by Jere Beery

ALL STATIONS! Many of you have contacted me asking what you could do to help. Well, there is something you can do right now that will help. Call, email, or Fax Mr. Bob Schieffer and ask him to include a question or two on full mandatory funding of veterans healthcare. YOU MUST DO THIS TODAY!  DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE! I have enclosed a copy of a OFFE letter for you to sign and send to Mr. Schieffer. Please send it in immediately! 
[email protected]
Phone (202)457-4481
Fax (202)457-1533


Dear Bob Schieffer — CBS News,

Who I am really doesn’t matter, as I’m not writing to you on my behalf. I am writing to you on behalf of our men and women in uniform, and the 26 million veterans currently enrolled in the VA healthcare system. I am writing to you on behalf of the 1.3 million Illinois voters that voted ‘YES’ for full mandatory funding of VA healthcare and services on their February 5th Primary election ballot. I am writing to you on behalf of every young American that joins our all volunteer military in the future. And I’m writing this letter to you on behalf of the countless mothers and fathers of these brave young Americans. 

Our organization has been at the forefront of the nationwide movement for full mandatory funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare system for the past 5 years. Country music legend Willie Nelson is our national spokesperson, and fellow Grammy winner Charlie Daniels has recently joined our efforts. I invite you to visit our web site at WWW.OFFE2008.ORG for details.

Five years ago we authored a Resolution for full mandatory funding of veteran’s healthcare and services. To date, a number of prominent politicians and union leaders have signed this Resolution and endorsed our organization’s efforts, to include; Senator Barack Obama, Senator Hilary Clinton, Senator Charles Schumer, Senator John Edwards, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, and the entire New York State Senate, just to name a few. Also to date, not one question has been asked during the Presidential and Vice Presidential Debates about the future healthcare needs of our veterans.

If we expect our young men and women to willing join our all volunteer military we must include issues of interest to them in our discussions and debates about the future of this country. A simple question or two during the upcoming debate would go a long ways towards improving the overall morale of our military personnel and their families. I am urging you to please consider one or more of the questions listed below.

Many members of Congress support full mandatory funding of the Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare system. What is your position on this issue?

In 2005 the VA had a 1 Billion dollar shortfall. What guarantees can you provide that this will never happen again?
What will your administration do to insure TriCare co-payments and deductibles are kept low for our retired military personnel and their families?
According to some reports, as many as 600,000 pending disability claims are unresolved. How will your administration deal with this situation?

Suicide, divorce, and homelessness are at an all time high among our former military personnel. What is your plan to remedy these situations?

During the Bush administration the Department of Veterans Affairs lost personal information on 26.5 million veterans enrolled in the VA healthcare system. What assurances can you give the American people and our veterans that their personal information is secure and such a breach of security will never happen again?

Many disabled veterans have to travel long distances and wait months for their earned healthcare. How would you correct this shortcoming?

PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury cases are up sharply. How will your administration deal with this epidemic? 

All of the major Congressionally Chartered Veterans Service Organizations state the VA healthcare system is under-funded and under-staffed. Do you plan to increase funding and staffing? If so, how?

Mr. Schieffer, these are merely suggestions. However, they all are valid and worthy of a Presidential debate. Please consider our veterans on Wednesday night when the Presidential candidates are eye to eye with each other. The veterans only have one more chance to be included in these debates and it is up to you to insure they are not ignored.

