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RI Veterans: Did you know? 16.05.24 (Events, golf, fishing, discounts, Lejeune info) – John A. Cianci

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by John A. Cianci, contributing writer, veterans column

Questions from readers on Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

Q:  The claim I filed was denied by the VA reading “no records”. I served at Camp Lejeune. I was in the Marine reserves, and we never received orders for the annual training showing I served at Camp Lejeune. What do I do? – Fran, Lincoln – and John P., Woonsocket

A: I would recommend (1) You submit required forms to obtain all Military personnel records, (2) Follow the instructions in the decision and submit a supplemental claim with a statement attached; the statement should request the VA retrieve all your Military records and do a TERA memorandum (if TERA memorandum is not listed in the evidence section of your decision). Note on the attached statement you are seeking assistance from the VA, per duty to assist.

VETTIP: TERA means “Toxic Exposure Risk Activity” and is a VA term commonly associated with PACT Act-related claims for service connection and service-connected death. TERA is a type of military activity that may expose a service member to occupational or environmental hazards. Some activities that are entered into the exposure tracking record system include: chemicals, air pollutants, occupational hazards, radiation, and warfare agents.

When a veteran files a claim, the VA should do a TERA memorandum to determine if the veteran’s service exposed him or her to occupational or environmental hazards. If the VA processed the claim and provided assistance to the veteran developing the claim, a TERA Memorandum should be listed in the evidence section of the decision. The veteran can request a copy of the TERA, by submitting a request to the VA Regional Office which processed the claim.

A supplemental claim with the VA is an additional claim based on new evidence that was not included in the original claim. Veterans can file a supplemental claim if they disagree with a previously denied claim decision regarding VA disability compensation or pension benefits.

Marine Veteran Requesting His or Her Personnel Records

The first step a veteran should take is to request Military personnel records using Standard Form 180 (SF-180) (see below how to retrieve a SF-180) or by submitting a letter requesting his or her records.

If submitting a letter, the veteran should include as much of the following information as possible:

  • The veteran’s complete name used while in the US Armed Forces
  • Social security number and service number if known and was assigned one)
  • Branch of service
  • Dates of service
  • Date and place of birth may also be helpful, especially if the service number is not known.
  • If the request pertains to a record that may have been involved in the 1973 also include:
    • Place of discharge
    • Last unit of assignment
    • Place of entry into the service, if known.

The form or letter should be mailed to:

(if discharged, deceased, or retired from 1/01/1905 to 12/31/1998)

National Personnel Records Center

(Military Personnel Records)

1 Archive Drive

St. Louis, MO 63138-1002

(if discharged, deceased, or retired from 1/01/1999 to 12/31/2013, and after 1/1/2014) –

Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps

Manpower Management Records & Performance

(MMRP-10)

2008 Elliot Road

Quantico, VA 22134-5030

[email protected]

Online Requesting

Requesters can use the online ordering form at vetrecs.archives.gov (or use the SF-180).  https://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records

How to Obtain Standard Form 180 (SF-180) to Request Military Service Records

There are several ways to obtain an SF-180. You can:

Download and print a copy of the SF-180 in PDF format.

  • You need access to a printer and the Adobe Acrobat Reader software (see link below). The form is a total of 3 pages.
  • The SF-180 is formatted for letter size paper (8.5″ x 11″). If your printer cannot accommodate this, select “shrink to fit” when the Adobe Acrobat Reader “Print” dialog box appears.
  • This is also a fillable version of the SF-180. It will allow you to type the needed information into the form using your keyboard. You will still need to print, sign and mail the form. Otherwise, it works the same as stated above.
  • Download form SF-180 to mail or fax your request.

    Order Processing Time:

    Response time for records requested from the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) varies and is dependent upon the complexity of your request, the availability of records and our workload.

    Please do not send a follow-up request before 90 days have elapsed, as it may cause further delays.

    While the NPRC works actively to respond to each request in a timely fashion, the Center receives approximately 4,000 – 5,000 requests per day. However, requests that involve reconstruction efforts due to the 1973 Fire, or older records which require extensive search efforts, may take longer to complete.

    How can I check on the status of my request?

    Allow time to receive and process your request before checking your request status. To check status on request, you can telephone the NPRC Customer Service Line (this is a long-distance call for most customers): 314-801-0800Note: Our peak calling times are weekdays between 10:00 a.m. CT and 3:00 p.m. CT. Staff is available to take your call as early as 7:00 a.m. and as late as 5:00 p.m. CT.


