News Brief for 25 August 2014

The Liberation of Paris

The Liberation of Paris, 25 - 26 August 1944 General Charles de Gaulle and his entourage set off from the Arc de Triumphe down the Champs Elysees to Notre Dame for a service of thanksgiving following the city's liberation in August 1944.

Aug 25, 1944: Liberation of Paris >>
On this day in 1944, French General Jacques Leclerc enters the free French capital triumphantly. Pockets of German intransigence remained, but Paris was free from German control. Two days earlier, a French armored division had begun advancing on the capital. Members of the Resistance, now called the French Forces of the Interior, proceeded to free all French civilian prisoners in Paris. The Germans were still counterattacking, setting fire to the Grand Palais, which had been taken over by the Resistance, and killing small groups of Resistance fighters as they encountered them in the city. On August 24, another French armored division entered Paris from the south, receiving an effusion of gratitude from French civilians who poured into the streets to greet their heroes—but still, the Germans continued to fire on French fighters from behind barricades, often catching civilians in the crossfire.

Navy SEALs swim across Sebago Lake for a cause >> WCSH6 Portland
SEBAGO LAKE, Maine -- Running a half marathon takes months of training and endurance. Four Navy SEALs are swimming that same distance Thursday morning to raise awareness and funds for Camp Sunshine. The Navy SEALs jumped into Sebago Lake at 5:30 a.m., when the air temperature was 56 and the water temperature was 72. They estimate the swim across the entire lake, a total of 13 miles, will take between six and seven hours. They will finish on the beach at Point Sebago Resort in Casco.

From A Father And Son, What It Means To Be A Military Man >> NPR
Military service once defined the lives of many men in the United States, particularly before the end of the draft in 1973. But today, many younger adults have no to the military at all. For the men in Mark and Jeremy Pierce's family, however, military service is a tradition dating back to the Civil War. "My father always taught us growing up that there's service to the community, service to the church and service to the country," says Mark, of Fillmore, Utah, who retired in 2010 after nearly four decades as a Green Beret. Jeremy, his son, is a veteran of the U.S. Army, and Jeremy's brother has also served.

Service Dogs Provide Support to Veterans at State Fair >>
DU QUOIN -- Fair leaders are trying to attract local veterans with opportunities made just for them.  About a dozen service dogs showed up the Du Quoin State fair on Sunday. Dogs of different shapes and sizes, but all with the same purpose. "From the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep, he is right by my side," said local veteran Matt McComas. McComas is the proud owner of two-year-old service dog named 'Sarge.' "He kind of prevents me from going to that really low place that I don't really need to be," explained McComas.

'Isn't Losing An Eye Enough?' Battered Veterans Struggle To Restart Their Lives After War >> Huffington Post
Looking at him today, you would never know that in January 2008, a massive explosion detonated by a suicide bomber outside Ramadi, Iraq, injured Brian McPherson, then a strapping 20-year-old infantryman. The blast killed another Marine and wounded three others. McPherson was knocked unconscious and lost much of his hearing and memory. Both shoulders were wrenched out of alignment. Ignoring his blurred vision and headaches, however, McPherson went on fighting for weeks, completing his combat tour, before doctors finally called his military career to a halt.

AAFES makes 'business case' for allowing veterans to shop online >> Stars and Stripes
Allowing 18.8 million honorably-discharged veterans to shop online through military exchange services, which also operate brick-and-mortar department stores and concessions on base, could boost store profits enough to pump more than $100 million back into base quality-of-life programs. That’s part of the “business case” made by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) to the Department of Defense’s Executive Resale Board this month where Navy officials still raised concerns over the idea.

Missed leukemia diagnosis by Veterans Affairs leaves vet living 'day to day' >> Washington Examiner
Lucas Davis thought he had already heard the worst by the time he met with a cancer specialist at the Department of Veterans Affairs last November. His leukemia had been diagnosed a month earlier, and was confirmed by two other doctors. But as the oncologist reviewed the electronic medical records of Davis’ past treatment at VA, he discovered that elevated white blood cell counts six years earlier should have been a warning of the onset of the disease.

US military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,200 >> Stars and Stripes
As of Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, at least 2,200 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count.

Rep. Mike Honda Introduces Bill Banning Civilians from Buying Body Armor >> NBC
Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, has announced legislation that would block civilians from accessing military-grade body armor to prevent criminals from using them in gun battles with law enforcement. Honda, speaking at a news conference in San Jose Wednesday morning with police chiefs and the district attorneys and sheriffs from Santa Clara and Alameda counties, said his proposal would discourage criminals from wearing enhanced body armor to commit mass shootings.

California family buries remains of U.S. Air Force veteran killed in 1952 >> NY Daily News
WHITTIER, Calif. -- An Air Force veteran whose body lay lost in the snow of an Alaskan glacier for six decades has been buried with military honors in California. The remains of Engolf Welton Hagen were laid to rest on Friday near his parents' grave at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, the Orange County Register reported. His youngest sister, 84-year-old Eleanor Yeager of Corona del Mar, attended the burial. She gingerly touched the box carrying his cremated rib, forearm and hand - all that could be recovered from the crash site.

10 Insane Things the Pentagon Gave to Local Law Enforcement >>
The Department of Defense Excess Property Program (1033) has seen a lot of criticism lately, as news surfaces about how local police departments are using the Pentagon's extras. Pentagon equipment used by the St. Louis County Police in Ferguson, Missouri -- the scene of riots following the shooting of Michael Brown -- includes multiple $47,000 trucks and scores of military rifles. The New York Times highlighted the program and produced an interactive graphic to show the flow of weapons from Defense to police. According to the Times, the program started as a countermeasure to high crime in the 1990s.

McCaskill to lead hearing on militarization of police >> The Hill
Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) on Thursday announced a Senate hearing to probe the "militarization of local police departments" after widespread criticism of tactics used in Ferguson, Mo., to quell protests. McCaskill said the hearing next month would focus on the Pentagon's 1033 program, which offers surplus military equipment to local law enforcement. Homeland Security grants to community departments would also be highlighted.

VA touts progress on suicides; data tell another story >> USA Today
Seven years ago, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs rejected allegations by media outlets and watchdog organizations that America faced a suicide epidemic among former military personnel. The VA claimed just 790 veterans under department care had taken their own lives that year. Yet, by reviewing available public records since 2005, CBS News uncovered 6,256 suicides. As VA officials publicly disputed the network's data, Dr. Ira Katz, the top mental-health officer, was sending internal e-mails titled "Not for the CBS Interview Request."

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