A vet needs info on Agent Orange use in Korea

October 15, 2013

Dear Sgt Shaft,

I was wanting to petition the Department of the Army for the Latitude and Longitude of all missile sites and unit areas in Korea from 1960 until my unit was inactivated in 1982. This is in relation to the usage of Agent Orange in those areas. Any idea where I might send such as request and if there is a particular format or form that must be used.

David N
Via the internet

Dear David

These publications provide the explanation of how you would file a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request to obtain this information.

DOD FOIA Handbook: http://www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/docs/FOIAhandbook.pdf

Army's FOIA Handbook: http://www.armyg1.army.mil/FOIA/docs/Citizensguide_2006.pdf

Army FOIA regulation:http://www.armyg1.army.mil/FOIA/docs/ar25_55.pdf

Shaft Notes

• The Sarge joins the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (VFW), Student Veterans of America (SVA), and The American Legion launched a virtual in-state tuition map for student-veterans and veteran advocates. The map, which will be managed and updated by SVA, is a color-coded way to offer key stakeholders with real-time information on the status of in-state tuition for veterans in each state and at specific institutions of higher education. The interactive map is the centerpiece of a new campaign among the three leading veterans’ organizations calling on schools to offer in state tuition to all veterans. The initiative is called “In State 4 Vets.”

"This new interactive map allows our college-bound veterans and veterans' advocates to fully understand the landscape of higher education and ways that SVA, VFW and the American Legion are working together to ensure that public colleges and universities in every state offer a quality, reasonably-priced education to our newest generation of veterans," said VFW Commander-in-Chief Bill Thien. "When the veterans' community worked to pass the Post-9/11 GI Bill five years ago, the goal was to offer veterans a free, public education at the school of their choice. Unfortunately, many schools disqualify veterans from receiving in-state tuition because archaic residency policies don't accommodate for the unique circumstances of military life. We're working hard to change that."

"The virtual map will arm future student veterans with valuable information on where they can maximize their GI Bill and other veteran education benefits," said SVA's outgoing executive director Michael Dakduk. "This would not have been possible without the support of the VFW and the American Legion. They remain our strongest allies in advocating for and supporting military veterans in higher education."

"The American Legion contributed to this interactive map project because it saw genuine value in it as an easy-to-use resource for student veterans," said Joe Sharpe, economic director of The American Legion. "We have been leading a state-by-state initiative to convince state legislatures to introduce bills that would make student veterans eligible for in-state tuition rates. And we're not going to stop until this map shows that our veterans qualify for in-state tuition in the entire United States. We collaborated with SVA and VFW to make this map available to America's veterans, and we certainly appreciate their efforts as well."

Through the “In State 4 Vets” campaign, the VFW and its partners seek to not only highlight the current landscape for veterans in higher education, but also encourage veterans and their advocates to take action on both the local and national levels.

Veterans can share their experiences fighting for in-state tuition via Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #InState4Vets. The interactive map also offers users the opportunity to contact their legislators, encouraging them to pass in-state tuition protection for veterans.

Twenty states currently have state laws that waive the in-state residency requirement for veterans; seven states have a policy that waive the in-state residency requirements for veterans; and nine states are currently looking at legislation to grant in-state tuition to veterans. To the VFW, this leaves significant room for improvement in ensuring veterans can maximize their educational opportunities.

To learn about the specific circumstances in each state, ways state legislatures seek to address the issue, and ways to take action visit the new virtual map here.

The Pentagon Federal Credit Union Foundation (PenFed Foundation), a nationally recognized nonprofit organization working to meet the unmet needs of military personnel and their families, is putting the finishing touches on the nation’s largest free hotel for short-term stay for veterans undergoing medical care. The Defenders Lodge, made possible through a generous donation by Lee and Penny Anderson, will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony tomorrow with doors to officially open for guests in January 2014.

“For years, veterans and service members getting treatment at a major VA hospital struggled to find an affordable and comfortable place to stay,” said Col. (Ret.) Robert Siegert, chair of the PenFed Foundation board. “Now they’ll have a brand new, handicapped-accessible hotel with state-of-the-art amenities. And the best part is it’s free for them and their caregivers.”

The new Defenders Lodge is expected to serve up to 20,000 veterans annually who travel each year to Palo Alto for treatment. Last year, thousands had to find temporary housing while getting care at the VA hospital, many coming from miles away.

To address this crisis, the PenFed Foundation volunteered as the primary sponsor of constructing the hotel, a $17 million initiative in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs. The foundation is working to raise $11 million in private donations to cover the cost of building the lodge. In 2010, PenFed (Pentagon Federal Credit Union) assisted with a $10 million low-interest loan to help get construction underway.

“For many of our nation’s veterans, a good night’s rest sometimes meant just getting a few hours of uninterrupted sleep on an uncomfortable cot,” added Siegert. “Now that they’re back home, they deserve the best accommodations we can give them.”

Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, P.O. Box 65900, Washington, D.C. 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330, call 202/257-5446 or email sgtshaft@bavf.org.