ST. CROIX — Robert McDonald, secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will make his first official visit to the territory on April 25, Government House announced via press release on Thursday.
Mr. McDonald will be on this island to recognize five Virgin Islanders who served the 65th Army Regimen from the Korean War, which was recently awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in ceremonies on Capitol Hill and in Puerto Rico. According to the release, while the segregated unit was called the “Borinqueneers” because of its large Puerto Rican component, it also included Virgin Islanders Jerome Ferdinand, Jerome Jackson, Aubrey Nelthropp, Carl Thomas, and Leroy Woodrup. All five will be on hand for the ceremony at Government House in Christiansted.
At the same ceremony, Mr. McDonald will also recognize and present an award to Army Veteran John Tranberg of St. Croix. Mr. Tranberg, who celebrated his 100th birthday on April 17, was assigned initially to the 873rd Port Company, and later transferred to the 872nd in Louisiana during World War ll. Governor Kenneth Mapp will present a Proclamation honoring Mr. Tranberg for his service and contributions. Director of Veterans Affairs Patrick Farrell will present the “Test of Time Award” to Mr. Tranberg, according to the release.
Following the presentations, Mr. McDonald and Mr. Farrell will host a Veterans town hall in the Ballroom at Government House. The town hall is for Veterans, their families and survivors, and any organization or individual who works with or on behalf of Veterans to get information.
Questions on VA compensation, pension, insurance, loan guaranty, vocational rehabilitation and employment and education benefit programs will have the opportunity to be answered.
Secretary Anthony J. Principi was the last Secretary of Veterans Affairs to visit the territory back in 2002.
Feature Image: Robert McDonald.