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WASHINGTON – Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi today announced the membership of a 12-member panel that will advise him on issues affecting former prisoners of war.
"Many POWs have endured privations beyond description, even torture," said Principi. "The Department of Veterans Affairs must remain ever-attuned to their special needs. This advisory committee is an important element in honoring the nation's commitment to our POWs."
More than 45,000 former POWs are still alive. They are entitled to the full range of VA's medical care. About a third of living POWs receive VA disability compensation for health care problems related to their military service.
The advisory committee, formally named the Advisory Committee on Former Prisoners of War, has a charter that calls upon it to "assess the needs of former prisoners of war in the area of service-connected compensation, health and rehabilitation." It also will review VA programs and recommend administrative and legislative changes.
The committee will meet at least twice a year, although individual members or working groups may be called upon for specific consultations with VA officials. Each member will serve for up to three years. The committee will provide Principi with written reports.
The panel is headed by Thomas M. McNish of San Antonio, a physician and POW during the Vietnam War.
Membership Advisory Committee on Former Prisoners of War
Thomas M. McNish, San Antonio, chairman. A physician and POW during the Vietnam War.
Michael J. Ambrose, Pensacola, Fla. A Navy captain, physician and director of the Navy's Center for POW Studies.
Rhonda L. Cornum, Fort Gordon, Ga. A physician, lieutenant colonel in the Army's medical corps and POW during the Gulf War.
Adolfo Correa, Atlanta. An epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Kenneth W. Cordier, Dallas. A retired Air Force colonel and POW for more than seven years in Vietnam. A motivational speaker and former president of NAM-POWs.
Clarence Earl Derrington, Jackson, Miss. A former World War II POW and past national commander of the American Ex-POWs.
* Robert W. Fletcher, Ann Arbor, Mich. A retired city employee and POW from the Korean War.
* Edward Jackfert, Wellsburg, W.Va. Captured in the Philippines during World War II, a POW of the Japanese for more than three years. Past national commander of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor.
Ralph Levenberg, Reno, Nev. A POW from World War II, survivor of the Bataan death march and past national commander of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor.
Giles Roderick Norrington, New Orleans. A retired Navy captain, POW for five years during the Vietnam War.
Charles R. Stenger, Bethesda, Md. A retired VA psychologist, POW from the European theater during World War II and past national commander of American Ex-Prisoners of War.
Fernando A. Tellez, Solana Beach, Calif. A retired physician and POW from the European theater during World War II.