Wong, president meet in Oval Office

By Steve B. Brooks

Veterans employment is a priority of President Barack Obama, American Legion National Commander Fang A. Wong said after an Oval Office meeting with the president Tuesday afternoon.

During the meeting, which included American Legion National Adjutant Daniel S. Wheeler, the national commander said the pair also discussed the Department of Veterans Affairs budget and how defense cuts will affect military retirement pay and medical benefits.

“He seems to be very on top of the employment issue and very concerned about it,” Wong said. “We expressed satisfaction with our MOU (memorandum of understanding) signing today with the Department of Agriculture (www.legion.org/washingtonconference/161975/usda-legion-team-vet-hiring-e...) and expressed hope that other federal agencies would follow suit and join in the effort to hire veterans.”

Wong said he shared with Obama concerns of servicemembers the national commander spoke with during a 2011 visit to Afghanistan: increases in TRICARE co-pay, changes to the military retirement system and reductions in the Department of Defense budget.

“The president said that in this economy, some cuts are unavoidable,” Wong said. “But he said the military retirement plan will stay as it is right now. There is a commission looking at it now, and the earliest any decision would be made would be in two years. If a change is needed, he said he would consult with the VSOs to get their input.

“I shared with him that The American Legion has strongly opposed increases in TRICARE co-pays, as well as increases in pharmaceutical co-pays, for years. We discussed the importance of ensuring that we do not increase the burden on veterans who have earned the right to TRICARE. Additionally, no increase in TRICARE should occur when there is not also a increase in the cost-of-living adjustment.” (quoted incorrectly earlier; please note clarification at bottom of page)

Wong also said Obama pledged that there would be no VA budget cuts included in across-the-board federal budget cuts. “He said, ‘As long as I am president, I will protect VA,’” Wong said.


