Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – November 29, 2011


Veterans! Here’s your Top 10 News stories of the day compiled from the latest sources


We encourage you to browse our list so that you can take what you want and keep what you need


1.       World War II veterans encouraged to share their stories at Dec. 7 event.  The Saratogian  Of the more than 16 million Americans who served in the Armed Forces during World War II, the US Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that only 1.7 million nationwide are still living. This event is an opportunity to honor and appreciate World War …
2.       Local WWI vet’s lost remains among first ID’d by project.  Dayton Daily News  According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, Otto Mathiasen served in the Navy from Oct. 12, 1918 to Dec. 7, 1918 — at the tail end of World War I. He went on to Oberlin College, then later to Harvard University before ending up at Antioch …
3.       What will automatic budget cuts mean to vets?   While most of the conversation surrounding the super committee’s deficit plan failure has focused on whether the Pentagon can handle another $600 billion in defense cuts, veterans groups worry that programs for separated military personnel could absorb a significant and unexpected hit as well.
4.       Tricare beneficiaries get letters on security breach.  Many of the 4.9 million Tricare beneficiaries whose personal data may have been compromised are just receiving word of the security breach now, through letters sent to their homes.
5.       Tricare scrapping troubled system in Philippines to address fraud, military retiree careTricare acknowledges that the Philippines system is one of its most dysfunctional and troubled ‘ so much so that the agency decided in September to scrap the program and start over, according to interviews with beneficiaries, a Department of Defense investigation and Tricare’s own assessments.
6.       Prosthetic Sensing Array Gives “Feeling” to Artificial Limbs.  The Sensors, Energy, and Automation Laboratory of the University of Washington, in collaboration with the US Department of Veterans Affairs, has completed development of a prototype Fringing Field Sensor …
7.       Veteran’s hospital promoting outreach program.  Midland Daily News  There’s a new program a the Aleda E. Lutz Veterans Affairs Medical Center to help veterans who are in legal trouble. The Veterans Justice Outreach Program is a newly-designed program that collaborates with the VA Homeless Program to identify and work …
8.       Memorial dedicated to veterans.  The “We Honor Veterans Program” was launched a year ago by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in cooperation with the US Department of Veterans Affairs. The program provides hospice and palliative care providers with the resources …
9.    Agent Orange Seminar Planned.  Youngstown (OH) Vindicator  “Vietnam veterans are invited to an Agent Orange seminar from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday in the Lawrence County commissioners’ meeting room at the county courthouse, Shirley Noga, director of Lawrence County Veteran Affairs, announced.” The Vindicator added that Daniel Slack, Agent Orange coordinator for the Butler Veterans Affairs Medical Center, “will provide information about symptoms of exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides, including birth defects or illnesses affecting children of exposed veterans.”
10. USC Starts Graduate Program Training Social Workers To Aid Military, Veterans, Families.   AP  “Army Reserve Capt. Chad Lauro,” who served in Afghanistan, “wants to use his military experience to help those who bear the mental wounds of war.” Kina Wilkening, an Air Force spouse, “calls military families ‘silent heroes’ who need help, too.” Both are “graduate students at the University of South Carolina, which is starting a new program to train social workers to assist the military, veterans and their families.”

Have You Heard?

VA is implementing a telephone support program to help spouses of returning Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans after a pilot telephone support program showed significant reduction in stress for the spouses. “Returning to civilian life after living in constant combat readiness can be a shocking transition, and it is the immediate family, the spouses and children, who bear that brunt of that transition with those who served,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “The more support we can provide to the family, the better the outcome will be for our Veterans.” The spouse telephone support program, which is part of VA’s Caregiver Support Program,  builds spouses’ ability to cope with the challenges that reintegration to civilian society can bring, helps them serve as a pillar of support for returning Veterans, and eases the transition for families after deployments. Spouses in the pilot program reported decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety, with an increase in social support. Local caregiver support coordinators are available to assist Veterans and their caregivers in understanding and applying for VA’s many caregiver benefits. VA also has a Web page,, with general information on spouse telephone support and other caregiver support programs available.

