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Wong to Congress: Address vet employment

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Wong to Congress: Address vet employment
National Commander Fang A. Wong addresses a joint session of Senate and House Veterans' Affairs Committees. Photo by Craig Roberts

As the federal government deals with a trillion dollar budget deficit, many difficult spending and reduction decisions will need to be made. And while The American Legion completely understands this predicament, it doesn't want those decisions to strip away or pare down benefits that America's veterans truly have earned.

National Commander Fang A. Wong presented that message during a Wednesday hearing in front of a joint session of the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees. Wong presented the Legion's legislative priorities during the hearing, focusing on veterans employment, the Department of Veterans Affairs' claims backlog, and the treatment of post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries.

But before he finished, Wong made it clear the Legion's stance on dealing with the budget crisis.

"The American Legion understands the financial challenges our nation now faces," he said. "The Legion understands that tough spending decisions are coming. That is why the Legion greatly appreciates the assurances our veterans have been given - from members of Congress, (VA Secretary Eric Shinseki) and the president himself at our national convention - that benefits earned by those who've served our country in uniform won't be sacrificed to achieve budget goals. Our veterans have sacrificed enough. They have paid in full their debt to society. However, the debt society owes them is quite another matter, and it's a matter that The American Legion strongly believes this committee is willing to address."

Wong said Congress needs to pass the Military Construction and VA Appropriations measure by Oct. 1 to assure a seamless transmission of benefits to veterans. "Don't condemn VA to another round of uncertainty through a series of continuing resolutions," Wong said. "You are so close to the finish line. Help start this fiscal year off on the right foot for veterans."

Wong spoke at length about the job crisis facing the country's veterans - a figure of more than 1 million veterans without employment, including 632,000, ages 35-60. Congress can pass legislation creating incentives to promote the hiring of veterans to help reduce those figures. "Civilian licensing agencies must recognize military training, education and experience when a veteran transitions to the civilian workforce," Wong said. "A soldier who drives a truck in a convoy through hazardous routes in Iraq can drive a truck to get eggs to market on time in the American Midwest. A Navy corpsman who saved Marines on the battlefields of Afghanistan has the skills to render emergency aid as an EMT back home. Yet the education, training and experience garnered from military service is not recognized by civilian licensing and certification agencies.

"The American Legion urges Congress to work with DoD, the Department of Labor and VA to find a way to translate these skills and put these veterans to work where they can make an impact. They have already proven they know how to do these things. Give them a chance to use these valuable capabilities in the workplace."

Wong said a key to turning around the unemployment crisis is a stronger effort by the federal government to hire veterans. "Eighty percent of veterans employed by the federal government are employed by one of three departments - Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs," he said. "Surely there are other areas where veterans can be key contributors. Like the civilian workplace, federal employers need to realize the military prepares people to be team players, top-notch planners and winners. We need to stop asking why the Departments of Education, the Interior, or Energy would hire a veteran and start asking ‘why not?' If we're going to show America's private employers that a veteran has the job skills to succeed in any environment, the government needs to set the example."

But, Wong said, the private sector must also be involved. He praised Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., chairwoman of the Senate Veterans Affairs' Committee, as well as her House counterpart, Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., for legislation they've advanced that provide incentives for hiring veterans.

"The American Legion hopes you will collaborate and bring your parties together to get a jobs bill for America's veterans passed," Wong said. "It is our obligation as a nation to ensure that every single member of the military who chooses to leave the military can effectively transfer his or her education, training and experience into a civilian career field."

Wong also addressed a VA claims backlog of more than 1 million that leaves many veterans footing the bill for their medication or treatment. "Some are forced to choose between medication and food on the table," he said. "Some go into massive debt while waiting for VA to rule; even a retroactive settlement can't repair a credit history or return a home lost through a mortgage default."

Accuracy, Wong said, is the only way to shrink the backlog. "Unfortunately, VA still is using speed as the primary measurement of success," he said. "But as we all know, when we rush, we make errors. Who pays the price when errors are made in this instance? I'll tell you who: the veteran, who may see a claims process go from nine months to five years because of one error.

"VA needs to develop a better mechanism for tracking errors, and it needs to use the knowledge of those errors to make a better training system. Everyone makes mistakes; the key is the ability to learn from those mistakes and avoid them in the future. VA and others will complain that training time takes away from time spent working on claims, but do you want somebody working on those claims if they don't know how to do it right?"

