- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dear Sgt Shaft:

I’m a retired Navy vet, and I understand that spouses may be buried in the same plot at a national cemetery. If my spouse predeceases me, can she still be interred until I pass on?

G. West (USN Retired)
Via the Internet

Dear G. West:

The spouse or surviving spouse of an eligible veteran is eligible for interment in a national cemetery even if that veteran is not buried or memorialized in a national cemetery. In addition, the spouse or surviving spouse of a member of the Armed Forces of the United States whose remains are unavailable for burial is also eligible for burial.

The surviving spouse of an eligible veteran who had a subsequent remarriage to a non-veteran and whose death occurred on or after Jan. 1, 2000, is eligible for burial in a national cemetery, based on his or her marriage to the eligible veteran.

The minor children of an eligible veteran can be buried in a national cemetery. In this case, a minor child is a child who is unmarried and (a) who is under 21 years of age; or, (b) who is under 23 years of age and pursuing a full-time course of instruction at an approved educational institution.

The unmarried adult child of an eligible veteran is also eligible. For purpose of burial in a national cemetery, an unmarried adult child is: of any age but became permanently physically or mentally disabled and incapable of self-support before reaching 21 years of age; or before reaching 23 years of age if pursuing a full-time course of instruction at an approved educational institution. Proper supporting documentation must be provided.

Shaft notes

• Building upon a 66-year partnership with the states, the Department of Veterans Affairs has signed a formal agreement with the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs (NASDVA) to enhance their relationship.

“State agencies are invaluable partners in providing services to veterans,” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said. “Our historic collaboration with NASDVA has ensured that countless veterans receive the benefits they have earned.”

The agreement pledges the two groups to maintain “effective communications, an exchange of ideas and information, identification of emerging needs, and continuous reevaluation of existing programs.”

NASDVA represents the state VA offices. The states fund about $5 billion in benefits and services for veterans.

The involvement of state governments in veterans affairs goes back to the American Revolution, with the federal government becoming involved after the Civil War. In 1946, NASDVA was created to coordinate programs between VA and the states, territories and Washington, D.C.

Mr. Shinseki signed the agreement Feb. 13 during the NASDVA mid-winter conference in Alexandria, Va.

• Kudos to the American Legion and U.S. Chamber of Commerce for recently hosting a National Credentialing Summit at the chamber’s Hall of Flags, 1615 H St. NW.

The summit brought together experts and stakeholders on licensing and credentialing issues for veterans seeking employment in the private sector, and broke down complexities of the civilian credentialing system.

Summit agenda and panel descriptions are attached. Panelists included:

* Ed Kringer, DoD’s state liaison and educational opportunity;
* David Rich, director of the Veterans Employment and Training, Delaware;
* Cassandra Coney, education and career specialist, U.S. Marine Corps;
* Col. Laurence Lobdell, Training Integration Directorate, U.S. Army;
* Erin Thede, U.S. Army Reserve Employer Partnership Program;
* Roy Swift, American National Standards Institute;
* Peg Harrison, Pediatric Nursing Certification Board;
* David Wescott, North Carolina State Approving Agency;
* Col. Gregory Harris, Employer Partnership Program, U.S. Army Reserve;
* Bob Simoneau, National Association of State Workforce Agencies;
* Marion Cain, Training Readiness and Strategy, Department of Defense;
* Lisa Lutz, contractor/project manager, Army Credentialing Opportunities Online;
* George Bieber, Information Assurance Workforce Improvement Program, DoD;
* Command Master Sergeant Denise Jelinski-Hall, National Guard Bureau;
* Robert Schwartz, Wounded Warrior Program, Helmets to Hardhats; and
* Selden Fritschner, Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration.

• Memorial Day Weekend marks the 25th anniversary of Rolling Thunder in Washington, D.C., an annual Demonstration Run that attracts more than 450,000 motorcyclists and over a million attendees. C*A*M*M*O (the Center for American Military Music Opportunities) will be presenting a Tribute Stage for special entertainment to commemorate Rolling Thunder’s 25th anniversary. The event will take place Saturday, May 26, 2012, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and will be located at Constitution Avenue and Henry Bacon Drive.

The tribute event will feature top musical entertainment, including nationally recognized military artists and speakers. Cathie Lechareas, executive director of C*A*M*M*O, states; “C*A*M*M*O would like to recognize the work that Rolling Thunder has done for our veterans throughout the last 25 years, from legislation to charities.”

A commemorative custom bike build project that represents each branch of the military will feature the stellar talents of the following four legendary builders; Brigitte Bourget of Bourget Bike Works, Dar Holdsworth of Darwin Motorcycles, Billy Lane of Choppers Inc. and Kiwi Mike of Kiwi Indian Motorcycle Co. The bikes will be unveiled on the Tribute Stage. Jay Allen, an icon in the motorcycle culture, creator of the world famous Broken Spoke Saloon and the facilitator of the bike build endeavor, will emcee from the Tribute Stage.

“It is an honor to be a part of this history-making weekend recognizing 25 years of Rolling Thunder. My deepest gratitude goes out to the service men and service women of our fine country” Mr. Allen said.

C*A*M*M*O’s mission has three goals and each goal centers on opportunities.

* To create therapeutic programs that provide outlets for our service members and veterans;
* To train and educate service members and veterans in music industry and related career choices; and
* To provide proper instruction in order to become top professionals in the entertainment industry.

Rolling Thunder’s Demonstration Run is not only a demonstration for the Prisoner of War, Missing in Action (POW/MIA) issue but also a demonstration of patriotism and respect for service members and veterans from all wars. C*A*M*M*O salutes Rolling Thunder, veterans and all of the service men and women. For more information, visit www.cammomusic.org.

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 email [email protected].

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