  1. I was promised lifetime medical care as an incentive to join...and remain...for twenty years. A lot of commenters on here that are calling veterans who served their country whiners really do not have a clue of the sacrifices made of a retiree whether by longevity or medically. You talk about your one tour...about you Uncles...about having respect for the National Commander and our President. I remember how hard it was to raise my family over that twenty years on the low salary. I stayed because of the retirement and free healthcare would be PAID IN FULL when my service yo our country was over. I bet a career in the railroad didn't find you retiring after 20 Years at a salary of $35,000.
  2. I agree Obama should pull out of the public eye and and forget re-election. He should also take all his crony pals that he has in his back pocket (like Wong) with him. He sat of his duff for 3 years and did nothing but destroy what little bit of dignity the United States may have had left, and, now that its election time, he is pulling out all the stops. Guess he doesn't want to lose his cushy job and complete his original endeavor for destruction.
  3. rGATES says it all... The Tricare copay will rise 348% which is over $1,600 for Tricare. The 2013 Obama budget has this in it. This has been covered on Fox News. I served in the USAFR for 36 yrs. Turning 60 I started receiving retire pay and Tricare. Already my doctor's office notified me that they will no longer care for Tricare patients if the Payroll Tax Bill had not been extended. part of the Doc Fix. I have contacted all congresspeople in my State about these issues and received their standard boiler plate responses. Seems like no elected officials care for the military either active duty of retired. Been a memebr of the Legion over 20 years. A shame that I had just renewed my memebership for 2012.
  4. Lets see... John. Your advocating that here in CA we just send a message or letter to our representative...and get that auto reply? Because that is what we get here. Or, perhaps we should send it to Wong? You want real opinions, not constrained ones. NO movement ever started with just sending out a letter or two. It starts with gathering the opinions of everyone. As you will notice here on this forum, the opinions are stacked against you by overwhelming numbers and growing. Trying to say that anyone who disagrees with Wong or you is a whiner or moaner and should leave the Legion is the "unlistening" attitude of someone who thinks they are still in the military. We are not. We can and will post our opinions, ESPECIALLY, when we can see from our past how easily we are ignored...because we don't speak out on the important issues and we don't seek go gather others into a movement to protect our rights.
  5. I served from Viet Nam to the Gulf. I was promised free health care for the rest of my life while waiting to reenlist during Nam. "Just be a lifer and you never have to worry about getting sick when you get old." HA! Then after I retired Champus dissapeared, Tricare was created, and you now had to pay for what had previuosly been free. Now we will have to pay even more. ?? I cannot find words to express the outrage that this is. Cmdr Wong should have grabbed that SOB by the ears and made it apparent that NO increase in Tricare would be acceptable. And I don't want to hear anyone question this RIGHT to health care. All Vets have EARNED it. If not, what were all the 18 hr days, the Christmases spent overseas, the missed birthdays, missed anniversaries, missed graduations, missed children's first steps and missed first baseball game for. What about the fear you may not live to see the morning and the unspeakable discomforts that many Vets have had to endure. When we enlisted we signed a blank check up to and including surrendering our life. The Gov can NEVER repay what it truly owes us. We gave willingly. All gave some and some gave all. It is an insult to be treated this way by Wong or Big Ears. (I have no respect for a liar and someone of such low moral character)
  6. I make 1000 a month from Retirement, to have to pay 1600+ and pharmacy increases on top of that pretty much makes me out of money for two months of the year. How do we pay that?? They are NEVER going to increase your COL pay by the same amount they are asking for??? Are you crazy? Have you ever heard of them doing more then promising that? Take a stand!
  7. I may have missed something but I do not see that Wong is agreeing to Tricare increase but trying to emphasize that any change would have to also be matched with retired pay increase which would equal zero Tricare increase.
  8. Funny ... My whole time in the military I got yelled at for wearing a hat inside .. and there is the leaders .. wearing a hat .. ironic ... On another note, I love all you folks that are probably tea party types screaming and yelling about deficits but when a cut or increase gets close to home you all freak! ..
  9. Commander Wong is doing a great job for The American Legion, and his support of our Veterans. Jobs and benefits are the most important things for our Vets. thank you, Commander Wong.
  10. Let your Post and Department leaders know what you are felling and they will respond to your needs. It is important to start all American Legion action from our Post, where the members know what is right for the members by working in the Post over the years. Let us take this to another level and all attend our next Post Meeting. This is where I first became aware of the TRICARE proposed changes. I personally contacted both District and Department with the concerns and was properly addressed with the respect of a member. I will start a Resolution for the next Post Meeting and I hope all of you will do the same. This the only way we the members can truely state our feeling and have an impact on what OUR American Legion stands for. We can make our Nation the One and Only America.
  11. Veterans have earned their benefits and our Government should keep its promise to support our Veterans
  12. This president's goal is to give every American the same benefits and rights as our veterans. So why should anyone serve the country when those benefits are given to those who haven't served or made any sacrifice? What good is the GI Bill when you can get a grant for free and no service rendered. My father, a WWII veteran who was at Pearl Harbor and fought on IWO JIMA has already dropped his membership. If our commander is going to side with the enemy I'll be dropping my membership next. Where is our backbone?