More Veteran News


  • Department Of Military And Veterans Affairs Partnering With U Of M To Raise Awareness Of Benefits.  Ann Arbor (MI) Journal  The Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is “partnering with the University of Michigan to raise awareness about the many benefits and opportunities available for veterans.” The DMVA began an “intense, statewide knowledge campaign earlier this year…to improve Michigan’s current, last-place status.” Michigan is “11th in the nation in veteran population, but 53rd, even behind Guam and Puerto Rico” for veterans services. DMVA Officials believe this may be partially due to eligible veterans being unaware of available benefits.
  •    Hagerstown Office Open Full Time To Assist Veterans.  Hagerstown (MD) Herald-Mail  “The Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs has restored its veterans benefits office in downtown Hagerstown to full-time status. Veterans Benefits Specialist Jim Lichtinger said the office at 33 W. Washington St. is open Monday through Friday to help qualified veterans request benefits they might have earned while serving in the military.” In the past, the Herald-Mail adds, the “office was open on Tuesdays.”
  • Henderson House A Godsend.  Albuquerque Journal  “It’s not yet a year old, but Henderson House, a transitional residence for homeless female veterans, is changing” the lives of veterans like Casey Smith, who lives “at the comfortable Northeast Heights house” with her eight-year-old son, Donovan. Smith said, “If not for Henderson House, we would be on the street.” The Journal added, “Clients are referred” to Henderson House “through the New Mexico VA Health Care System.”
  •   As US Troops Leave Iraq, What Is The Legacy Of Eight Years Of War?  McClatchy The war in Iraq has “taken nearly nine years and the price has been high: almost 4,500 Americans dead” and another 32,000 wounded. According to McClatchy, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a problem for some of those who served in Iraq, as well as for soldiers who have served in Afghanistan. Since 2009, Veterans Affairs’ “crisis line – 1-800-273-8255 – has received more than half a million calls.”
  •  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Leaves Scars “On The Inside,” Iraq Veteran Says.  Portland (ME) Press Herald  Miguel Cyr “said it’s understandable, but still frustrating, to see friends and family members struggle to comprehend the problems he faces in dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.” Cyr “said he takes medication the VA doctors prescribed, including antidepressants and pills to help him sleep, and goes to psychiatric therapy sessions. The treatment helps, he said, especially when he feels the need to talk about an incident in Iraq that’s been bothering him.”
  • Colin Powell: VA “Doing A Lot” To Help Returning Vets.  ABC’s This Week Christiane Amanpour said to Powell that “so many” returning veterans are “taking their own lives,” becoming homeless, or finding it hard to land jobs. Powell said, “I think we’re doing a lot with respect to what the Department of Veterans Affairs” in terms of helping such vets. Powell added, “The Pentagon is seized with this, particularly the problem of suicides.”
  • Mahoning Valley Doctor Chrisanne Gordon Helps Vets With Brain Injuries.  Youngstown (OH) Vindicator  “Mahoning Valley native Dr. Chrisanne Gordon is on a mission to end the misery of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who are suffering” from traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). It is “estimated that 360,000 military veterans, including some 10,000 Ohioans and many from the Valley, will return from the Middle East wars with TBI, the invisible but — Dr. Gordon says — very real ‘signature injury’ of those wars.” That number in the civilian world “would be an epidemic,” said Gordon, a “rehabilitation specialist. ‘That’s why we have to share — the military’s TRICARE, the Department of Veterans Affairs and civilian healthcare systems — so that all of our heroes get the expert care that they deserve,'” she said.
  •  Hike In Camp Lejeune Male Breast Cancer Cases Expected.  St. Petersburg (FL) Times  “Federal scientists at the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry confirmed last week that 184 male Marine Corps veterans with a history of breast cancer have been identified in Department of Veterans Affairs records. More research is under way to see how many of those men have ties” to Camp Lejeune, “where drinking water was contaminated with carcinogens for 30 years ending in 1987.” The US Marine Corps “maintains that no link has been established between the base’s polluted water and any disease.”
  •   VA Delivering 9 Out Of 10 IT Projects On Time.  Federal News Radio  “The Department of Veterans Affairs has been re-engineering the way it manages its information technology projects, and it seems to have paid off. For fiscal 2011, VA managed to cross the finish line on 89 percent of its project milestones on time.” That is a “number that’s far in excess of anything I’ve ever seen in a development organization before, either private sector or public sector,” said VA’s assistant secretary for information and technology Roger Baker.
