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IAVA Daily News Brief – April 13, 2015

Today’s Top Stories

Chairman Demands More Firings Over Arizona Wait-Times Scandal
The chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee said Thursday the Department of Veterans Affairs must fire more VA senior executives for failures connected to the wait-times scandal that many account for up to 40 veterans’ deaths. | Military.com >>

How military chaplains are finding new ways to treat vets with invisible wounds
War is such a constant in the American experience that most of us are all too familiar with the evolving names we have given its emotional consequences in the past century: Shell shock, battle fatigue, operational exhaustion, and most recently, post-traumatic stress disorder. | Washington Post >>

Study: Former troops at high risk for suicide
A massive study of post-9/11 service members show that troops at the highest risk for suicide are those who serve less than a full enlistment and, in particular, those who leave after less than a year — personnel whose discharges may be related to mental health issues but normally are ineligible for Veterans Affairs Department health care. | USA Today >>

Afghanistan

Following President Obama’s decision to slow the drawdown in Afghanistan, the focus of the troops has turned from retrograde and closing bases to the upcoming fighting season, a senior commander told Army Times. | Army Times >>

A suicide car bomber attacked a convoy of American troops in eastern Afghanistan, killing three Afghan civilians and wounding four on Friday, and in another eastern province, 10 people were killed when their minivan hit a roadside bomb, officials said. | New York Times >>

Six Marines from a Camp Pendleton-based special operations battalion received medals Thursday for bravery during a prolonged fighfight in Afghanistan in 2012. | LA Times >>

Iraq

Islamic State has posted a video online that shows its militants destroying the ancient city of Nimrud in Iraq. The images appear to confirm reports in March that the jihadists had vandalised Nimrud, one of Iraq’s greatest archaeological treasures. | BBC News >>

Islamic State militants attacked the capital of Iraq’s vast Anbar province on multiple fronts on Friday, seizing two areas on the city outskirts in a setback for a government campaign to retake the desert terrain. | New York Post >>

U.S.-led forces have targeted Islamic State militants with eight air strikes in Syria and nine in Iraq since early on Friday, the U.S. military said on Saturday. | Reuters >>

Military Affairs

CBS News Video: Blue Angels’ first female pilot takes flight. | CBS News >>

Marine mammals have been giving the Navy an edge for more than 50 years, deploying in 2003 for the Iraq invasion and to Cam Rahn Bay during the Vietnam War, detecting mines and keeping swimmers from sabotaging ships, according to Mike Rothe, the marine mammal program director at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in San Diego. | Navy Times >>

More than five years after a shooting spree that claimed 12 soldiers and a civilian and left 31 others injured, the living and the dead were saluted Friday morning as heroes in the long war on terrorism. | San Antonio Express-News >>

#VetsRising

Welterweight boxing champion Sammy “The Who Can Mexican” Vasquez Jr. translates his two tours in Iraq into focus and motivation in the ring. | NPR >>

Experts say that treatment for PTSD with painkillers, antidepressants and psychotherapy often have mixed results. The Veterans Health Administration has launched four pilot programs — including one in Richmond — offering yoga, acupuncture, Qigong, guided imagery and equine therapies, part of an effort to reduce the dependence of tens of thousands on opiate painkillers. | Washington Post >>

Last week, Andrew was among the approximately 80 wounded, ill, and injured soldiers and veterans competing here during the Army Trials, a series of athletic events, including archery, cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, and wheelchair basketball. | Military.com >>

Inside Washington

The supervisor at Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center who sent an email that appears to mock veteran suicides has resigned. Robin Paul, who managed the Indianapolis hospital’s transitional clinic for returning veterans, submitted her resignation on Tuesday. | Indianapolis Star >>

The top members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs have asked VA to clear up confusion for veterans over obtaining medical treatment outside the agency’s facilities in an effort to reduce long waits at some facilities, overcome provider shortfalls and decrease long travel times for treatment. | The News Journal >>

Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan of Florida introduced new legislation to give all veterans a standardized form of federal ID to cut down on identity theft when proving military service. | Daily Caller >>

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