Metro-East News

Roger That: Troy VFW to honor WW I veteran

Belleville News-Democrat reporter Mike Fitzgerald.
Belleville News-Democrat reporter Mike Fitzgerald. News-Democrat

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 976, 123 W. Market Street, Troy, is set to hold an open house from noon to 4 p.m., May 30 that features the World War I memorabilia of the late Walter Ellis Gaultney, a resident of Collinsville and Troy who fought in France in 1918 as a soldier with the Army’s 11th Infantry Regiment, 5th Division.

The open house will have on display Gaultney’s uniform and his medals. The centerpiece will be a portrait of Gaultney painted in 1918 by renowned artist Joseph Cummings Chase. Gaultney, who died in 1966 at age 70 after a long career as a railroad worker, was chosen for the portrait as part of series of paintings Chase undertook to portray the “typical Doughboy” coming home after the Great War had ended. In 1962, the Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D.C. sponsored a major exhibition of the portraits of Gaultney and 49 other Doughboys who posed for Chase.

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Congress is aiming to privatize military base commissaries. On Thursday the Senate Armed Services Committee approved legislation that would require a pilot program to test the concept of private companies operating at least five commissaries at large military installations.They approved the plan Thursday as part of its version of the 2016 defense authorization bill, the Air Force Times is reporting.

The legislation also mandates a report on a plan to privatize the Defense Commissary Agency, entirely or in part, and directs the Government Accountability Office to assess potential costs and benefits of having private companies run the stores, according to the Air Force Times.

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Nepalese rescuers on Friday discovered three bodies near the wreckage of a U.S. Marine helicopter that vanished earlier in the week while on a relief mission in the earthquake-hit Himalayan nation. Military sources said it was unlikely there were any survivors from the crash.

“The wreckage of the helicopter was found in pieces and there are no chances of any survivors,” said Nepal's Defense Secretary Iswori Poudyal. He gave no details about the nationalities of the three victims, only saying their remains were charred, according to a report on the website Military.com.

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Democratic and GOP lawmakers expressed outrage Thursday in response to allegations of widespread use of purchase cards at the Department of Veterans Affairs in violation of federal rules, blaming top VA officials for failing to take long-standing complaints seriously, according to story Friday in the Washington Post.

In a tense hearing before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle demanded to know why VA officials did little to stop their health system from buying more than $1 billion in prosthetics and other medical supplies without competitive bidding and proper contracts. Some of the improper spending was done by employees who were not authorized to use the cards, the newspaper reported.

Contact reporter Mike Fitzgerald at mfitzgerald@bnd.com or 618-239-2533.

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