    Emergency Requests:

    If your request is urgent (e.g. upcoming surgery, funeral, etc.), select Emergency Request in the Veteran Service Details section of eVetrecs. Alternatively, you may specify the emergency in the “Purpose” section of the SF-180 and fax it to our Customer Service Team at (314) 801-0764.   Please contact our customer service staff at (314) 801-0800 if you have questions.  Due to the large number of calls we receive at this number, hold times are often long. However, once you reach a technician they will be happy to assist you with emergency service.

    If your burial request involves internment at a Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery, contact the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at (800) 535-1117 or visit their website //www.cem.va.gov/cem/burial_benefits/. They work directly with the Veterans Affairs staff to obtain records to verify service for burial benefits. If the veteran is not going to be interned at a National Cemetery, the requester may fax the SF-180 (including signature of the next of kin and proof of death) to the Customer Service Team at (314) 801-0764.

    NOTE: The 1973 Fire at the National Personnel Records Center damaged or destroyed 16-18 million Army and Air Force records that documented the service history of former military personnel discharged from 1912-1964. Although the information in many of these primary source records was either badly damaged or completely destroyed, often alternate record sources can be used to reconstruct the service of the veterans impacted by the fire. Sometimes we are able to reconstruct the service promptly using alternate records that are in our holdings, but other times we must request information from other external agencies for use in records reconstruction. In some instances, therefore, requests that involve reconstruction efforts may take longer to complete.

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    Events

    May 20, 2024 – 10:30-12:30, Free Veterans Brunch/Luncheon, VFW Post 5392, 134 Shove Street , Tiverton. Free for veteran and guest. First annual May Brunch: omelet to order, scrambled eggs, SOS, bacon, sausage, and LOTS of desserts . The brunch is sponsored by U.S. Army-Vietnam Veteran Jim Clancy  and Front Line Ministry, Bristol RI.

    May 24-27, Boots On The Ground for Heroes, Operation Stand Down, Fort Adams, Newport RI

    June 1, Saturday, Twelve Acres , 445 Douglas Pike, Smithfield RI, 12:00 p.m. Testimonial dinner for Veterans of Foreign War Auxiliary , Department President , Gina Marie Doherty.

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    Free Help for Homeless Veterans

    Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness—and their family members, friends, and supporters—can make the call to or chat online with the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans, where trained counselors are ready to talk confidentially 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    Who Can Call

    • Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness
    • Family members, friends and supporters calling on behalf of Veterans
    • VA Medical Centers and other VA facilities and staff
    • Federal, state and local partners
    • Community agencies and providers who serve Veterans who are homeless

    Why Make the Call to 1-877-4AID VET (877-424-3838)

    • It’s free and confidential
    • You’ll get access to trained VA counselors
    • It’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
    • You’ll get information about VA homeless programs, health care and other services in your area

    What Happens When Veterans Make the Call

    • A trained VA staff member asks a few questions to find out what you need
    • Then, you’re connected to the nearest VA staff person who can help
    • What Happens When Others Make the Call
    • Family members and non-VA providers receive information about available homeless programs and services
    • They can keep their information confidential or leave contact information so staff can follow up
    • VA’s Resources for Homeless and At-Risk Veterans
    • VA offers a wide array of services to help homeless and at-risk Veterans.

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    Free Golf,  Goddard Park Golf Course Fee Exemption for Totally Disabled Veterans: 

    Rhode Island resident Veterans who have a 100% permanent and total, service-connected disability rating from the VA are exempt from paying any fees to play golf at the Goddard Park Golf Course. For more information call the Clubhouse at Goddard Memorial State Park from April 1st through the 3rd Saturday in November at 401-884-9834 or year-round at Division Headquarters at 401-667-6200.

    Free Rhode Island Hunting and Fishing Licenses for 100% Disabled Veterans: A Veteran who has a 100% disability rating from the VA is eligible for free Rhode Island hunting and fishing licenses.

    No cost licenses are available if you are:

    ·       over 65 AND a Rhode Island resident

    ·       a veteran with 100% disability status from the Department of Veterans Affairs

    ·       a person with 100% total disability status from the Social Security Administration

    To apply in person at DEM, please bring a photo ID and an ORIGINAL DOCUMENT OF THE FINAL DECISION(S). Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. (directions)

    To apply by mail, please complete an application and mail the application and a copy of your photo ID and the ORIGINAL DOCUMENT OF THE FINAL DECISION(S). Please allow two weeks for processing.

