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Nationwide Vet New

  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 numbersStatesman 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 artworkDanville 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.
  8. Visit and take pride in Nevada’s honored veterans’ cemeteriesNevada 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 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, …
  11. Vets say declaring national monument could help vets with PTSDKFOX 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 …
  12. 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.
  13. 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.”
  14. 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.
  15. 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.”
  16. 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.”
  17. 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.”
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Utah War Veterans Share Sobering Perspectives Of PTSD. Salt Lake (UT) Tribune Personal stories that emerged Friday from 30 sessions that were part of the Utah Veterans and Families Summit, which “was part of the three-day Generations conference put on by the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute.” One veteran told a panel that soldiers “go from playing high-stakes poker and doing stuff that matters” to coming home to civilians who don’t have the same experiences. That “disconnect that warriors feel was the focus of the panel, led by psychologists at the Veterans Affairs George E. Wahlen Medical Center who work with vets who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and moral injury,” or “the suffering many vets have over what they did or did not do in war.”
  22. Troops Can Draw Strength From Each Other. American Forces Press Service Service members can “draw strength from each other,” according to a “highly decorated wounded warrior who triumphed over great adversity.” Speaking before an audience of “nearly 750 behavioral health experts and military leaders,” Army Sgt. 1st Class Leroy A. Petry, the “Army’s most recent Medal of Honor recipient,” said adversity “is not best dealt with by oneself; it’s overcome by the help of others and hard work and the will to get through it.” Petry discussed his “recovery and the people who helped pull him through during the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury’s Warrior Resilience Conference.” Petry was wounded in 2008, “during an operation to capture an insurgent leader in a compound in Afghanistan’s Paktia province, near the Pakistan border.”
  23. Living With PTSD. American Forces Press Service Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado on the effects of PTSD and how different strategies can help people cope with the disorder. One soldier described his surprise at the onset of symptoms after seven deployments in eight years because he thought the diagnosis was only for “military who had been on the ‘front lines’ or ‘sweeping the streets of Iraq or Afghanistan.'” The report describes how PTSD evolves from “a natural defense mechanism that everyone has” to a disorder of “hyper-vigilance and anxiety all mixed into one” that can’t be turned off. The VA “found that nearly 400,000 veterans in all branches of military were affected by PTSD in 2009 alone, ranking the disorder as the fourth most frequent disability connected with military service.”
  24. Program Helps Mass. Veterans Rejoin Civilian Life. Boston (MA) Globe The Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success program at Mount Wachusett Community College is “only one of 15 nationwide, funded by a grant from the US Department of Education.” According to Kristine Larkin, assistant program director of the center, the program serves “222 veteran students, a number that is expected to rise to 350” next year, with the return of those “serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  25. York Soldier Rehabs Injury, Waits For Next Plan. AP Ian Stauffer, a practicing Muslim from York, Pennsylvania, who served as an “explosives expert for the US Army.” Although some of his fellow soldiers distrusted him, others “viewed Stauffer’s faith as an asset,” especially commanding officers who began turning to him to “communicate with local Afghanis.” Stauffer was wounded in 2011 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, after stepping on a “bomb a Taliban soldier made of two sardine cans.” His knee was “mangled and six bones in his foot had been reduced to dust.” At Fort Riley, Stauffer is a “member of the Warrior Transition Battalion, soldiers on base who are receiving medical and psychological care for their return to civilian life.”
  26. Wounded Soldier’s Journey Home Ends At New Pasco House. Tampa (FL) Tribune Riders from “AMVETS, the Patriot Guard Riders,” and the Latin American Motorcycle Association, among others, escorted Nellie Bagley’s minivan; and as the “rumble of motorcycles grew louder, the men and women gathered outside 5295 Shasta Daisy Place waved their flags and shouted ‘Jose is on his way.'” After a six-year “journey from losing half his brain when his Humvee blew up in Ramadi, Iraq,” Sgt. Jose Pequeno was “finally home.” There is a “ceiling-mounted lift in Pequeno’s bedroom, a specially equipped bathroom,” and a computer is “wired directly to the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital” to monitor Pequeno’s vital signs. In addition, Pequeno’s “ability to communicate will be enhanced by a new computer system that will recognize his head movements,” said retired Brig. Gen. Robert Holme
  27. St. Martin Woman Sentenced For Stealing From WWII Veteran. AP “41-year-old St. Martin woman who admitted to stealing $62,000 from a dead World War II veteran in her care has been sentenced in Jackson County Circuit Court to eight years in prison.” Mississippi Press Melissa Elaine Webster, who “pleaded guilty to three counts of exploitation of a vulnerable person in January, must also pay $62,637 in restitution at a rate of $2,500 a month. must also pay restitution at a rate of $2,500 a month.” Judge Robert Krebs said 82-year-old “Donald Dahl did not have an advocate in the 33 days after he left the hospital and was released to Webster’s care at the Alternative Care Personal Care facility.” Assistant Attorney General Sue Perry, who “prosecuted the case,” said Webster deposited Dahl’s Social Security and VA checks “into her personal account.”

