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The VA Is Finally Getting Around To Mailing Out All Those Veteran ID Cards
Editor’s Note: This article by Amy Bushatz originally appeared on Military.com, the premier source of information for the military and veteran community.
Identification cards from the Department of Veterans Affairs' new program will be in the mail, on their way to veterans starting "tomorrow," VA officials said — two months after they were initially scheduled to go out.
Officials said in January that approved veterans would start receiving the free printed cards in early March. But when March rolled around, printing was delayed to April. Now, a VA spokesman says the cards will be sent starting May 4.
"We expect to begin mailing cards in batches tomorrow to veterans whose applications have been reviewed and approved," Curtis Cashour told Military.com on May 3.
All honorably discharged veterans can apply for the ID card, which was ordered by Congress in 2015. The card, which is not an official form of federal ID and does not qualify veterans for any federal or military benefits, is meant to serve as proof of past military service at private businesses.
Veterans who hold other identification showing service, such as a military ID or VA health ID card, do not need to apply.
About 90,000 veteran applications for the card have been received, Cashour said. Of those, 21,000 have been approved and are awaiting printing and mailing.
Veterans must apply for the card online. Card applications are not available at VA facilities.
The veteran ID card program has faced a series of delays and technical challenge since its November 2017 launch. A glut of applicants overwhelmed the system's server, and the application was put on hold for several weeks.
Since applications reopened early this year, users have complained that their service records are reported as "not found," even though they receive other VA benefits such as the post-911 GI Bill. Others complained that their military service branch was not listed on the application pulldown menu.
This story originally appeared on Military.com.
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The inside story of how The Village People shot the Navy's most controversial recruiting video onboard an active warship
The video opens innocently enough. A bell sounds as we gaze onto a U.S. Navy frigate, safely docked at port at Naval Base San Diego. A cadre of sailors, dressed in "crackerjack" style enlisted dress uniforms and hauling duffel bags over their shoulders, stride up a gangplank aboard the vessel. The officer on deck greets them with a blast of a boatswain's call. It could be the opening scene of a recruitment video for the greatest naval force on the planet.
Then the rhythmic clapping begins.
This is no recruitment video. It's 'In The Navy,' the legendary 1979 hit from disco queens The Village People, shot aboard the very real Knox-class USS Reasoner (FF-1063) frigate. And one of those five Navy sailors who strode up that gangplank during filming was Ronald Beck, at the time a legal yeoman and witness to one of the strangest collisions between the U.S. military and pop culture of the 20th century.
"They picked the ship and they picked us, I don't know why," Beck, who left the Navy in 1982, told Task & Purpose in a phone interview from his Texas home in October. "I was just lucky to be one of 'em picked."
Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Tuesday casually brushed aside the disturbing news that, holy shit, MORE THAN 100 ISIS FIGHTERS HAVE ESCAPED FROM JAIL.
In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Esper essentially turned this fact into a positive, no doubt impressing public relations and political talking heads everywhere with some truly masterful spin.
"Of the 11,000 or so detainees that were imprisoned in northeast Syria, we've only had reports that a little more than a hundred have escaped," Esper said, adding that the Syrian Democratic Forces were continuing to guard prisons, and the Pentagon had not "seen this big prison break that we all expected."
Well, I feel better. How about you?
On Wednesday, the top U.S. envoy in charge of the global coalition to defeat ISIS said much the same, while adding another cherry on top: The United States has no idea where those 100+ fighters went.
A senior administration official told reporters on Wednesday the White House's understanding is that the SDF continues to keep the "vast majority" of ISIS fighters under "lock and key."
"It's obviously a fluid situation on the ground that we're monitoring closely," the official said, adding that released fighters will be "hunted down and recaptured." The official said it was Turkey's responsibility to do so.
President Trump expressed optimism on Wednesday about what was happening on the ground in northeast Syria, when he announced that a ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurds was expected to be made permanent.
"Turkey, Syria, and all forms of the Kurds have been fighting for centuries," Trump said. "We have done them a great service and we've done a great job for all of them — and now we're getting out."
The president boasted that the U.S.-brokered ceasefire had saved the lives of tens of thousands of Kurds "without spilling one drop of American blood."
Kade Kurita, the 20-year-old West Point cadet who had been missing since Friday evening, was found dead on Tuesday night, the U.S. Military Academy announced early Wednesday morning.
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