    The address to obtain your license in person or by mail is:
    DEM Licensing Office
    235 Promenade Street, Room 360
    Providence, RI 02908
    (401) 222-3576

    To purchase online, you will be required to certify that you have an ORIGINAL DOCUMENT OF THE FINAL DECISION(S). You will also be required to enter the date the decision expires. The Department will audit compliance with the certification and may, at any time, request a copy of the current DOCUMENT OF THE FINAL DECISION(S). Failure to submit the documentation by the date requested may result in the suspension of your fishing and hunting license. Also, Rhode Island General Law 11-18-1 prohibits giving false documents to an agent, employee, or public official. The penalty is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment up to one year.

    Rhode Island Hunting and Fishing Benefits for Service Members and Veterans: Rhode Island offers several hunting and fishing benefits to Service members and Veterans. A short description of each is listed below. Applicants are required to show documentation proving eligibility when they apply:

    · Active-Duty Service members – Military ID

    · Veterans – DD214

    · Disabled Veterans – VA Disability Certification Letter ( Contact VA office)

    Applicants can apply online at Rhode Island Outdoors, in person at the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Office of Boating Registration and Licenses in Providence (Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.), at an Authorized In-Person Sales Agent, or they can mail applications to:

    Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management
    235 Promenade Street, Room 360
    Providence, RI 02908
    Phone: 401-222-3576

    Learn more about FREE Rhode Island Hunting , Fishing, State Parks, and Golf  Benefits for Service Members and Veterans

    https://dem.ri.gov/about-us/dem-offices/boating-registration-licenses/rhode-island-outdoors#:~:text=If%20you%20qualify%20for%20a,that%20issued%20the%20disability%20decision.

    Free Rhode Island State Park Passes for 100% Disabled Veterans: Rhode Island offers the State Park Disability Pass for use at any state-owned recreational facility to disabled Veterans who have a 100% service-connected disability rating from the VA.

    The State Park Disability Pass authorizes free admission and parking but does not exempt the following:

    · Licensing fees

    · Camping fees

    · Picnic table fees

    · Specialized facility use fees

    · Use of equestrian areas

    · Performing art centers

    · Game fields fees

    · Mule shed fees

    If the disabled Veteran cannot drive, the vehicle transporting the Veteran will not be charged.

    Veterans must apply in person at the Rhode Island State Parks and Recreation Headquarters and are required to show official documentation (dated within the past year) from the VA that states they have a 100% service-connected disability.

    Rhode Island State Parks and Recreation Headquarters
    1100 Tower Hill Road
    North Kingstown, RI 02852
    Phone: 401-667-6200
    Email: [email protected]

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    RESOURCES  & ongoing groups 

    Below are all the groups the Providence Vet Center is currently offering.  As this list changes, I will provide updates. Please send me any questions that you may have, thank you for your time! 

    ***All Vet Center Groups require that the Veteran be enrolled with the Vet Center prior to attending. To check eligibility or for questions, please contact the Vet Center at (401) 739-0167 or reach out to our Veteran Outreach Program Specialist (VOPS) 

    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Group (PTSD) – 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. (Group is only active September through May) 

    Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) and Vietnam Veterans PTSD Group – 2nd and 4th  Wednesday of the month from 9:30 – 11:00 a.m. 

    Vietnam Veteran PTSD Group – 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from 10:30 – 12:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. 

    Art Expression Group – Every Thursday from 9:00 – 12:00 p.m. 

    Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)/Operation New Dawn (OND) Group – Every Wednesday from 11:00 – 12:00 p.m. 

    Stress Management – Every Thursday from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. 

    Low Impact Walking  Group – Every Tuesday from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. 

    Guitar 4 Veterans – Every Wednesday from 7:00-8:30 p.m. 

    Monday Mindfulness Group – Every Monday from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. 

    Yoga Group – Every Friday from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. 

    Moral Injury Group – Every Friday from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. 

    Modern Warrior Support Group – 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from 2:30 – 4:00 pm. 

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    Discounts for Veterans 

    Services 

    No Problem Plumbing and Heating LLC 15% military discount, ask for Ron Gaynor, (401) 568-6666. Veterans must provide proof of eligibility with a VA Card, VA ID Card, or RI State license with veteran identification. 

