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1. Navy Veterans Fight Silent War. Mesothelioma.net Blog (blog) The US Department of Veteran Affairs offers voluntary compensation only to veterans suffering from mesothelioma who can prove that the disease is the direct result of serving in the military alone. If the VA suspects that there could be any secondary …
2. Honor guard provides final salute for Franklin County, area veterans. Chambersburg Public Opinion Most of the honor guard’s ceremonies in the last few years have been for older veterans. A report by the US Department of Veterans Affairs published in September 2010 estimated that 850 American WWII veterans pass away every day. guard performs its …
3. Brutality of 1994 Panama fight still resonates with U.S. troops. Some of the Americans had seen combat in the Persian Gulf War. Others later fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those men almost unanimously agree: Their fight in Panama on Dec. 8, 1994, was the equal in terror and ferocity of anything else they ever faced.
4. Long-term success of Iraq security forces remains to be seen, commander says. A top U.S. commander in Iraq said the world will soon learn whether the country’s military and police forces are ready to preserve the security gains that more than 4,500 U.S. troops gave their lives to secure, while tens of thousands more were wounded.
5. Lawmakers concerned over N. Korea’s ballistic missile capabilities. North Korea’s efforts to develop a ballistic missile capable of reaching American soil apparently have some congressmen worried the U.S. is not prepared to fend off such an attack.
6. Former state vet secretary to take on Kind. La Crosse Tribune Boland, a Vietnam veteran who retired in 1991 as garrison commander of Fort McCoy, was appointed secretary of Veterans Affairs by Gov. Tommy Thompson and served until 2003. A native of Friendship, Wis., he now lives in Sparta. …
7. Keizer veteran to be honored in Oregon Pearl Harbor event. Statesman Journal Oregon Department of Veterans affairs Virgil Taylor has been in high demand this week, with newspaper, radio and TV reporters hounding him for interviews. The attention actually started last month, when he was honored during halftime of a Willamette …
8. Large turnout for veterans ‘Benefits Supermarket’. WRCB-TV In Dalton, it was a chance for veterans to get the help they need. The Georgia Department of Veterans Service, along with the US Department of Veterans Affairs, held a ‘Benefits Supermarket …
9. Remembering Pearl Harbor, 70 Years Later. The “70th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack will be the last one marked” by members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. With a “concession to the reality of time – of age, of deteriorating health and death – the association will disband on Dec. 31.” Los Angeles Times 91-year-old Constantine Socrates Savalas, “brother of the late actor Telly Savalas,” was “aboard the heavy cruiser Astoria that had left Pearl Harbor and was off the island of Oahu when 353 Japanese fighters struck in what President Franklin D. Roosevelt called ‘a date which will live in infamy.'” Constantine was “operating his ship’s radio when the Morse code call for help came from Pearl Harbor.” He “helped retrieve the bodies of sailors killed on the battleship West Virginia after the sunken craft was refloated.” Washington Post The December newsletter for the Washington, DC-based Armed Forces Retirement Home has a “listing for an observance of the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. The date will be solemnly marked with a ceremony and lunch.”
10. Genesis Sued Over Iraq Vet’s Suicide. Quad-City Times The family of Patrick Gibbs Jr., an “Iraq war veteran who hanged himself,” has “filed a wrongful death lawsuit against” the Genesis Medical Center, which discharged the vet “just hours before he died.” The suit, which was filed Tuesday in US District Court in Davenport, claims that the vet was “not admitted to the psychiatric unit” at Genesis “after a suicide attempt the afternoon of Jan. 23, 2010.” The suit “also claims Gibbs was not given a psychiatric screening before a nurse discharged him after making her own evaluation that he was no longer a risk to himself.”
More Veteran News
- New Generation. Memphis Daily News The “70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor – Wednesday, Dec. 7 – comes as another new generation of service men and women return home from the war in Iraq, where US troops will exit by the end of the month. Among the doctors and counselors at the Memphis Veterans Administration hospital who have been seeing veterans of the war as well as the continuing US war in Afghanistan for several years now is clinical psychologist Dr. John Whirley, himself a Vietnam veteran.” Nancy Withers, the “coordinator of services specifically for the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, said the Memphis VA has provided help to 15,000 of those veterans so far at the hospital, at area clinics and through online services.” Withers added, “We’re ready for whatever comes about. We’ll be right on top of it.”