A key to reducing the backlog, Wong said, is VA and DoD getting back on track with the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record. "The GAO report last February that highlighted severe problems with implementation is troubling to The American Legion, which has been promised more seamless transitions for years," he said. "The VLER needs to be a coordinated effort, with frequent and clear lines of communication, to be effective. "

Wong also briefed the committee on the Legion's ad-hoc committee on PTS and TBI, which has met several times and heard from national experts on mental health, and military, VA and private-sector specialists to consider new strategies to meet the needs of veterans suffering from either condition.

"If this American Legion committee has learned one thing, it's that there is no magic bullet for curing post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury, and if the treatment works, regardless of what the treatment is, it should be used to help the suffering veteran," Wong said. "Prescriptions are not always the only answer, and sometimes, drugs only make the condition worse, especially if they are drugs issued under a ‘fail first' philosophy when medical science is absolutely sure of the efficiency of other drugs.

"Other options need to be explored. And the cost of researching and implementing those options shouldn't be an issue. The toll of war does not end at discharge. For those who are disabled, physically or mentally, it is a lifelong engagement."

For video highlights of the hearing, click here.

For a transcript of the hearing, as well as the Legion's written testimony, click here.

 

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Katie Aberle Martin

September 28, 2014 - 7:46am

Mike, Hope you remember me-Mary's good friend from Stormont-vail. she had talked about your dedication to the American Legion and how proud of you she was. knowing your back ground and family I know you will be an excellent National Commander. My husband,Byron and I are legion members of our post here in Gridley,il. wishing you and your family the best and God's Blessings.

Joseph kuhns, SFC USArmy, SOAR160 retired

June 2, 2014 - 8:59pm

I read with great concern the National Commanders editorial in the latest Iowa Legionnaire. Disgust would be a more appropriate term. In his editorial "Shinseki Must Go" not once was the term Union mentioned! These appointed, retired military leaders have zero experience managing unions. The VA is so hide-bound with union regulations and roadblocks! The problems will never be solved until all unions are thrown out of the VA. It's that simple. Until some milk toast politician even mentions the word "union", I'm not listening. Into the future, my prayers go out to those who rely on the VA for health Care, or God forbid, Obama Care. So, answer the question for this soldier, are you for the soldier or the union thug? If you can't answer this simple question, you don't deserve to hold the position as National Commander, Your choice. Your soldiers. Joseph kuhns, SFC, USArmy, SOAR160th, (retired)

Grosvenor W. Fish, Jr.

May 30, 2014 - 12:43am

The resignation of Erick Shinseki would be the worst thing that could happen to Veterans. He is the only one with the skills to bring about the change required. Rick is an incredible soldier, leader and wounded warrior. He knows the feeling of being wounded and the required treatment to recover.

AndyBlackwood

May 22, 2014 - 7:05pm

To National Commander Dan the man, I am encouraged by your support of us in this VA debacle, but from our silly sincere conversations over the years, would expect no less. Just a short note to show support from the little place we call West Virginia, keep up the good work!!!! Lead the way, All the way, Sir!!!! I'll see y'all in Charlotte!

John Sylvester

May 7, 2014 - 9:57am

I have been a Legion Member for many years and retired from over 36 years of active duty almost 10 years ago. While I join every American and every veteran in deploring what is being investigated in a Pheonix VA facility, I must say that calling for the head of Ric Shinseki is exactly what we SHOULD NOT DO! If anyone can wade in and fix the deplorable bureacracy and apparently vile acts of a few in the VA, he is the one to do it. If some political hack of the Administration is put in there, it will be worse. Shinseki is an honorable Soldier, Patriot and Leader. Let him fix it!!

