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IAVA Daily News Brief – February 25, 2016

Two Marine Corps UH-1Y Huey Helicopters fly from Marine Corps Base Hawaii to the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, during a personnel transportation exercise.  Lance Cpl. Julian Temblador/Marine Corps | Military Times >>

Two Marine Corps UH-1Y Huey Helicopters fly from Marine Corps Base Hawaii to the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, during a personnel transportation exercise. Lance Cpl. Julian Temblador/Marine Corps | Military Times >>

 

Today’s Top Stories

Lawmaker to pitch new veterans center for hazardous exposures
Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., plans to introduce legislation Thursday to create a “center of excellence” to study and manage medical care for veterans with illnesses caused by chemicals and other battlefield environmental hazards. | Military Times >>

Senators Pledge to Support VA Chief’s Accountability Proposals
Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald on Tuesday met with Senators to discuss the VA’s budget for fiscal 2017 and appropriations for the following year. But the issue of funding took a backseat in the discussion as lawmakers were more intent to talk about McDonald’s proposals to hold VA employees accountable for wrongdoing or poor performance. | Military.com >>

Persian Gulf veterans still fighting for proper health care 25 years after war
Advocates for Gulf War veterans were in Washington on Tuesday for the 25th anniversary of the Operation Desert Storm ground assault, pushing for continued research and improved treatment for veterans with Gulf War-related illnesses. Speaking before the House Veterans’ Affairs oversight subcommittee, veterans and scientists who have studied Gulf War diseases say the VA is not doing enough to ensure its physicians are following recommended treatment guidelines for these veterans with chronic health conditions. | Military Times >>

Afghanistan

A cargo plane laden with 10,000 AK-47s landed in Kabul on Wednesday, the first part of a major Russian military aid package aimed at helping Kabul contain a resurgent insurgency. | NBC News >>

Two bomb attacks targeting police and a pro-government figures in northern Afghanistan killed at least 15 people and injured several others, authorities said Tuesday. | UPI >>

A Swedish aid group has demanded an independent investigation of a raid on a hospital in Afghanistan last week in which it said that three people, including a boy, were summarily executed by Afghan forces who were accompanied by NATO troops. | New York Times >>

Iraq

A 16-year-old Swedish girl rescued from Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq has described life under the jihadist group’s rule as “really hard”. The teenager told an Iraqi Kurdish TV station that she was duped into going to Syria by her boyfriend last May. | BBC News >>

Private military contractors in Iraq skyrocketed in number by eight times over the period of January 2015 to January 2016, according to a new Pentagon report to Congress. | Daily Caller >>

The weather in Iraq has been ripe for fighting but Islamic State militants have been lying low, according to the commander of U.S. and coalition troops aiding Iraqi security forces in the country. | Military.com >>

Military Affairs

In 2019 the Army expects to roll out a new, lighter body armor system. The armor will provide at least as much protection as today’s system, but with more comfort, and greater flexibility to adjust based on the mission, Army officials said. | USA Today >>

Just 12 years after leaving the Army as a captain, Patrick Murphy is now serving as its top civilian leader. Murphy was sworn in Jan. 4 as the Army’s 32nd under secretary; he was appointed acting Army secretary three days later. | Army Times >>

Much of the discussion these days about the proper size of the U.S. Navy centers on numbers and types of vessels within a 300-ship fleet: Should the sea service have 38 or 50 amphibious ships? Should it have 40 or 52 littoral combat ships? But a former secretary of the Navy says the focus on a 300-ship fleet only obscures more accurate measures of capability and presence. | Military.com >>

#VetsRising

An art show hosted at the West Fargo VFW this weekend will offer patrons a look into the creative minds of several war veteran artists whose art has elicited strong responses from viewers. | West Fargo Pioneer >>

A phalanx of war veteran bikers escorting a traveling war memorial to Canyonville stopped Wednesday morning at Eugene’s new VA Clinic to gather reinforcements. Vets Helping Vets HQ, an Albany nonprofit organization, organized the convoy, which left Albany about 7:30 a.m. with three trailers carrying the Wall of Honor exhibit and an escort of riders from the Combat Veteran Motorcycle Association following a Lebanon police officer. | The Register-Guard >>

Meet Manuel Rodriguez ’11. He’s an Iraq War veteran who lost a leg to the conflict, but he’s not letting that hold him back. Rodriguez is a born and bred military brat. Both of his grandfathers were in the U.S. military, and each of his parents also served. He was born in Waterville, Maine, and bounced around the country with his family throughout his childhood. But like so many military families, the Alamo City was always the place where his family returned. | UTSA Today >>

Inside Washington

Highly decorated Army combat veteran John Marshall traces his terminal cancer to hours spent over burn pits in Iraq, where everything from disabled IEDs to lithium batteries was reduced to cinder and smoke. Now back home in the Phoenix suburb of Surprise, Ariz., the 31-year-old former private is facing death and is claiming the VA is AWOL. | Fox News >>

Some folks might have figured that home medical visits long since went the way of rotary phones and typewriters. But for the past two years, a pilot project at the VAMC has utilized the experience of former military medics to improve the health care of area vets at home. | Cleveland.com >>

After the Veterans Affairs wait-time scandal erupted nearly two years ago, the department’s chief watchdog investigated 73 VA facilities across the country and found scheduling problems in 51 cases. But that watchdog — the VA’s inspector general — still has not released reports with the findings of those investigations to Congress or the public.  | USA Today >>

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