News

WASHINGTON — Today the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it is on track to eliminate the hepatitis C virus (HCV) in as few as two months, in all Veterans willing and able to be treated. As of March 3, nearly 116,000 Veterans started all-oral hepatitis C medications in VA, of which 96,654 Veterans completed treatment and have been cured. “As the largest single provider of HCV care in the U.S., this is terrific news because it means we are within striking range of eliminating hepatitis C among Veterans under the care of the Veterans Health Administration,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Diagnosing, treating and curing hepatitis C virus infection among Veterans has been a significant priority for VA.” HCV infection can lead to advanced liver disease (ALD), liver cancer and death. Treatment of HCV can prevent development or progression of ALD, greatly improving survival. However, before 2014, HCV treatment required weekly interferon injections for up to a year, with low cure rates (35-55 percent) among Veterans and significant physical and psychiatric side effects leading to frequent early discontinuation. Up to that time, of the approximately 180,000 Veterans in VA care who had been diagnosed with chronic HCV infection, only 12,000 had been treated and cured, while over 30,000 had developed ALD. In early 2014, highly effective, less toxic, all-oral, direct-acting antivirals became available, revolutionizing the treatment of HCV. With the support of Congress and other stakeholders, VA implemented an aggressive program to find all undiagnosed Veterans in VA care with HCV — including those who did not know they carried the infection — link them to HCV care, and offer them treatment with these new medications. At the peak of this effort to rapidly deploy all-oral direct-acting antivirals, VA began treating close to 2,000 Veterans with HCV every week; nearly one treatment started every minute of every work day. As a result of this historic effort, the overall death rate one year after treatment reduced to 80 percent among Veterans in VA care with HCV. Veterans cured of HCV with these medications were also 84 percent less likely to develop liver cancer.  The announcement cements VA’s position as a national leader in diagnosis and treatment of HCV and marks a major milestone in the nation’s fight against viral hepatitis. VA is on track to treat more than 125,000 Veterans with these lifesaving medications by October. Currently, fewer than 27,000 Veterans in VA care remain to be treated. All marketed hepatitis C medications are on the VA National Formulary Hepatitis C medications used today have few side effects and can be administered as a once a day treatment for as little as eight weeks. For more information, visit https://www.hepatitis.va.gov/.
WASHINGTON — Today the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that, as part of an innovative partnership, VA and Sanford Health, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit health care systems, will soon provide free genetic testing to some Veterans cared for by VA. The VA PHarmacogenomics Action for cancer SuRvivorship (PHASeR) testing program will begin a pilot program this year at the Durham VA Health Care System that will enroll all cancer survivors who receive treatment at the facility.  The program eventually will expand to enrolling some 250,000 U.S. Veterans at 125 sites. A recent Dartmouth study found that VA medical centers “outperform private hospitals in most health care markets throughout the country.” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie lauded the partnership, and said relationships like this will continue to expand the department’s delivery of world class health care. “This screening test will help providers at the VA prescribe the most appropriate medications at the right dose for cancer survivors,” Wilkie said. “Our goal is to continue delivering the best care possible for our nation’s heroes, and this partnership helps us do just that.” PHASeR is funded by a $25 million gift from philanthropist Denny Sanford, for whom the health system is named, and an effort by Sanford Health to raise matching funds. The test can help providers determine which medications will be most effective for patients, improving access to appropriate treatments and reducing adverse drug reactions, which research shows costs up to $30 billion per year. The test results will help with clinical decision making for all types of prescribed medications, including cardiovascular and mental health diseases and pain management. Veterans will be able to access the test at their local VA facilities, and Sanford Health will process the tests at its South Dakota-based Imagenetics facility. "We have seen firsthand how this testing can positively influence patient care,” said Kelby Krabbenhoft, president and CEO of Sanford Health. “Through the generosity of Mr. Sanford, we are proud to join VA to make the test available to our nation’s Veterans.” Sanford Imagenetics began in 2014, and more than 90 percent of patients who have been tested have been found to carry a genetic change that could affect medication selection or dosing. Test results are shared with physicians through the electronic medical record to ensure efficiency and accuracy in choosing treatments. For more information on the PHASeR testing program resources for Veterans visit https://imagenetics.sanfordhealth.org/veterans-genetic-testing/.