Conley W. Ford

February 13, 2014 - 5:05pm

Feb. 8, 2014 The American Legion National Headquarters To: National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger and Members of the National Executive Committee. Again I still ask why we, as veterans and members of the American Legion organization, continue to discriminate against many of our brother veterans after 90 years by treating them as second class veterans because of service eligibility dates. It is time to tear this wall down! Conley W. Ford Thank you for your prompt response to my Feb. 6, 2014 e-mail, addressed to our National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger and Members of the National Executive Committee, regarding American Legion membership eligibility. However, while I understand why my original email was forwarded to you as membership chairman, I was a bit disappointed that my email sent to DKA at the American Legion National Headquarters was not sent to those to whom it was addressed. Your response including a brief (AL) American Legion history and changing eligibility dates coupled with current statistical data help support my point and gets to the crux of the issue: membership eligibility dates need to be eliminated. As you indicated, since the first approval of AL charter of 1919 there have been several changes in membership eligibility dates. Going forward there would be no need to change the charter over the eligibility dates if the AL removed that restriction altogether! Only then will every veteran be viewed as having the same basic status. We can and must put an end to classifying veterans according to their service dates or over fear of degrading organizational traditions. As a long time AL member, a charter member of two Posts, and founder of a Post, I am not proud of our organization when I come in contact with my fellow veterans who do not qualify for membership due to service eligibility dates. On different occasions when out trying to recruit AL members, I have often met veterans that do not qualify for the AL. These proud veterans often relate to me that they cannot understand why the AL has branded them as second -class veterans even though they served our country. The argument over a wartime Veteran versus a peacetime Veteran should be put to rest by the AL: the reality is a Veteran is Veteran is a Veteran. Our nation has and will always be theoretically at war whether it is over budget funding to maintain and improve our national defense; protecting our borders and interests at sea and overseas; or engaged with a hostile enemy at home or abroad. The AL National leadership should seize the moment and prepare a resolution to be voted on at our next national convention eliminating all military service dates as a perquisite for joining the AL. As you can see, I feel very strongly about this issue and am willing to help fight for change. However, I feel that by starting at the grassroots level, there could be major delays and I would be sent jumping through a lot of AL bureaucratic organizational channels before a resolution would be properly crafted and made acceptable to present on the floor at the upcoming National Convention. I also believe an issue of this kind and scope would be better handled from the top down rather than from the bottom up. Therefore to avoid any delays and to put this on a fast track, it is my recommendation that the National Commander and members of the National Committee should take this issue on preparing a charter change resolution that stipulates the removal of all military service dates as a perquisite for veterans t o join the AL and present this for a vote at our next national convention. Respectfully yours, Conley W.Ford - Reg USAF Veteran 1960-1968 Founder & Past Post Commander & Current Member Scituate Al Post 144, Scituate, MA 02066 To: AL Response to Mr. Ford AL National Membership Division Subject: FW: IA1356FW: Why We, as Veterans, Discriminate against each other Mr. Ford: Thank you for your e-mail regarding eligibility for membership in The American Legion. Hopefully, the following explanation will give you a clearer understanding to the reasons for The American Legion's apparent resistance to "open up" membership to a wider base of veterans. The American Legion was chartered in 1919 as a WARTIME veterans organization. Our only criteria is honorable service during a wartime period. These are established by Congress and can only be modified by that elected body, although, as you will see, the Legion can and does submit changes to these periods. Also, our eligibility requirements closely parallel those of the Department of Veterans Affairs for wartime veterans' benefits. At National Conventions of The American Legion, operating through the "resolutions" process, this organization has addressed the eligibility question many times since we were originally chartered, and has asked Congress to change the eligibility dates in our charter several times to recognize subsequent periods of national crisis. One of the most recent was November 5, 1991, when a bill was passed granting eligibility to those who served on active duty during the Persian Gulf War. This period began on August 2, 1990 and will remain open until Congress declares an end to hostilities. Also, another change that came about in the past couple of years was the bill enacted to move back the opening eligibility date of the Vietnam War from December 22, 1961 to February 28, 1961. This became public law in November of 1997. There have been other calls by our members, and others, to change our eligibility dates to include those who served in the military from 1946, the end of World War II, to the present. However, those movements have yet to gain sufficient support to pass a resolution at an American Legion National Convention. Did you know that there are over 22,000,000 - 25,000,000 American veterans living today and are survivors of the 20th & 21st Century armed conflicts? Of this number, less than 3,000,000 to 5,000,000 are NOT considered to be wartime veterans. We draw our membership from the pool of eligible wartime