Boozman Bulletin: Honoring All Who Served


On Veterans Day we honor all of those who wore our nation’s uniform and reflect on their sacrifices. These men and women bravely served our country on battlefields and military installations around the world. How we treat our veterans defines us as a nation – so let’s make sure we’re all doing our part.

Our veterans are a national treasure and we have an obligation to support them because of what they've given to America. I’m honored to champion policies that demonstrate our commitment to delivering on assurances made to our veterans and their families. 

This is personal for me and reminds me of the love of country my father passed along to my siblings and me. He was a B-17 waist gunner in Europe during World War II and served in the U.S. Air Force for 23 years. I saw firsthand what military families experience as their loved one answers the call to serve. My father's patriotism is what drove me to serve on the Veterans Affairs’ Committee and fight for improvements to the services and benefits our veterans have earned. Before she passed away, my mom regularly asked what I’d been doing to support veterans. 

I’ve been proud to be a voice for Arkansas veterans and play a role in advancing legislation to expand access to health care, education opportunities and suicide prevention programs among other services critical to fulfilling our promise to veterans and their families. 

To all of our veterans, thank you for your service and may God bless you, your family and the United States of America.

Improving Mammography Services for Women Veterans

Breast cancer is the second-most common cancer in women. The prevalence of breast cancer in women veterans and military populations is estimated to be up to 40 percent higher than the general population

Given the dangerous environments in which military members serve and additional risk factors associated with these locations, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) should have the advanced tools and updated policies to enable those who are more vulnerable to get mammograms and tests at an earlier age. 

I'm pushing the VA to modernize its exam policies by introducing the Supporting Expanded Review for Veterans in Combat Environments (SERVICE) ActThis legislation would require the VA to conduct mammograms for all women who served in areas associated with burn pits and other toxic exposures regardless of age, symptoms or family history.

The Senate VA Committee advanced this legislation out of the committee and I'm hopeful it will be signed into law so we can save lives. 

We're continuing that momentum to expand mammography services in rural and underserved areas. I'm proud to champion the Making Advances in Mammography and Medical Options (MAMMO) for Veterans Actbipartisan legislation to require the VA to develop a strategic plan to improve breast imaging services.

Leading a Push to Assess VA Resources, Including Vet Centers, in Underserved Areas

Vet Centers, the community-based counseling branch of the VA, are a critical resource for veterans and their families. They provide a variety of services to help our former servicemembers and the support systems they rely on get help, especially when it comes to mental health and counseling needs that can make a tremendous difference in their lives.
I’ve introduced the bipartisan Vet Center Support Act, legislation to direct the VA to evaluate its ability to furnish the full spectrum of mental health and counseling services, to identify barriers to building new Vet Centers in underserved areas and analyze staffing shortages. Additionally, the legislation assesses the effectiveness of Vet Centers in reaching veterans and directs the VA to identify gaps in outreach resources by examining states with a ratio of only one Vet Center per 100,000 veterans such as in Arkansas. 

Natural State veterans should have appropriate access to these services and I’m concerned the two Centers in our state are overwhelmed with the number of veterans they support. My bill will review and ensure our Vet Centers can deliver care and benefits to help those who have worn our nation’s uniform.

Salute to Arkansas Veterans

It’s important to recognize the service and sacrifice of Arkansas veterans all year round. That’s why I launched the ‘Salute to Veterans’ initiative to honor Arkansans who served in uniform and share their stories of military service.

This month, we’re highlighting Vietnam veteran Robert Fureigh. His passion was flying. In Vietnam Fureigh served with the 176th Assault Helicopter Company, 14th Combat Aviation Battalion, 16th Combat Aviation Group where he was assigned to fly the Huey.

Fureigh’s Huey duties included flying resupply and spray missions and inserting troops for long-range recon patrols. When the Gunship platoon wasn’t providing close-fire support on combat assaults, two teams were on standby (quick reaction) for supporting troops in enemy contact. “When we flew, we fought. We engaged the enemy,” Fureigh said in this interview with my office.

I’m proud to submit Fureigh’s memories to the Library of Congress Veterans History Project - a program aiming to preserve and make accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans.

There is great enthusiasm for this effort across the state and I’m pleased to support the VHP and educate others about participating in the program so we can preserve the living histories of veterans. This is a great way to honor their service and commitment to their country.

Learn what we’re doing for veterans. Stay up to date with what I’m doing for Arkansas veterans via social media. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.