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Friday 09, February 2018
Topic Started: Feb 9 2018, 07:19 AM (9 Views)
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Michael Isam
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Thanks to Kevin Secor

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- Friday 09, February 2018

- Did you know:

- House Sends massive 2 Year Budget Deal To President Trump’s desk.
- Pence blasts N. Korea, lauds US military strength during troop talk at Yokota.
- Tillerson scales back State Department restructuring plan.
- Leaders of Turkey, Russia and Iran to discuss Syria in Istanbul: Turkish source.
- Pentagon steps up its diplomacy in Thailand.
- Troops, veterans are now 'protected' from deportation.
- Military bullies beware — new policy means marks on records.
- New Pentagon rule bans ‘offensive jokes’ and harassing behavior.
- Sexual assault reports doubled at West Point.
- Army leaders: Funding will be key to modernization efforts .
- Corps affirms full exoneration for MARSOC unit rocked by scandal.
- Marine Corps expo debuts electric assault vehicle and replacement for Humvees.
- Hearings for Fitz and McCain COs scheduled for next month.
- Remains of airman missing since WWII recovered in France.
- Pentagon: Air Force Academy out of compliance on sexual assault.
- National Guardsman taking girl whose dad died in training accident to dance.
- House VA Committee Chairman Announces Re-election Bid.
- We asked, you voted: 89 percent said no to Trump’s military parade.
- US Veterans don’t need a parade, They Need Better Health Care.
- Trump jump-starts stalled Veteran healthcare negotiations.
- White House Targets VA’s Deputy Secretary As ‘A Warning Shot’ To Agency’s Leader.
- New documentary ‘Trauma’ depicts experiences of Afghan war medics.
- Opioid prescriptions for Veterans down from 2012 peak, study says.
- New VA Veteran Suicide Prevention Strategy Rolling Out In March.
- Veterans Want Medical Marijuana to Save Them From Opioids.
- New VA memo mixes pan to shift $460 million earmarked for Veteran homelessness.
- Oregon funds $8.9 mil. In affordable housing for Veterans: “We owe it to them”.
- VA’s mighty appeals challenge.
- US Threatens to Dump Lenders From Veterans Mortgage Program.
- Lawmakers want VA to restore gun rights stripped from some Veterans.
- Veteran of the Day – Jeffrey Van Goins.


Did you know:

Veterans Legacy Program: Sgt. William H. Thompkins, Buffalo Soldier, trailblazer, American Hero: Sgt. William H. Thompkins is an American hero. He showed extraordinary courage in the face of the enemy. At the time, he believed that he was just doing his duty as a soldier, but his actions saved the lives of his comrades and helped change the way that the country perceived African-American soldiers. Thompkins was a Buffalo Soldier in the 10th U.S. Cavalry Regiment. The Buffalo Soldiers were …


Fox News House Sends massive 2 Year Budget Deal To President Trump’s desk. The House of Representatives early Friday voted to approve a massive, 2-year budget package that also funds the government through March 23, ending a brief government shutdown. The budget will now head to President Trump’s desk for his signature. The massive budget deal, which includes a stopgap temporary measure to prevent a government shutdown, includes $300 billion for the military. The agreement also adds $89 billion in overdue disaster aid for hurricane-slammed Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, a politically charged increase in the government's borrowing cap and a grab bag of health and tax provisions.

Stars and Stripes Pence blasts N. Korea, lauds US military strength during troop talk at Yokota. Vice President Mike Pence slammed North Korea for human-rights abuses and touted American military strength during a speech to troops Thursday at the home of U.S. Forces Japan and the 5th Air Force in western Tokyo

Politico Tillerson scales back State Department restructuring plan. When Secretary of State Rex Tillerson first announced plans to “redesign” the State Department, U.S. diplomats braced for huge changes ranging from shuttered embassies to dramatic staff and budget cuts. As Tillerson failed to fill top leadership positions, some staffers worried the former ExxonMobil CEO was arrogantly dismissive of their mission.

Reuters Leaders of Turkey, Russia and Iran to discuss Syria in Istanbul: Turkish source. Turkey and Russia agreed on Wednesday that their next three-way summit with Iran to discuss the conflict in Syria will be held in Istanbul, a Turkish presidential source said.

Asia Times Pentagon steps up its diplomacy in Thailand. US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps General Joe Dunford has arrived in Bangkok to emphasize that America is “not a declining power” and its intention to improve military relations with Thailand’s armed forces, which seized political control in a mid-2014 coup.

