People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.. ~George Orwell

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

An American hero passes

Terre Haute, IN (January 29, 2019) VRI — Dozens of active military and veterans paid respect to an American hero buried Monday at Highland Lawn Cemetery in Terre Haute.

Retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. John E. Taylor Jr., 95, lived about seven years in the Terre Haute area when he was stationed at the Indiana Air National Guard base at Hulman Field after World War II.

He met and married wife Barbara Bronson Taylor in Terre Haute, and he stayed connected to the community through the years. His daughter, son and grandson said a final farewell Monday afternoon during a committal service in the chapel at Highland Lawn.

“We’re honored that all of the Air Force people came and we received such a nice honor guard, and my father received the respect we believe he deserves after serving his country for 41 years,” Elaine Greenwood said after the service.

She said her father was interested in auto racing and “anything that goes fast,” so being close to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Terre Haute Action Track was a bonus for him. His nickname “Jet” was more than a reference to his initials or his profession as a pilot.

Taylor’s legacy in Indiana is well known, said Brig. Gen. Kip Clark, commander of the Indiana Air National Guard former commander of the 181st Intelligence Wing at Hulman Field.

“I believe General Taylor epitomizes the Air Force core values,” Clark said, noting Taylor was an especially talented aviator.

Taylor attended flight school and began his Air Force career in 1943 in Honington, Suffolk, England, flying P-51 Mustangs in World War II, according to his biography. The missions ranged from escorting bombers and dive-bombing and strafing targets to area patrol missions across a swath of Europe.

After the war, he also few P-51s in the Indiana Air National Guard. When activated for duty during the Korean War, he flew the P-51, F-84 (Thunderjet) and F-86 (Sabre), completing 250 combat missions.

At the end of the Korean War, he returned to Indiana, eventually transferring to an Air National Guard unit in Ohio to fly F-100 Super Sabres. As a lieutenant colonel, Taylor was appointed commander at Kunsan Air Base in Korea. He also few F-100 combat missions in South Vietnam.

He later transferred to the Air Force Reserve as commander at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma, and later was promoted to colonel, serving at Carswell, Tinker and Hill Air Force Bases. He achieved the rank of brigadier general and was later appointed major general.

His medals and awards include Air Force Distinguished Service Award, Silver Star, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with three oak clusters, Airman’s Medal with two silver and three bronze oak leave clusters, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Air Medal with 13 oak leaf clusters.

Taylor retired to his farm in Bluffdale, Texas in 1984. His daughter said he occasionally visited Terre Haute and the grave of his late wife.

Presiding over the committal service was pastor Larry Spear, who recalled his own service as a pilot and an air traffic controller in Vietnam.

“The F-100 pilots were some of the best pilots,” Spear said of Taylor, noting that his dates of service in Vietnam coincided with Taylor, so they may have communicated at some point.

Spear said the number of service members and veterans who answered a community call-out and attended the committal service was large and impressive.

General Clark said the respect paid to Taylor was well-deserved.

“He left quite a legacy,” Clark said

Monday, January 21, 2019

Indiana might make military pensions tax-free

Indianapolis, IN (January 21, 2019) VRI — Veterans could get a state tax break. Governor Holcomb asked legislators last year to exempt veterans' pensions from state income tax. He's hoping to lure more veterans to live here as a way to quickly add skilled workers. The bill didn't go anywhere, but Holcomb is trying again, and legislative leaders sound more receptive.

House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says a cost estimate of $14 million is less than it was the first time around. He says phasing in the tax break would cushion the cost further. Senate President Pro Tem Rod Bray (R-Martinsville) says employers across the state are complaining they have jobs they can't fill, and says the tax break is a creative way to bring in more people.

Indianapolis Representative Karlee Macer (D) has introduced one version of the bill. Four others would exempt not only pensions but active military pay. That would nearly double the expected cost to $31 million a year.


Monday, January 14, 2019

Gunman shoots person inside crowded VFW post

Evansville, IN (January 14, 2019) VRI — Police say a man opened fire inside Indiana VFW Post 1114 on 110 N. Wabash Avenue during a bingo game around 7 p.m. Sunday night, shooting one person.