March 12, 2019      WASHINGTON – The president’s federal spending plan for fiscal year 2020 adds 30,000 more troops and proposes a 3.1-percent military pay raise. It would also increase the Department of Veterans Affairs overall budget by 9.6 percent to $220.2 billion, which would enable the VA to implement the MISSION Act, strengthen mental health access and treatment programs, increase women’s health services, boost electronic health record interoperability with the Defense Department, and support a host of legislative initiatives being championed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. “More money isn’t always the solution to every problem, but the lack of it weakens every congressional initiative to improve the VA,” said VFW National Commander B.J. Lawrence, who called the president’s budget submission a very good start. “What the VFW now expects from Congress is thoughtful consideration of what the proposed budget does for veterans, service members and their families, and what the VFW demands from Congress is a fair hearing,” he said. “For more than 17 years our military has remained heavily engaged in a nonstop, multi-front war, with more national security challenges and threats emerging every day. Our troops and families of past, present and future deserve nothing less than a clear-eyed Congress focused on our nation’s first obligation, which is to defend and secure our nation, and to care for those who selflessly answer the call to serve.” Specifically, the proposed FY 2020 would benefit the VA by: Increasing the medical care budget to expand veterans inpatient, residential and outpatient mental health care, boost women’s health care services, and broaden veterans’ homelessness prevention programs. Support the continued implementation of Forever GI Bill initiatives, expand disability and education claims processing, and deliver a more timely claims appeals process. Boost information technology initiatives, to include the creation and implementation of a single electronic health record from active duty to veteran status. Continue to fund 144 national cemeteries, as well as open eight new cemeteries in 2019 and 2020, and build a new VA hospital in Louisville, Ky., among other projects. As good as the budget request seems, the VFW national commander remains very concerned with the reintroduction of a controversial round-down of annual cost-of-living allowance increases, the proposed 45-percent decrease to VA’s construction budget, and the near yearlong delay to expand caregiver benefits. “The COLA round-down is something the VFW continues to strongly oppose because it forces disabled veterans to financially offset VA program improvements,” said Lawrence. “We also cannot expect average 60-year-old facilities to improve with age, nor can we delay the much sought-after expansion of caregiver program benefits to pre-9/11 veterans and their families,” he said. “However, since the FY 2020 budget process just began, the VFW will now work with the administration and Congress to improve where needed in order to secure a quality budget for our men and women who answer the call to serve.” Read the new FY 2020 budget request here.
The three commemorative coins that celebrate The American Legion’s centennial and legacy – a $5 gold piece, a silver dollar and a clad half-dollar – are on sale as of noon Eastern on March 14. The coins can be purchased by visiting www.legion.org/coin.  The U.S. Mint will issue 50,000 of the gold coins, 400,000 of the silver dollars and 750,000 of the half-dollars. The gold pieces feature on the heads side the Eiffel Tower, a V for victory in World War I, the engraved word LIBERTY and the years 1919 – 2019 encircled by the outer ring of an American Legion emblem, recognizing the organization’s founding in Paris after the armistice that ended the Great War. On the tails side of the $5 coin, a soaring bald eagle is depicted, along with a sculpted American Legion emblem. The silver dollar shows on the heads side the Legion emblem surrounded by oak leaves and a lily, commemorating the Legion’s founding in Paris. The reverse side has crossed U.S. and American Legion flags under a fleur-de-lis and the dates 1919 and 2019 and the inscription 100 YEARS OF SERVICE. The half-dollar has on its heads side two children, one of whom is wearing her dad’s Legion cap, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. The reverse continues the pledge with … OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA with a billowing U.S. flag and Legion emblem above the inscription. Proceeds from coin sales will benefit American Legion programs that assist veterans, servicemembers and their families.
