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1. USFJ commander nominated for Pentagon position. President Barack Obama has nominated Lt. Gen. Burton Field, commander of U.S. Forces Japan, to be the next Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Plans and Requirements at the Pentagon, the Air Force announced Friday.
2. Army commander in South Korea bans alcohol sales after 9 pm. Troops will no longer be able to buy alcohol after 9 p.m. at two Yongsan shoppettes under a new policy that will go into effect on Thursday.
3. Afghan killings exacerbate worsening perception problem for U.S. The weekend massacre of at least 16 Afghan civilians, allegedly committed by a rogue U.S. Army staff sergeant, caps a string of recent crises that are ratcheting up the danger American troops face in Afghanistan even as they struggle to extricate themselves from a conflict that is increasingly unpopular with the American public.
4. Killing of civilians likely to increase tension between US, Afghan forces. Tension had existed on bases shared by U.S. and Afghan troops after a recent series of shootings in which Afghan personnel killed six American servicemembers after reports last month that U.S. soldiers burned copies of the Quran. The unease is almost certain to deepen after the reported killing Sunday of 16 Afghan civilians, including nine children, by a U.S. Army staff sergeant.
5. Veteran IDs problem with voter measure. Lancaster Newspapers The legislation being debated by the state House would not permit disabled veterans to use photo ID cards issued by the US Department of Veterans Affairs that are not stamped with an expiration date. Republicans who support the voter ID measure say the …
6. Sinise leads motorcade to spotlight vet’s plight. Albany Times Union Three years later, the first symptoms of his health problems surfaced when his right leg started giving out on him when he ran. Last year, the US Department of Veterans Affairs rated Wilkinson’s service-related disability at 100 percent for worsening …
7. Vets With PTSD More Likely To Get Opioid Painkillers. Boston Globe “Veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who have post-traumatic stress disorder are far more likely than those without a mental illness to be prescribed opioid painkillers, a study by researchers affiliated with the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of California at San Francisco found.” The study, published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “focused on veterans in a Veterans Affairs health care system and may not be reflective of all veterans.”
8. Wyo. Vets Can Get Benefit Information Via Computer. AP The US VA is “participating in a TeleBenefits program in cooperation” with its hospital in Sheridan, Wyoming. Because of this, rural “veterans in the Gillette, Powell, Worland, Evanston, Afton, Riverton, Casper and Rock Springs areas will be able to speak face-to-face with a veterans benefits counselor in Sheridan without driving long distances.”
9. Government Can’t Keep Up With Information Requests. AP Analysis of Federal data found that the Obama Administration “couldn’t keep pace with the increasing number of people asking for copies of government documents, emails, photographs and more under the US Freedom of Information Act.” The AP reports that it “analyzed figures over the last three years from 37 of the largest federal departments and agencies,” including VA. The AP adds, “Federal agencies did better last year trying to fulfill requests, but still fell further behind with backlogs, due mostly to surges in immigration records requested from the Homeland Security Department.”
10. VA Adding Staff, Opening New Clinics To Prepare For Returning Vets. Fox News’ Fox Report Sunday “Because of the withdrawal in Iraq and scale back of forces in Afghanistan,” VA has “increased staffing nationally by 24% and new post-deployment clinics are being opened.” Dr. Richard Stark with VA was shown saying, “These are special clinics that are designed around the returning combat veteran, where the veteran is at the center of care.” Fox added, “Now, the VA has been criticized in the past — things like very long waiting lists just for people to be seen by a doctor or other medical professional. But the officials that we’ve talked to, assert that with this new staffing and these new clinics being opened, the service will dramatically improve, and it has to…with all of those people returning home.”
Have You Heard?