Several hundred people were inside getting ready to play bingo when they heard a loud “bang,” a witness told the Evansville Courier & Press.

Outside photo of VFW Post 1114 in Evansville, Indiana 

Evansville Police Sgt. Mark Saltzman said one person was shot with a revolver in the left side of his chest. Saltzman says the shooter and the victim know each other and have a long-standing personal dispute.

Three people tackled the gunman and got the gun out of his hands. They held him down until police arrived. That’s when he was taken into custody.

Evansville police haven't publicly identified the victim, who was shot a little after 7 p.m. Sunday, but said the person's injuries weren't life-threatening. The alleged shooter's identity has also not been publicly revealed by police, but the reported shooter was taken into custody at the scene.

Police leaving VFW Post 1114 after the shooting 

The victim is continuing to recover in the hospital, and his injuries are not life-threatening.

A red Dodge pickup was being towed from the VFW parking lot about an hour and a half after the shooting. Police wouldn't comment on whether the vehicle was connected to the incident.

The shooter or the victim have been identified at this time.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Veterans angry with the State and Veterans Affairs

Indianapolis, IN (January 11, 2019) VRI — The Indiana Veterans Affairs Commission meeting ended in anger Friday afternoon as the governor-appointed panel decided not to accept public comment from veterans. The emotions boiled over as the commission and IDVA looked to correct several problems that have upset veterans in the state, including how the state helps veterans in need.

The Indiana Veterans Affairs Commission holds four regular meetings a year. At the end of the January 11 agenda listed “Public comment: Please complete the required form prior to meeting.”

The Indiana Veterans Affairs Commission meeting ended in anger Friday afternoon as the governor-appointed panel decided not to accept public comment from veterans. Photo by: Kenney, Kara

However, commission chairman Erika Steuterman said the meeting was running well past the two-hour mark, and she had allowed veterans to interject comments throughout, so she concluded the meeting without allowing public comment. “I know there's people who drove an hour, made arrangements for child care to be able to come to this public veterans commission meeting,” said veteran Lisa Wilken to the commission after the meeting. “It's very disconcerting that the public is not given the opportunity to speak to you."

Veterans Lisa Wilken and Will Henry, the two veterans who blew the whistle with Call 6 Investigates back in November about misuse of the Military Family Relief Fund, spoke at the end of the meeting.

Henry stood up after the meeting and shared his thoughts as the commission members and IDVA staff walked out of the room. “I am a warrior, my brothers and sisters are warriors and we are not going away,” said Henry. “I haven’t heard one apology to the veterans in this state. Not by the commission, the governor’s office, not from anyone for the misconduct or should I say ‘non-conduct’ of the commission.”

The commission and the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs are both looking to make changes following a Call 6 Investigation into several problems within IDVA, including that the agency failed to adopt rules that could have helped homeless veterans and those with brain injuries.

A scathing audit just released by the State Board of Accounts said the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs and its oversight panel, the Indiana Veterans’ Affairs Commission, failed to adopt rules and written procedures for several funds.

IDVA’s acting director Matt Vincent told the commission he had drafted rules that will help homeless veterans get services, and the commission and public will now have an opportunity to provide input on those rules. Vincent told the commission that the money meant to help veterans will not expire, although veterans Lisa Wilken and brigadier general James Bauerle both expressed concerned about losing the funds.

The Indiana State Department of Health is currently finalizing an agreement with a provider for the state’s hyperbaric oxygen treatment program, which will help veterans with brain injuries.

Call 6 Investigates also found IDVA allowed its own employees to receive benefits from the Military Family Relief Fund beyond the $2,500 limit as the agency denied other veterans. The commission discussed Friday whether it should use an administrative law judge (ALJ) to handle appeals for veterans who are denied.

However, the commission did not make a final decision on how to handle appeals, so pending appeals will likely have to wait another three months until the next commission meeting, said Steuterman. Just last week, the commission adopted new rules that stripped IDVA from allowing staff to approve veterans receive more than the $2,500 from the Military Family Relief Fund.

Vincent said Friday the Attorney General and Governor had already approved the Military Family Relief Fund rules, and the rules will soon be published in the state’s register. The new rules say for a veteran to receive more than $2,500 through the Military Family Relief Fund, the case has to go through the veterans affairs commission, which will scrutinize each case individually.

