Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – August 29, 2012


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


We encourage you to browse our list so that you can take what you want and keep what you need


1.   Remains of three Vietnam-era soldiers returned to families for burial.  The remains of three soldiers who died when their Special Forces reconnaissance patrol was ambushed during the Vietnam War have been identified and returned to their families for burial, the Defense Department said Monday.

2.   Injured military members find physical, mental benefits in adaptive athletics.  AZ  He heard about a winter sports clinic sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and decided to try it out. Clemens was hooked after a week’s worth of skiing, and his athletic life snowballed from there. In just over a year, he lost 100 …

3.   Officials want vets to know benefit help is free.  San Francisco Chronicle  In May, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee asked Smith and others to submit testimony for a hearing by a special Senate Committee on Aging. Recommendations that came out of the hearing included making it illegal to advise veterans to move assets and …

4.   VA’s IT Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses Strategy.  govWin (blog)  Of their total FY2013 IT budget of $3.2 billion, the Department of Veterans Affairs plans to spend over $2.5 billion with federal contractors and a large percentage of that will go to Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses, according to VA CIO …
5.   Veterans Affairs Agency Fined For Alleged Environmental Violations During Cemetery Construction.  Charleston (WV) Daily Mail  “The state Department of Environmental Protection has proposed that the West Virginia Division of Veterans Affairs pay a $14,990 fine for allegedly failing to comply with environmental laws during construction of the Donel Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery at Institute.” In a “consent order signed Aug. 9 by Larissa Wines, the Division of Veterans Affairs agreed to bring its operations into compliance, submit a corrective action plan, and pay a $14,990 fine. The Department of Environmental Protection calculated a base fine of $18,700, then increased the amount by $30 for public notice costs and reduced the amount by $3,740 for the Division of Veterans Affairs’ good faith and for cooperating with the secretary of the DEP.”

6.   VA Held Nearly 1,000 Conferences During The Past Two And A Half Years.  NextGov  “The Veterans Affairs Department held 948 conferences – about one per day – attended by 50 or more employees between January 2009 and June 2012, according to a contract notice posted Friday on the Federal Business Opportunities website seeking outside help analyzing the department’s conference planning and spending practices after VA Secretary Eric Shinseki ordered a comprehensive review.” In a recent letter, US Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, “asked Shinseki for a detailed list of the number of conferences that VA held in each fiscal year from 2009 through 2011 and their budgets, as well as data on fiscal 2012 conferences. Both the committee and the VA inspector general are conducting probes of department conferences.”
7.   Vets Have Chance To Get Disability Ratings Upgraded.  Army Times  “An effort to notify nearly 77,000 veterans of their chance to upgrade their military disability ratings has netted 919 new applications to the Pentagon’s Physical Disability Board of Review. In May, the Veterans benefit Administration sent its first batch of letters to 17,000” such vets. The “Veterans Affairs Department intends to send the next wave of 17,000 letters by the end of the year to veterans discharged between 2004 and 2006.”
8.   Editorial Also Takes Note Of VA Notification Effort. Army Times “More than 70,000 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars may be eligible for a lifetime of military retirement pay, health care and other benefits – and many veterans know nothing about it.” The “Veterans Affairs Department is trying to pitch in, sending notices to some veterans believed to be eligible, but an untold number of others who are not enrolled in VA health care remain out of touch.” The Times adds, “If you know of a medically retired vet who might be eligible for the review, tell them.”
9.   Veterans Job Training Slots Fill Up Quickly.  Military Times  “The Veterans Affairs Department announced Monday it has filled 36,000 of the 45,000 job training openings available in 2012 for unemployed veterans ages 35 to 60, and it expects to have every slot filled by Sept. 30. An additional 55,000 openings will be available beginning Oct. 1, the start of fiscal 2013,” for the Veterans’ Retaining Assistance Program (VRAP), “which provides up to 12 months of Montgomery GI Bill benefits while participants take vocational training classes aimed at helping them find work in high-demand occupations.” In a statement, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki “said the large number of applicants” for VRAP “illustrates how important this program is in providing veterans the opportunity to find employment in a high-demand field.” The same quote appears in a story for the NBC News (8/28, Ruiz) website.

10.VA Working With Nonprofit To Help Vets Find Meaningful Jobs. NPR  A “number of companies and organizations” are trying to help Iraq and Afghanistan veterans find meaningful jobs. NPR spoke to Eric Greitens, the founder of the nonprofit The Mission Continues, who said, “What we found with this generation of veterans…is that 92 percent of them – 92 percent – say that serving their communities is very important to them.” Greitens said his organization worked with one Iraq veteran “who did a fellowship through our program at the VA.” Now, according to Greitens, the vet runs Patriot Commercial Cleaning, which “actually hires other veterans.”

Have You Heard?

Secretary Shinseki addressed the American Legion

On Tuesday, Secretary Shinseki addressed the American Legion at their annual convention in Indianapolis. Learn more



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