    Restaurants 

    Applebee’s – Military Discount. With more than 2,000 locations, Applebee’s is a family grill restaurant. Applebee’s gives 10% off for active duty and veteran. Last verified 07/31/2022. 

    Denny’s – Hartford Ave, Johnston offers 10% discount for veterans and active duty. Denny’s is a table service diner-style restaurant chain. Last verified 07/31/2022. 

    Outback Steakhouse – 10% Discount to active and veterans. Last verified 07/28/2021 

    99 Restaurant & Pub – The 99 Restaurant & Pub offers a 10% military discount to members of Veterans Advantage. Available at select locations only. Bring valid military ID 

    Retailers 

    Advance Auto Parts – 10% for Active Duty, Veterans, and families. Last verified 07/28/2021 

    Bass Pro Shops – Offers a 5% discount to active-duty military, reservists, and National Guard. Sign up and verify your status online or bring your military ID when you shop at your nearest Bass Pro store (source). 

    BJs Wholesale – Reduced membership fee. BJ’s offers all military personnel over 25% off their Membership. Last verified 07/28/2021 

    Lowes – Enroll in the Lowe’s Military Discount Program to activate your 10% discount – “Our way of saying Thank You” to our active duty, retired and military veterans and their spouses with a 10% discount on eligible items. Verification of your military status is fast and easy through our partner

    GameStop – is offering a 10% in-store Military discount on all pre-owned products, collectibles, and select new products. Available to current and former Military members who bring any valid proof of service or when they verify through  ID.me 

    Home Depot – Offers a 10% off military discount on regularly priced merchandise for in-store purchases for active duty, retired military, and reservists at participating locations. Customers are required to show a valid government-issued military ID card to redeem this offer. 

    Kohls – 15% discount offers for active military, veterans, retirees, and their immediate family members a 15% discount on purchases made on Mondays, in store only. In order to receive the military discount, eligible customers must present proper identification along with any tender type. 

    Jiffy Lube – HONORING VETERANS ALL DAY EVERY DAY! – We didn’t want to wait for Veteran’s Day to express our appreciation and gratitude for your service. That’s why every Team Car Care owned and operated Jiffy Lube® service center is offering our BEST discount of 10% OFF as a “Thank You” to the men and women of our Armed Forces for their service to our country. *Disclaimer*- I.D. required. No coupon is required. Excludes batteries and brakes, alignment, and diagnostic services. Available only at 3 select locations: Tioque Ave, Coventry RI – Bald Hill Road, Warwick RI – Park Ave, Cranston RI 

    Michaels – offers a 15% off Military discount on the entire in-store purchase including sale items for active duty, retired Military, guard, reservists, veterans, and family members. How to get: 1. Create an account. Log in to Michaels Rewards. 2. Get verified. Provide your Military information to get verified, instantly. 3. Go shopping! To use your discount online and in store, just sign into your account or provide your Michaels Rewards phone number at checkout. 

    O’Reilly Auto Parts – 10% discount on in store items for Active Duty, Veterans and families. Last verified 3/4/21. 

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    If you are a retailer and or a veteran aware of a business not listed above, please forward to: [email protected]:  the business’s name, location, and military and veteran discount offered.

    If you have an event, meeting, other pertinent veteran information, or email questions or help needed, contact the Italian American War Veteran Service Officer, John A Cianci, [email protected], ITAM Office 1-(401)677-9VET(9838)  

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    To read all columns in this series go to: https://rinewstoday.com/john-a-cianci/  

    John A. Cianci is a Veteran Service Officer. Retired, U.S. Army MSgt., Persian Gulf War and Iraq War combat theater.

    Cianci, a combat disabled Veteran, served in Desert Shield/Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His awards include Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, Good Conduct, and others.

    Cianci belongs to numerous veterans organizations – Italian American War Veterans, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign War, and many more organizations. He is an active volunteer assisting veterans to navigate federal and state benefits they have earned. He is Department of Rhode Island Department Commander Italian American War Veterans and Veteran Service Officer.

    He is a graduate of Roger Williams University (BS Finance), UCONN business school* (Entrepreneur Bootcamp for Veterans), Solar Energy International Residential, Commercial and Battery Based Photovoltaic Systems certificate programs, numerous certificates from the Department of Defense renewable energy programs, including graduate of the Solar Ready Vets Program.

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