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Author: TriSec    Date: 11/23/2021 12:17:51

Good Morning.

Ya know, in Massachusetts, we pride ourselves on being Wicked Smahhht. You can even buy a faux-college sweatshirt that says so, even in Harvard colours!

One of the greatest institutes of higher learning in all the world lies across the river in Cambridge, being the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT. Maybe you've heard of some of their alumni? (Buzz Aldrin - Jimmy Doolittle - Kofi Annan - George Shultz - Lawrence Berk - etc.) 83 Nobel prizes, too.

So it seems impossible that the school has completely screwed up the GI Bill on campus. Because somebody messed up the paperwork with the state?

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, lost GI Bill eligibility for one of its programs and never sought approval for doctoral courses due to a series of paperwork snafus and poor communication with state approving authorities, leaving some veterans at the school in limbo and out thousands of dollars, an investigation by Military.com found.

There are 104 GI Bill beneficiaries on MIT's campus, worth some $3 million in tuition to the university. At least 20 were impacted by huge delays in benefits that include tuition and up to $3,000 per month in housing allowances.

The issue mostly stems from school officials never properly applying for some courses to be approved for GI Bill funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs, while admitting students with promises that the VA would support their education, an oversight that is becoming a pattern at major universities.

"The school totally dropped the ball here, and no one can give me straight answers," Michael Luu, an aerospace engineering Ph.D. student who has spent months at the school unsure how he is going to pay for its tuition and relies on the GI Bill's housing allowance to make ends meet, told Military.com.

News of MIT's benefits issues follows a failure at Howard University, another prestigious private university, where a Military.com investigation found that student veterans suffered through at least a year of clerical errors and misfiled paperwork, leaving some on the verge of losing their homes.

The systemic failure at Howard culminated in the District of Columbia State Approving Agency, which oversees GI Bill policy compliance, threatening to cut Howard off from GI Bill funding, which would have left some 235 beneficiaries on campus displaced and likely having to find a new school, and possibly cost the school at least $6.3 million a year in lost money from the benefits.

Almost immediately after the Military.com investigation was published, Howard scrambled and was able to keep its status as a GI Bill-approved school. The school official who handled veteran benefits left the job almost immediately after publication of the story.

Will Hubbard, vice president for veterans and military policy for Veterans Education Success, a GI Bill advocacy group in Washington, D.C., told Military.com that the MIT and Howard situations are a bad combination of the VA's mismanaged priorities in targeting prestigious institutions instead of rooting out bogus schools -- and the schools themselves failing to adequately manage student veterans.

"They [VA] are just kind of aggressive in areas they shouldn't be on these administrative errors; it's a question of where VA is allocating its sources," Hubbard said. "But these schools that accept GI Bill money but don’t allocate resources to managing that, they're doing something wrong. It's VA being overly aggressive coming into contact with a school's mismanagement; both are wrong."

It is unclear what the school is doing to fix the problem; we of course will watch this story with interest here at AAV.

Now with Thanksgiving mere days away, let's also take a look at the so-called "supply chain issues" allegedly plaguing the country. Much ado has been made in the Greater Boston area about the "National Turkey Blight", which based on my own observations proved to be a myth. I've not tried to do any holiday shopping yet, so it remains to be seen what kind of products are available out there.

But of course consider our military, especially those overseas. In the US, trucks and deliveries come and go to the base Post Exchange as routinely as any ordinary retail shop on the "outside". But what happens when you are thousands of miles away from home?

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- Some commissary and exchange stores at U.S. bases overseas may be unable to keep certain items in stock during the holiday season because of supply chain delays affecting retailers worldwide, store officials said.

"Right now, the flow of products to our stores overseas is below preferred levels but is flowing," said Kevin Robinson, a Defense Commissary Agency spokesman. "Our customers will see some holes on shelves as we continue to work with our distributors to get the products we need, especially to our stores in Europe and the Pacific."

Manufacturer cuts, distributor labor and driver shortages, shipping delays and port congestion have placed a strain on DECA's overseas distribution centers "to receive what we ordered and on schedule," Robinson said in a statement Friday.

Robinson didn't specify which products are in short supply. But the Wiesbaden, Germany, commissary on Hainerberg told customers last week that it was temporarily out of some chilled items, such as lactose-free and almond milks, cheese, lunch and breakfast meats, sour cream, cream cheese, non-dairy creamers, canned biscuits, butter and yogurt. Milk and egg supplies are locally sourced and unaffected, the commissary said.

Additional deliveries were expected early this week, a garrison Facebook post said Thursday.

Some dairy products were being restocked Monday afternoon, according to one customer.

Global supply chain problems brought on by the pandemic have been affecting retailers worldwide for months.

Those challenges include container shortages, coronavirus-related factory shutdowns, port congestion and capacity limitations, driver availability as well as limited truck and rail capacity, said Chris Ward, a spokesman for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service at the company's headquarters in Dallas.

Electronics, athletic footwear, men's and women's clothing, appliances and furniture stocks have been affected, Ward said in a statement Friday.

Ward said the agency is working with manufacturers and suppliers to prioritize support of the military community.

He said the problems have delayed shipments to exchange stores by up to one week, and he advised customers to shop early for the holidays.

And finally - how about a little normalcy for the holiday? The Bidens will be here on the isle of Nantucket for Thanksgiving weekend. They have been here many times before as the family of Senator and Vice President Biden. This is the first time with the trappings of the Oval Office.

But before they reach our shores, the Bidens took part in a longstanding Presidential tradition.

FORT BRAGG — President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden landed at Fort Bragg on Monday evening, thanking service members and their families ahead of Thanksgiving.

Shortly after disembarking Air Force One at a hangar on Fort Bragg just before 6 p.m., the president said in brief remarks that the couple knows “how hard it is” to be in a military family. Their son Beau Biden served in the Delaware National Guard as a major, Jill Biden said.

She said the couple appreciates what it’s like to see an empty seat at the holiday table, which is why they wanted to have dinner with the service members and Fort Bragg families.

“We’re so grateful,” the first lady said to the service members seated at dozens of linen-draped dining tables inside an airplane hangar. “Joe and I feel like you’re family to us.”

The president thanked the service members and their families.

“This is the finest military the world has ever seen,” he said.

I can't seem to recall though. What did the last guy do?

On Thanksgiving 2020, official White House transcripts show that Trump addressed the military via video call from the White House and Associated Press photos show he also played golf at his golf club just outside Washington DC.

Happy Thanksgiving out there - from all of us here at AAV.



16 comments (Latest Comment: 11/23/2021 20:19:31 by livingonli)
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