veterans, and of that pool, we have only about 11-12% of the total. Some states have a much higher percentage signed up, but nation-wide, it remains at a little over one-tenth of the potential. If the Legion were to change its eligibility dates and open them up to all veterans, how many more of those 3,000,000 to 5,000,000 could be expected to join? Based on the 11 - 12% factor, this MIGHT translate to about 350,000 to 600,000 new members. The American Legion believes that even though this is a sizable number, this is not enough of an increase to jeopardize over 95 years of tradition. You would think that everyone would flock to an organization that opens up membership to everyone, but this certainly is not the case. The AMVETs, a very fine veteran service organization, is a good example of this. They have different membership standards than The American Legion (any honorably discharged veteran that has served after September 15, 1940 may join them), but only about 200,000 have chosen their group over others. As a wartime veteran's service organization, The American Legion has enjoyed a status over the years with the United States Congress, and other government agencies, that provides us respect, as well as a relationship that is likened to preferential treatment. As a special interest group, the Congress, and others, feel The American Legion is the leading advocate for veterans rights and benefits, and it is because of the standards that have been set; we may have restrictions on membership, but we also look after the best interest of ALL of America's veterans. The explanation I've offered is not personal opinion, but that of those who make changes to The American Legion National Constitution and By-Laws, including the philosophy upon which we stand; that is, the convention delegate members of the organization. To date, they are steadfast in keeping eligibility standards where they are; however, this does not preclude the possibility of future changes. As I've pointed out earlier, the membership dates have been changed a few times, and it may happen again, but the matter can only be addressed at such time a proper resolution is presented for consideration. The American Legion sincerely appreciates the service given by all its veterans; those who have or are currently serving during a hostile period, as well as those who have served during peacetime, but we must also follow and abide by the rules and regulations that have been established. If you would like help drafting a resolution, you need to be in direct contact with your Department Headquarters in Boston. Sincerely, Membership Division The American Legion National Headquarters Subject: IA1356FW: Why We, as Veterans, Discriminate against each other Subject: Why We, as Veterans, Discriminate against each other February 6, 2014 To: National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger & Members of National Executive Committee. I ask why we, as veterans, discriminate against each other, especially within our national nonprofit membership military organizations such as the VFW, American Legion, AMVETS, and others. This is an issue that I sincerely feel we can address and make a difference now and going forward for our younger, newer veterans. As veterans, we all took freely the same oath of allegiance to lay down our lives to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. So why aren’t 95 percent of veterans interested in participating in nonprofit military veterans organizations? There are no doubt many reasons but I maintain one of the biggest reason is the wartime dates set by Congress used by the nonprofit veteran military organizations for determining membership eligibility. In my opinion, utilizing specific wartime dates and/or military service campaign ribbons/metals/badges as perquisites for membership in military nonprofit veterans organization does disservice to Veterans and should be abandoned. To make myself perfectly clear: A Veteran is a Veteran is a Veteran! All military veterans are veterans regardless of service in the Regular’s/Reserve/National Guard/Coast Guard or whether the nation is at war or peace. We all took the same military oath of allegiance and wore the uniform honorably. Any Veteran should be eligible to join any military non-profit organization; those organizations having restrictions on membership should open their doors removing their antiquated membership requirements and welcome their brother and sister veterans among their ranks as full members. After all every member of the American Legion is charged with helping our fellow Veterans. For one to exclude/restrict the same veterans we are trying to help from joining our membership rolls goes against the basic Spirit of Americanism and needs to be addressed not only by the American Legion but by all military nonprofit organizations. The life blood of any organization is its membership and if approached correctly we would have an opportunity to grow by recruiting from the other 95% of Veterans that do not belong to a veteran’s organization. Hopefully someday soon when a veteran drives by an American Legion Post, VFW, DAV, AMVETS and other military non-profit military organizations -- you will see lighted signage in front of their facilities proudly stating: “We Welcome All Veterans.” Veterans must stand together if we are to keep our nation and our non-profit military lobbying veterans organizations strong. In my opinion staying strong will not continue unless we make a major change in current membership requirements to include many of the other (95%) that are being denied. The right thing to do for all concerned is to provide an open welcoming door for all the Veterans regardless of their service connected dates. The American Legion National Assembly should act boldly on this issue and be the first to open the door welcoming all veterans. After all, a Veteran is a Veteran is a Veteran! (Your comments/help on the next step I/We should all take in further addressing this issue) Conley W. Ford - USAF Veteran 1960 – 1968 Founder & Past Commander - Scituate American Legion Post 144

