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IAVA Daily News Brief – March 11, 2015

Today’s Top Stories

A hospital puts emailer on paid leave, launches probe
The supervisor responsible for an internal email at Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center that appears to mock veteran suicides has been put on paid administrative leave pending further investigation. | Indianapolis Star >>

VA announces high-level visit to ‘Candyland’ medical center
The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Tuesday morning that Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson would later in the day visit a Wisconsin VA Medical Center known as “Candyland” by some veterans for its penchant for handing out painkillers. | Stars and Stripes >>

Obama schedules visit to Phoenix VA hospital
President Obama this week is planning to visit Phoenix’s VA hospital, the epicenter of a national Veterans Affairs health care crisis, to get a report on the progress of reform measures taken to meet the medical needs of Arizona veterans. | USA Today >>

Afghanistan

Seven people were killed and 28 others including five police were wounded on Tuesday when a suicide bomber blew himself up in his car outside the capital of Helmand in southern Afghanistan, a provincial official said. | Reuters >>

Police in Afghanistan are investigating a shooting at a mosque in Kabul which left 11 people dead. Four or five gunmen entered the Sufi minority mosque during evening prayers. After initially opening fire, they held each of the victims down and shot them in the head. | BBC News >>

Billions of dollars in U.S. and international aid for Afghanistan’s security forces are at risk because the ministries that manage the money aren’t preventing waste and corruption, the Pentagon inspector general found. | Bloomberg >>

Iraq

Two key battles against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) raged Tuesday morning in Iraq: one for the city of Tikrit and the other in nearby Kirkuk Province. | CBS News >>

It has been a busy year for the B-1B Lancer, a workhorse bomber for the U.S. Air Force. The plane has been involved in airstrikes against the Islamic State militant group for months, including during an onslaught on the Syrian town of Kobane that eventually helped Kurdish forces take the town back from enemy fighters. | Washington Post >>

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, in an exclusive interview with Fox News, appealed to the U.S. to play a greater role in helping his country fight terrorism — as he urged the creation of an “Arab ready force” to confront the Islamic State and similar groups. | Fox News >>
 

Military Affairs

Suicides by special operators have fallen for two years straight. But the rates are still among the highest in the military. And that’s prompting the ordinarily tight-lipped commander of the elite forces to speak frankly about seeking help, and all but ordering his troops to do the same. | The Daily Beast >>

As shrinking budgets push the US Army (and the other services) to shutter facilities in Europe, the president’s European Reassurance Initiative is surging dollars — some for military construction — to counter Russian aggression against Ukraine. | Defense News >>

Spending cuts have left the U.S. Navy and Marines ill-prepared to deal with a sudden conflict, and continuing reductions may mean ships and troops arrive late to the fight and without the training and arms they need, Navy officials said on Tuesday. | Reuters >>

New Greatest Generation
The United States military has the largest amount of women service members in history, but women still only make up 15% of armed forces. This struck a chord with Iraq war veteran, Nadine Noky who served as a Radar Technician from 2002-2007 in the US Army. After returning home from service, she was surprised to find that there aren’t many stylish clothing options for female veterans to show their military pride. | MSNBC >>

He was not thinking about spending the rest of his life with a limp or how he would have to relearn how to walk four different times, nor did he fear that he couldn’t be the father that he always wanted to be. He also did not expect an attack from someone wearing a US Army uniform not unlike the very one he had on. When a red laser flashed across his eyes, Patrick thought it was just a drill. | Outdoor Hub >>

An Army veteran is using his experiences to help others get physically fit. “The only ceiling is the one we put on ourselves,” says CrossFit Coach, Derick Carver. | WKYC >>

Inside Washington

A Veteran Affairs program manager was caught sending emails that apparently showed her mocking veteran suicides. In a report on Monday, the Indianapolis Star disclosed emails sent by Robin Paul, a social worker in charge of managing the “Seamless Transition Integrated Care Clinic” at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis. | Politico >>

A trio of senators pushing for nationwide legalization of medical marijuana are putting veterans at the center of that effort, saying the law today prevents war heroes from getting all the care they need. | Military Times >>

Two Republicans have introduced legislation to shine light on the burial practices of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs for unclaimed veterans’ remains. | The Hill >>

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