Medal of Honor recipient pays tribute to Cedar Bluff Middle School, Knoxville, TN

Medal of Honor recipient pays tribute to Cedar Bluff Middle School, Knoxville, TN

11-13-2012. Cedar Bluff Middle School gets the nation’s first Medal of Honor Foundation flag as a reward for their commitment to the Congressional Medal of Honor Education program.

The educational program focuses on six pillars of character; courage, commitment, sacrifice, patriotism, integrity and citizenship found in every Medal of Honor recipient.

Medal of Honor Recipient Colonel Bruce Crandall spoke to Cedar Bluff Middle School on Tuesday as a part of their Veteran’s Day Ceremony. Colonel Crandall received his Medal of Honor, the Army’s highest award for valor, during a White House ceremony February 26, 2007 for his heroic actions in the Battle of Ia Drang.

Colonel Crandall was the helicopter pilot who continued to deliver men and ammunition while evacuating the wounded in the Battle of Ia Drang Valley during the Vietnam War. His actions were portrayed in the book and movie, “We Were Soldiers.”

For months, the students and teacher have been working together to integrate the stories of Medal of Honor recipients into different aspects of their curriculum.

Christine Oehler, principal of Cedar Bluff Middle school said “Our teachers are very collaborative now so they are sharing the stories of some congressional medal of honor recipients within the social studies classes and then they’re doing other activities in all their other academic classes.”

Colonel Crandall presented the flag to the school for all their hard work in hopes that they will never forget the things they have learned from the Congressional Medal of Honor Education program.

“We want our legacy to live on with the these students. We would like to see no more Medal of Honor recipients because that means no more war.” said Colonel Crandall.

The flag will fly high with the American flag out front of the school as a reminder of what the program has taught them.

The Medal of Honor Foundation will use Cedar Bluff Middle School as a model as they expand their education program to other schools across the country.

Over the next couple of weeks a flag will be placed at West Point and the Citadel.

VA Hires More Mental Health Professionals to Expand Access for Veterans

Part of Comprehensive Effort to Boost Mental Health Services 

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced that it has made significant progress in providing increased access to mental health care services for our Nation’s Veterans by hiring new mental health professionals.  Last year, Secretary Eric K. Shinseki announced a goal to hire 1,600 new mental health clinical providers and 300 administrative support staff.  The President’s Aug. 31, 2012, Executive Order requires the positions to be filled by June 30, 2013.  As of Jan. 29, VA has hired 1,058 mental health clinical providers and 223 administrative support staff in support of this specific goal. Click here to read the full News Release.

Disability Claims Initiative Reduces Processing Time, Adds Convenience

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs has launched a new initiative that could eliminate the requirement for an in-person medical examination for some Veterans and shorten the time it takes to process Veterans’ disability compensation claims.


The initiative is called Acceptable Clinical Evidence (ACE).  This initiative was developed by both the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) in a joint effort to provide a Veteran-centric approach for disability examinations.  Use of the ACE process opens the possibility of doing assessments without an in-person examination when there is sufficient information in the record. Click here to read the full ACE release.


VA Announces New Online Resources for Funeral Directors

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs announced today the availability of the new online funeral directors resource kit.  Funeral directors nationwide may use the kit when helping Veterans and their families make burial arrangements in VA national cemeteries.

“We recognize that Veterans and their families need compassion when they approach funeral directors for help,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “We want to assist directors by giving them the information and tools they need to aid these families.”

The website was created to enable funeral directors to find the most pertinent information to help families plan burials and apply for VA memorial benefits quickly. It has links about eligibility, benefits and services plus videos and information regarding services offered with and without military funeral honors. The videos are available in English and Spanish.  The website is available at


VA maintains 3.2 million gravesites in 131 VA national cemeteries and interred more than 118,000 Veterans and family members in fiscal year 2012. Information on VA burial benefits can be obtained from national cemetery offices, from the Internet at or by calling VA regional offices toll-free at 800-827-1000.  To make burial arrangements at the time of need at a VA national cemetery, call the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 800-535-1117.