AndyBlackwood

May 22, 2014 - 7:51pm

I am not a National Officer, or anything of importance that I consider, other than a comrade. But as I am a 3rd generation Legionnaire, I believe I can give some answer to your concern. We are by federal charter a wartime veterans service organization, eligibility is tied to service of no less than 1 day during wartime, that is the reason for limiting eligibility. To change this, we would need to open the charter to changes, which would permit many changes detrimental to our organization, it wouldn't just be limited to eligibility, but more than likely to special interests that don't really like us a lot. So, it is beneficial to keep what we have, there are other veterans service organizations any veteran can join and be a part of, regardless of time of service, and in some cases work closely with The American Legion. I understand your concern, and had the same myself, until researching the cause. I hope this satisfies your concern.

nuna

February 12, 2014 - 4:45am

They go through several weeks to learn how to act in the military but we don't spend anytime preparing them to get out of the military.

Richard Douglas Brannan

October 16, 2013 - 6:41pm

I received notification to pay my membership dues. I hesitate to submit this fee because of the exclusionary policy for membership. Eligibility as I read, is to serve 1 day active duty during a Congressionally set date window. I qualify just fine but my father in law had the audacity to serve our country between 1955 and 1961. His Navy training, basic, MOS school I bet was remarkably similar to those fortunate Legion members who served on the other side of these dates. The men and women who serve this nation at any time are at the same risk of going to war as any of the rest. How many can say they were in combat, actual combat? How many can say they were "in Country"? How many even held combat MOS qualifications? Most of us were REMF's who did clerical, supply, maintenance, communication etc. duties. How many vets served honorably, carrying our flag around the world, ready to face whatever was sent their way? All of them! And now some ex-company clerk who never lost sight of the USA but By God his enlistment dates fit in the right spot, can tell another vet he can't belong. Sounds like a fair deal don't it. And telling that to a man who got out of the military and put on a police uniform for the next 32 years of civilian life, protecting the public from individuals who you wouldn't want in your neighborhood, "you can't belong to our little club cause you don't fit the date scheme that was set by our politicians that probably fudged a month or two this way and that in order to slip himself or his cronies into "war era status". Sure seems wrong to me. I believe the American Legion needs to look into this before they embarrass themselves anymore. Member at risk of Post 68, Hutchinson, Ks.

leupold74

March 15, 2013 - 10:16am

What is the American Legion's position on "Gun Control" at the Federal level? And, NYS Safe Act?

MAJ Dave

February 1, 2013 - 1:40pm

I miss National Commander Wong. He had a very clearly-stated and well-articulated Legislative Agenda that focused on the Military and Veterans Issues. He spoke for all of us, and he commanded the respect of both parties in Congress, thus furthering our cause. The Current National Commander, Jimmie Foster, has taken all of this great work and thrown it in the dirt. Foster's legislative agenda has nothing to do with Veterans. His priority seems to be on immigration and so-called amnesty, rather than on Veterans and our Families. He speaks out of turn, he divides the membership, he fails to represent us, and he has tossed aside our Veterans and their issues in order to focus on his own personal far-right-wing agenda. He has also alienated more than half of those Congressmen and Senators whose support we need for Veterans Causes by instead focusing on divisive and comples immigration issues; they will now not listen to a word he says, but rather write him (and therefore us!) off as a quack. Perhaps National Commander Wong would be willing to come back and serve the remainder of National Commander Foster's term and focusing on getting us back on a good solid legislative agenda and on furthering the cause of Veterans?

Thomsbr

February 26, 2012 - 12:15am

Regarding your article "Ill Winds of change", I must point out that accused traitor Bradley Manning helped motivate the democratic Arab Spring movements.