  13. To signalman: When did Obama say those things about our healthcare, or did you just receive the idea from another skivvie waver?
  14. "Additionally, no increase in TRICARE should occur when there is not also a increase in the cost-of-living adjustment." This is a rearrangement of the wording as it originally appeared in this article. The meaning is the same. This is saying that the American Legion supports an increase in TRICARE payments if there is an increase in the cost of living adjustment. Rewording a position that is against the interests of members who have worked their entire careers does not change the fact that the National Commander has taken a stance against the interest of his own members. Bret65, these promises were made repeatedly. I know, I was there when they were made. The military didn't write them into contracts. They did incorporate them into their retention materials and Congress provided for this up until they needed somewhere to cut quickly. There are many other areas yet untouched that could be cut before coming to veterans. Let's start with some of those unearned entitlements that are going to those who have never served.
  15. Well he should have said that. Now it appears that he agrees with Obama/DOD and blessed the tricare hike. the photo op and his comments are now out there as the AL view. The only way to fix this is for Mr. Wong to tell Obama and DOD he supports NO hike in tricare.
  16. National Commander Wong's position on TRICARE needs to be clarified, since it was stated too simply in the original article. His position is that The American Legion has strongly opposed increases in TRICARE copays, as well as increases in pharmaceutical copays, for years. Wong stated to the president the importance of ensuring that we do not increase the burden on veterans who have earned the right to TRICARE. Additionally, no increase in TRICARE should occur when there is not also a increase in the cost-of-living adjustment. The story has been changed to reflect his true position.
  17. While I agree with most here, I am troubled by the overall tone, statements like "the Government owes me" or "they should". This is (or it started out as) a Government of the people. Meaning get involved! Don't like the bums in charge run for a post position, then state. Quitting will do nothing, do what we are trained to do, get pissed and get active. But remember you are only owed what was promised, if it wasn't in your contract you don't get it. that's rule of law and that's American. Too often we start to sound like just another union mob and that's anything but American.
  18. It is time for the government to step forward and honor the committment made to all service personnel, drafted or volunteer, to look after us. This committment is a sham. How do retired military contributions compare to contributions made by retired government union members compare?
  19. I served for 22 years and a retires SGM. I love this country and finally decided to join the Legion. Sadly after reading Mr.s Wong's comments when my membership is due for renewal I do not think I will sign up again. Benefits as a Veteran have become a joke. We are treated worse than any normal non-working citizen who's never worked a day in their life. All I read about are promises broken how to day look in mirror every morning? Disappointing
  20. “I shared with him that The American Legion supported the increase in TRICARE copays as long as they were tied into a (cost-of-living adjustment) increase for retirement pay.” This is nothing but a freking shell game..we give you money then you give it back. Where is our leadership? There seems to be a misconception about military retirement pay. As an E8 I was “medically retired permanent” in the mid 1990’s with over 20 years.I was placed on the “permanent disability retirement list”. With 20 years as an infantryman I had injuries that required many surgeries. I was not willing to hang around for years of rehab with a physical profile. Reports of military retirees making big retirement money is a bunch of bull……my take home retirement pay is less then $1500 a month……hardly big bucks. I’d be willing to bet that many who have never worked a day in their life and are on welfare and food stamps make more money. I don’t know and don’t care how much retired officers make in retirement, but know when I read comments from retired and active duty CSM’s, Colonels, and Generals and Mr. Wong saying we can pay more for Tricare it burns my ass. Where is the leadership? Why are they willing to let us retirees be the low hanging fruit/sacrificial lambs for this government? Our government spends/wastes money on terrorist’s soccer fields, failed green energy programs, $900,000 to teach African men how to clean under their foreskin and thousands apon thousands of dollars spent on other bull crap. Behind the closed doors the plan is to push us into the VA or Obama care where we receive piss poor care and are treated like we are on sick call. I should have the right to be seen on a military base/fort where I am treated with respect and trust my care to fellow military care givers. I think I will get a permit allowing me to legally protest and go to my local recruiting station to tell possible recruits and their moms, dads, and wives that as a military retiree I think it is a big mistake to join the military. I’m not asking for a dame handout! I did what my leadership demanded of me for 20 years. I was a leader who took care of my soldiers. I pushed through pain knowing that it would cost me later (it did). I humped that 80/100 pound ruck. I went on Drill Sergeant Duty, Airborne, other assignments, worked 18 hour days for years. I now wonder.......where have our leaders gone?
  21. pfmcdoc, your wrong on all counts. We were PROMISED free medical during my tenure, I got out in 88. I was briefed two weeks before retirement. Called over to PMO and told there by a Retirement Counselor that we had lost the "Free" medical and would have to signup for TriCare or lose any benefit at all. When I inquired how did we lose a benefit which has been briefed for 20 years, every 4 years during the reenlistment process, I was told.."Congress voted to remove it and replace it two years ago." When I asked why wasn't I briefed about it then, I was told..."It was written into the bill that everyone retiring would be briefed just prior to retirement." Not putting you down bro...keep any opinion you wish, but this is EXACTLY what I was told and I had to sign up for TriCare.
