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IAVA Daily News Brief – May 9, 2016

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U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Jamil P. Alkattan, Advanced Infantryman Course chief instructor assigned to School of Infantry West (SOI-W) Detachment Hawaii, conducts practical application prior to helocast training during the Reconnaissance Team Leader Course at Water Front Ops aboard Marine Corps Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, April 26, 2016. Cpl. Aaron Patterson/Marine Corps | Military Times >>

Today’s Top Stories

Next-gen medical records, simpler Tricare top new health chief’s to-do’s
New Defense Health Agency director Vice Adm. Raquel Bono has a lot on her plate this year: the pending award of two multibillion-dollar contracts for Tricare; the rollout of a nearly $9 billion electronic health record system; and a possible Tricare reorganization. | Military Times >>

Experts address suicide at veterans center event in Texas
Michael Allen woke up Monday to messages from old Army buddies saying they had lost another one. Six veterans in his unit have committed suicide after returning home from war, including the chaplain and chaplain’s assistant. The combat soldiers in this unit were deployed to Iraq in 2008. Allen was a platoon sergeant. | Stars and Stripes >>

U.S. soldier dies in non-combat incident in Iraq
A U.S. soldier from Seattle has died in a non-combat incident in Iraq, the Pentagon said Sunday. 1st Lt. David Bauders, 25, died Friday at Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq, the Pentagon said. Bauders was serving with the Washington National Guard’s 176th Engineer Co., which deployed to Kuwait and Iraq in April. | USA Today >>

Afghanistan

Afghanistan hanged six prisoners convicted of terrorism offences, as part of a tougher new policy towards the Taliban promised by President Ashraf Ghani in retaliation for last month’s suicide attack which killed at least 64 people in Kabul. | Reuters >>

Prince Harry has told Andrew Marr about how his experiences while serving in Afghanistan – and the injuries that he witnessed fellow soldiers endure – were a “turning point” in his life and the catalyst for the idea behind the Invictus Games, which he helped set up. | BBC >>

At least 73 people were killed and 52 others injured in Afghanistan when two passenger buses caught fire after one collided with a fuel tanker, health officials say. The incident happened early Sunday in southeast Ghazni province. | CNN >>

Iraq
Some things, once broken, can never be fixed. That thought has dominated conversations in Baghdad’s capital in the week since supporters of a powerful Shiite Muslim cleric stormed the heavily fortified Green Zone. | Los Angeles Times >>

Multiple attacks in Baghdad killed at least 15 people and wounded scores more on Sunday, a stark reminder of Iraq’s continuing instability amid a political crisis that is heaping pressure on Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. | The Wall Street Journal >>

For nearly two years, U.S. airstrikes, military advisers and weapons shipments have helped Iraqi forces roll back the Islamic State group. The U.S.-led coalition has carried out more than 5,000 airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq at a total cost of $7 billion since August 2014, including operations in Syria. | Military Times >>

Military Affairs

The U.S. Air Force is compiling a database of 160,000 patients flown on aero-medical evacuation missions to research the best ways to handle medical problems patients encounter in flight, a researcher says. | Military.com >>

Air Force officials have been saying they would inactive the 440th Airlift Wing for more than two years. On Friday, they officially notified Congress that they would move forward on shuttering Fort Bragg’s lone airlift wing. | Stars and Stripes >>

The Army’s latest headcount shows that nearly 2,600 soldiers departed active service in March without being replaced, an action that plunges manning to its lowest level since before World War II. During the past year the size of the active force has been reduced by 16,548 soldiers, the rough equivalent of three brigades. | Army Times >>

#VETSRISING

After suffering a noncombat injury during a motorcycle accident in 2014, Gabby Graves-Wake found herself at a crossroads during her recovery and rehabilitation. The Marine, who suffered injuries to her legs, lower back and head, could have either been filled with self-pity or found the inspiration to push through during the recovery. She chose the more challenging path, joining up with the Wounded Warrior Regiment and Military Adaptive Sports Program to use sports as part of her rehabilitation. | Military Times >>

Before they were college students, Dustin Reagan and Joshua D. Maurer were veterans of military combat. They combined both experiences to create Connect-A-Vet, a veterans fair that Stark State College hosted last week. The free event, featuring information and resources, was held in conjunction with “Eyes of Freedom,” a traveling art exhibit honoring the Columbus-based Lima Company, one of the highest casualty units in the Iraq War. | The Independent >>

Faces of war are all too familiar. The names behind those faces and the stories they carry often remain unseen. “It is a daily struggle,” says Robert Sanchez Junior.Sanchez is an Army veteran. The former Staff Sergeant served in Iraq during Operation Enduring Freedom. While deployed, Sanchez sustained traumatic brain injuries. Now at home in Defiance, he still copes with PTSD. | 13ABC >>

Inside Washington 

The new inspector general at the Department of Veterans Affairs is hoping to quickly repair the office’s image after nearly two years of criticism for cursory investigations and secrecy. Michael Missal, who began work last Monday, said he plans to reach out to veterans’ groups, Congress and others to let them know his door is open and he plans to be more transparent. | USA Today >>

The Obama administration has quietly deployed troops to help fight in Yemen over the past two weeks, with little public attention. Yemen now joins a series of other Middle Eastern countries in which U.S. troops are on the ground without declaration of war and approval from Congress, combating extremist groups that have benefited from U.S. policies. | Salon >>

When the Pentagon complained about a Russian fighter plane performing a barrel roll near an Air Force reconnaissance plane in international airspace over the Baltic Sea on April 29, a quick response came from Moscow, which claimed that the American plane did not have its transponder turned on. | The New York Times >>

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