March 11, 2019      KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is proud to announce it will be a presenting sponsor for the 30th annual Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., making it the organization’s ninth-consecutive year of support.  Known for being one of the most challenging, grueling full-marathon expeditions, the annual march through 26.2 miles of high desert terrain is conducted in honor of the heroic service members who defended the Philippine Islands during World War II, sacrificing their freedom, health, and in many cases, their very lives. Since its inception in 1989, participation has grown from about 100 marchers to more than 8,000. The March 17 event is anticipated to attract thousands of military and civilians from around the world to participate individually or as teams.  “Being from Alamogordo, N.M., supporting this annual memorial march has been very near and dear to my heart for years,” said VFW National Commander B.J. Lawrence. “The VFW is honored to be a part of an event that honors and preserves the stories and sacrifices of the Bataan Death March soldiers which so powerfully aligns with our mission as an organization.” Each year, dozens of VFW and VFW Auxiliary members line the march route to demonstrate their support. Participants will also have the opportunity to visit the VFW booth to meet members and learn more about the essential assistance and support programs the VFW offers.  With several individuals and Departments representing the VFW in this year’s event, we encourage any VFW and VFW Auxiliary members participating or supporting the march to share their experience by using #VFWBataan on social media.
Black Rifle Coffee Company founder and CEO Evan Hafer shows off some of the products his company makes for customers across the country. Hafer said he got the idea to start the Black Rifle Coffee Company while teaching tactics at a shooting range five years ago. Photo Courtesy of Black Rifle Coffee Company. A VFW life member and former Army Green Beret who founded a coffee company led by Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans says his $30 million company will hire 10,000 qualified veterans over the next six years March 01, 2019 One day in 2014, Evan Hafer, a former Army Green Beret and life member of the VFW Department of Texas, was instructing an advanced tactics course on a shooting range. Along with his words of wisdom, Hafer also dispensed home-made coffee for the shooters. From roasting to brewing the coffee, Hafer did everything on site. While making coffee, he laid down his rifle next to his coffee roaster. Hafer recalled one of the guys asking, “Are you going to start a coffee company?” He looked down at his black service rifle and coffee. Those two things gave him an idea. Hafer laughed and told him, “Yeah, I could call it Black Rifle Coffee Company.” Later that year, he founded Black Rifle Coffee Company in Salt Lake City. Hafer, a self-confessed “coffeehead,” said his company made more than $30 million annually the past two years.  Hafer’s love for coffee started about 20 years ago, and he started roasting coffee beans in 2006 while he was a CIA contractor. “I couldn’t really find any coffee I wanted online that could be shipped to Iraq, so I just started roasting my own,” Hafer said. “At the time, I was doing three months there and one month home. That basically was my rotation for 10 years.” While stateside, he developed different roast profiles and tried different coffee beans to take with him overseas. He said he would let others try his coffee, and they would give him feedback.  “I just wanted to take incredible coffee overseas with me,” Hafer said. “I’d have a coffee bar set up in my room, and everyone would come by and have some good coffee.” Now headquartered in San Antonio, Black Rifle Coffee Company is a “lifestyle” coffee company that “serves coffee and culture to people who love America,” according to Hafer. “But, coffee always comes first,” Hafer said. “We compel ourselves to serve great coffee to people who have taken an obligation to serve this country in a wide variety of capacities.”  Passion for Coffee and FreedomMat Best, executive vice president and chief branding officer of Black Rifle Coffee Company, said it’s a “pro-America, pro-Constitution” company that promotes the service of veterans and civil servants. “We also believe in the Second Amendment and that America is an amazing country,” Best said. “If you work hard and believe in the American dream, then you are family to us.” Best, a former Army Ranger and life member of the VFW Department of Texas, provided more information about the company’s moniker, noting that firearms and coffee are a “natural fit.” He said coffee is a social drink that “brings people together” and service rifles are “life-saving tools” that he and Hafer carried for a decade or longer.  “It was the one thing that protected us and our brothers and sisters,” Best said. “We just wanted to put together coffee and our respect for service to this country because those are our passions. We want to inspire the veterans community and make an amazing product that brings people together.” Best served four years with 2nd Bn., 75th Rangers. While on active duty, he deployed four times to Iraq and once to Afghanistan. He, like Hafer, worked as a contractor for the CIA after being discharged from the military.  