Veterans! Here’s your Top 10 News stories of the day compiled from the latest sources
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1. Spring fighting season is only just beginning, Gates says. The annual resurgence of fighting in Afghanistan has begun, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday, but is not expected to reach full strength for another month.
2. A different type of tour, a very different Vietnam. On Christmas Day last year, I received an unexpected present: an invitation to accompany a Brown University alumni tour of Vietnam as the tours lecturer. I accepted and began to practice my Vietnamese, something that I had not done since attending language school in 1968 and spending a year with the Vietnamese Marines in 1969-70
3. Study establishes depression, TBI link. About 30 percent of traumatic brain injury patients will develop clinical depression, a level three times higher than the general population, according to a new study.
4. Wounded warriors get a chance to horse around. Doctor appointments, medical tests and counseling sessions can get tiresome for wounded soldiers, particularly for a person accustomed to the grimy, rough-and-tumble world of warfare.
5. Former residents of Island seek reparations for Incheon assault. Every September, thousands of U.S. and South Korean troops and veterans gather at this port city for pomp-filled ceremonies, speeches and even re-enactments, marking the anniversary of the Incheon Landing, a daring amphibious assault that became the turning point in the Korean War.
6. A Pentagon after Gates: What’s the new defense chief’s mission? When Defense Secretary Robert Gates took his post nearly five years ago, his top priority was salvaging the faltering U.S.-led war effort in Iraq. As he prepares to step down this summer, the Defense chief has a new mission: shaping the terms of the coming debate over how much the Pentagon’s budget should be cut to help close the nation’s yawning deficit.
7. For many veterans, time running out for trip. St. Cloud Times Center, US census and the US Department of Veterans Affairs. World War II veterans need to see their memorial in Washington, DC, before it’s too late. The urgency stems in part from the statistic that shows an average of 850 US veterans of the World …
8. Virginia Division of Confederate group seeks federal funding for soldiers. WTKR Your NewsChannel 3 It’s seeking individual granite headstones, which would cost the US Department of Veterans Affairs $3.2 million. The VA denied the group’s initial request last year for 10 new markers. The VA’s National Cemetery Administration says the existing markers …
9. New Mexico honors Shreveport veteran. Shreveport Times Cascio had been notified that he was among that state’s latest group of recipients of the medal, which was created by the Legislature in 2008. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and state Veterans’ Affairs Secretary Lane Carson usually present the medals, …
10. Veterans Hotline: House committee studying potential VA cutbacks. Craig Daily Press…A plan is being studied by the House Budget Committee to cut $6 billion annually in US Department of Veterans Affairs health care costs by canceling enrollment of any veteran who doesn’t have any service-related medical condition and is …
HAVE YOU HEARD?
Philadelphia Vets Take to the Links
Amputee Veterans in the City of Brotherly Love turned out for the third annual First Swing Golf Clinic – a new approach to physical therapy and great chance for camaraderie. Read more
IN OTHER NEWS
- Mental Disorders Linked to Drug, Alcohol Abuse in U.S. Vets. U.S. News & World Report US veterans with mental health disorders have high rates of substance abuse, new research shows. In the study, researchers analyzed US Department of Veterans Affairs data to determine the rates of substance-use …
- Vietnam Vet Sues For Mental Health Benefits. New Haven Independent He had never heard of PTSD until 2003, when he sought treatment at the New Haven Veterans Center, which is run by the US Department of Veterans Affairs. In 2004, the VA diagnosed him with PTSD and rated him “100 percent disabled on account of his …
- Veteran transport needs drivers. Brunswick News Herring said she hopes soon to add four to six additional drivers to the weekly routes to assist local veterans who need a ride to the nearby clinic, which opened in October. To become a volunteer driver for the Disabled American Veterans organization, …
- Vietnam Veteran To Receive Distinguished Service Cross. The Columbus (GA) Ledger-Enquirer
- McChrystal The Right Stuff For New Veterans Assistance Program, Advocates Say. Fox News Gen. Stanley McChrystal, relieved from top command in Afghanistan nearly a year ago, “has accepted an offer from the White House to lead a new advisory board for the Joining Forces program at the nonpartisan Center for a New American Security.” The unpaid position advises a campaign launched last week by Michelle Obama and Jill Biden to “rally communities, businesses, religious groups and the government around providing support to the impending flood of returning troops” as they and their families deal with mental health, physical and economic issues White House spokesman Jay Carney said that the president “feels strongly that the general is the right person to lead this commission,” and a VFW spokesman adds that McChrystal “has the respect of the entire military.