VA Rallies to Hire Heroes
The VA Western New York Healthcare System held its ‘Hire a Hero’ job fair at the VA hospital in Buffalo on Saturday. About 32 employers were present, representing the public and private sectors, colleges, not-for-profit groups and federal agencies. More information
More Veteran News
- VA Being Sued By Attorney On Behalf Of Edgewood Arsenal Vets. CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta “Some 7,000 military volunteers, or more, were part of chemical tests” at the Edgewood Arsenal military base in Edgewood, Maryland, “from 1955 to 1975.” Attorney Gordon Erspamer is “suing the Department of Defense and the Department of Veteran Affairs on behalf of Edgewood veterans.” CNN noted that VA “says they have offered free medical evaluations to thousands of veterans.”
- VA Under Pressure To Improve Its Mental Healthcare System. CNN Newsroom “Lawmakers are putting pressure on…VA to improve” its mental healthcare services for veterans like Paul Raines, who returned from Iraq with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Raines told CNN that he is getting more help from VA now than he did after first learning he had PTSD. At that time, according to Raines, he only received medication and had to wait more than two weeks to see a specialist. CNN showed footage of US Sen. Patty Murray saying, “When a veteran has the courage to stand up and ask for help, VA must be there with not only timely access to care but also the right type of care.” CNN added, “VA says it’s reviewing mental health services at all its facilities.”
- Ohio VA Clinic Paid $940K In Cases Over 8 Deaths. AP “The US Department of Veterans Affairs paid out $940,000 in cases related to the deaths of eight patients at the Dayton VA Medical Center, which came under scrutiny last year after allegations that a dentist at a clinic had used improper hygiene for years, according to public records obtained” by the Ohio-based Dayton Daily News. The AP notes that VA “said it’s committed to transparency in caring for veterans and discloses potential adverse results so that veterans can file for damages.”
- Puerto Rico’s Population Exodus Is All About Jobs. USA Today “Recruiters for companies such as Boeing and Disney, NASA and other US government agencies, school districts and hospitals from Texas to Florida flock to career fairs” in Puerto Rico. The companies are “aggressively courting the most coveted slice of the US workforce: college grads trained in all the hot-button STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) disciplines.” USA Today adds, “‘Professionals are being forced to leave'” because of a bad economy, “says Daphne Santa, a speech and language pathologist at the Orlando VA Medical Center and chairwoman of the Puerto Rican Professionals Association based in South Florida.”
- Hire A Hero Event Helps Vets Re-enter Job Market. Buffalo (NY) News The challenge of converting “military discipline, teamwork and even combat experience into a successful job search…drew about 325 veterans to the VA Western New York Healthcare System on Saturday for its ‘Hire a Hero’ job fair.” The News added, “About 32 employers, representing the public and private sectors, colleges, not-for-profit groups and federal agencies, sat at tables hawking their job openings. ‘It shows the support they feel for hiring our heroes,’ said Jason Petti, VA associate medical center director,” who added, “It really is refreshing to see it.”
- At Fort Meade, Tryouts For Warrior Games Show “Ability Over Disability.” Baltimore Sun An event at Fort George G. Meade on Sunday “was one of more than a dozen held for about 70 soldiers at a tryout for the Warrior Games, an Olympic-style competition for wounded, ill and disabled service members and veterans that takes place next month at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.” The Sun adds, “A joint program of the US Olympic Committee’s Paralympic Military Program and the Department of Defense, the Warrior Games give service members from across the Armed Forces an opportunity to compete for medals and bragging rights in seven sports, including swimming, archery, shooting, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball.”
- VA For Vets Helps Veterans Find Work. St. George (UT) Spectrum Veterans Affairs’ “VA for Vets program provides an online ‘high-tech’ and ‘high touch’ approach to recruiting, hiring and reintegrating veterans into civilian careers.” The program “offers an integrated military skills translator, a career assessment tool, a resume builder, a search engine and other career search tools.”
- Discharged But Still Not At Ease. Chicago Tribune
- A Final Honor For Hmong Veterans. Minneapolis Star Tribune
- Patton Grandson In Own Battle To Aid Veterans. Boston Globe