Print Page | Contact Us | Sign In | Join Now
Letters and News Media
Share |

Native Americans

Above is a proposed design for the National Native American Veterans Memorial by artist Harvey Pratt. Approved by Congress in 1994 (Public Law 103-384) and amended in 2013 (Public Law 113-70), the Memorial will be constructed at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. The design excludes the seal of the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service, whose members are deemed veterans by Federal law. COA has written many letters to request inclusion of all federally-recognized Native American veterans. 


PHS officers who are members of Federally-recognized tribes shared these letters.

Letter to Smithsonian Secretary Bunch, August 2019.  Letter to Commission of Fine Arts, June 2019Letter to the Lonnie Bunch, Secretary, The Smithsonian Institution, June 17, 2019. Letter to Joshua Johnson of WAMU Radio, June 14, 2019. Letter to Congressman Raul Grijalva, June 10, 2019. Letter to Congressman Jamie Raskin, June 9, 2019. Letter to David Skorton, Secretary, The Smithsonian Institution, May 31, 2019. Email response from Smithsonian regarding the COA request for records. Letter to Secretary Skorton, May 20, 2019. Letter to Secretary Robert Wilkie, May 15, 2019. Response from Secretary Robert Wilkie, May 14, 2019. Letter to Kevin Gover, Director, National Museum of the American Indian, April 24, 2019. Letter to Randy Reeves, Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs, Department of Veterans Affairs, April 10, 2019. Letter from Alex Azar, Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services, to David Skorton, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, April 9, 2019. Letter to Robert Wilkie, Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs, April 3, 2019. Email to the Editor of the MOAA Magazine, March 5, 2019. Response from Secretary David Skorton to retired RADM George Blue Spruce, February 6, 2019. Response from Secretary David Skorton to COA, February 6, 2019. Letter to Secretary Skorton, October 30, 2018. Letter to Director Kevin Gover, October 26, 2018. Letter from Director Kevin Gover to COA, September 28, 2018. Letter to Secretary Wilkie, September 20, 2018. Letter from The Military Coalition to Senators Shelby and Klobuchar and Representatives Harper and Brady, September 19, 2018. Email from Elizabeth Gordon, Project Manager, National Museum of the American Indian, to unnamed officer, August 15, 2018. Letter to Director Kevin Gover, August 7, 2018. Letter to Earl Powell, Chairman, Commission of Fine Arts, July 3, 2018. Letter from the VA, June 2019.  Letter To President, NCAI, July 2019. Letter to Kojo Nnamdi, WAMU Radio, July 2019. Letter to HHS Secretary Azar August 2019. Letter to NCAI August 2019.  Letter to Smithsonian Secretary Bunch August 2019Letter to Smithsonian Secretary, Sep 2019.  Letter to members of Smithsonian Board of Regents (sample) Sep 2019. Letter from Smithsonian, Sep 2019.  Letter to Director Gover, Sep 2019.  Letter to President, NCAI, Sep 2019.  Ad (half-page) in Roll Call, 9 Sep 2019.  Letter to Smithsonian Regents, Oct 2019Letter to Rep. Jamie Raskin. Oct 2019.  Letter to Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Oct 2019.  Letter to Sec. Azar re. Native American Veterans Memorial, December 2019.  Letter from Kevin Gover, with attachment, December 2019.  Letter to Kevin Gover, December 2019. Letter to HHS Secretary Azar, December 17, 2019.  Letter to Smithsonian Secretary, January 2020.

 Letter to Senate Indian Affairs Committee on behalf of RADM Michael Weakhee, Oct 2019.


Article published by Voice of America, June 8, 2019.

Opinion published by, May 30, 2019.

Opinion published by The Hill, April 18, 2019.

Letter to the Editor published by the Washington Post, April 5, 2019.

Article published by the Washington Post, March 31, 2019.

Article published by MOAA, September 4, 2018.


Bureau of Prisons

Members of the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service who work in the federal Bureau of Prisons have experienced discrimination when it comes to selection of their shifts. COA took swift and continuous action on behalf of members and sought resolution throughout the BOP system.


Letter from BOP regarding selection of shifts at MCC New York, May 23, 2019. Letter to BOP Acting Director Hurwitz regarding selection of shifts at MCC New York, March 13, 2019. Letter to BOP Assistant AG for Administration Loftus, May 3, 2017. Letter from BOP Assistant AG for Administration Loftus to COA and ROA, April 27, 2017. Letter from former Surgeon General Richard Carmona to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, April 17, 2017. Letter to AG Sessions, March 20, 2017. Message to BOP Director Kane, 2016. Letter to Senator Sessions, December 22, 2016. Letter from The Military Coalition to AG Lynch, December 17, 2016. Arbitrator decision, October 3, 2016. Memo from BOP Director Kane to all facility CEOs regarding staff augmentation, June 1, 2016. Letter to Teresa Gerton, DOL VETS, regarding USERRA protection for USPHS officers, 2015. Letter from DOL VETS to Warden Baltazar of FCI Otisville, 2015.  Letter to BOP Manhattan facility, Nov 2019.

Decisions and Law Reviews

FLRA decisionregarding BOP facilities, February 22, 2018. Amicus brief to the Federal Labor Relations Authority, January 24, 2018. Department of Labor Veterans' Employment and Training Service decision regarding Lisa Patterson at BCI Butner, 2015. FLRA decision regarding FMC Lexington, 2015.