- AF Still Holds Back Female Leaders. Air Force Times Air Force veteran Robert Dorr writes that a female Air Force brigadier general commanded the US-led campaign to create a no-fly zone over Libya, but the service “must do even better, especially in its highest ranks. Nearly four decades after women first entered flight training…the Air Force still does not …
- VHA Sets Up National Crisis Line for Veterans. DoD Live The “Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has founded the Veterans Crisis Line (formerly the Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline) to ensure veterans and families in emotional crisis have free, 24/7 access to trained counselors. To operate the Veterans Hotline,” VA “partnered with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Veterans can call the Lifeline number, 1-800-273-TALK begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-800-273-TALK end_of_the_skype_highlighting (8255), and press ‘1’ to be routed to the Veterans Crisis Line.”
- Vet Sticks Up For Care At Dayton VA. Dayton Daily News Veteran Harold J. Miller writes, “As a veteran and patient of the Dayton VA Medical Center, I appreciate that the DDN has exposed the shortcomings and unsanitary practices of an individual in the dental clinic.” However, “I believe the DDN has not been fair to the thousands of professionals, their staffs and the volunteers who, on a daily basis serve with the utmost of care. This letter is to express my appreciation for those who have cared for me, including those at the dental clinic, in a manner that could only be described as professional and dignified.”
- HHS Participating In Pilot Federal Hiring Program. Joe Davidson says Obama Administration “efforts to fix the federal hiring process are making progress, according to those inside and outside of government, but no one claims the job is done.” The “latest undertaking in that massive effort is a pilot online assessment program, cleverly called the Assess Pilot, that the Office of Personnel Management says ‘will provide applicants an opportunity to demonstrate that they actually have the abilities necessary for a particular job.'” The “departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services are in the pilot.”
- New York Man Convicted In Veterans Contract Scam. Reuters
- Award-Winning Student Volunteered To Do Cancer Research At Boise VA. KTVB-TV The “winner of this week’s Distinguished Student Award” is Alysha Van Zante, who is “getting ready for college by doing a lot of community service in her field of interest — medicine.” Among other things, Van Zante has volunteered “as a research assistant at the Boise Veterans Administration Medical Center,” where she says she worked on “cancer research and the effects of cancer treatment.”
- Giffords’s Office Seeks To Close Gap In Traumatic Brain-Injury Care. Washington Post “Staff members for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) have emerged as key advocates in a campaign to ensure the new health-care law guarantees more Americans who suffer traumatic brain injuries the high quality of care the congresswoman is receiving to recover from a January shooting.” Recently, Giffords’ office “released a letter urging Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to make it a goal as she defines the minimum package of ‘essential benefits’ the law will require insurance plans for individuals and small businesses to include in 2014.” The letter to Sebelius also “noted the disparities in the intensity, sophistication and duration of rehabilitative care that insurance plans provide the roughly 1.7 million Americans who annually suffer such injuries, as well as the tens of thousands of service members who have been wounded in recent years.”
- Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Social Media Outreach To Vets. Huffington Post Craigslist founder Craig Newmark writes, “The folks at the Palo Alto VA center are now using Facebook for social media outreach to local veterans with the hopes of providing more services for returning troops.” And they are “receiving high scores all over the board, including the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey and on Yelp. I also just read that Lisa Freeman, who’s director of the Palo Alto VA center, was cited as one of Silicon Valley’s most influential women.”
- US Dept. Of Veterans Affairs Opens Technology Acquisition Center In Eatontown. Asbury Park (NJ) Press The US Department of Veterans Affairs was “looking to develop a center for its information-technology acquisitions just as the Army’s Communications-Electronics Command at Fort Monmouth was closing.” For VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, the “timing just worked out perfectly,” and now, 98 percent of the 157 staff members at VA’s Technology Acquisition Center in Eatontown are former Fort Monmouth employees.
- First Major Contract Awarded For New VA Hospital. Denver Post Last Thursday, the US Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it has awarded a today it has awarded a $22.5 million to Kiewit-Turner for construction work to be performed on a new hospital, to be located in Aurora, Colorado. This is the first major construction contract for the facility, which, according to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, will “provide veterans with the state-of-the art medical care that they deserve while investing in the local economy.”
- VA, DOD Create Mobile App For PTSD Treatment, Support. Federal Computer Week Veterans and service members with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) “can now get support from a new iPhone application from the Veterans Affairs and Defense departments. The VA’s National Center for PTSD and DOD’s National Center for Telehealth and Technology created the new PTSD Coach application to provide remote support for veterans and service members with PTSD, whether diagnosed or pre-diagnosed, the VA has announced.” Julia Hoffman, a “clinical psychologist with the VA’s PTSD center, said the mobile application is intended to help veterans get over the difficulties in seeking treatment, and can be used anonymously.”
- American Legion Task Force Visiting Salt Lake VA Hospital “System Worth Saving”. Deseret (UT) Morning News “The American Legion’s ‘System Worth Saving’ task force is visiting” the Veterans Affairs hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, “next week as part of an ongoing initiative that gathers data and makes recommendations to the Department of Veterans Affairs, Congress and the president. ‘We don’t rank facilities. We’re just there to learn about programs, best practices and concerns,’ said Jacob B. Gadd, deputy director for health care for the American Legion’s Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Division.” This year, the task force, which “began visiting the VA’s 152 hospitals in 2003,” is “focusing on the quality of transition care between the military and the VA, treatment for post traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries, and mental health efforts to combat suicide.”
