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1. Letters found during Iwo Jima battle tell an uncle’s story. Naoko Tomioka’s childhood curiosity about her uncle was greeted with quiet muttering by her father and grandparents, who held tight to the grief for their lost brother and son. In 2007 that shrouded past came alive for Tomioka, when her family received more than 100 letters that had belonged to her uncle on the day he died during the 36-day battle of Iwo Jima.
2. Iraq intelligence errors cast pall over U.S. effort to fathom Iran. Analysts and others at the C.I.A. who are struggling to understand the nuclear ambitions of Iran are keenly aware that the agency’s credibility is on the line, the New York Times reports. The intelligence debacle on Iraq has deeply influenced the way they do their work, with new safeguards intended to force analysts to be more skeptical in evaluating evidence and more cautious in drawing conclusions.
3. Congress’ message to DOD: No BRAC for now, but cut more in Europe. Overcoming stiff opposition on Capitol Hill to any new round of U.S. base closures and realignments could hinge on how ambitious Pentagon plans are for closing more military facilities in Europe.
4. Veteran going through IDES enjoys 20th birthday party. Please read below for a recent Washington D.C. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center post about a veteran going through the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) process and his surprise birthday party. Veteran Receives Surprise Birthday Party By Quentin Melson Last Monday at…
5. DOD seeks troops’ input on housing costs. The Defense Department’s annual Overseas Housing Allowance surveys for South Korea and Japan begin Sunday and will end on April 30.
6. Women veterans draw strength in numbers. Statesman Journal Laura Forte, a United States Navy veteran from Coos Bay, was in attendance during the Oregon Women Veteran Conference, at the Salem Conference Center, on Saturday, March 31, 2012. / TIMOTHY J. GONZALEZ | Statesman Journal Uniforms from all the armed …
7. Veterans to display artwork. Danville Commercial News Invitations were sent to veterans who provided artwork, veteran service organizations, VA staff and local, county and state officials. There will be music, and certificates will be presented. The veterans’ art exhibit will be available for viewing at …
8. Visit and take pride in Nevada’s honored veterans’ cemeteries. Nevada Appeal The Arlington National Cemetery is under the purview of the Department of the Army, and the 131 national veterans’ cemeteries fall under the National Cemetery Ad ministration, a department of the federal Depart ment of Veterans Affairs.
9. VetSuccess offers veterans help with employment. The Durango Herald VetSuccess is the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ comprehensive program for service members leaving active duty because of medical issues and veterans with service-connected disabilities. The program provides services leading to employment or help …
10. Veterans: Westover planes fouled with Agent Orange. MassLive.com Submitted photoRetired Air Force Major Wesley T. Carter in Washington DC in March, when he met with officials for the US Department of Veterans Affairs and several congressmen. Carter, who now lives in Oregon, created a website c123cancer.blogspot.com, …
Have You Heard?
Celebrated April 2-8, VA is observing National Public Health Week as a way to promote healthy habits and safe practices among Veterans and staff. With more than eight million Veterans enrolled in its health care system and about 300,000 employees, a healthier VA population contributes to a healthier America. This year’s theme is “A Healthier America Begins Today: Join the Movement!” VA encourages all Veterans and staff to join the movement by making good choices. Whether you quit smoking, eat healthier meals, or visit your doctor for a routine health screening, you are doing your part for a healthier America. “VA promotes these events because they raise awareness and encourage people to take action to improve their individual health, which ultimately improves the health of the whole community—Veterans, Veteran’s families, employees, and employee’s families,” says Dr. Victoria J. Davey, Chief Officer of VA Public Health. “The two most important actions people can take are to stop smoking and to keep their vaccinations current.” National Public Health Week is an annual event created by Presidential proclamation in 1995 to highlight the importance of public health. Read about VA and public health at www.publichealth.va.gov.
More Veteran News
- Vets say declaring national monument could help vets with PTSD. KFOX El Paso She’s one of the nearly 20 percent of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars suffering from PTSD, according to the US Department of Veteran Affairs. Ossorio said that a coping method for his daughter is spend time outdoors and absorb the serenity of …
- Beneficiaries In The Dark On Tricare Contract. Army Times TRICARE officials “remained mum this week on their decision to award a multibillion-dollar contract to UnitedHealth Military & Veterans Services to manage Tricare’s West region, a contract currently held by TriWest Healthcare Alliance.” In a March 27 meeting with “military and veterans advocates,” TRICARE Deputy Director Army Brig. Gen. Bryan Gamble “declined to answer questions about the contract review process and selection choice.” TRICARE Deputy Chief for Benefit Information and Outreach Kevin Dwyer “said the decision was a ‘procurement-sensitive issue’ that ‘does not allow us to address all questions.'” On March 26, TriWest filed a protest with the “Government Accountability Office on the decision regarding the contract, worth up to $20.5 billion in the next five to six years, and called TMA’s process ‘flawed and unfair.'”