Best said he did 15 to 20 rotations to “hostile zones,” including Iraq and Afghanistan, with the agency.  More recently, Best is known for hosting the Drinkin’ Bros podcast, starring in independent movies, producing online satirical videos and owning an apparel company, Article 15 Clothing.‘Empowering’ VeteransBefore Black Rifle Coffee Company, Best worked with Hafer to roast and sell coffee for the clothing company. Working with Hafer eventually gave Best the opportunity to become a partner for Black Rifle Coffee Company. To promote the company online, Best produces and directs videos that have military humor and jokes about politically correct culture. And, lots of firearms. “The videos are very authentic in that you see who we are on screen,” Best said. “We joke around, but we are professionals. We take our business seriously.” In 2014, Best said he started posting videos to social media to make his friends laugh. Now, he has about 1.5 million followers on Facebook and almost 900,000 subscribers on YouTube. He has also helped Black Rifle Coffee Company grow its social media presence since the beginning. Best said the purpose of the videos are not only to promote Black Rifle Coffee Company but also to “empower” veterans. “It’s a way for the company to provide value to people’s lives,” Best said. “Maybe a veteran moved home after the military, and he or she doesn’t have a support system. They can pull up one of our videos and laugh and remember they served with people just like us. I absolutely believe that was one of the things that helped grow the company. “But what really retains [our] customers is quality of our products,” Best continued. “We take massive pride in the quality of beans, packaging and customer experience.”Creating OpportunityAs of December, 55 percent of people employed with Black Rifle Coffee Company are veterans. Hafer said his company is unique because many non-veteran employees have to assimilate to a veteran culture rather than veterans having to acclimate to a “corporate environment.” Hafer said many veterans have a difficult time transitioning to civilian life because of the culture change. “Veterans have a very high success rate when it comes to starting and running businesses,” Hafer said.  “But, they fail at working for other companies at a higher rate. That tells me that we, as a subculture, have to help one another and create opportunities for people to fit in more appropriately.” Best said the “No. 1” reason he loves working at Black Rifle Coffee Company is being surrounded by peers.  “I remember when I got out of the military, I had a very challenging time because I went to work for corporate America,” Best said. “I couldn’t tell a war story, and I couldn’t vent in the way military people do. But, I can do that now.”Expanding for the FutureIn August, Black Rifle Coffee Company added a roasting facility in Manchester, Tenn. Amanda Higgins, a member of the VFW Department of Tennessee and a lieutenant colonel in the Tennessee Air National Guard, is the general manager of the new facility. “Working with veterans is great,” Higgins said. “We all speak the same language, but I would say we are very inclusive to everyone. We don’t exclude all the hard work of the non-veteran employees here.” Currently with the 118th Wing at Berry Field Air National Guard Base in Nashville, Higgins joined the Air Force in 2000 and was on active duty for 10 years. During that time, she was a weapons system officer on board F-15s. She deployed to Qatar in 2004 and Afghanistan three times. In total, she amassed 1,300 flying hours, including about 300 in combat. Higgins said she believes that Black Rifle Coffee Company is a great place to work because a lot of the people who work there have a “military mindset” for finishing tasks. “Everyone who was in the military was, at one time, at the bottom of the totem pole, and we all had to work our way up the ranks,” Higgins said. “We are all willing to roll up our sleeves and say, ‘This isn’t in my job description, but I’m willing to do it,’ because it furthers the mission.” ‘10,000 Veterans’ by 2024The plan for the Manchester roasting facility, ironically located in Coffee County, Tenn., is to create 52 positions over the next five years. With the new expansion, the established roasting and screen printing facility in Salt Lake City and the headquarters in San Antonio, Hafer said he now has the infrastructure for the company’s next step. He said he wants to give qualified entrepreneurs the opportunity to own and operate a retail store. “We are going to select highly qualified and motivated veterans to own and operate their own Black Rifle Coffee shops,” Hafer said. “It’s not going to be for everyone or anywhere. It’s going to be a very rigorous selection process. At the end of all this, my goal is to hire 10,000 veterans.”  Hafer also said that having veterans work for Black Rifle Coffee Company has added value to the company. An example he gave was when the Manchester facility opened in August.  “I was there to raise the U.S. flag, and the majority of the people there knew how to conduct the ceremony correctly and how to fold the flag,” Hafer said. “There was a group of people around the flag saluting it with respect. They take it down, fold it and put it away every evening. It makes me proud as a business owner to know that they take pride in their business, service and our country. Veterans have absolutely made this company better.”
