Operation Firing For Effect Delegation Meets with White House Staff


by Jere Beery, Staff Writer

On Friday of last week a delegation from Operation Firing For Effect met with Mr. Brian K. Bond, Deputy Director, White House Office of Public Liaison, and Mr. Matt Flavin, Veterans/Military Family Liaison for the White House. Both Bond and Flavin are members of President Obama’s White House Staff. 

The purpose of the meeting was to reaffirm President Obama’s commitment for mandatory funding of veterans healthcare and services. On May 2, 2008, then Illinois Senator Obama signed OFFE’s resolution for full mandated funding of the VA.

In attendance during the White House meeting; OFFE National Chairmen, Gene Simes, OFFE Public Relations Director, Jere Beery, OFFE Indiana Director of Operations, Lisa Wilken, OFFE Illinois Director of Operations, Millicent Bess, and OFFE Iowa Director of Operations, Jerry Bohr.


The meeting lasted about an hour and a half, and a number of subjects were addressed. In addition to full mandatory funding of veterans healthcare, Lisa Wilken presented a comprehensive report of the shortfalls of the VA in treating women veterans.

Wilken pointed out that although 10% of our military consist of female personnel; the VA is only capable of caring for 1% of these women veterans. Millicent Bess gave a report on Illinois veterans that were being routinely mistreated by law enforcement, and Jerry Bohr reported on the failure of state divorce courts to comply with federal statues contained in USC, Title 38, Section 5301.

Jere Beery gave an innovative and comprehensive presentation on the future of veterans’ healthcare. Beery pointed out that ‘healthcare’ was a valuable commodity in the twenty first century and could be used to entice enlistment and retention in our military. He also pointed out that ‘veteran affairs’ is directly related to national security (via enlistment, retention, and morale within the armed forces), and therefore affects all Americans. Beery suggested that by improving the quality and accessibility of VA healthcare we are in fact investing in national security.

He said between the new GI Bill and the promise of high quality healthcare benefits, recruiting efforts could be greatly enhanced. According to Jere Beery such a public relations campaign could result in increased enlistment numbers and improved morale within our all volunteer armed forces.

In short, the White House meeting was very productive and focused. Mr. Matt Flavin stated several times that President Obama was committed to improving and protecting the healthcare system that services our veterans. Mr. Flavin stated that the administration was devoted to bring the VA into the 21st century. He said that accountability and transparency were essential to winning the veteran’s trust in the VA system. 

Before adjourning the meeting Mr. Gene Simes volunteered the OFFE team to help President Obama accomplish his objectives. Simes said Operation Firing For Effect  was a grassroots organization that could be of great value to President Obama in the future.

He said that OFFE was in a unique position and was capable of addressing issues that the Congressionally Chartered veterans service organizations would either not address, or could not address be cause of the restrictions placed on them by their charter. Mr. Flavin assured Mr. Simes that he would bring these issues to the attention of President Obama.

Both Flavin and Bond took several pages of detailed notes.

Jere Beery is OFFE National Public Relations Director. He can be reached at [email protected]. Operation Firing For Effect (OFFE) official web site is at www.offe2008.org


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. www.google.com 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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