- How Genes Organize The Surface Of The Brain. Bioscience Technology The “first atlas of the surface of the human brain based upon genetic information has been produced by a national team of scientists, led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the VA San Diego Healthcare System.” The atlas, which is published in the March 30 issue of the journal Science, reveals that the cerebral cortex is “roughly divided into genetic divisions that differ from other brain maps based on physiology or function.” The genetic atlas provides “scientists with a new tool for studying and explaining how the brain works, particularly the involvement of genes.”
- VA Tries To Run Through Paper Trail. CQ Under “pressure from Congress to clear up a backlog of disability claims,” the VA has “rushed into service dozens of new disability questionnaires that can be filled out by veterans’ private doctors and are reviewed in many cases only after the claims are approved.” Although the VA Inspector General is concerned that the “speedier the system, the more susceptible it is to fraud,” Veterans Benefits Administration Deputy Director Edna MacDonald said “those concerns will be addressed this year.” In the meantime, McDonald says the VA “rejects the audit’s recommendation to check each form for fraud as it comes in.” Agency employees already “check a sample of 100 claims” per month, and “that’s enough” she said.
- Shinseki Vows To Support Military Members, American Forces Press Service VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki “offered assurances that VA will make good on its promises to veterans and those currently serving in uniform, despite growth in demand for its services and benefits and federal belt-tightening initiatives.” Earlier this week, he discussed VA’s “$140.3 billion budget request for fiscal 2013 and what it means” for service members and veterans. Shinseki said the 4.5-percent discretionary funding increase will “go primarily toward medical care, disability pay and pensions, jobs and educational and training programs.” It will also help “build momentum in three priority areas Shinseki has identified: increasing access to care, benefits and services; eliminating the disability claims backlog; and ending veterans’ homelessness.”
- Veterans Promised Assistance Finding Aid After Service. Manchester (NJ) Patch “Every veteran should know there are services available to help them and a variety of benefits they are entitled to receive, veterans services personnel and local officials told a group of 100 veterans at the Lacey Elks Lodge” on Saturday. Ocean County Veterans Service Bureau Director John Dorrity, a “veteran himself, said most of his time and effort is spent trying to get veterans’ claims moved through the process, despite the backlog. He has testified before Congress and spoken with” VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, whom Dorrity said is “pressing for change and an improvement in the way things are handled.” Rep. Jon Runyan added that a “switch to computerized records is expected to help.”
- VA Deputy Assistant Secretary Discusses Veterans’ Employment Efforts. MSNBC’s Daily Rundown VA Deputy Assistant Secretary John Garcia. Asked whether companies and small businesses are hesitant to hire veterans, Garcia said that in addition to offering tax incentives, more effort is needed to “make the public aware” that when they hire a veteran as an employee, “they’re getting somebody who has global experience. … More importantly, veterans have integrity and honor, and they understand what it is to be committed to a workforce.” As for small businesses, Garcia said 3.6 million of the 26-million small businesses in the country “are veteran owned; and they generate $1.6 trillion annually.” Meanwhile, Garcia added, “We’ve got to invest in our veterans; and the Obama Administration and VA Secretary Eric Shinseki have seen to that: We’re doing job fairs and reaching out.”
- State Gets $415K To Help Homeless Vets Find Housing. AP Three “housing agencies in Wisconsin have received federal grants of about $415,000 to provide permanent housing for more than 75 homeless veterans.” The grant money, “from the US Departments of Veteran Affairs and of Housing and Urban Development,” is “part of $75 million earmarked to help about 10,500 homeless veterans nationwide find housing.” Courier News (3/30, 242K) The VA Clinic in Piscataway was awarded “$221,000 to fight homelessness among veterans.” The Huffington Post (3/31, Wilkey) adds that San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said the city will receive “$2.7 million in housing vouchers” for homeless vets.
- Official Says HUD-VASH Has Been Successful. WBIR-TV Edward Ellis of the Knoxville HUD Office, who stressed that the Housing and Urban Development Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH), which awarded the aforementioned grants, has been very successful so far.
- Army Aids Wounded Warriors With Mobile App. Information Week DOD has “released a mobile application to help wounded soldiers and their families access information that can assist in their recovery and return to US civilian life.” The app helps “answer questions about medical care; DOD pay and allowances during soldiers’ recovery; DOD disability compensation; Social Security benefits”; and VA benefits, among other services.