  22. pfmcdoc you are one in the many that are willing to see this country destroyed. The burdon of our hard working Americans come from the blood that was sacrificed by our brothers and sisters that gave the ultimate sacrifice, which I am sure you do not understand. I pray for people like you. It seems to me that you have never served in the military, and is content with the left wing liberal #$%&,s. I for one do not recognize barrack as the so called president. I still believe that he not an American, because Americans will not weaken our military. Brothers and sisters in arms, we need to stand united and remove these cowards from office and make this country what it once was. There are only a few in this country that kwow what it is like to lace up a set of boots.
  23. Having proudly trained in the Army and served in the Gulf War, I'm appalled at the venom and disrespect being shown to Commander Wong and to a duly-elected President. Feel free to disagree, but be civil and show respect. The military never promised lifetime health coverage without increases or contributions from veterans - claiming otherwise is a symptom of undeserved entitlement, and puts an inordinate financial burden on other hardworking Americans. Commander Wong is totally within rights to support Tricare increases if coupled with cost-of-living adjustments to retirement pay. Otherwise, these costs are likely to bankrupt the country - veterans need to remember that we've always been willing to share the sacrifice.
  24. pfmcdoc, While you may have to show deference to the superior rank a man (or woman)must earn respect as you should well know. Mr. Obama and now Mr. Wong have not done much to earn any. If you raise co-pays in the name of budget cuts but then increase payouts to cover it you have done nothing but buy votes and it looks as if he just purchased Wongs. Do us all a favor pfmcdoc and go sit in the corner with your glass of koolaid until you can learn to think for yourself. FYI the VFW is raising hell as well.
  25. I think the opportunity to sit in the Oval Office with the President of the United States for a quick photo shoot, and some Koolaid was just too much for Mr. Wong. To say that this President is on top of the employment situation is pretty funny, and to say that American Legion members are in favor of increased medical expenses just seems so out of touch. Any portion of my dues which is being spent so that folks like Mr. Wong can sit down for a photo opp has been a waste of money. Mr. Wong certainly does not share my views as he appears more interested in helping the President get reelected. Maybe he hopes to get invited back to dinner or something ? He just has to convince us that increased TRICARE co-pays are good for us, and token, ineffective jobs programs are the best that can be hoped for. After all as Mr. Wong reported, “The president said that in this economy, some cuts are unavoidable,” did he think to ask how it is that he came up with billions to bail out GM and the UAW, banks, and insurance companies, he found billions to throw down a rat hole for friends in various "green" energy concerns which went belly up, but gee whiz, we can't expect the men and women who wear the uniform to get a fair deal ? I can understand President Obama's anti-military views and stands, but for the life of me, I don't under where Mr. Wong is coming from ?
  26. johnvaudo, I went back and re-read the article as you suggested. Commander Wong stated to Obama that the American Legion supported the increase in Tri-Care co-pays. I didn't misread this and neither have the others who have commented here so far. I'm not sure how you are reaching the conclusion when you state, "he is only going on what we have told him". Who is the "we" that you are referring to? Who told Commander Wong this, when and how? Where did you get your percentages and how do you know that those are correct? I have contacted the American Legion about this through their main website. As I stated earlier, I am a member of VFW. I also belong to MOAA. Commander Wong's comments here are out of step with what these other VSOs are attempting to accomplish on our behalf. The veterans' population is small compared to most of American society and the VSOs need to stand united on this issue. I stand by my earlier position.
  27. Unfortunately we have an alleged commendar in chief who hates the military and just only pays any tribute to us for a low down publicity stunt. With due respect to our Commander Wong, he should walk out of the White House knowing that he was paid only lip service and nothing else by a opportunist LIAR! GOD HELP AMERICA, my county which I love is in terrible trouble because our present administration is bent on destroying everything that all that our brothers (and sisters) shed their blood for! Just sick at heart. An old cannon cocker (field artillery U.S. Army)
  28. Folks please re read this article he says increases in tricare have to be offset with pay increases or he won't support also remember he is only in office for 3 more months also remember if you don't like something contact your legislator and contact the AL Commander direct I can promise you he is only going on what we have told him if 105 of the 2 mil members say we don;t have a problem and 5% say we do and 85% don't comment either way guess what he is going to say IMHO that is my $.02
  29. If Wong believes Obama he is, at best, naive; at worst an accomplice!This President hasn't been truthful since he entered the political arena!
  30. Wong sure is WRONG! I am a Retired Navy Officer & have belonged to the American Legion for ove 30 years! With a "Commander" like Wong, I will be dropping my Membership! He has fallen for B.O.'s BS!! (and probably Voted for him)
  31. God help this organization if we keep leaders like Wong in a position Do not!,allow him to chase you away, band together and keep telling him what we want.
  32. This Commander must be either highly missinformed or he is a Card Carrying Obamanite! What the hell is this guy thinking? How can this Commander betray the trust of the membership in this manner? These Increases in TriCare are designed to get us off Tricare and on to an unconstitutional Obamacare exchange. Commander Wong, you should resign as Commander and join the ranks of this corrupt Obama administration. You certainly don't represent my interests and the interest of my many Vet friends and brothers. If our views are not heard they will certainly be felt by the drop off in membership.