Law Review 16033: Don't Let AFGE Override the USERRA Rights of PHS Officers at BOP

Law Review 15041: Seniority for PHS Officers Within the BOP Medical System

Update to Law Review 15041, August 2015


USA Today: Labor fight threatens inmate health care, by Kevin Johnson, published April 14, 2016

Commissioned Corps

Letter to Pennsylvania legislators re. veteran status, June 2019

Screenshot of American Forces Travel eligible organizations, July 2019

Letter to Pennsylvania DOT re. "Veteran" designation on driver's license, October 2019

MOA between HHS and the VA, January 2017

Letter to USO, January 2020

TMC Letter re. PHS Reserve Corps, December 2019

Letter to National Park Service, January 2020

Letter to Rockville officials re. Maryland Veterans Home, Jan 2020

DD-214 memorandum, May 2016

Letter to Maryland Senator Guzzone re. retirement income, January 2020

Letter OPM re. USA Jobs, Jan 2020

Letter to Maryland Delegate, Feb 2020

Language creating a Reserve Corps for the USPHS included in Covid 19 relief bill

Letter to Montana wildlife agency asking for parity for PHS officers, April 2020

Letter to AMEX Chairman re Platinum Card, July 2020

Response to RFI to the OASH on Long-Term Monitoring of Health Care System Resilience, July 2020

Defense Department and Tobacco

Article in Army Times about legal tobacco age, 24 June 2019

Letter to Sen. Tim Kaine about Tobacco 21, June 2019

Letter to Walter Reed national Military Medical Center about Smoking, July 2019


COA has contacted airline companies to request extending their policies for free baggage and other perks provided to members of the military or armed forces. Such policies often exclude the PHS and NOAA Commissioned Corps.

American Airlines

Letter from VADM Richard Carmona, October 17, 2018

Letter to Administrator, GSA, October 17, 2018

Letter to Chairman and CEO, October 12, 2018

Letter to Independent Member, Board of Directors, October 12, 2018

Letter to Chairman and CEO, September 25, 2018

FAA Complaint, September 25, 2018

Letter to Chairman and CEO, September 25, 2017

Letter, July 19, 2017

Letter, February 8, 2017

Letter to VP, Customer Relations, February 8, 2016

Delta Air Lines

Letter, February 8, 2017

Southwest Airlines

Letter, February 28, 2017

United Airlines

Letter, February 8, 2017

Letter, February 8, 2016

Letter, January 6, 2016


Auto Discounts


Letter to the Ford Motor Company, 2018. Letter to Ford, 2017.

General Motors

Letter to the General Motors Company, 2018. Letter to GM, 2017.


Letter to Harley-Davidson, 2017.


Letter to the American Honda Motor Company, 2018. Letter to Honda, 2017. Letter to Honda, 2016.


Letter to Hyundai Motor America, 2017.


Letter to MIA Motors America, 2017.


Letter to Nissan Consumer Affairs, 2017.


Letter to Subaru of America, 2017. Letter to Subaru, 2016.


Letter to Toyota Motor Sales, USA, 2017.


Letter to Sec. Azar re. transgender individuals, Nov 2018

Letter to Foot Locker CEO about military discount for PHS officers, July 2019

The Military Coalition letter to Capitol Hill opposing cuts in USUHS budget March 2020

Request from COA for modified language for NLC


Disney Company Discounts


Letter thanking Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company, January 2016. Letter to Bob Iger, October 2015. Letter to Bob Iger, April 2015. Letter to Bob Iger, January 2015. Letter to Bob Iger, December 2014.

Letter to Disney Cruise Line, September 2017.


Home Improvement

Home Depot

Letter to President and CEO of Home Depot, April 2019. Letter to Home Depot, August 2016. Letter to Home Depot, March 2016.


Letter to VP of Store Operations, December 2018. Letter to VP of Store Operations, November 2018. Letter to President and CEO, September 2018. Letter to President and CEO, August 2018. Letter to Chairman and CEO, UTC Aerospace Systems, April 2018. Letter to Director, Sales and Operations Planning, February 21, 2018. Letter to Chief Operating Officer, February 5, 2018. Letter to President and CEO, December 2017. Letter to President and CEO, September 2017. Letter to President and CEO, July 2017. Letter to President and CEO, June 2017. Letter to President and CEO, May 2017. Response from Lowe's Executive Support, February 2016. Letter to Office of Corporate Policy, June 2015.

Sheer ID

Letter to Sheer ID, January 2018.

News Media

Letter to the Editor, The Washington Post, 1 Nov 2019

Letter to the Editor Washington Post 27 May 16 response to Klain

OpEd in The Hill re. the Native American Veterans Memorial, May 2019

OpEd in re. Native American Veterans Memorial, May 2019

Ad in Roll Call re. Native American Veterans Memorial, Sep 2019

Letter to the Washington Post editor re. PHS capabilities, May 2016

OpEd in Army Times re. Smoking and the Military, 24 June 19

Letter read on "60 Minutes" 17 Nov 14

Letter, Washington Post Magazine, re. healthy eating, March 2016

Letter to Washington Post re. Prevention and Public Health Fund and Puerto Rico, December 2015

OpEd, Army Times, Re. Tobacco costs, June 2016

Letter to Army Times re. USPHS and Ebola, Nov 2014

OpEd in Navy Times re. Cost of Tobacco, June 2016

Letter, Washington Post, re. Smokeless Tobacco and baseball, April 2014

Letter, Washington Post, USPHS and Zika fight, May 2016