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IAVA Daily News Brief – October 5, 2015

Combat Center Chief of Staff Col. James F. Harp releases a tortoise during the Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs-hosted ceremony for the first release of tortoises from the Combat Center’s Desert Tortoise Headstart Program, near Twentynine Palms, California.  | Military Times >>

Combat Center Chief of Staff Col. James F. Harp releases a tortoise during the Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs-hosted ceremony for the first release of tortoises from the Combat Center’s Desert Tortoise Headstart Program, near Twentynine Palms, California. | Military Times >>

 

Today’s Top Stories

Colbert On Hand For Vet Gala
Stephen Colbert and Willie Geist will headline the Ninth Annual Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America IAVA Heroes Gala, to be held the day after Veteran’s Day on Nov. 12, at Cipriani 42nd Street. Geist will return to host the gala honoring Scott Wine, Daniel Rodriguez, and a slew of veterans. | New York Daily News >>

Obama taps D.C. lawyer Michael Missal as new Veterans Affairs’ watchdog
President Obama is nominating Michael Missal, a Washington attorney who specializes in government enforcement and internal investigations, to be the new chief watchdog at the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs. | USA Today >>

Report: Pentagon suicide prevention office in disarray
The Pentagon’s suicide prevention office lacks clear guidance and authority to develop and execute effective programs, leaving a vacuum that the military services filled with their own, often inconsistent programs, a new Defense Department Inspector General report says. | Military Times >>

Afghanistan

A crowded hospital in the embattled city of Kunduz that treats war wounded came under attack on Saturday and the American military acknowledged that it may have killed 19 patients, staff members and others at the facility while firing on insurgents nearby. | New York Times >>

The military released on Saturdy the names of the six airmen killed a day earlier in the crash of a C-130J Super Hercules at Jalalabad Air Field in eastern Afghanistan. Six crewmembers and five contractors assigned to the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing died early Friday when their transport aircraft crashed at takeoff. At least two Afghans on the ground also died in the crash, according to media reports. | Stars and Stripes >>

The German government wants to extend its deployment in Afghanistan for one year initially, German newspaper Welt am Sonntag cited high-ranking NATO sources as saying. Although NATO has withdrawn almost all of its combat troops, it still has soldiers stationed in the country to train local forces. Up to about 850 German troops are in Afghanistan on this mission. | Reuters >>

Iraq

Two large bombings in Shiite-majority neighborhoods in Baghdad killed at least 18 people on Saturday. The larger attack took place in the Kadhimiya neighborhood, where the police said a suicide bomber set off his explosives at a checkpoint. | New York Times >>

The Iraqi government’s decision to choke off funding for Islamic State by cutting off all wages and pensions in cities controlled by the group has plunged people into hardship and could help the insurgents tighten their grip, officials and residents say. | Reuters >>

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the heavily fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad open to all citizens on Sunday, part of a reform drive prompted by protests demanding greater transparency and openness. | Reuters >>

Military Affairs

Navy won the first leg of the competition for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy signifying service academy football supremacy. The winner of the Navy-Air Force game has won the trophy in each of the last 18 years, with Army not having won it since 1996. The Midshipmen can reclaim the CIC hardware after a one-year absence by beating Army on Dec. 12 in Philadelphia. | Washington Post >>

The future carrier Gerald R. Ford and the follow-on John F. Kennedy are the first two ships of the Ford-class carrier program, which has risen $4.7 billion over budget estimates and fallen five years behind the initial production schedule. | Navy Times >>

Emerging details of the U.S. Marine Corps study on the integration of women into direct-action combat jobs raise questions about the validity of its findings and whether the study was engineered to keep women out of infantry units, critics say. | Military.com >>

#VetsRising

Chris Mintz has served in the Army, practiced mixed martial arts fighting and dedicated himself to raising an autistic child. Chances are all those experiences played a role in preparing him for the ordeal he faced on Thursday when he was shot numerous times while trying to save others during the murderous rampage at Umpqua Community College. His legs were broken as well, but he is expected to live, according to family members and friends. | New York Times >>

Two hundred injured veterans, using hand bikes, recumbent bikes, traditional road bikes and more, rode through Delaware on Wednesday and Thursday as part of the 460-mile Ride 2 Recovery Army-Navy challenge. | The News Journal >>

When Justin Blotsky made the transition from military life to civilian life, he felt very alone. For a decade, including 15 months in Iraq, he had eaten, worked and slept with his “battle buddies.” Suddenly, he was on his own. “I guess I took it for granted,” Blotsky said. “There was always people there to fight for me.” On 40 acres of fertile Skagit farmland off Starbird Road, Blotsky is finding that camaraderie again. | Skagit Valley Herald >>

Inside Washington

The U.S. Senate unanimously approved Thursday the Border Jobs for Veterans Act, a bill that requires Homeland Security to actively recruit outgoing military veterans for 1,200 unfilled positions at U.S. ports. Introduced by U.S. Rep. Martha McSally, the bill was passed by the U.S. House Representatives on Monday. | Tucson Sentinel >>

An inspection by the government showed that dozens of military veterans incorrectly received letters indicating they’d lose unemployment benefits after an overworked VA staff in Seattle lost track of records they had submitted. | Seattle Times >>

A little more than six months ago, Allred, 30, would have been on the regular court docket, facing 20 years in prison for his crimes. But thanks to an expansion in February of the 2-year-old Veterans Treatment Court to include people accused of certain felonies, Allred has a chance to turn his life around under a strict program requiring a far greater commitment to self-help than the regular court system. | Tampa Bay Tribune >>

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