IAVA Daily News Brief 08.13.12
Posted by Hallie Seegal on August 13
Here are some of today's top stories and happenings that IAVA is tracking. Prefer to receive real-time updates about major stories and legislation that IAVA is tracking? Follow us on Twitter @IAVA and click here to get the News Brief delivered to your inbox every morning.
Nick Kristof explores the horrors troops face when confronted with TBI in the New York Times. Maj. Ben Richards, a standout West Point graduate who is fluent in Chinese and was once profiled in the New York Times for his exemplary leadership style, now struggles daily with headaches, fatigue, insomnia, mental fog and fainting. “Our leaders, political and military, have not been honest with people about the cost of the war,” says Richards’ wife, Farrah.
The Phoenix VA hospital mishandled nearly half of all of its claims related to TBI, temporary-disability and herbicide-exposure, according to a recent audit by the agency's inspector general. Phoenix is widely regarded as one of the country's most dysfunctional VA offices, with a backlog of over 22,700 claims and an average wait time of 1 year before cases are decided.
While Mitt Romney introduced Paul Ryan as his running mate aboard the battleship Wisconsin, the addition of Ryan to the GOP presidential ticket marks the first election in 80 years without a veteran running for the highest office.
- An Afghan policeman attacked NATO forces and Afghan soldiers on Monday in the fifth "green-on-blue" attack this week. The U.S.-led military coalition said that none of its service members were killed, but wouldn't comment as to whether anybody was wounded, citing coalition policy. According to Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, the governor of Nangarhar province where the attack occurred, the shooter fled the scene but is currently being pursued by Afghan forces.
- Master Sgt. Gregory R. Trent, 38, of Norton, Mass., died Aug. 8 in Bethesda, Md., from wounds suffered July 31 in Baktabad, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit with small-arms fire. This was Trent's fourth deployment to Afghanistan, and his fifth throughout his 14-year career. He leaves behind a wife and daughter.
- The Islamic State of Iraq, an Iraqi-based Sunni Al-Qaeda branch, claimed responsibility for an attack that killed 70 people in Baghdad July 31st. In a statement released on Monday, the group admitted targeting pro-Iranian forces within the country, as Iran is a "regional Shiite powerhouse."
- With her promotion to brigadier general, Army reserve officer Tammy Smith became the most senior gay public figure in the military. Her promotion also marked the first time she publicly disclosed her lesbian sexual orientation. Smith's wife, Tracey Hepner, co-founded the Military Partners and Families Coalition.
- "Lauren," a 3-part YouTube series debuting on the website's new women's drama channel WIGS, highlights the difficulty female service members encounter reporting sexual assault within the military.
THE NEW GREATEST GENERATION
- After five years, Iraq war vet and bomb specialist Logan Black has been reunited with his bomb sniffing dog Diego. Black and Diego worked together in Iraq in over 40 missions, with Diego saving Black's life with his super sniffing abilities more times than Black can count. Black collected over 6000 signatures to convince the Air Force to grant him ownership of the dog, and last Tuesday, the Air Force finally retired Diego, allowing him to live out the rest of his veteran life with Black as a carefree civilian pooch.
- Staff Sergeant Chad Staples, an Army veteran left paralyzed after taking a bullet to protect a wounded soldier, is pushing for major policy changes after he claims he was mocked by a staff member at a Best Western hotel. Staples phoned the front desk at the Best Western for assistance moving out of his hotel room after the elevator malfunctioned, but he claims his request was rebuffed and he was forced to slide down the stairs to exit the building.
- Veterans suffering from severely debilitating lung diseases resulting from exposure to burn pit fires in Iraq and Afghanistan will be placed on a "compassionate allowances" list, allowing them to expedite the receipt of their social security benefits.
A wide-range of views, positions, and publications are represented in these articles. These views, positions and publications are not endorsed by nor do they necessarily represent the views of IAVA.
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