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1. 40 years after release, POWs at Hanoi Hilton reflect on experience. Little remains downtown of the prison known as Hoa Lo, a name loosely translated as “hell hole.” Most of the French colonial-era complex was razed to make way for a luxury apartment high rise. The Vietnamese government turned what was left into a museum exhibiting a few of the dank cells where Vietnamese revolutionaries were held and sometimes executed by the French in the mid-20th century.
2. Veteran works through health benefit dilemma. Jim Whitmore considered his health care covered six ways to Sunday. Or at least three ways. A Marine veteran who served in Vietnam, he had utilized his VA benefits at facilities in Leavenworth, Kan., where he said “you can’t beat their care.”
3. Report says Obama plans more nuke cuts. A think tank report says the Obama administration is preparing to cut America’s nuclear weapons arsenal by as much as one-third in a move that would save billions of dollars, but New Mexico congressional Democrats say that’s not necessarily bad news for the state’s nuclear weapons labs.
4. Cruise-missile submarines on the way out. The Navy recently removed the four boats, designated as SSGNs, from the list of combat vessels it “currently requires.” The four subs — USS Ohio and USS Michigan at Bangor and USS Florida and USS Georgia at Kings Bay, Georgia — will patrol until their nuclear fuel is spent in the mid-2020s.
5. Army doctors warn that long flights pose blood clot risk. Servicemembers face all kinds of risks deploying, but might not realize that the dangers can start on the flight itself: Sitting for hours can result in potentially deadly blood clots forming in the legs and traveling to the lungs or heart.
6. PTSD doctor at Madigan Army Medical Center suspended. A Madigan Army Medical Center psychiatrist has been suspended from his hospital duties because he allegedly practiced outside the scope of his clinical privileges and did not properly document patient records.
7. Change of commanders in Afghanistan starts clock on end of US war. Inside the heavily secured headquarters of the NATO-led forces here, the man who could be the last commander of America’s longest war will officially take charge Sunday of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
8. White House Outlines Possible Impact Of Sequestration. AP “Trying to ratchet up pressure on Congress, the White House on Friday detailed what it said would be the painful impact on the federal workforce and certain government assistance programs if ‘large and arbitrary’ scheduled government spending cuts are allowed to take place beginning March 1.” The White House said “about 70,000 young children would be kicked off Head Start, 10,000 teacher jobs would be put at risk and up to 2,100 food safety inspections might have to be canceled,” and warned “students could be threatened, many small business loans denied, workplace safety inspections curtailed, federally assisted programs like ‘Meals on Wheels’ slashed and 125,000 low-income renters put at risk of losing government-subsidized housing.” New York Times Office of Management and Budget Federal Controller Danny Werfel said, “The cuts would cause very significant disruptions that would be felt far and wide across the country. This is just the tip of the iceberg. We can’t plan our way out of these consequences or take steps to soften the blow.” Wall Street Journal However, that White House officials said they will defer to Congress on how best to keep sequestration from taking effect.
9. Vets Could Pay In-State Tuition Anywhere Under New Bill. Government Executive The 2013 G.I. Bill Tuition Fairness Act would mandate “public higher education institutions” provide in-state tuition rates to veterans. The measure, introduced in the Senate this week by Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), is part of “commonsense change” to enable “greater access to affordable higher education” for veterans, he said. In a Friday statement he said, “Our service members face a unique challenge of establishing residency that often follows them when transitioning back to civilian life. By requiring schools that are eligible for G.I. bill benefits to charge any veteran the in-state tuition rate, we can remove this barrier to affordable higher education for the men and women who sacrificed for our nation.”
10. Retreat By VA And DoD On Electronic Health Records Criticized. Washington Post The Defense and Veterans Affairs departments decided “to scrap an ambitious effort to create a single shared electronic health-records system for service members and veterans” by 2017, following many “delays and more than $1 billion” in expenditures, and instead to “merge the existing systems.” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said, “Rather than building a single, integrated system from scratch, we will focus our immediate efforts on integrating VA and DOD health data as quickly as possible by upgrading our existing systems.” Expressing criticism of the decision, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chair Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) said, “The decision by DOD and VA to turn their backs on a truly integrated electronic health record system is deeply troubling. The need for a record system integrated across all DOD and VA components has been universally accepted for years.”
Have You Heard?
Did you know … Veterans can use their VA Benefits to pursue “on-the-job training” (“OJT”) or apprenticeship training with a private sector employer? The attached one page summary can be a useful tool for both Veterans and employers.
This option is a win/win for the employer and the Veteran. The employer has an opportunity to bring a Veteran on as a trainee while he or she pursues the employer prescribed training program towards the journeyman position. The Veteran is provided monthly benefits from VA to supplement their trainee wages. At the end of the training—the employer has a fully trained journeyman employee. This program needs to be approved by their local State Approving Agency(SAA). Click here for State Approving Agency contact information.
The Special Employer Incentive (SEI) program is an employment program for our Wounded Warriors and Disabled Veterans … but more. It can pay up to half of a Veteran’s salary for 6 months and other work related tools.
Spread the word, these programs provide a wonderful benefit to the Veteran and any employer. Businesses need a skilled workforce and are often willing to pay to train their employees….these programs make hiring a Veteran a good business proposition.
Additional information about the OJT and apprenticeship program is available at
Additional information about the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program for Veterans with service-connected disabilities can be found at http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/vre/