  •   “Punishment Did Not Fit The Crime”: After 60 Years, Korean War Vet With Stress Disorder Seeks Vindication, Upgrade In Discharge.  Belleville (IL) News-Democrat  In 1951, a “military court in Pusan, South Korea, convicted” veteran Ralph Simonton “of accidentally shooting a Korean civilian. Simonton was stripped of rank, sentenced to prison for three years and dishonorably discharged.” The News-Democrat added, “The military court, in meting out Simonton’s punishment, failed to take into account his heroism in combat or the role PTSD played in the accidental shooting…said” Leon Jenkins, a “counselor in the St. Clair County Veterans Assistance Commission, which helped prepare Simonton’s” recent “application for discharge upgrade.” Such an upgrade would allow Simonton to use the Veterans Affairs medical system.
  • Asheville’s Veterans Restoration Quarters Gives Homeless Vets Hope And A Home.  Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times  “On any given night,” the Veterans Restoration Quarters (VRQ) “houses about 235 men,” nearly all of whom “are homeless veterans.” After saying in the middle of its report that that Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki wants to end veteran homelessness, the Citizen-Times briefly mentions that the VA “contributes about $1.5 million a year to the VRQ’s budget.”
  •   VA Center Program To Thank Caregivers.  Muskogee (OK) Phoenix  “November is National Family Caregiver Month, and to thank those who care for the veterans at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center, the hospital is having a caregiver appreciation program from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday at 1011 Honor Heights Drive. The program, called ‘Celebrating Caregivers,’ will be presented” in the hospital’s second floor “Downing Room.” During the program, caregivers “will have the opportunity to learn about VA programs and how the VA can support them.”
  •   Local Wreaths Across America Event Goes Forward.  Silver City (NM) Sun-News    A few months ago, veteran Ron Groves, who served in both Vietnam and the Gulf War, said he “would no longer be able” to organize the Wreaths Across America event at Fort Bayard National Cemetery and asked the Sun-News for contact information for “local veterans groups.” It seemed no local vets or groups were willing to assume the responsibility. Then last week, Gold Star Mother Mary Cowan said she “would be willing to help. … ‘It would be a shame to see it die,'” said Cowan who “lost her son Aaron in February 2005 when the Apache helicopter he was piloting crashed.” But a “local veteran should really be in charge,” she added.
  •   “Wreaths Across America” To Benefit From Sale Of Clarksville Artist’s Painting.  Clarksville (TN) Leaf Chronicle  Local artist Lynne Griffey has donated a painting to “the ‘Wreaths Across America’ program, an effort that is backed in this area by the local Gold Star Wives Eagles chapter, together with the American Legion.” They hope the sale of Griffey’s painting will help them achieve their goal to “decorate every grave in Kentucky West Veterans Cemetery for the Christmas season.” The painting depicts “standard military tombstones rising above a blanket of fresh snow…with only the green and red of Christmas wreaths to mark the stones and keep them from fading into obscurity.” The wreath-laying ceremony is slated for Dec. 10.
  •    Lafayette Moms Help Honor Fallen Soldiers With Christmas Wreaths At Arlington Cemetery.  WISH-TV  “This Thanksgiving holiday weekend, two Indiana” Gold Star mothers are “already working hard to provide a Christmas for soldiers.” Dana Vann’s son “Senior Airman John P. Morton died after an accident at an airbase in Italy in 2002”; and Pam Mow’s son “Army Cpl. Cody Putman died while serving in Iraq.” They are helping Wreaths Across America raise money to “put wreaths on every grave” at Arlington, which is “more than 300,000 wreaths.”
  •  J.R. Martinez Receives Letter From Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.  People “Dancing with the Stars winner J.R. Martinez,” who “suffered severe burns when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq in 2003,” has “fans in high places. US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta wrote a letter to the Iraq war veteran and called him up to offer his congratulations for winning the mirror-ball trophy in last week’s finale, according to the Department of Defense.” And during a phone call made to Martinez on Friday, Secretary Panetta “invited Martinez to the Pentagon.”
  •  Veterans’ Medical Care.  New York Times  Harold Ticktin of Shaker Heights, Ohio, wrote that he and three other WWII veterans have “nothing but kind words” for the Veterans Health Administration, which “works so well as a single payer.”
  •   Small Illinois Town Cannot Forget Its Iraq War Dead.  Chicago Tribune
  • Volunteers Needed To Drive Vets.  Savannah (GA) Morning News  “Charleston VA Hospital is seeking volunteers to pick up patients at various pick up points in the Savannah area (in a donated DAV van) and drive them to Charleston and back for their medical care.”

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