Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News March 22, 2012

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

 

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1.    Pakistani lawmakers call for end to US drone strikesPakistani lawmakers on Tuesday took aim at one of the most potent U.S. weapons against militants, recommending that a cessation of drone missile strikes in their country’s volatile tribal areas be part of a blueprint to end a four-month freeze in relations between Washington and Islamabad.
 
2.    House Vets committee to honor POW/MIA troops.  The panel will set aside an empty chair, draped with the “You Are Not Forgotten” flag, as a reminder for lawmakers and audience members for the work still to be done.
 
3.    Senator diverts hearing to get answers on PTSD careSen. Patty Murray ambushed a budget hearing Wednesday to question the Army’s top brass about why hundreds of soldiers had mental health diagnoses overturned because of the expense of paying for their medical retirement.
 
4.    DOD suspends efforts to retrieve Korean War remainsThe Department of Defense has suspended efforts to recover the remains of American servicemembers in North Korea because of that country’s recent “unacceptable behavior,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said Wednesday.
 
5.    Analysis: Combat stress rarely successful as defense for serious crimes in militaryShould lawyers invoke the tale of a broken soldier to defend the staff sergeant suspected of massacring 16 Afghan civilians, they are unlikely to find a receptive audience in a military courtroom.

6.    VA works to eliminate homlessness among vets.  Dayton Daily News  With the end of the war in Iraq and a drawdown ahead in Afghanistan, the conflicts have nearly 1.4 million American veterans, US Department of Veterans Affairs statistics show. Some 88000 US troops remain in Afghanistan, with another 20000 due to …

7.    Governor Honors 102 Year-Old WWII Veteran.  Imperial Valley News  Sacramento, California – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. met with 102 year-old WWII veteran Bea Cohen today at the State Capitol, as part of celebrations honoring Women’s Military History Week. Ms. Cohen is believed to be the oldest living female WWII …

8.    DOD, VA partnership key in treating brain trauma.  United States Army   The Defense and Veterans Affairs departments are using their partnered programs to identify and treat traumatic brain injury, representatives of both departments said March 19, 2012, …
 
9.    Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans Push Back Against Stereotype Of “Crazy Vet.”  Houston Chronicle “The shooting massacre of Afghan civilians in Panjwai earlier this month has sent pundits and journalists scrambling for clues to explain what could have led Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales to sneak off his base and allegedly slaughter 16 unarmed men, women and children.” Now, though, “Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in the blogosphere,” including at VA’s VAntage Point, “are pushing back against what they see as an all-too-common tendency for such coverage to perpetuate a stereotype of the ‘dangerous veteran.'” The post to VAntage Point comes from Iraq veteran Kate Hoit, who says the stereotype has resulted in resistance to a VA plan that would “establish a residential treatment program” in San Diego for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and mild traumatic brain injuries.
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10.  Iraq War Soldier With PTSD Helps Other Veterans Suffering With Disorder.  Erie Times-News  28-year-old Iraq veteran Eric Brown, a peer-support specialist at the Erie Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Brown, who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), helps “veterans in group therapy with PTSD, depression and other behavioral-health issues. As a former combat veteran dealing with PTSD, Brown’s unique perspective often helps establish an immediate bond with similar veterans that can take doctors months, even years, to earn.”

 

Have You Heard?

DOD, VA Work Together On Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment

The Department of Defense and VA are using their partnered programs to identify and treat traumatic brain injury. More information

 

