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Witness Testimony of Mr. Chuck Trenchard, Department of Louisiana, Adjutant, Disabled American Veterans

Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity you have afforded me to come speak to you today on behalf of the disabled American veterans.

The loss of the VA medical center in new Orleans Has had a profound impact on both the quality and availability of appropriate health care for Thousands of Louisiana and Mississippi veterans as well as veterans from both Alabama and the Florida panhandle.  It is essential that a new medical facility be constructed as soon as possible to ensure the well-being of these veterans.

The primary focus of this facility should be the care and treatment of America’s veterans.  Any other economic and political considerations in regard to the location of this facility are secondary and should only be fulfilled as a by-product.  This facility needs to be solely for the benefit of veterans and should be located in an easily accessible location, safe from hurricanes and flooding.  It should be placed in a location that will be benefit the greatest number of veterans.  It should be a dedicated facility, not incorporated with any other programs. 

Whether we like it or not, this is a time of war and America's military is putting their lives on the line to keep our country safe as they have for over 200 years.  As an instrument of national power, the military is trained to do what they are told to do, when they are to do it, and how they are told to do it.  Veterans are a unique group of people.

They don’t have to ask what they can do for their country.  They know what to do and do it well without regard to the risks. They have never kept their country waiting.

Throughout the Spanish-American war, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Kuwait, Afghanistan, and now Iraq veterans met the call to arms and successfully served to defend our Nation against all enemies.  They have never kept America waiting.  We owe it to our veterans to properly care for them now and not keep them waiting.

As time goes by, the health care situation will get worse -- not better and America’s veterans will wait and suffer.  We need to put politics and bureaucracy aside and to do the right thing -- take care of our veterans now!  After all, haven’t  they earned it? Thank you.