- New Boston Hope For Veterans Event Is A One-Stop Shop. WSAZ-TV In New Boston, Ohio, on Tuesday, an open house was held in “one of the Veterans’ Administration’s 50 ‘Mobile Vet Centers.'” The vent was held at a “one-stop center” that “provides returning combat vets with readjustment counseling — addressing the social, economic, psychological and family issues desperately needed by so many who are now home.”
- Charleston VA Hospital Opens $5 Million Expansion. AP The “Department of Veterans Affairs has opened an expansion at its….hospital” in Charleston, South Carolina, “to provide more services for veterans with long-term mental illness.” The five million dollar “expansion at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center includes classrooms, group therapy space and clinical offices. In recent years the hospital has expanded its staff with specialists who can treat substance abuse and post-traumatic stress as well as work with homeless vets.”
- Possible Compromise On Labeling Of Combat-Related PTSD. PBS NewsHour “A skirmish has been brewing between US Army brass and a seemingly unlikely interlocutor — the American Psychiatric Association (APA) — over a possible name change for combat-related” post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a “mental illness that has afflicted hundreds of thousands of American soldiers.” Some “Army officers and mental health advocates have been calling for a change in the ‘PTSD’ moniker on the basis that calling it a ‘disorder’ is stigmatizing soldiers and preventing them from getting the help they need.” After initially indicating that the name should not be changed, Dr. John Oldham, APA’s president, “said in an interview last week that he would be open to the suggestion of changing the name if it would help encourage those who have it to seek help.”
- 1 In 5 Veterans Suffers With PTSD. WIAT-TV “One in five veterans deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan right now, are expected to return home with some form” of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But psychotherapists at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Birmingham “are working to ensure those men and women have help.” The hospital “offers five years of free help for veterans suffering with PTSD.”
- Patriotic Wristband Maker To Launch Veterans’ Clinics. San Diego Reader On Tuesday, Bands For Freedom, a “nonprofit manufacturer of patriotic silicone” wristbands, “announced the January launch of its National Veterans Wellness Program, which will be based in San Diego. The program aims to provide support both to soldiers who’ve suffered physical injuries and those afflicted with unseen mental conditions such as insomnia, anxiety, and depression as a result of their service. The initial program launch will be based at four existing clinics, yet to be identified, which will add veterans’ treatment programs.”
- Derek Boogaard: Another Athlete Claimed By Brain Damage. Time The recent “announcement that hockey superstar Derek Boogaard, who died of a drug and alcohol overdose last May at age 28, was the latest in a growing line of athletes whose premature deaths have been attributed to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a brain condition similar to Alzheimer’s disease but caused by nothing more mysterious than getting hit too much.” Time adds, “Boston University’s Bedford VA Medical Center, where Boogaard’s brain was studied, currently has a registry of more 300 people at risk for CTE, whose blood is being regularly tested for tau proteins and whose brains will be dissected after they die.”
- TBI Troops Report Relief From Hyperbaric Oxygen. Navy Times A “growing body of anecdotal evidence appears to indicate that hyperbaric oxygen therapy, or HBOT, helps patients with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.” The Pentagon, however, “wants peer-reviewed, scientific evidence before it will endorse HBOT for troops with head injuries or mental health issues.” Two “Defense Department-led studies are looking at the effects of HBOT on troops with TBI: an Air Force study initiated in 2008 in San Antonio that was expected to produce preliminary results in 2010; and a two-year, $20 million Army-led study that was to begin in January 2010 at four military medical centers across the nation.”
- Researchers Study DNA From Nearly 1 Million Veterans. KING-TV The US Department of Veterans Affairs has launched the Million Veterans Program, a “voluntary program to collect DNA samples from veterans in hopes of finding out more about how genes influence disorders and diseases.” The program is “asking former servicemen and women to donate their genes to learn more about genetic markers for everything from Alzheimer’s disease to schizophrenia. They also hope to learn why some vets develop war-related diseases such as post-traumatic stress disorder.”
- Lawmakers Want Audit Of Wait Times For Veterans. AP “Federal lawmakers are calling for an inspector general’s investigation into how long it takes for veterans to get treatment for mental health disorders after they return from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Recent hearings before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee have featured witnesses who testified that veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder often have to wait longer than 14 days before getting an initial appointment, and that follow-up visits can take much longer.” The US Department of Veterans Affairs has “greatly increased the resources going into mental health care, but the large number of troops returning from the war continues to stress the system.”