More Veteran News


  •   DOD, VA Partnership Key In Treating Brain Trauma, Panelists Say.  American Forces Press Service  “The Defense and Veterans Affairs departments are using their partnered programs to identify and treat traumatic brain injury, representatives of both departments said” in Washington, DC, on Monday, “during a roundtable discussion on new advances in the field.” Kathy Helmick, deputy director for TBI at the Defense Centers of Excellence, “said many academic institutions and agencies collaborate with VA and DOD on TBI to further the methods by which service members with TBI are treated.” Dr. Alison Cornish, senior VA liaison for TBI , added, “Today’s VA is not your grandfather’s VA,” in part because of its “polytrauma system of care.”  MedPage Today  “Soldiers’ brain injuries are now receiving extra scrutiny with the case of Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, accused in the March 11 shooting rampage in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province that left 16 civilians dead in their homes. Bales had reportedly suffered a concussion during a 2010 deployment in Iraq when his vehicle rolled over.” MedPage Today adds, “Representatives of the Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs Department, National Institutes of Health, and various medical societies are participating” in a Defense Health Program- funded effort to better diagnose concussions in US soldiers.
  •   Some Go Extra Mile To Hire Growing Pool Of Jobless Veterans.  USA Today “As the nation grapples with finding work for its newest generation of combat veterans, job experts say that basic roadblocks persist for those willing to hire them: how to find these veterans and how to train them in new, non-military skills.” To help vets find jobs, the Obama Administration “has a campaign that includes tax credits for employers, corporate hiring pledges, job fairs and new initiatives by the Pentagon and Departments of Veterans Affairs and Labor to help former servicemembers prepare for and find work.” Steve Westerfeld, a VA spokesman, stated, “We’re basically at the beginning stages of this. Now we’re trying to find a way to put all the pieces together to make sure (veterans) are getting the jobs that they need.”
  •   Unemployment Rises For Afghanistan And Iraq Era Veterans.  Bloomberg News  “The unemployment rate for US veterans who’ve served during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan increased last year, while the rate for non-veterans declined, the Labor Department reported” earlier this week. The “jobless rate for veterans who were in service following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks was 12.1 percent last year, up from 11.5 percent in 2010, the department’s data show.” Bloomberg notes that the US Chamber of Commerce, the “largest US business lobbying group, created a ‘Hiring Our Heroes’ campaign last year, which has held more than 100 job fairs in at least 45 states and the District of Columbia. The chamber plans to hold 400 fairs by 2014.”
  • State Plans Veterans Job Fair In Chicago.  AP “The Illinois Department of Employment Security is planning a job fair for veterans on March 28th in Chicago.” The event will be held “at The Hilton Chicago on Michigan Avenue,” starting at 9:00 a.m. The Illinois Department of Employment Security “announced it expects more than 100 Chicago-area businesses to send representatives to the four-hour job fair.”
  •    Disabled Vets Job Fair Coming To Arlington.  WTOP-FM “Employers are joining with the Wounded Warrior Project to hold a job fair for disabled veterans” in Arlington, Virginia, on Wednesday. Approximately “60 unemployed or underemployed disabled vets will have the opportunity to network with local employers while receiving job placement training” at the event, scheduled to be “held at the Sheraton National Hotel (900 S. Orme Street), near the intersection of Columbia Pike and Washington Boulevard.” WTOP adds, “The event – the ‘Aon Salute to America’s Wounded Warriors’ – has also been held in cities like New York, Chicago and Pittsburgh.”
  •   Shinseki Touts Badges For Vets Program. Washington Times “Sgt. Shaft” column item congratulates “The Manufacturing Institute, an affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers,” TopCoder Inc., an “international information technology consulting company,” and “Western Governors University, a national, nonprofit university sponsored by 19 governors,” who “have been honored by the VA for their contributions to a new digital badge program that will make it easier for veterans to document the skills they learned in uniform for civilian employers and institutions of higher education.” The three organizations are finalists in a “nationwide competition to create digital ‘badges’ to help veterans translate their military skills into civilian jobs or to receive advance credit in higher education.” Secretary Shinseki commented on the importance of the program, stating, “Our Badges for Vets program will offer veterans a handy tool to demonstrate their experience to employers and educators.”
  • VA Montana Healthcare System Under Formal Federal Review.  Billings (MT) Gazette  “The Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General has opened a formal review of the VA Montana Healthcare System.” The review “comes as Fort Harrison is under growing scrutiny from VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki and VA Undersecretary for Health Robert Petzel,” after US Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) expressed “concerns about Fort Harrison and its inability to hire in-patient psychiatrists.” The review “also coincides with the US Department of Veterans Affairs saying there is not a shortage of psychiatrists throughout the Veterans Affairs system, as suggested” by VA Montana Director Robin Korogi, who has been accused of creating a hostile work environment, jeopardizing patient safety, and subjecting VA Montana to lawsuits. The accusations came from several former high-level managers in the VA Montana Health Care System.
  •   Legion Helps VA Center Keep Doors Open.  American Legion The Legion it is “calling upon the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to carefully consider its plan to close the VA Black Hills Health Care System (BHHCS) in Hot Springs, S.D., and the impact that it might have on the region’s veterans served by the facility.” After conducting an “official System Worth Saving (SWS) site visit at the facility,” the Legion “urged VA to maintain the same levels of care and service for veterans in the Hot Springs area.” Jacob Gadd, deputy director of health for the Legion’s Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation (VA&R) Division, shared the report with Dr. Robert Petzel, VA’s under secretary for health. Petzel “‘assured The American Legion that this proposal has yet to be finalized, and that the Legion’s input will help VA in developing its plan,’ Gadd said.”
  • Feds Fight Homelessness With Mobile App Challenge.  Information Week “Three federal agencies have teamed up with rocker and homeless-person advocate Jon Bon Jovi to challenge developers to use open data to create a mobile app to help homeless veterans find medical, housing, and other resources. The Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Health and Human Services (HHS) and Bon Jovi’s JBJ Soul Foundation Monday revealed the Project REACH Mobile App Challenge,” which “calls on developers to create a smartphone app to give homeless veterans real-time access to resources–such as employment opportunities and homeless-shelter beds–to help meet the Obama administration’s goal to eliminate homelessness among veterans by 2015, said HUD secretary Shaun Donovan,” during a Monday conference call.
  • VA Continues To Focus On Veteran Health Service Offerings.  ExecutiveGov  “The Department of Veterans Affairs will continue focusing on veteran homelessness, claims backlogs and access to care, VA CIO Roger Baker said” earlier this week. Government Computer News” Baker made the announcement during AFCEA Belvoir Industry Day. Baker said the VA has prepared projects focusing on streamlining online recordkeeping, telehealth and Web-based applications designed to simplify access to care.”

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