Former IDVA director Jim Brown resigned effective December 28.

Steuterman said Friday a new IDVA director will be named soon and that interviews had already taken place.

The commission’s next regular meeting will be held April 5 in South Bend.


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Veterans memorial construction to start in spring

Ferdinand, IN (January 8, 2019) — For years, Leon Weyer, a Marine Corps veteran, wondered what to do with a strip of land near Pine Drive and visible from State Road 162 that he inherited from his father. About three years ago, he decided the land was perfect for a veterans memorial and started working with the Ferdinand American Legion, where he’s a member, and Seufert Construction to make the memorial a reality.

The proposed veterans memorial for the north side of Ferdinand

Beginning in March, Weyer’s dream will become a reality. Current plans for the memorial show a long, narrow structure with a large stone with words of thanks for veterans, five smaller stones for each branch of the military and three flags on the property- — the U.S. flag, the Indiana flag and the black flag for prisoners of war and those missing in action. Visitors will be able to park on the street behind the memorial and walk through it.

Weyer and Seufert Construction plan to host a ground-breaking ceremony for the memorial sometime in the first half of March, with the dedication coming about two months later over Memorial Day weekend. Weyer realizes that’s a quick build time, but he’s optimistic it will come together. The monument stones are already in, Weyer said, and he’s working with Schum Monuments on the engravings now.

“It looks like we’re going to be in line to dedicate it that weekend,” he said.

The Ferdinand Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Weyer on the project to incorporate a welcome sign into the memorial as well. Chamber President Mike Blume said the organization had been talking about adding a welcome sign on the north side of the town for several years — there already is a sign on the town’s south side near Interstate 64 — so when the Chamber heard of Weyer’s plans to put a memorial there, teaming up made sense.

“It’ll demonstrate our gratitude to our veterans and serve as a welcome to the town,” Blume said about the project. Weyer is funding the project through donations, including a grant from the Dubois County Community Foundation. The grant came with a requirement that Weyer set up an endowment with the foundation for the memorial’s maintenance needs. So far, Weyer has raised enough to build the memorial, but is still raising funds for the endowment.

Anyone wishing to donate can mail checks to the Ferdinand American Legion, 425 Main St., Ferdinand, and note that the donation is for the veterans memorial.

SOURCE: The Herald

Monday, January 7, 2019

Hoosier Legion To Host Veterans Resource Fair

Indianapolis, IN (January 7, 2019) — On Saturday, Jan. 12th, the American Legion Department of Indiana will host a Veterans Resource Fair at the Marriott East Hotel in Indianapolis from 9 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

The purpose of the resource fair is to provide a robust resource for veterans looking to further their career opportunities, create an opportunity for veterans to learn about benefits and gain helpful information to assist with navigating the Veterans Affairs claims process.

The Veterans Resource Fair is January 12 between 9:00 am til 4:00 pm

The Veterans Resource Fair will feature services and representatives from:
Indiana Department of Transportation - Offering state-wide employment opportunities for veterans.
First Financial Bank - Offering financial education/promoting programs tailored to assist veterans.
U.S. Cold Storage - Offering employment opportunities at entry level positions, competitive wages with Veterans preferential hiring.
Operation: Job Ready Vets - Offering on-site resume and job search assistance.
Department Service Office - Offering on-site Veterans Affairs claims assistance.

This resource fair is free to all veterans and their families. 

The American Legion Department of Indiana is comprised of more than 77,000 military service veterans who have served honorably during times of conflict in defense of their nation and has been active within Indiana since 1919. The Indiana American Legion has represented veterans from every major conflict since World War II to Iraq and Afghanistan within its membership.

The Indiana Legion provides representation to 63,000 of the 87,500 service-connected disabled veterans in Indiana for entitled Veterans Affairs benefits, making up 71 percent of the claims work in the state, bringing back more than 385 million a year to the Hoosier economy, free of charge, regardless of membership.

If you have any questions, please contact The American Legion Department of Indiana Communications Director Tim Sproles at 317-403-6266 or by email at

FACEBOOK EVENT: Veterans Resource Fair