News Brief for 29 August 2014

M777A2 Howitzer on Kandahar Airfield
Soldiers serving with Alpha Battery, 2nd Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Division, shoot a round down range from their M777A2 howitzer on Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 22, 2014. The round was part of a shoot to register, or zero, the howitzers, which had just arrived on KAF from Forward Operating Base Pasab. The shoot also provided training for a fire support team from 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th IBCT, 4th Inf. Div. - Spc. Ariel Solomon, U.S. Army News Brief

Former Marine Stepping Up for Vets >>
Only 850 miles and about $50,000 to go before Marine veteran Justin Kuhel, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, reaches his goal of walking across America to raise $100,000 for two charities that help veterans.

Al Qaeda magazine suggests Air Force Academy as terror target >> KXRM-TV, Colorado Springs
The U.S. Air Force Academy is on a list of suggested terror targets published in a new magazine distributed by Al Qaeda.

VoteVets wades into Alaska Senate race >> The Hill
A veterans advocacy group plans to launch a $675,000 ad campaign slamming Alaska Republican Senate candidate Dan Sullivan for backing a local mining project that critics believe could harm the state's commercial fishing industry.

Escondido Marine Sgt. and Wife Honored at White House >> KNSD, San Diego
An Escondido couple who runs an organic farming business that benefits U.S. military veterans was recognized for their good work by the White House on Wednesday.

Veteran: Obama sounds like 'used car salesman' >> NE News Now
A military veteran and member of the American Legion says many veterans doubt their Commander in Chief is serious about looking out for their interests.

Feds Make $1 Million Bet on Veterans Becoming Nurses >> Times of San Diego
National University announced Thursday that it has received a three-year, $1.05 million federal grant to launch a program designed to speed up instruction for military veterans interested in nursing careers.

VA wait times have decreased, new data show >> USA Today
The Department of Veterans Affairs has reduced by half the number of veterans waiting more than three months to see a doctor since a scandal erupted at the agency in spring over delays in health care, according to data released Thursday.

CBO: Why VA claims exploded and ways to slow the trend >> Stars and Stripes
America's population of living veterans fell by almost five million, or 17 percent, from 2000 to 2013. So why did the number of veterans drawing disability compensation climb by 55 percent over that period? And why has yearly VA disability payments tripled since 2000 to reach $60 billion in 2014?

VA launches 'more robust' version of GI Bill Comparison Tool >> Washington Post
The Department of Veterans Affairs on Thursday updated its online GI Bill Comparison Tool with the goal of improving how former troops estimate their education benefits and explore programs across the country.

VA apologizes for using Oscar the Grouch to depict frustrated veterans >> Washington Post
A Department of Veterans Affairs office has drawn fire for likening disgruntled veterans to Oscar the Grouch in a training guide for employees who were preparing for a town hall meeting this week, according to a newspaper report.

Farenthold: Veterans not 'cartoon characters' >> The Hill
Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) on Thursday condemned an internal Department of Veterans Affairs training guide that compared dissatisfied veterans with Oscar the Grouch.

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