Articles written by Major Mike Dryden Avn Usar Retired


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  • Seamless medical care for traveling veterans

    Major Mike Dryden AVN USAR Retired, Senior Voice Correspondent|Oct 1, 2016

    You have decided you need a change of scenery and want to explore our wonderful country. You pull out the Rand McNally (I am aware I have just dated myself) and pick a section of the country on your bucket list. Then, reality strikes. You have VA medical appointments, meds about to run out and a lab test scheduled. Your next logical step would be to wait until all of those little situations are sorted before leaving. I have a news flash: There will always be some little appointment, event or...

  • Military retirees take another hit in FY 2017

    Major Mike Dryden AVN USAR Retired, Senior Voice Correspondent|Sep 1, 2016

    Numerous Tricare fee change proposals in the FY 2017 Dept. of Defense budget are galloping our way. If you are like me, one of the elite group that in the 1960s received an invitation from the local draft board to join the Army, these new changes aren’t anything like the deal the military said our retirement benefits would be. We all realize we all have to do our part in tough budget times. I can’t speak for all retirees, but I wish the hit squad at the DOD would pack up and move to another dep...

  • Alaska offers its own veterans benefits

    Major Mike Dryden AVN USAR Retired, Senior Voice Correspondent|Aug 1, 2016

    In addition to federal VA benefits, veterans shouldn’t overlook the State of Alaska benefits. Following is a partial list of Alaska Veteran benefits. Veteran license plates The State of Alaska Legislature has designated several special license plates for veterans: recipients of the Purple Heart Medal, veterans who have been a Prisoner of War (POW), veterans who are survivors of Pearl Harbor, and Gold Star Families. Plates are issued free of charge after proof of service or family loss is validat...

  • Assistance for housebound, other veterans

    Major Mike Dryden AVN USAR Retired, Senior Voice Correspondent|Jul 1, 2016

    Some veterans, as they age, find themselves to be in financial straits with little or no resources and in poor health. If this is your case, then I urge you to consider applying for a VA Pension and especially the Aid and Attendance and Housebound benefits. Eligible wartime periods Under current law, VA recognizes the following wartime periods to determine eligibility for VA Pension benefits: Mexican Border Period (May 9, 1916 – April 5, 1917 for veterans who served in Mexico, on its borders, o...

  • Memorial Day's roots go back to Civil War

    Major Mike Dryden AVN USAR Retired, Senior Voice Correspondent|Jun 1, 2016

    Older Persons Action Group and Senior Voice Alaska solemnly salute all who have fallen in battle in defense of this great nation. This Memorial Day, let us take a few minutes out of the day to thanks those who have fallen in service to our country. Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America. Over two dozen cities and towns claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. While Waterloo, NY, was officially...

  • Service-related disability may be VA-covered

    Major Mike Dryden AVN USAR Retired, Senior Voice Correspondent|May 1, 2016

    If you have just received your VA disability notice, you should take advantage of the VA’s disability insurance plan. Veterans who are granted a service-connected disability but are otherwise in good health may apply to VA for up to $10,000 life insurance coverage. The following is a summary of Service Disabled Veterans Insurance. Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance The Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI) program was established in 1951 to meet the insurance needs of certain veterans wit...

  • Reviewing VA's Medical Benefits Package

    Major Mike Dryden AVN USAR Retired, Senior Voice Correspondent|Apr 1, 2016

    Public Law calls for VA to provide you hospital care and outpatient care services that are defined as “needed.” VA defines “needed” as care or service that will promote, preserve, and restore health. This includes treatment, procedures, supplies, or services. This decision of need will be based on the judgment of your health care provider and in accordance with generally accepted standards of clinical practice. The following three categories contain a list of health care services that are provid...

  • Taxing, spending won't bring back oil wealth

    Major Mike Dryden AVN USAR Retired, Senior Voice Correspondent|Mar 1, 2016

    The tagline of our local pretentious Keynesian crowd is, “We can’t cut our way out of this.” Well my friends, “You can’t tax your way back to the good ole days of $100 oil,” either. No informed Alaskan can help but conclude that the state has some hard times ahead. But to think you can move the deckchairs around on the Titanic to solve the problem is crazy. The dilemma for the state is that our future economy will be a zero net sum game. There is just so much money on the table to spend and w...

