Creative Coalition and Blue Star Families to create a Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign to help raise awareness about combat suicides among our military service members and their families.

The PSA is being produced by The Creative Coalition in partnership with Blue Star Families, Health Net and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) and directed by actor and Co-President of The Creative Coalition Tim Daly.

Those who have already lent their voices to the effort include actors Susan Sarandon, Melissa Leo, Stanley Tucci, Adrian Grenier, Ellen Barkin, Kate Bosworth and Cheryl Hines.

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 [email protected].

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