Guam Veterans Bring Concerns to Visiting Congressional Group


Veterans Group

Veterans: Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 668 President James Matanane, second from left, speaks during a meeting with the staff of a congressional committee on veterans' affairs at Sen. James Espaldon's office yesterday. (Masako Watanabe/Pacific Daily News/mwatanabe@guamp)

A fact finding staff delegation from Congress has been on Guam as part of the House of Representatives Committee on Veteran’s Affairs evaluation on Veteran Affairs Offices.  This was seen as an opportunity for Guam veterans to voice their concerns over the red tape and bureaucratic obstacles they have faced trying to get needed improved medical and other benefits. Guam has the highest per capita veterans percentage of population in the United States and its territories.

Local Senators Jim Espaldon,  Frank Blas, Jr. and staff from Guam Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo sponsored the meeting.  The input from the local veterans is being considered aloong with the evaluation of the claims process on the island. Other groups from Guam were also able to give input to the visiting delegation.

Tom Devlin, senior vice commander for the Military order of the Purple Heart, Department of Asia-Pacific Chapter 2007, attempted to echo what he said was the sentiment among veterans on Guam who have repeatedly requested benefits only to encounter more red tape. “When you get through the political pleasantries, it’s all the same: After the war, veterans get dumped,” he said.  ( Pacific Daily News, August 28, 2008, William B. Martin Jr.,Congressional group hears veterans’ concerns)

Guam Veterans hope that the delegation will bring more awareness back to Washington to affect the changes that need to be made.

 

 

BY THE NUMBERS

  Total veterans: 8,962

  Guam veterans off-island: 7,747

  Performing active duty: 4,375

  Active National Guard and Army Reserve: 1,470

2000 Guam Census

 Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo Web Site: http://www.house.gov/bordallo/

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