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Marine Gunny Awarded Medal of Honor for Battle of Hue Actions

Canley

President Trump signed a bill to award a Medal of Honor to 80-year-old Vietnam veteran, retired Marine Sergeant John Canley. The move upgrades the Navy Cross Sgt. Canley had previously been awarded to the highest U.S. military decoration. The decision was approved by Defense Secretary James Mattis.

Canley, a quiet, tall Marine lifer from Arkansas, took command of his company during the Battle of Hue because his captain was down. He carried several wounded Marines from under heavy enemy fire and maintained the unit’s organization and morale.

Congress had to waive the five-year limit for recommending the Medal of Honor. That fight was taken up by Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA), and once that hurdle was overcome, it was go time.

“The credit for this award really should go to all the young Marines in Vietnam who inspired me every day,” said Canley. “Most of them didn’t receive any recognition, but they were the foundation of every battle in the Vietnam War,” he added.

Canley led the drive for a Medal of Honor to be awarded posthumously to Sgt. Alfredo Cantu “Freddy” Gonzalez, who along with Canley opened up a hole that allowed the bloodied battered Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment to advance into Hue and the heart of the Tet Offensive. The 21-year-old Gonzalez was mortally wounded by a rocket. He took cover in the Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Church, where he died.

John Ligato, a private first class who became an FBI agent after the war, praised Canley’s actions, likening him to John Wayne.

“We all like to think we’re a little brave. He’s on a different plane,” said Ligato.

In 2005, Ligato started a drive to upgrade Canley’s Navy Cross, along with a purple heart and two bronze stars, to the Medal of Honor. It took 13 years.

Luckily,  Ligato approached Brownley’s staff in 2014 and asked the congresswoman to join the drive. The rest is history.

Canley’s citation states: “By his dynamic leadership, courage, and selfless dedication, Gunnery Sergeant Canley contributed greatly to the accomplishment of his company’s mission and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.”

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Does New Healthcare Bill Take Away Tax Credits from 7 Million Veterans?

americanhealthcareact

By Debbie Gregory.

Democratic senators have reached across the aisle to urge Republican senators to protect veterans’ access to healthcare in their health care replacement bill, expressing fears that the House-passed proposal could be particularly dangerous for veterans.

“We have known for months that the GOP healthcare bill could strip roughly 7 million veterans of eligibility for healthcare tax credit assistance,” said Rep. Julia Brownley, (D-CA).  “Despite warnings from our veterans service organizations, and pleas from veterans across the country, President Trump and Speaker Ryan have recklessly forged ahead despite the consequences,” stated Brownley. She continued, “While I am deeply concerned about many aspects of this bill, the rush to put politics ahead of people, and the impact it could have on our veterans as a consequence, is simply shameful.”

As the Senate creates its own version of the American Health Care Act, advocates claim the U.S. House of Representatives’ version hurts veterans by barring veterans eligible for care from the Veterans Affairs Department from receiving tax credits to buy insurance on the individual markets, reducing federal support for Medicaid and effectively ending Medicaid expansion.

The Paralyzed Veterans of America publicly opposed the bill. The group is particularly concerned about the end of a 6-percentage-point match enhancement for Community First Choice, which pays for home health aides for people with spinal cord injuries, dementia, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and more.

“If they’re non-service connected, they’re not going to have access to a state veterans’ home,” said Susan Prokop, senior associate advocacy director at Paralyzed Veterans of America.

Many veterans joined a Twitter campaign opposing the bill, using the hashtag #IAmAPreexistingCondition. Many said they were especially concerned about post-traumatic stress disorder being classified as a pre-existing condition, a change that would make their health care more expensive.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Meeting the Healthcare Needs of Those Who Have Served

brownley

By Debbie Gregory.

Ever an advocate for our nation’s veterans, U.S. Rep. Julia Brownley (CA-26) has issued a statement about a provision of the House Republican’s healthcare bill that could hurt veterans and their families:

“We have known for months that the GOP healthcare bill could strip roughly 7 million veterans of eligibility for healthcare tax credit assistance.  Despite warnings from our veterans service organizations, and pleas from veterans across the country, President Trump and Speaker Ryan have recklessly forged ahead despite the consequences,” stated Brownley.  “While I am deeply concerned about many aspects of this bill, the rush to put politics ahead of people, and the impact it could have on our veterans as a consequence, is simply shameful.”

Language in the bill could deny tax credits to any individual who is “eligible” for other healthcare programs, like VA healthcare or TRICARE.  This provision potentially denies 7 million veterans access to healthcare, because though they are technically eligible, they are not currently enrolled in VA healthcare.

Furthermore, on April 25th, Rep. Brownley, along with Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-05) introduced H.R. 2123, the Veterans E-Health and Telemedicine Support (VETS) Act of 2017.

Under current law, VA doctors can provide treatment via the phone or internet chat services for many routine appointments.  But the rules prohibit physicians from providing those services across state lines, unless both the veteran and the doctor are in federal facilities. The VETS Act of 2017 removes these barriers and allows the VA to provide treatment through physicians free of this restriction.

“As Ranking Member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health, I believe that we need to meet veterans where they are. The rapid growth of technology offers new possibilities for providing timely, quality healthcare that best suits veterans’ needs,” Brownley said.

Veterans would no longer be required to travel to a VA facility, but rather could receive telemedicine treatment from anywhere, including their home or a community center.