WASHINGTON — Today the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that it will celebrate the start of Women’s History Month in March with a kickoff event on March 6, from 2-4 p.m. at the Women in Military Service for America (WIMSA) Memorial in Arlington, Virginia.  Sponsored by VA’s Center for Women’s Veterans, the event will feature 15 women Veterans representing all branches of military service in a 2019 campaign titled “Trailblazers: Women Breaking Barriers,” celebrating the contributions of women Veterans in honor of Women’s History Month and continuing through the rest of the year.  "Women Veterans are one of the fastest growing demographics within VA, and will represent nearly 20 percent of the U.S. Veteran population by 2045,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “VA is proud to serve all our nation’s Veterans, and the Center for Women Veterans does a great job reminding all Americans of the strong service and sacrifice of women Veterans through these innovative campaigns.” The following women will be featured in the Trailblazers campaign: Robinann Alex, U.S. Navy; Pappilion, Nebraska Cathy Bennett-Santos, U.S. Army; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Patricia Collins, U.S. Army; Alexandria, Virginia Diana Danis, U.S. Army; Bloomington, Nebraska Kyleanne Hunter, U.S. Marine Corps, Leesburg, Virginia Michele Jones, U.S. Army; Jacksonville, Florida Judy Keene, U.S. Coast Guard; Washington, D.C. Ginger Miller, U.S. Navy; Accokeek, Maryland Tonja Myles, U S. Army; Zachary, Louisiana Amanda Plante, U.S. Navy; Santee, California Linda Singh, Army National Guard; Bowie, Maryland Cassie Strom, U.S. Air Force; St. Louis, Missouri Wilma Vaught, U.S. Air Force; Falls Church, Virginia Melissa Washington, U.S. Navy; Lincoln, California Tanya Whitney, U.S. Army; Sorrento, Louisiana The campaign will provide a platform for the featured women to share stories about their military service and how their unique experiences in uniform led to their continued roles as leaders and advocates in their communities. The event is open to the public. Please RSVP to join VA in celebrating these women Veteran Trailblazers. Registration deadline for the event is March 5. Participants and invitees are invited to explore WIMSA’s exhibits and learn more about women’s service in the military by visiting www.womensmemorial.org. For more information about the Center for Women Veterans and the Trailblazers Initiative, visit www.va.gov/womenvetor contact Alohalani Bullock-Jones at 00w@va.gov. The Trailblazers campaign is sponsored in part by Veteran Canteen Services, whose mission includes emphasizing the importance of service to Veterans and supporting VA’s overall mission. For more information about VCS, visit www.vacanteen.va.gov or www.shopvcs.com.
WASHINGTON — Today President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order titled “National Initiative to Empower Veterans and End Veterans Suicide,” which focuses on improving the quality of life for America’s Veterans and ending the tragedy of Veteran suicide. “As the largest integrated health care provider in the nation and a leader in developing innovative mental health and suicide prevention strategies, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is uniquely positioned to co-chair this effort with the White House,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Veterans suicide is a national public health issue that affects communities everywhere, and this executive order is a national call to action.” The executive order mandates the establishment of the Veteran Wellness, Empowerment and Suicide Prevention Task Force. The task force will include the Secretaries of Defense, Health and Human Services, Energy, Homeland Security, Labor, Education and Housing and Urban Development, as well as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Within 365 days of the date of the order and working with a variety of representatives from across both the public and private sectors, the task force shall: Develop a comprehensive national public health roadmap outlining the specific strategies needed to lower effectively the rate of Veteran suicide, with a focus on community engagement, Design and propose to Congress a program for making grants to local communities, which will increase their ability to collaborate with each other, integrate service delivery and coordinate resources to Veterans, and Develop a national research strategy to improve the coordination, monitoring, benchmarking and execution of research in the field of Veteran suicide prevention. “We are committed to saving Veteran lives, but just as there is no single cause of suicide, no single organization can end Veteran suicide alone,” Wilkie said. “We must work side by side with our partners at all levels of government — and in the private sector — to provide our Veterans with the mental health and suicide prevention services they need. This executive order advances the public health approach to suicide prevention further by identifying key integrations and connections across the federal government and communities that can be used to save Veterans’ lives.” Learn more about VA’s suicide prevention resources and programs at www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention. Veterans who are in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, and those who know a Veteran in crisis, can call the Veterans Crisis Line for confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Call 800-273-8255 and press 1, send a text message to 838255 or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.
