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Daily News Brief – February 6, 2017

downloadU.S. Navy E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircrafts taxies at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Yamaguchi Prefecture, western Japan, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. Koi Ueda/AP | Military Times >>

Today’s Top Stories

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate held its confirmation hearing for David Shulkin, President Trump’s nominee to head the Department of Veterans Affairs. President Trump campaigned on a promise to fire “the corrupt and incompetent” leaders of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. Dr. Shulkin, the VA’s current Under Secretary of Health, is a holdover from the Obama administration. | Lima Charlie News >>

While subsequent orders have loosened some restrictions on the VA — and on its newly opened hospitals in particular — questions persist about how the freeze will affect the wide range of services envisioned at the billion-dollar medical complex, more than 10 years in the making. | The New Orleans Advocate >>

Like many Americans, veterans have experienced obstacles in finding employment since the economic decline in the 2000’s. With the passage of the post-9/11 GI Bill in 2001, which can cover a veteran’s entire educational costs, more and more veterans now have access to higher education. Many are pursuing degrees in medicine, and have access to work study programs in the field created by the Bureau of Veterans Affairs. | The Atlantic >>

Iraq and Afghanistan

In 2016 alone, U.S. combat aircraft conducted at least 456 airstrikes in Afghanistan that were not recorded as part of an open-source database maintained by the U.S. Air Force, information relied on by Congress, American allies, military analysts, academic researchers, the media and independent watchdog groups to assess each war’s expense, manpower requirements and human toll. | Military Times >>

Iraq is satisfied with a U.S. appeals court ruling against a travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump, a government spokesman said on Sunday. The ruling given late on Saturday denied a request from the U.S. Department of Justice to immediately restore Trump’s order, which a judge in Washington state had blocked on Friday. | Business Insider >>

Avalanches in Afghanistan and Pakistan left dozens of people dead over the last three days. Afghanistan officials said the death toll following three days of heavy snow rose to 54 on Sunday. In Pakistan, 13 people were killed in an avalanche that buried five homes. | Time >>

Military Affairs

By nearly every measure, Chief Petty Officer William Ryan Owens was exceptional. Chief Owens, 36, who was killed by enemy fire during a raid in Yemen last week, was a team leader in the Navy’s most elite commando force, SEAL Team 6, and had earned numerous awards for heroism under fire during a dozen deployments. | The New York Times >>

It’s the end of an era for the US sea power, in more ways than one: the Navy has decommissioned the USS Enterprise (CVN-65), the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. The vessel launched in 1961 and is mainly known for playing a pivotal role in several major incidents and conflicts, including the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War and the 2003 Iraq War. However, it also served as the quintessential showcase for what nuclear ships could do. Its eight reactors let it run for years at a time, all the while making more room for the aircraft and their fuel. | Engadget >>

The laser range finders could for the first time allow infantry squad leaders to call in air strikes and artillery fire, a change that would vastly increase the lethality of small infantry units and push previously unheard of responsibility down to junior Marines at the squad level. | Military Times >>

#VetsRising

“It’s a humanity issue,” said Simpson-Taylor, a U.S. Air Force veteran. She and two local pastor-veterans say it’s an area of ministry that needs to be addressed, particularly given the high incidence of veteran suicides, which Simpson-Taylor says number 22 a day, including three in Iowa in the past year. | The Courier >>

“When veterans complete their military service, they go through a transition like all of us when we change jobs, move to a new town or retire. It is a transition that takes focus, deep reflection, and new information to discover the next challenge they will pursue along their journey in life,” said Monica Matthieu, Ph.D., the lead author of the study and assistant professor of social work at Saint Louis University. | Psych Central >>

The Navy vet was among the 300 or so participants brave enough to take part in the 10th annual EOD Warrior Foundation Polar Bear Plunge at Fredericksburg’s City Dock, a fun fundraising event that tallied some $35,000 for the foundation. | Free Lance-Star >>

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