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IAVA Daily News Brief – Friday, August 7, 2015

BlackHawkParatroopers

Paratroopers assigned with 1-508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division move to their loading zone as rotor wash from a UH-60 Black Hawk causes a dust cloud during Operation Red Fury on Fort Bragg, N.C. | Military Times >>

 

TODAY’S TOP STORIES
Veterans returned home with higher skin cancer risk, study finds
American military personnel who served in the blazing deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan returned home with an increased risk of skin cancer, according to a new study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. | CBS News >>

Senate Launches Post-9/11 Vets Caucus
Members of the Senate vowed to improve the post-military lives of veterans who have served since 9/11, launching a caucus that will focus on the specific needs of young former servicemen and servicewomen. Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Mark Kirk, R-Ill., Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., leaders of the Senate Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Caucus on Wednesday, met Wednesday at the Capitol with representatives from companies such as Uber and Starbucks, which have actively sought to hire veterans. | U.S. News & World Report >>

GI Bill redefined how America viewed vets
As World War II was still being fought, lawmakers began worrying about how to reintegrate millions of Americans back into the workforce when the war ended. For the first time, the country was considering going beyond meager veterans pensions and payments to widows. The legislation’s official name – the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act – reflected its far-reaching ambition. | USA Today >>

AFGHANISTAN

A Taliban suicide truck bomber has killed six people in Afghanistan, in the first major insurgent attack since the announcement of leader Mullah Omar’s death. The blast in Pul-i-Alam, the capital of insurgency-prone Logar province just south of Kabul, highlights growing insecurity that is taking a heavy toll on Afghan civilians and security forces. | The Guardian >>

An Afghan military helicopter crashed in a remote region of the southern Zabul province on Thursday, killing 17 people on board – 12 soldiers and five crew members, officials said. President Ashraf Ghani offered his condolences to the families of those killed, while the Taliban claimed they had shot down the aircraft. | Associated Press >>

The United Nations said Wednesday that a growing number of women and children are getting hurt or killed in Afghanistan’s war against the Taliban and other insurgents. The total number of casualties in the conflict was up 1 percent in the first half of this year, compared with the same period last year, a new UN report said. However, the number of women casualties rose by 23 percent and children by 13 percent. | Associated Press >>

IRAQ

After only modest gains in the first few weeks of their drive to retake Anbar province, Iraqi government forces have given up hopes of swift advances against Islamic State militants. The campaign, launched after the provincial capital Ramadi fell in May, initially aimed at recapturing the city quickly but then shifted east to break the militants’ 19-month grip on the city of Falluja and secure supply lines from Baghdad. | Reuters >>

An explosion targeting a power installation in eastern Iraq has disrupted the flow of electricity from neighboring Iran, the electricity ministry said on Thursday, aggravating energy shortages amid a weeks-long heatwave. | Reuters >>

More than 2,500 soldiers in the 10th Mountain Division will be deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in the coming weeks, U.S. Army officials said. | Associated Press >>

MILITARY AFFAIRS

The Marine Corps is concluding a monthlong survey Sunday seeking feedback on several potential changes to current uniform policies. Among those is a proposed change to the women’s dress blue uniform that would bring its look more in line with what the men wear. | Stars and Stripes >>

New moms are now eligible for up to 18 weeks of postpartum maternity leave. That number includes the six weeks that had already been available immediately after giving birth, according to a service-wide message released Wednesday and adds up to 12 weeks of “additional maternity leave” that a new mom can take within the first year of her child’s life. | Military Times >>

Many of the Pentagon’s elite commando units – including the Navy SEALs – are overwhelmingly led and manned by white officers and enlisted troops, a concern at the highest levels of the military where officials have stressed the need to create more diverse forces to handle future threats. | USA Today >>

#VETSRISING

Three military veterans working at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Weslaco are especially interested in an upcoming meeting designed to help fellow veterans become involved in agriculture as a career. | AgriLife Today >>

Two years ago, David Varney was bound to a wheelchair. Monday night, the United States Marine Core and Army veteran was an All-Star. Varney’s story begins in 1998, before the Twin Towers were destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001 in the heart of New York City. Varney, a New Hampshire native who now lives in Crawfordville, had just started his military career as a Marine. | The Review Journal >>

Isaac Wichmann of Fargo served in the U.S. military as a paratrooper for 11 years before 2011, traveling all over the world. After that, he started at the University of Bemidji working on a Biology degree. But he had barely started classes when he had a stroke and his life changed. | WDAY TV >>

INSIDE WASHINGTON

Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald may have only 16 months left to accomplish an overhaul of his department, but he’s not looking at the calendar yet. “I don’t know that I’m going to be gone (after the 2016 presidential election),” McDonald told audience members at a Politico media forum Thursday. “And I’m not acting like I will be gone.” | Military Times >>

Just before Congress leaves town for a month, Sen. John McCain introduced a bill Thursday that could increase the controversy over how to fix the Department of Veterans Affairs, proposing that all veterans be eligible to have private care paid for by their VA insurance. | Stars and Stripes >>

California’s two U.S. senators will propose legislation Thursday that would move some of the thousands of veterans living in makeshift encampments across the region into housing at the Department of Veterans Affairs’ campus in West Los Angeles. | LA Times >>

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