News Brief for 17 September 2014

Michael Jernigan, a Marine Corps veteran and wounded warrior, poses for a photograph with actor and military consultant R. Lee Ermey, who starred in the movie “Full Metal Jacket.” Photo courtesy Honor Courage Commitment Inc. - #22Kill News Brief

Inside #22Kill, a star-studded campaign to fight veteran suicide >> Washington Post
It's called #22Kill, a nod toward a jarring statistic: About 22 military veterans commit suicide each day, according to a report released last year by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The majority are committed by veterans who are at least 50 years old, the VA said, but suicides in the active-duty ranks and by recent veterans have hit close to home for individuals like Jernigan, who have served alongside them.

Greek tragedy helps address soldier suicide, mental health at Fort Bragg >> Fayetteville Observer
To highlight the issue of suicide among the military, a Fort Bragg program Tuesday reached back to the 5th century B.C.

Army Captain Battling Cancer Takes On Veteran Suicides >> CBS Boston
Army Captain Justin Fitch is dying. He has only months left. But before he was even diagnosed with cancer he thought about killing himself. "When I first joined the Army in active duty there was a culture, a very quiet culture, of suffering in silence," Fitch told WBZ-TV's Jonathan Elias. "Mission first, never worry about yourself."

Watch service dog calm war vet's PTSD reaction >> USA Today
Erick Scott knows first-hand how it feels to suffer from PTSD. A veteran who served in Iraq, this husband and father came home from the fighting only to be confronted by his own demons. Refusing at first to believe the PTSD diagnosis from his doctor, it wasn't until he heard about K9s for Warriors that he began to feel some hope.

A gym & a prayer: Marine vet's CrossFit business draws on personal ties >> Navy Times
Pete Doan tried the working man's life after leaving the Marine Corps in 2010. Fair to say, it didn't work out. Now he's on a new path, with less physical labor but still with its own set of challenges. As owner of 9:24 CrossFit gym in Berlin, Ohio, he's peddling wellness and exercise in the heart of Ohio's Amish country.

Retired general says political correctness is deadly to U.S. >> Fayetteville Observer
A retired three-star general railed against the Obama administration, political correctness, the media and rules of engagement during a speech Monday night at Sandhills Community College.

Sep 17, 1862: Rebels and Yankees clash at the Battle of Antietam >>
On this day in 1862, at the Battle of Antietam, Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and Union General George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac fight to a standstill along a Maryland creek on the bloodiest day in American history. Although the battle was a tactical draw, it forced Lee to end his invasion of the North and retreat back to Virginia.

Survey: Financial concerns plague military families >> Army Times
The active-duty community's uncertainty about their future and concerns about their own financial stability are clear in the results of this year's Blue Star Families annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey.

Obama declines to attend memorial dedication for disabled veterans >> Washington Times
President Obama has declined to attend a dedication ceremony in October for a new memorial honoring American veterans who have been disabled fighting for their country in wars, according to sources close to the event.

House clears increase in veterans' disability payments >> The Hill
The House on Tuesday evening cleared legislation to increase compensation benefits for veterans with disabilities. Passed by voice vote, S. 2258 would hike veterans' disability compensation starting on Dec. 1 so that the cost-of-living increase would match the rate of Social Security benefits.

Consumer agency sues Corinthian Colleges for predatory lending >> Associated Press
Corinthian Colleges is being sued by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for what it calls a "predatory lending scheme."

Officials: Air Force cuts in Europe might be delayed >> Stars and Stripes
Planned cuts to the U.S. military presence in Europe may be postponed because of concerns about Russian aggression, according to top defense officials.

Doctor: VA downplayed link between wait times, deaths >> Stars and Stripes
Contrary to the findings of the VA's inspector general, there is a link between wait times and patient deaths at veterans hospitals, according to prepared testimony from a VA doctor.

'Inexcusable' changes in Veterans Affairs IG report slammed by veterans' groups >> Washington Examiner
Manipulation of an inspector general's report that cleared the Department of Veterans of causing patient deaths through delayed care at a Phoenix hospital was blasted Tuesday by two national veterans' groups.

Doctor who exposed VA scandal to tell Congress that IG tried to hide problems >> Washington Times
The doctor who helped expose the VA health care scandal will tell Congress on Wednesday that patients did indeed die because they were stuck on secret waiting lists, and will accuse the department's inspector general of trying to cover up the problem.

VA whistleblower says investigation has been a 'whitewash' >> CNN
The main whistleblower in the scandal involving the Department of Veterans Affairs has asked for an independent review of delays in care at the Phoenix VA, calling the recent investigation by the Office of Inspector General a "whitewash."

House GOP: VA interfered with IG's report >> Politico
Congressional Republicans are accusing the Department of Veterans Affairs of influencing an independent review of whether delayed health care resulted in the deaths of nearly three dozen patients.

Doctor: VA downplayed link between wait times, deaths >> Stars & Stripes
Contrary to the findings of the VA's inspector general, there is a link between wait times and patient deaths at veterans hospitals, according to prepared testimony from a VA doctor.

VA secretary vows more changes, higher ranges of pay for doctors, nurses >> Stars & Stripes
As part of the effort to eliminate the VA appointment backlog by the end of next year, Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald said Monday that he plans to increase the range of pay for VA doctors and nurses, among other changes.

Vets "suffering" from VA delays, witness tells hearing >> Philadelphia Inquirer
In January, Philadelphia's veterans hospital sent Chris Diaz to a private doctor because the wait for knee surgery at its own facility was more than 10 months.

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