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IAVA Daily News Brief – August 28, 2015

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Musician 3rd Class (SW) Michael Bookman, assigned to the Navy Band Great Lakes Brass Band, plays during a concert along Detroit’s downtown RiverWalk as part of Detroit Navy Week. | Military Times >>


 

Today’s Top Stories

Feds: Connecticut ended chronic homelessness among veterans
The federal government has declared Connecticut the first state in the country to end chronic homelessness among veterans, officials announced Thursday. The declaration means that all known veterans experiencing chronic homelessness in the state either have housing or are on an immediate path to permanent housing, officials said. | Associated Press >>

Among VA patients who served in Iraq or Afghanistan between 2001 and 2011, 5.6% were discharged for misconduct. Yet these patients accounted for 28.1% of veterans who had been homeless within their first year out of the military, the analysis found. | The San Diego Union-Tribune >>

The troubled Tomah Veterans Administration Medical Center is making several changes related to its psychiatric and emergency services to address staffing shortages. On Wednesday, the hospital’s 11-bed inpatient psychiatric unit stopped admitting new patients and will temporarily close next week, the VA announced. The two patients who are currently in the unit likely will be discharged before the Sept. 4 closure, said VA spokesman Matthew Gowan. | Associated Press >>

Afghanistan

This year’s fighting season is the first where Afghan security forces have had to battle the Taliban pretty much on their own. So far, they are standing their ground where it matters. How long the Kabul government can keep up this resistance, especially if President Barack Obama goes ahead with his plan to withdraw almost all the remaining American troops next year, is another matter. | Wall Street Journal >>

Capt. Matthew D. Roland, 27, and Staff Sgt. Forrest B. Sibley, 31, died early Thursday after two men wearing Afghan military uniforms opened fire on them on Camp Antonik in Helmand province, Air Force officials said in a statement. Both Americans were in special tactics units that coordinate airstrikes and frequently integrate with Navy SEALs, Green Berets and other U.S. Special Operations troops. | Washington Post >>

Kidnapping, infertile land, and poor aid distribution are only some of the troubles the Hazaras face. They are victimized by militants, the Taliban, and maybe even the Islamic State. | Foreign Policy >>

Iraq

The Marine Corps’ decade-old special operations command will lead the next rotation of operators into Iraq, Marine Corps Times has learned. Marine Raiders will head the staff element for the next iteration of Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Iraq, said Capt. Barry Morris, a spokesman for Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command. The unit is set to deploy early next year and will be led by a MARSOC colonel, he said. | Marine Corps Times >>

A suicide bombing by so-called Islamic State militants the Iraqi city of Ramadi has killed two army commanders and three other people, officials say. Gen Abdel Rahman Abu Ragheef was deputy commander of operations in the strategically important province of Anbar, while Brig Safeen Abdel Majeed was a divisional commander. | BBC News >>

A coalition led by the United States pummeled Islamic State targets in Iraq on Wednesday with 21 air strikes concentrated near the cities of Baji and Tuz, according to a statement released on Thursday. | Reuters >>

Military Affairs

Hurricane Katrina was a watershed event, leading to drastic reforms in the way the U.S. government responds to disasters. For the military, however, here were just four lessons that proved their worth not just in Katrina, but in future relief efforts. | Task & Purpose >>

The Pentagon will replace its aging-and-deadly Humvees with a fleet of combat trucks that reflect lessons learned in lives and limbs in Iraq and Afghanistan. Oshkosh Truck has won a three-way race for the $6.7 billion contract to build 17,000 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV). Ultimately, the military may take delivery of 55,000 JLTVs with a price tag of $30 billion. | USA Today >>

The first four of the female enlisted sailors selected for the Navy’s “silent service” began training this week at submarine school in Groton, the latest milestone in the elimination of one of the U.S. military’s few remaining gender barriers. | Associated Press >>

#VetsRising

Toward the end of 2012, when the first major fiction by veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began to be published, the response from the literary world fell somewhere between celebration and relief. The books seemed to herald a sorely needed reckoning. After years of awkward silence, here, finally, were writers willing to urge a complacent and distractible public to confront the tragedies of the Terror Wars. | Harper’s >>

Rodriguez is no ordinary undrafted rookie. He is an Army veteran who served separate tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was wounded in the Battle of Kamdesh, among the bloodiest firefights in the war, and was awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal with valor device for his actions that day. He was discharged in 2010, and his decision to pursue a football career stemmed from a promise he made to a fellow soldier, a close friend who was later killed in action. | LA Times >>

When people talk about whether or where to deploy U.S. servicemen and women, you hear the phrase “boots on the ground” a lot. Some of the actual feet that were in those boots, walking the hot sands of Iraq, and the stony mountains of Afghanistan, belong to the men and women who showed up Saturday morning for the Home Base Warrior Health and Fitness program. | Naples Daily News >>

Inside Washington

FOX13 checked the VA’s number for the Southeast region which includes Memphis; the backlog of claims is currently at about 20,000 – that’s a huge improvement. That’s a fraction of the more than 80,000 pending claims around this time last year. Congressional sources told us top leadership is skeptical of the VA’s numbers because of those allegations of document shredding, and other past incidents where VA staff were caught fudging numbers. | FOX13 Memphis >>

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne blasted the Department of Veterans Affairs Wednesday for releasing what he says is “self-serving propaganda” about a reduction in disability claims older than four months. “I don’t believe a bit of it,” Byrne said. “They play games on how they get rid of their backlog. | AL.com >>

Retired Gen. John Abizaid, the longest-serving commander of U.S. Central Command, is teaming up with three other four-star generals to raise money for a war on terrorism memorial. The memorial will be part of the National Infantry Museum near Fort Benning, Georgia. Officials hope to break ground on the project early next year. | Army Times >>

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