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1. B-17 tours offer a glimpse of WWII history. The B-17 was an icon of American power and the star of films such as “Twelve O’Clock High” and “Memphis Belle.” Only a few are left, and one — nicknamed “Aluminum Overcast” — has come to Trenton, N.J.’s airport for ground tours and flights.
2. Pressure grows on military to stop sponsoring sports events. So far, congressional efforts to put the brakes on military sponsorship of NASCAR races, bass fishing, pro wrestling and other sporting events have gone nowhere. But the effort could gain new life as pressure builds for lawmakers to rein in federal spending.
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. re-ups with National Guard for 2013. A month after the military sponsorship of professional sports and teams survived a close vote in Congress, the Army National Guard extended its sponsorship of Dale Earnhardt Jr. through next season.
4. Denture plan for veterans is toothless. Longview News-Journal They wondered if there was somebody or some organization or the (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) that would help him with that cost. ANSWER: This is a difficult question. While there are several programs to help people who need just extractions …
5. Capitol Connection: Veterans deserve the best care. Foothills Media Group According to the Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs, over 16000 state residents have been deployed since Sept. 11, 2001. When they return home, many veterans will be eligible for healthcare benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
6. Civil War re-enactors to mark 150th. The Columbian The 1st Oregon Volunteer Infantry will drill and display its gear and weapons Saturday at the Veterans Museum on the Vancouver Veterans Affairs campus. It is part of a national Civil War commemoration sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
7. Massachusetts Sues Warren Man, Alleges His Charity Falsely Claimed How Much Money Would Go To Veterans. Providence (RI) Journal Rhode Island resident John Chaves “and his Rhode Island-based business are being sued by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office for allegedly using deceptive fundraising tactics ostensibly to benefit American war veterans. The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston, alleges that Dynamic Marketing Solutions Inc., of North Providence, violated the Massachusetts charitable solicitation and consumer protection laws during a telemarketing campaign to benefit Bay State Vietnam Veterans Inc. of Somerset, Mass.” The Journal adds, “According to Attorney General Martha Coakley, the two operations mislead potential donors by falsely claiming how much money would actually go to veterans.”
8. US Army Suicide Rate Increases. CBS Evening News “A decade of war has put enormous stress on American troops, and today, the Army reported that in July, suicides among active-duty soldiers were more than double the previous month’s total.” CBS added, “Among active duty troops, 2012 could turn out to be the worst year ever.” The Army has “doubled the number of mental health counselors over the past four years but admits there are still not enough to handle all the pleas for help.” USA Today “Soldiers killed themselves at a rate faster than one per day in July…announced” the US Army on Thursday. USA Today continues, “There were 38 deaths either confirmed or suspected as suicides, the highest one-month tally in recent Army history, the service said.” USA today notes that in a recent interview, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said his service is “very focused” on suicide prevention. Odierno cited a “campaign begun this year aimed at improving emotional resiliency, closely monitoring soldier attitudes and regularly assessing support programs.” Washington Post If the current suicide rate continues, the “Army will lose about 200 active-duty troops this year, a number that is significantly higher than any year in the past decade.” The Post adds that the suicide numbers “are a significant blow to senior Army officials who had been hoping that the reduced rate of combat deployments and a series of initiatives to improve mental health care would result in a drop in the suicide rate, which surpasses levels for a similar civilian demographic.” Military Times “The pace of one suicide every 27 hours this year frustrates Army leadership, which has vested heavily in prevention programs and mental health treatment.” The Times adds, “‘We definitely still have a lot of work to do,’ said Sgt. Maj. Donna Brock with the Army’s Medical Command at a joint Defense Department-Veterans Affairs conference on suicide prevention.”
9. IAVA Official Notes Struggles Faced By Returning Vets. CNN Newsroom Seven US service members died in a recent helicopter crash in Afghanistan. At a briefing on Tuesday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stressed that the US is still fighting a war in that country. When CNN asked Tom Tarantino, deputy policy director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), why such a reminder is so important, Tarantino said, “Men and women come home from war today to record-high unemployment rates, to a GI Bill that is not meeting all of its needs, to record-high disability backlog rates. We have to make sure that even when we bring troops home from Afghanistan, that we still have taking care of these men and women as they transition from being a warrior back to being a civilian.”
10. Microsoft To Drive A More Efficient VA Through Big Data. AOL Government “The Department of Veterans Affairs recently committed to a continued partnership with Microsoft Corp. to use emerging tools and technologies to harness the power of big data and drive efficiency, mobility and better service. Spanning from the desktop to the data center and mobile devices, the renewed agreement will allow the VA to analyze big data the department has been unable to evaluate in the past.” The agreement also means that VA will continue to invest in a “groundbreaking data warehousing/big data analytics initiative.” Jack Bates, VA’s Director of Business Intelligence Service Line, said the initiative aims to improve the “quality of care” provided by VA. Bates added, “We are creating the culture of analytics, to train our staff how to effectively use data to improve safety and outcomes.”