Military Times Troops, veterans are now 'protected' from deportation. The approximately 800 service members whose military service was put in limbo by President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program will not be deported, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday.

Stars and Stripes Military bullies beware — new policy means marks on records. The policy being announced Thursday pulls together a complicated mix of rules governing sexual harassment, bullying, hazing and other forms of hostile online behavior and workplace discrimination.

Military Times New Pentagon rule bans ‘offensive jokes’ and harassing behavior. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, known for his own use of colorful language to inspire the troops, said a new Pentagon policy targeting offensive language and behavior should not be interpreted as a draconian end to military camaraderie.

The Associated Press Sexual assault reports doubled at West Point. The number of sexual assaults reported at the U.S. Military Academy roughly doubled during the last school year, according to data reviewed by The Associated Press, in the latest example of the armed forces’ persistent struggle to root out such misbehavior.

Stars and Stripes Army leaders: Funding will be key to modernization efforts . According to a panel of Army leaders, the effort to modernize the country's largest military service will also require a major cultural shift in helping prepare the Army for a potential great power struggle ahead.

Military.com Corps affirms full exoneration for MARSOC unit rocked by scandal. A senior lawmaker is hailing the Marine Corps for reviewing a decade-old case in which members of a MARSOC company were accused of murdering civilians in Afghanistan, and publicly affirming a full exoneration of the unit. But the commanding officer of the unit in question believes the service should go further to show its support.

Stars and Stripes Marine Corps expo debuts electric assault vehicle and replacement for Humvees. The concept Nikola Reckless UTV has a lot to live up to. It was named after Staff Sgt. Reckless, a small mare that during one day in the Korean War Battle for Outpost Vegas in March 1953 made 51 trips carrying ammunition to the front lines.

Navy Times Hearings for Fitz and McCain COs scheduled for next month. The Navy will present its argument early next month for why the captains of two warships involved in fatal collisions last summer should be held liable for the deaths of 17 sailors who were crushed and drowned in the disasters.

Air Force Times Remains of airman missing since WWII recovered in France. An airman whose plane was shot down during World War II is finally coming home.

Stars and Stripes Pentagon: Air Force Academy out of compliance on sexual assault. Mismanagement of the Air Force Academy's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office has put the school out of compliance with Defense Department policies, a Pentagon report released Wednesday said.

The Associated Press National Guardsman taking girl whose dad died in training accident to dance. A Northern Illinois kindergartener whose father was killed in a military training accident last year has a date to her first father-daughter dance: A soldier with the Illinois Army National Guard.

Stars & Stripes: House VA Committee Chairman Announces Re-election Bid. Republican Phil Roe, who represents Tennessee’s first district in Congress and is the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, will run for re-election this year, he confirmed Thursday. Roe, 72, made the announcement amid speculation he would retire. He cited his work on veterans’ issues as a reason he will run for a sixth term.

Military Times We asked, you voted: 89 percent said no to Trump’s military parade. As the Pentagon continues to work on parade options to present to President Donald Trump, an overwhelming number of Military Times readers have weighed in: Don’t have one.

Bangor Daily News: US Veterans don’t need a parade, They Need Better Health Care. President Donald Trump says he wants a parade of U.S. military hardware to let our service personnel know how much they are appreciated. There are much better ways to thank and support our troops and veterans than wasting millions of dollars on a parade that would look like it belonged in Pyongyang rather than Washington.

Washington Examiner: Trump jump-starts stalled Veteran healthcare negotiations. With the nation watching, President Trump used his first State of the Union speech to remind the public that important work remains to improve veterans’ healthcare. Specifically, Trump highlighted the need for veterans to have healthcare choices outside of VA medical facilities.

The Washington Post: White House Targets VA’s Deputy Secretary As ‘A Warning Shot’ To Agency’s Leader. The White House wants to remove the Department of Veterans Affairs’ second-in-command as a “warning shot” to VA Secretary David Shulkin, an Obama-era holdover who has frustrated the administration by networking with lawmakers who don’t support President Trump’s plan to overhaul the scandal-ridden health care system, according to people familiar with the matter.

Military Times New documentary ‘Trauma’ depicts experiences of Afghan war medics. “Trauma,” the new Afghan war documentary, follows the daily lives of a UH-60 Black Hawk medevac platoon, depicting their heroics and struggles during service and their transition to civilian life years later.

United Press International: Opioid prescriptions for Veterans down from 2012 peak, study says. Recent efforts by the U.S. Veterans Health Administration, or VHA, to promote safe prescribing of opioid painkillers seem to be working. Opioid prescriptions by the VHA have declined since peaking in 2012, a new study finds. Key to the drop is decreases in long-term prescriptions, which carry greater risk for overdose and addiction, said the study's lead author, Katherine Hadlandsmyth.