- VA To Quilters: Thanks, But Please Quit. Minneapolis Star Tribune The “Department of Veterans Affairs and members of Quilts of Valor can’t agree on the explanation, but the Minneapolis VA is no longer accepting the donated, handcrafted quilts that volunteers have been making for wounded soldiers and other vets who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Earlier this month, leaders of the charitable group were “told the decision was part of a nationwide directive for VA facilities because of an outbreak of bedbugs at a VA homeless shelter in another state.” But VA “says the new ban has nothing to do with bedbugs — the real issue is the generosity and efficiency of the quilting volunteers” has caused VA to run out of room for the quilts.
- Official Notes VA Efforts To Assist Women Vets. Dr. Oz Show “In Iraq and Afghanistan, almost a quarter million women have now served. And they’re close enough to battle that 130 have lost their lives,” while “thousand more have been wounded.” One of the guests on the program, Veterans Affairs’ Deputy Chief for Mental Health Dr. Sonja Batten, said that both VA and the Department of Defense have been proactive about reaching out to vets with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- VA Website To Help Veterans Gain Access To Doctors. Hendersonville (NC) Times-News The Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville “has implemented a new technology within VA’s My HealtheVet website that allows veterans to communicate directly with healthcare teams online. The system, called Secure Messaging, promotes a partnership between the patient and his or her healthcare team by providing an additional communication method that is convenient, flexible and available 24 hours a day.”
- VA Using Creative Arts Therapy To Treat Vets With PTSD. Dr. Oz Show Dr. Mary Rorro, a psychiatrist with the “VA New Jersey Health Care System James J. Howard VA Outpatient Clinic,” discussed “creative arts therapy, an emerging field, and how it can be used to treat PTSD, specifically in veterans returning from war.” According to Dr. Rorro, she began a program called “A Few Good Notes” as a “way to bring music to veterans in helping them to cope with such conditions” as PTSD. Dr. Rorro, who noted that this program has now been “expanded…within the national VA system,” went on say that if veterans and families want to get more information on such alternative therapies, they can “contact their local Veteran Affairs medical facility and access the National Center for PTSD online.”
- Female Vets Could Get Own License Plates In Texas. AP Women veterans “could buy specialty license plates under a bill” was approved on Thursday by the Texas House. The legislation, which is “expected to move to the state Senate,” would “direct the state to issue the plates to female active or former members of the United States armed forces, Texas National Guard, or Texas State Guard. The plates would include the words ‘Women Veterans’ in red.”
- Vietnam Veteran With PTSD Sues Army Over Discharge. AP Last Thursday, 63-year-old John Shepherd, who “received the Bronze Star and later was diagnosed” with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), “filed a federal lawsuit…trying to get the Army to modify his other-than-honorable discharge so that his sacrifice will be recognized and he can get disability benefits.” According to the lawsuit, Shepherd’s service in Vietnam caused him to develop PTSD, after which time he refused to go back out into the field and was discharged. A Veterans Affairs therapist contends that Shepherd’s PTSD led him to disobey an order to return to combat, which resulted in his being discharged. Shepherd, according to the AP, sought counseling for his disorder at the New Haven Veterans Center. The AP added, “An Army spokesman says the service does not comment on pending lawsuits.”
- Officials Remind Federal Employees About Obama Photos During Campaign Season. Washington Post The US Office of Special Counsel (OSC) “published a reminder that any official campaign photos or fliers of Obama or Republican presidential candidates are prohibited around” the Federal workplace. The Post adds, “Last month, a Veterans Affairs doctor from Arizona learned he’s losing his job for e-mailing an invitation for a 2008 campaign fundraiser for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to co-workers and subordinates while on duty.” The Post adds, “OSC and VA officials would not comment on the case.”
- Gary Sinise Helps Wounded Warrior Care Project. Augusta (GA) Chronicle “In a heartfelt speech Thursday night to an overflow crowd,” actor Gary Sinise, whose “signature role as a Vietnam veteran” in the film “Forrest Gump”, spoke at “fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Care Project at the Richmond on Greene hotel in downtown Augusta. The 319th Transportation Company Vietnam Veterans played host to the event, which raised more than $30,000 toward a permanent home for a disabled veteran.”
- Battle Over Civil War Graves. WRC-TV “A military graveyard is causing controversy in Virginia, and it’s not located in Arlington.” The Sons of Confederate Veterans “is demanding better grave markers for more than 17,000 soldiers buried in Richmond that fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War.” The group wants federal funds for individual upright granite headstones to replace the current markers, numbered marble blocks for every three graves. VA Sen. Jim Webb (D) supports the request, writing a letter asking the VA to release funds for individual markers.