Thank you for your time,


Author Details
Although Jere Beery only served 4 years in the U.S. Navy, he has an impressive military history. Twenty seven months of that service was in the combat waters of Vietnam. His first duty station in 1965 was aboard the USS WESTCHESTER COUNTY, (LST-1167) as a Seaman. The WESTCHESTER COUNTY was involved in many operations within the combat waters of South Vietnam and received many awards and accolades for her service. The WESTCHESTER COUNTY was the recipient of 15 Battle Stars for her 19 years of service. LST-1167 was one of only 3 ships of her type to earn 15 Battle Stars (out of over 1200 LSTs built since before WWII). Beery’s second duty station in 1967 was with the legendary PBRs of the Brown Water Navy. As a volunteer, Beery saw combat on a fairly routine basis with this elite group and their high speed patrol craft. On March 1, 1968, Beery’s patrol was ambushed by a sizeable force of NVA and Viet Cong. The boat Beery was aboard took two direct RPG hits to her starboard side badly wounding four members of the boat’s crew. Seaman Beery was the most severely wounded and not expected to live. The first RPG had exploded right where Beery was standing as he manned his 50 caliber machine gun. To this day, Beery contributes his survival to the live-saving actions of his patrol officer, LT. RICHARD GODBEHERE and his other crew members. Beery spent the next year and a half hospitalized and recovering from his wounds. THE GODBEHERE PATROL On November 1, 1968, while Jere Beery was recuperating at NAS Hospital, Jacksonville, Florida, USS WESTCHESTER COUNTY was attacked on the My Tho river. At 03:22 in the morning two very large mines were detonated on the ship’s starboard side. 25 men were killed, 17 were ship’s crew. Several of the men killed that morning were friends and former shipmates of Beery’s. This incident has gone down in history as the greatest loss of life by the U.S. Navy in a single attack during the entire Vietnam War. USS WESTCHESTER COUNTY In mid-1969, Jere Beery was medically retired from the Navy. His service record reflects 1 Bronze Star, 3 Purple Hearts, and 5 military campaigns in Vietnam. Beery was also rated totally and permanently disabled by the Veterans Administration. Over the years since Vietnam, Jere Beery has attempted to do some things many thought impossible for someone with physical injuries such as his. During the early 80s, Jere Beery, as a member of the Screen Actors Guild pursued a brief career in the motion picture business as an actor. Beery landed a few small parts in a number of movies and television programs. On several occasions, to the amazement of many, Beery even executed his own stunts. In the 1986, Jere Beery gave up his career in the movies to crusade for his fellow veterans. Since that time, veteran’s rights advocate Jere Beery has been a noted driving force in the Veteran’s Rights Movement and effort to improve services for our veterans. Beery’s efforts have been extremely well documents and many articles have been written about his quest. A few of these articles can be found on this page. You can also type the words “Jere Beery” into any search engine to find out more about Beery’s efforts. Jere Beery’s multifaceted story is truly an amazing one. From his survival in Vietnam, to risking additional injury executing stunts in the motion pictures, to fighting to protect the benefits earned by our troops, Jere Beery has forged his own trail and continues to amaze and baffle many. – Place and Date of Birth: Orlando, Fl – 03/13/48 – Raised: St. Augustine, Fl – Place & Date Enlistment: Jacksonville, Fl – 05/20/65 – Branch of service: U.S. Navy – Highest Rate/Rank: E4/PO3/Signalman Third Class – Duty Stations: USS WESTCHESTER COUNTY, LST-1167 and TF116, River Patrol Force, River Section – 511, (PBRs), Binh Thuy, RSVN – Date of Discharge: 5/14/69 – Type of Discharge: Honorable, Medically Retired – VA Rating: 100% Totally and Permanently Disabled Military Awards and Medals: – 1 Bronze Star – w/combat “V” Citation – 3 Purple Hearts – (1/5/68, 2/14/68, 3/1/68) – Vietnam Service Medal – w/1 Silver Star – (5 military campaigns in-country, RSVN) – Republic Of Vietnam Campaign Medal – w/1960 device – Combat Action Ribbon – Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon – Presidential Unit Commendation Ribbon – National Defense Medal – Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation – Gallantry Cross Medal Color, w/Palm – Republic Of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation – Civil Actions Medal, First Class Color, w/Palm Military Training: – River Patrol Craft Training, (PBR), Mare Island, CA – Special Weapons Training, Mare Island, CA – J.E.S.T. (Jungle Environmental Survivor Training) – Cubi Point, Philippines – S.E.R.E. (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape Training) – Whidbey Island, Washington State – Vietnamese Language – Mare Island, CA.
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