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Veterans Benefits AdministrationM21-1, Part III - page 49 / 71

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February 25, 2005M21-1, Part III

     Change 131

c.  Civilian Employees, Pacific Naval Air Bases, Who Actively Participated in the Defense of Wake Island.  These individuals are considered to have served on active duty from December 8, 1941, until approximately October 1, 1945.  From December 23, 1941 until approximately October 1, 1945, they are classified as being POWs.

(1)  DD Forms 214.  The remarks section of the DD Form 214 for these individuals will contain:

(a)  The name of the group.

(b)  A statement of the time period the individual was held as a POW.

(c)  A statement indicating there are no medical or dental records for the time the individual was a POW.

(2)  Medical Record Requests.  Requests for medical records should not be submitted to the service department in these cases.  Available records, if any, can be obtained from the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs—Branch of Special Claims, P.O. Box 37117, Washington, DC  20013.  Make requests by locally generated letter.

(3)  Prohibition Against Concurrent Benefits.  Defenders of Wake are entitled to Federal Employees

Compensation Act (FECA) benefits.  An election between FECA benefits and VA benefits is required.  On receipt of a claim for VA benefits, follow the procedures in part IV, chapter 20.

d.  Certain Peacetime Veterans May Be Granted Ex-POW Status.  Only VA has authority to determine ex-POW status if detention or internment occurred during peacetime or if detention or internment during wartime was by allied governments, e.g., the Soviet Union in World War II, or neutral governments, e.g., Switzerland or Sweden in World War II, their agents, or by hostile governments or forces.  An administrative decision is required.  See part IV, chapter 11.

(1)  If a veteran claims ex-POW status but has provided no verification and verification is not available in the claims folder, make a PIES request to the appropriate service department.  The information requested from the service department will depend on the type of status claimed.  At the same time the information is requested from the service department, undertake development with the veteran to request any information needed.

(a)  If the veteran claims status as a peacetime ex-POW, request the facts and circumstances of detention or internment.  Describe the information required in the ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REQUESTED field (circumstances of detention, dates and places of internment, detaining power and supporting documents).  Where possible, provide dates of internment as given by the veteran to serve as guidelines for the service department.  Do not request certification of ex-POW status.

(b)  If the veteran alleges detention during wartime, request the circumstances of detention, the dates and places of internment and the detaining power.  The facts and circumstances of detention are needed only if the detaining power was an allied or neutral power or its agent, or a hostile force, or if the certification of the service department legitimately may be questioned, requiring an administrative decision by the regional office.  Use PIES to request the information.

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