News Brief for 4 September 2014

Long Khanh - 1966

SP4 Ruediger Richter (Columbus, Georgia), 4th Bn., 503 Inf., 173 Abn Bde (Separate), lifts his battle weary eyes to the heavens, as if to ask why? SGT. Daniel E. Spencer (Bend, Oregon) stares down at their fallen comrade. The day's battle ended, they silently await the helicopter which will evacuate their comrade from the jungle covered hills in Long Khanh Province." By Pfc. L. Paul Epley, 14 August 1966 via Wikipedia Commons News Brief

DoD willing to reconsider discharges of Vietnam vets with PTSD >> Military Times
The Defense Department has agreed to reconsider the bad-paper discharges for thousands of Vietnam-era veterans who may have suffered from combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder but were kicked out of the military in the era before that became a diagnosable condition.

Forced-out vets get chance to argue PTSD claims >> USA Today
Vietnam veterans forced out of service for misconduct they now claim was related to post-traumatic stress disorder will have the chance to possibly receive an upgrade in their decades-old military discharge, according to an announcement Wednesday by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Marines introduced to boating >> The Daily Pilot
They arrived from places like Bakersfield, Puerto Rico and St. Joseph, Mo. Thirty young men bonded as infantry members of the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines Division, stationed at Camp Pendleton, landed Thursday in Newport Beach for a special off-duty evening of fun, friendship and sailing at the Balboa Yacht Club.

Marine overcomes amputation, becomes Brevard deputy >> Florida Today
Robert Smith was on foot patrol as a U.S. Marine in Fallujah in May 2008 - suddenly, a roadside bomb exploded. It was a hasty ambush, followed by small arms fire.

Group of amputee female U.S. veterans now becoming mothers >> NY Daily News
Four female Iraq veterans who bonded over the loss of their limbs are now sharing a much happier experience together. The women told the "Today" show about first getting wounded while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan but then finding each other at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. And now the women have all opened a new chapter of their lives by becoming mothers or pregnant.

Veterans group hits McConnell in new ad >> The Hill
VoteVets Action Fund is out with a new ad attacking Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for his role in blocking legislation earlier this year that would have expanded medical benefits and education programs for the nation's veterans.

US Has Lost 'Dominance In Electromagnetic Spectrum': Shaffer >> Breaking Defense
"We have lost the electromagnetic spectrum," said Alan Shaffer, the Pentagon's research and engineering chief, this morning. "That's a huge deal when you think about fielding advanced systems that can be [countered] by a very, very cheap digital jammer."

House Homeland chief calls for 'high state of alert' ahead of Sept. 11 >> The Hill
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said Tuesday that the United States should be on a "high state of alert" as the anniversary of 9/11 approaches

DoD panel: Get rid of disability eval system >> Military Times
A Pentagon advisory panel on wounded service members is recommending that the Defense Department scrap the disability evaluation system it rolled out across the military just three years ago

Suicide prevention means watching out for each other >>
Preventing military suicide is one of DoD's highest priorities, and something I'm personally committed to as Secretary of Defense. As we observe Suicide Prevention Month, we must rededicate ourselves to actively working not only every month, but every day to fulfill our collective responsibility to watch out for each other and take care of each other.

Unions warn of problems with referrals outside Veterans Affairs system >> Pittsburgh Tribune
Federal officials vow veterans will experience drastically shorter wait times for health care as the Department of Veterans Affairs refers thousands more patients to private medical centers, including UPMC. Yet several unions that represent VA workers across the country argue the referral boom could set a risky precedent, sending veterans away from familiar doctors and nurses in what union executives see as a potential shift toward privatization.

Sharing records called key to VA health care >> The Arizona Republic
"If you do not have medical records, you can't prove that you had an injury or that you were seen for any issue," Bryan said. "Without that, you're dead in the water." The record-sharing relationship between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense should allow them to share patient health records across agencies and clinics, yet records such as Bryan's are still falling through the cracks.

Government mistakenly withheld $2.4 million in disability from vets >> USA Today
The federal government accidentally withheld $2.4 million out of September disability compensation checks for 12,000 veterans owed the money for service-related physical or emotional disabilities, according to the Department of Veterans.

Why Obama's Mental Health Initiatives Will Leave Many Veterans Without Help >> Defense One
President Obama last week unveiled a series of measures to improve mental health care for veterans, ranging from awareness campaigns to increased funding for brain chips to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. Some advocates, however, do not believe Obama's efforts go far enough. Part of the joint Veterans Affairs and Defense Department-led effort, for example, is a boost to the inTransition program, which aims to provide a "smooth and seamless" change for service members moving location or rejoining civilian life.

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