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IAVA Daily News Brief – September 21, 2015

Lt. Ashley Rohrman, a registered nurse, interacts with patients at a medical site established at St. Luc Hospital in Port Au Prince, Haiti, during Continuing Promise 2015. | Military Times >>

Lt. Ashley Rohrman, a registered nurse, interacts with patients at a medical site established at St. Luc Hospital in Port Au Prince, Haiti, during Continuing Promise 2015. | Military Times >>

 

Today’s Top Stories

Veterans ignored in GOP debate, issues neglected in 2016 campaigns
Paul Rieckhoff, founder and CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for America, talks with Rachel Maddow about the sketchy supposed veterans group behind a recent Trump fundraiser, and the omission of veterans’ issues from the CNN Republican debate | MSNBC >>

In Unit Stalked by Suicide, Veterans Try to Save One Another
Feeling abandoned, members of the battalion have turned to a survival strategy they learned at war: depending on one another. Doing what the government has not, they have used free software and social media to create a quick-response system that allows them to track, monitor and intervene with some of their most troubled comrades. | New York Times >>

After the VA scandal, veterans were told their wait for care would get shorter. But it’s actually getting worse.
Veterans who are seeking care for everything from post-traumatic stress disorder to cancer may face even longer wait times in the coming years for help from the overburdened Department of Veterans Affairs, according to a highly critical 4,000 page VA-commissioned study of veterans health care. | Washington Post >>

Afghanistan

The Afghan government on Saturday rejected Pakistan’s claim that a militant attack on a military base near Peshawar was planned and controlled from Afghanistan. The presidential palace issued a statement saying Kabul never has and never will allow its territory to be used against other states. | Associated Press >>

Three people, including two police officers, were wounded in a suicide attack Sunday in Afghanistan, while 21 other civilians were wounded in a separate attack. Zia Durani, spokesman for the police chief in southern Kandahar province, said that the suicide car bomber targeted a police checkpoint in the Daman district. | Associated Press >>

An Afghan artist is using the blast walls of Kabul’s streets to rail against corruption in the heart of the country’s capital. Kabir Mokamel’s goal is to use the protective concrete walls that surround Kabul’s most important buildings as canvases to beautify the city and inspire regular Afghans with messages of social change. | NBC News >>

Iraq

At least 55 militants were killed when Turkish warplanes hit Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) camps in northern Iraq overnight, security sources said on Saturday, as Ankara shows no sign of easing up strikes on insurgents ahead of a Nov. 1 election. | Reuters >>

A U.S.-led coalition carried out 17 air strikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria on Friday, a U.S. military statement said. In Iraq, 12 air raids hit militant targets near cities including Mosul, Kirkuk and Ramadi, said the statement issued on Saturday. The coalition conducted five air strikes in Syria, it added. | Reuters >>

Top U.S. military officials subtly manipulated intelligence reports on the fight against Islamic State militants in the Middle East, according to sources who detailed the allegations which the Pentagon is now investigating. | Washington Times >>

Military Affairs

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who faces a possible life sentence for endangering the soldiers who searched for him after he left his Afghanistan base in 2009, had a “severe mental disease or defect” at the time, one of his lawyers said Thursday. | New York Times >>

Fighter jocks aren’t the only Blue Angels who challenge the limits of capability and precision. The team’s maintenance and support crew also takes pride in pushing the envelope with a C-130 Hercules, and on Friday they took Navy Times along for the ride. |

Navy Times >>

Eric Fanning, formerly one of Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s closest advisers, has been nominated to be the next Army secretary, the White House announced Friday. Fanning has been serving as the acting under secretary of the Army since June. Before that, he served as Carter’s chief of staff. If confirmed by the Senate, Fanning will succeed Army Secretary John McHugh, who has said he will leave the post by Nov. 1 after six years on the job. | Army Times >>

#VetsRising

A Navy veteran rescued a woman from a burning RV that left wreckage he described as being like a “war zone.” Christopher Chmielnicki sprang into action once he learned a woman was inside the RV as it burned on Route 611 in Mount Pocono on Friday, ABC affiliate WNEP-TV reports. | ABC News >>

More than forty veterans set out for a day of kayak fishing on the Padre Island channels this weekend as part a Heroes On The Water event. “Heroes on the Water is a non-profit that has been set up to take veterans out for a day of kayak fishing,” said Travis Matthews, Coastal Bend Chapter Coordinator. “It’s just an opportunity for some that are still serving or have gotten out already, transitioning back to civilian life to get some camaraderie, get out, get outside, get some exercise.” | KRISTV 6 NBC >>

In 2013, Army 1st Lt. Emily Nunez Cavness and her sister created Sword & Plough with two big goals in mind: Make functional-yet-fashion-forward accessories out of repurposed military surplus gear, while also helping to empower veterans. | Military Times >>

Inside Washington

Rachel Maddow reviews the background of the man behind Veterans for a Strong America, the beneficiary of a Donald Trump fundraiser speech on the USS Iowa, which does not appear to have any membership outside of chairman Joel Arends, and which today had its non-profit status revoked by the IRS. | MSNBC >>

Veterans took to social media in the wake of Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate to complain that the three-hour-plus event included no questions from CNN about their issues. Veterans were mentioned by only two candidates during the broadcast, neither time in response to a direct question: Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina several times mentioned health care delay problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and business mogul Donald Trump offered a broad promise to improve care for vets. | Military Times >>

A letter from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel on Sept. 17 states that the Department of Veterans Affairs has neither listened to, nor protected, whistleblowers and has not punished employees who tried to interfere with whistleblowers. | Task & Purpose >>

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