  1. 28. New War: Veterans Battle PTSD Stigma. Seattle Post-Intelligencer Studies have suggested employers are “wary of hiring veterans because of potential mental health issues.” In a 2010 Society of Human Resource Management survey, 46 percent of the respondents “said PTSD or other mental health issues were challenges” in hiring veterans. And a 2011 Apollo Research Institute survey found 39 percent of employers were “‘less favorable’ toward hiring military personnel when considering war-related psychological disorders.” In contrast, University of Maryland professor Meredith Kleykamp, PhD, says there is “no evidence that the higher unemployment rate for young vets is due to fears about mental health issues.” She said research has shown there is a “positive bias toward hiring a veteran if she or he has a clearly transferable, comparable skill set” to a non-veteran.

  1. 29. Link Between PTSD And Violent Behavior Is Weak. Washington Post Research has shown that veterans with PTSD are “two to three times more likely to be physically abusive” and three-times more likely to “get into fistfights” than those without the diagnosis. And although one study has shown vets with PTSD are “especially prone to ‘impulsive aggression,'” the kind of “premeditated aggression” that Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who has been “charged with 17 counts of murder after a rampage in Kandahar province” in Afghanistan, is accused of is “far more common in veterans without PTSD than in those with it.” However, numerous studies have indicated that “repeated deployment” increases the risk for PTSD; and prior to his Afghanistan tour, Bales did serve “three tours in Iraq,” during one of which he suffered a TBI.

  1. 30. Veterans: Westover Planes Fouled With Agent Orange. Springfield (MA) Republican “Three decades later, veterans of the 439th Tactical Airlift Wing at Westover Air Reserve Base believe those airplanes are responsible for making them sick.” Retired Air Force Major Wesley T. Carter, who “flew in the C-123s from 1974 to 1980,” suffered from a heart attack and was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year. Then he “started hearing fellow crew members were also suffering from cancer, diabetes and heart disease.” The group has now “compiled a list of 48 people who have diseases possibly linked to Agent Orange”; and they are “waging their own war to win veterans’ benefits” for people who flew the C-123s and “need medical or financial assistance.”

  1. 31. New Women’s Wing Unveiled At Stratton VA. Hudson Valley Your News Now Albany Stratton VA Medical Center on Friday unveiled a “new floor designed just for women veterans.”  WNYT-TV In the past, female vets were “sent off site for certain treatments. But now comprehensive primary, gender specific and even mental healthcare can occur” at the Stratton VA’s new “Women’s Wellness Center. ‘The more we can co-locate their services and support their needs in one visit with a consistent group of practitioners who know them and who are sensitive to their needs (the better),'” said VAMC Director Linda Weiss. Notably, 16 percent of all “service members are now women.”

  1. 32. New Women’s VA Clinic Christened In Bedford. Lowell (MA) Sun A new “clinic specializing in women’s health issues for veterans was dedicated” Saturday morning at the “Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital” in Bedford. The new clinic will provide “comprehensive healthcare services” for female veterans. US Rep. Niki Tsongas “addressed the crowd at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which included veterans, volunteers and staff. ‘It is a great time to note the significant contributions of our women in uniform and encourage our women veterans to take advantage of the benefits they’ve earned,'” she said.
  1. 33. Wisconsin Health Summit Focuses On Female Veterans. WMSN-TV “The Women’s Health Summit at Edgewood College brought Wisconsin veterans together to hear each other’s stories and learn to take better care of themselves. The veterans heard the stories of some well-respected military doctors and Wisconsin VA Secretary John Scocos. They say events like this refresh the camaraderie experienced in the military.” Iraq war veteran Yvette Pino explained, “That same sort of esprit de corps that’s developed in the service, we never seem to lose that; and that’s become evident to me by coming to resource events like this.” WMSN added, “During the second half of the summit, women went to PTSD and resilience-training workshops.”