  • Shocker! Veterans lose ground in budget cutting

    Major Mike Dryden AVN USAR Retired, Senior Voice Correspondent|Jan 1, 2016

    Military members and veterans lost on almost every big benefit fight waged in the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill, according to many veterans organizations. However, there was no shortage of bonus money for the disgraced VA employees that put veterans on the waiting list until they died. Or the one who replaced them and who scammed the taxpayers (or more correctly, your kids and grandchildren) out of bogus moving expense money. The legislation is still awaiting a promised presidential...

  • Traditions originated from veterans' need, grief

    Major Mike Dryden AVN USAR Retired, Senior Voice Correspondent|Nov 1, 2015

    Older Persons Action Group and Senior Voice Alaska recognizes and honors veterans every day for their service to our nation. But on Veterans Day, Wednesday, November 11, special thanks are needed. A reprint from the VFW’s website on the origin of the well-known red poppy is in order for this edition. Buddy Poppy The VFW conducted its first poppy distribution before Memorial Day in 1922, becoming the first veterans’ organization to organize a nationwide distribution. The poppy soon was ado...

  • Seeing the light on state spending priorities

    Major Mike Dryden AVN USAR Retired, Senior Voice Correspondent|Oct 1, 2015

    I was pretty hard on the well intending elected officials who are trying to expand Medicaid to the uninsured in the in my article last month. My objections were based on my concern for the cost to the state in a time when future revenues are going to be limited and uncertain. Having been taken to the woodshed more than once in my life, this time I have finally have seen the light. I am not sure if it was a blinding light or a burning bush, but my religious epiphany occurred just the same. I had...

  • Medicaid expansion will be at the expense of seniors, veterans

    Major Mike Dryden AVN USAR Retired, Senior Voice Correspondent|Sep 1, 2015

    Much has been written about the governor’s attempt to expand Medicaid in Alaska and the debate has yet to be settled. While I am sure some of the stakeholders like the working poor, social service non-profits, medical providers, and small businesses are in support of the expansion, seniors and veterans are the big losers. I have been admonished that it is selfish of me to deny coverage to someone who cannot afford health insurance when I have coverage. This line of justification does not wash w...

  • Could JBER troop loss make less sense? Let's see

    Major MIke Dryden AVN USAR Retired, Senior Voice Correspondent|Aug 1, 2015

    Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson Alaska announced it would be losing the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) of the 25th Infantry Division due to an Army wide 40,000 troop reduction. The loss of 2,600 troops and the accompanying civilian positions will be a blow to the local economy and the U.S. Arctic Defense Force. The Alaskan Congressional delegation promised to fight the move in the face of the growing threat from the People’s Republic of China, Russia and North Korea. “Alaska based ass...

  • PTSD and older veterans' alarming suicide rate

    Major Mike Dryden AVN USAR Retired, Senior Voice Correspondent|Jul 1, 2015

    It’s an alarming and disturbing fact but older veterans have a higher suicide rate than the general public, including returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. In fact, veterans over 50 years of age have a 70 percent higher suicide rate than the non-veteran general population. According to Tom Berger, executive director of the Vietnam Veterans of America national health council and a Vietnam Navy Veteran, “You know, ‘We’re just old guys, and we’re going to die, so why pay much attention...

  • Put your name on the Pioneer Home list today

    Major Mike Dryden AVN USAR Retired, Senior Voice Correspondent|Jun 1, 2015

    I just discovered something upsetting. I'm getting older by the day. Odds are I won't forever be the active, self-reliant person I am now. Yes, it's true, and I must accept the fact one day I will need someone at least checking in on me daily. So then, what's an old soldier to do when that day comes when they no longer can fully function alone? You don't enjoy removing the beautiful snow from your 300-meter driveway as much as you once did, or cutting the grass in your yard is no longer on your...

  • 'Whistleblower' reveals details about the crash of the C-17 at Elmendorf

    Major MIke Dryden AVN USAR Retired, Senior Voice Correspondent|May 1, 2015

    Those of you (including this retired Army pilot) who have witnessed an aircraft accident first hand know the litany of emotional phases that one experiences. At first you deny the accident happened. “I know that crew and they are the best. They’re just lost, will fix the radio and call the center or the tower.” Next you become angry, saying , “Why did this crash have to happen? Someone could have prevented this from happening. Who is that person? Let’s find out.” The third stage of grief is a...

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