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IAVA Daily News Brief – May 11, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 10.38.38 AMFormer President George W. Bush, right, presents a gold medal in women’s powerlifting to Canada’s Christine Gauthier at the Invictus Games at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports on May 9 in Orlando, Fla. Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel via AP | Military Times >>

Today’s Top Stories

Student veterans advocate for two bills now in Congress
To counter the effects of less-than-honorable discharges based on mental health issues, Goldsmith founded High Ground Veterans Advocacy, a group of primarily veterans-turned-students from Columbia, Yale and Georgetown launched in January 2016. Together, they’re fighting to prevent veterans from falling into vulnerable situations like homelessness and drug abuse by lobbying for the Fairness for Veterans Act and the Veteran Urgent Access to Mental Healthcare Act, two bills that try to help less-than-honorably discharged veterans to still live healthily with appropriate support from the government. | USA Today >>

George W. Bush, Prince Harry call for mental health stigma to end
Before the star-studded opening of the Invictus Games in Orlando on Sunday night, former President George W. Bush and Prince Harry tackled the issue of mental health, calling for an end to the stigma surrounding diagnosis and treatment of these medical conditions. | Military Times >>

Prescription drug abuse: There is help
Facing the reality that “I need help” and knowing where to actually get it are crucial initial steps for anyone battling prescription drug addiction. The process to recovery can be one ridden with pain, denial and shame. For treatment options tailored to the needs of veterans, the Veterans Crisis Line directs veterans and their loved ones to “qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hot line”: 1-800-273-8255, option 1. | CNN >>

Afghanistan

A joint raid by U.S. and Afghan forces on Tuesday rescued the son of a former Pakistani prime minister from a three-year-long Taliban captivity in Afghanistan, officials said. | AP >>

Nine months after President Obama declared an end to the American combat mission in Afghanistan, these Green Berets were at the leading edge of an offensive to retake Kunduz, where Afghan forces had melted away as insurgents attacked, leaving an entire city in the Taliban’s grip for the first time since 2001. | New York Times >>

Taliban fighters said on social media that they shot down a U.S. drone this week over Afghanistan’s volatile region near the Pakistan border. | The Washington Post >>

Iraq 

While the Iraqi army, Kurds, U.S. military are allied against ISIS, no agreement exists on how to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second biggest city. | Time >>

The U.S.-led coalition killed a mid-level Islamic State militant group (ISIS) fighter named “Desert Lion,” who became notorious for his brutality, in an air strike in Iraq, the Pentagon said on Monday. The Pentagon confirmed that an air strike killed Shaker Wahib in Iraq’s western Anbar province alongside three fellow militants on Friday. | Newsweek >>

Islamic State claimed a suicide bombing that killed at least 10 people and wounded 29 in the eastern Iraqi province of Diyala on Monday, a local police official said, adding to a string of deadly attacks in recent days. | Wall Street Journal >>

Military Affairs

The U.S. Navy on Tuesday sent a guided missile destroyer within 12 miles of a disputed island in the South China Sea where China has built an airstrip — prompting China to scramble fighter jets and dispatch warships to “expel” the American ship. | CNN >>

If you’ve ever wanted to send your buddy a camo-clad emoji, here’s your chance. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America teamed up with Kapps Media to launch the first military and veterans emoji app: Vetmoji. | Military Times >>

It’s official: Soldiers can now wear earbuds while working out in a gym in their PT uniform. “Effective immediately, unless the unit or installation commander prohibits otherwise, soldiers may use headphones, including wireless or non-wireless devices and earpieces, in uniform only while performing individual physical training in indoor gyms or fitness centers,” according to the directive signed by Acting Army Secretary Patrick Murphy. | Army Times >>

#VetsRising 

Daniel Torres is finally a citizen of the land he once served as a U.S. Marine while living a lie, and this time he has a chance to make things right. Five years ago, Torres was ready to ship out to Afghanistan for his second tour when his military superiors learned he’d lied about his immigration status in order to enlist. Instead of deploying, he was deported. The 30-year-old has been living in Mexico ever since, with a network of exiled U.S. veterans. But Torres, who told his story of banishment to FoxNews.com earlier this year, recently learned his status has been unexpectedly changed, to naturalized citizen. | Fox News >>

“The way that you speak to people really dictates what people are willing to do for you, what they can do for you, and how they understand what you want from them,” says the graduating English major with a minor in writing at Rutgers University-Camden. It is this fundamental understanding of the importance of language that has propelled Garcia from a career leading others in the U.S. Army to a position serving as a resident director at Salisbury University upon graduating from Rutgers-Camden this May. | Rutgers Today >>

They serve and sacrifice for their country, but the men and women in the military are also driving new medical breakthroughs. The treatments learned by medics in Iraq and Afghanistan are now saving lives in Ohio. | WSYX ABC 6 >>

Inside Washington

A coalition of military and veterans advocates wants the Defense Department to establish an advisory council, made up of customers, to help protect the savings in military stores. | Military Times >>

To counter the effects of less-than-honorable discharges based on mental health issues, Goldsmith founded High Ground Veterans Advocacy, a group of primarily veterans-turned-students from Columbia, Yale and Georgetown launched in January 2016. Together, they’re fighting to prevent veterans from falling into vulnerable situations like homelessness and drug abuse by lobbying for the Fairness for Veterans Act and the Veteran Urgent Access to Mental Healthcare Act, two bills that try to help less-than-honorably discharged veterans to still live healthily with appropriate support from the government. | USA Today >>

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump took heavy criticism over his treatment of veterans this weekend from Democrats and his own party. “What he said about me, that’s fine,” McCain said. “I don’t require any repair of that. But when he said ‘I don’t like people who were captured,’ then there’s a great body of American heroes that would like to see him retract that statement. | Military Times >>


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