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IAVA Daily News Brief – June 22, 2015

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Eddie Myers, parachute safety officer assigned to Detachment 4th Force Reconnaissance Company, parachutes from a UH-1Y Venom helicopter during airborne insertion training at the flight line aboard Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay. | Military Times >>

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Eddie Myers, parachute safety officer assigned to Detachment 4th Force Reconnaissance Company, parachutes from a UH-1Y Venom helicopter during airborne insertion training at the flight line aboard Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay. | Military Times >>

 

Today’s Top Stories

Wait Lists Grow as Many More Veterans Seek Care and Funding Falls Far Short
One year after outrage about long waiting lists for health care shook the Department of Veterans Affairs, the agency is facing a new crisis: The number of veterans on waiting lists of one month or more is now 50 percent higher than it was during the height of last year’s problems, department officials say. | New York Times >>

Veteran Shares Joys, Struggles Of Reconnecting With Family After Service
For Adam Renteria, a veteran of the U.S. military, there is no job more important than being a father. And after being away for the first five years of his son’s life, he says mending his family’s emotional wounds was his utmost priority. | Huffington Post >>

A big win for Air Force veterans suffering from diseases caused by Agent Orange
It’s been a long and bitter battle spanning years, but as of this week Air Force and Air Force Reserve veterans who might have been exposed to the toxic defoliant Agent Orange on contaminated C-123 aircraft in the post-Vietnam era are now allowed to file for financial compensation with disability claims. | Washington Post >>

Afghanistan

The Afghan Taliban is struggling to maintain a unified facade amid reports of splits within the group and some of the militants fighting each other in the east of the country. | NBC News >>

A roadside bomb killed at least 14 members of an Afghan family, including women and children, in the country’s volatile south Saturday, officials said, in the first major attack in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. | AFP >>

With elections delayed by political squabbling, Afghanistan’s president issued a decree on Friday extending parliament’s mandate until a vote could be held. Parliament’s five-year term was set to expire on June 22, but elections scheduled for April were postponed because of security fears and disagreement on how to ensure a fair vote after a bitterly disputed presidential election last year. | Reuters >>

Iraq

U.S. and coalition forces targeted the Islamic State on Friday with 16 air strikes in Iraq and six in Syria, the U.S. military said in a statement on Saturday. In Iraq, one strike hit a checkpoint for the Islamic State and also destroyed a storage container near Al Qaim, according to the statement. | Reuters >>

Snaking past blackened shop fronts and shattered homes, buses ferried the first civilian residents back to Tikrit this past week, an initial step toward reviving the city after Islamic State militants were expelled more than two months ago. | Washington Post >>

U.S. personnel at al Taqaddum air base in Iraq are beginning to train Sunni leaders in basic soldiering to help defeat the Islamic State, a defense official said Friday. | Washington Times >>

Military Affairs

With President Obama proclaiming, “Let the games begin,” in a taped message to 270 athletes and their family members, the 2015 Warrior Games kicked off Friday, launching more than a week of fierce, Paralympic-style competition on the verdant grounds of Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. | Military Times >>

There’s been a continuous stream of pilots and maintainers coming through classes here with the sole focus on helping the Air Force get ready for its deadline of initial operating capability next summer, said Col. Todd Canterbury, the outgoing commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin that oversees all the training. | Air Force Times >>

The Army has the Green Berets, while the Navy is known for the SEALs. Now, an elite branch of the U.S. Marine Corps will officially be known as Raiders. The Marines will rename several special operations units as Marine Raiders at a ceremony Friday, resurrecting a moniker made famous by World War II units that carried out risky amphibious and guerrilla operations. | Fox News >>

#VetsRising

Sammy Vasquez has served two tours of duty in Iraq, so when he steps into the ring today to fight Wale Omotoso at the MGM Grand Garden, fear will be the last thing on his mind. The unbeaten welterweight has managed to keep a healthy perspective on what he does. | Las Vegas Review-Journal >>

Regan Young had a gripping story to tell after leaving the Marine Corps. He just wasn’t sure how to tell it. But after three years of night school for film, industry networking and fundraising — all while trying to assemble a reliable crew and hold down a day job — Young finally saw his project come to completion. His short film, “Marza,” based on his experiences serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, was shown at the military-themed GI Film Festival in Fairfax, Virginia. | Military Times >>

As the rain clouds parted and the sun shined for the first time late Saturday afternoon, Green served her country again. She and 26 men — all amputee veterans and members of the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team (WWAST) — took on Akron firefighters at Firestone Stadium in a softball game with more than winning or losing on the line. | Akron Beacon Journal >>

Inside Washington

A group of Navy veterans is trying to persuade the U.S. military to add the names of 74 sailors to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The sailors were killed when their destroyer, the USS Frank E. Evans, was cut in half in a collision with an Australian aircraft carrier during naval exercises in the South China Sea in June 1969. | Associated Press >>

A new program to deliver health care to veterans across the nation has jeopardized a system it used for a model, triggering outrage from Alaska’s U.S. senators and frustration from vets. | Associated Press >>

The Department of Veterans Affairs is moving to outsource care nationwide for up to 180,000 veterans who have hepatitis C, a serious blood and liver condition treated with expensive new drugs that are costing the government billions of dollars. | USA Today >>

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