- Class Action Suit Involving Local Man Moves Forward. Jacksonville (NC) Daily News 63-year-old Jacksonville resident Frank Rochelle is “one of six former ‘test vets’ suing the Department of Defense, US Army, CIA and Department of Veterans Affairs for healthcare and notification about the risks they face as a result of human testing undergone at Edgewood Arsenal in Edgewood, Md., between the years of 1950 and 1976. First filed in 2009, the case is expected to go to trial in the Northern District of California next year.” The Daily News adds, “After a series of motions to dismiss the suit by the US Attorney General based on jurisdictional claims and other legal objections,” plaintiffs “won the right to proceed with the case in early 2010.”
- Feds Buy Time In Suit Seeking Same-Sex Military Benefits. York County (ME) Coast Star “Federal authorities from the Justice,” Veterans Affairs, “and Defense departments asked for and were granted an extension to February to respond to a federal lawsuit alleging discrimination against same-sex members of the military.” In a “Dec. 5 motion to the US District Court of Mass., attorneys for the federal agencies say they need more time to respond to the lawsuit because coordination is required among the defendant agencies.” After noting that the “court complied and set a Feb. 28 deadline for federal authorities to respond to the allegations,” the Coast Star points out that the suit names VA Secretary Eric Shinseki as a defendant.
- VA Tickets 11 More Campuses For Green Globes Certification. CityBizList “The Green Building Initiative (GBI)’s contract” with the US Department of Veterans Affairs “has been expanded to include 189 hospitals, long-term care facilities, outpatient clinics and medical offices on 11 US campuses for certification. The stamp of approval is the Green Globes Continual Improvement of Existing Buildings (CIEB) environmental rating and assessment tool.” CityBizList adds, “Green Globe Assessors have started their evaluations,” a process which “should be completed by January.”
- Housing Vouchers Available For Vets. Ocala (FL) Star Banner “The Ocala Housing Authority has received an allotment of HUD Veterans Administration Supportive Housing Vouchers to assist homeless veterans. The first step in the process” to obtain a voucher “is to attend a Homeless Veterans Intake meeting at 9:30 a.m., which are held every Wednesday at the Center of Hope, Salvation Army, 320 NW First Ave., Ocala. For more information, call Dale Elzy at 732-8326.”
- Dec. 6: Hampton VA Homeless Program Receives Honor. Newport News (VA) Daily Press “Hampton Roads Recon” blog reports that the homeless program at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Hampton, Virginia, is “one of two VA facilities nationwide recently honored by the Department of Veterans Affairs for its effort to eradicate homelessness among veterans.” The Hampton VA program was “recognized along with a regional VA task force in Iowa City, Iowa. DeAnne Seekins, Hampton VA director, said the staff has helped more than 300 homeless veterans and some 200 family members since the program’s inception” in 2008.
- Veterans Find Training, “Second Chance” At Shelter. Hendersonville (NC) Times-News On Monday, “local businessman and veterans’ advocate Jeff Miller” presented the Veterans Restoration Quarters shelter in Asheville “with a $10,000 donation from HonorAir, an organization” that Miller “founded to take veterans to the World War II Memorial” in Washington, DC. Miller’s donation, plus $3,000 donated by the BorgWarner-Turbo Division, “kicks off Operation Welcome Home, a fundraiser to benefit the training programs offered at the restoration quarters.” The facility, which has 240 beds, allows homeless veterans to “receive free room and board, case management services, counseling and transportation” to a Veterans Affairs hospital.
- Veterans Browse Christmas Gift Shop. KWTX-TV “The Central Texas Veterans Health Care System Medical Center in Waco and the American Legion Auxiliary women are making it possible for hospitalized veterans to give gifts to their loved ones this year.” At 9 a.m. on Wednesday, the “gift shop will open in Stracke Auditorium at the VA Center in Waco to assist veterans in their Christmas shopping.” The “gift shop at the Temple VA Medical Center on Veterans Memorial Drive opened on Tuesday and will run through Wednesday.”
- Blind Veteran Seeks Help From VA. Washington Times “Sgt. Shaft” column
- Never Forget Pearl Harbor. St. Louis Post-Dispatch
- Pearl Harbor’s Overlooked Memorial A Poignant Reminder Of Attack. Knoxville (TN) News Sentinel