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An unclassified Army memo from April 2011 acknowledges burn pits at Bagram Air Base pose a “long term health risk” to service members. The report contradicts previous statements by the Department of Defense, which have downplayed the health risk. “It’s disturbing that this memo is more than a year old and it doesn’t seem like the military has done anything about it,” said IAVA Deputy Policy Director Tom Tarantino.
Two lawmakers from California hosted a forum on Monday to give veterans an opportunity to respond to reports of poor performance at Oakland VA. The rhetoric got heated at times as veterans blasted the panel for poor performance. “We’re not getting answers, we’re getting excuses,” one veteran yelled at VA officials.
On Monday, May 21, IAVA Founder and Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff appeared on the Callie Crossley show to discuss the end of the Iraq War five months later. With 4,422 Americans killed and more than 30,000 wounded, the war has left a deep impression on the veteran community. Many veterans are still fighting for jobs, disability claims and a proper education on the homefront.
- On Monday, NATO agreed to officially transfer security operations to Afghan forces by mid-2013.
- Two soldiers based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord were killed in eastern Afghanistan on Friday.
- The lawyer for an Army sergeant charged with killing Iraqis says his client does not remember the killings.
- A British tribunal has ruled for the government to disclose contents of pre-invasion talks between President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair.
- A former commander of Dover Air Force base has been punished for retaliating against whistleblowers.
- VA-appointed money managers in the state of Texas steal from the veterans they are supposed to care for at twice the rate of other states, reports the Houston Chronicle.
NEW GREATEST GENERATION
- IAVA local leader Michael Zacchea has been selected to receive the prestigious Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year award. Michael is the Program Director of the University of Connecticut Entrepreneur Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities.
- Stephen Colbert has become the first Reddit Santa as part of a gift giving campaign for the troops.
- On Friday, a bill was introduced in the House of the Representatives that would simplify absentee voting for troops.
- The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee wants a formal investigation into a leak of classified information related to an airline bomb plot.
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