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IAVA Daily News Brief – June 4, 2015

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President Obama presents the Medal of Honor to Elsie Shemin-Roth, center, and Ina Bass, accepting on behalf of their late father, Army Sergeant William Shemin, for actions while serving in France during World War I, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House. | Military Times >>

 

Today’s Top Stories

Researchers developing new test to diagnose PTSD
Researchers say they are close to developing a first-of-its-kind of medical test that could be used to identify post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They say that in five years, there could be a range of new tests which will help in diagnosing PTSD and determining which treatment these patients need. | Fox News >>

VA’s West LA campus takes first step to return to its deeded mission: Housing veterans
The Department of Veterans Affairs will open a transitional housing facility for veterans on Thursday and launch a planning process later in June for the redevelopment of its 387-acre West Los Angeles VA Medical Center campus, just six months after settling a 2011 lawsuit that accused the VA of misusing the land and discriminating against homeless vets. | Stars and Stripes >>

Obama awards Medals of Honor to two World War I soldiers — 97 years after heroism
President Obama posthumously awarded two World War I heroes the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, recognizing soldiers whose valor on the battlefields of France had not been recognized with the nation’s highest valor award for 97 years due to racial and religious bias. | Washington Post >>

Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s intelligence service said Wednesday it had arrested two men, including one employed by a foreign aid agency, for planning an attack on a Kabul hotel that left 14 people dead last month. | LA Times >>

A new study from the Costs of War project at Brown University estimates 149,000 war-related deaths, with an additional 162,000 serious injuries, in Afghanistan and Pakistan since 2001. And even these numbers don’t tell the whole story, which includes significant destruction of infrastructure, displacement of people, and indirect deaths from malnutrition and disease. | CNN >>

Slathered from head to toe in fake tan and contorting their painstakingly-sculpted muscles on stage for the judges – meet the bodybuilders fighting it out to lift the title of Mr Afghanistan. The contest, held in the capital Kabul, was well attended by scantily-clad competitors keen to show off the hard work they had put in at the gym. Bodybuilding is one of the country’s most popular sports – even permitted during the Taliban regime. | Daily Mail >>

Iraq

Islamic State militants have closed gates of a dam on the Euphrates River in western Iraq, reducing the water and giving them greater freedom of movement to attack government forces downstream on the southern bank, local officials said. | Reuters >>

In 2015, amid more beheadings and destroyed ancient Iraqi and Syrian cities, an increasing number of Americans disapprove of the president’s handling of the Middle East’s most pressing terrorism threat, the Islamic State — a fact that threatens to cast a shadow over Obama’s legacy. | Washington Post >>

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi received fresh pledges from the United States and its allies Tuesday to expedite arms deliveries to Iraq, stem the flow of foreign fighters into the country and cut off the financial pipeline of Islamic State militants. | LA Times >>

Military Affairs

None of the Medal of Honor recipients from the war on terrorism have been airmen, and now the Air Force is making sure airmen have been appropriately recognized for their bravery. | Air Force Times >>

The original French tall ship Hermione brought French Gen. Marquis de Lafayette to America in 1780 to inform Continental Army Gen. George Washington that a French army was headed for America to assist in the war effort. The replica Hermione will visit Yorktown on Friday and then continue up the East Coast. | The Virginian-Pilot >>

Military spouse entrepreneurs are getting more access to education, training and loans, but a broader look at the issues they face could open up more opportunities, experts say. | Military Times >>

#VetsRising

As thousands of troops leave the military each month without jobs or a plan for permanent housing, a new text messaging program will link vets to peers who can connect them to the services and support they need. | Stars and Stripes >>

Many veterans receiving services at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center came out for the Warrior Paper Project on Tuesday afternoon. But the medical center’s schedule prevented many vets from getting out to the project in the morning. | The Grand Island Independent >>

U.S. Marine Corps Veteran Travis Howze is sober and smiling. It’s something he celebrates every single day. But it took him years to figure out that he had post-traumatic stress, which triggered his drinking and out-of-control behavior. | News 4 Jax >>

Inside Washington

The military has officially entered the 2016 presidential race. In making his presidential bid official Monday, Sen. Lindsey Graham promised to put “a strong national defense” and service member concerns at the center of his campaign. | Military Times >>

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on Wednesday introduced legislation that aims to ensure military service dogs come back to the U.S. after their tours are over. The proposed bill, dubbed the Military Working Dog Retirement Act of 2015, would require the Pentagon to arrange and pay for transportation of trained military dogs back to the states if they are injured or when their skills are no longer required overseas. | The Hill >>

The Department of Veterans Affairs canceled outpatient appointments at its Denver hospital Wednesday afternoon after an electrical problem required using backup power. The issue “is with Xcel at their connection with the Denver campus. Their staff on site now to investigate,” spokesman Daniel Warvi said. He said only Denver VA outpatient appointments are affected. | The Denver Post >>

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