FedHRXpert

September 25, 2011 - 8:18am

Part III Federal Employment of Veterans Aside from the time, effort and resources expended by HR offics when they opt to use competitive hiring procedures is the time, effort and resources expended by ALL applicant obtaining data, writing, editing their resumes, experience statements, KSAs, responding to questionnaires, copy work, etc. to meet the closing date of the vacancy announcement. Notably, most applicants have yet to hear back from HR ofcs on the status and outcome of their applications. Combined, these staffing practices of using competitive hiring procedures instead of noncompetitive hiring highly qualified eligibles such as disabled vets has resulted in a public relations problems for agencies and a negative backlash against veterans & veterans preference. The absence of analytics & greater detail in OPM's report on veteran hires left much to the interpretation & imagination of untrained readers. Which warranted further technical review of the data. Much more to report.

daveniles

January 18, 2012 - 5:54pm

I believe that the veterans hiring preferance is a joke. I have applied to many jobs to which I am fully quilified on USAJobs and heard squate back except to say that I did not meet the cut. Retired First Sergeant, Military Police Officer and Intelligence anaylst with real world experience. Now I am a Correctional Sergeant with the State of Washington and I still don't make the cut for a federal job. Give me a break.

FedHRXpert

September 25, 2011 - 7:50am

Part II Federal Employment of Veterans OPM’s hiring data on vets indicates severely disabled vet-hires, despite being highly qualified & noncompetitive appointment eligible, are being required to compete for jobs they could easily & simply be appointed to noncompetitively! This is because HR offices opt to use traditional time & labor consuming competitive procedures to fill federal jobs despite expressed interests by mgmt officials to fill jobs faster. Agency Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCOs) & HR offices blame staffing delays and other HR issues on the existing federal personnel system which they say is too rigid, inflexible & outdated. Yet the hiring data reflects agency HR offices themselves under the oversight of CHCOs are opting to use old traditional time & labor consuming competitive procedures instead of using available streamlined noncompetitive hiring authorities such as those for disabled vets. Traditional hiring procedures create work for HR & scores of applicant

FedHRXpert

September 25, 2011 - 7:35am

Part I Federal Employment of Veterans The bad news is that OPM's report on federal employment of vets for FY2010 indicates less than 10% of ALL NEW 30%+ disabled vets hired in 2009 and 2010 were hired NONCOMPETITIVELY despite being eligible for noncompetitive appointments. This finding does not support the widely held but negative perception that disabled veterans are being hired noncompetitively. That’s why it is important to share this data in support of transparency and fact which would otherwise never be made known to the public by HR to disquiet the current backlash against veterans and veteran preference eligibles. Adjusted for merit promotion selections, OPM’s hiring data for vets indicates more than 90% or 13,892 of the new 15,435 30%+ disabled vet-hires in 2010 & 90% or 12,156 of 13,507 30%+ disabled hires in 2009 were actually hired COMPETITIVELY! The good news is that disabled vets are competing successfully for federal jobs.

FedHRXpert

September 25, 2011 - 7:26am

Part IV Federal Employment of Veterans Better, more effective and efficient federal hiring of veterans and severely disabled veterans is readily available which can be implemented overnight nationally, by state by county, by metro area, etc. and worldwide. This national initiative would not require a Presidential Executive Order or a congressional act. Most national &and multinational corporations have used this approach for years. So why can't the nation's largest employer - the federal govt us it? Have the American Legion contact me if they want to see better results overnight. I am a Vietnam Vet, SDVOSB registered,certified and a federal employment expert. As my website reflects, I am available 24/7 to brief, advise, train & coach service providers, VSO, TAP, DTAP, DVOP & LVERS couselors including voc-rehab specialists on all aspects of federal employment worldwide including conducting technical reviews of federal hiring practices whic resulted in these findings. Semper fi.

Colmountain

September 24, 2011 - 1:07pm

If there is a skill in the military such as EMT's,Firefighters,Military Police, etc. They should be equivalent to standards in the private sector and as such should be transferable to the private sector as licensed , if required. Also Veterans that get a job should entitle the employer for 1/2 pay for the training period. This would encourage to give our veterans a chance in the marketplace for a job. This is a small cost to pay for our freedom that the veteran fought for all of us. Fair is fair. Also if 2 people have same qualifications except one is a veteran they should have a higher standing then the non veteran. We have many issues in the country but all veterans have given more and deserve the respect for serving.If someone does not like it, join one of the services and serve!

sgtal

September 23, 2011 - 3:51pm

I applaud the Commander for pushing Employment for Veterans. Having faced problems finding work when I came hpme from work I understand the need to help our newest veterans. But we still have hundreds of thousands of "older" veterans who are still productive and in need of work. Lets get work for all veterans not just the FNGs.