  1. 34. Female Vet Shares War Memories. WCNC-TV “What Martha bell is looking at is no ordinary shoe box it is filled with pictures, and notes, and memories from her time in Vietnam. Among them, this poster that she first saw back in the late 60’s calling for Army nurses. She calls it a romantic view of war that she would soon realize was anything but. In 1967, the 23-yeear old Bell found herself caring for Vietnam’s casualties of war.” Bell: “Babies, children, amputees, young women, young men, grandmothers, grandfathers.” WCNC noted, “Martha made the military her career and eventually ranked Colonel.” Today, she is the “regional director of the Army Nurse Corps Association” and she “wants to let all women who served know there is help if they need it.”

  1. 35. Martin County Marine From WWII Helps Take Care Of Wounded Veterans. Palm Beach (FL) Post World War II experience of Eugene Shawaryn, who fought in the Battle for Tarawa as a Marine and earned a Purple Heart as a result. The Post says that Shawaryn’s experience left him “passionate about helping wounded veterans. He is part of the local detachment group of the Marine Corps League, which meets the first Tuesday of every month” in order “to find ways to reach Martin County’s 2,000 veterans.”

  1. 36. Veteran Uses Life Experience To Help Veterans Of All Ages. WPTV-TV Jefferson Award winner Roy Foster on its website. Foster “knows about the lonely road for veterans who need help” because some 25 years ago, he “was a homeless veteran.” Now he works with Stand Down House in Lake Worth, which “provides a safe haven for veterans.” Foster says veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan “aren’t left alone and divided as we were in my era. So what I have begun…I’ve actually pulled together some of the younger veterans that were in Iraq and Afghanistan and over there and I am assisting them in forming their own organization.”
  2. 37. VA, Pentagon Introducing Early EHR System In 2014. ExecutiveGov DOD and VA “merged electronic health records system could be available at two facilities as early as 2014, according to FierceGovernment IT.”

  1. 38. Stand Down House Provides Florida Veterans With Safe Haven. WPTV-TV “The Lake Worth Stand Down house, provides a safe haven for the veterans.” Spokesperson Roy Foster explained, “We provide veterans with food, with clothing with the necessities, basic necessities that are needed. They are also provided with transportation to the VA Medical Center for medical services and mental healthcare. Legal issues are becoming very prevalent now as well as unemployment, too; and child support is a big issue.” WPTV added, “The organization also provides support for female veterans; and Roy also has future goals for area veterans.” Foster: “So that the younger ones aren’t left alone and divided as we were in my era, I’ve actually pulled together some of the younger veterans that were in Iraq and Afghanistan and I am assisting them in forming their own organization.”

  1. 39. Stand Down Event Offers Vets Help And Hope. Florida Today “Homeless veterans gathered at 5 a.m. Saturday at the Florida National Guard Armory for food, gear and help.” The 17th annual Homeless Veterans Stand Down was a “one-day event where veterans organizations,” Veterans Affairs and the Brevard Veterans Memorial Center “joined forces” to help homeless veterans.

  1. 40. Veterans Resource Forum A One-stop Shop For Assistance Options. Pueblo (CO) Chieftain “Help came in the form of information Saturday at the second annual Pueblo Veterans Resource Forum at Hoag Hall on the campus of Colorado State University-Pueblo.” Nearly 100 veterans “attended the event billed as a one-stop shop that connects military veterans to jobs, healthcare benefits and education assistance.” The forum was facilitated by Democratic US Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, and Republican US Rep. Scott Tipton, none of whom were in attendance.

  1. 41. Indiana Organization Renovates Home For Homeless Vets. WISH-TV “According to Veterans Affairs, there are currently 3,600 veterans homeless in Indiana. That’s where the Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation comes into play. The organization houses homeless veterans up to two years. The Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation owns 17 properties just like this one for veterans in the area that need homes, but the problem is, a lot of them need updates. … The home is getting a makeover for the five veterans that currently live there, but to get it done in just two days, it’s taking dozens of volunteers and a lot of elbow grease. Still, the volunteers say they wouldn’t be anywhere else.” Volunteer Steve Jackson said, “They’ve served us and this is how we can serve them.”

  1. 42. Vietnam Memorial Turns 30 As Officials Plan Education Center.

  1. 43. Army Announces Team For Warrior Games. The (3/31).

  1. 44. VetSuccess Offers Veterans Help With Employment. Durango Herald

  1. 45. Monument To Vietnam Vets Unveiled. Courier Post (NJ)

  1. 46. PBS Film Examines Life Of Serviceman. Durango Herald

  1. 47. National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic: Photo Galleries. KCNC-TV Photo Galleries page includes photographs of disabled military veterans skiing on mono-skis in Snowmass Village, Colorado. More than 350 veterans participated in the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic, which was “held between March 25-30” and co-sponsored by the VA and the DAV.

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