Disabled Veterans: New VA Veteran Suicide Prevention Strategy Rolling Out In March. The Department of Veterans Affairs is rolling out new veteran suicide protocol in March to address its previous failures to make a dent in preventing suicide. The agency estimates the new plan will end up serving 32,000 veterans out of the more than 250,000 that leave the military annually. But senior officials estimate the cost will be $100 million with no new money being allocated.

The Fresh Toast: Veterans Want Medical Marijuana to Save Them From Opioids. Although the latest federal data shows opioids killed more people in 2016 than the almost two-decade-long Vietnam War, the Department of Veterans Affairs continues to dole out prescription painkillers with enthusiasm. These drugs are given to soldiers suffering from moderate to severe pain. Many are now addicted to these pills. Some veterans are saying that they experienced better and safer results from the use of medical marijuana. They would like the federal government to legalize the cannabis plant in an effort to reduce the risk of addiction and deadly overdose.

Stars & Stripes: New VA memo mixes pan to shift $460 million earmarked for Veteran homelessness. The Department of Veterans Affairs issued a memorandum this week that officially reverses plans to shift millions of dollars from a VA account dedicated to combating veteran homelessness. Steve Young, VA deputy undersecretary for health, sent the memo Tuesday to all VA network directors, homeless coordinators and medical center directors. It states the VA will not reallocate funds this fiscal year earmarked for a veteran housing program known as HUD-VASH, in which the VA provides case management for veterans who receive housing vouchers from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

KATU-TV: Oregon funds $8.9 mil. In affordable housing for Veterans: “We owe it to them”. The state is dedicating nearly $8.9 million to help build housing for homeless veterans, the Oregon Housing and Community Services agency announced Thursday. The money will fund 71 new affordable homes for Oregon veterans and their families in developments in North Bend, Klamath Falls, Oregon City, and Northeast Portland.

WFED-AM: VA’s mighty appeals challenge. If Dunkin’ Donuts can replace its polystyrene cup, can Veterans Affairs build a new disability case processing system? The question isn’t random. The coffee cup change for Dunkin’, announced this week, presents a crucial strategic challenge. The company operates 9,000 outlets. In some parts of Massachusetts, you can’t travel a linear mile without encountering one. No doubt many a veteran has stopped by a Dunkin’ Donuts on the way to a medical visit. In fact, Dunkin’ Donuts has 25 outlets in hospitals throughout the country.

Bloomberg: US Threatens to Dump Lenders From Veterans Mortgage Program. Nine lenders have been warned by the U.S. that they will be kicked out of a top mortgage program within months unless they find ways to stop costly rapid refinances of veterans’ loans. The warnings stem from a probe by Ginnie Mae, a government-owned corporation that makes mortgages cheaper by protecting bond investors against homeowner defaults. Ginnie Mae guarantees about $2 trillion in bonds containing loans backed by agencies including the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Guns.com (VIDEO): Lawmakers want VA to restore gun rights stripped from some Veterans. A group of bipartisan U.S. Senators has filed legislation to reverse the fact that some vets are losing their right to keep and bear arms because someone is handling their finances. On Tuesday, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley — joined by fellow Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst and West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin — introduced S.2386, which could tackle how the Department of Veterans Affairs reports veterans to the FBI’s National Criminal Background Check System.

Dept of Veterans Affairs Veteran of the Day – Jeffrey Van Goins. Army Veteran Jeffrey Van Goins. Jeffrey served from 1981 to 1992 during the Persian Gulf War. Jeffrey was born on May 28, 1956 in Dayton, Ohio and worked as a high school teacher in his hometown. At the encouragement of his father, Jeffrey enlisted in the Army in 1981 to learn discipline, and he instantly enjoyed being in the service. He completed basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina before becoming a personnel and records specialist at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

After a year of training, including ammunition school at Fort Hood, Texas, Jeffrey became a lieutenant of an aviation unit and was assigned to Germany. While overseas, his wife would travel to Czechoslovakia where he could go to visit her. At the start of the Gulf War, his aviation unit deployed to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield, completing night missions in Iraq and Kuwait. In 1991, their unit was headed for assignment in Baghdad when they were informed that the war had ended. After leaving the service, Jeffrey went back to school and received a degree in business administration, his teacher’s certification, and two masters’ degrees, one in educational leadership. Thank you for your service, Jeffrey!

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