barden_r

September 23, 2011 - 9:00am

I have read the comments here and agree with just about everything said. However to state that this Government is Anti-Business...really!!! If anything it is ANTI WORKER. Congress must address the Illegal immigration issue, and the shipping of jobs overseas. Part of the problem with this economy is that the multi millionaires/billionaires want to have the work done and not pay the workers or taxes. The President has made the statement that WE should all pay our fair share yet thinks corporate need only pay on investment but did not address income. Middle class workers are being asked to give 100+% and not ask for anything while corporate can have their cake and eat it too. Unemployment will never reach 0% but it is time that congress and ALL state legislations start working for the people they represent, and NOT just corporate. A Transition from Military to civilian is a good idea but before it can work, an agenda as to what it looks like is needed.

Dave Gorak

September 22, 2011 - 9:08pm

It would have been better had Commander Fong asked why the federal government continues to allow 7 million illegal aliens to keep their jobs in non-farm industries, including transportation, while 22 million Americans are unable to find full-time jobs. His question would have reflected the Legion's concerns about the impact of mass immigration on the U.S. workforce stated in its 2007 "Policy on Illegal Immigration: A Strategy to Address Illegal Immigration in the United States." It's way past time that Legion districts around the country stop pussyfooting around this issue and paying not much more than lip service to the need to put vets back to work. "Job fairs" alone will not cut the mustard.

malfryer

September 22, 2011 - 7:49pm

As long as current federal employees, and their offspring, and families, have preference on any and all jobs with any federal agency they will prevent veterans from getting anything but the scraps. Then the other 'qualifications' of sex, race, handicap, etc. all put the veterans' preference at the bottom of the heap. This federal employee union benefit makes a folly of the veterans' preference in federal jobs. None of them would have these high paying jobs if it weren't for the veterans, yet the veterans who were under paid and under benefitted, kept these coddled fed employees' 40 hour weeks and their 4 week vacations all safe and sound. It ticks me off that the VA can't seem to find qualified people to work for them while at the same time taking 18 months to 'train' the people they do hire. Hire a veteran, he/she is far more motivated than most others.

MG1

March 4, 2014 - 10:12am

Excuse me, 90% of all the Federals I worked with were Veterans. I got on with the Federal Government solely because of my Veteran status and skills.

Bob95490

September 22, 2011 - 6:59pm

Thank you Comrade Commander for so succinctly elaborating the American Legion’s Legislative Agenda; your eloquence on behalf of unemployed veterans and the need for veteran education and work experiences to be recognized by the civilian and government employment sectors Finally, thank you for demanding the VA and DoD clean up their act as it pertains to veterans health records as well as VA personnel being trained to do their jobs properly. This was something that needed to be said and the ones you were addressing were the ones that needed to hear you. Robert Ireland (PUFL) Post 174 Willits, CA

Tony Bencivenga

September 22, 2011 - 5:42pm

Wong is what we need. Keep up the good work. Semper FI

llarzelere

September 22, 2011 - 4:29pm

However, there are still veterans from previous wars not fully transitioned or employed in this economy. There are some 14 million unemployed Americans, countless under-employed as well. This bill helps maybe 1 million unemployed, fixing maybe 7% of the problem. The truth of the matter is that neither congress, nor the president ... nor for that matter the judiciary! ... has the ability to "fix" the unemployment problem. The fix lies entirely with the private sector, civilian business community, who will need to muster the moral courage to dip into the mountain of cash that it has accumulated during the Great Recession, and hire 14 million Americans at middle-class wages for worthwhile employment. The next problem is that, in so doing, they tacitly give their support to a President and Congress that are inherently anti-business. Since the government cannot tap into their reserves for them, you can pretty much assume this cannot and will not happen.

r sweney

September 22, 2011 - 3:51pm

Congratultions Commander Wong.I think you are doing an excellent job as our new Commander. Keep up the good work!

mstyron

September 22, 2011 - 1:16am

It is good that we want military training to be recognized. That will only fix part of the problem but we need to transition the Veteran's like we did when they went to Boot Camp. They go through several weeks to learn how to act in the military but we don't spend anytime preparing them to get out of the military.

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