Veterans! Here’s your Top 10 News stories of the day compiled from the latest sources
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1. Walter Reed to rename cancer treatment unit to honor Murtha. When a group of military wives approached John Murtha in the 1990s concerned they couldn’t get mammograms in military hospitals, the late congressman said, “ ‘That just can’t be.’ If we’re going to have women in the military, then we’re going to provide mammograms,” his widow, Joyce, told the Tribune-Review.
2. Truman grandson plants seeds of Hiroshima reconciliation. In October, a visitor delivered a small plastic bag containing several tree seeds to the Truman Library in Independence, Mo. The seeds had fallen from trees, still standing, that survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945.
3. JBLM soldiers return home, adjust to life away from war. Spending the better part of a year under the Afghanistan sun has a way of making gray skies look lovely. “It’s nice to see clouds and rain,” said Army Capt. Benjamin Meier, just back last week from a mission leading a Stryker company in a tough part of Kandahar province. “For the past nine months, we saw rain once and it was for about 10 minutes.”
4. Pentagon to expand Defense Intelligence Agency’s network of spies. The Pentagon will send hundreds of additional spies overseas as part of an ambitious plan to assemble an espionage network that rivals the CIA in size, U.S. officials said.
5. Schools for children of military families hurt by looming sequestration. In one tiny Texas school district that serves the children of active-duty and retired military parents at Randolph Air Force Base, sequestration is not some future abstraction or political game. It is real, and it has already begun harming 1,200 military kids from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade.
6. Ex-Guardsman Copes With Help Of Service Dog. Paragould (AR) Daily Press Jason Dowdy, who “did not come back as the same man he once was after serving an 18-month tour of duty in Iraq from 2003-05 with the Arkansas National Guard.” An IED explosion “left him with…three skull fractures, deafness in his right ear, no sense of smell or taste,” and “a left ankle broken in two places,” yet he found PTSD “was what had affected him the most since coming home.” Dowdy, who once remained in his house for nine straight months, now has a service dog, a blue Doberman named Charger, courtesy of “Sherri’s Project, a non-profit organization that trains service dogs for wounded and injured veterans.” He received Charger for free, noting that “other organizations charged anywhere from $400 to $40,000 donation to receive a service animal.” Sherri Waters, of Oceanside, California, “said she had given about 50 service dogs to veterans from around the country.”
7. Aurora Facility Focused On Female Homeless Vets. AP The Comitis Crisis Center is waiting for final approval from the VA to open its doors to an “invisible population,” the female veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who returned “to find homes in shambles, spouses who’ve left or family finances broken beyond repair” and are now homeless, often with PTSD, TBIs or substance abuse. The center “will open at least eight…beds to homeless female veterans in a program operated with the VA,” which “will help pay for the veterans to stay at the shelter, up to 8 months to 12 months if necessary, with Comitis picking up the tab for the rest of the family if necessary.” A key goal is “keeping families intact.” A local study estimated “roughly 10 percent of homeless veterans were female.”
8. Processing Time For Vets’ Claims Skyrockets. McClatchy “The time needed to process veterans’ disability claims shot up by nearly 40 percent last year despite years of effort by federal officials to streamline and shorten the process, records show.” Moreover, “the times necessary to process education benefits and burial benefits, as well as the time needed to wind through the Department of Veterans Affairs appeals process, also increased in fiscal 2012.” McClatchy notes that “the 262-day average is the highest that measure has been in at least the past 20 years for which numbers were available.” Secretary Shinseki described an improvement in 2009 to the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, but since then, “average processing time has gone up – from 161 days, to 166 days, to 188 days, to the most recent 262 days.”
9. Experimental Treatment For PTSD: Ecstasy. CNN The use of MDMA – better known as “Ecstacy” – to treat PTSD. CNN tells the story of one woman who ended up seeking out Dr. Michael Mithoefer, a South Carolina psychiatrist who “had managed to convince the Drug Enforcement Administration to green-light a study of Ecstasy as an adjunct to psychotherapy.” CNN notes that in 2004, when Mithoefer “enrolled the first patient in the new study,” any “sense of crisis was years away, but Mithoefer – and other specialists in psychological trauma – were bracing for a wave of tortured souls” to return from Iraq and Afghanistan.
10. Veterans Group Helps With PTSD Care. Riverside (CA) Press Enterprise “The Southwest Riverside County chapter of the Military Officers Association of America meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5,” and “is focused on supporting members who are struggling with the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.” The group is led by “former Navy chaplain Michael L. Nichols,” author of the book, “When Time Doesn’t Heal: How to overcome loss, grief, trauma and PTSD in 30 minutes.
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More Veteran News
- Foundation Adds Luster To Veterans’ Cemetery In Sarasota. Sarasota (FL) Herald Tribune A 1,200-word feature on the Sarasota National Cemetery, the site of “a first-of-its-kind project” funded by The Patterson Foundation, which will pay the entire $8 million needed to create a public assembly area of about two acres that “will accommodate up to 2,800 visitors beneath nearly a half-acre of glass roofing configured to circulate air during hot Florida summers.” The project also will include “an 80-foot tall, stainless-steel flagpole and a covered rostrum with room for a 55-piece orchestra” and a dramatic artistic installation that includes photographs and sculpture and hasn’t yet been revealed. The Herald Tribune, which explains the foundation’s connection to World War I Capt. Joseph Medill Patterson and Abraham Lincoln, says that backers, including the VA, “predict that the 295-acre cemetery will become ‘a regional treasure and destination point,’ much as Southwest Florida has been for military men and women.”
- Military Moms Honor Family At Virginia War Memorial. WWBT-TV The military moms who decorated “a very special Christmas tree” at the Virginia War Memorial, “a tribute made possible by the Blue Star families military service organization.” About 40 women gathered to decorate ornaments, “each one with a special meaning,” for the hero tree. Whether the mothers “have children who are enlisted, in the reserves, or died while serving – they can all connect on a common ground.”
- War, Music Blend For Wounded Iraq Veteran. Houston Chronicle Iraq veteran and Houston native Jason Sagebiel, a musician who now lives and teaches guitar in New York but will return “as part of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s ‘Music and the Journey of War’ concert series, which continues Sunday.” Sagebiel returned to music after he discovered he had sustained a brain injury when he was hit by a brick during a Baghdad protest. He said that “recovering from the brain injury, the therapy – both speech and occupational – helped me understand how the brain learned and was applied to music. It was a weird segue back.” There are two more programs in the music series, including “Lamentation on the Disasters of War” by Karim Al-Zand,
- Veterans Raising Funds For Korean War Memorial. Dyersburg (TN) State Gazette Dyer County is accepting donations to fund a Korean War memorial at its courthouse and honor veterans, including the 11 county residents who died in the war. County Mayor Richard Hill, a Korea veteran, commissioned a design from the same company that created the other memorials at the site. The monument is expected to cost $8,700, and some “$3,700 has been raised so far.”
- Disabled American Veterans Shuttle Program Needs Drivers, New Cars. Omaha World-Herald
- Being Challenged By Paralympics Has Veteran Seeing Light. Modesto (CA) Bee
- Bush To Honor Fallen Vietnam Veteran During Army-Navy Game. Annapolis (MD) Capital
- Boiling Springs Group Welcomes Home Vietnam Veterans. Carlisle (PA) Sentinel
- Department Of Veterans Affairs To Hold Listening Session. Door County (WI) Daily News