Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Kitchen Table Gang serves those who serve

I have volunteered for The Kitchen Table Gang for several years. I have never met Charlie Taliaferro (he lives in CA) but he is one of my heroes and my friend. Check out his newest weekly update below.

This is what he sent me:

Dear Pola: Boy have we ever had the rain out here! While it's much needed it gets old after awhile! Hope you are well and staying dry? Below is our weekly newsletter for you to send out to our subscribers. I really "thank you" for doing this over the years. Best regards, Charles T.



U.S. Military Women Exposed to More Combat Than Ever Before
Female American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have been involved in more combat than in prior wars and have the same post-traumatic stress disorder rate as men, a new study has found. For the study, researchers looked at over 7,000 active-duty soldiers who served in the war zones and found that 4 percent of female soldiers reported killing, 9 percent reported witnessing killing, 31 percent reported exposure to death and 7 percent suffered a combat-related injury. In comparison, 1 percent of female soldiers involved in the 1990-1991 Gulf War reported killing, 14 percent witnessed a death and 2 percent suffered a combat-related injury, the investigators found.This is a very interesting study, see it at http://news.yahoo.com/u-military-women-exposed-more-combat-ever-190408538.html

Do you have a old, tattered flag that's laying around your office or home that’s not fit for display and you just don't know what to do with it? Then send it to us! We will properly dispose of it according to federal laws. The Kitchen Table Gang will retire your worn out and frayed American flags with honor! Anything else is desecration! Send your flags to the Kitchen Table Gang Trust, 42922 Avenue 12, Madera, CA 93638-8866 and we will dispose of your flags in a proper and dignified manner with full honors and dignity pursuant to the United States Flag Code Section 8K (PL 93-344). Last year the KTG retired over 2,000 American flags! When you send us a flag, please enclose a small donation for this service which allows us to continue our many patriotic programs. Thank you very much!

Persian Gulf Claims Deadline Extended
The Department of Veterans Affairs has extended the presumptive period for Persian Gulf War veterans to file claims for undiagnosed illnesses. The new deadline is Dec. 31, 2016. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 25-35 percent of veterans of Desert Shield/Desert Storm have undiagnosed and chronic multi-symptom illnesses, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and concentration problems. For more information, visit VA's (http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/gulfwar/) Gulf War Illnesses website.

Hod did you get such a crazy name?
People are always asking us how the Kitchen Table Gang got its unusual name. Well, in 1981, several of us guys had a weekly penny-ante poker game at my house which was played around our kitchen table. One day Johnny Choate (my long-time fishing buddy) had the great idea of taking a portion of every pot and doing something positive for our hospitalized veterans, homeless veterans and our troops deployed overseas. It started out just at our nearby VA hospital over 31 years ago and it rapidly spread throughout the United States. After awhile, our wives and friends started calling us the "Kitchen Table Gang" and the name stuck, and we have been serving hospitalized veterans and soldiers and Marines deployed overseas ever since.

VA Announces Changes to Emergency Care Payment Policy
The Department of Veterans Affairs announced today a change in regulations regarding payments for emergency care provided to eligible Veterans in non-VA facilities.
“This provision helps ensure eligible Veterans continue to get the emergency care they need when VA facilities are not available,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.
The new regulation extends VA’s authority to pay for emergency care provided to eligible Veterans at non-VA facilities until the Veterans can be safely transferred to a VA medical facility. More than 100,000 Veterans are estimated to be affected by the new rules, at a cost of about $44 million annually. VA operates 121 emergency departments across the country, which provide resuscitative therapy and stabilization in life-threatening situations. They operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. VA also has 46 urgent care units, which provide care for patients without scheduled appointments who need immediate medical or psychiatric attention. For more information about emergency care in non-VA facilities, visit www.nonvacare.va.gov.

Time for troops to think about absentee ballots
The Republican presidential nomination could be all but sewn up after tomorrow’s South Carolina primary, but Army voting officials are reminding soldiers that doesn’t mean election season is finished. Time for troops to think about absentee ballots. The Republican presidential nomination could be all but sewn up after tomorrow’s South Carolina primary, but Army voting officials are reminding soldiers that doesn’t mean election season is finished.
Time for troops to think about absentee ballots. The Republican presidential nomination could be all but sewn up after tomorrow’s South Carolina primary, but Army voting officials are reminding soldiers that doesn’t mean election season is finished.