February 26, 2019, 01:26:00 PM WASHINGTON — Today at a congressional hearing VA Secretary Robert Wilkie announced that effective in April, it will provide priority disability benefits claims processing for the initial claims from discharged combat Veterans who have been awarded the Purple Heart Medal. Secretary Wilkie announced his decision at a hearing before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies. “Those who hold the Purple Heart, the recognition of wounds taken in battle, will now receive priority consideration when it comes to claims before the Department of Veterans Affairs,” said Secretary Wilkie. The Veterans Benefits Administration will amend its priority processing categories to include initial claims received from Purple Heart recipients on or after April 1, 2019. Purple Heart recipients are already treated on a priority basis at VA hospitals and are exempt from co-payments for their medical care.  The Purple Heart award is the oldest U.S. military decoration and is awarded to U.S. service members for wounds suffered at the hands of the enemy. General George Washington awarded the first purple-colored heart-shaped badges to soldiers who fought in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. In 1932, it was revived to commemorate Washington’s 200th birthday.
William "Joey" Pocan teaches a Boots to Business class at the Hilton in Cincinnati, Ohio on Monday, August 29, 2016. Photo by Clay Lomneth / The American Legion. By Mackenzie Wolf   Davy Leghorn, assistant director of The American Legion's National Veterans Employment and Education Division, testified before the House Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access. Leghorn’s testimony focused on exploring the challenges and opportunities faced by underserved businesses in the 21st century. Veteran-owned small businesses (VOSB’s) employ over 5 million people, manage receipts in excess of $1.14 trillion, and account for nearly 10 percent of small businesses in the United States. VOSB’s continue to face challenges when it comes to securing government contracts and often need to surmount bureaucratic obstacles to obtain them. “One detriment to the ‘veteran small business industrial base’ has always been the misinterpretation of legislation that designated SDVOSBs (service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses) as a preferred contracting group,” Leghorn said during his testimony. “Congress gave the SBA and other agencies broad business development authority to help veterans. Unfortunately, the SBA and the FAR Council announced in 2005 rulemaking comments that the government-wide SDVOSB Program was for established businesses and was not meant to aid in development for new businesses.” The 2016 Supreme Court decision in Kingdomware Tech. Inc. v. United States affirmed that the intent of the SDVOSB set-aside goal defined in the Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999 was not only to fill a quota. It was, however, designed to encourage small businesses and create opportunities for service-disabled veterans. “The American Legion had hoped that the outcome of Kingdomware would force SBA and the FAR Council to revisit the rules of the Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act,” Leghorn said. “This has not occurred. To this end, The American Legion asks Congress to encourage SBA and the FAR Council to carry out their business development authority. “Further, the Kingdomware decision also signaled the Supreme Court’s approval for a model of 'Veterans First' or 'Service-Disabled Veterans-First' to exist in contract set-asides and preference programs. Congress can now extend this model government-wide in a Small Business Act or in agency-specific legislation.” The American Legion also testified on the Boots to Business (B2B) course that is taught as part of the military’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP). B2B has been successful since its implementation in 2012. “In the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, there was an attempt to make at least one of the TAP capstone courses mandatory,” Leghorn said. “The American Legion supports this effort and hopes this will expose more servicemembers to the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) services and their grantees.” The American Legion believes more servicemembers should have access to SBA programs and the creation of more Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs). “Currently, National Guard and Reservists are not eligible for veteran entrepreneurship and loan programs until after they are activated under Title 10,” Leghorn concluded. “This is why The American Legion supports legislation that would amend 15 USC to extend eligibility for military-focused SBA programs to servicemembers who have been ordered to perform active service for more than 30 consecutive days.”