Forces To Flyers Program
The U.S. Department of Transportation has a new program for veterans who want to be commercial pilots. The “Forces to Flyers” program is a three-year research initiative led by the Department of Transportation and Volpe National Transportation Systems Center. A veteran can enter the program and get a private pilot’s license, then use their GI Bill for the remainder of the program. The veteran must have a first-class medical certificate, a student certificate, and a letter of reference from a previous or current commanding officer, teacher/instructor/professor, or supervisor/manager. Under the program, flight schools must deduct $13,526 from the cost of the training. To learn more about the Forces to Flyers program visit your nearest VSO.
U.S. Air Force Seeking Retired Veterans
The U.S. Air Force (USAF) has a shortage of pilots and related officer flight personnel. The Air Force has expanded plans to not only welcome back retired pilots into active duty staff positions, but also combat system officers and air battle managers in certain Air Force Specialty Codes (AFSC). To help alleviate this shortage, the Air Force is encouraging retirees from the 11X, 12X and 13B AFSC’s to apply for the Voluntary Retired Return to Active Duty (VRRAD) program. For more information visit your nearest recruiting station.
Chemical Compensation for Veterans
Project 112/SHAD (Shipboard Hazard and Defense) is the name of the program for both shipboard and land-based biological and chemical testing conducted by the U.S. military between 1962 – 1973.VA will provide physical examinations to veterans who participated in the testing. Veterans will receive medical care free of charge for conditions related to exposure.
Veterans may be eligible for disability compensation if they have a service-related disability and were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions.VA does not presume by regulation that any specific disabilities are related to participation in Project 112/SHAD. Veterans’ claims are decided on a case-by-case basis.
VA presumes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) diagnosed in all Veterans with 90 days or more continuous active military service is related to their service, although ALS is not related to Project 112/SHAD.Surviving spouses, dependent children and dependent parents of Veterans who died from health problems related to participation in Project 112/SHAD may be eligible for health care, compensation, education, and home loan benefits.
Final Regulation to Aid Korean War Veterans
Veterans exposed to herbicides while serving along the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in Korea will have an easier path to access quality health care and benefits under a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) final regulation that expanded the dates when illnesses caused by herbicide exposure can be presumed to be related to Agent Orange.
Under the final regulation published in the Federal Register, VA will presume herbicide exposure for any veteran who served between April 1, 1968, and August 31, 1971, in a unit determined by VA and the Department of Defense (DoD) to have operated in an area in or near the Korean DMZ in which herbicides were applied.
Previously, VA recognized that Agent Orange exposure could only be conceded to Veterans who served in certain units along the Korean DMZ between April 1968 and July 1969.
In practical terms, eligible veterans who have specific illnesses VA presumes to be associated with herbicide exposure do not have to prove an association between their illness and their military service. This “presumption” simplifies and speeds up the application process for benefits and ensures that veterans receive the benefits they deserve. VA encourages Veterans with covered service in Korea who have medical conditions that may be related to Agent Orange to submit their applications for access to VA health care and compensation as soon as possible so the agency can begin processing their claims.
Veterans may visit a local Veteran Service Officer (VSO) to get a more complete understanding of how to file a claim for presumptive conditions related to herbicide exposure, as well as what evidence is needed by VA to make a decision about disability compensation or survivors benefits.