Medal of Honor valor, Burn Pit advocacy and veteran suicide awareness

In this week’s episode of The American Legion’s Tango Alpha Lima podcast, the co-hosts discuss today’s most relevant issues to military and veterans including a recent Medal of Honor recipient, toxic exposures and veteran suicide.

Co-hosts Mark Seavey, Ashley Gorbulja-Maldonado and Jeff Daly open by sharing the story of Sgt. Maj. Thomas “Patrick” Payne. A Ranger assigned to the U.S. Army's Special Operations Command, Payne received the U.S. military’s highest honor for valor on the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“This is impressive even among the rare air of the heroes he now joins,” Daly says. Read more about Payne’s valor here.

Turning to toxic exposure, Gorbulja- Maldonado points out that it was only last year when Congress passed the Blue Water Navy Act, which enabled more Vietnam veterans to receive VA benefits due to their Agent Orange exposure.

“Why does it always take this long? And knowing the system, the fact that veterans are put through to prove or deny their claim is heart-breaking,” she says, turning to a recent Capitol Hill appearance by Jon Stewart. ”The fact that we have to get major celebrities to network and advocate for us is sad, even though I’m happy that it is happening. It makes me lividly mad that we have to force the VA to do anything.”

The co-hosts also discuss the politics that are interfering with legislation aimed at helping to reduce the number of suicides by veterans. (Help from the VA’s Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by phone, text or online chat.)

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