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1. Stolen pickup truck catches fire on runway as Panetta lands in Afghanistan for visit. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will meet with U.S. and coalition troops and top Afghan officials over the next two days to shore up plans for a U.S. training and advisory mission to prepare Afghan forces to assume leadership of security responsibilities in 2013, with a U.S. military exit to follow in December 2014.
2. WTU soldiers focus on health with wheelchair basketball. As March Madness kicks off in the States, a very different style of basketball was found in the post gymnasium here on Wednesday.
3. Air Force’s top enlisted leader emphasizes ‘shaping’ of force. The U.S. Air Force’s top enlisted leader reassured airmen in Europe on Wednesday that despite the Pentagon’s current fiscal constraints, the service would not see the level of downsizing that occurred about five years ago, when the Air Force began reducing its force by more than 40,000.
4. MTSU named state’s first ‘VetSuccess’ school. Clarksville Leaf Chronicle MTSU President Dr. Sidney McPhee, left, and Travis Kraft, Acting Director of the Veterans’ Affairs Nashville Regional Office sign the MOU between MTSU and the US Department of Veterans Affairs naming MTSU a “Vet Success” University Tuesday, March 13.
5. Mediation in Calif. homeless veterans suit fails. Sacramento Bee Three homeless Southern California veterans suing the US Department Veterans Affairs for failing to provide proper housing say court-ordered mediation has not worked and are requesting the case be brought to trial in June.
6. Joint Fact Sheet: US-UK Task Force to Support Our Armed Forces Personnel. Whitehouse.gov In June 2012, speakers from the UK Ministry of Defence and the National Health Service will present their findings and experiences in the area of suicide prevention within military communities at the US’s Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs …
7. Illinois raises rates for veteran nursing homes. Rockford Register Star The state of Illinois is increasing the cost for military veterans to live in its nursing homes. The Pantagraph in Bloomington reports the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs has notified resident of the increase.
8. Man charged for fraudulent claims. Sumter Item A man, who said he lives in Sumter, is among 11 South Carolina residents charged in an investigation into fraudulent claims against the US Department of Veterans Affairs. The cases stem from an investigation into a program offered by the VA in which …
9. As Numbers Dwindle, Members Age, Local Pearl Harbor Survivors Association Calls It Quits. Las Vegas Sun
10. Army Delays Confidential Alcohol Counseling Program. USA Today “Despite high rates of alcohol abuse,” the US Army “has delayed for nearly three years a plan to offer all soldiers access to confidential counseling for drinking problems, a move that leaders in alcohol abuse treatment say is a mistake. The Army began a pilot program in 2009 for confidential treatment, but continues debating what to do next because of a high dropout rate.” But H. Westley Clark, head of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment at the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, says that is not a good enough reason to delay the Army program, as civilian confidential treatment programs also typically have high dropout rates.
Have You Heard?
With summer right around the corner; here are some tips for traveling:
- Use traveler’s checks and credit cards instead of cash whenever possible. Take only those credit cards you need.
- Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Carry a wallet in an inside coat or front trouser pocket. Better still, wear a money pouch underneath your clothing.
- Be alert for pickpockets in crowded areas like airline, bus and train terminals, major tourist attractions and public transportation.
- Don’t look distracted or lost. Walk confidently and stay alert to what’s happening around you.
- Stay alert for staged mishaps, like someone bumping into you or spilling a drink, a stranger offering to snap a family photo or a pedestrian jumping in front of the car and falling so you leap out to investigate.
Before You Go
- Plan ahead. If you’re traveling by car, get maps and plan your route. Have the car and tires checked out before you leave.
- Leave copies of the numbers of your passport, driver’s license, credit cards and traveler’s checks with a friend in case you need to replace them.
- Put lights and a radio on timers to create the illusion that someone is at home when you go away. Leave shades, blinds and curtains in normal positions. Stop the mail and newspapers or ask a neighbor to take them in.
Once You’re There
- When you check into a hotel or motel, check out the locks. Look for deadbolts or solid doors with peepholes. FYI… the new coded electronic cards are safer than ordinary key locks.
- Be sure your luggage is locked. Keep it close to you at all times.
- Keep valuables in a hotel safe or safe deposit box. Better still, leave them at home.
- Ask the hotel staff or police about the neighborhood’s safety and what areas to avoid.
- Lock belongings in your suitcase or keep them out of sight.
- Don’t display guest room keys in public or carelessly leave them on restaurant tables, at the swimming pool, or other places where they can be easily stolen.
Immediately report any crime to the police.