A financial slap in the face for military veterans
Starting this semester, military tuition assistance has been reduced from 100 percent to 50 percent. What does this say to our brave men and women who are returning home, battle-hardened and wanting to move on with their lives? http://www.collegian.com/index.php/article/2012/01/a_financial_slap_in_the_face_for_military_veterans

Rules Restrict Political Activity
With election activity steadily picking up, the Department of Defense (DoD) is issuing regular election-year guidance to remind military and Defense Department civilians that they are subject to several sets of rules regulating their involvement in political activities. (http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/134410p.pdf) DOD Directive 1344.10 applies to most members of the armed forces. Also, the (http://www.osc.gov/hatchact.htm) Hatch Act applies to federal civilian employees, and employees also are subject to widely published DoD guidance that discusses participation in political campaigns and elections. These rules are designed to prevent military members' or federal civilian employees' participation in political activities that imply -- or even appear to imply -- official sponsorship, approval or endorsement.

Law Eases TSA Screenings
President Barack Obama signed a bill into law Jan. 3 to streamline airport screening procedures for servicemembers and their families traveling on official orders. The Risk-based Security Screening for Members of the Armed Forces Act gives the Transportation Security Administration six months to develop and implement a plan to expedite screening services for servicemembers on orders and in uniform. The agency also expedites the screening process for Honor Flight Network veterans, and partners with the Defense Department to expedite screening for wounded warriors and their families.

National Guard preps to leave border
Hundreds of National Guard troops are preparing to leave their posts along the U.S./Mexico border by the end of February. They have provided support to the U.S. Border Patrol for the last 18 months from hilltops as lookouts and on special security teams. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/jan/18/national-guard-preps-to-leave-border/

USO Connects Families
A cooperative effort between the USO and the federal non-profit organization United Through Reading allows overseas personnel to read to their children back home through recorded video. They can read for up to 30 minutes while being recorded. USO patrons can bring their own book or choose from the selection provided. For more information, visit the (http://www.unitedthroughreading.org/military-program) United Through Reading website.

VGLI Insurance Coverage Increases
Some veterans covered under the Veterans Group Life Insurance program (VGLI) now have the opportunity to increase their coverage to the current maximum coverage under the Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) program. Veterans can increase their coverage by $25,000 at each five-year anniversary date of their policy to the current legislated maximum SGLI coverage of $400,000. Eligible veterans are notified of this opportunity a week before the start of the 120-day period prior to their anniversary date, and twice more before the actual anniversary date. For more information about VA's Insurance Program or other VA benefits, visit the VA website at (http://www.va.gov/) www.va.gov or call 1-800-827-1000. Veterans are also encouraged to visit VA's web portal (https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits-portal/ebenefits.portal?_nfpb=true&_windowLabel=TemplatedFilterContentPortlet_24&_urlType=action&wlpTemplatedFilterContentPortlet_24_tab=subTopic&wlpTemplatedFilterContentPortlet_24_eb.event=tabEvent&_pageLabel=Insur href=) eBenefits - Insurance.

VA Deploying Mobile Centers
The Department of Veterans Affairs has deployed 20 additional Mobile Vet Centers. These customized vehicles travel to communities to extend VA's reach to veterans, servicemembers and their families, especially those living in rural or remote communities. VA has 300 Vet Centers across the country offering individual and group counseling for veterans and their families, family counseling for military related issues, bereavement counseling for families who experience an active duty death, employment assessment and referral, VA benefits explanation and referral, screening and referral for medical issues and other services. To find out more about Vet Center services or find a Vet Center in your area, visit VA's Vet Center webpage at (http://www.vetcenter.va.gov/) www.vetcenter.va.gov.

New Navy Personnel Qualifications
The Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) has announced the update of the Personnel Qualification Standards (PQS) for master training specialists (MTS). The updated PQS is available on Navy Knowledge Online (NKO) via the Navy PQS link found on the Quick Links tab in the middle of the left side of the main (https://nko.navy.mil/) NKO page. From the Navy PQS page, Sailors should click on the PQS 43100 Series link on the left side and choose the 43100.7 link for the new MTS PQS. For more information about Personnel Qualification Standards, visit the (https://nko.navy.mil/) NKO website.

AF Offers Early Retirement
The Air Force began offering a second round of voluntary early retirement authority and voluntary separation incentive pay Jan. 9. Civilian employees will receive VERA/VSIP eligibility surveys from their personnel managers in January and applications are due Feb. 3 or an earlier date established by local authorities. Applicants approved for this round of VERA/VSIP will need to separate on or before April 30. For more information about civilian employment, voluntary separation programs and other personnel issues, visit the secure (https://gum-crm.csd.disa.mil/) Air Force Personnel Service website.

If you find this site useful, please consider making a small donation to help offset the routine expenses of the operation of this website. You can use the PayPal icon on the front page of our website (http://www.kitchentablegang.org) or just send us a check to 42922 Avenue 12, Madera, CA 93636-8866. Thanks for your kind support. GOD bles you and GOD bless AMERICA!

Charlie Taliaferro, Director
42922 Avenue 12
Madera, CA 93636-8866

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