  33. Unbelievable!!!! Absolutely unbelievable!!! This is my 2nd year in the American Legion. I've been in the VFW for over 20 and I can tell you that they aren't rolling over on Tri-Care increases the way that this Legion commander is doing. What a slap in the face Commander Wong to those people who have worked so hard for so many years and been given promises that this administration plans to break! Shame on you!
  34. Unavoidable cuts - on the backs of us that served over 20 years? Where does this insanity come from? And Wong agreeing to it? Extemely disappointed!
  35. commander Woo... are you kidding me.."you support the increases in Tri Care, if they are tied to cost of living increases" Do you realize what you are saying??? I, for one, and I am a member, will never understand that statement. If the Legion does not stand up against any increase in tricare...and these benefits have been promised over the course of many years...you can take my membership and shove it...I am not a recipient of tricare but many of my fellow veterans..my friends are...I will stand with them against anyone who proposes changes like you say you will support. I would apppreciate it if you would elaborate who supports these changes to tricare...does the Legion support these changes or is just you...I would very much appreciate clarification on this matter...if the legion supports it, and I cannot believe the rank and file do, then I cannot continue to be a member of that organization...I hope to see something elaborating on your statement.
  36. the american legion and the disabled veterans organizations for get about the disabled veterans who retired from the military and have less than 50% disability they can not get their military pensions.htese organizations need to step up to the plate for all veterans who are disabled and should be collecting both pension and disability from the va.
  37. Co-pay increases always exceed cost of living increases, if there are any cost of living increases. What was Commander Wong thinking!? It is OK for people who have been in the military to disagree, that is why we served in the military.
  38. The Tricare copay will rise 348% which is over $1,600 for Tricare. The 2013 Obama budget has this in it. This has been covered on Fox News. I served in the USAFR for 36 yrs. Turning 60 I started receiving retire pay and Tricare. Already my doctor's office notified me that they will no longer care for Tricare patients if the Payroll Tax Bill had not been extended. part of the Doc Fix. I have contacted all congresspeople in my State about these issues and received their standard boiler plate responses. Seems like no elected officials care for the military either active duty of retired. Been a memebr of the Legion over 20 years. A shame that I had just renewed my memebership for 2012.
  39. Do you believe what Pres. Obama said to Mr. Wong? I don't believe a word he say's - don't forget this is election year!!!!
  40. How does he support increasing our TriCare, when we are the smallest group in the country and our increases are based on 20+ years of service. The VA supports those who served just a few years or less and they are not asked to give..nor is our country being asked and less then 1% of them have EVER served? I do NOT support this Wong character and he should immediately step down, he does not speak for me or anyone I know who wants a increase of Cost of living to offset the "Cost of Living" not to offset the increase of the TriCare costs!! How does someone who is on SSAN and Retirement below the rank of Major afford these increases...up to 345% in the next 5 years?
  41. I hear you my brothers. We are all on TRICARE. We earned it with our blood and our lives! But let's not play retreat and taps on your membership just yet. Let's give our Legion a little time to recoup and plan their strategy. What happened in the Oval Office was politically proper for Wong. Would you have him chastise OB then? I think not. I'm sure they know the impact OB will have on all of us. For one, I pray we can replace him with someone responsible and compassionate to the needs of ALL the American people, and the military and their families. There is a lot more at risk in this great nation, as I'm sure you know. Job unemployment, the fuel crisis, the OBama Care, our very Constitution is being torn apart, thread by thread. Think about the law suit against the state of Arizona, trying to defend its' borders, and the threat of three states considering succeeding from the Union. My God, in three years, we have come to this?
  42. Im a life menber so I cant quit in protest to the direction the Legion has taken.I do not support Wong and the rest at the top,you are not talking for the rest of us##############
  43. If commander wong agree with TRICARE increases he is NUTS. He will see a large decrease in memebership. Pls, better expalin what you said. Unless you are one of OBAMA puppets.
  44. Good to know the American Legion supports increase in TRICARE copays. Makes it easier to throw their mailings in the trash...
  45. We have risked our lives in service to our country. What the hell has he (OB) done? For that matter, take a majority of the congress? "They" enjoy the benefits of their OWN medical and retirement benefits. Now WE are being made to suffer the penalty? I recall when he (OB) said the military should be responsible for their own medical insurance, -to pay for their own hospitalization, since they were AN ALL VOLUNTEER GROUP! We need to wake up and remember this my fellow veterans, when we go to the voting polls!
  46. I am out of the American Legion with comments like Commander Wong's. Been a member for over 20 years. let me know when you are protecting our interests and I will join again. Until then, Goodbye.
  47. Mr Wong should fight against this bill to an increase in both premiums and copays to both active duty and retiree healthcare (TRICARE). OR he should step down and let someone that will fight against this bill take over. Premiums to increase nearly $1500/year is something no military family should have to put up with. OR means testing, you got to be kidding me.
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